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Should You Weigh Yourself? The Pros and Cons of Using a Scale to Measure Your Weight Loss and Overall Health

By on December 7, 2016

weigh-yourself-scale-blog-postCurrently, it has been over 2 months since I have stepped on a scale.  I last weighed myself as I finished up a DietBet challenge around the ‘back to school’ time of year.  In that two months I have taken care to monitor my diet (most of the time ::wink wink:: ) and I have also been in the process of training to for a marathon this coming January 2017.

 

Given that I was conscious of my size in comparison to others since about the age of 10, I had a long tortured relationship with scales up until my late 20’s.  Stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office was often humiliating as a teenager.  The scale’s reading could make or break my whole day when I was spending 2-3 weeks “trying Atkins” again as an older teenager.  Then I could go a couple of years almost completely avoiding the scale all together, at the same time trying to avoid acknowledging that in fact I was morbidly obese by the age of 23.

 

Starting around age 27 my relationship with the scale became less tortured and more functional.  I had begun to change my life and during that time, seeing the numbers drop on the scale was incredibly motivating, especially since I was finally making a lifestyle change and approaching weight loss in a healthy way.

 

Read on to hear my PROS and CONS scale to measure your fitness (or weight loss) success:

 

PROS

  • Weighing on yourself on a scale is an easy way to track progress and notice changes.
  • If you are trying a variety of fitness routines, you can notice how your body looks at different weights. If you are consistent with weighing yourself, you can notice that your body may look different at the same weight, depending on your muscle and fat composition, as well as your level of hydration.
  • Rapid increases or decreases in weight can be an indicator of a medical need. Body weight is a measurement used by medical professionals from the day we are born until the day we die.
  • Seeing numbers going down (or up if you are of the seemingly luck few that are wanting to gain weight) can be motivating. I can surely say that often times when I am closely tracking my weight a loss of a pound or two can keep me on track with my nutrition that day/week.

CONS

  • Weighing yourself daily can easily turn into an obsession. If your mind is not in a healthy this may become a self-destructive ritual.
  • A plateau in your weight loss (or more so a gain!) can wreck your motivation and derail your fitness efforts. If you are not intentionally noticing the other benefits of your fitness efforts such as body measurements changing, increased strength and endurance, as well as an overall better feeling/mood you can soon find yourself feeling like a “failure” simply based on the reading of your scale.
  • A low body weight is not an exclusive indicator of health. If you are using a scale to track your weight in an attempt to get to your ideal “low” weight, your health can be damaged along the way.
  • A scale does not measure the positive, intangible qualities of a person. Whether you’re 10 pounds down, the same weight, or 10 pounds up, the scale cannot tell you how you have impacted the life of another person.  It cannot tell you what a valued friend or family member you are to someone.  The reading on the scale can’t tell you how funny your last joke was.  It just can’t measure the important attributes that make you yourself.

 

 

Ultimately the scale is just a tool that should be used with balance.  There is no need to weigh yourself daily.  A well rounded fitness tracking program would likely have you weighing yourself once a week, on the same scale, at the same time of day.  Your weight is just a detail in the overall package that is you.  If you have personal goals related to health and fitness this detail can be included in the tracking of your goals without a need to define yourself by the number.

 

Do you weigh yourself?  Or are you anti-scale.  I’d love for you to share your scale story below 🙂

 

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I Went to a Yoga Class at My Gym and This is What Happened

By on November 12, 2016

girl trying a yoga tree poseThe last couple of weeks have really hit me like a ton of bricks.  This past week I had a sudden urge to give yoga another try.  Lo and behold my gym had a 7:00pm yoga class that worked out just in the time of need.

Arriving 10 minutes into the class, I was worried I would disturb the tranquility of the room.  Then I told myself worrying wouldn’t gel with the goal of the class.  And so I jumped right in and began my best attempt at a sun salutation , and let’s just say my best attempt was very laughable.

Within minutes I was painfully aware of my extreme lack of flexibility. I felt a strong urge to just walk out and hit the free weights but managed to struggle on through the rest of that progression as I scanned the room to see if there was anyone remotely close to the same yoga skill level as myself.

About 15 minutes into the battle trying to “fold” myself I began to really relax and just embrace the awkward way my limbs and torso tried to comply with the instructors directions.  Around that same time someone else near must have really let loose and I unknowingly inhaled deeply at the teacher’s command and proceeded to gag and have a minor coughing fit.  Yep, pretty peaceful at that moment I would say…….

The air eventually cleared and I continued giving my best impression of a person who could actually do the poses.  Poses I am actually good at include; mountain, cobra, tree, and of course, the corpse pose.  Hey, I have to find success somewhere in order to be willing to try again!

Overall I enjoyed the yoga class and feel as though I should make yoga a part of my weekly routine at a minimum of once a week.  I know that the quality of the experience from my mainstream gym may be markedly less than if I were to go to a more swanky studio.  But let’s be realistic, I’m already paying for the gym so it may be a minute before I pay even more to go somewhere else.  Namaste.

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Coping with Anxiety Through Regular Excercise

By on November 7, 2016

If you know you, you know I am an anxious girl.  Social situations, pressure at work, and general over analysis of my everyday interactions with the world are some of my triggers.  That being said, I do not feel that I have an actual anxiety disorder, well at least not one that prevents me from living a seemingly normal life.  Let’s just also say that I have yet to pay the money to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist that could formally diagnose me.

In 2012 I was going through some situations in my personal life that surely heightened my anxiety levels.  That year I really began to push harder in my workouts and it was also the year I “formally” started running.  Soon I began to feel the urge to exercise as soon as the rapid heart rate and semi-stomach aches began (those are my typical physical responses when I am overly anxious).

Just like anyone else, the stressors and the magnitude of the pressure my life is putting on me changes through the months.  Most average weeks I run or lift weights at least 3-4 times per week.  When my anxiety is spiking, 5-6 or even 7 workouts through the week almost feel necessary.

Of course all of this exercise as a remedy for anxiety has to go hand in hand with a solid sleep schedule.  I’ve had seasons in the past where I was pushing myself too far to work all day, do my mom duties, bake and sell cookies, and workout once or twice per day.  You can bet the amount of time I was sleeping decreased and well, I pretty much remained an anxious mess (but presented myself as stable in public) all the time.

Do you struggle with anxiety?  Besides medications, what helps you?

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Rockets Run 5k 2016 Recap : Running in Downtown Houston in a Sea of Red

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Yesterday I participated in the 15th Rockets Run 5k in downtown Houston.  I read about the event possibly on Facebook first, in early October and became interested.  I did not actually sign up at that time though.  I pretty much forgot all about it until Thursday 11/3 when I was looking at the Houston Running Calendar page for upcoming road races.

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I set about 3 alarms to remind myself to register on the Friday before the run.  By 7pm that evening, I had finally registered.  Later that night, after responsibly having a few drinks with some colleagues from work, I read the confirmation email from the event planners and it clearly said NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UPS.  I mildly freaked out and figured I had wasted my money.  Being “this close” to attempting a charge-back on my Paypal Mastercard, I looked at the Rockets Run website and there it listed the packet pick up times, including Sat. November 5th 6:00am-7:30am.  So I set my alarm and picked out my most Rockets coordinated running clothes.

 

Arriving around 6:50am, I saw tons of red shirts milling around taking all of their pre-race selfies, snaps, and check-ins.  I was able to smoothly pick up my packet.  The race registration included a commemorative t-shirt (in Rocket red with a nice design), a Toyota Center drawstring backpack, several snacks and coupons in the backpack, and a voucher for a ticket to a Rockets home game.  The cost for the run initially was 35.00, 45.00 after the third week of October.

Since the 5k run didn’t start until 8:00am I was also able to get in nearly 2 extra miles before the race started.

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The start line was on Bell street right in front of Toyota Center.  Bell street was packed with runners and walkers alike.  Nearly the whole first ¼ of a mile of the run it was a tight squeeze and I found myself running below my typical 5k pace and trying to carefully dodge other runners and make it ahead to the more spacious areas of the run.

We ran into Midtown Houston and back to Toyota center, looped a couple of extra blocks and then ran into the Toyota Center parking garage, all the way down to the underground level, adding a decline portion of running which is nice to cushion the finish time, lol—ultimately leading us to the finish line on the Rockets court.

I high-fived Clutch, the Rockets’ mascot, and unabashedly asked another finisher to take my pic with the finish line behind me.

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All signs said “Water Up The Stairs” and that was their way of quickly getting us out of the arena and back outside to the “after party”.  Walking out to the after party they had a table of food including bananas, apples, oranges, granola bars, and popcorn.

If you finished the 5k or 2 mile walk in time, you were the proud recipient of a Whataburger cookie along with some fruit gummies.  The cookies were gone pretty fast and there were tons of gummies left.

I watched a few of the after party festivities and was about to jump into a “dance contest” at the chance of winning James Harden’s socks, but a super cute grandma and grandpa joined before me and I knew grandpa was going to win those socks.  So I saved myself the embarrassment and just watched.

Overall I was very pleased with the Rockets Run 5k.  The volunteers were efficient and had a lot of enthusiasm. The value for what was included in the race registration was great

 

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5 Healthy Snacks I Never Get Tired Of

By on November 5, 2016

Each day before work I load up my lunch box with my breakfast, lunch, and several healthy snacks  I typically try to limit myself to one snack of fruit, multiple veggie snacks are on hand nearly at all times, and a dairy snack such as a low fat cheese or greek yogurt.

In no particular order, here are 5 healthy snacks I never get tired of.

 

  1.  Sugar snap peas sugarsnap peas

  2. Fage 0% Fat Greek Yogurt with a serving of frozen organic blue berries or a few sliced strawberries.  picture of a bowl of greek yogurt with blueberries

  3. Pomegranate arils with low sodium chile-lime seasoningscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-6-42-12-pm

  4. Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcornscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-6-49-22-pm

  5. Celery, Zuchini, or Pretty Much Any Veggie with Hummus screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-56-47-pm

 

I hope one of these snacks will be added into your snack rotation soon!

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A Daily Blog Post Challenge For New Bloggers (Like Myself)

By on November 4, 2016

I’m a blogger who has yet to really start blogging.  I have been kicking around this idea of being a fitness blogger for well over a year now.  I have the bare bones pieces in place.  I have a domain name, I have a few posts here on my blog.  I’m definitely still living a life dedicated to fitness, I’m just not posting about it.

Last month I went to the Blog Elevated conference at the South Shore Harbor Resort and Conference center.  It was quite a positive experience for me.  I felt so inspired that whole weekend.  On the first evening of the conference I had a conversation with an interesting gentlemen by the name of William Leborgne from News Republic,

image of a one way street sign to show that I need to dedicate time to blogging more consistently
Keep going forward.

that was actually about creating videos for youtube but I am going to apply that concept to this fledgling blog.  He told me about an acquaintance of his that had decided to create and post a video to youtube every day to “get all the bad videos out of her system”.  This sounded rather intriguing to me as I tend to have months between blog posts due to the fact that I am compelled to have a post be “perfect” before I am willing to work on and publish it.

So here is my first post on my daily blog post challenge.  How long will it last?  I am unsure.  Maybe I will commit to a 30 day challenge, although that seems a little much.  Lets just start with a nice attainable number such as 10 day challenge.  Hey, I’ve done a 10 day cleanse on more than one occasion, so I might as well do a 10 day blog post challenge.

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Losing to Win // How DietBet Competitions Helped Me Maintain My Weight Loss

By on August 12, 2016

Detailed Info on how DietBet helped me stay motivated to maintain my weight loss
Unless you have cutoff all network television from your life and you close your eyes as you cross through the magazine racks at the grocery store checkout, you probably have heard of the show The Biggest Loser.  The show revolves around contestants competing to lose the biggest percentage of their starting body weight through extreme workouts and intense diet change.  This show has inspired many individuals to participate similar contests on a much smaller scale, likely organized by someone at their place of employment.  I know I did.

For several consecutive years, someone at my job would organize a game of “The Biggest Loser” in which participants would pitch in $10-$30 to enter the contest.  One, maybe two, of the participants would “win it all” at the end if they had the biggest percentage of weight loss compared to their starting weight.  It was super motivating, until it wasn’t.  Let’s just say that I never won.  I would start out excited to “compete” and determined to win, but a few weeks into the competition I would be edgy and stressed out.  Feelings of resentment towards other people playing the game (especially those I perceived as “not needing to lose any weight anyway”) would surface and I would ultimately mentally check out half way through the contest.  Understandably, those who made it to the end and were the winners likely felt differently than me and this sort of game may have ignited a new passion for health and fitness within them.  If so, yahoo!

The last time I participated in such a contest I was about 30-40lbs into my 100 pound weight loss.  Over the course of 2 more years I was able to lose about 70 more pounds without the incentive of a “contest”.

One year ago I started noticing posts on instagram about “Diet Bets”.  I was intrigued.  At the time, I was nearly 10 pounds heavier than my usual weight due to stressing about work situations and dealing with that stress with poorer food choices than usual.  I thought this new Diet Bet setup may be just the activity to get me back on track.

How does it work?

When you participate in Diet Bet your are going to pay a fee (or bet) that you will lose a percentage of your starting body weight (4% for 28 day games, 10 % for 6 month games).  If you are successful, you will get your bet money back, plus a cut of the money of participants who were not successful.

Who is it for?

Diet Bets that are 28 days long are great for individuals who have weight to lose and are actively using a scale one tool to measure their profess/success.  If you have issues with monitoring your weight and attaching a great deal of importance to that number on the scale, this may not be the game for you.  There are many non-scale methods for monitoring your fitness journey progress such as clothing sizes, measurements, overall health and mental well being and many more.  You should also be in need of losing 4% or more of your body weight, since if you are very close to your healthy/ideal weight, the challenge of losing that last couple of pounds might not be probable with a Diet Bet.

Why is it motivational?

Most people do not wish to part with their hard earned money.  Many will find it worth sticking to their nutrition and exercise plan just to get back their money they invested into the game.  Plus there is always the chance that you will have some “winnings” which in turn can be seen as a “return on your initial investment”  See my example from a recent bet I participated in below:

diet bet info graphic

 

 

I’m the type of person who can be motivated by money.  I want to get more money, and most importantly I don’t want to lose my money.  From time to time I will spend money on a specific nutritional challenge, or expensive running shoes, and like I said since I do not want to lose my money, I make darn sure those materials get used!

What I also find encouraging about joining a Diet Bet fitness challenge is the group dynamic and support.  It can be nice to have a challenge in common, knowing someone you know and are friends with is focusing on the same thing you are and that you can share your success and/or vent your frustrations with them.

Who might want to avoid a Diet Bet?

We are all unique and respond to situations in our own way.  Anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder would not be an ideal player in this game.  If the thought scales and your weight stresses you out and makes you treat yourself not so nicely, I would not recommend this challenge for you.  You would probably do better focusing on non-scale related goals in your fitness journey.  This game requires a scale to measure success, so you must be okay with weighing yourself regularly.  Admittedly, I don’t love getting on the scale to often, so when I participate in these challenges I weigh in at the beginning and then don’t weigh again for 2 weeks, then weigh in every other day during the end of the challenge.  If weighing yourself is not something you are into but you do want to join a fitness challenge, the WayBetter company has also recently introduced “StepBet“.

What should I do next?

Well, if you read through this post and you can see how a DietBet might be a fun challenge for you to try, you can join my current game by following this link:

www.dietbet.com/igfitmoms

Have you participated in a DieBet or any type of weight loss challenge?  Comment below with your experience, I’d love to hear from you!

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Fear, Doubt, and Failure: Running is a Metaphor for Life

By on August 8, 2016

Facing a fear of failure in the context of running. How you will be more successful if you embrace the risk of failure.

I’ve run so many miles, just check my Nike+ Running stats!  But ever so often right before  I head out on a run I’ll get strange feeling and think to myself, “What if I can’t do it?  What if I can handle running anymore?  What if I can’t make it through my run?!”  It happened to me tonight.  My mind raced through these thoughts while tapped on the GPS in my running watch and shoved my phone into my arm band.  Nonetheless, I pushed play on my running playlist and slowly began to run.

The first few minutes I began to gain my confidence in my running-self again.  “Hey, I can do this!  I’m not dying!” I thought.  I made it through the first mile and those thoughts of “I don’t think I can” began to fade.  5 miles was my distance goal, by the time I reached my halfway point I was starting to feel those endorphins, aka, “runner’s high” and I knew then my distance goal was probably in the bag.  Success!  If I had let my fear of failure stop me from running at all, I would have missed out on the wonderful feelings and benefits the completed from brought me.

It doesn’t always turn out like that though.  Sometimes, not very often, the run really doesn’t go well.  There have been times where everything that could go wrong did go wrong and  had to just call it quits and go home.  I find this to be an example of how sometimes failure is necessary to learn and grow.  When I analyze the context surrounding a failed run, I am then able to apply  my learning to ensure future successes with running.

Can you see how this could apply to almost any experience?  Running truly is a metaphor for life!

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Avocado Toast : Caprese Style

By on July 15, 2016

Raise your hand if you love avocados….. Raise your hand if you love toast…..  If you have two hands up then you mostly likely enjoy avocado toast.  Nom!  Well how about an avocado toast “upgrade” by making Caprese avocado toast?!  Are you in?  That’s what I thought, lets go!

Sprouted grain bread, avocado, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil
Sprouted grain bread, avocado, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil

This will make two slices of toast, of which I ate both to make one “late lunch” meal for myself.  Increase all quantities as need.   

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How One Comment Can Cost a Lot : 4 Ways to Raise Children with a Positive Body Image

By on July 10, 2016
positive body image
We can choose to talk to ourselves and our children in a way that builds their self esteem and helps them have a positive body image

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”  We’ve all heard that one.  But what if you have something seemingly nice to say?  What if you think what you’re saying is “not mean” so you go ahead and say it?  Well that comment can cost a lot.  And those types of comments can add up to some serious damage.  Specifically, when we make comments on our bodies and physical appearance, as well as choosing to comment (negatively or even positively) on the bodies of others we are choosing to teach our children to be defined by their body and physical appearance.  

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