Archive | January 2020

Setting Weight Loss Goals

Setting goals is not as easy as it might sound.  As we flip through magazines, we are led to believe we are supposed to look like the 102 pound models with the perfect abs and tight tushies. The reality is that very few people are meant to be or are physically capable of being that size and shape.

The first step to setting a weight loss goal is to be realistic.  There are many factors that we must take into consideration including body type, whether or not we have had children, and age.  At 51, having had 2 children (ok, 26 years ago but the effects never went away!) and being a solid 5 foot 2.5 inches, I am never going to look like the 24 year old,  5 foot 9 inch fashion model who has never been pregnant and who spends her days in the gym!  It’s just not feasible.  Instead, I choose to look at myself in the mirror and envision me, but in smaller jeans or a cute little black dress. Then I decide, using the mathematical calculations as a guildeline (but not the gospel) where I would like to set my FIRST goal.

In my case, the math says I should be between approximately 120 – 125 pounds.  Although that sounds fantastic, and maybe someday I will get there, I am going to add 10 pounds to that and make 135 my starting goal.  When I achieve this level I will look in the mirror, try on my jeans and try on some little black dresses.  If I like what I see and I am feeling fit, then I will be happy and work to maintain this level.

If I still feel there are some trouble spots I will set my goal down another 5 pounds to 130. I will adjust my workouts to focus a little more on the “problem areas”, and continue with a healthy eating plan until I reach my second goal. I will repeat the assessment at 130 and decide whether to continue on at that point.

I find that taking the last 10 – 15 pounds in increments reduces the chance of being frustrated and discouraged in the final stretch.  It’s all a mindset.  If you feel like you have already achieved your goal, then you are less likely to give up.

Remember – dieting is one of the few things in life where being a LOSER means you are successful!

The Scale – Use it Wisely

The scale is my guide and my disciplinarian although at times it may feel like my worst enemy! There are mixed reviews as to how often you should weigh yourself. Some say daily, some say weekly, some even say the numbers on the scale are irrelevant as long as you are healthy and in good shape. I believe you have to choose which of these works best for you.

I am partial to two of the above options. I am a daily-weigh-in kinda girl, but it’s not to see what my actual weight is as much as it’s to see if there is movement in the right direction. If it says 125 today and it was 135 two months ago, I am happy. If it says 185 and I was 215 four months ago, then I am happy. It’s all about the progress. People get very hung up on the NUMBER they are trying to reach. This can be discouraging as we are not all built to be the “ideal weight” set out by some mathematical equation we read in the latest women’s magazine. When you get close to your goal, and you are eating right and exercising regularly, there will almost inevitably be a major slowdown in the weight loss. Your shape will usually continue to change but the numbers don’t necessarily. This is when trouble starts. People tend to give up and slowly go back to old habits, or they tend to go to the extremes of dieting which will only result in illness.

I always use the scale as a guide. If I lose a little – great, if I gain a little I will be aware of it and it won’t let it go any further. It gives me the opportunity to assess and adjust my current plan and continue to work toward healthy goals. How I feel physically and how I feel when I look in the mirror are the best guides to my “ideal weight”.

10 Effects of Low Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to the care and maintenance of many areas of the body. When I was growing up I always heard that it was important to go out and play in the sun, but only now am I realizing the validity of that statement.

When my doctor told me that my vitamin D level was very low and that I should start taking supplements, I began doing some research as to how Vitamin D affects the functionality of the body. I was truly surprised at the findings.

Here are 10 of the most common symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Weakened Immune System – Prone to illness or infection
  2. Fatigue
  3. Back Pain
  4. Bone Loss
  5. Hair Loss
  6. Muscle Pain
  7. Depression
  8. Reduced Cognitive Function – including Dementia
  9. Tooth Decay
  10. Difficulty losing weight

Research is also being done to learn more about how vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of, or protecting against, heart failure, diabetes, cancer, respiratory tract infections and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Who is at risk?

  1. Anyone who does not get enough natural sunlight.
  2. People with dark skin as the pigment of the skin does not allow for the absorption of the sun in the same way as lighter skin.
  3. Those who do not consume enough foods that are rich in Vitamin D
  4. People with kidney disorders or older kidneys. The kidneys may not be able to convert vitamin D to perform effectively.
  5. Anyone with digestive issues – the impeded digestive process is not as capable of absorbing Vitamin D from the food.
  6. Obesity, as it causes the fat cells to block the Vitamin D in the blood, not allowing it to be properly processed within the body.

What can I do to increase my vitamin D levels?

Start by regularly getting a safe amount of sun and follow up by consuming foods rich in vitamin D. You can use supplements as well, but before self-diagnosing or self-medicating, it would be best to have your doctor perform a simple blood test to properly diagnose your Vitamin D levels.  There are repercussions to over supplementing with vitamin D that include nausea and vomiting as well as long term damage including reduced bone density.

Some foods that can help to increase your intake of Vitamin D:

  • Oily Fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna
  • Egg Yolks
  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal, orange juice and margarine that have been fortified with Vitamin D

Does Vitamin D help with weight loss?

Unfortunately, vitamin D is not the magic weight loss pill we are all searching for, but there are a number of studies showing that having normal levels of vitamin D in the body can improve the results of a proper diet. This means that if you are following a proper eating and exercise plan with low levels of Vitamin D, you may not have a lot of success, however, if your Vitamin D levels are in the “normal” range, you may increase your weight loss success.

It also appears that Vitamin D has a direct affect on hormone levels. If your hormone levels are out of balance, there is a tendency to gain weight and belly fat or have increased difficulty losing it. By balancing your Vitamin D, you can help to balance your hormones which could aid in the success of any weight or fat loss plan.

The Moment of Truth

This morning I stepped on my scale. After the shock wore off and I finished throwing a few unpleasantries in its general direction (you know you’ve done it), I realized that my once successful weight loss program had slipped into the abyss. It was time to get serious again.  I was going to get back to eating right and working out – RIGHT AFTER THE WEEKEND!!!! 

Why do we do that?  I personally think we look at starting a diet the way a groom looks at his bachelor party before getting married.  We think the we need to take time for one last wild and crazy indulgence; our one last chance to do everything we will NEVER be able to do again. 

WRONG!!!   

Eating right and staying fit doesn’t mean we can never eat a carb again, or never indulge in a bite (or two) of chocolate, it just means that we have to have them in moderation. We will slip and we will be put in situations where we are unable to make the choices we should. It’s inevitable.  The trick is to focus and get back to the plan.  No need to punish ourselves or feel badly about what happened, we just need to continue on and try to make these occurrences as few and far between as possible. I think that’s the part I have been forgetting lately. OK, so now it’s time to get back on track.

Ready???  Here we go!