Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Scale Obsessed

When I was twenty, the day after Halloween—after gorging myself on candy—I told my family and friends something like, “That’s it! I’m going on a diet and I’m going to be 120 pounds again if it kills me.” For awhile, I weighed my food, counted every calorie and told restaurant servers I was allergic to oil and egg yolks.  

What I had failed to remember was I hadn’t weighed in at 120 pounds since before my growth spurt, before I was a teenager. Why did I think 120 pounds was my ideal weight?

I weigh 147 pounds! Wow, did I just write that out loud? Yes, I did. That’s right! I’ll spell it out for everyone to hear … I weigh one-hundred and forty-seven pounds (at the moment)! I suppose I could weigh less. I’m guessing many women at a height of 5.8½ inches weigh less than me. Who cares? I’m fine with it! Like for real, fine with it. I used to obsess about my figure but just don’t anyone. I’m well within my targeted healthy weight and best of all … I’m healthy.   

Many of us are obsessed with the scale. We’re consumed and miserable about our weight. We continue on with the same unhealthy lifestyles and somehow expect the dial to change. We attempt diet after diet, digging ourselves deeper into the quicksand of the diet conundrum.

With ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­75% of Americans overweight or obese, and 61% of the Canadian population at an unhealthy weight, North American bodies are hungering more than ever for nutrition. How is it possible with the prevalence of the scale and the relentless surge of new diets, we’ve become fatter than ever?   

I don’t know about you, but I find counting calories and weighing food depressing. Of course portion control is necessary. But what’s more important is the type of food we’re choosing to ingest: No need to control portions of vegetables. For almost all of us, once we start eating for health—only vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean meats—our bodies come into balance. Our bodies find a healthy weight. It’s what our bodies want to do. It’s what our bodies are programmed to do.

I no longer worry about my weight (well almost never) because I eat well and exercise regularly. I’ve noticed the only time I complain about my weight and figure is when I stop putting the energy and effort into my health. I no longer look to the scale for answers. I look within for answers. I may never be model-skinny-like, but I sure am healthy-like.

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The Diet Conundrum

There are countless diets that claim to be the quick and easy weight loss solution. We have the lose fourteen pounds in two weeks diet, the 2-step plan diet, the high-protein diet, the low-calorie diet, the fasting (no-eating) diet, the rub this cream on your belly diet and so on. These diets all claim to work long-term. They claim to be easy and effective, requiring almost no work or lifestyle change. Follow the diet for the specified amount of time and poof—almost like magic—you’re thin (again, or for the first time in your life).

If this is true and it’s really that easy, how is it possible that 34% of Americans are obese and almost 33% (one-third) are overweight? Today, obesity affects more than 72 million Americans. That leaves only one-third of the population in a healthy weight range. If these lose weight quick diets work, why are we getting fatter? Rates of obesity have increased by 11% over the past twenty years. But since 1990, a third of us have been as overweight as we are today. We have all these wonderful easy diets that work, yet the statistics continue to increase? I’m not a trained mathematician or statistician, but this doesn’t make sense to me.

Most would agree it takes time to gain weight. It doesn’t typically happen overnight. It might feel like it does. It might feel like yesterday we were twenty-three—stuffing our faces with chicken wings, cheesy garlic bread and beer—only to wake up at thirty-five and discover our bellies are soft and our rears don’t fit into anything we own anymore. Or maybe we’re closer to sixty and look back at pictures of ourselves, unable to recognize who that person is. The overindulging has typically been going on for years, and years, and at some point our bodies finally give way to the laziness of our choices. Our bodies give way to the toxicity of our choices. So why once we realize we have gained weight are we in such a hurry to lose weight? Why the rush?

I too would love to believe in the quick-fix, take-a-pill, don’t-change-a-thing-except-maybe-don’t-eat-carbs or maybe-just-don’t-eat-at-all, diets? I would also love to believe in fairy tales and Santa Claus, but the truth is I have to work at my relationship with Price Charming and I have to buy the Christmas presents and even wrap them every year. It’s work.

I know … I know … it sucks to be told the truth—that losing weight comes down to eating healthy and exercising. I know … finding time to exercise is hard and vegetables don’t seem to taste as good as other foods. But it’s pretty amazing how our taste buds change and how we find the extra time once we’re on the realistic road to healthy weight loss. Healthy meals need not be boring and believe it or not, walking is considered exercise. The sooner we understand our happiness is about health—a healthy body mass index (BMI) and a healthy weight—we’re on the right path to looking and feeling great, no matter our age or number of pounds to lose. First step—The Community Cleanse.

Happy cleansing cleansers!

January, 2011 Community Cleanse – One Week Countdown

Today marks the seven-day countdown to the Healthy Junkie’s Community Cleanse that begins on January 4th, 2011 and runs until January 31st.  Many of us are incorporating this into our 2011 New Year’s resolution as a way to lose weight (fat), rid our bodies of toxins, improve digestion, increase energy, increase immunity, improve sleep, or just be healthier in general.  I know many new Healthy Junkies as well as veterans will be participating and the rules for the Community Cleanse are pretty much the same.  You can choose to participate for one week up to the full four weeks.  You must eliminate at least four of the six elements on the cleanse list.  See Community Cleanse – Let’s All Commit! for a list of the rules and to download your “contract”.  I’ll be cleansing for four weeks with all six of the cleanse “ingredients” eliminated.  I’m looking forward to it after all this holiday indulgence that has quite frankly led to too much holiday cheer.  

A few nights ago I thought I was going to explode after eating the third family turkey Christmas dinner in a row.  But of course it never finishes with dinner – there’s always desert.  I’m pretty sure my mother’s ridiculously delicious carrot cake with cream cheese icing pushed me over the edge into a complete food coma.  But I’ve learnt a few lessons over this holiday season:  When it comes to all things cheesy, creamy, and all deserts, don’t continually ask your friends and family, “So exactly what’s in this?”  They don’t like to tell you and you probably won’t like the answers.  Also while eating deserts, don’t say in between bites, “Wow I’m sooo full.  I think I’m going to be sick.”  This may disrupt others enjoying their sweet tooth and no one wants to imagine us being sick.

Come January 4th I’m ready to give my body another break from all of it; coffee, white sugar, dairy, white flour, alcohol, processed and refined foods.  Don’t get me wrong I’m a little nervous, much like I was before embarking on the last Community Cleanse…. See One-Week Countdown to Community CleanseBut since this is my second time around, I have a little more experience and know that very quickly I’ll feel the positive effects of eating clean. 

For any of us who haven’t followed The Healthy Junkie blog until recently, or need that extra push to take this all seriously see the following past blog entries:

Coffee Break

White Sugar – Hazardous So Beware

Dairy – Oh Cheese I’m Going to Miss You

The Fake, The Sweet, The Goat and The “Chips”

With the holidays still in full swing here, I’m not going to escape the holiday cheer.  But I’m certainly going to do my best to keep from feeling as full as I did last night.  However, I’m not going to let my mother’s crack-carrot cake go to waste.  So off I go to eat a very small piece – very small.  After all we’re not yet cleansing. 

Happy Holidays Healthy Junkies!

Fat Loss and Exercise

Oh exercise – for some of us lazier Healthy Junkies exercise is something we think a lot about and rarely do.  But it’s well worth dragging my butt off the couch because the benefits to exercising regularly are many.  Regular exercise decreases the risk of heart disease, decreases the risk of osteoporosis and helps to oxygenate the cells.  It improves overall immunity and helps to detoxify the body.  Toxins accumulate in fat tissue so it’s a good idea to keep those fat cells in check.  Of course, eating healthy is the first step to a healthy weight and The Community Cleanse will give “any body” a jumpstart on fat loss. 

Some of us exercise to stay healthy and fit and some of us are interested in losing weight.  I have a hard time talking about weight loss because I threw my scale to the curb a long time ago.  I prefer to talk about fat loss.  It’s possible to begin exercising and actually gain weight according to the scale but look and feel trimmer because muscle weighs more than fat.  Muscle tissue is also more metabolically active than fat, which means the more muscle you have, the more quickly you burn calories.  It’s pretty depressing if we feel better in our own bodies and then hop up onto the scale only to determine we’re the same weight we were a week ago or a few pounds more.  In my opinion, it can be life-changing to give up on this dispiriting game and go with how we feel.         

One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories.  By burning 350 to 500 calories per day, we can lose one pound of body fat per week by exercising alone.  When we exercise, our metabolic rate increases and this stays elevated for hours helping us to burn more calories even while resting.  Strength training can help increase muscle tissue and works with aerobic activity to help burn fat faster.  Don’t worry – we don’t have to work out intensely to burn fat.  We burn fat just as well at a lower intensity working out for a longer period of time.  Personally I love to walk and hike (slowly).  I’m not a speed walker and you won’t catch me jogging up hills.  But I walk for long periods often, hike and bike.     

And remember when exercising we need to ingest even more water.  If the kidneys don’t obtain adequate water to help flush out toxins, they call on the liver.  This can tax the liver and result in its inability to break down fat, creating excess fat – now there’s something I don’t want or need.  Water also helps to hydrate the body and all chemical reactions occur in water; including the process of burning fat and staying lean.

If we haven’t already, let’s get out and get moving.  Dancing anyone?  Happy cleansing!