exercise

So I got this email today touting the benefits of drinking tea. There are many benefits to drinking tea. They are very high in anti-oxidants which can help prevent and even help in fighting existing cancer cells in your body. There are also elements in tea that are reported to increase the fat burning ability of your body by increasing metabolism and helping your body burn fat.

This is all great stuff, but what kind of tea do you choose?

First, you should know that all true teas come from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. The difference in teas is simply in how the tea is processes. There are also herbal teas and others such as rooibos that are made from plants, fruits and flowers and contain no actual tea.

Types of teas include white, yellow, black, green, oolong and post-fermented. In China what we know as black tea is referred to as red tea, which is what rooibos tea is commonly called here. Post-fermented tea is what is called black tea in China. It’s all very confusing, right?

Anyway, let’s refer to things in the US vernacular for simplicity.

Black tea has the most caffeine of all the teas, but it is still about 40% of a regular cup of coffee. Drink it as dark as I do and maybe it’s even a greater difference. Black tea is high in polyphenols, a common antioxidant. There has also been research completed stating that consumption of black tea can have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Green tea has earned quite a reputation for it’s health benefits and some even claim that you can lose weight by drinking green tea. There is really no scientific proof of these weight loss benefits, although I imagine (with no authority) that some people, given their personal circumstances, may lose a little weight by increasing their water intake and/or balancing some internal chemical imbalance due to the beneficial elements of the tea.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants and scientifically associated with (not proof) with many health benefits including hear health and fighting cancer and glucose stabilization as well as an increase in fat oxidation during exercise. Guess I might have a cup of tea before my next workout :)

The newcomer on the weight-loss hype scene is “Wu-Long Tea”. Let’s be very clear here. There is no difference between Wu-long and Oolong tea.

Do not be fooled and do not pay the unreal prices that companies are asking for this “special” tea. You can pick up a good quality organic oolong tea as a high quality grocery store or health food store for the same price as any other type of tea.

Oolong tea is the same at wu-long tea. don't be fooled or cheated.

Oolong tea has many of the same health benefits as green tea. Preliminary research is stating that oolong tea may have a more significant effect on weight loss by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption. Oolong tea has been showed to have be a less effective antioxidant than green tea.

Overall tea is great for you and green or oolong may be a good supplement during your weight loss efforts, but don’t for a minute think you can drink tea or even take tea extract pills and lose weight without diet and exercise. Let’s be real folks. And for god’s sake don’t spend a bunch of money on the marketing hype of “Wu-long” Tea. Just try out a couple of varieties of widely available and reasonably priced Oolong Tea.

As always, thank you for following my personal journey and good luck with your own.

References:
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/oolong-tea-health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea – and links deeper

Training for this triathlon has been a labor of discovery for me.

First of all, I’m not very organized.  I even had the date wrong.  It is a whole week earlier than I thought.  Gheesh!

But, you know what?  I am really proud of myself.

I started small and worked at it piece by piece and now I am five weeks out and I really think I am going to make it.

I had such a powerful week last week.  I ran my first 5k without walking and swam just under a mile without stopping.   It was such a huge confidence boost for me that I laid down the money for the rest of the equipment I needed.

My bike arrived yesterday (I had to order it as every REI in the area was out of my bike in my size – of course) and I felt like a little kid on Christmas walking out of there with my new bike, my helmet under my arm and a bag full of biking goodies.   I swear the smile on my face must have been a mile wide.  Some young cute guy even commented on how nice my bike was as I was walking it to my car.  Hee Hee!

I even splurged on a swim suit and a brand new nuu-muu.

In buying all this gear I have been surprised at how girly I am.  Anyone who knows me knows that girly is not a word that describes me.  Even my daughter told me the helmet with the flowers on it was too girly for me —  she later changed her mind and we agreed that it was the cutest one and in the bag it went.  I also got a purple bell and will be completing my tri in a bubbly dress.   Wow, how far I have come.

My biggest surprise is how much I am enjoying it all.  I look forward to going out for a run and can’t wait to jump in the pool.  I am making progress and reaching my goals.  Two days ago I only had a few minutes so squeezed in a short jog to the park and back.  I was barely winded and when I mapped it on google maps it was two miles.  Two miles.  I couldn’t believe it.  a few months ago I couldn’t run a few hundred yards without keeling over.  And last night I took my new bike out for a spin and went 8 miles without even blinking.

I can do this.  I have been procrastinating and giving myself outs and making excuses for months because I was terrified of failing at this and now I know I can do this.

“We believe in strong girls and women. We believe in real people, real bodies and real friends. We believe in trying really hard. We believe that moments of truth can be extended to lifetimes of truth. We believe in having fun along the way. We believe that you can too.”  — Nuu-Muu’s Girl Power Philosophy

Thanks for the inspiration ladies!

With all the research and methodologies I have tried over the last year I have become quite the nutrition aficionado and although my style of eating has changed dramatically, I still have not made the true lifestyle changes that will support real and lasting weight loss.  I do find it frustrating though that even when I am really strict about what I eat and exercise regularly I have trouble losing more than a few pounds and the minute I let up in the least it pops right back up again, like overnight.

Something is amiss, but I also accept that finding out what that is may be nearly impossible and that my only option is to buckle down and do what it takes, but that all seems so overwhelming.  So,   I am currently taking a break from trying to solve the weight loss problem and am just concentrating on one thing at a time.  See, I have a tendency to look too far into the future or see the picture as too big.  Then I get overwhelmed and end up saying “fuck it” and giving up on the whole thing.

So, for now I am concentrating on the triathlon that I am running on September 25th.  One step at a time.  I started with the swimming by taking swim lessons two nights a week.  When I was pretty sure that I could swim the half mile I needed to and had built some swimming confidence I added the running piece and last night I ran a full 5k without stopping.  I’m not setting any records but I didn’t stop or feel that I needed to.

Now, onto the bike.  This weekend I will be purchasing my first bike and adding that into the mix.  One small step at a time.

I am trying to take this approach with more things in my life as this state of ineffectiveness infects almost everything I do.

Set small attainable goals and accomplish the task.

Today I am writing this blog post.   I am not transferring this into expectations that I will write a post every day or any time in the future.  Right now I am writing this and that is good enough for now.

Never in my life did I think that I would become so paralyzed in my own skin, but I am working on it (and working on it and working on it).  I was expressing my frustration at my continuing struggles at therapy the other day.  I have licked the depression and anxiety, poof… gone.   I have battled old demons, healed old wounds and gained unforeseen perspective.  I have finally grown up and faced the real world.  So why is everything still so hard?

She had a couple of words of wisdom.  First, I need to acknowledge how far I have come and accept that change is hard and doesn’t take place over night.  She also explained that not being depressed is different from being happy and not being anxious is different than being calm and centered.  These things take work too and small steps is the only way to get there.  There is always more work to do.

So, I take small steps and am thankful each day for those that love me and allow me to love them back.

Now if only I could get Ian to stop shitting his pants.  ;)

Well, here we are on protein day of cycle two of the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet. This week has been a struggle with me because of my thumb.

I have not been able to work out at all. I tried to do some lower body work, but any bouncing of my body is painful and any significant increase in my heart rate starts it throbbing.

I also just generally don’t feel particularly well with a feeling of general wooginess. When part of your body is dealing with trauma it is like the rest just functions at half mast.

I have been pretty good about sticking to the food plan though, with a few minor exceptions. I couldn’t fast entirely, but I did manage to keep it to three small bites of food corresponding with when I needed to take my medication.

I didn’t have a chance to plan as well as I would have liked and grocery shopping got pushed out a couple of days so I had to wing it a little. I found myself very hungry yesterday during moderate carb day. I assume that had something to do with not planning and therefore not eating enough of the right things at the right time. Hunger is not something that has been an issue with this program at all, except on fast days and that is to be expected and easily managed.

All of this makes me a little nervous for this cycles results. I am just hoping that I can really dig in next cycle.

Joel had a bodyweight workout made to accompany the program and I am really excited about that. I am a huge fan of bodyweight workouts and much prefer them to weight lifting. Included is a booklet explaining everything and with logging sheets. Also there are instructional videos for each exercise as well as follow along videos for each type of day. I am really excited to give these a try next go around.

My new cycle starts tomorrow and once again I have family coming into town. I have definitely had my challenges with the program and ultimately I am impressed that I am still motivated and dedicated to making it happen. Big step for me.

Learn more about Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

I have updated The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet page with my latest stats and measurements.  I lost 4 pounds!!!!

Unfortunately we have hit a little bit of a snag for this next cycle.  Saturday night I slammed my right thumb in the car door and it is pretty bad.   I can’t work out for a couple of days at least, heck I can hardly take care of myself.  My mom stayed an extra day to help me out and take care of the kids.

Also, this is my fast day but I am having to take pain killers and therefore I have to keep a little food in my stomach.  I am keeping it to the bare minimum, but total fast and the three workouts I had planned for today are out the window.  So, I am definitely not expecting much from this next cycle.

This is a total bummer because I feel like I had really good results the first cycle and I learned so much about what I need to do.  I am just going to have to be super strict on my food for the rest of the week.  I guess we will see what happens.

My protein only day went pretty well with my protein grams ending up spot on and my carbs super low, but my fat was too high.  Another thing to think about about this next cycle.

I lost 4 pounds in five days!  Want to learn more yet?

Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

Remember to plan ahead, log your food and exercise and keep your thumbs out of car doors.  OUCH!!!!

Although the Gabriel Method didn’t “work” for me, the underlying principles are very sound and I don’t think it had anything to do with The Gabriel Method itself.  It was all me.  I had some serious emotional issues to deal with and large mental blocks standing in my way.  I couldn’t even see that it was possible for me, let alone dedicate myself to the process of actually losing the weight.

Jon taught me to look at more than just the food an exercise and I understand more clearly the mental sides of things.  It also led me in the right direction to find the information I needed.

I also learned that I need more structure.  At least when starting out, I need to be told what to do and when.   I need a plan that I can look at and see what is coming next and not think too many steps ahead.  I get overwhelmed by the big picture and then give up because it looks too daunting.

With that bit of knowledge I went to work on that stuff and just kept improving my diet and reading and reading about metabolism and the mind body connection.  I also concentrated on working out to feel good and improve my fitness level for my triathlon this summer.  I have been running (something I swore I would never be able to do again), biking and have just started swim classes.   The swim classes rock and I would totally recommend taking an adult swim class for anyone who is looking to get into swimming for fitness.  I have only been to two classes and my crawl and back stroke are already completely transformed.

I have also made major breakthroughs on the psychological side and am glad to say that I have finally made the mental shift.  I can see the thin and fit me and can’t wait to get there.  And let me just tell you, what I thought was standing in my way had nothing to do with it.  I dug deep and with the help of my therapist have cleared away some serious stuff.

I found this picture of myself from when I was 21.  I had just met my husband and was in the best shape of my life.  I had just come off of a summer as the horseback riding director at a girl scout camp where I had hiked about 8 miles a day and spent the majority of my day on horseback or running around an arena teaching others on there horses.  I lifted saddles and hay bales and swam across the lake and back twice a week.  I had never been so active, or so confident.  This is an image of myself that I can get behind.

That image is now taped to my head board so that I see her/me right before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up.

I am very excited about this mental shift and what it means for me finally getting some results.  With that in mind, I am starting a brand new program next week that is going to really give my body an Xtreme shake up.  I think this is just what my body needs right now.  I have also chosen a long-term program that I am really happy with that I will continue with once the shake up is complete.

I look forward to sharing more information about both these programs with you.

I know that I have mentioned this maybe even several times in the past, but I just can’t get over how powerful it is when the same information comes at me from several unrelated sources.  This always confirms for me that I am on the right track.  Lately this phenomena is happening everywhere I look and so gives me confidence that although I sometimes feel like I am dangling from a hook, struggling to find solid ground as life zooms past me, everything is happening as it should and it helps me to trust myself and allow myself to be present to the changes happening in my life.

Funny, that word changes.  In the forum they teach us to differentiate between changes and transformations.  Change is something gradual that you must apply will power and constant attention to to make it happen.  Transformation is instant, more like an immediate shift that sends you in a new direction.  These are the more powerful mechanisms for making significant differences in our lives and I have seen this in several areas of my life and now finally with my health.

I first saw this in action when I quit smoking.  We had heard of this book (The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that supposedly could help you quit smoking with little effort or withdrawals. Now, I had been a smoker for over 15 years and had quit and started countless times. My problem was that I liked smoking, no I loved smoking.   But, I hated being a smoker.   There is a very distinct difference there that I think most smokers can relate to.

So, we had heard stories of several people who had read this book and then simply stopped smoking forever. At this point what did I have to lose, so I gave it a try. Basically the book tells it like it is, separating you from your addiction and helping you to see how it is standing in the way and certainly not serving in any way at all. But the funny thing is that it is really more about the act of reading the book than even what the book says.   At the end they have this list of questions and if you can answer yes to any of them you need to start the book over.   It took reading the book twice to get through the list, but then I put down the cigarettes and haven’t had another since and it wasn’t even hard, like at all.    My best friend even looked at me the other night and said she can no longer even imagine me as a smoker.  Amazing.

Do you need to quit? Get the Book!

The point is that it was my first introduction to the instant transformation I am talking about. It wasn’t hard to quit like it had been the many other times I had tried. It was like something shifted and I just didn’t need it any more. Quite the transformation.

Back when I was depressed and having regular debilitating panic attacks my therapist would tell me to differentiate and identify the depression and anxiety as separate from myself. “That’s the depression talking”.   It was amazing how quickly I started to feel better once I started doing this. I kept telling myself that it was just anxiety and depression and that what it was saying was not true and that I could keep going even though I thought my heart would explode out of my chest and it eventually just disappeared.  In the moment that I realized that I wasn’t the awful person my depression told me I was, it just dissipated and I started feeling better and soon I was better.

At The Forum I learned to separate my stories from my actual experiences and found forgiveness and peace with my past.

Do you see a pattern here?

Well now it has reached my battle with my weight. I was noticing last week that my whole outlook was starting to change. But this didn’t happen slowly over time with a lot of will power.   Yes, I have been thinking a lot about it and have made some changes to my diet and have obviously been working on the emotional aspects, but I was feeling really frustrated that it didn’t seem how much I worked at it, I still wanted to the sweets and junk food and couldn’t keep myself from eating it.  And I still had no desire to work out at all.

I hit my peak of frustration as I scarfed down a brownie on the way to therapy last Monday.   Two bites and I was feeling nauseous, yet I still ate the whole damn thing.  What is going on?

So I was talking to my therapist about it and she taught me how to differentiate this as well.  There is was again.  She recommended stopping when I felt these cravings and looking at them from another angle, identifying the intensity of the craving by giving it a number 1-10.   Then if you decide the number is high enough and eat the craved food, then identify how much satisfaction you got from eating it by giving it a number 1-10.

During this therapy session, something just clicked and since then I have been following her advice,  which has unfortunately taken the joy out of several sweat treats I was really looking forward to, and yet again transformation has happened.  Not perfection or magical weight loss, but a totally different outlook that seemed like it came out of nowhere.

I have been almost jonesing for exercise and food has lost its power over me. I am even down to just one Diet Coke a day, a miracle in and of itself.

It is just a craving and separate from myself.   That craving has nothing to do with my body’s need for sustenance or nutrition or even something yummy to eat — it is emotional and completely separate.

I think this is part of the message the Jon Gabriel is trying to convey to us.   Just give your body what it needs and realize that you are emotionally separate from your need to eat and your body will start asking for what it needs and giving back what you want from it.

The real test will be how this plays out over the next couple of months.  Please let the weight loss finally come.   I create this possibility for myself and for all of you too.

Buy the Gabriel Method Book Now!

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A while back a friend of mine  started an increadible business with her friend and business partner.   A business for women, run by women.

nuu-muu

She is a runner and was completing a half marathon in an old polyester dress that she loves and found really comfortable to run in.  She threw it over a pair of shorts and off she went.  After several people commented on her dress and asked where she got it, she thought there might be something there.

A lot of hard work later nuu-muu was born.  It’s a play on the muu-muu (remember those? LOL).  Get it?

Who says you can’t be athletic and girly at the same time.  These dresses are made for exercising but are cute cute cute as well.

Well, when she started the business she sent me a dress.  I was so excited when it arrived and then absolutely mortified when it didn’t fit.  It would barely go over my head and when I did finally get it on, everthing was bulging and horribly horribly wrong.

This had nothing to do with the dress, which is actually very flattering and made for real bodies, even coming in sizes up to XXL.  It had everything to do with my denial and the size I should have asked for, but was too embarrassed to.

So, the story goes, it was laundry day and 106 degrees out and I needed something to throw on so I could wash my very limited supply of clothing appropriate for such a heat wave.  I look up and there it is, hanging in my closet, just where it has been since the day it arrived.  What the hey?  and I put it on…

What?  It goes over my head.  Hmm, a little tight across the boobs, but wait…  Where is the bulging?  the uncomfortable tightness that made me want to run and hide under the bed until winter?  Almost gone.  Not perfect, but with a pair of leggings, this pretty little thing just might make an appearance on my next hike and is definitely making the trip to Hawaii.

Can I just say, as a side note, that I hate having big boobs.  Having lived with them since I was 10 years old, I can confidently say that if I could have one plastic surgery it would be to remove them.  Nothing cute is cut for big boobs.  Why anyone above completely flat chested would want to make them any bigger, I simply can not understand.  OK, rant complete.

How did this happen?  Have you read The Gabriel Method?

I picked up my Gabriel Method book this morning to reread some of the nutritional stuff as I have been concentrating on my mental health and identifying and eradicating my emotional blockage.   I was looking through the monthly plans and nutritional information and realized that I am already doing everything in month 3, just naturally without thinking about it.   How cool is that?

Unfortunately, I am still giving into the still too frequent junk food cravings and not being as active as I should.  I find that when I am busy and overwhelmed, instead of turning to exercise as a stress release and break from it all, I look at it like the worst possible thing ever.  Rather silly, really.    But, I am not beating myself up over it.  This just gives me tangible goals for this next month.

This month I will begin using the craving killing visualization.  Couple of interesting things about this…

I have been searching through the book for weeks looking for the section on the craving killing visualization and could not find it for the life of me.  I swear I flipped through every page.  Then this morning I opened the book directly to that page.  There is was, right in front of me.  I love that kind of thing.  I guess I am ready to take this step now.

I also think that it is interesting that this is the same visualization that Paul McKenna uses in his “I Can Make You Thin” book for killing cravings.    Must work pretty well.  Really, there is quite a bit of overlap between the two systems and I think they are very complimentary to each other.

Another thing to concentrate on this month are adding in activity several times a week.  I have many opportunities for this, it isn’t a matter or not having enough time, I just need to do it.  I will start adding being physically active to my evening visualizations and using the idea of making the better choice.  When the choice arises simply say yes to a stress relieving, personal time, break from the family, feeling great activity and no to sitting around wishing I was doing something else.

And lastely, this month I need to start adding a morning smart session.  I think this will be really calming and helpful for me, starting my day with a more positive and centered attitude and a focus on what I want to accomplish during the day.

If things keep going the way they are with my business, I am definitely going to need this increased focus and productivity, never mind someone to help clean my house and possibly even watch my kids a couple mornings a week.   All I have to say is be careful what you manifest for yourself, you just quite possibly might get it.  A little overwhelming, yet really really exciting.

Karli gets up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than me with the kids so this gives me plenty of time to lay in bed and wake up a little and then do 10 minutes of SMART mode visualizations.  I know,  isn’t he great?

On the emotional front, I have taken a big step that I am really excited about.  I have signed up for the Landmark Forum seminar.  This is a three and a half day very intensive look at yourself.   A good friend of ours just did it and he said that it was really life changing for him.  Karli also signed up to take it the month after I do.

I really think this is one of those right things at the right moments for us.   We have been through so much over the last year.  We as individuals and our relationship could really use a serious retuning.   I have been talking for months about needing to get away for a few days and just be with myself, but haven’t gotten around to it.  This is the perfect compromise, three and half full days (a total of 40 hours) with myself, if not by myself.  And I get to sleep in my own bed and kiss my kids each morning.

Can you tell I am excited about this?

Overall, a good month despite the fact that I still don’t think I have lost more than a few pounds (no weighing until October).  No worries,  all in the right time.

Get The Gabriel Method Book Now!

It’s a funny thing about fear.  Sometimes when you say it out loud and face it directly it recedes and sometimes even disappears all together.  

I would like to thank everyone for the unexpected and very much appreciated outpouring of support.    Your words of  encouragement made a really bad day a whole lot better and gave me the confidence to push past it.  Thank-you.

I wish I could say my fear is gone, but alas that simply isn’t how it is in this case.  But, by owning my weaknesses I have come to understand them a little better and can now move forward with my eyes open.

I wish I could snap my fingers and make the self doubt and mistrust go away, but life doesn’t work that way no matter how much we wish it could be.  The only thing to do now is take one day at a time and enjoy the good ones and let the bad ones go.  I just need to keep moving and find a way to have some success.

I have several ways of going about this.  My freelance business is doing well and I am having success with my therapy.  The next step is giving over to my ability to be thin again.  

It is time to buckle down and really commit to some way of getting healthy.  I talk about this a lot, but each new thing lasts a couple of weeks and then dwindles slowly until it just stops all together.

So, I am committing to the Gabriel Method, which I believe addresses my personal health issues.  I have come up with a plan and although i am not starting completely over like I thought I would have to, I am starting fresh and considering this day 1.

I made myself a sort of sign that I taped to the kitchen cabinets.  On this piece of paper is my meals planned out for the week.  This is not ‘eat this at this time’ but really just a list of good healthy meals that I have planned out in advance and have available to me so when I go to think about what I want for lunch, I can look at the list and see several things to choose from, any of which would be just fine, but steering me away from the dangers of standing in front of the fridge or pantry, hungry and vulnerable.

I also have included a daily schedule of stuff that I need to do, like taking supplements, drinking water, eating a snack, doing visualization, eating the sun and taking a power nap as well as a list of things to remember.  

I will make a new one of these each week to help me remain focused.  

In order for these habits to truly take, I need to do the same set of things every day, not just when I feel like it.  I think that because this is not a diet with a regimented food and exercise plan that it is easy to take the eat what you want when you want for granted.  This doesn’t work if you aren’t listening to what it is your body wants.  

For example, the afternoon rolls around and I always crave sweets then, so even if it isn’t what my body wants I still eat it without really even thinking about it.  Where as if I had just listened and tried a couple of techniques to give my body what it really does want, I might have been able to avoid eating that.  And if after all that I still really craved that sweet treat, then I could have eaten it and enjoyed without guilt, knowing that those cravings will go away on there own with time.

It is really a change in the way I think about it.  This is what happened when I finally quit smoking and I am positive that a fundamental shift in my thinking will be necessary with this as well.  

Much like when I quit smoking for the last time, I must give over to it and accept that this is the way things are going to be from now on, that I have made this decision and there is not turning back from it.