Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Fable

This is a re-posting of the most important message I have written. It could change your life!!

After a discussion in Sunday School my husband leaned over to me and said, "I don't believe God put me on earth to be mediocre". That seems obvious enough, even mortal parents want more for their children than mediocrity. Why then do we settle for so little so often?

Consider this fable: "There once was a caterpillar who did not know what she wanted to do with her life. She wandered aimlessly until she saw another caterpillar hanging upside down on a branch caught in some hairy substance. She said, "You seem to be in some trouble. Can I help you?" "No," said the hanging caterpillar, "I have to do this to become a butterfly."

"Butterfly? What is a butterfly?"

"It's what you are meant to be. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It drinks only nectar from flowers and carries seeds of love from one flower to another. Without butterflies the world would soon have few flowers"

The yellow caterpillar exclaimed, "It can't be true! How can I believe there's a butterfly inside me when all I see is a fuzzy worm? How does one become a butterfly?"

The hanging butterfly said, "You must want to fly so much you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

Life offers so much! There is so much to do, see, feel, touch and especially be. Helen Keller said, "Either life is a daring, joyful adventure or life is nothing." Of course that kind of life requires giving up the comfortable mediocrity of being a caterpillar.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is It Fat Skinny or Skinny Fat?

Dieting? One of every four pounds you lose is probably muscle. Studies show that this is what happens to people who just cut calories as well as people who cut calories and do cardio exercise (you know, walking, running, cycling, hiking, etc).

Not dieting? You still may be losing muscle. Adults lose 1/4 - 1/2 pound of muscle a year. This is serious!

-muscle protects us from injury
-gives our bodies shape
-improves immunity
-helps us sleep better
-increases metabolism
-prevents diabetes (muscle is a major clearance site for circulating blood glucose)
-protects bones from osteoporosis

. . . there's more but you get the idea.

Of course the solution is resistance training (you know, weight training, pumping iron, etc). But it's important to do it right for maximum benefit and to prevent injury. So here are a few tips:

1. Make sure your form is correct. You will probably need help with this. Find a knowledgeable person to watch or train you, or call me. It's what I do. Even weight lifting veterans need someone to check them once in awhile. One thing that will help is to know which muscle you are trying to work and then focus on that muscle. Don't just look around the gym at other people for examples. My many hours in gyms has taught me that a good majority of people in the gym don't know what they are doing.

2. Slow down. Especially in the negative, or with gravity, phase in each repetition. Always keep that weight controlled, slow, steady.

3. After each set give the muscle about a minute to recover, but don't just sit there. Make it an active rest. Do an abdominal or body core exercise between each set.

4. Allow at least two days before working the same muscle groups again.

5. Vary your routine. In fact, don't have a routine. Variety is the spice of life and the best way to make the most of your workout time.

6. You can adequately build muscle with any number of sets but make sure you fatigue the muscle in the last set. If you want to build muscle faster go to failure, pick up a lighter weight and go to failure again. For some exercises you will need a spotter to help you and prevent dropping a weight on yourself. Please never sacrifice good form to do more weight, reps or sets.

7. Be consistent. You have to work a muscle twice a week to make progress and once a week to maintain it.

8. Drink lots of water.

9. Always eat before a workout and within 30 minutes after working out. Make sure you include protein.

"Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness."
- Earl of Derby

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Keep That Lost Weight Lost!

You've heard it before. Diets don't work! A sad statistic is that 90% of people who lose weight gain it back and usually more. It doesn't have to be that way.

Remember when you were young and your parents would measure your height and mark the wall? If you tried it again the next day or week or even month there would be no perceptible change - but if you waited six months you could see the progress. This makes a perfect metaphor for any kind of human improvement like gaining knowledge, growing spiritually, developing a relationship, taking a vitamin or permanent weight loss. Human beings are not able to make huge changes and maintain them. We just aren't designed that way. All personal growth or improvement happens a little at a time. The key is to make changes one at a time with the intent to make it a permanent change. Of course weight will come off more slowly but it will stay off. Here are a few idea's. Pick one or two, work on it until it becomes a life style change and then move on to something else.

1. Exercise everyday! Well six times a week anyway. Even 20 minutes a day. Anybody can can find 20 minutes! Just put on your shoes and walk out the door. Everyday. Never miss. You wouldn't think of not eating everyday! Everyday. Decide this will be part of your life forever and then do it! Everyday.

2. Cut high fructose corn syrup out of your diet completely. Yes it is made from corn but you won't find HFCS in nature and it's bad, bad, bad. I won't list all the ills associated with it here, any google search will give you that. Let it suffice to say that it contributes to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, suppresses the chemical in our bodies that tell us we are full and more. Besides soda (for more on soda see older post "Don't Hate Me - I'm Just the Messenger"), it is found in many otherwise healthy foods like yogurt, whole wheat bread, food bars, vitamin water drinks and sports drinks. Condiments such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, pickle relish and most salad dressings. It is also in candy, and other "snack" foods, especially food marketed to children.

3. Here's some other bad stuff. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fat. Think shortening. Now imagine a big scoop of that in your children's peanut butter, a Costco muffin or chicken McNuggets. The food industry is doing better with this one, but check your chips, cookies anything fried, and of course, your peanut butter.

4. Avoid fast food. First of all it is fast. If we actually had to make that meal we might find we just aren't that hungry. Worse is what is in it. The food is manipulated and filled with chemicals from farm and ranch to the time it is placed it that (hopefully) recycled bag. Consider the McNugget. It has 38 ingredients including several that are completely synthetic, butane and at least one known carcinogen.

5. Eat breakfast. Make sure you include a protein like eggs. (See older post "Eat and Lose Weight")

"Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible - and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you." Dieter Uchtdorf