Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Super Foods

In addition to the daily breathing and guiding my thoughts to focus on my successes rather than my failures, I have also started consuming the so-called Super Foods. In the morning, I drink a shot glass full of Acai Juice Cocktail that also contains the juice from pomegranates and blueberries. It’s a really strong, juicy drink, full of antioxidants.

Then, in the afternoon, I usually mix 2 Tablespoons of Super Food (either all greens or, sometimes, greens and berry) in cold water. I am currently using Garden of Life’s Perfect Food or, better yet, their Perfect Food Berry. Again, I find that in addition to the reported health benefits of consuming wheat and/or barley grass, a glass of Perfect Food helps to stave off cravings between meals.

When I was dieting before, I never used supplements. Vitamins, yes; but supplements, no. I always figured that if I was eating healthily, I could get the nutrients that I need.

I actually do think I get the nutrients that I need from my diet. However, the additional supplements make it easier to not over eat. They also shift my cravings away from junk food towards fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only do I get the benefits of more antioxidant rich foods in my diet (which have been linked to all sorts of bodily processes) I also get an amazingly effective appetite suppressant.

Today I was sitting in a talk with my bottle of cold water and Perfect Food; if you haven’t seen this stuff, it comes out bright green. Truly, it looks disgusting.

My colleague says, “What’s in the bottle?”

And I tell her.

“So, what does that taste like?” she all but sneers, “Grass?”

I’m not going to lie, the first time I tried it, it was ugly. In addition to thinking that it did, indeed, taste like grass, I just couldn’t stand the color. Because I was committed to incorporating it into my diet, I began mixing it it in an old Udo’s 3-6-9 jar, which just happens to be made from dark brown glass. I couldn’t handle the green, so putting it in a brown jar that hid the color and allowed me to really shake it up for better mixing was, literally, just what the doctor ordered. Even with the color sorted out, I still didn’t like the taste. However, by the time day three rolled around, I thought it tasted great! In fact, I was craving it. The thing about Perfect Food (and other similar brands) is that it changes the chemistry of your body from being essentially acidic to alkaline (or non-acidic). Trust me, there are several reasons why you want an alkaline system, not the least is the fact that it makes you crave alkalizing foods and makes highly acidic food, such as wine, largely unappealing! Additionally, it encourages your body to stop storing excess fat — always a plus!

Anyway, I know people who wouldn’t touch wheatgrass or barley grass with a ten foot pole! But I remember taking my first sip of red wine — or coffee for that matter — and both were 10 times more unpleasant on first pass then my Perfect Food stuff (especially once I could no longer see it)! But eventually, I kept drinking the wine and the coffee until they began to taste better and it was finally safe to say that they were two of my favorite beverages.

Did my tastes just become more mature? Maybe. Or was it that my system grew increasingly acidic and began to crave other (or more) highly acidic things. Most likely.

Look over the list of alkaline and acid food and see which side best describes the current state of the diet. If the majority of your food is highly acidic, I highly recommend making more alkaline choices and finding a nice brown bottle with a lid that closes. I swear, after the third try, you’ll love it! And chances are you’ll feel better not only physically, but also about the choices that you’re making about food!

p.s. My first introduction to wheatgrass/barley grass was Odwalla’s Super Food. It’s also green, but somehow extremely palatable. It’s also widely available and it a great thing to have in airports when you’re traveling! I admit, it is expensive, but, then again, most everything when you’re traveling is. The only reason I don’t drink it at home on a regular basis is the calories.

Alas…

The K-Bells didn’t arrive as expected, so I ended up hitting the Nordic Track and doing Ab Ripper X, the 20 minute ab routine from P90X, instead! It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it’s always good to have a contingency plan.

Needless to say, I’ll be waiting for the mail delivery tomorrow with baited breath!

Try on Something Really Outside of Your Comfort Zone

I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to have a certain style. It may not be particularly stylish, but it’s a style and I like it. More to the point, I am comfortable with it. However, when I look in the mirror and I’m wearing the same style of clothes that I used to wear, I often don’t see any difference whatsoever in my physique. Essentially, I look the same, because the shape of my clothes looks the same.

Recently I have really been pushing the envelope. I wrote earlier in about my low riding boot cut jeans. I have also traded in t-shirts for tanks, and floor length skirts for shorter ones that show off the legs a little.

But the other day, I actually went and tried on some very fitted evening gowns. The first one was lovely, it looked like me and it fit really well. I loved it.

But my attention kept getting pulled back to this floor length snake skin looking, slinky sheath that I thought wouldn’t fit on my right thigh without a wedge.

Luckily I hadn’t gone shopping alone. A women who is in my spinning class was there as well and she said, “I think you should go ahead and try it on. You might be surprised.”

Well, I did. It fit like a glove–as opposed to a sausage casing. It was stunning; more to the point, I was stunning. I stood there in the middle of the dress shop and stared in the mirror like a five year old in her first Easter dress. We (the dress and I, that is) were glorious. I had no idea my body could look like that. I could finally see what other people had been talking about. I stood there with my mouth open as all of the sounds in the dress shop faded into nothingness.

Fortunately for me I know the owner of the dress shop. Also fortunate for me, the dress was a used vintage evening gown as opposed to a new one. Luckily for me, they couldn’t find the dress in the database. And even luckier, the owner is a lovely, generous woman who–I think–realized that I was seeing myself for the first time. She sold it to me for $30!

So, where are you possibly going to wear this dress, you might be asking. Well, I’ve been asked to participate in a student fashion show on campus; not only will I get to wear the dress, I’ll also get free make-up and hair! So not only will be all slinky and sleek; I’ll also be colorful and girly!

So get outside of your comfort zone; you might be pleasantly surprised!

Back From My Travels

I had a wonderful trip; lots of walking and lots of fresh fruit! Overall, a successful trip from a vacation perspective, as well as a food perspective. I had allotted myself between 1500-2000 calories a day and was well within that range all three days without feeling like I was missing out. Had huge salads for lunch all three days and snacked on oranges, Asian pears, and bananas. Bliss!

More to the point, I’m pretty sure that my k-bells will have arrived today. I’ll let you know!

Getting Real About Calories

As I have been talking with various people about diet and weight loss, I’ve come to realize that most people have no idea how many calories that they’re eating in a meal, let alone in a day. So it seems to me that the number one thing that people need to do is get aware of what (and how much) they’re putting in their mouth and how much effort at the gym (or wherever) it’s going to take to get it off their hips!

There have been a number of studies lately about how good people are at estimating the number of calories things have in them; and guess what? It depends! But some interesting trends are apparent. Thin people tend to be more accurate when estimating the number of calories in a meal, whereas overweight people tend to underestimate them. Interesting? Well, it gets better. As it turns out, this really has nothing to do with body weight, but rather that people (regardless of weight) tend to be better at estimating small meals rather than large meals. And overweight people tend to eat larger meals than thinner people. So, hidden tip: Eat smaller meals!

So, how does one go about getting real about calories?

I recently stumbled across this website, where someone had taken photographs of everything in their kitchen that amounted to 200 calories, just to get an idea of what 200 calories actually looked like. Notice the tiny blob of my personal favorite–peanut butter–compared to the platter of kiwi!!

Another way is to simply keep a detailed food diary (meaning amounts as well as items) and to do a quick calorie count. There are a ton of calorie counting websites out there. My personal favorites are Calorie King, Calorie Count, and the Daily Plate. Though sometimes I just type in the words “beets calories” –that is, I’m eating beets–and Google will take me right where I need to be.

My personal strategy is to create an excel book with three worksheets.

The first sheet is the things that I tend to eat over and over (or things I make by recipe). I got the calorie counts for these all in one setting, because I know that I will be entering them over and over.

The second sheet is titled, Food and Exercise. This is where I do the calories in and the calories out.

On the third worksheet, Daily Totals, I add the calories burned in daily exercise to my personal BMR x 1.1 (because I have a relatively sedentary lifestyle) and subtract the calories I consume. On this page, I also keep track of my weigh-ins and my measurements.

Although I hated keeping a traditional food diary when I was in Weight Watchers, I get a tremendous amount of pleasure with my excel sheet. Maybe it’s the little kid in me that used to sit around and play with the adding machine!

Now, Michael is not a fan of the excel sheet; he’s much more techie than I am! He’s got an iPhone and he is a huge fan of the app, Lose-It. Unfortunate name, but a marvelous tracking device. Not only does it keep track of your calories, it also keeps track of your nutrients! Besides that, it’s super easy to use and it gives you an excuse to whip out your iPhone at dinner, which in most men’s worlds, is always a plus!

Now notice that I keep track of my calories burned just as I do the calories consumed. This is essential. Because there’s nothing more sobering than getting off a spinning bike after an hour of hard work and realizing, wow, all that effort and I just barely worked off that impulse scone from Panera.

Once you get real about about calories–that is, how easy it is to eat them and how much effort it takes to use them–it’s easier to make choices that support your goals instead of those that undermine them!

Maintenance Appears to be Working–Who Knew?

I am happy to report that I am back to where I was last week. As noted previously, my approach to maintenance is to stay within three pounds, either way, of my targeted weight. So over the last week, I went back to my low calorie strategy (1200 a day), with the exception of one 2000 calorie day thrown in for good measure, until I had lost those three pounds. Ideally, I would stay at 1200 calories a day until I was down a couple more pounds, but I am traveling this weekend. Given the opportunities for higher calorie consumption during travel, however, I will probably just go back up to my maintenance allocation (between 1500-1800 calories a day) and figure on dropping back down again when I return.

Regardless, I’ll let you know what Monday brings! And hopefully, I’ll have some good traveling tips to report!

Product Recommendation – Food

I love bread, no doubt about it. My latest discovery is Joseph’s Multigrain Lavash Bread with Flax! Yum! The entire sheet is 100 calories; it’s not only a good source of your Omega 3 Oils, it’s also a great source of fiber and protein! And if you’re counting carbs, either for diet or controlling diabetes, it’s only 4 grams of net carbs!

I typically use them as wraps–filling them with hummus and salad or just simply toasting them as a base for hummus or baba ghanoush!

I also took one to a street vendor the other day (who only had white pita) and asked him fill it up with hummus, shredded vegetables, and falafal! It was heavenly!

And, embarrassingly, when I’m really hungry, I’ll just tear them into strips and eat them straight out of the bag!

This company also makes pita bread: 60 calories for the whole loaf. They are a little on the thin side, but they are great lightly toasted!

I’ve found these particular wraps at BJ’s, and I’ve heard rumors that you can get them at Wal-Mart Super Centers, but the last time I got some, I ordered them on-line from Netrition. They arrived in a day and were still cool! They have a really long shelf life, especially if kept in the fridge! I think it’s up to 8 weeks or something crazy like that.

And if that’s not versatile enough for you, some guy has posted a recipe using them to make cereal!

Time for lunch!

A Note from a Friend

What are Friends For? Passed on by my office accountability buddy! Thanks Misagh.

Learning to Say No (with grace)

Yesterday, one of my colleagues walked into my tiny airtight office with a plate of freshly baked (I mean, she had just baked them in the toaster oven in the main office–damn devoted mothers of three children who know such evil tricks!)–and said, smilingly, “It’s cookie time!”

“No thank you,” I responded sharply, through gritted teeth, holding my breath. I barely even glanced at her.

Just to provide a little back story, I gained twenty pounds last year eating chocolate chip cookies while I was waiting for my tenure decision. It’s not that I don’t like chocolate chip cookies. On the contrary, I love chocolate chip cookies. And, to add insult to injury, yesterday, I just happened to be a little tired and a lot stressed. Not the optimal time for someone to walk in bearing my own personal version of crack!

Anyway, back to the story. She said, “Oh, sorry.” Turned and immediately walked out.

So I got what I wanted, right? Not really. Because I had turned down her emotional offering as well as her baked goods. In a broader sense, I also rejected her (during a time when she, too, has a lot going on). Believe it or not, I called her back to explain.

“I’m sure they’re wonderful,” I admitted. “And normally I would love to have one–maybe even two–but in this case, I have to pass because I’m committed to maintaining my weight loss. But thanks.”

She accepted that. I had given her a reason that seemed reasonable. And more importantly, she felt like I had accepted her gift, even though I hadn’t.

All together it was a win-win and, fortunately for me, it was warm enough to open the window!

Disrupting Old Patterns and Replacing Them With Something New

I was lecturing the other day on cognitive theories within social psychology and started talking about schema. A schema is, essentially, a set of affective cognitions–or thoughts–that people have about a certain object, a class of people, activities, etc. Generally, these schema can be classified as good or bad. We like them or we don’t.

The interesting thing about a schema is that once you have one, it affects the way you process information: that is, whether or not you even notice something, how quickly it becomes part of your consciousness, and even how long you remember it! And because most humans strive for cognitive consistency, they tend to not notice, disregard, or forget about information that does not fit their schema. This is one reason why culturally held stereotypes are so slow to change.

Anyway, I was trying to come up with an example of a schema that I have and almost immediately, I flashed on the imagine of a cupcake. Let’s be honest: I love cupcakes. Not only do they taste good, they’re the right size, they smell delicious, I like the weight of them in my hand (you can eat them with your hands!), and they bring back fond memories of childhood parties, etc. In other words, I have a positive associations with cupcakes on just about every possible level. In case you’re curious, cupcakes are triggers for me. Or, more to the point, they used to be.

Now, assume that you loved cupcakes as much as I did. Would you stop eating them just because I told you that you should? No, not really. It might work for awhile, but eventually you’d see one and you’d be like, “Oh!” Because when you see them or when you smell them, you associate all of this really good stuff with them–not to mention they taste like cake!

Now, the other day on The Biggest Loser, the coaches had placed covered trays around the gym. Contestants were supposed to work out and every so often they had to pick a tray, which either held a non-food-prize or a food-prize. And the food-prizes weren’t carrots and celery, they were cupcakes and brownies and such! So, think about it, you’re in a gym, you’re working as hard as you possibly can to lose weight so that you can stay in the running, and your coaches are forcing you to eat junk food–on national T.V.

One woman actually consumed 3,500 calories during this exercise! 3,500 calories of junk food which could have immediate and severe consequences on the likelihood of further participation! Do you think she was enjoying those cupcakes? Do you think that she was savoring the smell and thinking about how much her mother must have loved her to make cupcakes once a month for her class? No! She was thinking about how each and every bite was potentially going to get her voted off! She was thinking about how each and every bite was going straight to her hips. And after weeks of only eating healthy food, she was probably thinking about how disgusting all that fat and sugar felt coursing through her system–or rather, sitting in her stomach like a lead balloon.

And at the end of the exercise, do you think Jillian Michaels comforted this poor woman for having blown her diet? No. What she did say was something like this: “I want you to remember this. I want you to remember what it felt like. I want you to remember the sick feeling in your stomach when you ate this junk. Every time you’re confronted with something that used to tempt you, I want you to remember these feelings. I want you to remember what it felt like. I want you remember what you felt like.”

Wow. That Jillian woman is scary, huh? While it may seem like she’s a real witch, she actually gave these people a huge gift. Essentially, she broke their mostly positive schema regarding certain types of food and she replaced it with something negative. She didn’t tell them that it was bad for them, but she got them to know it in their bodies, their emotions, and their identities.

Now this may seem extreme, but I had a similar experience recently. I went out to dinner with Michael and I really, really wanted a hamburger and fries. It had been years since I’d had one and I thought, what’s the big deal? And just to add insult to injury, I also tossed on some blue cheese and bacon! Although Michael paid for the meal at the time, I paid for it all night long. I couldn’t sleep; my stomach was killing me; I felt like I was 9 months pregnant; and I looked it too!

Assuming that I am ever face-to-face with another blue cheese bacon burger and a plate of fries, how tempted do you think I’d be, on a scale from 1 to 10? It’s true that I could focus on how much I liked the restaurant and what a good time that I had with Michael that day and maybe I’d get over it, but why would I want to? Instead, what I will do when I get the urge for a burger or fries, or both, is remember what it felt like the night after I had actually had both. I’ll focus on the bloating. I’ll focus on the inability to sleep. I’ll remember how tired I was the next morning. And, more often than not, I’ll happily order a salad or some nicely broiled piece of salmon!

Have I had a hamburger since? No.

Have I missed it? Not really.

In the coming weeks, I’ll offer some tips and suggestions on how not only to interrupt old cognitive patterns regarding food and exercise, but also how to replace them with something new!

My influences on Issues of Diet

As I always tell my students, it’s best to be honest about your biases up front. The strategies and approaches that I have adopted regarding health and fitness come from a variety of sources. For instance, a lot of the more cognitive based strategies, as well as some of the dietary practices come from my experiences of attending Tony Robbins events and listening to his audio program, The Body You Deserve. Additionally, I have been influenced by the book, Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond; unknown to me at the time, Robbins used to work with the Diamonds, so it’s little wonder that both approaches seem to resonate for me! Similarly, I also was drawn to the book, Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Ironically, Freedman and Barnouin had also spent their fair share of time at Robbins seminars. In fact, the book is dedicated to him. Although I originally picked up because of the title, it’s quite informative and amusing, if shockingly obscene language does not offend you that is! And last, but certainly not least, I have been influenced by my 90-pound-weight-loss-year on Weight Watchers, my 20 years of pseudo-maintenance, and my decade of vegetarianism.

The things I share, here, are the things that work for me; feel free to take some and leave the rest. Also feel free to send me your own winning strategies. As I hope the above has illustrated, I’m not a purist. One of the keys to success is to keep trying until you find something that works; you can’t just give up because the first thing you tried isn’t, or stops, working! So send them on!

Product Recommendation – Myo Tape Measure

Don’t you hate it when people tell you that you shouldn’t pay so much attention to the scale and that you should do something like, say, take your measurements on a regular basis?

How many of you have ever tried taking your own measurements? If you haven’t, it’s only marginally less accurate, or consistent, than having someone else do it for you! But even though it’s hard to do, it is worth doing. But instead of fumbling one handed with a tape measure and trying to remember exactly how loose (or rather, in my case, how tight!) you held it last time, try the Myo Tape! Hands down, it is a huge improvement over any tape measure you may have tried in the past.

Though there’s still room for error, at least you can hold it with one hand and, if you let it, it will keep track of the tension for you!

Now, if you’re not taking measurements, you really might want to consider it (notice I avoided the word should). Because even when you’re not making visible progress on the scale (and I admit that I am as number focused as the next person), you may be making huge improvements on your proportions!

Practicing Wearing My New Jeans

I bought a new pair of jeans the other day and they are pushing my self-image a little bit. This happened before, last October, when I bought my first (and only) pair of low riding “skinny jeans.” I was so weirded out by what I looked like in them that I refused to wear them where anyone who knew me might actually see me; keep in mind that I had been wearing loose fit Eddie Bauer jeans that sit at the waist–not below the waist–for decades!

So my first foray in my new jeans occurred when my sister and I went to NYC on a theatre trip. I figured that no one in NYC was going to notice me in my jeans. And I was right. In fact, no one noticed at home either, but it was easier to try on my new jeans, and the new me, in a more anonymous environment.

Today I am heading out again to a large anonymous city. And I have on, yet again, my newest pair of low riding, boot-cut stretch jeans. Will anyone notice? Probably not. But having worn them out once where no one knows me may make it easier to wear them out where people I do actually know might see. Make sense? Maybe not, but it makes sense to me!

Speaking of Useful Acronyms….

When I posted the other day about C-A-N-I, it made me think of another anagram that I have used over the years. Back during my days at Weight Watchers, my group leader kept a big colorful poster on the wall. HALT, it said. Don’t ever let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Throughout all of my fitness efforts, I have tried to keep that in mind, because it’s when I’m really annoyed, hungry or tired that I tend to overeat. And not only overeat, but eat the types of things that do not support my body in a healthy and vital way. Unfortunately many of us have learned to manage our emotions with with food.

In coming posts, I will talk about the links between emotion management and hunger management.

Despite their seeming dissimilarity, they are surprisingly close. I’ll also share some strategies that I have learned/developed in order to combat both.

Impulse Purchase

If anyone asks, am blaming this one on my friend Bernie!

I normally don’t do the trendy exercise thing and I certainly tend to avoid anything with dance in the description or that looks even remotely girly! Oh well; things change. In five days, I will be the proud new owner of a k-bell exercise and fitness program. I’ll let you know how it works out for me!

The Gift of a Guided Mind

Whenever I tried to lose weight in the past–notice all of the invitations to fail in that clause–I always focused on the negative. In other words, whenever I did something wrong, I tended to beat myself up for it. I’d like to believe that I am the only person out who has ever done that, but not even I am that naive!

I think the general approach that most people take towards a diet (which Garfield rightly pointed out was spelled “Die” with a “t” on the end) is punitive. Whenever you deviate from the plan, you punish yourself. Whenever I deviated from my diet, I would kill myself at the gym the next day to make up for it or I would just simply be amazingly rude to myself and, more importantly, about myself.

This time, I’ve jettisoned that doomed to fail strategy. Instead, I have chosen to shift my focus from what I’ve done wrong to what I have done right. Because when I do that, I realize that I do more things that are right than I do things that are wrong.

And not only do I notice what I do right–even when it’s just something as simple as drinking my water, exercising in my training zone, chewing my food well, being the last person to finish eating, leaving something on my plate, doing my deep breathing exercises, or taking my vitamins–I acknowledge them. Heck, not only do I acknowledge them, I celebrate them! I tell myself how awesome I am. I congratulate myself on my success and my determination. I applaud my dedication and my effort.

In other words, I don’t sweat the bad stuff; and I celebrate the good stuff. And the more I celebrate the good stuff, the more often I want to do more of it. Does that make sense? When’s the last time you celebrated a decision that you made when it came to food or exercise?

Beating yourself up is never a good strategy and, trust me, there will always be someone else out there who will do it for you. As trite as it sounds, be your own best friend, not your own worst enemy. Focus on the good stuff. Focus on the successes. You become that upon which you focus, so it’s imperative that you guide your mind where you want to go! Trust me, do this one small thing and the rest will follow.

p.s. I also no longer diet. Instead, I make conscious choices about food and exercise that give me energy and help me to feel better about myself and my body.

Defining Success

After an hour of aerobic conditioning, I stepped on the scale: 143.2! I had gained 2.2 pounds! Ouch!

“That was fast,” my little voice snarked. “I knew it wasn’t maintainable!”

Ignoring it, I quickly ran through a little checklist:

Had I put anything in my body that was not serving my goals? No.

Had I put too much of anything in my body that was not serving my goals? No.

Had I continued doing what I know works? Yes.

Had I had anything salty for dinner? No.

What date was it? Bingo!

Given the nature of bodies (especially female bodies), not to mention the inconsistencies of measuring devices, I have decided to define success–that is, successful maintenance–as staying within 3 pounds of my target weight (either way).

In other words, like any good statistician, I have given myself a margin of error. As long as I stay within that six pound spread (which is a pretty generous spread) I’m golden.

No why would I do that? Because weighing alone is not reliable. Having an acceptable range (as opposed to number) will prevent me from freaking out or defining myself as a failure and then, either tacitly or explicitly, giving myself permission to quit.

This way, when I hit that upper three pound threshold, I simply know that I need to reduce my calories again. When I go too low, I know that I need to add in more calories of the type that I had been eating when I was losing–that is, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc. This does not mean that I just get to start adding in junk. And this most certainly does not mean that I get to dive head first into a jar of peanut butter!

So, I am at the upper end of the threshold; does this mean I need to stop eating or go back to the gym? Does this mean I should quit and see if I can get those 10s back from Talbots? No, it simply means I need to reduce my calories by about 300 a day and see that tomorrow brings.

I’ll keep you posted.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

One of the routines that I added in over the last month was the simple act of breathing. I take two sets of ten deep diaphragmatic breathing. By that, I mean taking a deep breath in (expanding your stomach), holding it in, and then exhaling slowly (while your stomach retracts). I tend do this on a 6-24-12 ratio; meaning, I breath in for a count of 6, hold it for a count of 24, and exhale for a count of 12.

Now, you may be thinking, I can’t hold my breath for 24 counts! Well, then try 3-12-6. It’s the ratio that matters, not the length. I started out with 3-12-6 and am now up to, on good days, 8-32-16.

Now, you may be thinking, why would I do that? The reasons are multitude. One, it’s incredibly relaxing. Two, it stimulates the lymph in the body. Lymph is essential in ridding the body of waste and other toxins. You get that stuff out of there and you start feeling better–almost immediately.

My own personal objection was, when am I going to have the time? My own personal solution is in the car. I have a thirty minute commute. It takes me less than 12 minutes to take 10 deep breaths. It helps relax me during the drive in (and on the ride home). It also helps increase my focus on the day ahead on the way in. And it helps me discharge any lingering stress of the day on the way out. Try it. You might be pleasantly surprised.

My Little Voice

After such a great day yesterday, my little voice reared its ugly head this morning. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t surprised. And further, I assume that it’s going to do that more and more frequently until it realizes that I am no longer listening.

This morning, as I was getting dressed, I tried on a pair of never worn brown pants (and a never worn pair of black pants) that no longer fit. Unfortunately, I do not have the receipts for these. They are, essentially, sunk costs. So immediately my little voice kicks in: You’ve wasted all this money on clothes! You don’t have anything to wear! What are you going to teach in? You’re going to have to spend even more money now! You shouldn’t have bought those to begin with. They look worse now than they did when you were heavier! Maybe you should gain some weight so you won’t have to buy new clothes! It went on and on and on.

I stood there for a moment trying to imagine that my little voice didn’t sound so much like my grandmother who, may she rest in peace, never wasted a cent in her life. In fact, you could give her one and she could give you ten back (she wouldn’t mind you, but she could). I imagined instead that my little voice sounded a little bit like Antonio Banderas. That took the sting out, let me tell you. In fact, thinking about Antonio Banderas whispering in my ear, I was only all too happy to disrobe!

Anyway, once I got the knee jerk reaction to run downstairs and grab some chocolate under control, I took a step back and asked myself: is feeling good about myself and about my body (and everything else that entails) worth the $60 that I spent on these pants that I never intend to wear?

You bet your britches it is!

C-A-N-I

At the recent Tony Robbins event that Michael and I crewed, Robbins introduced a relatively simple strategy for success, which he refers to as C-A-N-I. Not to be confused with “Can I [Do it]?”, C-A-N-I stands for Constant And Never-ending Improvement. Does that mean perfection? Not at all. It means just what it says; in any quest for positive change, you should strive for constant and never-ending improvement. Some days are not going to be perfect–heck, some hours are not going to be perfect. But as long as you have your eye set on a clearly defined goal, such as losing 10 pounds (or even 40 or 50 pounds) of excess fat or reducing your weight enough to eliminate joint pain and facilitate greater flexibility, constant and never-ending improvement will get you there.