Change Your Water ~ Change Your Life

My Summer Adventure

Did you ever hear the saying ‘if you always do the same old, same old – you will always get the same old, same old?’ So OK that was me – never really trying anything new and adventuresome in the past few years. Same old thing week-in and week-out!! Always had an excuse – I can’t do that because it costs too much, or I don’t have the time, or it will take up to much time, or my bones are too old or why do something once that I will never do again or I won’t be good at it or it’s not the right time? BLAH-BLAH-BLAH! When is the right time?

I think I was always fascinated with scuba diving – when someone else was doing it – until I saw my friend Gregg’s pictures from Malaysia. And then I was blown away and knew I had to dig deep, find the courage, find the money, find the time, find the right instructor and jump off the ledge (or the boat or the shore) and just do it!

So that is what I did – I joined a scuba diving certification class, took that plunge and am now ‘certified.’ What a great feeling to know you can do something out of the norm and be successful at it. How do I judge success on this one – well I made it home alive and a giant catfish didn’t swallow me up.

Now for those that don’t scuba you are probably asking what it was like? Day one in the pool was great – of course we were only in water 4 feet deep – you can’t get too nervous about that. Day two in the pool was, well … let’s say I had some ‘issues.’ When Leslie said ‘OK – now we are going to the deep end of the pool’, my reply was ‘you guys may go – I am staying right here.’ I eventually did go to the deep end as I felt really stupid hanging in the shallow end with all my gear surrounded by little kids!

Ok not bad but the big challenge was only a few weeks away – open water certification – in a big old lake. You do realize that lakes don’t really have sides like a pool does to hold onto – right? And the lake isn’t going to be anywhere near as clear as a pool – right? And you do realize you are going to be under the water at around 20 ft. deep – right? Pretty scary – right? Hell – yeah if you let it get to you! But here is where the power of positive thinking comes in – reinforcing the lessons you learned and trashing all the other crap talk.

So our class made it through and came home ‘certified’ and we had a blast doing it. See during the weekend we were all on a level playing field – inexperienced and in deep-water to boot – but each one of us was anxious to be successful at something we had never done before, beat down those fears and show ourselves that we can conquer new worlds – at any age.

Will I ever get to Malaysia or anywhere in clear, ocean water to try my hand at scuba diving? Couldn’t tell you but what I can tell you is that taking a trip was never the goal of this whole excercise – the goal was to get outside myself and do something unusual. Try it – you will be surpriZed how great it feels.

Oh Those Pesky Habits!

So today Kansas City is getting their first real snow of this winter season. It sure is beautiful out there! The dogs are loving it. I love it also. I can stay safe (off the roads), shovel snow at my leisure knowing the house is toasty with the fireplace roaring. But there is a big difference for me between this year and last year when it comes to a ‘habit’ I had during a snow storm.

Last year the little voice in my head would have told me ‘hey, it’s snowing and you are expanding energy outside – walking the dogs and clearing the driveway, therefore you need to treat yourself well.’ Treating myself well meant eating food I knew wasn’t good for me but tasted oh so good on such a day. I had gotten into the habit of doing just that – extra treats, with loads of extra calories and tons of extra additives and preservatives.

So what kind of treats you ask? Wal-Mart is just down the street very close and easy to get to even in the snow. You know they have these awesome popcorn shrimp at the hot food counter for only $2.00 for a big cupful. If you catch them early enough they are scrumptious and they are easy to eat as you walk around the store! I must say though that treat alone is probably 600 calories. Now off to the frozen pizza aisle. Not sure the brand but I know the box – roasted chicken and garlic, flatbread pizza – family size. The entire pizza probably has 1000 calories (yeah I have checked) but I won’t eat the whole thing. I will eat at least 1/2 (it is flatbread after all – less crust), then I will pick off some of the cheese on the other 1/2 and give the dogs a little well deserved treat, the crust not the cheese. The cheese and chicken are mine. I grab a can or two of cat or dog food to make it look like I am not just feeding myself. Perfect – I am now ready to reward myself for having done so little – but it’s snowing!

Last thought before I head home: ‘can I make it to the liquor store?’ I mean you can’t have a snow day and all that pizza without a bottle of wine to top it off, now can you? Just wouldn’t be right. And red wine is good for you – right? So yeah I make it there and then home. Oops – did I forget a green vegetable – oh well I will double up tomorrow! I am all set – I have my food, I have my wine and boy do I have my calories. I resolve to do 10 or 20 squats later to balance out those carbs.

OK so that is just one day of REALLY bad choices and letting old habits get the best of me. But that one day on top of all the other days brought me to a place I didn’t want to be or like to be at. I had gotten into the habit of saying ‘just for today and tomorrow I will start off with better eating habits – I promise!’ Except that didn’t happen and eventually none of my clothes fit well and most didn’t fit at all! But it’s not just the clothes. It’s about how I felt about myself and the slope is slippery when you hope to have another 30+ years of super health but your eating habits are eroding those years, one day of bad choices at a time.

Then that all changed when I meet my personal Take Shape for Life coach – Tina. I heard her amazing story, we talked, I thought, we talked some more and I came to that all important personal decision that enough was enough. I needed to take control, I needed to change my habits and I needed to start looking at food in a whole new manner. My new bible Dr. A’s Habits of Health by Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson talks about motivation. Is your motivation to solve a problem i.e. get back into those clothes with the tags still on them or to create a desired outcome i.e. overall better health forever. He calls this ‘optimal health’. If the answer is get back into those clothes then you may succeed but you won’t be creating new habits to improve your health and live longer.

Check out Dr. Anderson’s (Take Shape for Life Medical Director) health assessment for diet, exercise, emotional health, lung health, BMI, BP & cholesterol, medical conditions & family history. Click on the link ‘You Are What You Eat’ and take the test. Let me know how you scored!

I welcome your comments and insight.

Maggie

Weight Management Tips

So lots of folks are asking me for ‘tips’ on losing weight. I started my weight loss program two weeks before Christmas and right when the parties were gearing up. Some thought I was nuts – maybe – I have always been a little ‘odder’ then most. But my thought process was if I went into the holidays without a plan I would come out of it 5 or 6 pounds heavier. I couldn’t let that happen. I was already on the precipice of despair about my weight. Why start the new year even more unhappy?

I am so excited about the success I am having that I can’t help but post it on Facebook and that is what prompted a request for ‘tips’ from friends, family and associates. Don’t misunderstand, the posts are not to make others feel bad, weight management is a very personal challenge, but by telling people I am adding one more tool in my belt to help me succeed.

So to kick off the tips section keep in mind you must have 4 key elements for success: a goal, a plan, a system and a coach. The goal is not short-range but a goal for the rest of your life, the plan needs to be outlined in simple terms, the system must be easy to follow and the coach needs to be accessible, encouraging, upbeat and a confidante.

Tip #1 – You must figure out what you want out of life as it relates to food. OK raise your hand if you DON’T love food! Right, we all love food. Some foods we can’t resist. But if you are struggling with weight do you feel good after you have eaten that item you couldn’t resist? It tasted good while you were chewing but if you are like me you may feel guilt, remorse or indigestion in the hours following and then you make a conscious decision to push it out of your mind. As Scarlett would say ‘I’ll thing about that tomorrow’ but my tomorrow never came – until 3 weeks ago. I don’t want food to run my life and I don’t want it to add more ‘unwearable’ clothes to my already over-stocked closet.

Tip #2 – Don’t look at your plan as a diet. Diets don’t work in the long-term. And if your goal is long-term, which it should be, ditch the word diet. You need to develop or work with someone who can develop a system of weight management to help you shed the pounds and keep them off.

Tip #3 – Determine how many calories you are actually consuming in a day. WOW you could have knocked me over with a tractor (I am not the feather type) when I realized what was going in my mouth on a regular basis. It’s an eye opener and will help get you thinking about those changes you so desperately are yearning to make happen. I know looking up all those foods and calories is a pain but I have a tool that makes it easy to do.

Tip #4 – What do you want to achieve once you have control and change is happening? I overheard a lady today say she has a hot-air balloon ride planned in a few months but was afraid she might be too heavy. If you think your weight is holding you back from having fun and doing great activities with family and friends – it probably is. But really think about and jot down those things that you want to do and make that part of your life goal. About 14 years ago I went splunking and what petrified me was that I was going to get stuck in an opening because I had too much extra pounds. Will I ever splunk again? Probably not – but I don’t want to be scared of doing something because of my weight either. Life is too short.

Tip #5 – You must eat 6 times a day. You have heard it and read it many times, long gaps between meals is the worst thing you can do for you blood sugar and your weight management program. There is a history of diabetes in my family particularly on my father’s side. I didn’t pay much attention to it until recently after talking with friends about the insurance situation for diabetics and it hit me. I need to get my weight under control in order to prevent Type 2. But here’s the bad news even if there is no history in your family if you are carrying extra weight you are at risk. Eating nutritionally balanced meals 6 times a day will help prevent Type 2.

Remember – GPS + C (goal, plan, system + a coach)!

Happy New Year!
Maggie

The above is the headline from an article that appeared on the USA Today website on November 6, 2010. The article reports on a study released on November 4, 2010 by the Rand Corporation showing that older white Americans are sicker than older white British citizens. The study conducted by Rand specifically looked at White Americans and Britains in the age groups of 55-64 and 70-80 during the years 2002 to 2006. Co-author James Smith, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation noted why only white populations were studied by saying, “We did so to eliminate the possibility that minorities in both countries could be causing the health differences.”

The study finding showed that between the ages of 55 to 64 Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases than their English counterparts and they also died at about the same rate. In the older group of between 70 and 80 years of age, the results showed that disease prevalence and the onset of new diseases were higher among Americans for the illnesses studied, which included diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung diseases and cancer. However, in this older group the study did show that even though Americans were less healthy, they were on average outliving their British counterparts in this age group.

In commenting on the findings Smith explained in the USA Today article, “Americans are taking worse care of themselves but getting better care from the health care system. My fear is that unless we are able to improve ourselves in terms of sickness, making up for this with good medical care will be harder and harder to sustain in the future.”

Great in-person presentation and workshop today by the world-renowned Starr Hall at the Sprint Campus in KC. So she convinced me to get a blog going and said it was easy but I am already confused. Working through all the terminology and learning how to use is all will be a challenge.  Received a copy of Starr’s book: Get Connected, the Social Networking Toolkit for Business – anxious to get started reading.

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