Three Lessons from the “Too Thin” Biggest Loser Winner

Biggest Loser feb 2014While The Biggest Loser inspires many viewers, I don’t watch it because there is so much focus on quick-weight loss and not enough on what it takes, psychologically and emotionally as well as with exercise and nutrition, for long-term wellness. Have to admit that even I was shocked when all of the articles ran yesterday, like this one in Entertainment Weekly, that showed the season’s winner, Rachel Frederickson, losing 155 lbs. to land at 105 lbs., which on her 5-foot 4-inches frame is well below the body mass index of a healthy range.  Her emaciated arms contrasted greatly with the joyous smile on her face and it broke my heart. That’s why I wanted to share three lessons we can learn from Rachel’s experience:

  1. Look for encouragement in other ways. When I slowly but surely took off 50 pounds over 20 years ago, getting compliments from people helped fuel that journey. I hadn’t gotten much positive attention for my appearance before and it was thrilling. After that 15-month process though, others got used to the new healthier, fit version of me and compliments slowed down to a trickle. So if you’ve come to rely on the lovely feeling of being cheered on and then it dissipates, that can be hard. Finding encouragement from other means, including yourself, is essential in maintaining a healthy balance with your weight and overall wellness.
  2. There can be too much of a good thing.  Losing pounds at some point should stop when you reach a healthy weight with strong muscle mass. Rather than continuing with behaviors that focus just on shedding pounds, consider consulting certified nutrition and exercise professionals or a physician to find the right balance for your individual body. Weight loss maintenance actually takes a different set of skills to thrive in the long-term. Many successful weight losers deal with “course corrections” along the way, in the form of gaining back a few pounds to reach a healthier, more maintainable place or having to shed extra weight that might return as habits shift in life.
  3. Get realistic role models. Rachel is a voice-over actress in Los Angeles, where many women in the entertainment industry are encouraged to be as thin as possible. If she has been working in an environment where trying to emulate runway model skinny is seen as success, then the weight she landed probably seems delightful to her.  And I know there’s a whole argument out there that Rachel could be absolutely healthy and is beaming in the media interviews when describing her experience. But given the importance of emphasizing being fit over being skinny to others looking at Biggest Loser winners as their role models, I wonder about the negative impact this could potentially have.

What are your thoughts? Does she look too skinny or should we all shut up and let her be thin in peace? Have you ever had to consciously regain a few pounds for better health?

 

Photo Image Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

 

Exercise tips to help survive a zombie-like snow apocalypse

atlanta traffic in snowYesterday I got proof that if a zombie apocalypse happens, we’re all toast. Not just because of the brain sucking zombies mind you, which is bad enough. I’m talking about the seemingly minor snow and ice event that hit Atlanta yesterday around noon. Without any coordination, the local government, businesses and schools shut down at once, releasing what felt like a million motorists on the city’s highways simultaneously. People got stuck with a capital “S”;  some friends took seven or eight hours to drive six miles, and they were the lucky ones compared to the thousands stranded on the roads overnight in icy conditions. But when the chips are down, you’ve got to get moving…literally. Here are some great exercise tips you can do when home-bound by snow, ice or any challenging weather situation.

At a time when I keep getting emails about closings and cancellations from fitness studios because of the treacherous driving conditions, what really stood out is this at-home training routine Dan FitzSimons of BodyFitz studios sent to his followers today.

“When it seems like everything is shut down, there are more than a few things we can do!” notes Dan. He created this challenging routine for his wife Tracy which can be modified however you like:

  1. Walk up and down the stairs for one minute. What? No stairs?  Grab a stool, or march in place for the same amount of time.  Then perform 20 “standing super peoples”! (alternating right arm/left leg)
  2. Get back on the stairs, up and down for one more minute…now perform 10 squats.  Perfect squats please ! Push the rear end backwards, keep the back strong and straight with your eyes elevated.
  3. Arm Circles…yup, just like sounds: standing with plenty of room around you. Straighten out your arms to the side and parallel to the floor. Make small circles with your arms for ten seconds in one direction and then ten seconds in the opposite direction..rest.
  4. Time for a Wall Sit.  Once again, just as it sounds.  Put your back against the wall and get into a sitting position.  Make sure that your feet are out front under your knees.  Meaning your knee and hip joint should be a perfect 90 degrees. (square)
  5. Back to the stairs, this time for 90 seconds,(if you can).  Jog if you want, or take two stairs at a time.  Push yourself a little bit more this time as you are getting more and more warmed up.
    Water break…Remember we can still get results…we just need to get enough intensity to work up a sweat.

In addition, Dan offered these bonus exercises to be executed at your own max potential in 20-30 second bursts, followed by 10-20 seconds of recovery:

  • Let’s do push-ups, modified push ups or maybe get into a plank and hold that position. Hands can be under the shoulders with the elbows pointing back and slightly to the sides (close stance push-up).  This position is good for the plank and the push up.  Perform 3,5, or 10 push-ups, or a 20 second plank.
  • Stand and start squatting again. 20 squats, get low and feel those quads, glutes and hamstrings working! 
  • Go right into arm circles again (hold  2lb weights or two water bottles for resistance) 20 seconds each direction.
  • 15 jumping jacks or marching in place for 20 seconds
  • Stairs for 30 seconds…
  • Repeat two more times…or more! Give it YOUR all! Finish with a good cool down and some stretching. Drink plenty of water and enjoy your next healthy meal!

You might want to check out helpful videos and tips from online resources like Fitness Blender,  Workout Nirvana, Fun And Fit and Thrive Fit for more in-home exercise moves too. Have you ever been stuck in your home by a weather event and if so, how did you handle it? What are some of your favorite exercise moves that can be done at home or anywhere?

Want real change? Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions and focus on supported goals instead

Ditch the New Year's Resolutions According to a recent Marist Poll, 44% of Americans are planning to make a change in the New Year. Many of the survey respondents are making New Year’s resolutions for better health or a happier life, with the largest amount aiming to lose pounds, exercise more or eat better. However – no surprise here – only 8% of people actually keep those resolutions according to a University of Scranton study.  Bummer, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Here are a few steps you can take to create real, positive change in 2014:

  • Set realistic, clear goals. Let’s say that you vow to be happier in 2014. What does that actually mean? Do you crave more alone time, want less stress, desire a new job or a better relationship? Break down that big desire into a clear goal in order to make it actionable and obtainable. For example. if decreasing stress is your objective, then your action steps could include installing a smart phone app that takes you through a guided meditation three times a week and stop checking emails at least two hours before bedtime to give your mind time to rest.
  • Plan ahead. Haven’t tried to exercise since George W was in the White House but now understand that moving more will give you more energy? Awesome goal. But don’t just try to jog on the treadmill wearing flip-flops and street clothes (no lie, saw a dude in just that garb at our hotel gym in the Bahamas last week). Do some research and create your fitness plans in advance to ensure better results and minimize injuries. Many gyms offer a complimentary session with a personal trainer who can teach you the most effective ways to exercise. Search online for “how to” videos and content on running, Yoga, swimming better or just about any other activity. Tell the  Zumba instructor this is your first time in class so he/she can give you pointers and keep an eye out for you. And dress for exercise success to maximize your performance and comfort.
  • Make it real. The more you can bring a goal to life increases your chances of long-term success.  One of my big goals for 2014 is to finish writing and publish my book, which focuses on helping people get unstuck and have the life of their dreams.  I’m visual, so making this goal a reality for me includes journaling about it, having it become one of the cornerstones of the vision board I’m creating this weekend with friends, posting positive messages about it on the edge of my computer screen and more. Pick one of your goals for a moment and think about how you can bring it to life. Since weight loss tops the list of so many people, could it be motivating to take photos of your progress each month to share via social media, pick out clothes you plan to buy in advance when certain milestones are met, put a photo of yourself at your hottest on the front of the fridge as a motivator to make healthier food selections?
  • Get support. Sharing a goal with like-minded, positive souls can increase your chances of success. My husband, who is already fit as an Ironman triathlete, is about to start a 30-day Paleo eating program to clean up his nutrition. His triathlon coach is doing the same, which creates a direct connection of support, while I’m reinforcing my own clean eating habits by ensuring we won’t have any processed foods, sweets, items with gluten or dairy around that don’t meet his goals or mine either. Even this little circle of support will help us all succeed in our healthier eating objectives. Whatever you are focusing on, talking about your goals and sharing milestones, challenges and tips with others can really make a difference.

What are some of your goals for 2014? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions and if so, what makes or breaks them?

Is holiday baking shaking up your healthy habits?

Trying to bake these holiday breads while minimizing temptations!

Trying to bake these holiday breads while minimizing temptations!

Forget the whole three French hens, six geese a-laying and a partridge-in-a-pear tree thing. Last December, I baked eight chocolate chip Oreo cheesecakes, about a dozen banana breads and hundreds of assorted cookies as gifts for clients and service providers. While everyone enjoyed their goodies, the process sent my healthy habits into a tailspin; I gained five pounds from rampant sampling and was exhausted by daily sugar crashes. So this year, I’ve planned ahead to create a healthier holiday baking season through these steps:

  • Minimize temptation. Rather than producing piles of cookies that can be easily misplaced – you know, in my mouth – I’m preparing three main deliverables: banana bread, pumpkin bread and chocolate chip breads that are baked directly in a foil gift loaf tin. As I explained when strategizing this plan with Certified Health & Nutrition Coach Linda Citron, taking a huge bite out of the middle of someone’s pumpkin loaf is just bad manners. Eliminating the transfer of the breads from another cooking pan means there’s no temptation to let one accidentally on purpose crumble apart and become fair game for overindulgence.

 

  • Honor my own needs. I’m done making cheesecakes. They take way too much time and it’s really hard not to dig into the Oreo cookies when crushing them for the crust. And instead of having to prepare something each day, I planned deliveries and shipping to knock out one session last night (you can see the photographic evidence above) and two more next week.

 

  • Offer healthier options. Some people I bake for are gluten-free now, while others shun sugar. Personally, I’m a whole lot nicer to be around when avoiding both of those ingredients. That’s why I’m going to share my new favorite treat, vegan sweet potato brownies that are gluten-free, with people who crave healthier options. Here’s the recipe from Deliciously Ella:

 

Makes 10 brownies

– 2 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

– 2/3 of a cup of ground almond (almond flour)

– 1/2 a cup of buckwheat flour (brown rice flour will also work)

– 14 medjool pitted dates

– 4 tablespoons of raw cacao

– 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup syrup

– a pinch of salt

  •  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Steam the sweet potato chunks for 20 minutes or until really soft and add into a food processor with the pitted dates. Mix until creamy and blended.
  • Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
  • Bake in a lined baking dish for 20 minutes, until piercing with a fork comes out dry. Remove the tray and cool for at least 10 minutes to allow everything to set. Ella has a great step-by-step “how to” video on her site too!

Courtesy of http://deliciouslyella.com/

BTW, followers of my blog probably noticed that it now looks different as I’ve merged everything into one place on this site. I’m still going to write about healthy living and wellness, now adding in thoughts on the pursuit of happiness, balance, personal growth and whatever snarky pop culture moment captures my attention. If you’d like to receive this via email, please sign up here or using the form on  the right side of this page to ensure you don’t miss a post. Thanks for your support!

What is your stance on healthy habits during the holiday season? Think it is a waste of time or the compass that keeps you sane? How do you handle food temptations?

Three things the government shutdown can teach us about healthy living

iStock_000020563722Small (1)Remember the game of “chicken,” portrayed in movies ranging from Grease to the Fast & Furious (all seven times), where two dudes pumped up on testosterone drive hot rods at each other at blinding speeds until one blinks first and swerves to avoid the collision? Unfortunately, it felt like politicians on both sides of the fence just did that with the well-being of our country with the government shut down. That 16-day pissing match finally ended yesterday, and in the tradition of making lemonade from lemons, or at least a better-for-you version that foregoes copious amounts of sugar, I’ve identified three things that the shut down can teach us about healthy living:

  1. Strive for long-term changes. One of the saddest things about the “compromise” is that it expires less than three months from now, potentially setting the scenario up to happen again per this analysis from Time Magazine. You know, kind of like when you decide to lose some extra weight, eat a ridiculously low amount of calories for five days, become surly from the intense deprivation and then blow it all on a large pizza out of frustration on day six? (Can you tell I went through that cycle a lot back in the day?) Taking a more measured, deliberate approach to healthy living for the long-term is going to increase your chances of success rather than a short-term fix.
  2. Be willing to make uncomfortable choices. Let’s say that you are not thrilled with your current wellness. If the closest you come to weight training is placing the extra large frozen lasagna dish from Costco into your grocery cart, and your nightly TV watching routine is incomplete without a heaping bowl of buttered popcorn, then you need to make some changes to your habits. And some, in fact many, might not be comfortable at first. But focusing on one shift at a time or keeping your motivation strong (through means like journaling, setting up a vision board or getting support from an expert or friends) can really help. I went cold turkey giving up caffeine in 1992 in light of my six to twelve pack a day diet coke habit at the time…and it sucked for a while. But the headaches passed and drinking water and adding in exercise helped wake me up in the morning better than a soda ever did, and after a week or two of being uncomfortable, I was fine.
  3. Do put yourself first. America politicians certainly focused on their self-preservation, albeit at the expense of the public they serve. But when it comes to your own wellness, taking care of yourself first can enhance the well-being of your entire family.  Think about it. Mom or dad adopts healthier eating habits, starts exercising moderately most days of the week and sheds 40 extra pounds that was causing knee pain and shortness of breath whenever they used to climb one flight of stairs. Chances are good that those closest around you, impressed by your increased energy and better self-esteem, will also be more interested in their wellness. Perhaps your spouse joins a gym or the family tradition of going out for ice cream after dinner is replaced with a vigorous walk around the neighborhood where you actually talk to each other for more than 10 minutes at a time. Caring for your health can have a really positive domino effect with those you love the most.

What other lessons do you think we can learn from the recent government shut-down? Have you or someone you know made healthier living changes recently that impacted others in a positive manner?

 

 

Seeking great stories of people who got “unstuck”

Woman in a Carboard BoxMost of us have been “stuck” at some point in our lives. I’m not talking about being in rush hour gridlock with squabbling kids or wedged in the middle seat of a packed concert venue when you realize a trip to the bathroom is in order, neither of which is particularly fun. What I mean is that point where you feel overwhelmed or practically paralyzed when facing a circumstance contrary to the life you want to lead. You know, like desiring financial freedom but feeling trapped by a mountain of debt; wanting to meet the love of your life but feeling too scared to check out online dating or other options for meeting suitors; wishing you had a healthier body and lifestyle by lacking the momentum to ever hit the gym, and so on.

As you might have guessed from this blog post title, I’m working on a book project to help people get unstuck and create the life of their dreams. Through my networks and social media, I have been interviewing some wonderful individuals whose stories will motivate and inspire you. Now I’m looking to include insight from a few others who fit the descriptions below (and the more dramatic example they have to share, the better):

  • Someone who forgave themselves for past decisions or behaviors, and it helped them get unstuck and move forward into happiness.
  • A person who suffered major financial set-backs like crushing debt or even bankruptcy, overcame that situation and now enjoys strong prosperity.
  • A subject matter expert (psychologist or coach) to discuss what role gratitude plays in getting unstuck.
  • A long-term weight loss/healthy living success story who can discuss why understanding that “self-care” didn’t mean “selfish” helped transform her life.

Thanks for spreading the word to your friends and networks! Anyone interested can contact me directly. Meanwhile, have you ever been stuck? If so, how did you overcome that obstacle?

 

Four Ways to Get Ready for Fall Wellness

With the high today in Atlanta topping 82 degrees and triple-digit temperatures forecast for my impending trip to Tucson, Arizona, it does not feel like summer has relinquished its grip yet.  But on September 22, fall officially begins – and here are four ways to help you get ready for wellness this season.

1)      Add warmth with functional, fashionable layers

Chances are good that the “go-to” running tank top and shorts look that so efficiently wicked sweat away this summer isn’t going to give you enough warmth during outdoor exercise in the upcoming months. No matter where you reside, you will also need something to wear post work-out before hitting the shower. I don’t spotlight many products in this blog, but here are two that I use for functional yet fashionable exercise cover-ups:

  •  At first glance, I don’t have much in common with Olympic Volleyball Gold Medalist and tall, blonde goddess Kerri Walsh…okay, make that a second and third look too. But we both dig BORELLI active performance scarves, which can be turned into wrap-around jackets and even sarongs depending on size. While some women “glow” after killer workouts, I am sweating hard and appreciate how this item wicks away sweat four times faster than cotton while helping me vie for the title of gym fashionista.  A triathlete herself, founder Marissa Borelli Casellini is passionate about creating products that marry fitness and style; you can wear her creations to ward off post-workout chills or as a chic accessory in daily life. Never very intrepid when it comes to geometry and angles, I found their demo video essential in figuring out how to wear this with flair.  Visit http://www.borellidesign.com/ to learn more.
  •  Then there is my lululemon hoodie jacket. Perfect to wear while driving home after an exercise class or running errands, I love its vibrant purple color and how it keeps my nicely warm before changing. Plus it lasts. I’ve had this jacket for three years now and it keeps on ticking.

2)      Embrace Seasonal Foods

If you’ll miss summer offerings like strawberries and watermelon, take heart with all of the seasonal foods options like cranberries, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apples, winter squash and much more. Here’s a handy guide to fall produce from Cooking Light magazine that spotlights selections and recipes. As for me, I’m all about the pumpkin, opting for smoothies over pies these days. Here is my favorite pumpkin smoothie recipe:

PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE

Courtesy of Citron Nutrition, adapted from Tasty Yummies

¾ cup cooked pumpkin (you can use canned, but fresh is much better)

1½ cups unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

2-3 Medjool dates, pits removed (soak first if they aren’t soft)

Clean additions:

1 scoop of vegan protein powder or 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Directions: Add all of your ingredients to the blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. If your pumpkin and/or almond milk isn’t cold, you could add a handful of ice, although this may make it less creamy. You can also add a splash of water or additional almond milk if your smoothie is too thick. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

 

3)      Plan workouts to take advantage of seasonal changes

Consider changing up your exercise routine to enjoy the crisp fall weather. If you typically run on a treadmill or cycle city streets, head out to the countryside or mountains to experience these activities and more while savoring the beauty of changing leaves. I found great resources such as Hike New England and Autumn Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains with a quick online search and am sure you can do the same for your own area.  

4)      Focus on blossoming internally

There might not be flowers outside, but the fall is a wonderful time to start blossoming internally through personal growth. You don’t face the stupid pressure of New Year’s resolutions and with school back in swing, it feels like the season to learn something new. Last fall I took swimming lessons to combat a long-time fear of being in the water. While I’m never going to be Diana Nyad – and have no desire to ever wear a jellyfish-proof mask or adopt a distance swimming-friendly hairstyle – I can now get in a pool with a kickboard and sometimes no accessories at all without freaking out.  Or maybe you really want to meet your soul mate and it’s time to push yourself to put up an online dating profile to start getting out there. Whatever the case, nurture yourself and see how the happiness grows within.

What is your favorite part of fall? How do you plan to challenge yourself or grow during this season?

Five Things I’d Like to Tell My “Heavier” Self

Call me sentimental, but this time of year always prompts me to reflect on my wellness journey. After all, I consider September 4, 1992 as the start date of the healthy habits that have also provided me with a happier, more fulfilling life.  In lieu of an official time machine, I’m going to close my eyes, click my ruby slippers – okay, cute blue flats – and turn back the hands of time to tell my heavier self, circa 1992, a few things:

  1. Just because you heard “but you have such a pretty face…” with the implied disappointment at the rest of your size for many years, it doesn’t mean that the rest of you can’t match.
  2. Eating better and exercising is a beautiful way to show how much you love yourself, even during the most difficult of times.
  3. Aim to feel better in body and spirit. Don’t give a damn about changing to make yourself more appealing to others.
  4. Thank you for slathering on the sun screen and accepting the Casper the Friendly Ghost jokes with ease. Your 46-year-old skin is very appreciative!
  5. Sure it’s 1992 and fashion sucks. But do you really have to wear shoulder pads like a linebacker while making your hair as tall as a lamppost?

And to mark this occasion, here are some before shots and an after from now, 20 years later. Yes, I finally dropped the shoulder pads and excessively big hair along the way!

What messages would you like to go back in the past and tell yourself at an earlier time? Do you have any special milestones or achievements you are currently celebrating?

Walking on Sunshine

Think exercise has to involve complicated moves that feel like you are being deployed to a war zone, or prepping for a “Dancing with the Stars” audition?  You might actually get more bang for your buck by kicking it old school and taking a walk. It’s easy to get started as a newbie, and even hard core fitness types can sweat like crazy by putting one foot in front of the other.

For me, walking often gets overlooked as I head to the gym instead five or six days a week. Then after nearly a two week stint with bronchitis sidelined my regular exercise schedule, I decided to slowly get active again with a walk around the neighborhood. What I didn’t expect was how much that time outside in the sunshine clarified my thinking and improved my spirits. So I donned a heart rate monitor and did it again yesterday for over an hour, adding in an elastic band and bosu strength routine my trainer taught me afterwards. And I ended up burning up just as many calories as I would at the gym, but had more fun in the process.

Here are five tips to help you start walking on sunshine:

  1. Protect your feet. A supportive pair of shoes is critical for healthy fitness at any level. Rather than just buying the coolest looking sneakers on display, consider visiting a sports specialty store that can fit you into the right pair. I did this two years ago, and was surprised to learn my feet responded best to size 8 ½ athletic trainers, rather than the 7 ½ I’d incorrectly worn for years which probably contributed to past injuries.
  2. Dress to promote movement. If you want to roll out of bed in a t-shirt and sweats and stroll around the neighborhood, go for it! But as you increase your distance and intensity, investing in supportive active wear that wicks away sweat can improve your performance and motivation.
  3. Plan the experience. Warm-up and stretching is just as important as the walk itself.  Check out these helpful resources for creating a personalized walking, stretching and strength-building plan that have been developed by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in collaboration with the American Heart Association. The same is true if you’re looking to add something different to an established fitness routine. Plan ways to add strength training into the walk itself, or immediately afterwards. For ideas on effective moves that don’t require a visit to the gym, check out Workout Nirvana, Fun and Fit, Fitknitchick and these tips from Greatist.
  4. Partner with a friend. Ever take a walk with a buddy and because you’ve had so much fun gabbing, suddenly 45 minutes have passed and you feel a lovely surge of endorphins? Find someone who lives nearby with the same schedule that can join us, so you motivate each other. The American Heart Association shares these great tips for creating a walking club to ensure there’s always someone available to keep you company.
  5. Move to the music. Making walking fun increases your chances of stepping out into it! Load up on great tunes that motivate you while increasing your heart rate. Here’s a walking playlist that I’ve created just for you:

Shira’s Walking Playlist:

  • The Walker – Fitz & the Tantrums
  • Twisted – Usher
  • All Night – Icona Pop
  • Let the Groove Get In – Justin Timberlake
  • Yeah Yeah – Willy Moon
  • Turn Me Lose – Madcon
  • Run – Gnarls Barkley
  • Before We Fall in Love – Damato
  • Women’s World – Cher
  • Applause – Lady GaGa
  • All Things (Just Keep Getting Better) – Widelife & Simone Denny
  • Dancing the Whole Way Home – Miss Li
  • Merry Go Round – The JaneDear Girls
  • The Boots Were Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
  • Take a Walk – Passion Pit

Do you incorporate walking into your fitness routine, or have you ever thought about it? Have any other tips to share with people interested in walking for exercise?

Additional Resources:

12 Week Walking Schedule from the Mayo Clinic

Overview: How to Start Walking – Runner’s World Magazine

Walk Off 10 Pounds – Fitness Magazine

Scaling back on self-judgment

So I have scaled mountains (the smallish-kind that don’t require oxygen tanks or Sherpa assistance) and as a Libra, regard the Scales of Justice as a pretty cool concept. But there’s one scale that has proven not to be my friend over time – the kind that measures your weight. During this summer of really clean eating, I’ve avoided calibrating my self-esteem by the number on a scale, getting in better physical shape in the process.

Like many health conscious women, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the scale since my teenage years. When I lost 50 pounds over 20 years ago, an important part of that was only weighing myself every two weeks or so to prevent any fixation with numbers.  But then I hit my forties and stuff slowed down a bit. Concerned with the regain of eight to ten pounds, I started relying on the scale more for measurement. After all, the National Weight Control Registry reported that 44% of their successful weight loss maintainers weighed themselves daily. So I tried that tactic…and it drove me batsh*t crazy. Didn’t lose any extra pounds, and gained a boatload of self-judgment.

Back in June, I told you about trying a 21 day “cleanse” created by Certified Health & Nutrition Coach Linda Citron. The title itself is misleading, as it was really a clean eating plan for embracing real foods and identifying items that weren’t so great for my body.  You weren’t allowed to weigh yourself during that time and in adopting many of the cleaner habits as my daily routine now, I wasn’t in any hurry to get back to it. The results included:

  • I dropped a clothing size and can now easily fit in those designer jeans that used to taunt me from the back of my closet.
  • As pictured below, this process helped me rock a form-fitting dress for my wedding celebration – without Spanx!
  • My energy, clarity and balance have significantly increased and stayed that way.
  • Eating clean diminished or completely eliminated mood swings, even during PMS.
  • It broke my sugar addiction. After years of all or (rather unsuccessfully) nothing, I lost the taste for it. I can eat one bite of chocolate and be done. In my world, this is a huge development on par with the discovery of electricity and indoor plumbing.

And even now, on this clean-eating journey for the long-term because it makes me feel so much better, I still don’t want to weigh myself and bring back tying my self-esteem to a number.

Clean eating helped me wear this dress without an assist from Spanx, after it had been too tight for months! And yeah, that’s my foxy new husband Justin in the shot too!

 

“It is important not to give your power to a number that is so arbitrary,” notes Success and Happiness Coach Michelle Goss, CPSC. “Moving away from the scale creates the opportunity to claim new measures of health and fitness.”

Moving forward, I’m going to stick with clothing fit to calibrate how I’m doing. How do you monitor your wellness? Addicted to the scale, or use other measurement?