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weight loss

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Workshop: LIFETIME LEAN, Saturday August 29th

Not a day goes by where my Facebook feed doesn't contain at least one diet post, whether it's a friend trying to lose weight, an advertisement for the next big miracle, or an acquaintance selling some kind of "shrinkage" elixir. Dukan, juice fasting, MLM supplements, 5:2, cabbage soup, Skinny Bitch, Grapefruit diet, Atkins, the Zone... even new trends of drinking clay and ingesting tapeworm eggs just to lose weight- totally gross! Obviously, this all makes my job very tough- my clients point to Susie Q who's on an extreme low calorie diet losing 4 lbs. a week and wonder why they're only losing a quarter of that. They see these 12-week "amazing before and afters" that required 1,000-calorie-a-day meal plans and 2 hours of daily exercise and they get sad. I relate because I used to buy into that crap myself, to the point where I was popping handfuls of (now illegal) fat burners and vomiting up my food. Not cute!

This industry I'm in... a lot of it totally blows.

So, here's the deal- next Saturday afternoon, August 29th, I will be hosting an intensive three hour workshop along with Master Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Roz Alexander, to help people cut through all the stinky diet and fitness B.S. and actually learn how to create a sustainable, long-term plan. Real transformation requires commitment to learning, hunger for change, and a willingness to reprogram both mind and body. There's no quick fix, and you don't just wake up one day a brand new person- it's a daily commitment. Change IS hard work- the diet companies won't tell you that- but if you have a blueprint in place, some useful tools, and a real willingness to turn the corner for good, I know you can get to a place of strength, joy, and peace living in a body that you're friends with. If you're looking for an instant turnaround or you need to squeeze into a dress in two weeks, this workshop is not for you. If you're ready to unravel the diet world mess and do the work to be healthy, strong and confident, please join! If you think this may be useful to someone you know, share it! 

To learn more and secure your seat--> http://strongbody.peatix.com/?lang=en-sg


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Losing Weight Without Food Logs and Calorie Counting

Healthy eating doesn't need to be complicated. Explore to see what works for you!

Healthy eating doesn't need to be complicated. Explore to see what works for you!


Q: I am trying to lose weight and clean up my eating habits, but I dislike counting calories and keeping a food log. What can I do instead? 

A: Many health and fitness professionals, including myself, advise some of their clients who are trying to lose weight to track their eating habits and macronutrient intake for at least the first few weeks of a program. With so many iPhone apps and software packages available to log daily nutritional intake on the go, keeping a food diary has never been easier. One app I recommend checking out is MyFitnessPal, which lists a lot of local dishes, including many hawker food favorites. That said, it can be complicated to figure out exact portion size and to have to scroll through a slew of food options every time you sit down to have a meal or snack. Some people just don’t have the patience for it and if it’s not a habit that you feel you can adopt for the long haul, there’s really no point in trying to force yourself. Fortunately, you can still lose weight without counting calories. Here are five alternative strategies that will help you slim down and shape up without the food journal:

Adopt a Low Energy-Dense Diet: Studies show that people who adopt a diet comprised of low energy-dense foods (foods high in micronutrients and water, higher in fiber, and low in fat) are able to lose weight successfully without having to keep tabs on the caloric content of their meals. Low energy-dense foods include unprocessed carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and beans) and lean protein sources (lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs and egg whites, low-fat dairy). A low energy-dense diet is typically more satiating and higher in total volume of foods consumed due to the high water and fiber content. Increased bulk leads to a greater feeling of fullness after eating, which prevents overeating.

Eliminate Packaged and Processed Foods: One tip I pass on to all my clients is to skip the middle aisles of the grocery store- where all the processed food hangs out- and only shop at the perimeter. Processed foods typically contain many harmful ingredients and are filled with empty calories that will do little for your body other than expanding your waistline. Trans fats contained in many processed foods like cakes and crackers contribute to tens of thousands of premature heart disease deaths each year.  Additionally, processed foods do not require as much energy to digest as compared to whole foods, and do not stimulate the metabolism in the same manner. A recent study found that people burned 50 percent more calories eating whole foods than they did processed foods. Processed food is bad news- skip it!

Increase Protein and Decrease Carbohydrate Intake: It is well established that a high protein, low fat diet increases thermogenesis (creation of heat in the body, which burns calories), promoting greater weight loss than a more typical high carbohydrate diet. High protein diets (30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat) are shown to increase energy expenditure by 80-100 calories per day when compared to a normal diet (10% protein, 60% carbohydrates, 30% fat). Many people simply don’t eat as much protein as their body needs. Additionally, protein will make people feel fuller for a longer period of time by triggering glucose production in the small intestine. Protein is also known to reduce appetite overall.

Read Food Labels: Ask yourself this: on a daily basis, do you have any idea what you’re actually putting into your body? Do you eat food items that have ingredients you can’t pronounce?  Reading food labels and doing the homework to research the items you’re not familiar with will encourage a greater awareness about the relationship between food and your body, as well as tipping you off to items that may not be so healthy after all. For instance, are you eating BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), a very common additive found in nearly every packaged food item? It’s linked to cancer and can cause liver damage, as well as being used to make jet fuels and embalming fluid. How about high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found on many food labels? Studies show that it contributes to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. Getting to know your food will lead you to make healthier choices.

Develop Meal Mindfulness: When we sit down to eat, we often don’t take the time to enjoy our food; to consider its origin, production and nutrition quality; or to pay attention to how it feels on our tongue and in our bellies. Mindful eating is the practice of being fully and deliberately aware of the experience of eating, from the very first thought about food (“I think I’m hungry. I want something salty”), to the sensation of chewing, to ruminating about the journey that particular meal or food item had to take in order to arrive on your plate. Mindful eating is paying close attention to the textures, smells, sights, sounds and flavors of your food.  A growing body of research shows that mindful eating can assist in weight loss, reduce emotional or “stress” eating, and help people make better food choices over time.

Do you count your calories on a regular basis? If not, have you adopted one or more of the strategies listed above? What has your weight loss experience been like so far? As always, I’d love to hear from you! If you have a fitness or wellness-related question, or would like direct weight loss assistance, email me at aimee@tangramfitness.com.

Be well,
Aimee

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Trash Your Excuses and Recommit!

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Excuses—we’ve all made them at one time or another.

“Work has been very hectic and I just haven’t had time to exercise lately.”

“My child is ill and I’ve not been able to get to the gym or pay much attention to my eating habits.”

“I can’t really afford an exercise program; everything is so expensive here.”

“I’ve been really stressed out about some family drama. I’ll start following my nutrition plan again when things calm down.”

“I’m dealing with a health issue. I’ll focus on getting stronger when the health issue is resolved.”

“My husband doesn’t really like it when I spend so much time working out.”

“I have to travel a lot for work now. I just can’t commit to a regular regimen.”

Here’s the harsh truth: when you allow external forces to sabotage your goals, you forfeit ownership over your present and future self while sending out a message that you don’t truly matter, that your wishes and goals are not important. Unfortunately, people around you receive this message and respond accordingly, be it your spouse, your best friend, a colleague or even a stranger. Cues of defeat, frustration, and low self-worth are emitted from your body language, your voice, your facial expressions, and the words you choose to express yourself. Once you establish this negative pattern, it can be very challenging to take back the reins of your life again, especially if people have become accustomed to your role as constant caretaker, victim, or martyr. The longer you make excuses, the more you rob both yourself and the world of your unique beauty and strength.

When you’ve been mired in the muck of excuses for a while, a total reset is sometimes the best option to getting you back on track. You’re probably not feeling so hot at this point- perhaps a bit defeated, depressed, and discouraged. Instead of sinking even deeper into the bottomless pity pit by half-heartedly telling yourself that, “things will be different tomorrow,” get reacquainted with what you’re really aiming for and why. Real change requires vision, and vision demands your attention. Here are my five recommended steps to improve your chance of long-term success after a bout of excuse-itis. 

 

1. GET CLEAR: Brew yourself a cup of tea and take some time to fill out a Decisional Balance Sheet.  A Decisional Balance Sheet is a tool to record the pros and cons of a potential life shift or habit change, and recognizes both the gains and losses of that change. Having a counseling or coaching professional to guide you through the process can be helpful, but you can also do it yourself as long as you commit to being honest and thorough. Give yourself at least thirty minutes- don’t rush this!

SAMPLE DECISIONAL BALANCE SHEET

 

 

 

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2. DIVINE THE FUTURE: If you make the potential life shift or habit change and stick with it, what will your life look like six months from now? How about a year? What about five years? What long term benefits will you reap from your consistency and efforts? What will you look like and feel like? What people, situations and things might you attract into your life from this change? Sit down in a quiet room a visualize exactly where this change will take you. Envision how you’re going to make this change occur. What will it require of you? See yourself taking action each step of the way, and imagine how you will respond to each challenge you may face.

3.  PUT YOURSELF FIRST:  One of the major reasons women fail at maintaining a program or reaching a goal is GUILT... Guilt about putting themselves first and spending some time away from loved ones. They may think setting aside five hours a week for exercise is selfish, or that training for their first race is self-indulgent, or that sticking with a nutrition plan could inconvenience their family or friends. What happens down the road if you don’t put yourself first in order to make the change you desperately want and need? For example, what if you have a major health issue, like obesity or high blood pressure, but you decide to do nothing about it in order to spend more time with your children? What might skipping out on exercise and meal preparation mean for your kids down the road? What are you teaching them? Think about the consequences of NOT putting yourself first. How might setting your priorities aside harm you and the people you care about? Write it all down. You help NO ONE by denying yourself.

 

4. WRITE A POST-IT FOR YOUR INNER SELF: Self-help gurus have long touted mirror work as a pathway for building a desired future, but up until recently, evidence of its effectiveness was primarily anecdotal. A recent study  conducted by Carnegie Mellon University shows that self-affirmations can actually protect against the negative effects of stress and improve problem-solving performance. To create your own mirror work mantra, write down aspects of your future self in the present tense on a sheet of paper. For instance, if you are running to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health, you may write, “I am a strong, fast long-distance runner and a beacon of good health. I value my health and fitness because I value myself and my family.” Tape your affirmation onto your bathroom mirror and aim to read it aloud several times a day while looking directly at yourself. There’s no need to feel shy or embarrassed- no one else is watching!

 

5. RECOMMIT WITH SUPPORT: Through the Decisional Balance Sheet, you’ve become clear about the benefits and drawbacks of your potential life shift or habit change. Visualization has aided you in imagining how this change will impact your life in the near and distant future. You’ve made a commitment to put yourself first for a change and you’ve written down the consequences of what could happen if you continue to ignore your needs and goals. Through self-affirmations and mirror work, you’ve begun to build a barrier between you and stress while developing a more positive attitude about yourself and your life. Now, it’s time to fully recommit with some support, whether through an online group, a local club or fellowship, or even a group of bootcampers or runners. Build a support network that you can lean on when times get tough, and one that will keep you regularly accountable. Yes, you’ll be doing the heavy lifting, but you never have to go through a big shift alone.

Do you need to recommit to a goal? Are you working on a big life shift after a period of setbacks and excuses? What are your strategies for recommitting to yourself and your desires? Leave your thoughts in the comments section! 

 

 



 

 

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