The Other Red Meat

Passover is a difficult time for most people. It’s only 8 days, but for some reason it seems like an eternity. When following a healthy eating plan you may feel like you’ve forgone many foods already and Passover only adds to that list. But, this could actually be a great time to try some new things.

You’ve probably sworn off red meat thinking that it’s all bad for you and will sabotage your waist line, but you should know that not all red meat is created equal. Bison (or buffalo) is actually a very lean meat (as are most game meats, like venison). A 3 1/2 ounce serving has only 105 calories, 1 g. fat, and only 1 gram of saturated fat (which compared to most fatty red meat cuts is saint-like!). It’s actually one of my favorite meats. You can grill steaks or even have yummy hamburgers again! Because it doesn’t have the fat pockets that most steaks have, be careful not to over-cook it. Cook until medium-rare and you should be good to go!

Here’s a simple recipe to try:
(serves 8)
- 8 4oz. bison tenderloins
-

Get Back Up

Ok, I know I said I was only going to post once a week from now on, but I just had to share this video with you.

On your journey to losing weight there are going to be times where you just want to throw it all away and give up. It’s going to get tough and you’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to feel like there’s no end in sight and that you might never get there. You might feel that it’s all pointless. There will be times that you succeed and feel on top of the world and then there will be times, maybe after a slip-up, that you feel like a complete and total failure. These feelings are normal and everyone has them. Anyone who has ever fought and struggled for something has these moments. It’s ok. Don’t give up though, because if you give up then you surely won’t ever succeed. It may not come overnight and it might not come in 6 months, but if you keep on fighting I promise you that you will get there. Just keep on fighting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MslbhDZoniY

Turn Harmful Habits Into Helpful Habits

“It’s too hard to change”, “I’ve tried breaking my bad habits, but I always fail”, “Why bother anymore?”, “I want to change, but it’s taking too long and I just can’t keep it up”. Have you ever said any of these things to yourself about something that you’ve tried to quit? It could be unhealthy eating, smoking, starting to work out, or anything else that you know needs to change. If you’ve ever wanted to get rid of a bad habit you’ve most likely had some or all of these thoughts.

True, transforming bad habits into good habits can be daunting and difficult, but it’s not impossible. You just have to have the right tools and know-how to make it happen. I’m going to tell you a few things that have helped me in the past:

It Takes 21 Days
Research shows that changing a bad habit into a good one takes 21 days. That’s 3 weeks of consistent effort. So, to begin choose ONE thing you would like to free yourself from. You can choose to replace it with a good habit if you like, but you don’t have to. The goal at this point is to just get rid of the harmful habit, so it is up to you if you’d like to introduce the helpful habit now or not.

Once you’ve decided on the habit that you want to work on, decide on the date that you are going to begin. Give it some thought and make sure that you are going to be able to concentrate on really letting go. For instance, if you’ve decided to start exercising 3 times a week, but you know that the week you’ve decided to start this goal is going to be filled with late nights at the office then you will only be setting yourself up for failure and feelings of defeat. The point is to set yourself up for success, so do that by making sure that the only thing stopping you is your decision to do so. Choose a date that is free from any major obligations, so that you won’t feel more stressed out than you have to and will do everything you can to make it happen.

Now, write down the date. “On March 24th, I will become a non-smoker.” Count 21 days and mark that on your calendar. Commit to yourself to not waiver for the next 21 days.

Baby Steps
It’s overwhelming sometimes to look at the whole picture. Depending on the severity of your bad habit 21 days may seem like a ginormous amount of time. Make it easier on yourself by focusing on each day, one by one. Still take note of when the 21 day period ends, but tell yourself that each day you are going to recommit to yourself to stick with it and not look too far ahead. Every day is it’s own accomplishment. Cross each day off on the calendar as it passes and give yourself a huge pat on the back for living each day in a healthier way.

Make A List
When sitting at a big holiday meal I’ve had the tendency to overeat, “just because the food is there”. Once in a while that’s not such a bad thing, but what is bad is the way I feel the next day. I always feel remorseful and guilty, because I know that I could have avoided it. So, this Passover I am making a list of tips, techniques, and reasons of why I won’t overeat. Some of the things on my list are: 1. I know I will feel horrible tomorrow morning. 2. Am I really hungry or am I just picking? 3. If you want more tomorrow it will still be here. 4. Ask Roman for help 5. If you’re looking at this list then you most likely don’t really want to eat. I am going to take this list, fold it up, and put it under my plate as a reminder as to why I shouldn’t fall into my old harmful patterns. This physical action of writing it down and taking it with me will help me resist the temptation of overdoing it, because I have planned on it to help me.

If you know you might slip-up, which is a possibility, then do what you can to prepare for it. Make a list of why you are quitting this bad habit and what you can do to remind yourself of how to deal with difficult situations where your instinct is to move toward your harmful crutch.

Create A New Routine
If for instance you’re trying to alter your eating habits and you know that at a certain time of day you instinctively go for cookies try to change up your routine. Many people have the urge to eat a snack when they get home from work, because they’re too hungry to wait for dinner. It’s ok to grab a snack, but many times it’s not the best choice of snack. So, if you normally walk in the door, put your bag down, hang up your coat, and then run to your “comfort stash” in the cabinet, try something new. Put your bag in a different spot than usual, hang up your coat in a different area of the closet, and instead of running for food, force yourself to take 5 minutes to just decompress. You will probably be able to make a better decision after that.

Shed Your Identity
Once a couch potato is not always a couch potato (or potahto – whichever you wish :) ). After living so many years practicing the same bad habit it’s easy to identify as being a certain way. You may think that’s how people have come to know you, but you should know that you can change and decide to shed yourself of that negative image. Start to recognize the positive path you’re on and choose your new positive behavior as your new identity.

Tell People
Tell your friends and family about your goal. This will give you much-needed support, but it will also hold you accountable.

Daily Tips:
* Review your list of reasons, tips, and techniques as a reminder of why you’re working on this goal.
* Create a mental picture of yourself as already having succeeded.
* Speak unquestionably. Say “When I quit smoking” as opposed to “if I quit smoking”.
* Point out your accomplishment every day that you stick to your goal.
* Celebrate sticking to your goal by giving yourself a reward (non-food related).
* Most importantly: Remember to take it one day at a time. If you do falter, don’t label yourself a “failure”. Learn from the slip-up and begin again. If you can learn from the mistake and get back to your original plan then you’re well on your way to succeeding. Everyone falls off once in a while, so remember to not be so hard on yourself.

Turn Harmful Habits Into Helpful Habits

“It’s too hard to change”, “I’ve tried breaking my bad habits, but I always fail”, “Why bother anymore?”, “I want to change, but it’s taking too long and I just can’t keep it up”. Have you ever said any of these things to yourself about something that you’ve tried to quit? It could be unhealthy eating, smoking, starting to work out, or anything else that you know needs to change. If you’ve ever wanted to get rid of a bad habit you’ve most likely had some or all of these thoughts.

True, transforming bad habits into good habits can be daunting and difficult, but it’s not impossible. You just have to have the right tools and know-how to make it happen. I’m going to tell you a few things that have helped me in the past:

It Takes 21 Days
Research shows that changing a bad habit into a good one takes 21 days. That’s 3 weeks of consistent effort. So, to begin choose ONE thing you would like to free yourself from. You can choose to replace it with a good habit if you like, but you don’t have to. The goal at this point is to just get rid of the harmful habit, so it is up to you if you’d like to introduce the helpful habit now or not.

Once you’ve decided on the habit that you want to work on, decide on the date that you are going to begin. Give it some thought and make sure that you are going to be able to concentrate on really letting go. For instance, if you’ve decided to start exercising 3 times a week, but you know that the week you’ve decided to start this goal is going to be filled with late nights at the office then you will only be setting yourself up for failure and feelings of defeat. The point is to set yourself up for success, so do that by making sure that the only thing stopping you is your decision to do so. Choose a date that is free from any major obligations, so that you won’t feel more stressed out than you have to and will do everything you can to make it happen.

Now, write down the date. “On March 24th, I will become a non-smoker.” Count 21 days and mark that on your calendar. Commit to yourself to not waiver for the next 21 days.

Baby Steps
It’s overwhelming sometimes to look at the whole picture. Depending on the severity of your bad habit 21 days may seem like a ginormous amount of time. Make it easier on yourself by focusing on each day, one by one. Still take note of when the 21 day period ends, but tell yourself that each day you are going to recommit to yourself to stick with it and not look too far ahead. Every day is it’s own accomplishment. Cross each day off on the calendar as it passes and give yourself a huge pat on the back for living each day in a healthier way.

Make A List
When sitting at a big holiday meal I’ve had the tendency to overeat, “just because the food is there”. Once in a while that’s not such a bad thing, but what is bad is the way I feel the next day. I always feel remorseful and guilty, because I know that I could have avoided it. So, this Passover I am making a list of tips, techniques, and reasons of why I won’t overeat. Some of the things on my list are: 1. I know I will feel horrible tomorrow morning. 2. Am I really hungry or am I just picking? 3. If you want more tomorrow it will still be here. 4. Ask Roman for help 5. If you’re looking at this list then you most likely don’t really want to eat. I am going to take this list, fold it up, and put it under my plate as a reminder as to why I shouldn’t fall into my old harmful patterns. This physical action of writing it down and taking it with me will help me resist the temptation of overdoing it, because I have planned on it to help me.

If you know you might slip-up, which is a possibility, then do what you can to prepare for it. Make a list of why you are quitting this bad habit and what you can do to remind yourself of how to deal with difficult situations where your instinct is to move toward your harmful crutch.

Create A New Routine
If for instance you’re trying to alter your eating habits and you know that at a certain time of day you instinctively go for cookies try to change up your routine. Many people have the urge to eat a snack when they get home from work, because they’re too hungry to wait for dinner. It’s ok to grab a snack, but many times it’s not the best choice of snack. So, if you normally walk in the door, put your bag down, hang up your coat, and then run to your “comfort stash” in the cabinet, try something new. Put your bag in a different spot than usual, hang up your coat in a different area of the closet, and instead of running for food, force yourself to take 5 minutes to just decompress. You will probably be able to make a better decision after that.

Shed Your Identity
Once a couch potato is not always a couch potato (or potahto – whichever you wish :) ). After living so many years practicing the same bad habit it’s easy to identify as being a certain way. You may think that’s how people have come to know you, but you should know that you can change and decide to shed yourself of that negative image. Start to recognize the positive path you’re on and choose your new positive behavior as your new identity.

Tell People
Tell your friends and family about your goal. This will give you much-needed support, but it will also hold you accountable.

Daily Tips:
* Review your list of reasons, tips, and techniques as a reminder of why you’re working on this goal.
* Create a mental picture of yourself as already having succeeded.
* Speak unquestionably. Say “When I quit smoking” as opposed to “if I quit smoking”.
* Point out your accomplishment every day that you stick to your goal.
* Celebrate sticking to your goal by giving yourself a reward (non-food related).
* Most importantly: Remember to take it one day at a time. If you do falter, don’t label yourself a “failure”. Learn from the slip-up and begin again. If you can learn from the mistake and get back to your original plan then you’re well on your way to succeeding. Everyone falls off once in a while, so remember to not be so hard on yourself.

2 Hours and 20 Minutes!

Exhilarating. One word doesn’t do yesterday justice, but if I had to pick one to sum up my first ever race experience that would be it. After 3 months and 184.5 miles of rigorous training, building up strength, endurance, and mental stamina the day was finally here. On only 3 hours of sleep I ran from start to finish and ran all 13.1 miles in what was my best run yet. It must have been the adrenaline, because I didn’t feel tired or out of breath once, not even up the steep hills in Central Park, which is surprising, because for 4 weeks I’ve had agonizing pains searing through my legs. And if you remember from my earlier post I had a horrible run this past Monday which left me really nervous and upset because I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the race. I did finish though and I finished strong! Plus, I’m not nearly as sore as I have been in the past after my long runs. Well, that’s aside from the 2 massive bloody blisters that popped all over my sneakers (but I didn’t even notice that pain either until I got home and even that’s not getting me down). Amazing!

Adrenaline is a crazy thing. Since picking up my bib number this past Thursday I’ve been as excited as a little kid counting down the days till Disney World. The anticipation just kept building and building and I couldn’t wait. But when I woke up yesterday morning at 5am an interesting thing happened and if I didn’t know better I would say that I was certifiably crazy. One second I was shaking out of nervousness and the next I was buzzing with happiness. I was literally kookoo. Adrenaline is like a drug and it takes over your body forcing it to do things that you’re not telling it to do. My heart was racing, my emotions were erratic and I was happy, nervous, and a bit sad all at the same time. Why sad? Because I didn’t want this experience to end. It was a major milestone for me to run my first race and once it was over I could never have it back. Of course this moment was going to come though and once I was at the start line all my pent-up nervousness disappeared and excitement rushed through my body. Have you ever heard a song that starts off slow and then climaxes? Something about the rhythm propels you into motion and your heart skips a beat and you feel inspired? That’s exactly what I felt at that moment, but there was no music. I knew that I would finish and I knew that it was going to be an amazing run.

Being part of the racing community feels incredible. Racers filled the 6 train on their way uptown and it was so cool to feel connected to a bunch of strangers on a NYC subway. Normally you ride the train and are completely anonymous to everyone else, but yesterday we all were linked together by one thing that we all had in common. All of us, wearing our bib numbers on our shirts and orange tags on our sneakers, carrying the same clear plastic bags for our valuables, fueling up for the run, and on our way to 97th St. were joined for this moment. There were so many of us, that if you were standing on 95th street when we exited the station you would think that it looked like a bunch of ants coming out of a hole.

I must tell you though, I never want to eat another freaking jelly bean again! If you’re not a runner (yet :) ) I’ll explain… There are food products specifically designed for endurance sports. They contain simple sugars and electrolytes that break down easily, so that you can quickly refuel your muscles when you’re exercising for long periods of time. They come in various forms, such as gummies, gels, drinks, and jelly beans. I prefer the beans, but after 4 packs of them yesterday I never want to even see or smell anything that looks remotely like a jelly bean. Even saying the word is nauseating me now. You would think that being given permission to eat candy would be a great thing, but not after 4 packs of the damn things.

You know what was mind-blowing? Running through the streets in the middle of Time’s Square being cheered on by the people watching on the side. It’s awesome to think that normally cars pile up bumper to bumper with horns honking, but yesterday the streets were closed so that I could run through them! There is no other time that you ever get to see Time’s Square like that. And yesterday I got to do it!

I think that was somewhere around mile 9 or so. There are mile markers telling you how far you’ve run and how much further you have to go and each time I passed one it wasn’t agonizing thinking about how many more I had to go. Actually, it was almost sad to think that every mile meant that it was that much closer to being over. It was exciting too though thinking about crossing the finish line and seeing Roman and my mom’s face. This was my victory run and I really couldn’t believe that I was doing it. At the last 1/4 of a mile stretch I literally sprinted through the finish line and had to hold back my tears. 10 years ago I was on my way to living a life of desperation and torment, and possibly early death, because all that was important to me was being skinny, but here I was now changing what I once thought was going to be my future and creating my own destiny.

I’ve worked harder than I have ever worked at anything to overcome negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, and I am so happy to say that today I am close to conquering myself. This training has taught me more about myself than any therapy has. No matter what difficulties I’m faced with I know that I can overcome it. No one really talks about how exercise can be so empowering, but it’s so much more than building physical strength, it builds strength of mind too. If you want to know the formula for building confidence, conviction, determination, and pride, push yourself to your physical limit. Push yourself until you think that you have nothing left in you and then just push a little further. You’ll see that you’re made up of much more than you think. I beg you to do that for yourself, because until you’ve tried it it’s hard to believe, and your life will be forever changed.

It’s one day after the race and I feel confused. I’ve been on a 12 week journey and now that it’s over I don’t know what to do with myself. There’s no running to prepare for and nothing to expect, so I’m feeling a bit out of it today. But you know what, this 12 week journey was only the beginning of a new life for me. I just signed up for the Brooklyn 1/2 marathon in May and I’m seriously contemplating joining a charity for the real deal NYC Marathon in November. If you’re ready to conquer yourself and experience something life-changing I dare you to join me. I promise that you won’t regret it and I will be there with you every step of the way.

P.S. I just want to thank you, Roman for sticking by me. Had we not started doing our Sunday “family runs” in the park with the dogs I would most likely never had entered this race and I wouldn’t have had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You always have my back and you made my goal your goal too by acting just as excited as I was about this. It’s a special thing to be able to share your life with someone and I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. As I told you yesterday, I feel like I’m living a fairy tale.

P.P.S. Shilpa – I really couldn’t have done this without you either. We had a little role reversal there – you, my client, forced me, your trainer into running. I definitely would not have entered this race without you and I have to seriously thank you for encouraging me through my hard runs and sticking by my side. I still can’t believe that we met only a year and a half ago. I’ve seen how far you’ve come and I am so so so proud of you. This was a victory run for you too and I teared up a little as we were sprinting to the finish not only thinking about myself, but about you too. You deserve only the best in life and you have proven to yourself that you are capable of anything. Good friends are hard to come by and in all sincerity you are a fabulous friend.

** I just want you all to know that as I reread this post I realize that it doesn’t even come close to what I am feeling or what I experienced yesterday. It’s the best I can do to recreate it though…
*** So sorry that there are no pictures, but I can’t find the cord for the camera. These blisters are forcing me to wear only flips flops, so as soon as it stops pouring I’ll go down to Radio Shack and get a replacement :)

Facts About Snacks

It’s Good For You
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey studies 5,000 people and found that people who ate snacks in addition to three meals a day had higher levels of nutrients in their diets.

Don’t Deprive Yourself
Belgian researchers told 68 women to either enjoy or refuse their favorite snack and found that the refusers ate more of the “forbidden” snack once they were given the permission to a day later. Depriving yourself leads to bingeing later, so indulge once in a while, but keep it under 200 calories.

Portion Control
Research shows that snackers will eat more if given more, so don’t drop yourself on the couch at the end of a long day with a bag of pretzels telling yourself that you’ll “have only a few”. Measure out a serving into a bowl and put the rest away.

Protein Is Key
Having just carbs will make you hungrier sooner and the calories will pile on quicker. Adding a protein to your snack will help fend off hunger later. A good choice would be something like a yummy VitaTop and a small fat-free yogurt.

Drinking Your Snack Isn’t The Way
Researchers from Purdue gave 20 people an apple, applesauce, or apple juice and found that those who drank their snack were the quickest to report being hungry.

Beware Of Low-Fat Claims
Low-fat doesn’t always mean low-calorie. Make sure to check the label and eat like any other snack – in moderation.

Here are some good snack options:
* handful of nuts (about 9 almonds)
* an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
* 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt with berries (add Splenda if it’s too sour for you)
* 180 calorie Kashi bar (peanut butter chocolate is a favorite of mine)
* whole grain toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
* a few whole grain crackers with a low-fat string cheese
* 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese with a whole grain cereal

Happy Snacking!

How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing Everyday Activities?

To maintain your weight the calculation is simple: burn the same amount of calories through activity that you take in from food. Likewise, to lose weight, you must burn MORE calories than you take in from food. One pound equals 3500 calories, so that means if you want to lose 1 pound per week then you’re going to have to burn 500 calories per day. To maintain some sanity and not feel too deprived from food, I suggest slashing 250 calories from your diet and burning 250 calories through exercise, in order to get the 500 calorie deficit you need. It’s actually not that difficult either when you think about how many calories we burn through everyday activities. As I always say, the trick is to just move around more. You’d be surprised how the calories add up.

I’ve come up with a list of typical things we do every day and the amount of calories we burn doing them. All calculations are based on a 130 pound woman.

* Brushing Teeth (2 minutes) – 4 calories
* Sleeping (7 hours) – 382 calories
* Writing (20 minutes) – 10 calories
* Standing (10 minutes) – 11 calories
* Walking up stairs (3 minutes) – 15 calories
* Reading (20 minutes) – 20 calories
* Studying (30 minutes) – 54 calories (interesting that it’s more than simply reading…)
* Foreplay (15 minutes) – 21 calories
* Sex (10 minutes) – 41 calories (added bonus!!)
* Putting away groceries (10 minutes) – 26 calories
* Sitting/resting (30 minutes) – 31 calories
* Washing dishes (15 minutes) – 33 calories
* Blowdrying hair (15 minutes) – 39 calories
* Stretching (10 minutes) – 39 calories
* Driving (30 minutes) – 62 calories
* Showering (15 minutes) – 62 calories
* Packing a suitcase (30 minutes) – 62 calories
* Ironing (30 minutes) – 66 calories
* Mopping (20 minutes) – 66 calories
* Pushing a stroller with child (30 minutes) – 78 calories
* Playing a board game (60 minutes) – 93 calories
* Carrying an infant (30 minutes) – 109 calories
* Cooking (45 minutes) – 117 calories
* Walk/run playing with kids (30 minutes) – 117 calories
* Housework (30 minutes) – 140 calories
* Rearrange furniture (30 minutes – 195 calories

All of that gives you a GRAND TOTAL of 1,645 calories for the day! So, you see that it’s actually not that hard to take the weight off. You just need a little discipline and drive. Plus, it will give you incentive to do the things that on your To Do List that you’ve put off. Not bad…

7 Weight Loss Facts – True or False?

It seems like every magazine, news piece, newspaper, or guru is touting the best thing to watch your weight. Some of the stuff they say is true, but other things may be misleading. Not everything is always so cut and dry when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Take this quiz and see how much you know. Some things may be surprising!

TRUE OR FALSE:
1. If you want to stay slim you should eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones.

- FALSE It’s been the popular belief lately that 6 small meals are better than 3 larger meals, but this is actually not the case. Your body doesn’t know if you’re feeding it 3 times a day or 6, but what it does know is how many calories it’s getting and whether those calories are the good kind or the bad. If you prefer bigger meals, as opposed to snack-like meals it’s ok to have a larger breakfast, lunch, and dinner as long as it’s going to hold you over until the next meal. A good way to ensure that is to make sure that your plate is balanced with lean proteins, such as fish, tofu, chicken, or turkey, as well as a complex starch, such as brown rice or quinoa, and lots of veggies.

2. You shouldn’t eat anything past 8pm.

- FALSE Now that’s just plain silly. When you feel hungry that’s your body signaling to you that it needs to be fed. Our bodies need at the very least 1200 calories if you’re a girl and 1500 calories if you’re a guy per day in order to function properly. So, if you didn’t eat enough for some reason during the day your body will try to make up for it. And just as I said above, your body doesn’t know what time of day it is either. It just knows that it’s lacking in calories and needs it. Now, that’s not to say that you can give yourself permission to have an entire meal, but use common sense and think whether you’re really physically hungry or if it’s just your brain wandering to the thought of food. And just to note, sometimes you have eaten enough during the day, but for whatever reason you might just simply want something, so in that case have a snack, but just make sure that it’s under 100 calories.

3. In order to see any benefits from a workout you have to work out for at least 30-40 consecutive minutes.

- FALSE Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out, so it really doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it all at once or at separate times throughout the day. The best thing is to do what works for you. For so many people the idea of going to a gym for 40 minutes is like a death sentence, so I hereby give you permission to not go. The idea of “traditional exercise” is mind-boggling to me, because we’ve come to understand “traditional” as weight lifting and running on a treadmill at the gym, but in reality traditional exercise is plowing the field and walking 3 miles to your neighbor’s house. We have to change our mind sets and just become more active. Take a walk during your lunch break, take the subway stairs instead of the escalator, carry a basket in the supermarket instead of using a shopping cart, squeeze in some squats while you’re brushing your teeth, take your dog for a long walk instead of the usual around the block routine (he’ll thank you for it!), etc.

4. Red meat is bad for you because it’s high in fat.

- FALSE High fat meats are what’s bad for you, but you can get lean, even extra lean cuts of meat or ground beef with as little as 5% fat. What’s even better is that it contains important vitamins or minerals, including iron, which is especially important for women. Just make sure it’s lean or extra lean. Filet Mignon is a good example of a lean steak.

5. Low fat or fat-free foods will help you lose weight.

- FALSE In actuality, many of these foods are higher in calories due to added sugars and thickeners that are used to boost flavor. Plus, some people mistakenly think that these foods are better for you and end up eating too much. Always compare the calorie content to regular foods when thinking about buying a low-fat or fat free food. You might see that you’re not really saving that much. The real deal will probably be way more satisfying too. Just make sure to stick to the serving size.

6. Resistance training will boost your metabolism.

- TRUE Muscle burns more calories per minute than fat, which means that you’ll burn more calories while at rest. Plus, it will strengthen your bones preventing you from getting osteoporosis later in life. If you want to see the pay off though, you’re going to have to combine it with cardio exercise as well in order to burn the fat covering the muscles.

7. Salad is the best option when dining out.

- FALSE Choosing salad seems like the obvious choice, but many times it’s higher in calories due to all the add-ons, such as fried noodles, nuts, cheese, dressing, croutons, etc. While cheese and nuts contain a lot of nutrients, they can easily pack on the calories. Make sure to browse the menu carefully, there may be a better option. If you do choose the salad though, make sure to add lean meats or fish, limit the amount of nuts, and use either a low-fat dressing or put the full fat dressing on the side.

181 Miles Down, Only 4 More To Go!

I cannot believe that this is the last week before my race! It’s been 12 weeks since I started running and it’s amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come. Yes, I’ve been active and fit for the last 10+ years, but whenever you start something new it’s a shock. And new it really was, because although I’ve worked out for a long time I’ve never really taken to running. I preferred other things like Spinning or boot camp to keep my heart rate up, thinking that I’m just not a runner. I categorized myself as “not a runner”. Today though, 181 miles later I can say that I’m definitely a runner and my life is forever changed.

That being said though, I’ll be honest, today was HARD! I mean H-A-R-D! And it was only 2 miles! I’ve run 10 with no problem, so why am I complaining? I can’t be 100% sure what it was exactly, but I do know that my legs are killing me. And they were killing me for the entire 18 minutes it took me to run the damn thing. I couldn’t quite control my joints. It was weird. It was like they were just flopping around and I couldn’t get them to stay in place. As groups of cyclists pedaled by me I was almost embarrassed to look at them. For weeks I’ve felt like a real part of an athletic community, but now I felt ridiculous. Oh, and my left shin felt like it was warning me that if I didn’t let up it would explode. Seriously, I had that image in my head of my leg just exploding all over the place on the pavement. And because my legs weren’t cooperating I had to breath harder to power up the hill, which only made me feel like I wanted to vomit.

That also being said though, I DID NOT QUIT ONCE! I kept telling myself that it’s only 2 miles, it will eventually end, and I’ve run way further than that. I just repeated that in my head like a mantra. Still, I have to be responsible and follow the advice that I’d give to any of my clients and take it a bit easier this week. My body is obviously trying to tell me something and although it’s in my nature to not quit out of some insane need to prove something to myself, I’m going to listen this time and ease up for the last few days before my race. This is very hard for me, because I do not like to feel defeated, but I need to give myself permission to lighten the load. If I don’t then I will only be setting myself up for an injury.

Just because I’m a trainer doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle like the rest of you. I still remember what it was like starting from scratch so many years ago and what I had to do to convince myself that I COULD lose weight, be sane, and learn to eat normally, but it’s also pretty distant. This training has really reminded me of what that feeling is like to start from nothing and to really struggle through the ups and downs of pain, defeat, and fatigue. I feel stronger than I ever have though and it’s only convinced me more that you can really do ANYTHING that you want. I know I can get through anything, but I’m getting a little nervous now that it’s so close to the race. I want to be able to finish strong and know that I gave it my all. So, I’m reaching out to you all and asking you to give me permission to relax a little bit.

And please, if you haven’t already done so, please show your love and support for me by donating to The Fresh Air Fund (they are sponsoring my run). Every little bit counts and every little bit will power me through when I feel like my legs just won’t carry me anymore. I am running as a personal goal, but I will also be running for all of you who are struggling to find your way on your road to success.

Shilpa’s Story

I met Shilpa about a year and a half ago at New York Sports Club. She came in looking to lose weight and it was during our orientation that she told me about her struggles. Keep in mind that this is a story that has gone on for 27 years now. Remember that and think about what that means for someone going through it.

Her earliest memory of being overweight is kindergarten. That’s 5 years old! She remembers putting on a pair of shorts one day and feeling like they were too tight. People began telling her that she was fat, including her mom. The first thing her cousins said to her when she visited them in India was, “oh my gosh, how much do you weigh”. Her mom would put her on the scale every morning, which only made Shilpa more ashamed, so she would try to make herself “lighter” by taking some of the weight off of her left leg, but this only made her mom weigh her again and again and again, until she put her leg down. This is what Shilpa went through every day of her childhood. Rather than remembering games of freeze tag and hide-and-go-seek, she talks about how painfully shy she became because of the embarrassment she was made to feel about her weight.

Throughout the years she struggled up and down the scale by starving herself and by the age of 14 she began throwing up. On another trip to India, this time feeling fantastic because she was much skinnier, her confidence shattered again when her cousins saw her and said, “wow, you look great, but what happened to your hair?”. She starved and vomited so much to the point where her hair just fell out. She once had thick, lush hair, but now along with her thin body she had thin hair and was made once again to feel like she wasn’t good enough. What she learned was that beautiful people are accepted and she would only be beautiful if she was skinny. She maintained a lower weight throughout high school, but always felt really left out. Her self-esteem was broken and she thought that the only thing that would fix it was a “perfect body”.

This only backfired on her though, because even though she was able to keep the weight off for many years, she had to either starve or vomit to achieve it. She never really learned how to have a healthy relationship with food. Instead, when things got too stressful she would binge. Food became a coping mechanism and a way to relieve all the emotional pain that she was feeling. It was comforting. It would start with just a bite of a cookie and then another and another, until she felt like there was no point to putting the box away, so she just finished it off. And then continued to eat whatever else she could get her hands on, until she felt so full and upset at herself that she just vomited it all up.

In medical school is when everything really came crashing down and she completely lost control of herself. The starvation and vomiting cycle was all a way to control her weight, but all of a sudden her emotions and food began to control her. When things got really tough in her 3rd year of school she just couldn’t handle it anymore and the bingeing became more frequent. She just ate and ate and ate to quiet all the feelings she was having. She remembers ordering 3 entrees at one time from a diner near her house and just finishing it until she was sick. Vomit. TV. Repeat. This is what she went through for so many years, feeling like her life was such a mess.

A turning point came in her 4th year though when all the weight crept back on from all that she was doing to her body. At 180 pounds she realized that she was gaining weight so rapidly that if she didn’t do something about her problems now it would be a matter of 2 months before she was 200 pounds. Her self-esteem was so shattered that she couldn’t even force herself to get dressed up and instead wore scrubs and sweats everywhere because they “hid” her body. She felt ugly, fat, and unloveable. Upset that she couldn’t cross her legs, because of the bulk of her thighs. That scared and frustrated her to no end that she became determined to do what it takes to take the weight off in a sane way and keep it off. To learn a new lifestyle and finally stop everything she’s been doing to herself. To carve her own path in life.

Even to get to the gym at this point was hard for her, because she felt so embarrassed about what she looked like, so she bought an elliptical and worked out in her house. It was hard at first, but slowly she dropped 20 pounds. And that’s when we met. I didn’t see what she saw when she looked in the mirror, but I understood what she saw. We began slowly but consistently, working out twice a week together, and on the days when we didn’t meet she would do cardio on her own. We also talked about some of her struggles and gradually she’s dealt with a lot of her issues with food. At first she had to get rid of all her trigger foods that would make her binge, but then slowly as she regained some self-control over food she was able to incorporate more of the foods that she desired. It dawned on her that if she kept depriving herself it would only backfire into a binge. It took about 8 months for her to drop the other 40 pounds, but she did it.

Today, Shilpa has kept the weight off and is only getting more confident and comfortable with herself. She’s open to new experiences and no longer fears them. She’s finally starting to live her life now. That feeling of inner strength is what makes her want more, because she never wants to go back to that dark place she was in for so many year. For the past 12 weeks we’ve been training for a 1/2 marathon and on Sunday we’re finally going to see how all her efforts paid off by running for victory.

Maybe you’re similar to Shilpa and can identify with her. Even if you’re further into despair than she was, I promise you that with some determination you can and will do it. You just have to BELIEVE it. It’s not about being skinny, it’s about how all that weight you’re carrying around makes you feel inside. I would love to hear your stories about your struggles with weight, so please share them with me. Wear your struggles proud, because it is what makes you you. Together we will overcome them.