Thursday, May 18, 2017

Our Bodies Are Like a Fly Wheel

Have you ever wondered why it's hard to lose weight and why it seems to take so long in the beginning?

That one great meal, that one great workout...they just didn't seem to cut it.

The same is true with people who are really fit. One bad meal doesn't send them tumbling over the edge into unfitimdom.

They can lay around for a week and they may lose a little muscle mass and may "claim" they feel awful but they look so fabulous while claiming that they feel awful that you want to secretly dress them in ugly clothes.

When you were a kid did you ever run one direction in a kiddie pool then try to switch directions so that your feet were knocked out under you? Or have you ever watched a hamster run on a hamster wheel and stop only to get swept away by the momentum of the wheel?

Our bodies are much the same they like to operate at the optimum amount of efficiency. Even if it is killing them.

Homeostasis is what it is called. Our hormones, our muscles, our bones, our cells even the number of mitochondria (powerhouses) found within our cells all work together in this messy yet perfectly harmonic dance that eventually leads to homeostasis.

Whether it is a homeostasis we desire or not depends of course on our goals and our understanding of health. Do we like our body storing great amounts of  fat in our midsection?

That is a type of homeostasis. I would say it isn't a good one. Or if we build a lot of muscle and we eat good foods, drink plenty of water and we rise early in the morning our bodies will expect these things from us and operate in a way to compliment this lifestyle.

This state of homeostasis is formed by our habits.

In other words we form our habits and our habits form us.

Our bodies are much like a flywheel.

A flywheel is a mechanism used in many modern day devices and inventions. It optimizes momentum.

Wiki describes a flywheel as: a mechanical device specifically designed to efficiently store rotational energy. Flywheels resist changes in rotational speed by their moment of inertia

Blah blah blah what does this have to do with eating cookies????!!!

So the question is? What flywheel ride are you on?

Are you spinning on as a storer? Or are you spinning on as a burner? You can be somewhere in between but what ride are you on?

With a flywheel the first few spins are strenuous. It is difficult to initially build momentum but once you gain momentum the flywheel begins to resist change.

The same is true when you start a fitness lifestyle right? It is difficult at first to begin the momentum and to see changes.

It feels slow and the body seems to resist changes at first but once every thing starts to align, and the body is convinced this is its new lifestyle it begins to support its new flywheel pattern.

Once you are on your "burner flywheel" for example, an unhealthy meal here or there will not send you spinning off like the hamster (okay so maybe the hamster was a terrible example earlier) Your flywheel will continue to spin even if you consume an unhealthy meal now and then. That is until you do enough things to change the overall direction of your flywheel. But once the direction changes you are in trouble.

I know what you are thinking.

That this isn't an exact science. Calories in calories out right? Yes you are right. But we are talking about mentalities.  We are talking about lifestyles. WE are talking about the accumulation of small decisions that make up the large framework of a larger picture. Most of us work this way.

I think it is a far healthier mentality than "I can never, ever eat an unhealthy meal." or "This one healthy meal or workout or short term diet will save me." I like the mindset that our overall habits rule us in the end. Our patterns our lifestyle will determine the course of our future more than once in a while meals or strict all or nothing mindsets.

Again one last thought to repeat and end with:

We form our habits which in return form us. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5 ways to trick yourself into exercising

Let's face it. Not all of us jump out of bed with a smile ready to endure the pain or suffering that sometimes accompanies a good workout.

I know I don't. In fact, if you exercise in the morning the bed force can be strong.

One misconception that unhealthy people have of fit people is that "fit people enjoy exercising".

The truth is, there is not truth in this. Or at least there was not any truth to this for most people at the beginning. Most people do not enjoy exercising every single day. But fit people find a way to make it part of their lives.

You will know when you have arrived into a fit lifestyle when fitness no longer becomes something you have to make time for but when it becomes something you do.

There is a "crap stage", that you have to get through, pardon my language, but that is a real term used by me and my fitness friends.

But truth be known- You just have to get through it and sometimes the crap stage is the very reason why I don't stop exercising because I don't want to go through that again. It is also the reason why many people stop exercising. They never get to the awesome stage! The awesome stage is when you see all the benefits of exercising enough that you are willing to Marry it to your lifestyle.

So when all else fails- Trick yourself into exercising. I still do it. Although I am married to this life style I still trick myself into doing it.

Number 1:
Have a friend waiting- 
Workout buddies add an additional social element that motivates certain personalities. If you are the type of personality to not let a friend down then incorperate a friend into your exercising. It does make it more enjoyable and it is helpful if you can find someone who is reliable. If you do find someone reliable don't become a dead weight for them either- motivate each other. Build momentum together and you can do great things!

Number 2:
Brush your teeth-
I know what you are thinking. "What does she mean by this?" This is for you early risers who exercise first thing in the morning and want to press snooze on your alarm. Get up with the goal to brush your teeth at least. Once you wake up, find your tooth brush, have something minty in your mouth then you usually can continue to talk yourself into going into the gym.

Number 3
Have your clothes ready beforehand and put them on, ears to your shoes-
Whether you exercise in the morning or later in the day when it is time to go, have your clothes ready. Get dressed down to your shoes and put your pumping music in your ears. There are a lot of people that will get half heartily ready but get distracted in the process. If you put your workout music in your ears you will be tapping your foot and your body will be conditioned to start your workout.

Number 4
Have a plan-
This is absolutely important to have a plan of what you are going to do. Many people sign up for races or competitions in order to have something to work towards and they build their plans. If you have a plan you will be more prepared mentally to get out the door to accomplish it.

Number 5
Change the dialog in your head-
Did you know it is possible to brain wash yourself into achieving things that you want to achieve? You can do this by listening to personal affirmations that you record on your phone. Just say what you envision that you want for yourself in a voice memo and listen to it daily. Or simply think of exercise in a positive light. Focus on what you like about it and change the mental dialog in your head.

A friend of mine use to recite a running analogy for everything from physical fatigue to our days in graduate school. She would say "When all else fails just put your head down and run." She was referring to the painful stage of the marathon when your body has nothing left in the tank and your mental toughness is all you have to finish the marathon.

There are times when pure grit is all you have to get through your goals- Do not estimate the power of grit it will get you further than anything your mind can imagine.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Women you are enough.

Okay women-

You are enough.

Sometimes the "beauty" part of the fitness industry gets under my skin. After talking with a friend I am going to stand on a soap box and write a post that some might need to hear.

Yes you know you you are. Those of you struggling a bit right now. Open your heart precious one! Because this is for you!
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I dislike the messages that tell women that they are not enough unless they look like a fitness model.

That unless they have a 6 pack or look like an hour glass they are not enough.

That unless that have a home like Martha Stewart they are not enough.

That unless they eat vegan, raw, cage free, gluten free, paleo, sugar free, fat free...lets see what else is there... anything... they are not enough

When are we going to be enough?

We measure our standards according to measurements set by industries that want us to not be that they can sell to us more.

They want to sell us ideas, equipment, plans...and the cost is us.

The truth is you are enough!

May I make a recommendation!

If your fitness goals are to try to be enough then stop!...because you are there already.

You are taking up space in this world for a reason! You are worth more than you know. You are meant to be here. Don't let someone sell you the idea that you need to be better than what you were given when you were born. 

I'm am not saying to not workout. 

I am not saying to not take care of this great precious gift we call a body, I am saying the opposite: Care for it. 
Maximize its strengths. 
Manage its weaknesses. 
Increase its ability to contribute to humanity and expand its opportunities to live, create, contribute and love.

That is what fitness does. It increases our ability to be us, not someone else. 

We are worth more than being looked at. Than being someone else.

...The truth is you are enough!

May I make another recommendation.

If your fitness goals are to try to be enough then head in a different direction! Because if you are trying to be enough for someone else they will always move the bar just as you get there. They will always keep it out of reach.

You are already enough for who you were meant to be. You are already there.

Your only goal now is to maximize, expand and use what you have! 

Go on a journey of discovery to find out what you are capable of. You will be amazed at who you find!

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Find your Hedgehog Meals

This is a technique that, if done right, can lead to life long success!!!

Let me explain.

A hedgehog is only good at one thing. 

Rolling up in a ball.

It isn't good at defending itself, or running away. It isn't that appealing as an animal or cute, at least not to me. 

Again it can only roll up in a ball and that is okay. 

That is all it needs to survive. That is all it needs to do to keep it alive long enough until its predators get distracted and move on. It works for it.

A hedgehog meal isn't much different.

It is a meal that is only really good at one thing. It has roughly your right amount of target nutrients and you can eat it almost every day.

Hedgehog meals don't have to be fancy, they don't have to meet any other needs besides the idea that you don't hate them and they have the right amount of carbs, proteins and fats.

These meals are valuable. Not every meal will be a hedgehog meal. I can't eat the same lunch and dinner everyday but there are certain things that I can eat everyday and they are my "go to" meals and they are tried and true. My post workout meal for example. I have that same stinking shake every day and I am okay with it. And my pre-bed shake. I eat that everyday. And I am okay with it. I also know people who eat oatmeal and eggs every day for breakfast and never change it up, something that I can't do but that works for them.

This sounds like a silly concept, comparing meals to hedgehogs but when we think of food as fuel and simplifying it in this way by finding meals that you can tolerate frequently than you only have to vary some of your meals.

It gets difficult when you are trying to meal plan for 6 meals a day, 7 days a week. That is over 40 meals to plan for and even more if you throw in other family members needs. 

Hedgehog meals will cut down cost, planning, calculation, preparation and stress. 

So when you get overwhelmed then give this simplifying hedgehog concept a try.

Find a meal that you can stand to eat most days, make sure it is within your target goals of protein, carbs and fats. Work it into your plan as much as you can and focus on making your other meals spectacular if you would like with enough variety to still get the other vitamins and minerals that you might need.

This will give you time to focus on other things like the little people in your life or organizing your weight room!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Open letter to the mom of twins at the grocery store (or any mom for that fact)

To the mom with baby twins at the store:

I see you in the store. Tired. Fighting hard to get a cart with a double seat because you know it is your only chance to shop if you get it. Most people don't think about those double seats.

I know what you are thinking.

You see the mom with one child and you think how easy it looks. She smiles. She has time to laugh, play with her munchkin, enjoy shopping and even price match.

You feel like you are in a constant tangle with little hands and you do it on half empty, with your head slightly buzzed from lack of sleep.

I see you.

I know you don't see me. You are afraid to make eye contact. You don't want to be judged. Or you may not want to hear one more person say "It looks like you got your hands full." or "Are they identical?" That would slow your shopping trip and your children will only last a moment before one poops, one cries, one screams or all of the above or even all of the above times two.

To you I look like just another gawker. Someone adoring your sweet, little, messy faced twins. But I am only remembering my own. I won't stop you, I won't talk to you, I am just thinking...

Good job mom.

Imaginary fist bump from one twin mom to another.

You did it today.

They are breathing, you are breathing. Good job

You were never meant to be perfect. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are meant to be flawed, but to show them how to be flawed and still function and move forward day after day.

Good job mom. You are a champion. It is hard, and the only other people who understand how hard are other twin moms who have fought the same battle.

It does get easier I promise. It is hard to see now. You feel like you should be grateful for these days but they are so tiring that you can't even enjoy them most of the time and you feel guilty about that too. Its okay.

They do become friends. You get to sit outside their door at night and listen to them talk when they don't know you are listening. You see them defend each other on the playground. You'll see them hurt inside when the other one is hurt, its sad but also strangely magical.

Right now you feel guilty because you can't give either one of them "all of you". You feel like they are getting cheated out of having all-the-attention of their mom when as babies that should be their right, but they have to share you.

That is true.

But there is also something else- They get something precious instead.

Even when you are gone they will have each other. The relationship that bonds them in infancy is unique, lasting and protective. It expands and continues into something incredible. It's their relationship as a twin. Their love for each other will last even past you.

Their little battles that they face every day, the fighting over the same toys, for example. It is tiring, but the truth is they learn negotiation and relationship skills as infant twins that most people don't learn in an entire life time. It takes most of us several years of marriage to learn skills that a twin masters while they are young.

Their relationship-crash-course is intense. It is hard on the mom and sometimes hard on them but the rewards are incredible, real and long lasting. They learn to love, to share, and to be apart of a unit instead of just existing from the very beginning. As humans we thrive when we are apart of something bigger then ourselves. Twins are that from the day they are born. More than just themselves.

Good job mom.

You are making it.

One foot in front of the other. You can do it!

One day you to will be pushing an empty cart, in a grocery store while watching a mom of twins. Your double seats will be empty while not fighting what seems like a sea of hands that grab unwanted items or provide endless distraction.

You won't be judgmental, because somehow twin motherhood seems to drag all that out of you, you will instead watch with wonder.

You will think...

 "Wow! Did I really do that? How in the world did I make it?"

"That mom. She is doing awesome. Good job mom. You're making it!"

"Imaginary fist bump. From one twin mom to another."

-Susan Chapman

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4 Simple yet Impactful New Years Resolutions for Fit Family Eating

Recently new dietary guidelines were published urging Americans to make small shifts towards healthier eating patterns. Since it is January, the month of New Years resolutions, I want to write a post about 4 simple yet impactful family shifts or changes that can lead families to better eating.

Display a fruit bowl
Make a goal to purchase and display a fruit bowl for your family in a high traffic location. It is what we call "mommy advertising". Businesses spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. They know that even if a consumer does not stop and think about an advertisement consciously they will still subconsciously absorb the message and are more likely to buy a product or service in the future.

As parents we can take a lesson from the big guys and apply this to our family as well. A delicious fruit bowl displayed in the middle of a counter or table is a type of advertising for healthy eating and alters our family environment for the better. Family members will eventually give into the healthy fruits that call to them from the fruit bowl. Remember to think small for small mouths and appealing not appalling. Buy fruits that scream delicious and will tempt even the unhealthiest eaters.

Drink more water
Yes, yes we all know we can be better at this. However, drinking more water is a shift that is very impactful since it not only can replace bad habits but will immediately improve our health within only a few hours of implementing it. Carrying a water bottle will help satisfy cravings and offer a physical substitute for people that always feel like they need to be bending their elbows as they do with constant snacking.

Get more sleep
Did you know that sleep affects your hunger hormones? Studies show that lack of sleep will increase grehlin (your hunger hormone) and decrease Leptin (you full hormone). So in other words if you lack sleep not only will you be hungrier but it will take you longer to get full which the perfect formula for overeating! So get 7-10 hours of sleep as an adult and you will feel the difference in your waist line.

Offer a pre-cut, afterschool or pre-meal veggie tray
This is the best kept secret of some of the fittest families. Having a tray full of pre-cut vegetables during the times of your family's greatest hunger attacks is a sneaky way to help them eat better. If your family is like mine they swarm and circle the kitchen like sharks as I am either cooking dinner or right after school or church. In these moments I need to buy more time for meal preparation and I don't mind if they spoil their appetite as they are waiting on red peppers, carrots, celery, crisp green beans or other fresh vegetables. Have these pre-cut in advance and bring them out in a moments notice. This practice will help your family steer away from other easy grabs like crackers or slices of bread.

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