Monday, October 31, 2016

Here's step one! Get moving.

So my first step to getting healthy was to do 10,000 steps a day. How do you do this being stuck indoors in winter weather? Walk on the spot or get a exercise mini trampoline. I find the time goes fast with the rebounder in front of the TV. Then you can watch your favorite shows while getting your 10,000 steps. For motivation I watch health and fitness shows like the Biggest Loser but anything that helps you stay there to get your steps will work.

In the past I have wasted lots of money on lots of exercise and equipment, you may have too. I have used the Orbitrek, treadmills, gone to gyms, fitness classes locally, group trainers, curve and more. They all help but for people looking for excuses to not exercise you will find them. They cost money, time, opportunity (it is raining, I don't want to catch a cold from the others indoors), they are inconveniently placed (Orbitrek is in the garage and I can't use it, I need to pull it inside or elsewhere to use it) I have no space indoors for the treadmill, I have placed the Orbitrek and treadmill in convenient places indoors but then resent the space they take up and get guilty when I give up using them. My foot gets numb on the treadmill after a while and I find I don't want to use it. Gym classes are 15 mins away and I need to go on their schedule and work my week around this. Group trainers are great but expensive. You get the point, excuses can be many and go on and on.

Get any mini trampoline that works for you, do make sure it can hold your weight though and I have a link on my page for one that is heavy duty. If you are thinner then the rebounders are built cheaper and cost less too, again find something that will work for you. You can find specials for rebounders from $30-90 or more depending on features, quality and weight restrictions. The one I suggest is very reasonably priced yet heavy duty for most customers. But 'caveat emptor' either way.

Get a pedometer, anyone will work, I use and love the fitbit (mine costs $100, but I got it from my credit card thank you points) and that costs from $50-120 but any pedometer will also work. Keep your pedometer on all the time, yes it will alert you to how little you may move every day. But keep it on, it will propel you to do your workouts and to not avoid reality. It is easy to fool yourself in to thinking that you get more steps than you actual do. Obesity does that to you, kind of like addictions (you are sometimes in denial). I got my fitness tracker last Mothers Day 2014 and I was excited to do my steps in the beginning, then once I got too busy I realized how few steps I actually did. Now I want to stay at the 10K steps range to lose weight.

Find a time that will work for you, I have tried all sorts of different times through out the day and have found it the easiest to stay the course if I get started the first available opportunity as early as possible in the day. If you are not a morning person, then try to have a routine where you do your steps as soon as you get home in the afternoon. I find if I don't do my steps as early as possible that there will be ALL sorts of distractions later on. Someone will have an urgent issue that keeps me busy, something else will come up or I will be tired later on.

You can wear fitness clothes but really no special clothing or shoes are required. If you walk on the spot then sneakers are recommended but not necessary. Rebounders are easier without shoes so no additional purchase is required.

The next steps is to repeat this activity EVERY DAY. It doesn't matter if you don't feel like it and there will be days that you will miss but unless you force yourself to do this every day then you won't get anywhere fast. Things that work are to make yourself put your exercise clothes on and get on the trampoline even if you don't feel like it, in fact you won't feel like it most of the time but do this anyway even if you don't want to. Then put your show on and get walking, doesn't matter how fast or slow just get moving. Might take a couple of episodes in the beginning to get your 10K steps in and I was looking at the pedometer all the time to check steps, but stay there till you get as many steps as you can.

One thing that propelled me to lose weight is a photo taken of me and my cousin. I hate taking photos of me and this may also be connected to the denial linked to obesity. I can be in denial if there is no proof. So if you find you can't make yourself get on the rebounder, get someone to take a photo of you, you will surely get on the next available time. Keep doing this or anything else that makes you keep getting on the trampoline EVERY single day. Yes you will get sick and can't etc. But get on asap the next best available opportunity.

I don't weigh myself regularly as it makes me sad and then I overeat but I have noticed I feel MUCH better. I have more energy, get up easier in the morning, can do my daily tasks without too much trouble, can take a walk without getting winded, get a surge of feeling well (what is the word I am looking for?) right after my workout and much much more.

Let me know how you do! Any other advice or tips? Are you joining me in my journey or just getting inspired?


What is a Mediterranean diet and how did I get it so wrong?

My parents are Greek and love to hold their traditions and pass them on to their kids. However I grew up in Australia where I wanted to be just like everyone else and eat their foods. So I was brought up with Greek dinners but packed a regular lunch to school and often had cereal for breakfast. Snacks were western local types too.

Here is what is a a Greek type of diet:

  • Lots of meals with vegetables as their base
  • A lot of those meals have tomato sauce bases which are rich in Lycopene
  • Greeks love herbs, particularly oregano, dill, parsley, basil and put them in their cooked meals and fresh salads
  • Main fats are olive oil (extra virgin of course) and a little margarine
  • Meat isn't the main dish but incorporated into other dishes, such as stuffed peppers etc.
  • Roasts and meat main courses are for special occasions
  • Feta goes with everything, but only a little piece, perhaps one or two serves
  • Fruit is mainly for children but adults can eat a serve often after meals
  • Fruit juice is not encouraged, but sour cherry or tart cherry drinks are common for special occasions.
  • Breakfast is often coffee or milk with bread or pastry or piece of fruit
  • Lunch is at home and not packed, kids at school used to eat tiropita (cheese puff pastry) to hold them over till they get home for lunch usually by 1
  • Lunch is the main meal of the day
  • Rests often occur after lunch
  • Dinner is small and accompanied by a walk in town afterwards by the whole family
  • Snacking is usually seeds (or a few nuts), ie pumpkin seeds but they buy them unshelled and shell them while eating. This forces you to slow down and give you something to do
  • Milk is mainly for babies or young children
  • Yogurt can be a light meal or snack, usually plain with a touch of drizzled honey, delicious
  • Meals are a group affair with other people or often crowds
  • Fish is plentiful served more often than meat and served to even very young children
  • Wine used to be made at home and everyone can have a sip even children
  • A small glass is used for wine and you can have a little at meals
  • Bread is allowed and served as an extra at meals but you only eat it for saucy dishes or if you weren't full with the veggie main
  • Legumes are very popular and incorporated into soups, bakes, dishes and more
  • Rice is used for a side for saucy dishes or in the stuffed vegetables and in soups or bakes
  • Greeks eat bulgar, a cracked whole wheat
  • Goat and lamb was the usual meat back in the day
  • Sweets are for children or only in small quantities for special occasions
  • Fasting from meats, dairy and oils was common before special occasions
  • You have to sit down and eat, with no distractions just company, eating on the run is rude and uncouth
  • Tea was popular and served often
  • Chocolate was ONE piece wrapped and was delicious but overeating wasn't allowed
  • Overeating or drinking too much were akin to sins and rude/crude behavior
  • If you find that you aren't getting full by eating a regular portion then stop anyway, it isn't food that is the problem
  • Water is served with all meals and for all visits
Read how I got it wrong in this post.

Health to Happiness

Nourishment while losing weight

I wanted to type 'diet' but it shouldn't be called diet cause of the negative connotations. And nutrition sounded official and clinical, of which I am neither. So the title 'nourishment' fits the bill.

I suspect that part of obesity is the expansion of the stomach. I am not a doctor and can't elaborate here, but my suspicion (cause of my health and fitness journey) leads me to believe that I eat more cause I don't get the 'full' feeling sooner. It is so hard to stop eating before you get the full feeling. However I suspect that I need to stop at 75-80% (almost) full at 20 mins post meal. That is also hard to do, eat for 20 minutes or slowly to register the almost full feeling and then stop. A lot of us eat so quickly and read/watch tv or otherwise distract ourselves while eating. No wonder we don't get the 'full' feeling sooner. Eating with others and focusing on your meal will allow you to register the almost full feeling sooner.

I don't always diet as I have tried and failed with a lot of them. However I think it is critical to feed ourselves well while trying to loose weight. If I don't feed myself sufficiently and well then I will reach for the chocolate bar. It is very important to eat plant based foods at every meal and your body will recognize them and reward you with the sufficiently full feeling sooner than any other type of food. If I can't get full during a meal I will try to eat an apple, cut fruit, more vegetables and other plant foods. Then I feel satiated.

A lot of times I am too lazy to make myself a meal, lunch for instance, since I am home often during the day. Then I find I crave sweets and chocolate, it is like my body is trying to get satiated without a meal and chocolate will do the trick. Anyway chocolate and cravings and other addictive foods will be mentioned in another post. I just want to mention that we need to feed ourselves healthily with plant and other foods and to not neglect or starve ourselves regardless of where we are, who we are with etc.

You can't feed yourself well if you don't have good food at hand. A huge part of eating well, is getting in to a food shopping routine, find a favorite store, finding a shopping list that works for you and sticking to it. If you take your favorite junk foods off the list then make sure you have something to substitute them with. Don't deprive yourself of nutrients and nourishment. Buy lots of plant based foods, whether fresh (important to have something fresh at every meal cause it helps the gut), frozen, or canned/processed. Get in to a grocery shopping routine to make sure you can nourish yourself well. There are lots of options for groceries these days if you don't or can't shop often. Shop Amazon - Subscribe & Save is great for bulk & staples, Peapod is very reasonable (they also take coupons) and in most neighborhoods nowadays, and there is the store pickup options at lots of local stores (they will collect your items and you just need to pay and take items home). Those conveniences may be worth it in saving time & money, and avoiding temptations.

Do you have something that works? Share below.


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