Wednesday, November 28, 2012

9 Tips to Keep Holiday Weight Away

In most every survey, losing weight and getting fit is at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions. For thirty years, it was number one on mine until I decided to make a change. In my book, Finished being Fat, I went on a journey to lose seventy-five pounds and learned to finish what I started. The first year after the weight-loss, it felt like the holiday season was out get me: the feasts, the parties, and the endless parade of neighborly homemade fudge and treats. But I was determined to never make that weighty New Year’s resolution again. Here are a few tricks I've found that help me survive the holidays -- with both my buttons and my sanity intact.

Stick to the Budget
The secret to weight loss is not so secret. Take in less calories that the body is using. That’s how I lost the weight and that’s how I've have kept it off. My budget doesn't take a holiday vacation. If I have an important party or dinner to go to, I make sure to save most of my calories for that.

This stands for bring your own bananas. It doesn't really have to be bananas, but if I’m going to a party where I knew there will be lots of fattening finger foods, I bring something a little healthier. So I’m a good guest and bring a veggie or fruit tray. The party host is usually grateful for the extra offering and I’m not stuck with an empty plate.

Daily Present
It’s the holidays, so I give myself a present everyday. In my daily budget, I make sure to save room for a little piece of one of my favorite indulgences. I'll feel less like a miser when I satisfy my cravings. And since it’s in my budget, I don’t even have to feel guilty about it.

Pretty Plates
I eat with my eyes first. At big family dinners with lots of food, I focus on making a pretty plate. In the case of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, I put the food with color on first -- the leafy greens, the vibrant orange carrots or some sweet potato. Then I’ll add the protein onto the plate. That only leaves a small portion of my plate for the beige stuff like mashed potatoes and gravy.

Float Away
Wherever I am, there’s plenty of water nearby. I try to drink a full glass before every meal. It serves two purposes: First, I feel fuller and I’m less likely to overeat. And second, it helps my digestion to flush the fat.

Earn More
When I've already spent my calories for the day, but that pumpkin pie is calling my name, I earn more calories for the budget. I go for a run, hike, or walk. Sometimes I’ll play in the snow with the kids. With an hour of exercise, I can earn an extra 400-600 calories for the day.

Deck the Halls
I try to stay busy and off the couch. Boredom snacking doesn't add to my enjoyment of the holiday, but it does add to my waistline. I plan activities for me and my family that aren't centered around food. Like going caroling or making holiday cards. It keeps my hands and mouth occupied with something other than eating.

Peace on Earth
The holidays can get crazy. I de-stress and avoid emotional eating through meditation. Every time I want to reach for the tub of ice cream to soothe my frayed nerves, I take a few minutes to breath and meditate instead. I prefer a couple of yoga boxed breaths. Inhale for four counts. Hold for four counts. Exhale for four counts. Then hold again for four counts. Works like a charm to focus my brain on what I really want, rather than the momentary satisfaction of what I think I do.

Forgive and Forget
Everybody has bad days. After I've had one, I look at what went wrong and why I went over the budget. Then I commit to myself to do better -- then let it go. It doesn't help to beat myself up over past mistakes. That’s one of the tricks that has led me to lasting weight-loss -- banishing the Ghosts of Fat Past.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stacking Up a World Record

Today is Guinness World Records Day. And hopefully, I had a small part in breaking one.

There is something called sport stacking. It's where you take a bunch of brightly colored plastic cups and stack them quickly into specifically ordered pyramids and towers. When done competitively, it's timed. It's even an event in the Junior Olympics.

Today, the World Sport Stacking Association sponsored their 7th annual Stack Up. They asked people around the country to play this sport for 30 min today so that they can beat the World Record for Most People Sport Stacking in Multiple Locations on One Day. (Yes, I didn't realize there was a record for that either)

They hope to have 450,000 people participate, mostly children from schools. It turns out, this sport is great for kids. Stacking enthusiasts claim the sport engages both the left and right sides of the brain, is great for hand eye coordination, and improves attention and focus.   

The Stack Up came to my attention through my newfound job, working as a correspondent for the local paper, the Daily Herald. I went out on the assignment and met a PE teacher who was just about the coolest lady ever. I wished I had someone like her as a gym teacher when I was a kid. As part of her curriculum, Angela Anderson, has the kids practice sport stacking. She said it's great because any kid can do it. With a little practice and a timer, it is a great way to help kids find success and show them that they are improving. She believes it gets gets involved and engaged in a fun way, teaching them focus and discipline.

I went to Coach Anderson's school for her Stack Up, and I was blown away by how much fun these kids were having.

I interviewed a few of the kids, and they were all so excited to be involved. Many of them practice at home and will keep playing after today.

These kids are building a sense of accomplishment already without even knowing it. They are finishing things and working through play. 

I've talked a lot in my book and on this blog about building up accomplishments or "finisher medals" and how that helped me overcome my poor self image, esteem and depression. When the results of the Stack Up are verified, kids around the world will know they had a hand in breaking a World Record -- me too.

 That's a pretty awesome finisher medal if you ask me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last day of Goal Rush

Today is the last day of my month long goal rush. I gave it my all, but some days were better than others. The thing is, even it didn't go perfectly, I feel great.

Sometimes it's not the end result that is the reward. It's the effort it took to get there. I've learned I feel much better without the Halloween candy (If I'm gonna gave chocolate, it better be the good stuff). I slept way better on the days I found the time to exercise. And I once again confirmed that Life cereal is a gateway snack for me.

When I look back at this past month, I will not be counting the days I screwed up. I will counting the days that I tried my best. Plus the fact that I made it the whole month without just saying, "Screw it" and eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

How did you do and what did you learn? And for anybody that got through the month alive and tried their best, you deserve a finisher medal!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cover Girl Dreams

I am so excited! In two months the book, Finished being Fat, will be released. But it's available on Amazon for pre-order now. 

Cedar Fort did an amazing job on the cover.
Finished Being Fat: An Accidental Adventure in Losing Weight and Learning How to Finish

A year ago, I was trying to put all my thoughts and experiences to paper. Figuring out how to share my journey in an honest and funny way. Now that dream is coming true. It's a completely surreal experience.

I have no illusions that this book will be on the New York Times bestseller's list. (But I wouldn't complain if it ended up there ) I just wanted to share my story and maybe help a few people like me. People that feel trapped by past failures and are tired of the little voice in the back of their saying, "I can't because I'm a loser that can't finish anything right."

The title of this blog post is somewhat tongue in cheek. I may have lost seventy-five pounds and kept it off, but I will never be Ms. Universe with tight abs. I will never be society's vision of a "Cover Girl".  A few people have already pointed out that if I want to be a "fit" role model, I should make sure I look like one. Sorry, but I look like any other mom in the grocery store, not Jillian Michaels.

But that's the pot of gold I found at the end of my journey. Being okay with me, from the inside out. I'm really excited to share my adventures with everyone, and cheer them along on theirs.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Last Hurdle: Goal week 4

Tomorrow starts the last week of goal rush. I made it through Halloween without eating all the kids candy. But I am really struggling with one of my goals. Late night snacking. This past week, I have been going over the final proofreads of the book before it comes out in January. With two little girls, about the only time I have to do it is late at night. I keep reaching for the life cereal, or a pita with some hummus. Not terrible food for me, but extra stuff that my body doesn't need.

What is it that makes us eat late? Lower inhibitions as the night wears on? Or boredom? Stress?

Don't know. But it's like a bad one night stand (not that I'd know anything about it personally), I wake up in the morning roll over and find the evidence of last night's indiscretion. The paper plate on the floor, the bright shiny wrapper - whatever - it all builds up to a big guilt sandwich for breakfast.

With one week left of goal rush, I'm recommitting myself. I'm going to make it through this week without any errant snacking.

Are you struggling with any of your goals?


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