Thursday, September 26, 2013

Few Things Come Without Effort

Or You Can't Sit On Your Laurels And Get Results!

One of the most widely kept secrets in life is that “few things come without effort”. I know, I hate to burst your protective bubble but it is true. You can’t just sit on your laurels or anyone else’s for that matter and get any results.

Effort is the key to any success. This goes for being “thin” as well. What may seem like effortless living for some, in most situations, it just “isn’t”.

If you don‘t believe me, follow someone around for a day and do exactly as they do. Do what they do, eat what they eat, be involved in what they are and do it with the intensity that they do it. We usually want their results but we do not want to make the “effort” or “change” that comes along with it.

Consequently, we fall back into our old habits and “do” what ever it was that got us into the present condition in the first place. We often want what “others” have but we are not willing to do what “others” do to achieve the same results. Being thin can be one of those.

Sadly, being overweight in America is becoming the norm. This ranges from a few pounds overweight to morbidly obese. In our society very few families are left unaffected and for some reason women struggle with this issue more than men.

No matter what the balances of statistics are, it is safe to say that “something” is wrong.

Thousands of people go on “diets” everyday and thousands of people give up because the “change” is just too difficult. We focus not on doing “something” but on “deprivation”. Maybe that is why our body fights back and we lose the battle. Because if the battle of deprivation was won, we would die and our body is programmed to live no matter the cost...

Maybe some of that spring board, back and forth behavior can be avoided with some simple understanding of how our body is “programmed”, what our body needs and what minor behavioral changes can affect “long term” results.

What does a healthy body need? Well, this Reservation Recluse was always taught that the body needed 1) sleep, 2) exercise, 3) nutrition and 4) water….

Science reinforces what our mothers and grandmothers said.

Yes, you do need to eat good meals. You do need to go out and play and you do need to get a good nights rest. I am not sure about the mittens and hat or if guys will really go blind performing some mindless, hormonal driven act but what if we did focus on the first three dictums? That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? And how would that affect our weight?

Well, when we deprive out body of sleep, lots of things happen or don’t happen. One thing that happens is our body gets out of sinc with itself and the sleep deprivation causes an inbalance in our hormones. Interestingly enough, two of those hormones are responsible for our appetite. One hormone is responsible for increasing the appetite and the other for decreasing the appetite.

When we don’t get enough rest, one level goes up and the other down. The result? We are hungrier. Consequently we eat more and we spend the day like a Great White Shark, searching the environment for food and devouring everything in sight...

It may not seem like it but just losing sleep can contribute to you gaining weight.

One simple solution: Get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You will find yourself less hungry and inadvertently eating less. Your body will also burn the calories more efficiently. Burning the candle at both ends increases stress and deprives you from need healing, and rejuvenating rest. The consequence, for many, is significant weight gain.

If you find you have difficulty getting to sleep at night, start an exercise program in the morning.

Interestingly enough, morning exercise helps you sleep better at night. It also starts your day burning calories instead of storing fat. It helps reduce kick starting cravings that can drive you throughout the day. Exercise is also an appetite suppressant. You just eat less.

No, I am not going to lecture you about eating meals but I am going to let you know that if you want to remain healthy, you have to eat and eat regularly. If you want to lose weight, again, you have to eat regularly. The key is to eat, not deprive or starve yourself.

You all know what not to eat. You have been told over and over again what is bad for you so I am not going to reinforce that concept. Many of us have been told what not to do all of our lives. It has not worked before. It’s not going to work now. So, what do we need to do? What do we need to eat?

You got it; Fiber and Protein….

If we compare fiber and protein to fat and carbohydrates, the staple of our American Fast Food diet, it is simple. Protein takes longer to digest and helps us feel full longer. It is satisfying. As for the fiber, well it’s good at absorbing water and cleaning our intestines.

Simply, as fiber expands it creates bulk helping you feel full. This creates less room to fill with other things. The secret here goes back to one of the four basic needs… this one being water…. Yes, water…. 8-12 glasses per day by somes standards….. Water and fiber.

Our body is primarily made up of water. Our cells need it to function adequately and so does our brain…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand we need it. It also helps us lose weight. Without it, our body does not function adequately and it starts to shut down. When our body begins to shut down, it stores things…

As our internal furnace slows down, our metabolisms drops…. Our body begins to believe it is going to die so it begins to defend itself the best way it knows how. You walk past a piece of chocolate cake and presto. You gain 20 ponds. You can’t understand it. You have not eaten hardly anything and you continue to gain or at best do not lose.

Simple things, like water and sleep are important. Simple things, like not depriving your body of what it needs to function appropriately. Simple things, make huge differences.

If all you do is make the before mentioned changes in your schedule of daily events, you will experience significant results and more than likely start shedding a few pounds. Sleep, food and water equal weight loss.

Add a half an hour of physical play or exercise to your day and you increase your alertness, improve your attitude, increase your energy and improve your health. Not bad consequences for just a few minor, healthy, behaviors.

Research also shows us that variety is not always the best. No, I am not talking about eating cottage cheese everyday for the rest of your life. Variety is good when it comes to meals and food groups but it is deadly when it comes to snacks. We find that the greater the options, the greater the appetite.

Therefore, if you keep less variety of snack foods around the house the better off you will be and the less your appetite will be triggered.

The same theory goes for night-time snacking and eating.

We also find that eating in well-lit environments actually cuts down on our caloric intake. We eat less as we pay attention more. So, when you find yourself in front of that fridge at 2:00 am, the door in one hand and a piece of chocolate cake in the other…. Turn on the lights…. Make a deliberate choice.

The same goes for restaurants. The more light, the less consumed.

Ok, so this sounds more like mind games than choices. Well, maybe you are right. Mind games can be important too. After all, your body plays games with your mind. Like it takes a full 20 minutes for your body to tell your mind it has had enough….

One thing you can do with this “Three Card Monte” game with weight, is to keep snacks out of sight…. another is to serve your food on smaller plates. It makes it look like you are treating yourself, rather than keeping food from you. People usually eat a little over 90% of what is on their plate….

Smaller plate, less intake, larger plate, more intake. You do the math. Try eating out of an eight inch plate instead of your normal twelve inch dinner plate…. It may surprise you.

People also feel less deprived when they see their plate full rather than half empty…. Yes, perceptions are half the game….

Tell yourself what you are going to do and what you can have, rather than what you can’t do and what you are not having. Wrap your perception around who you are and then “be”. It keeps you in the moment and takes many unhealthy choices off your “plate”.

Did you know that vegetables are a dieter’s best buddy? Sure you did. You hear it all the time. No, I don’t mean you have to eat salads every day. I mean when you eat, eat vegetables with your meal. Most people consume about 20% less calories when they eat a serving of vegetables with their meal and they feel satisfied.

What I talking about is only 4-5 cups of this fresh stuff per day, not 5 gallons. Make it a treat, make it an experience rather than a chore and you will start to see and feel results. Throw in a handful of berries during the day and you will be pleased with how easy it has been to do what you have not been able to do before…

Why, because it is not about dieting, it is about maintaining your health and not focusing on either your weight or food.

It’s about doing what you have to do to have the energy, focus and attitude to be actively involved in your own life; whether it is playing with your children, going for walks, staying awake at work or not being too tired to have sex with your latest squeeze. I know that can be a chore but that is a totally different topic for yet another day. I promise…  Really!

Last but not least. If you are the cook at your house, eat with the rest of the family and refrain from “picking” while you are cooking. Make a conscious effort to sit down and eat with the family.

AS for cleaning up…. Well, the last few bites left of the casserole need not go into your stomach…. Get the left over’s into containers quickly and way... If there is not enough for you to save, that’s what garbage cans are for. If you can’t bear to-do that, then get someone else to put the food away…

Thousands of calories are consumed in this fashion and most of them go around your waist, your thighs and your ass. Ok, ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies… Either put those calories in the fridge or in the garbage…. Believe me, your ass will be grateful.

Also, remember that eating is good. It is enjoyable and it is needed to be healthy.  It is also needed to lose weight. So, eat when and where it is best for you. 1) make time to eat, 2) eat in well lit spaces, 3) sit down to eat, 4) sit down at the family table to eat - your family will enjoy you, 5) eat more fiber and protein, 6) eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7) eat veggies and berries, 9) eat slowly, 10) eat before you crave. 11) eat more fresh and less canned.

Last, be aware of your sugar intake, sugar is not your friend…. Though it does not have to be an enemy…. Blood sugars need balance.

What we are talking about are simple life choices… Choices, that when they are made, result in natural consequences of health.

It’s that time again to say it is all about choice; your choice. But realize that no choice is also a choice.

If I could challenge you to one thing, I would challenge you to “BE”. Not as a noun but as a verb, an action word. When you are fully engaged in Being you are truly living in the present and actively involved in YOU. You are not waiting around for something to happen or for things to change. You just are. Maybe you are already who you desire to be and all that you need, is to act that way.

Until later… get some sleep, drink water, play at least once a day and feed both your mind and your body.

It’s good for the soul…… and terrific for your health….

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