December 11, 2018

You NEED To Change Your Lifestyle…NOT DIET!!!

There are NO miracle pills, injections, creams or surgeries…there are NO diet centers or diet fads…that will give you the healthy lifestyle you not only want, but deserve!!

Let me explain…I have been there, I have literally tried everything out there (no joke)…it was called being “desperate”.
When I say I have tried EVERYTHING, I am not kidding!! I have done all the silly “fad” diets, all the proclaimed “diet” and “fat burner” pills, to spending thousands of dollars on diet centers, to even starvation. Did they work…yes, but ONLY while I was on them! Why…because the only thing that changed was me following their directions, NOT by me changing my mindset! I knew I NEEDED to lose the weight, but I didn’t want to put in the effort to really do it. It wasn’t until my last attempt did something finally click!

You see, my last attempt was the Lap-Band Surgery, but I made a promise not only to myself but to my sister that I was going to use this as a “tool” NOT a “fix”. And that is exactly what I did. (Yes, I still have the band in, but I no long have restriction in it..meaning I no longer even use it as a too
l). What I had to do was not put my BODY on a diet…it was to FIX my brain and my heart first, my body would eventually follow!6 months prior to surgery, I started doing tons of research, I started asking questions to the right kind of people. I started learning about my body, about the inside. I read everything I could about nutrition. I finally made up my MIND that I was ready to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not go on a diet! I also signed up for my first triathlon since prior to my first accident (at age 18). Instead of spending money on pills or diet centers, I spent it on buying a Tri bike, running sneakers, racing suits, an MP3 player, etc (all which I still have to this day…money well spent!). I started back swimming first and it felt great…I finally felt alive again! I literally was killing myself in the gym, I was working out 6 days a week, twice a day. I wasn’t losing much, but that’s when I realized I hadn’t cleaned up my eating (and even when I did, it wasn’t like I eat now, it was societies healthy eating…ya know the 100 calorie snack packs (GARBAGE)!! )!
There is nothing out there better than what healthy clean eating can do for you, your mind and your body. 80% of what your body looks like comes from the kitchen…the other 20% comes from what you do (physically).It really hasn’t been until these past 2 years…have I really noticed how true this is. Which, of course, has only made me want to know more! Knowledge is power! It’s amazing what certain foods can do for us…from lowering blood pressure, to flushing out toxins and repairing muscles….and it is all done NATURALLY!!!
It really hasn’t been up until this last year after my last 3 major surgeries that I really started honing in on my food choices, how to eat, when to eat, how much of what (protein, carbs, fat ratios), and the actual nutrient value of what I was putting in my body! My mindset changed again towards food…it no longer is food to me…it is FUEL! It’s what keeps me moving, it what stabilizes my health, makes my skin, hair and nails healthier, boost my immune system, aids in my recovery of not just workouts, but from surgeries. I do take supplements and I believe that there are ones out there that ADD to the nutrients you already are eating. No supplement should EVER replace actual food, EVER!!!

This post is not to ridicule anyone for doing anything that is trying to better their health…this is just an inside glimpse at my life and what I battled…and still do…it is an everyday choice I make to be and stay healthy! 🙂

“Scale” Weight

Are you type of person who wakes up every morning and steps on the scale? Then depending on what it says, decides your mood and what you decide to do for the day, in means of eating and exercise. Then you continue through the day rechecking your “scale” weight, only to get discouraged, mad, disappointed or even depressed that it is fluctuating from what it read that morning.

First, let’s talk about what the number on the scale ACTUALLY means. The most important is that if you see a number, it means YOU ARE ALIVE!! But really, your weight is made up of three main components – fat, water, and lean body mass (muscle, organs, and bone).  A regular bathroom scale can’t not give you these three separate numbers; you would need a body composition scale.  I have come across a scale I would buy for myself, not for the measurement of my weight, but for everything else it gives me. It’s called the Iron Girl Body Composition Monitor, and yes boys there is an Iron MAN one too! It measures your: weight, body fat %, body water %, muscle mass, bone mass, daily caloric intake, visceral fat and physique rating.  Can we just say…WOW!! This line of scales are amazing, they have one in the Iron Man line that actually helps you balance out your right side to your left (so say you have an injury to your left leg, it will help guide you into rebuilding it to match your right)!

(CLICK PICTURES TO GO TO AMAZON AND CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE LINE)

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Second, when you see a loss on the scale, do you know what it is you exactly lost? Is it water, is it fat or worse, is it lean muscle? The answer is probably no. But how can you help your mind understand this better…EASY, measure yourself! Take your measurements at your chest (females on top and under), your waist (maybe in 2 different sections), hips, arm, and leg. Another way to gauge composition in our body is by your clothes. You can do this in two ways: one by the clothes you fit into right now and then also by that goal pair of jeans. The one thing you don’t want to lose is your lean muscle mass. Why? Your muscle is what keeps your metabolism on fire. The more you have the higher your metabolism is, means the more calories your body burns. How can you not want more muscle!?

Third, would you rather weight 150lbs with 26% body fat OR weigh 150lbs with 18% body fat? Would you rather, at rest, burn 2000 cals a day or burn 2500 cals a day? I know I would much rather have the latter!

You see everyone who starts a weight loss journey, gets discouraged around week 3. Why? Well, if you every have seen the Biggest Loser, there first week weight loss is extreme, mainly because of water weight loss. Then their 2nd week is still pretty good, but then week 3 hits and it’s like a wall! Their smiles are gone, they are disappointed and confused. They have eaten the same way as the first two weeks and possibly have worked out even harder this week, but the scale barely shows it. If the composition of their bodies were measured too and were posted on the screen, you might see something very impressive, the loss of body fat was great and that their lean body mass went up. THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE THING!

Here is a wonderful friend of mine, Magda, she did a Paleo Challenge at her CrossFit Box for 52 days. During this challenge, she lost only 2lbs, if she never took before and after pictures, she would have never seen the body composition change in herself!

 Check her out at TriWellnessByMagda!

In the end, don’t give up when you see no loss on the scale when you step on, after all it is JUST a number. Ask yourself how do you feel, do your clothes fit different, can you see changes in your body (take progress pictures, it is easy to forget what you look from month to month, when you see yourself daily). Do you have more energy due to your new eating changes? Do you feel stronger when your workout? This is what is MORE important, than ANY number on a scale!

If you truly want a scale for your house…get a FOOD scale to measure your exact intake!!

Jeans and Diets – THEY ARE THE SAME

Have you (women, that is) ever went somewhere and see a friend wearing an awesome pair of jeans and ask who makes them and where can you get ‘em? Only to go to that store, grab your size and head to the dressing with all the positive thoughts about how great your are going to look in these!

Then it happens…those perfect jeans SUCK!!!

Why does this happen? Well, it is simple…not everybody has the same body. Some are top heavy, while others are bottom heavy. Some have no butts, while others have hips they can’t stand. Some are super straight and others have curves in all the right places. All these traits, is what make us….well US!

Imagine this, if we all had the same body structure and makeup, the fashion world would not be a booming business. They wouldn’t need all the different cut lines and lengths of jeans. It would be one staple design and that’s it! How boring?!!

Well, same goes for diets! Though we all have the same body parts (bones, organs and such). How our bodies respond to different foods and even exercise vary greatly from person to person!

Just like those jeans on your friend look amazing on her and that same friend just lost 40lbs on this great diet, to make her look fabulous in those jeans…those jeans were just not made for you, just like when that diet she is on fails you. It’s not that you failed on the diet (if you were devoted to it), it’s just the diet failed your body. It just didn’t fit!

This is why every where you look, there are so many different types of diet plans. I am not saying that any certain diet is better than another AND I am also not saying that any of them are bad (well maybe except for Atkins, my opinion).

MY FINAL THOUGHT ~ Don’t jump from one to another. Give every diet plan at LEAST 4 weeks of pure dedication. Write down everything and I mean everything…food, emotions, exercise and times of all of it. This way you can find patterns in your eating and then start tweaking from there!

In the end, when you find the right mix of foods (which is called a diet) for your body…you are going to love going jean shopping!!

Obesity in America…My Take

Overweight American’s, is it a plaque we put upon ourselves or did society and our ancestors help?  This topic hits home to me.  Just 6 years ago, back in 2005, I topped the scales at 275 pounds.  You might wonder how a 29 year old (at the time) let herself go like that. Well, here is a little background, I come from a 100% Italian family, all there ever is are get togethers surrounded by tons of food.  As a child and teenager though, I wasn’t heavy.  I was a competitive swimmer for 14 years, did triathlons and I loved free weights. It all started when I was 18, in my very first severe car accident that left me bed ridden for 2 years, then at 22, I became a single mother and yet again at 25, I was in another severe car accident that left me fighting for my life and my fiancé leaving me because “it was just too hard on him”.  I went into a deep depression, not caring about the world around me, much less myself and my health.  Then my sister said the words that became my turning point, she stated I lived through two car accidents that should have taken my life, yet I lived to only be killing myself with food.  That was it, I changed everything and in two years I lost half of me and gained so much more! Even through another car accident, this one in my patrol car on duty, and barely surviving it, I have managed to stay at 150 and though I cannot run any longer due to my injuries, I am back to my active lifestyle, even with my chronic pain and Fibromyalgia.

I believe that a little of everything is responsible to the epidemic that is occurring in America, from societies portrayal of what is “fit and healthy”, to genetics, to parents being at fault and lastly to our own loss of self control and will power.  Society can be blamed on both ends of the spectrum, from obesity to eating disorders.  Just look at some of the “role models” put out there from the beginning of our childhood. One example is Barbie, the most unproportionate doll ever made.  Her figure has caused many women to try and gain that figure, some becoming anorexic or bulimic, to having multiple cosmetic and plastic surgery to try to obtain it. Then you have the magazines out there that what you visually see is deemed appropriate health.  No one explains to them the severe crash diets that occur, the plastic surgeries done and even worse, all the computer generated “touch ups”.  So much that is put out in the media has led to eating disorders, abuse of diet pill, and even extreme steroid use.  Genetics play a role also, but more on the health side of things, with being born with traits for diabetes or thyroid disease.  As for parents role in their children’s lives, if they don’t live a healthy lifestyle for themselves, their children don’t know the difference either.  It’s not like they can do the grocery shopping.  Children don’t learn the importance of food choice and daily activity, instead they deal with overworked, over stressed parents who live off fast food, quick and easy microwaveable meals and relaxing in front of TV for activity.

The choice to overeat as adults is strictly on ourselves, it’s a conscience choice we make every time we sit down for a meal.  One issue I see with overeating is the pace in which people eat.  Life is so busy; they squeeze time in to eat, which means eating fast.  Doing so, doesn’t give the time for our brains to register that we are full, instead we just keep eating.  One thing, I know affected me, was I was always told to clean my plate growing up. Well, have you looked at the portion sizes given out at restaurants now?  Some are two or three times the portion size we need to consume at a meal.  I have learned to ask for a “To Go” box when my meal arrives and I put half in it from the very beginning, so I can still “clean my plate”.

A complication that can arise from being overweight is one of Osteoarthritis.  This is when the cartilage and joint bone in the joints wear away.  In commonly occurs in the knees, elbows, lower back and hips.  The reason it is seen more often in overweight individuals is due to the extra weight causing more pressure on the joints. (Pierce)

A disease that can be associated by the type of foods we consume is one of Celiac Disease. Celiac disease has to do with food containing gluten, which is a certain protein found in grains like wheat, barley, oat and rye. This disease affects the small intestine and the body’s ability, or lack thereof, to digest and absorb nutrients.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can include but not limited to abdominal bloating, chronic diarrhea, fatigue and failure to thrive.  Complications that stem from this disease can be malnutrition, osteoporosis, small intestine cancer, anemia and even miscarriage.

Works Cited

Pierce, G. (n.d.). Ezine Articles. Retrieved 2 1, 2011

My Challenge

Well, as most know, I am doing a challenge to get my butt back in gear after a terrible 2011 (medically that is).  Let me give you a little bit of a background of what 2011 had for me…I started the year off pretty great…in the gym 5 days a week, but then it came to a halt when I had selective surgery in February, it was a surgery I was looking forward to for over 5 years and one I definitely deserved! Then just when I was able to start back up and moving again and got the OK from my Doc to return to the gym…my back gave. I knew it was serious but with NO insurance, I just suffered through it. I gave up the gym and reverted back to being bed ridden. Finally on Aug 9th, I couldn’t walk and my dad rushed me to the ER, basically for them to just turn me away without doing anything! They thought I was a pain pill shopper (yet I never once asked for a pain prescription…since I am immune to them all!). So my dad brought me home and made a call that changed everything. He called my old Neuro Doc from 10 years ago that did all my 3 previous back surgeries. My dad updated him on my situation (including the on the duty accident), this was Aug 12th…I was given an MRI that day and then told to report to his office first thing Aug 15th. Pushed in a wheelchair, I was told by my Doc to go directly to Cape Hospital for emergency back surgery, I had blown out the 3 discs above my last fusion he did 10 years prior. Again, I was bed ridden for 4 weeks, then slowly started feeling somewhat normal…that was until my left hip started acting up! I had an amazing friend, Amanda, who had a great friend, Edward, that she made a call too. Needless to say he is the TOP joint implant surgeon in the area! He told me to come in Oct 19th to see him…he took one X-Ray and then asked me how I was even walking!! I was schedule that day for a TOTAL LEFT HIP REPLACEMENT on Nov 3rd! He was a little concerned due to just being under anesthesia twice already this year, and also knowing that I have to be doubled dosed with it so I don’t wake up during surgery, but he pressed on! The day of surgery he went over the pain schedule…needless to say I cut him off and told him NOTHING works. He was like, “Are you telling me you are gonna have this surgery WITHOUT ANY PAIN MEDS to help?”…yep that is EXACTLY what I am telling you. He wasn’t sure how to take that. After all, I am only 36…how can I already be immune to all these meds!! Well, surgery was a success…12 hours later he asked if he could try a pain med cocktail with me over the next 12 hours to see if he could try to lessen my pain…I said sure. Well he monitored me closely…and I was alert, not loopy, talking fine and my blood pressure didn’t drop…so then he said I should have basically been dead…the mix he gave could put an elephant down. So he took me off everything and I just suffered through it. Finally on Jan 25th of this year, I got the OK to get back in the gym…and oh boy, did I take that seriously!! I gained 28 pounds over the course of 2011…and my joints can feel it!! So I need to get this extra weight off to get my hip flexors and back/core strong again. It’s my challenge…..

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