Archive for the Advice Category

We, stumble. We struggle. We get back up again. (and again…)

Posted in Advice, General Information, Words of Wisdom on March 30, 2010 by uziel5000

Have I told you that changing your life is hard? Well, it is.

2009 had some really interesting ups and downs. After 6 months of losing weight, eating right and exercising regularly, came 6 months that quite frankly were a little weird at best, frustrating at worst. For a moment there, life seemed to be conspiring against me and my efforts to lose weight. I injured my back, had therapy, then rehab (my back still bothers me from time to time but to solve the problem I have to lose weight), all the while doing my best to keep my nutrition strict since I could not exercise. Then, my wife got pregnant.

I never thought such good news would get me into so much trouble.

You see, the first three months were fine and pretty normal. This is our second child so we knew what was coming. What I forgot was that the last time she was pregnant I wasn’t trying to lose weight. Here is where the problem starts. My wife is a picky eater by nature but when she got pregnant it got downright annoying. She simply can’t stand my food. As in my cooking. Doesn’t matter what I put in front of her, if I made it, it made her nauseous. She doesn’t cook so I’m left with asking her “Well what do you want?” A question always seemed to be answered with some type of take-out food.

You probably know how this is going to end. You figure: why cook only for me if I have to go out anyway? So you go and buy for both and you try to get something “healthy” for you but after a while that picture of the cheeseburger in the drive-through window starts calling your name…

Quite simply, there is no way to maintain a healthy nutritional program and eat take out food every day. Several months of this and I was almost completely back to my old habits. thankfully, two things happened stopped my downward spiral. First, the months I spent changing my habits really saved me from going totally into the dark side. Even when I was eating complete junk, I noticed I was practicing portion control and trying to make the best choices under the circumstances. I barely drank any soda when a year ago I would drink two and even three of those. Secondly, in February of this year my wife gave birth to another baby girl. The end result? I gained a few pounds but through it all I was able to maintain my weight somewhat. I survived.

So now I’m back to cooking which means I’m back to eating right and having 6 small meals a day. Changes in my lifestyle (two small kids!) means I have to modify my goals a little bit but I’m back exercising hard, eating right and working on a supplement program to help me out. I’m a happy man.

Next time I will talk about those goal changes (some forced, some renewed) and the adjustments I’ve had to make with the new addition to our family.

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Taking it Slow: A Guide to Making Your Changes Stick

Posted in Advice with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by uziel5000

At it’s most basic, losing weight is pretty simple thing. Use more calories than you consume. Period. End of story. Right? Well, yes and no. Certainly, a calorie deficit is the cornerstone of any weight loss attempt. The variables however, that help you optimize that weight loss are so many, that thousands of books, magazines, web articles and blogs have been written about them. Needles to say, the information can be overwhelming and the more you look into it the more you feel that you have to do everything at once. This is one of those areas were you can be setting yourself up for failure without noticing. We have all been there. We feel there is so much to do that we end up not doing anything at all. We either think it’s too hard and don’t start at all or halfway through it becomes so much that we quit. There is a solution though. The very first thing we have to realize is this: We are in no hurry. Long term weight loss is a long term commitment and for those of us who have a lot of weight to lose, we have to simply accept that its going to take a while. Putting ourselves in that frame of mind, we are now ready to take the next step. Since we are not in hurry and we are in this for the long haul, then we can sit down and break down our plan into little steps. We take one or two steps at a time and we don’t take the next one until we have mastered the one we took last. The easiest way for me to exlain this is to use my own example. I’m going to give my list steps I have taken for the past 8 months and explain why I took them. From this, maybe other people can build their own list. Just remember: These were gradual changes.

 1. Oct. ‘08: Signed myself up for Tae Kwon Do classes – After years of inactivity, I started here, going to class twice a week just to get my body adjusted to regular exercise.

2. Feb. ‘09: Started a calorie deficit – Notice I didn’t call it a diet. Hopefully, this was the start of permanent changes in the way I eat.

3. Apr. ‘09: Started doing cardio 5 times a week on top of Tae Kwon Do/ Also started to use a daily multi-vitamin.

 4. May. ‘09: Changed my meal distribution from three meals a day to three meals and two snacks – Eating more frequently boosts your metabolism.

 5. Jun. ‘09: Changed my meal distribution to five meals a day.

6. Jul. ‘09: Changed my meal distribution to 6 meals a day./Also began to supplement with Glucosamine-Chondrointin-MSM(I’m gettng old!l ol) 

7. Aug. ‘09: Started a weight training program, three days a week while still doing the cardio and TKD./Also started to supplement with protein post-workout and Creatine.

My next step is to try a pre-workout formula. Now, all that time, I have been consistently losing weight. I just adjusted the things I needed to do so it wouldn’t overwhelm me. Now, I just gave you 10 things I did in seven steps over 8 months. Doing them one or two things at a time allowed me time to adjust my life accordingly. Now imagine doing all those things at once right at the beggining of your journey. Doesn’t sound pleasant or easy right? Breaking it down makes it more digestible. Slow and steady wins the race!

The Real Truth About “Cheating” on your Diet

Posted in Advice with tags , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by uziel5000

Of all the books I’ve read on diets, all the programs I’ve tried, all the myths I’ve heard, no subject is treated more lightly or more ignored than cheating or as some call it indulging. Whether we are talking about a well-researched book by an expert or some new hype we hear on the street, I haven’t seen any other subject regarding weight loss that is less mentioned. Is cheating good? Is it bad? Some casually mention it, others ignore it completely so it is always left unanswered. So here are my thoughts on the matter.

Nutritionists, trainers and doctors almost always neglect to mention this very real aspect about dieting for several reasons. Most are afraid that endorsing any type of indulgence might lead to the reader or program follower down a path that will end in quitting the program altogether. You write that you can indulge once in a while, we interpret it as permission to cheat all the time… game over. Therefore, even though it is not actually written that way, it is implied that strict adherance is expected. But what are the consequences of that? As it turns out, it leads to the same path as saying you can cheat: You end up quitting altogether as well.

The reason is simple. You will have cravings eventually. That cheeseburger begins to call you, but you stand strong and resist temptation. Then, 2 days later it calls you again. You refuse to back down. Now the cheeseburger is all you can think of. 3 days later you meet some friends and go to lunch. Then it happens. Everyone is eating what they want. You cave. You have the cheeseburger. But then, you can’t stop. You have the burger for lunch, figure that the day is ruined and have pizza for dinner. You wake up the next day and think:”Might as well have a big breakfast.” and end up downing a “Super-Duper-Mega-Slam”. By lunch time, you figure you have ruined your diet and give up. back to square one. Sound familiar?

One of the main questions I asked myself when starting this weight loss journey, was how to avoid this scenario. This is actually one of the main problems with diets that restrict certain food groups (low-carb, no fruit, no(insert food group here) diets). The minute you decide to go on these diets, you set yourself up. Especially if the restricted group is something you love to eat. We all know how it works: We crave what we can’t have.(In food and life in general) So the propensity to fall is always there. And I’m not even going into the health aspects of consuming an un-balanced diet. So the first rule on cheating is: To avoid cheating and keep your sanity, eat a balanced diet. You are less likely to crave something if you don’t feel it is restricted. The mantra shoudn’t be : “I can’t have that” It should be: “I don’t want to have that right now“.

Of course, there will come a time when that cheeseburger will call you. What to do? Eat it. Get over it. Continue you program. End of story. One cheeseburger wont sabotage your diet. Thinking that because you ate it, you should continue cheating because you already ruined your diet will do it though. There is no way around this folks. It will happen. We are only human so let it go. Here is my way of dealing with this problem and so far it has been golden. It might help you.

I have seriously decreased my cravings for high calorie and unhealthy foods by just saying to myself I can have them. That’s right. In my “program” I can have any food I want. The catch is that I can have them at certain times. For me, those times are special occasions. My wedding anniversary, my daughter’s birthday, mother’s day, those are some of the days where I have eaten stuff not exactly conducive to weight loss yet I have not gained a single pound since I started this journey. I have my cake, steak, ribs or whatever and then I keep going. Most of the time I’m not stressing over what I can’t have because I know I will have it eventually. Recently, it was my anniversary (4 years) and I knew we were going to Outback Steakhouse to celebrate so the two weeks prior to it I followed my diet with no problems or cravings because I knew I would eat a nice steak then. That day I had clam chowder, a steak and shared a dessert with my wife. The next day, back to my usual eating habits. Simple.

Which brings me to the second rule of cheating: Just because you cheated once doesn’t mean you ruined your diet or your progress.The most important thing to keep in mind when you do cheat is to NOT quit. Thinking you can continue cheating because you cheated once is the death blow to the goals you have set. Accept the fact that it will happen and get on with it. Also, having the occasional indulgence plays right into one of the crucial steps of successful weight loss: Slow weight- loss is permanent weight-loss. So you lost just one pound instead of two because you went to that BBQ. So what? It is better to adjust your body to how you are going to live the rest of your life(eating healthy with the occasional indulgence) during you weigh loss than losing a bunch of weight quickly with some extreme, over the top diet and than having make massive adjustments to keep that weight off.