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Diet or Exercise – Is One More Important?

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So I’ve been debating over what to post next. There are so many aspects involved in the weight loss effort-Diet, Exercise, Mental and Emotional- that I’m hard pressed to make a decision. And I don’t want to lose your interest in something so important.

Diet or Exercise- I was recently asked which I thought was more important. The two really do go together. Focusing on one is better than not doing anything, but that approach can be discouraging and lead to frustration. Results are the ultimate motivator, and there’s no faster way to lose weight than to get on board entirely with your efforts, by exercising and eating healthy.

I’m more conscious of making good food choices if I’ve exercised. I’m more into my workout if I don’t feel like I’m simply erasing past diet transgressions. That all-or-nothing thinking again, to a degree. Letting go of that is hard, but that’s where the patience comes in.

It can be a vicious cycle either way you work it. Balancing willpower versus guilt (or paying your dues) can be an exhausting effort.

Food Issues- Controlling my environment, triggers, and potential excuses makes it infinitely easier. For example…
Make a grocery list and stick to it! No junk or snack food should be on this list. If it isn’t in the house, you won’t have to muster the willpower to resist when defenses are down. Go for lean meat, veggies, fruit, and whole grains as you shop. Less processed equals better.

Go to the store on a full stomach. If you happen to go when you’re hungry, drink a water bottle and have a protein bar as you shop. They can ring up the wrapper, no biggie (unless you cave to impulse buys, then you’ll be the biggie ;) )

When free day rolls around, you are FREE to go grab whatever you waited for all week long. Single serving sizes of chocolate and chips from the gas station are what I normally get on Sunday. You can get a variety of goodies at a low cost and without leftovers.

Water Intake- Drinking plenty of water is difficult for me, and it’s so important. I have reusable water bottles, cups, plastic bottles, I’ve tried them all. The product of the week for me has been the mini plastic water bottles. Easier to carry jogging, faster to refill, and not as much of a commitment. ;) 10 ounce bottles with a goal of 8 per day…I’m a Diet Coke junkie, so this is a change I’m shooting for, even now.

The need for water can be mistaken for hunger. By the time I feel hungry, I want food, not water. I’ve been trying to drink first and save some calories along the way. It takes mindful effort to remember. Change is hard. Grrr ;)

These are tricks that you can probably find all over the internet if you’re looking for them. The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming. It’s hard to put into practice and remember all of these things. Changing one or 2 habits at a time makes the effort more manageable for me…and these are the baby steps I’ve taken along the way. Common sense from one point of view, but actually put into practice, it makes a world of difference!

So there are a few starting points, as far as diet goes. Exercise is next on my mind, but I’m really interested in what YOU would like to hear about and discuss. We all have our challenges, and sometimes it amazes me how similar they can be. :)

Roller Coaster

What Is Your Excuse?

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We all make excuses for not eating right and exercising. I did it for years.
1.  I don’t have the time.
2.  I don’t have the energy.
3.  I don’t like to exercise.
4.  I don’t want to give up my favorite foods.
5.  I don’t know what exercises and diet plan to follow.
6.  I don’t get the results I want, so why bother?


With all of those negatives, no wonder positive changes aren’t being made.
Talking yourself through things with a good attitude really can turn things around for the better. It may seem crazy, but the idea of “Fake it ’til you make it” is a wonderful tool in your mental arsenal.
“All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail.” Dorothea Brande (I love that quote)
Your mind is the most powerful key to your success. Every day you have hundreds of decisions to make…That presents so many opportunities to make just a few changes in your daily habits. Baby steps, folks. Every small victory deserves to be celebrated (not with ice cream! ;) ). Those successes will help you keep your momentum.
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Roller Coaster

Running For My Boys

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Who would have thought a few years ago that I’d be running races?!? There was a time that I couldn’t even run a mile.

The Georgia Race for Autism was my 1st road race, and my second ever running competition (Warrior Dash was my first). I was excited to participate in this event to support a worthy cause- Autism. I found out about this event just a few weeks ago, so we didn’t have a lot of time to fund raise. A few generous souls donated though, and we totaled $90.00 in donations.

I had Merritt and Remy on my mind during the race. I hoped to place in the Top 3 of my age division, and had my mental game planned. Imagining the cure for Autism existed past the finish line if I were fast enough to catch it made me pick up the pace.

I started near the front and hoped I didn’t overestimate my ability. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way, but I really didn’t want to get passed. ;) I tried to pick the perfect pace as I ran…not holding myself back too much, and not wearing myself out too soon. I guess I picked a good spot in the crowd. I passed a few people and kept pace with a few runners for most of the way. A kid that must have been around 14 years old and an older teenager running together went past me between mile 2-3. I couldn’t help but smile. The younger one reminded me of Merritt in a way, and somehow I could just tell he was probably on the Autism spectrum. That kid was booking it and it was inspiring.

I have to admit, I was happy to split off from the 10k runners right after that. ;) Last mile to go, time to crank it up a notch!

With the end in site, I sprinted hard neck and neck beside another runner. Just after passing the finish line, runners were handed cards to write down name, bib number, and finish time that was shown on a screen as the finish line was crossed. Tables were set up with boxes for the cards, divided by age group and gender. I dropped mine into an empty box…Wait a minute, could it be? Was I really 1st in my age group? It took a minute to sink in, and I really couldn’t believe it until I was called up by the announcer during the awards ceremony. I won! Holy crap, I won!! I was ecstatic. :)

Just like losing weight, I surpassed my goal and it felt fantastic. You never know where life might take you, and usually the one thing holding you back is you. Surprising yourself by breaking through those self-imposed limitations is the sweetest victory of all.

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Roller Coaster

What Worked for Me – Amanda Wilson

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Some of you have been chomping at the bit(which I LOVE!), so I’ll try to break it down quickly.

Body For Life by Bill Phillips is the book that clicked for me.

http://bodyforlife.com/what-is-bfl

There is no easy way or magic bullet. It takes hard work, determination, consistency, patience, and a PLAN that’s proven to work. Having a simple plan for a new way of life has made all the difference for me.

Incorporating good habits is “The Secret”. Slow and steady DOES win the race. Also, a winning attitude. No excuses allowed. ;) Excuses take too much mental energy for me anyway.

20 minutes isn’t long, right? Less time than I spend on Facebook(yikes), emailing, or watching TV, even reading. Did I mention bookworms are cool? ;) But I digress…

Can you spare that 3 days per week? That’s all you need for cardio. No joke.

How about 1 hour 3 days per week? Too much to look smokin’ hot(I’m still trying), have more confidence, have more energy, and feel better mentally and physically? Building muscle makes such a huge difference!
Weight training was my missing element all along. The hour spent in my garage with music blaring, gloves on, and mucho attitude is well spent. It’s a positive escape from everything which equals some stress relief.

The diet is based on a list of approved foods. Nothing crazy. It involves portion sizes, 6 meals per day, and one Free or Cheat Day per week to reward yourself and boost your metabolism. Fueling your body is such an important component in the weight loss effort. Did I mention that I love to eat? ;)

It isn’t as hard as you think. Knowing your efforts will be rewarded helps one heck of a lot.

To Recap-

6 portion controlled, healthy meals per day

3 days per week of cardio- 20 minutes using High Intensity Interval Training

3 days per week of weight training- takes about an hour

1 Free Day per week, with no workout and WHATEVER you want to eat (don’t hurt yourself, hee hee ;) )

Plan diet and workouts for each day ahead of time.

Between the diet, cardio, and weight training, there are a lot of mental games to play with myself. What to do and how to actually make it happen every day involves planning and being committed to that plan. It gets easier as you go, but at times it is a challenge to stay on track. It can be done though!

I have so many little tricks that have worked for me, and I look forward to sharing them with you (and hearing your comments)! :)

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