Thinking About Food

By Anne Keckler | August 12, 2008

So I’m trying to lose the weight I put on during my absence from the gym. I’ve been reading up on nutrition and weight loss, and just trying to stay motivated to eat fewer calories than I burn. It’s never fun.

One thing you’ve gotta know about me is that I love food. I love the variety of tastes and textures. And I particularly like certain combinations of foods. So while I could have a low-fat veggie pizza and some water, I just wouldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t have soda with my pizza. Likewise, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich just calls out for chocolate milk!

So right now I’m just limiting portion sizes, for the most part. And giving up dessert entirely. I know it’s not forever, and one day, when my weight is closer to where I’d like it to be, I can occasionally have a brownie.

But there’s no way I’d eat oatmeal and skinless chicken breast all day long. I don’t care how good it would make me look!

Related posts:

  1. Enjoy in Moderation
  2. How Your Lifestyle Affects Your Fitness
  3. I’m Back from Cancun
  4. Gaining Muscle
  5. Protein FAQ

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Coming Back After a Long Layoff

By Anne Keckler | August 11, 2008

It happens to everyone at some point or another. You get sick or injured, or real life just interrupts your gym routine. For whatever reason, you’ve gotten out of the habit of working out, and now you face the harsh reality of getting back in shape.

If you are injured, see a doctor immediately. I cannot stress this enough. If you have been injured, do not decide for yourself whether you should just “work through it.” Get a doctor to look at it. Get x-rays and MRIs if necessary. Be sure you are not going to make things worse by working out.

Once you’ve been cleared to work out again, you’ll need to start off slowly. Don’t be too hard on yourself those first few weeks. Use light weights and perhaps fewer sets. Just get back into the routine of working out regularly, without being so sore that you can’t walk the next day.

I started back to the gym a couple of weeks ago, after a layoff of several months. I was still somewhat active, but that’s not the same thing as lifting heavy iron several times a week. So now I’m paying the price by having to lift lighter weights, but I won’t make the mistake of lifting too much too soon, risking an injury or simply getting so sore that I can’t work out on my next scheduled day. An injury will only set you back even further, and some injuries cause permanent limitations.

In reality, this layoff put me back to lifting what I was lifting a year ago. I had wanted to be bench pressing my bodyweight by now, but it will probably be at least six months, and maybe a year, before I’ll be doing that. Still, the worst thing I could do right now would be to push myself too hard.

If you are coming back from an injury, be sure you get professional advice and assistance in rehabilitating the injured body part. If you are just coming back from a long layoff for personal reasons or illness that doesn’t effect your training directly, just take it easy for a while and work back up to where you were gradually.

Related posts:

  1. Are You Bored With Your Fitness Routine?
  2. Lost Weight – Now What?
  3. Losing Weight vs. Losing Fat
  4. Find Activities You Enjoy
  5. 25 Fitness Myths, Part 2

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Sleep!

By Anne Keckler | May 8, 2008

I’ve been horrible about writing lately. I’ve been so busy with my sons’ activities!

But here is a post you might enjoy about how to get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep is so important to your health, your weight, your energy levels, and everything else. J.D. has dug up some good information that might help you.

Related posts:

  1. Fitness for the Busy Lifestyle
  2. Taking My Own Advice
  3. Benefits of Exercise?
  4. I’m Back from Cancun
  5. Find Activities You Enjoy

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Are You Bored With Your Fitness Routine?

By Anne Keckler | April 22, 2008

This is the time of year when many of the New Years’ Resolutioners have already given up and quit going to the gym, exercising, or dieting. Maybe you’re thinking of doing the same, or you haven’t been to the gym for a couple of weeks, and you’re wondering how the rest of us keep going week after week, year after year.

Here are some tips to keep yourself motivated and interested in your fitness improvement program:

What do you do to fight boredom? How do you keep going when you want to give up?

Related posts:

  1. How to Choose a Personal Trainer
  2. What Is Fitness?
  3. 25 Fitness Myths, Part 2
  4. 25 Fitness Myths, Part 1
  5. How Your Lifestyle Affects Your Fitness

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Topics: Exercise, Motivation, Nutrition | 3 Comments »

Film Festivals!

By Anne Keckler | April 8, 2008

My son, Patrick, was in an FSU Masters Thesis Film last year, called Cosmos. It has been accepted to the Sarasota Film Festival, as well as the Atlanta Film Festival. So last weekend we were in the Sarasota area, attending parties and film screenings. Tomorrow we leave again to go to Atlanta.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll get periodic updates from me about these things. I thought I’d let the rest of you know why I haven’t posted anything in a while.

I’ll be back!

Related posts:

  1. Farewell, Dear Friends…
  2. Taking My Own Advice
  3. Traveling
  4. Recall of Total Body Essential Nutrition Products!
  5. Be Good to Yourself Day

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Is Obesity Linked to Disease?

By Anne Keckler | April 3, 2008

My cousin, who is just a few years younger than I, was just diagnosed with diabetes a couple of days ago. When I mentioned this on another forum, one dedicated to combating fat discrimination, I was told that obesity does not lead to disease, and that thin people get diabetes, too. Now, I realize that thin people get diabetes. I also realize that there are two types of diabetes, and that there are other factors involved. But do overweight people get certain diseases more than thin people, regardless of other lifestyle factors?

I decided to investigate.

I’m a skeptic at heart. We constantly hear that obesity is linked to various diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and I had to learn this information to pass my personal trainer certification exam. But I never stopped to question the evidence. Could it be that there is a correlation, but that no causation has been found? And if this is the case, how strong of a correlation is there? Are there other factors to consider?

I am currently researching this, and I’ll be back with some information soon.

Related posts:

  1. How to Choose a Personal Trainer
  2. How to Lower Your Cholesterol
  3. Benefits of Hiring a Personal Trainer
  4. Obese Nation: Is Your Weight Causing You to Miss Out?
  5. My path to coaching

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Recall of Total Body Essential Nutrition Products!

By Anne Keckler | March 28, 2008

THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WARNS CONSUMERS OF ADVERSE REACTIONS FROM DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of suspect selenium poisoning associated with consumption of a dietary supplement. Total Body Essential Nutrition of Atlanta is the sole distributor of the products and has voluntarily recalled Total Body Formula in the flavors of Tropical Orange and Peach Nectar and Total Body Mega Formula in Orange/Tangerine flavor.

The liquid dietary supplement products may cause severe adverse reactions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, joint pain and fatigue. These symptoms can be followed by hair loss, nail brittleness and neurological abnormalities (such as numbness and other odd sensations in the hands, arms, legs or feet). To date, 27 cases have been identified in Florida from four counties (Calhoun, Gulf, Lake and Washington).

The Total Body Formula products are sold in eight-ounce and 32-ounce plastic bottles. The Total Body Mega Formula is sold in 32-ounce plastic bottles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is analyzing samples of the products to identify the cause of the reactions, including the possibility that the products contain excessive amounts of selenium, which is known to cause symptoms such as those described in the adverse events. Selenium, a trace mineral , is needed only in small amounts for good health.

The products have also been distributed in Alabama, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

DOH and the FDA advise consumers in Florida to avoid using the products immediately and to discard the bottles by placing them in a trash receptacle. Consumers who have been taking the products and have experienced adverse reactions should consult their health care professional or their local Poison Control Center at 1 800-222-1222 for medical advice.

For information about the product, consumers can call the FDA’s toll-free Food Safety Hotline at 1-888-SAFEFOOD. All suspect cases of selenium poisoning should be reported to a local county health department.

DOH promotes, protects and improves the health of all people in Florida. To learn more about DOH, visit the website at www.doh.state.fl.us.

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  4. How many calories?
  5. How to Lower Your Cholesterol

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How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

By Anne Keckler | March 28, 2008

You’ve been working hard, dieting and exercising, and you’ve almost reached your goal weight. You only have a few pounds to go. But you’ve hit a plateau. Your weight loss has stalled, and what has been working for weeks or months just isn’t working any more!

What do you do now?

That’s the question I asked several knowledgable people at my gym, Club Legends, yesterday, including a couple of the most experienced personal trainers. I’ve put their answers in bold, and my comments to you about their answers are in italics.

How does someone who has lost weight by dieting and exercising lose that last stubborn five pounds that just aren’t coming off?

Vince Graham, Personal Trainer:

You need to take a look at your nutrition. That’s very important. Lower calories more, but be sure to keep them above 1200 calories per day. Eat breakfast every single day. Eat frequently. Get some protein at every meal.

Many people underestimate how many calories they are taking in each day. If your weight loss has stalled, you might find it helpful to keep an accurate record of your calories for a few days, to see how many you are really consuming. Weigh and measure your food, and use a good calorie counter. Fitday.com is one free option, with a database of common foods. It will also track macronutrients, water intake, and some micronutrients.

Eating breakfast, and eating frequently are both intended to keep your metabolism high. Protein prevents muscle loss while dieting.

Increase the intensity of your exercise.

By increasing weight, reps, and/or sets, you increase the intensity of your weight training. Ways to increase the intensity of your cardio include going faster, going uphill, increasing the resistance on the stationary bike, etc. Get your heartrate up higher.

Get adequate rest.

Inadequate rest increases cortisol, which is the hormone that makes your body store fat. It’s the stress hormone, because your body creates more cortisol during times of stress (such as high intensity exercise). You cannot completely avoid this, but you can reduce it. I’ll write more about this another time, but for now just remember to get plenty of sleep when you are trying to lose weight.

Stan, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Training Manager of Club Legends

Get a personalized plan from a qualified fitness professional.

Just as you would go to a dentist or doctor for help, a qualified fitness professional is trained to help people who are trying to reach a fitness goal, such as weight loss. We keep up to date on the latest research, and we have experience in helping others like you. Of course you’re smart enough to study and learn all of this on your own, but do you really have the time to dedicate to it, or would it be better to hire someone who does just that? Hiring the right trainer can be a very smart move, and just think of how great you’ll feel when you’ve finally reached your goal — in weeks rather than months or years!

Time your meals for optimum fat loss.

I plan to write an entire article about meal timing soon. Stay tuned for that! But try some of the other suggestions here for now, and see how they work for you.

Get plenty of rest.

As I said above, this is vitally important. It reduces cortisol, thus helping you to lose fat.

Tim Durning, Bodybuilder

Increase the intensity of your workout.

We’re starting to see some things repeated here. Adequate rest. Higher intensity workout. Tim is in training for another competition in a few weeks, so he’s currently trying to shed most of his bodyfat. He likes to do “stadiums,” which means that he goes to a football stadium and runs up and down the bleachers! He also suggested increasing the reps in your workout, but keeping the weights high. Notice that this isn’t the same old “high reps with low weights” that you’ve read in all those fitness magazines (especially the women’s ones)!

Have low-carb days.

Before his last competition, Tim did a low-carb diet to shed those last few pounds of fat. This time, he’s doing it a little differently. He is alternating ultra-low-carb days with moderately low-carb days. This is often referred to as a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet.

Use the sauna.

Tim calls it the “hot box.”

Along with drinking plenty of water, sweating can help you to get rid of fat. One of the reasons for this is that the right diet and exercise program will release fatty acids into your bloodstream, and you have to then flush them out of the body. Just be careful you don’t get dehydrated. Which leads us to Tim’s last piece of advice:

Drink tons of water.

Flush out those fatty acids!

Kim Gracik, former personal trainer, really fit mom:

Eat lean protein: tuna fish, boiled egg whites, and turkey breast all work for me.

This echos Vince’s advice to eat protein at every meal. She gives specific recommendations, though, which can be helpful.

Drink lots of water.

Again, lots of water. I can’t stress this too much. If you are going to the bathroom a lot, just think of how much fat you are flushing out of your system each time.

Cardio in the morning, before breakfast.

This one is controversial.

author, Bill Philips, is a big supporter of doing cardio in the morning before breakfast. Some people undoubtedly get good results with this, and there is some research to back it up. Other people, however, feel woozy, lightheaded, and weak if they try this. For them, it might be better to eat something light before exercising in the morning. I tend to think that it’s the overall calorie balance over the course of 24 hours that matters most. You can always try it, though, and see if it works for you!

So those were my mini-interviews. I enjoyed getting the perspective of others in my gym. It was good to get my mind working on this issue, since I’ve decided to lose 5 – 10 pounds, myself. I know that my readers want to be fit and healthy, and, like me, you aren’t willing to lose weight at any cost.

Finally, here are my own tips, and the things I will be doing over the next few weeks to lose a few pounds of fat:

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