Time is flying by, summer is over and the routines of the year are well and truly in place. Does it feel like Christmas has just passed and Easter is almost here? With an early Easter, all those typical sweet treats are well and truly available and perhaps tempting you at each shopping trip. This month’s article, The sweet treat, looks at some of the reasons why we get tempted by sweet things and might help you to overcome the temptation and stay on track to your health and wellness goals.
The influence of the circle of people close to us affects not only the quality of our friendships, but also our overall health and well-being. When thinking about your close circle, do they help or hinder your weight and wellness progress? You can always take control and invite them with you next time you come in for some exercise. Just let a Health Coach know so that your friend can be shown what to do in their first circuit.
Lost 30.5 kilos & 111.5 cm
I started this journey in February 2014 after overcoming one of the worst relapses since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 7 years ago. I was married for 9 days and ended up in hospital for 2 weeks and a recovery time of 6 months. I knew changing my lifestyle and losing weight would be beneficial to me.
After starting and losing about 8kg, I suffered another relapse in March 2014 and thought this is too hard, I just have to live with the body I have.
While doing my normal weekly shop in August 2014, Bronwyn called me and said “Hey, come in and have a chat.” I agreed; from there it has changed my life with not only losing weight and gaining the body I always dreamed about but the level of confidence is amazing.
I have done things and accomplished things I never thought I could do having MS. The daily struggle with this disease is a fight in itself and the fact that I have lost the weight still amazes me. Anyone who knows me has seen me struggle these last 19 months from relapses to IV steroids to countless medications to hospital stays and raising my two young sons.
Even the fact that I couldn’t walk properly for months hasn’t and will not stop me, and the support and guidance that I have received from Healthy Inspirations has changed not only my, but my family’s life. I feel stronger than I have ever felt and know that I can do anything even when my body or mind slows me down. And I’m happy to receive the compliment of being an inspiration.
My before photo is taken in August 2014. I’m at the top of Bluff Hill, which I would never thought I would ever climb, but now do it most days. It’s a great daily hill walk to conquer.
~ Holly R ~
- Special thanks to Warm Hearts Photography and to Rose from Avon for Holly’s make-up.
One of the most problematic areas people find with losing weight is the sense of being deprived of their favourite foods. You only have to look at the cover of any weight loss magazine or online recipe portal to see promises of weight loss while eating scrumptious desserts and treats.
Anyone wanting to lose weight would acknowledge that eating dessert is probably not the best route to success, so why is it that people keep making this mistake?
There are many reasons, of course. As children our good behaviour is rewarded with a sweet treat. If we finish all our vegies we can have dessert. We fell over and hurt ourselves, so we got a lolly to stop the tears.
As adults, we try to hold on to the “reward” system we learned as children. A hard day at work? Eat some chocolate. Argument with partner? A tub of ice-cream. Got a promotion? Dinner and dessert to celebrate.
It seems that our emotions are tied up with sweet foods, but of course as adults these foods – indeed any foods – will not resolve the problem or challenge that caused the emotion. More effective strategies are needed.
Another problem can be that personal identity is tied up with food choices. Your sister-in-law is a health and fitness fanatic known for salads and healthy foods. Your home baker friend is known for her fresh cookies each afternoon. Your Uncle John is known for his extravagant BBQs.
Breaking away from the food-induced identity we may have can be hard, but especially so if we don’t acknowledge it.
Some people following weight loss programs feel that they’ve lost their control over their food choices. With someone else – or the program – telling them what they can and can’t eat, they dig in their heels and deliberately eat what their program says they shouldn’t. They usually know what they’re doing, but don’t see any other way around the perceived loss of control.
One of the major problems for weight loss is that indulging in sweet foods stops the ability to retrain your palate away from sweet. Many of our members tell us that after just a few weeks of following their program, they lose their taste for sweet things. What was once an enjoyable food has become a sickly sweet flavour, and no longer enjoyable.
If you find that you’re one of the people regularly looking for sweet foods or rewards, honestly answer this question:
“Is my weight loss progress more important to me than continuing to eat sweets?”
If the answer is “No”, then you won’t change your choices. If the answer is “Yes”, it might be time to look at the reasons influencing your decisions to eat sweet foods. Identifying the reason or trigger means that you can start to look for alternate strategies when those situations arise.
Just because a magazine suggests that you can have your cake and eat it too, it doesn’t mean that the success you desire will follow. Avoid the magazines if you must, don’t walk past cake shops, throw out any bags of lollies or cake mixes or biscuits. In short, remove the temptation and make it easier to make choices that will help you reach your goals.
Years ago a friend was talking about how she would go for a run once a week and cover 10 to 15 km. At the time, this knowledge was quite demotivating as that distance was simply too big to envisage. Gosh, as a non-runner it’s still too big to think about but the realisation dawned that exercise does not have to be all or nothing.
To become an exerciser, you need to start small and gradually increase the work that you do, covering variables such as frequency, intensity, time and type – FITT.
In the early stages of a new exercise regime, you won’t be exercising every day. Of course, walking daily is advisable as is increasing your incidental activity, but it’s important to take things slowly so that your body has time to adjust. Sometimes the new exercise will lead to sore muscles, so going straight back out and doing the same thing again when you’re in pain is not the best approach.
Start by committing to a couple of times each week. Make it not non-negotiable. For example, you’ll go to the gym on Monday and Thursday at 6am. Every Sunday and Wednesday before bed, get your clothes and shoes ready and set your alarm so that there is no excuse in the morning.
After a month of going to the gym twice weekly, change it so that you now go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6am. It’s a small change done gradually that will give increased results.
As your body becomes accustomed to the demands of your new exercise routine, it will adapt. This means that it becomes more efficient and the exercise becomes easier. Sounds good? If you just keep doing the same thing you won’t get any fitter.
Let’s say you’re learning to do push-ups. Most women start with push-ups against the wall then progress to their knees and eventually to a full push-up from their toes. Each progression is harder, or more intense, than the one before.
To continue improving, you’ll also need to take note of the time. Using walking as an example, you might walk 2km in 30 minutes each morning. As your fitness improves, it’s important to speed up your walk so that the 2km takes 29 minutes, then 28 minutes and so on.
Walking the same distance in less time means that your body is continuing to adapt to the increasing demands of the exercise. You’ll barely notice this as your fitness will have improved, but it allows for continued improvement.
In the examples above, we used the gym, push-ups and walking. Providing variety in your exercise routine keeps your body adapting to new demands, and this is what helps improve fitness.
Even if you do only one type of activity, you can still change the type within the activity. In the gym, add a new exercise or two. With walking, add some hills or some short jogging.
When planning your own exercise strategy, don’t think about how unfit you are right now. There are four easy ways to gradually increase the amount you do, but only as your body can manage.
If you find that the exercise you’re doing no longer creates a noticeable effect during and after the session, it’s probably time to implement the FITT strategies to re-start your improvement.
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 50g chorizo, sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp cream
- 85g cooked peeled prawns
- 100g vegetables of choice eg mushroom, spinach, tomato
- 100g frozen peas, defrosted
- Preheat the oven to 180° C. In a 20cm oven-proof fry pan, fry the onion and chorizo in the oil over a low heat. Cook for 4 to 5 mins, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft.
- Take the pan off the heat, pour out any excess fat from the chorizo, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the frittata is golden and set.
- Serve in wedges with a leafy salad.
Popular fast foods, snacks and drinks may be very tempting but give some thought to the number of minutes of exercise you will need to set aside, on top of your normal exercise, to burn off the extra energy they provide. Even a very small ‘treat’ can have a negative impact on your weight loss success.
Question: How many extra hours/minutes of activity does it take to burn off a Cadbury milk chocolate Easter Bunny (200g)?
Strenuous Aerobics: 2 hours & 17 minutes
Social Golf: 4 hours & 35 minutes
Energetic Dancing: 3 hours & 3 minutes
Jogging 8 kph: 2 hours and 17 minutes
Swimming: 3 hours & 3 minutes
Walking: 4 hours & 35 minutes