Be Optimistic and Realistic

disney-inspirational-life-quotes-Favim.com-956876“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Cleanse Day One

Well. I’ve decided to give the Standard Process 21 Day Cleanse another shot. My main goal in doing this again is not for weight loss (although I wouldn’t be mad if I lost some weight) but to regain healthy eating habits. Even though I’ve been tracking with weight watchers over the last year or so the scale really hasn’t moved. Basically it’s because I’ve been cheating myself. Either not working out or fooling myself on serving sizes. I snack with my kids and don’t track it or I eat 5 of something but only track one. Sweets. Oh yummy sweets. These are my downfall. This is where I go when I’m stressed. I’ll bake a cake. Eat half. With the promise to myself that I’ll do better the next day. 

So. Day one was yesterday April 7th. I had 3 shakes with varied ingredients. For food I had 1 egg with 3 egg whites and about 3oz of corned beef. It smelled too good to pass up. I also kept my cup of coffee in the morning with fat free half & half. When I came home from a meeting I ate the last piece of cake too. I ate a total of 37 smart points. Not horrible. But not 100% the plan, but better than I was eating before. I feel great. Keeping the coffee in I had no headaches. 
I’m looking forward to keeping this going!

Achieve Your Goals: How to Keep Your Drive Alive

1. Motivation Mistake: Setting the Bar Too Low
“I’ll do my best” sounds like a worthy vow to make, but it can actually suck the motivation right out of you. “This type of vow is vague, making you more likely to procrastinate,” says Gary Latham, Ph.D., a professor of organizational effectiveness at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The result? A mediocre or disappointing performance.

Solution: To step up your game, set attainable goals that are clear and challenging and give yourself a deadline. “Specific goals help focus your attention and increase your effort, which helps you persist longer,” says Latham. And since you have a plan of action and a time frame, you’re less apt to put things off. Another important point: Concentrate on three to five big goals at a time. “Any more and your eyes glaze over and you burn out,” says Latham.
2. Motivation Mistake: Testing Your Willpower
We spend three to four hours a day resisting the things we desire, says Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. That’s why you can turn down that frosted doughnut in the morning but have a harder time resisting the drive-through after work.
Willpower can be exhausted from overuse, research shows, and when this happens, your brain either makes impulsive decisions or stalls out. “You shy away from complicated decision-making when your willpower is depleted,” says Baumeister. “Rather than trying to perform the mental trade-offs to decide what’s best, you look at one factor such as which item on the menu is cheaper, and base your choice on that.” And, he adds, “the more often and the more recently you’ve resisted desires, the more depleted you are and the more likely you’ll give in to the next one.”
Solution: Try to take away some of those temptations—for example, reroute your drive home to bypass your favorite fast-food joint. Also, be sure to clock sufficient sleep and eat well and regularly. “When willpower is low, the brain craves glucose, but it’s better to have something that will stabilize blood glucose over a period of time, such as lean protein,” says Baumeister.
3. Motivation Mistake: Aiming to Please Others
All that energy and determination you have when you first pinpoint a goal? It’ll fade away if your motivation is sparked by the wrong things. For instance: “At the start of a weight-loss program, you’re probably motivated by the desire to be slimmer, not to eat less and exercise more,” says Kelly Webber, Ph.D., R.D., author of a study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. And that kind of drive tends to be fueled by external reasons (“My class reunion is in two months!”)–and is much less apt to end in success, according to this study. What works is autonomous motivation, when you want to do something for yourself. Webber found that women’s motivation levels in the fourth week of a weight-loss plan predicted whether they’d drop pounds and last all 16 weeks of the program. At the four-week point, you know what it takes to be successful– and if you’re still enthusiastic, chances are you’ll keep at it.

Solution: To get yourself to that magic point, “find a friend, family member, or expert who can help you problem-solve when you struggle,” says Webber.
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SEE IT, BE IT?
Visualizing your success isn’t the best motivator, according to new research in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. You may end up overlooking potential trip-ups and zap your chance to figure out ways to overcome or avoid them, say researchers at New York University. Plus, picturing yourself reaching your goal tricks you into feeling as if you’re already there, so your brain starts to relax, your blood pressure falls, and you slide into complacency. Visualization of success isn’t all bad, though; it can help you chill in stressful situations and determine which goals to tackle next.

Published: January 19, 2012  |  By Brittany Risher
Womens Health Magazine

The Fast-and-Furious Interval Routine

Get a full cardio workout in just 20 minutes with this interval routine. 

When you’re short on time, your best bet for an efficient and effective workout is amping up the intensity of your slow-and-steady pace, which will burn more total calories each minute during your workout—and, some speculate, may also suppress your appetite. Whether you prefer to swim, run, bike, hike, or walk, this cardio intervals workout, created by Todd A. Astorino, Ph.D, an associal professor of kinesiology at California State University at San Marcos, will make sure you get the biggest calorie burnout of 20 minutes.

0:00-5:00
Warm up, moving at a slow pace.

5:00-6:00
Go all out, pushing yourself as hard and fast as possible.

6:00-7:00
Active recovery: Catch your breath.

7:15-18:30
Repeat minutes 5:00 to 7:15 five times.

18:30-20:00
Cool down.

Even Your Fat Cells Need Sleep

New research suggests that sleep is even more important than we thought~

Not getting enough sleep can make you groggy, but can it also make you fat? Researchers at the University of Chicago think it’s a strong possibility.

In a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers determined that four nights of sleep deprivation reduced insulin sensitivity in fat cells by a whopping 30 percent. And the less sensitive your cells are to insulin, the less your body produces the hunger-regulating hormone leptin.

“This is one of the first studies to show that a cell outside of the brain—the fat cell—also needs sleep,” says study author Matthew Brady, Ph.D., vice-chair of the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition at the University of Chicago.

Brady and a team of researchers put seven young, healthy subjects through two study conditions: First, they spent 8.5 hours in bed for four nights in a row (participants slept for roughly 8 hours each night, the ideal length). One month later, they spent 4.5 hours in bed for four nights. Previous research has shown that getting only 4 hours of sleep negatively affects metabolism. After the fourth night, the subjects took a glucose tolerance test and had fat cells biopsied. And, yes, food intake was controlled and identical.

How Sleep Affects Fat The authors found that sleep deprivation made fat cells less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that cells use to take in glucose for energy. Brady explains that insulin-stimulated glucose uptake is proportional to the secretion of leptin, a hormone made in the fat cell that regulates hunger.  The less sensitive cells are to insulin, the less leptin they produce, and the hungrier you are. And the magnitude of the decrease in this case was very surprising.

“A 30 percent reduction in insulin sensitivity is equivalent to metabolically aging the subjects 10-20 years just from four nights of four and a half hours of sleep,” Brady says.

“It’s not that we took someone who was on the tipping point of developing metabolic disease and just pushed them over the edge. These were very young, healthy subjects.”

Brady says the findings are important because they suggest that sleep could be a treatment for obesity. To that end, his next study will consist of trying to improve the sleep of overweight or obese subjects who have obstructive sleep apnea to see if sleep quality has any effect on insulin sensitivity and metabolism. He’s excited about the possible impact such a study might have: “It’s hard to get people to diet and exercise but if you could show that improving your sleep quality and duration has a positive benefit, that may be an easier therapeutic intervention for people to undertake.”

Ways to Get Better Sleep
While this study still leaves some questions unanswered—namely, if sleeping, say, 6 hours is bad or if “catching up” on sleep over the weekend can reverse the effects—it’s clear that getting enough sleep is important for both your mind AND your body. Here are five ways you can improve your sleep now.

1. Make a Bedtime Routine
Pick an hour for shutting down every night and stick to it—on weekends, too. A regular bedtime and waking time will help you fall asleep.

2. Power Down
Checking your cell before bed amps up brain activity, making it harder to doze off. Plus, the blue light emitted from gadgets can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. At least an hour before bedtime, turn off your TV and computer and don’t use your phone.

3. Chill Out
A cooler body makes it easier to fall asleep. Exaggerate that feeling with a toasty, pre-bed bath or shower. Lower your thermostat a bit, then pile on the blankets—you’ll save money on your heat while you’re at it.

4. Sip Wisely
No caffeine after sundown and no booze before bed. While drinking alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, you could wake up in the middle of the night. Enjoy a cup of decaf or herbal tea instead.

5. Drown Out Noise
Sleep with a fan on or invest in a sound machine that can produce white noise to block the racket of the outside world.


BY SUSAN RINKUNAS , PHOTOGRAPH BY ISTOCKPHOTO/THINKSTOCK

Additional reporting by Katie Connor and Loren Chidoni

Women’s Health Magazine