Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 - The Journey Begins Now


Tomorrow may be your first day. Whenever you make that commitment, that is your first day.

However, even if you are just playing around at this point, you can still get January.

January is a slow month. We are lethargic from the onset of hibernation weight-gain our bodies seem to develop, tired of running around during the holidays, not wanting to go back to work or school, not wanting to wake up to dark mornings. We really just want to hibernate it seems. Dark cold January.

I love January - it's my birthday month. But, as a first month for getting in shape, it should be slow, so slow is good. If you are starting in February or July, make that your slow month.

We all know WHAT to do to lose weight - exercise more, eat better. I will add to that a third "pillar" of DRINK MORE WATER.

So, here's the short list or "get healthy quick" pill: Eat better, Exercise More, Drink More Water. If you do that, you will lose weight and get healthier - guaranteed by all the weight loss pills and programs on the planet (just read their ads, and their fine print).

I myself say that you need to figure out what food program will work for you, and what exercise will work for you.

Personally, if I am bored with food or exercise, I will stop. I want exciting food and exciting exercise. I don't want a DIET! I don't want EXERCISE! I want flavor, "sabor" and I want EXCITEMENT and FUN!

Food - I chose Atkins. It was similar to Suzanne Somer's guidelines in her Eat Great Lose Weight book - a short book with some fabulous recipes I highly recommend. I couldn't eat the pasta dishes because she made them with no oil and that just didn't taste right to me. A friend had also recommended Atkins, so I read the book on the plane and created my first menu later that day. You can do that, too, but there is one thing you should do first. Make an appointment with your doctor. More on that below.

Exercise - I thought of what I liked to do as a child: what sports I liked to play, etc. I liked volleyball and riding my bike. I liked ice-skating. So, I tried an ice-skating class, I learned to rollerblade (indoors, then tentatively outdoors for short distances on a level surface). I cleaned up my bicycle bought years and years ago, had it fixed by a bicycle repair shop, and started to ride. A group I belonged to went whitewater rafting, so I started family trips doing that, took my sons rollerskating/blading and bicycling, went hiking again, and since I loved to dance, I tried to dance to a new song I bought. Just for 5 minutes it seemed. I couldn't do it. But it was fun!

Find a diet plan that works for you. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Atkins I liked because the food was food, not pre-packaged cookies or shakes that were meal substitutes; I didn't have to buy anyone's particular food (not even Atkins'); I could eat out; and I could eat more food to keep from being hungry, as long as I stuck to the list. It also stressed a lot of lettuce - 3 cups daily, or 2 cups with another cup of a different vegetable. It was on a short easy-to-read list, so that helped. Fresh veggies and lettuce are hard for me, being raised on canned foods. I never found comfort in cold or crunchy foods (unless they were chips).

Find forms of exercise that you can vary enough to enjoy doing them the next time you do something. Mowing your yard can count for exercise. Anything that works up a sweat is usually good, but stretching is good too. We need to vary what we do - stretching, cardio (sweating), and strength. I'll teach you more about all these things later, as well as about interval training which is recommended for improving your heart as well as increasing your metabolism.

For now, today's assignment is going to be:

Tomorrow, call your doctor's office to make an appointment to get your blood work done:

  • You want to have a fasting cholesterol test. The doctor wil also take your BP and your weight (standard stuff), but the cholesterol test will need to be done at a lab, and
    you'll have to fast for 12 hours, so it's probably good to schedule it for 9 in the morning so you can stop eating at 9 the night before, and can make it to the appointment without getting too faint.
  • Tell your doctor you are wanting to baseline your body so you can tell how it is going to change. If you're thinking of doing Atkins, ask about getting an insulin test that will determine whether or not you are pre-disposed to diabetes.
  • If you have diabetes, high BP (one meds), or any other condition requiring
    medication, be sure to tell your doctor what you are about to do, and that
    you will want to check back in about six weeks to see what the changes have
    been. For some, having a uric acid test might be a good idea.

  • If you're taking OTC meds (cough medicine, etc.), you may want to stop these as well.
  • Your doctor can make the appropriate recommendations for you.

  • NEXT: Get the Book if you're doing Atkins and read it.

    READ THE BOOK ~ Did I say read the book? Read the book.

    Whatever program you are on, you need to read up on it so you understand how it works. I will be teaching you how it works for me, so I will be referring to Atkins or low-carb often. If you're on another, it may be HIGH CARBS and you will just need to ignore things I say here about food and follow the parts which work for you (motivation, exercise, water, etc.)

    THEN: Drink more water and begin getting 5 more minutes of exercise a day.

    Quick tips on water: Drink a cup when you first get up and brush your teeth, then have another 2 hours later. Use the clock to have one every two hours. Write this down so you don't have to remember. I find that in the beginning I usually have to pee about this time, so that's a good bodily signal that it's time for another cup, and another mark on my paper (I can't count past 3-4, so I have to write it down.)

    Quick tips on exercise: In the beginning, we are stiff. In the morning, we are too. When you get up, get down on the floor and stretch for 5 minutes.

    Do this again before you go to sleep at night. Let me know how you feel in
    the morning when you wake up. How are you sleeping after a week of this?

    5 minutes stretching:
    Sit cross-legged for a few seconds, trying to center yourself over your spine. Then reach forward with your arms, bending from your hips (not your waist) until you feel a stretch in your back. Sit back up, then repeat, reaching a little farther if you can comfortably.

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