Category: Stress

Weight Loss Anxiety

Anxious, overweight woman with measuring tape.
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Weight loss anxiety is a real problem for many who are trying to lose weight. It would seem that getting to a healthy weight would make us happy, so why be stressed about it?

People get anxious over losing weight largely because they have unreal expectations about how long it should take to get a fit and healthy body. They want instant gratification, and the truth is, that is just not going to happen by going on a diet. We have to realize that it took a good amount of time to gain weight, therefore it is going to take a good amount of time to lose that same weigh in a healthy manner. It can be explained in fine detail to some why their weight loss journey will be slow, yet they still expect overnight results. Again, overnight results are just not going to happen.

Healthy weight loss must begin in your head!

Man with a bright idea
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If you want to permanently lose weight in a healthy manner, you have to get your mind wrapped around permanent lifestyle changes. You can’t simply rush through a diet for bathing suit season, and the return to your old habits. When you do this, you are not doing yourself any good at all, you are only setting yourself up for endless yo-yo dieting which never brings about satisfaction. Weight loss and weight management requires a permanent change to your lifestyle!

Examine what pulls you down.

When you create a new lifestyle for losing and managing your weight, you have to carefully examine what it is that derails you.

What are the habits and patterns that get in your way to success?

You must do a self examination and ask yourself if your reasons for getting derailed might actually just be an excuse. If you are making excuses, you need to take responsibility for your thinking and change your mindset. Excuses are never going to get you to a healthy weight. Results are what counts, not lame excuses. Weight loss anxiety is not a valid reason for getting derailed.

Of course, there are times when we encounter valid reasons for getting derailed temporarily, but those should never be anything more than very short term circumstances. Whatever your personal issue, the pattern has to change if you want to be successful. If you encounter a valid reason to get derailed, then it is incumbent upon you to fix the problem. You are capable of far more than you know.

Have realistic expectations.

Weight loss anxiety happens when dieters set themselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations. The bottom line is, you might want to get back to what you weighed at eighteen years old, but you are likely to never have that same  body again. That being said, you can still have a fit and healthy body and a nice figure at any age. You just have to be patient and continuously work at it.

At David’s Way, we only recommend that you try to lose no more than one pound per week, two pounds maximum. While that does not sound like much in the short term, one pound per week is very doable and comes out to fifty two pounds of weight loss in a year. Now think about how much better you would look and feel being fifty two pounds lighter than you are now.

Set small goals.

You can alleviate a lot of your weight loss anxiety by setting many smaller goals that lead to the accomplishment of your main goal in weight loss. These small, short term goals should be things that will improve your lifestyle without wreaking havoc in your life. This will help you immensely with your weight loss anxiety. Achieving the short term and smaller goals will give you small victories to be find joy in during your journey.

We all know that change is hard and it is especially difficult if you try to make too many changes, so start small and gradually make lifestyle improvements.

Find a network of support!

We all need support, especially during the tough times. Find a friend, family member or support group you can connect with on a regular basis. People who are connected with others, whether it’s in person or online, do better than dieters who try to go it alone. Support groups are great, you will encounter others who have been exactly where you are in your journey.

Stop your old habits!

If you believe that you can continue with your old habits that got you over weight in the first place, there is little reason for you to even begin trying to lose weight. If you keep returning to your old habits, you are bound to fail. We all know that change is hard, but permanent change must take place if you are serious about getting your weight to a healthy level.

Hold yourself accountable!

Weigh yourself regularly and keep a journal that details what you eat, how much you exercise, your emotions, and your weight and measurements. By doing this, you can always look back and see a written record that will show you how far you have come in your journey. Sometimes, it seems like we are not making any progress until we look at how much we have actually progressed.

Weight loss anxiety does not mean you are a weak person.

People living with obesity have been ‘socially conditioned’ to turn to diets for a cure for their obesity, and to blame themselves when diets fail. If this is you, it is imperative that you know it was the diet that failed you, you did not fail the diet.

If you are not nutritionally savvy, it is not entirely your fault if you have gained weight and have not been able to lose it. Nutrition is not taught in schools as it used to be. Neither are too many parents teaching their children at home about the role of good nutrition. It is not your fault when people have never taught you what you need to know about weight management. That being said, if you want to be healthy, you still have to take action and begin educating yourself.

With weight loss, many factors work against your efforts. An unsustainable diet plan is one of those factors. Not only do we tend to gain weight back but multiple failed diet attempts can have long term devastating effects on our confidence to try to lose weight again. When we fail, we decrease our odds of giving 100% efforts with future weight losing attempts.  Without giving a true maximum effort, weight loss will be even more challenging than it already is.

This fear of failure only keeps driving our weight loss anxiety deeper and deeper with each attempt. You have to create a new lifestyle that revolves around permanent healthy eating practices in order to succeed. Fad diets will never get you there my friends.

Think about this, giving 100% effort is scary because it robs us of any excuses if we fail. However, the converse of this is that if you keep giving 100% effort you cannot fail because you are continually trying.

Maintaining Weight When Stressed

Man stressing out

Maintaining weight when stressed is a huge problem that everyone who has been over weight has had to deal with. Yours truly is no exception. To give you a snapshot of the stresses I live with, my dearest wife has breast cancer. I have been off from my job for three weeks now as a result of hurting my neck in a fall. And, my elderly father is in the hospital right now with a broken hip and other significant health problems. My life is no more charmed than that of anyone else, so how do I deal with stress and my appetite?

I live a life that is centered around healthy nutritional practices.

Healthy nutritional practices

I do not consume foods that I know are devoid of healthy nutrients that provide optimum fuel for my body. Additionally, I never eat anything with added sugars, and I keep processed foods to an absolute minimum.

Like an alcoholic, I know that one of the first things I will do when I am stressed out is, I will reach for sugary foods if I still ate them. Therefore, foods with added sugars are no longer in my diet, and I no longer miss them one bit. One of the areas where dieters fail, is they will not cut out sugary foods.  Subsequently, they do the same as I used to when stressed. They reach out for a treat that will bring them some comfort when the sugar causes the release of endorphins. This habit can be tough to break, but it is not an impossible habit to break. You just have to do it.

You might think it is unreasonable to expect someone to quit eating foods with added sugars. But, the reality is, sweet treats are usually the downfall of every dieter. They will often rationalize they do not need to give up sugar because their diet program allows it. But the problem is, as soon as they begin stress eating these treats, the weight simply piles back on with a swiftness. Every dieter knows this, whether they want to admit it or not. This is why we promote creating a lifestyle that is focused on healthy nutritional practices over dieting. Diets fail 95% of people who go on them.

Weigh and measure your food with each meal or snack!

Weighing oatmeal on a kitchen scale/

Maintaining your weight when under stress is much simpler when you are already in the habit of weighing and measuring everything you eat. Let’s be real, if you are serious about weight loss or weight management, you should know that it is a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. You should get yourself into the habit of weighing and measuring everything. If you were to tell me that is too much of a hassle to do, I’ll ask you “why do you even bother with trying to lose then”?

Measuring cups and spoons with healthy foods

People who are serious about their weight management know that accountability is the key to success. Weighing and measuring is a form of accountability to self. If you think this is too much of a bother to do, I would have to wonder just how lazy are you.

Seriously, how long can it possibly take to place a food item on a scale and note the number?

How much of a hassle could it possibly be to use measuring cups or spoons?

How these tips actually help when maintaining weight when stressed.

I will give you a personal scenario where all of this came into play for me.

Wednesday, my elderly father was about to undergo a surgical repair to a broken hip. Although these repairs are usually routine, this one wasn’t. It wasn’t a routine procedure because he has other significant health issues. Truth be told, there was a good chance he would not even survive the surgery, yet there was no other alternative. His hip had to be repaired. Once I had left Dad in the surgical pre-op area, I went to get lunch with the stress of wondering if he would even make it through the procedure.

I took an elevator to the ground floor and found the hospital cafeteria with the hope they would have healthy choices for me to choose from since I do not eat sugar under any circumstances any more. I have lost my taste for sugar, and no longer miss my sweet treats. As luck turned out, they had taco salads which looked like a good choice to me.

When it was my turn to order my food, I asked if I could have my taco salad without the corn chips. I simply do not have a top end when it comes to corn chips, once I start on them, it is hard for me to quit. I simply love them, but hate the empty calories they provide. The nice lady behind the counter made my taco salad without chips, but she did give me a little extra lettuce upon my request. I had a choice between ground beef and shredded chicken breast in a red sauce to choose from. I went with the chicken, then had that topped with refried beans, Spanish rice and picante sauce. All of which I washed down with unsweetened tea. My lunch at the hospital kept me satiated for the afternoon with only 381 calories.

What does weighing and measuring foods have to do with this?

Because I always weigh and measure my foods, I can tell with pretty good accuracy how large of portions I am being served under these circumstance. I knew that I had about 1 1/2 cups of lettuce, the chicken was a 3 ounce serving. And the beans and rice were both 1/2 cup portions on top of it all. The ladle from which I poured the picante sauce was a 2 ounce ladle.  I was able to easily track these portions and can say that my lunch did not exceed the amount of calories I would normally eat for my lunch each day.

While many if not most people would have no clue as to how many calories they had consumed under these circumstances, I did. Although I do not recommend we eyeball, or guess our portion sizes normally. When we weigh and measure all the time, it makes it easy when we do have to guess portion sizes if they are not listed.

I get that you might find this ridiculous under the circumstances.

I do get how you might think that I was being ridiculous. But the point is, even though I was highly stressed, I did not deviate from my nutritional habits. I have incorporated these habits as a part of my lifestyle. Maybe you think this is crazy, but you should know that I am certain, that the stress I am under is NOT going to cause me to gain a single pound. If you believe this is ridiculous, I am going to make an educated guess, that stress always causes you to struggle with weight gain.  Stress is one of the most common, if not the most, common cause that derails dieters from their diets.

Weight Loss and Portion Control

Maintaining weight when under stress is entirely possible. The key is to develop a healthy lifestyle where you only consume foods that are low in calories and high in nutrition. This lifestyle is one that cuts out high calorie foods that do not nourish our bodies with the macro and micro-nutrients we require for good health. As you get into the habit of eating wholesome foods without added sugars, your taste will change. You will find that sweet treats often no longer taste as good as they did before. And you might also find yourself feeling ill if you do eat them on occasion.

Developing healthy habits is how we succeed at managing our weight whether times are just fabulous, or simply terrible. You too can learn to manage your weight when stressing out. All it requires is a commitment to yourself to go all in with your weight loss endeavor instead of thinking you can still hold onto some of your old unhealthy habits. I promise, if you do hold onto old habits regarding nutrition, you are only setting yourself up for failure the first time you feel a little stressed.

Maintaining your weight when stressed is possible for all who commit themselves!

Food Tracking for Weight Management

Genetics and Habits in Obesity

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Cause or Curse?

I first heard the phrase, “Generational Curse” about 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea about what it was supposed to be. Turns out that there were people around me who believed that bad traits passed from one generation to another by some mystical means other than just genetics.

What “Genetics” Will We Pass Down?

True, there are some tendencies that are familial. There are also some outright inherited maladies, but they are few and far between. Almost all of the negative health and life issues that we have are a direct result of the choices that we make, not genetics, and certainly not some mystical, spiritual curse. Believing this falsehood is simply an excuse to fail at achieving your goals. Believing this is an excuse to abandon all effort to be responsible for the health choices that you make. Mom became diabetic at age 40? If that’s the case, it’s 90-95% that Mom’s choices that caused it. (1) Make different choices.

I had an Aunt who died a terrible death from throat cancer. I loved her. She was my favorite Aunt. She smoked, a lot, and never quit. Do her children have a similar risk? Possibly, they also smoke and the genetics are secondary compared to that decision. Habits are sometimes “familial”. That is not the same as “genetic”. Bad habits that are passed down can cause death and disease. That does not mean that you are doomed to have those diseases. You can choose to avoid the bad habits that cause them.

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What Have You Learned?

There is a state of mind called “Learned Helplessness” that is believed to occur when someone is exposed to traumatic events that they cannot control. Over time, the individual “learns” that he cannot control events around himself and simply doesn’t try. Feeling that we can’t control traumatic events leads to loss of motivation to the extent that even when we are presented with the opportunity to change the course of our lives, we may not take advantage of the opportunity.

This “loser” state of mind cripples the individual in decision making because he feels that his decisions won’t make a difference. Feeling helpless in the face of trauma and unable, or unwilling, to change the course of action by deciding to take control, leads to depression in most people with learned helplessness. This is a deadly personality trait when we are faced with decisions concerning our health. Learned Helplessness is perpetuated in many families as an excuse for bad behavior. I have seen it in relatives and the families of friends.

Decisions, Genetics and Choice

In the original experiments on this topic, it was discovered that dogs who did not try to avoid negative stimuli had not, however, learned helplessness. They had not learned control. (3) The difference is profound. In order to “learn” helplessness, or the lack of control, we must first decide to take control and then be unable to do so. If an individual is afraid of failure simply because that’s all they have ever seen or been exposed to, then they have not made a decision to break that consecutive chain of failure, dysfunction and sickness that may have existed in their family for generations. They have not learned helplessness, they simply have not learned control.

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The Habits of Lovely Ladies

I remember when I actually believed that “skinny” girls were just genetically gifted. Never mind that my Mother, who was 5’7″ and about 110 pounds, ate very little and almost never sat down. For some strange reason, I ignored the obvious. Truth be known, it was easier to believe that she had great genes, that were somehow vastly different from mine, than to see the truth of the matter. While I would binge on brownies at every chance, she might eat one, maybe not even one. While I preferred the life of a sloth, she was a busy bee.

I have mentioned “Janice” a few times. She was a lovely girl, close to my age in my 20’s who had a rock star body. I assumed she had great genetics. While I struggled to fit into a size 12 or 14, Janice was a lithe size 5 or 7. Guess what. I finally ask her what she ate. She showed me a tray of freshly cut vegetables in her fridge and she told me that she ate those veggies all the time and seldom got hungry between meals. I was at her house for meals. They were healthy meals of grilled lean meats and veggies, fruit for dessert and no munchies at the parties unless you wanted the fresh veggies. She did not deviate and was not swayed by the negative comments of those around her concerning her diet. She was in control. So was my Mom.

Both Janice and my Mom had obese Mothers. They had made a conscious choice to take control, to do better than their upbringing. Genetics be damned.

What would your life be like if you decide, right now, to take control over the things that you have refused to exercise control over until this moment in time? Would you be different tomorrow? What about this time next year? Would you still eat the same things, smoke, drink alcohol and hang out with the same people? Remember, if someone doesn’t encourage you to be healthy, they are not your friend and do not have your best interest at heart. I challenge you. Exercise your ability to create your life and take control today.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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It’s Not My Fault, It’s Genetics

(1) https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-causes

(2) medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325355.php

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920136/

Emotional Eating

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To fix a problem, we must first understand the problem. This is a true statement for all that we encounter in life. And one problem that is quite prevalent with those of us who have ever had a weight problem is that of emotional eating.

According to the American Psychological Association:

  1. Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress and say that these behaviors can lead to undesirable consequences, such as feeling sluggish or lazy and feeling bad about their bodies.
  2. Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.
  3. Thirty-three percent of adults who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say they do so because it helps distract them from stress.
  4. Twenty-seven percent of adults say they eat to manage stress and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit.
  5. After having overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods, half of adults (49 percent) report feeling disappointed in themselves, 46 percent report feeling bad about their bodies and more than one-third (36 percent) say they feel sluggish or lazy. After skipping meals due to stress, 24 percent say they feel sluggish or lazy and 22 percent report being irritable. (1)

Do you find yourself racing to the pantry when you’re feeling down or otherwise upset?

Finding comfort in food is common, and it’s part of a practice called emotional eating. Quite often, our strongest food cravings hit when we are feeling at our weakest points emotionally. Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. When we eat to soothe our emotions, this action often leads to eating high-calorie, sweet and fatty foods. Emotional eating is how we often attempt to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. The downside to emotional eating is that while it might make us feel better in the moment, the harm it causes far outweighs a momentary benefit. It is not rocket science to conclude that overeating causes  us to become overweight or obese, therefore increasing our risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Obesity is a major contributor to preventive death in the U.S. and greatly raises our morbidity risks associated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems and various cancers.

Can you distinguish between physical and emotional hunger?

Photo by Artem Labunsky on Unsplash

I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to overcome emotional eating. While it is not an easy thing to do, it is far from impossible. I know how eating to pass the moment has only left me more stressed and depressed than before I sat down and began stuffing unhealthy food choices down my throat. I have experienced feeling like a junkie looking for the next fix while scrounging through the refrigerator or pantry looking for sugary and fatty foods. I also know for certain this can be overcome, but it takes full commitment of self in order to do so. It requires a change in thinking and lifestyle. It requires a change in your relationship with food when you have this problem. You can still enjoy food, but it needs to be viewed as a fuel for your body and physical health rather than a short term fix for your stress or emotions. If you are prone to emotional eating, then you must make a permanent change to your lifestyle for you will eventually fall back into this rut. It happens every day, and the evidence is clearly visible if you follow any weight loss forums for any length of time. I have read and studied many of them, and this is the common thread in them all.

But, what can we do?

Find other ways to cope with stress!

Discovering another way to deal with negative emotions is often the first step toward overcoming emotional eating. This could mean writing in a journal, reading a book, or finding a few minutes to otherwise relax and decompress from the day. It takes time to shift your mindset from reaching for food to engaging in other forms of stress relief, so experiment with a variety of activities to find what works for you.

Some people find relief in getting regular exercise. A walk or jog around the block or a quick round of calisthenics may help in particularly emotional moments.

  • Exercise helps chronic depression by increasing serotonin (which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep and appetite) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which helps neurons to grow).
  • Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.
  • Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  • Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. We know getting enough sleep can protect the brain from damage.
  • Exercise gives you a focused activity that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Exercise limits the effect of stress on your brain.

It is helpful to keep a detailed log of what you eat and when and why you eat. This can help you identify triggers that lead to emotional eating. When we log what we eat, it is a form of accountability to ourselves and it allows us to reframe the question in our mind if we are really hungry or are we going to eat out of boredom or emotional reasons.

Successful and long term weight management require that you ensure that you get enough healthy nutrients to fuel your body. Yes, it can be difficult to distinguish between true and emotional hunger, but if you eat only foods that bring nutritional value to your body throughout the day, it will be easier to still manage your weight.

Acknowledge Behaviors

Practice becoming more aware of your emotional triggers for eating. The next time you pick up a “comfort food,” stop and ask yourself why you’re reaching for it.

Feeling sad, anxious, or lonely?  Identify your feelings, then pause and reflect on the action you usually take (such as reaching for a sweet treat).

Talk to Your Doctor

If you’ve tried addressing your cravings on your own without success, you may want to talk to your doctor. Sometimes, cravings for certain foods can be a sign of an underlying health condition. For example, you might crave certain foods if you are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Medications can stimulate appetite or cause blood sugar problems, including drugs used to treat depression and bipolar disorder. Other prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your appetite as well.  Once your doctor is on board, you’ll be able to work together on developing strategies for coping with cravings and their cause.

(1)https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/eating#:~:text=Twenty%2Dseven%20percent%20of%20adults,this%20behavior%20is%20a%20habit.

 

Color My World With Sound

 

If you are one of our regular readers, you likely already know I love to get out in the great outdoors and hike. Hiking is great exercise that is as wonderful for improving our mental outlook as it is for conditioning our bodies. Today, I hiked a trail that I hit pretty often on the weekends, however, today’s experience was entirely brand new to me. It was as if I had never been on this particular trail before. And in a larger sense than I ever could have realized, I had never been there fully until today. Today I had full hearing which I have not had for over thirty years now. My hearing has been damaged from my years in the military working around aircraft on flight lines and on the decks of aircraft carriers, and from years of extensive fire arms training. We might add a little blame on too loud rock and roll as well.

In case you are wondering what hearing has to do with weight loss/management and overall physical fitness, it has tons to do with these issues as hearing is an integral component of wellness. At David’s Way. we address weight loss/management from a holistic approach where the individual as a whole is considered. We never have, nor will we ever, only concentrate on calories in verses calories burned in assisting others with their weight management journey’s. Your entire well being needs to be brought into balance as a part of weight loss. Now, I have found a missing piece to my puzzle that was larger than I had ever dreamed.

Recently, I visited the VA to address a few issues and to get back into the system. I decided to get a full physical work up to include eyes and my hearing which I knew from my military past was damaged. I had no idea that my hearing was as bad as it is, and was quite stunned to learn that I qualified for hearing aids. I thought my hearing was good enough and that my lovely wife just needed to learn to speak up when she was speaking to me. I was wrong.

Monday of this week, I was fitted for new hearing aids. ReSound LiNX Quattro to be exact. My God, these hearing aids are wonderful. The first thing I became aware of hearing was the ticking of a clock on the wall as the audiologist fine tuned them to my needs. Then I could hear the sound of air rushing through the vent in the ceiling and the sound of feet on the floor as people were walking in the hall outside of her office. It was amazing the sounds that were coming to life for me. These particular hearing aids also have an app along with different settings for normal use, a focused noise cancelling setting for conversations with a lot of back ground noise, a setting for music, and lastly, one for the great outdoors which I came to fully appreciate today on my hike.

Color my world with sound!

I have been playing around with the different settings on my hearing aids, but had not really done much with the outdoor setting until this morning. I got into my truck and drove over to Weston Bend for my hike while jamming on a little classic rock with my hearing aids set to the music setting. It’s nice to fully hear the tunes without having to crank the radio too loudly anymore. Once I got to the trail head, I donned my camel back full of drinking water and then switched my hearing aids to the outdoors setting where my mind was blown away with all the old familiar sounds of nature I had not heard in several years. My hearing has been poor long enough that I had totally forgotten how noisy the great outdoors can be.

Color my world with the sounds of nature. As I walked along the meandering trail, up and down hills and such, the woods came completely alive for me. I could hear gravel crunching underneath my shoes. I could hear the songs of several species of birds just a singing and tweeting away. The sounds of summer locusts was almost deafening, I could not remember the last time I heard them be so loud. I could hear Wood Peckers pecking away at trees along with the soothing sounds of water emanating from the babbling brook down at the southeast side of the trail. As many times as I have hiked this trail, even when the waters in the creek has been high and fast moving, I have never heard it there before.

As I hiked the trail, even the trees were coming to life. I could hear a gentle breeze rustling the leaves and the creaking of tree limbs as they swayed in the breeze. I kept hearing one odd noise in particular that I soon realized was the sound of acorns and other seed pods falling from the trees and landing on the ground all around me.

Millions of little frogs call these woods home. I see them all the time, jumping out of my way, clearing my path as I hike down the trail. Today, I could actually hear the sounds as they leapt into the shrubbery and weeds which line the trail. I have to even admit, I enjoyed hearing the sounds of mosquitos buzzing by me along with a few flies and bumble bee’s.

It was a beautiful day.

I cannot believe how much of life I have missed through silence alone.

Even though my hearing was not entirely gone, my world was much grayer over the last thirty some odd years until I had my hearing restored.

As I have said, at David’s Way, we believe treating the individual as a whole is integral to healthy weight loss/management and towards over all wellness. There are many singular paths that can be followed to lose pounds on the scale, but we believe in exploring all the paths we encounter toward our well being. Maintaining a physically fit and health body requires also having a healthy mind and spirit. It is not a one or the other choice, both of these sides in our wellness have to be addressed. To be at our optimum level, we have to fine tune our lives each and every day. If we are physically active or sedentary for a day, we have to adjust our food intake accordingly. If we want to progress in strength training, we sometimes need to only add one or two pounds at a time to our barbell to keep making forward progress. Sometimes, we even need to remove a few pounds from what we might normally workout with in order to keep progressing. We have to address areas in our lives that cause us stress and fix them. Even when the stresses are small, they require fixing. Sometimes, we might have areas of our lives where we are lacking and do not know it. Yet, when we fine tune those areas too, the quality of our lives improve. Live your life to your fullest, never settle for mediocrity.. Learn to fix enough of the small stressors in your life and the big ones will take care of themselves.

If you or a loved one have an issue with hearing, get yourself checked out. Even if you believe that hearing aids might be cost prohibitive for you, there are programs out there to assist the needy in these regards if only you reach out to them.

Fine tune your existence.

Color my world with sound.

Twelve Ways to Have a Better Holiday

pexels-cottonbro-6139603

1-Do your version of the Holidays, not your Mom’s or your best friend’s. If people around you go over and above what seems like the realm of sanity, you don’t have to do that. Years ago I quit buying gifts for people if I only see them once a year or don’t know their name. Those relatives who have a different friend, wife, husband or significant other annually got crossed off my list because I never knew who was going to be at the event. Make your world small.

2-It’s one or two days, seriously. It’s not three months. Do whatever preparation you’re going to do whenever you like but when you have prepared, stop! Don’t let those one or two days take over your life and the lives of everyone around you for a quarter of the year. The letdown that comes after prepping for three months is almost unbearable. The extra stress of continually trying to upgrade your holiday can lead to binge eating. Stay in control of this Season.

3-Commit to good nutrition. Again, it’s one or two days, why on Earth do people start eating green cookies in October? Please, don’t lie to yourself that it doesn’t matter because it’s “The Holidays”. Empty calories are just as empty during a celebration. Sugar in your body and all that accompanies that sugar, including the extra pounds, will make you feel bad. Just say “NO!” to empty calories. Along with abstaining from the obvious nutrition bombs, make sure to get the good stuff! Load up on lean protein, veggies and complex carbs in moderation. You will be full and satisfied with energy to spare and won’t be as likely to go for the desserts.

4-Take the time to work out in whatever way that your doctor advises. The stress of the holidays causes us to secrete more cortisol which is a stimulant that is intended for “fight or flight”. Exercise can help balance this out of control response. Exercise resets our minds. You can get grounded and centered even in the most stressful times with a good workout.

5-Try to keep regular hours. Sometimes as the big day approaches, we will push harder to do “More!” and lose sleep. This sets us up for disaster. When the day gets here we’re tired and wired. Keep it small and enjoy the festivities more.

6-Get some morning light. It’s been associated with improving mood and helping set natural circadian rhythms.

7-Avoid stress triggers. We all have limitations on what we tolerate without feeling adverse effects. Sometimes during the holidays we feel pressured to stretch those limits. It can be financial, social or simply being pressured to be involved. Our time is a precious commodity and holiday celebrations can rob us of valuable workout time without anything positive to show for it. If certain family members or activities make you miserable, don’t be involved with them. Use any time off work to improve your life, not wreck it.

8-Let go of the past. This time of year is such an emotional time for so many people based on their childhood memories. You are not a child anymore. Whether those memories are good ones that you try to unsuccessfully recreate without success every year or terrible, painful memories that make you wince at the very thought of the holidays, just let it go. I wanted to see a White Christmas my entire life because I live in the South where snow is rare. I had waited my entire life for this event and on Christmas Eve,when I was 50 years old, snow was magically floating down, covering the country landscape where I lived. Old barns and country lanes were turning into photo ops galore. It was just perfect, beautiful. About the time that I was gazing out the window, mesmerized by what seemed like a Christmas miracle, all Hell exploded right behind me. Two family members engaged verbally in a fifteen minute shouting contest. This was instigated by a 53 year old adult and directed at a special needs individual who simply didn’t know how to respond. Needless to say, it destroyed everything that I had waited so long to see in a moment. I have removed that individual from my life and the lesson that I learned was invaluable. Don’t give those one or two days that much power over you. It will snow again.

9-Spread the love. So often family members fight to the death about where they will spend the day and what time. Stop it. Spread your festivities out over two days and go one place one day and the other place the second day. Arguing and pouting does not make for a fun party or good times. Be realistic. You can’t be in two places at once. Start now and work this out for less stress as the holidays approach.

10-Wear dress clothes to eat. Yep, dress clothes, not sweat pants that stretch to accommodate the buffet. You will have a natural reminder that you have eaten enough when your waistband gets tight. No unbuttoning allowed. You will eat more and not even realize it if your waistband stretches to accommodate the extra food.

11-Eat well before you go to the event. Have protein and fiber. Be well hydrated. Protein, fiber and fluids will satisfy you and make you feel full for hours so you will be less likely to binge.

12-Submerge yourself into self-care rituals. This is not the time to skimp on personal care. Do your nails, hair and skin care. Gentlemen, this goes for you also. Sleep. Take time to do the things that relax and refresh you whether it’s convenient or not. It will be rewarding as you face the day refreshed and looking good.

With a little planning and determination you can emerge from the Winter holidays with your sanity and your weight management program intact. Start now and have Happy Holidays! Spring is waiting on the other side. Be ready.

Emotions

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In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

—Colossians 2:3 NLT

We all have emotions, but we must learn to manage them. Emotions can be positive or negative. They can make us feel wonderful or awful. They are a central part of being human, and that is fine. Unfortunately, most people do what they feel like doing, say what they feel like saying, buy what they feel like buying, and eat what they feel like eating. And that is not fine, because feelings are not wisdom.

Feelings are fickle; they change frequently and without notification. Since feelings are unreliable, we must not direct our lives according to how we feel. You can be aware of your feelings and acknowledge their legitimacy without necessarily acting on them. God has given us wisdom, and we should walk in it, not our emotions.

Healthy emotions are very important. They help us recognize how we truly feel and what we value. Good emotional health is vital for a good life. But a good life also means being able to manage our emotions and not be managed by them.

Hit Goal Weight, Now What?

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I hit my gym tonight and during the course of getting in a kick ass workout, I engaged in conversation with a friend who is fairly new to weight training. We discussed how strength training becomes a part of a healthy lifestyle and how despite the fact she is becoming strong and knows most all the mechanics behind her lifting, she has not yet reached that point where the lifestyle of lifting has fully enveloped her, how she is almost there, but not quite fully in the groove of the routine being a part of her being. There comes a point where all that comes with being a serious strength trainer just falls into place. Obviously, the newbie questions will all but disappear, but it is more than that. It is where the mechanics of lifting, nutrition and rest all fall into thier respective places with no wrenches getting jammed into the cogs. The gears rotate smoothly with perfect timing in order for the lifting lifestyle to all fall into place naturally.

How’s this relate to weight maintenance?

In the world of weight loss, the issue of losing weight and then maintaining after you have reached goal is similar to getting in the groove of weight training in that weight management has to become an integral part of a well oiled lifestyle. You have to understand the mechanics of weight management by learning not to just control your appetite and recognizing your trigger foods, but also you owe it yourself and the efforts you expended in reaching your goal weight to have a better understanding of the human body and nutrition. If you are an emotional or stress eater, you owe it to yourself to learn to control those emotions and stress, otherwise you will regain your weight. You have to get your mind wrapped around a lifetime commitment to maintenance and be prepared to leave the struggle of losing behind.

I know there are many who do great work at losing their body fat, their motivation flies high, and then they hit goal and fall on their face, lost, not knowing what their next step is supposed to be. Next thing you know, they have gained back that 10, 20, 30 or 60 pounds they lost. The world is full of yo- yo dieters, and I have read over the years that an individual may actually be healthier to remain obese over losing weight and then regaining that weight over and over. According to Health News NPR those who yo-yo diet double their chance of heart attack, stroke or death when there are already issues with the heart. As in strength training where an intelligent new lifter learns all they can about techniques, nutrition, rest and routines, a person who sets out on a weight loss regimen needs to learn all the ins and outs of the what’s and whys behind their actions. This is critical in being able to maintain your weight after reaching goal and in not compromising your health. When you begin a journey to lose weight, you need to be intelligent and set forth a long term goal with many short term goals in how to get there. Those long term goals need to be solid and with sound reasoning. As in serious strength training, you owe it to yourself to ensure your plan is well thought out and makes perfect sense to carry you for the rest of your life. You want to avoid a strength training plan where you are going to do a dozen variations of curls in order to one day be able to stand on a Bosu ball with barbell on your back and then squatting. Yeah, there are uninformed people blindly doing this in gyms across the country under instruction from their trainers, don’t be that individual. Not with weights, not with your weight loss.

Be Realistic!

Yes, be realistic on creating a lifestyle of healthy eating which begins before you ever get to goal. Be sure to consume a well rounded diet where you receive all the nutrients required for a healthy body. Do not fall for the fad diets and think for a second that you can use a fad in order to lose weight and then be able to keep it off. Avoid the prepackaged meals they sell on television such as NutriSystem, Slim4Less etc… Learn to cook wholesome and nutritious meals where you get a sufficient variety of all your macronutrients. Educate yourself in how to ensure that you consume all the proper proteins in order to supply your body with all the amino acids required for your body to build it’s own proteins. With a decent amount of understanding your bodies nutritional needs you can avoid loss of lean muscle and physical problems which come from malnutrition. Yes my friends, even with the abundance of food we enjoy in western nations, we still have a lot of folks suffering malnutrition. You bet, you can be obese and suffering malnutrition as a result of not eating a well balanced diet. You can bet, that if you eat more sugary high fat foods than healthy, you are likely suffering from some degree of malnutrition.

Enjoy Your Exercise!

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If you are healthy enough to have a consistent exercise regimen, then by all means, make you sure you pick an exercise that you will enjoy and can be done year round. It will serve you no purpose to begin a routine that can not be a healthy part of your lifestyle. For instance, Mixed Martial Arts might be fun in the early stages where you might begin learning basic grappling skills, and then you find that all the fun disappeared the first time you got punched in the nose or slammed to the mat by your sparring partner. This may be at the extreme in making a point, but I hope you get the point in picking a routine where you can do it about anytime consistently and will always enjoy it and the health benefits going forward.

Take It Slow!

If you are obese, the odds are that you did not get that way over night. Therefore do not place an unneeded stress on yourself in trying to lose the body fat in a matter of a couple of weeks or months. A rapid weight loss is not reasonable or healthy and will only cause you possible health issues, lots of loose skin and a lack of adaption to the new you before reaching goal weight. Make your weight loss journey and maintenance a lifestyle over something you just do in order to look better. Make this about being healthy over being skinny.

Your body will want to go back to being heavy even if you take your weight loss slow and easy, but the longer you take to lose your weight, the less will impact you. Once you achieve your goal weight, do not think you are done, At this time, reevaluate where you are and decide if you are at a healthy weight and body fat percentage. Body fat being the larger issue as you can actually be light in weight, yet be skinny fat. Skinny fat is where your body is slender and does not weigh a lot, but it is also very soft from an abundance of body fat and too little lean muscle mass.

In summary, educate yourself in nutrition and in the most efficient way to meet your body fat/weight goals. Have a realistic plan going forward after reaching goal. Make your weight loss journey and then maintenance a lifestyle of healthy living instead of a temporary state of just trying to make a goal. Believe in yourself, trust in yourself, and do right for yourself. With planning and forethought, your stressing will not be as intense and your chances of permanent success will only be greater.

God bless, and thank you for reading. From the bottom of my heart, we truly appreciate each and everyone who takes the time to follow my blog. Brenda and I are both honored and humbled by the tremendous support we receive at David’s Way. We promise to continue to bring you quality content as quality will always be of more import than quantity.

We have created a weight loss/fitness support group on Face Book. Join and engage with supportive people who have the same or similar goals as yourself. We are a safe group where there are no judgments. We a place where you can share your victories and your set backs, either way, we can all learn from each other through shared experiences.

Living a Grateful Life

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What does it mean to live a grateful life, and how does it apply to health and wellness? A grateful life is quite simple yet takes a bit of effort on some days. Hell, maybe even most days. I make it a point, every day of my life, to find something beautiful to enjoy. Even on days when I might feel as if life has kicked me in the nuts, I still try to find something positive to enjoy. Yeah, I’m that guy who is happy in the mornings even before having that first sip from a hot cup of joe. By God, I am not going to let any fool rain on my parade without consequences to them. Every day, I am grateful for everything good in my life as I know from life experience it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye. Life is short, and there are no guarantees that you will make it to the end of the day without meeting your maker, or having your life drastically altered as a result of an accident or unexpected diagnosis of a terminal illness. I live my life every day with chronic sciatic pain from a bad spinal injury. The pain is now just a part of my life which I have learned to live with. I take no pain medications for it. As much as it sucks to live with chronic pain, it keeps me reminded of what happened to my spine, and the impact that horrible injury had on my life. So, as sick as it sounds, I am even grateful for this pain. It keeps me humble. Even while having a great deal of pride, I also maintain a degree of humility in order to never forget my blessings in life can be taken away.

Living a life of gratefulness requires more effort than living a life of gloom and doom. Hell, gloom and doom requires no effort at all. And as in all of life’s endeavors that require little to no effort, the reward is minuscule to non-existent. Much like being a low skilled worker where any monkey can do the job, the pay is never going to be sufficient. If you want more pay, you have to work for it.

Too many folks seem to not understand that by making it point to live a positive life, your well being is going to be improved. Living a grateful life with a positive mental outlook will bring rewards in small and large ways. It will help you to be the best you can be and therefore your health and wellness is going to be greater than the poor bastard who seems to have black clouds and gargoyles over his presence. A positive mental outlook will heal your soul even when the chips may be down. Who in life is happier? The glass half empty individual or the glass half full individual? The contents of the glass may be equal, but one person is grateful for what they have instead of pissed about what they do not have. Who has the better quality of life? The pissed off guy, or the happy guy? Who also enjoys a better quality of life? The person addicted to sugar who is always stressing about their weight? Or the person who has totally kicked sugar who lives a full life and is physically fit and able to do anything they want? Here is a bit of reality, by living life with a positive purpose, you can avoid a lot of health impairing stress. Living with the doldrums and eating your stress will only add more stress to your life. Feeding that body fat which is hollering for you to shovel shit down your gullet in order to calm the way you feel is counterproductive. Your body fat does not give a care in the world about your feelings. If you feed that monster, you will never be the best you that you can be. It takes personal discipline and will power to do what is right for your health and well being. It takes a positive mental outlook to beat the craving monster down. Working on that personal discipline makes it stronger in time just as working a muscle with a barbell. Living that grateful life helps immensely in developing that personal discipline.

Today, I was quite grateful to get out and enjoy the great outdoors on my Harley Davidson. A day on the scoot lifted my spirits and this will carry me through until I meet my wife at the gym later this evening to knock out some cardio training with her.