The Best Medicine (is half an hour)

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? – YouTube

Seriously, Watch the link above, it is a great watch; I love an easy to follow, informative animated presentation – and I am not going to write about the ins and outs of the video – Just watch it, it is better than any summary I can write. Surprisingly  it does touch on a post  I wrote a while ago in relation to TV and health…But If you don’t watch it the premise is that one half hour a day is the best medicine for us, it’s free (ie walking) and will save us our health and hip pocket!

I just got the big thumbs up from my surgeon this week to go ahead with exercise. I had reconstructive plastic surgery of a tummy tuck and arm lift 6 weeks ago. He let me know I can get back into everything: slowly building up my running and weights… I did my first 2.5km run back after 6 weeks off this week – I Loved it, I went without my Garmin running watch which calculates distance, pace, heart rate etc. I went just for the love of running and not looking at numbers allowed me to relax and let my body go at its natural pace whilst I continue to recover and build up.

Exercise for me is not just about losing more weight or weight control. For me exercise just makes me feel really bloody good! I am addicted and get a bit of a high off it 🙂

Exercise has improved my quality of life and improved my overall fitness. It gave me my life back, and I would much prefer to live a 21 -23.5 hour day (giving the balance to exercise) than ask for more hours in a day – Honestly there ARE enough hours in a day; and I am willing to bet that a large majority of people who would ask for more hours would end up giving those hours over to their TV habit anyway. 😦

We cannot change the clock to give us more time (unless you have the DeLorean with a flux capacitor in your garage), but we can change our priorities, our lives, families and communities by becoming healthier. Every minute counts, and it is up to us what we do with them.

Till next time

Lin xox

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TV – The Weight is On

TV - Is it all white noise?

Television and Weightloss – No I am not writing about yet another fast track unrealistic reality weight loss show (cue The Biggest Loser!) – Yes this post is about the “idiot box” as my Dad affectionately called it when we were growing up, but I want to explore and look at the link between the screen and the scale, and lets be honest – we have all had that mindless time in front of the screen.

I have said this before; this blog  is about  figuring out what worked for me when losing weight. Not just the exercise and eating side of it, but the other small changes that I perhaps have overlooked. I think TV (or the lack thereof) has had a positive impact on the scale side of things.

Looking back I can now see that (particularly in the last year, and ironically when I brought a new TV) I drastically cut down the time I spent in front of it… When I moved to the beach, I began this little saying to myself, “Is this action going to change your life, is this a good use of your time?” Obviously it was pretty easy to see that going for a walk would change my life and was a better use of my time, than sitting there mindlessly watching yet another re run of some sitcom that I didn’t enjoy the first time! So I got up and would go for a walk rather than sit on the couch and hit the ON button. And as the year progressed I found that  I began to be more discretionary about my TV time.

I would exercise more in the evenings and as I work night shifts, I would record to my hard drive maybe 5 TV shows I enjoyed during the week and watch them (skipping the ads) when I had a chance.  So on average I found that my TV time became more focused, and I had a little store of recorded shows when I wanted to watch them.

I don’t want you to think that this is all about me saying that you must substitute TV for exercise, research shows that subsiting anything for TV is gonig to be better for you… The facts are surprising and scary, and while this is based on American figures, I am guessing that Australians are just as bad if not worse! The following quote is from the linked article.

“On average, American adults watch five hours of television a day, the third most time-consuming activity in our lives — after sleep and work. Watching television expends fewer calories than other leisure activities that take its place, including reading, writing, telephone conversations and desk work. The more time adults spend in front of the television, the more likely they are to suffer from obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said Otten.”Cutting TV Time Reduces Weight Gain | Psych Central News.

The above article also noted that a study where people dropped their TV time by half but didn’t change their diet, burnt on avg. 150 calories extra a day than the other participants that did not change their TV habits – this would perhaps not be enough to drastically change your weight, but may help with weight management!

I think that there are a few reasons that TV impacts on our weight, and the more I look into it, the more links I see. Here are some reasons that have come up…

  • TV is a sedentary activity that doesn’t burn calories & the time in front of it takes time from other productive activities
  • We are more likely to eat in front of the TV.
  • We are more likely to eat easy, high calorie snack food when watching TV (think chips, chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits etc)
  • TV tends to allow us to disconnect the mind and body, we therefore eat in a somewhat “mindless” manner. We literally “tune out” not connecting what we are putting in our mouths with how we are feeling, this can lead to higher consumption of food and calories without realising, and not linking to that STOP I have had enough feeling.
  • The effects of food advertising on TV, and the impact that this has on perceived hunger.
  • It gives us “something” to do and can become a strong habit to sit down and eat when watching.
  • We watch TV at night after a long day and “reward” ourselves which can become habitual.

TV is part of our lives, and I think the thing I have learnt, is that I really don’t miss watching it that much. If there is a show I like, I can record it, watch it on line and control my access to it, and not allow it to control me. When I do this I am more able to control the other factors above… Skip ads, set up new habits, like have a herbal tea, not eat or watch it after a workout when I am not hungry. At the end of the day life is just more fun to live than watch someone else’s ideas of life on a screen.

I would be interested to hear what you think about the impact of TV in this area, feel free to comment, agree or disagree.

Till next time, Lin xox

Trigger Happy! – Planning, Success and Resolutions…

The Loaded Gun!

Emotional eating and figuring out triggers for this has long been an issue for me.

I got to a point in life that I was basically eating for any reason, happy, sad, frustrated, lonely, tired, guilty, anxious, rejected, bored… you get the picture..

But what I have learnt is that  it is not just the trigger and my food drug of choice at that time that is the problem. It was also opportunity and situation.

I had set up my life (over many years of reinforcing poor choices) to have a constant supply of food, situations and opportunities to allow these triggered food reactions to occur. I had allowed my lifestyle to revolve around food – buying food, storing food, preparing food, eating food, blah blah blah..

The lap band took out the ability (for most of my eating) for me to binge eat and stuff my feelings down… The barrier that it put in place allowed me to slowly address the emotional eating and break them down. The opportunities and situations decreased. I began to make smart choices and re-frame my relationship with food and my feelings.

Now that I have had the lap band and it is adjusted to be a bit more open, and I can eat a little more, I have noticed that I need to work on this area a little more and revisit it again.

Earlier in the week I had a situation where I was feeling tired, anxious, worried and a little guilty. I was at work and near the “social club shop” where tempting treats of chocolate, chips and soft drink lay in wait. The chocolate did not survive…

I analyzed my behaviour a little later, figured out what was going on emotionally, and what else was a threat that day – why didn’t I stick to my plans… It was because I hadn’t prepared for work that day properly. I hadn’t packed the foods I knew I would need to have at my desk and avoid going into the “shop”. I didn’t drink enough water and my sleep pattern was more whacked than usual.

I have good, strong plans and work at them (really well) most days!                                        I do not buy junk food for my house anymore, I have a supply of hummus and vegies to snack on, some sugar free 85% dark chocolate, and I have changed my habits.                       I now rarely watch TV (TV and eating used to go hand in hand for me –  I watched (and ate) more hours away than I care to remember) I now prefer to exercise, read, go out, live an actual life.

But the point here is for me to keep acknowledging that successful people plan; they then work their plan, learn from their mistakes, reflect – adjust and move forward…

The Lesson learnt from today;

*Plan and follow through with the plan and have a back up plan in place.

* Work out and write down what is going on and bothering me before I reach mindlessly for the junk food… (If I can see it at the time) If I don’t see it till after, acknowledge what is going on and figure out a way to constructively deal with it.

*If I fall down – don’t kick myself while I am down there! – Help myself get up take stock and reflect;                                                                                                                          What didn’t work, why? who is involved?                                                                         What can I control? (i.e my reaction, behaviour, attitude)                                                   What can’t I control? (other people? their actions and reactions, work load etc)                   What will I change and adjust? What is a realistic new and modified plan? How do I keep moving forward.

And while I think that all this writing and reflecting about it is good, the proof as they say is in the Pudding…. (Did someone say pudding 🙂 )

This type of thinking and reflecting can apply to more areas of life than just food, diet and exercise.  With the craziness of “New Years Resolutions” just weeks away, It may help to think about the cycle of planning, working the plan, reflecting and readjusting plans, rather than, off the cuff resolutions that make you feel crap when you have forgotten about them in a matter of days, weeks or months.

2012 is shaping up to be tough year… It will be tough to maintain the fitness and weight loss that I have built this year… That is the challenge though and one I aim to meet!

Thanks for stopping by, till next time

Lin xox

Who’s that Girl in the Photo?

Ever not recognised yourself?

I had a bit of a crazy moment on Saturday night. I was out with my training group for our Christmas Party (we might train hard – but we party harder!) It was a great night with lots of fun, a few drinks and crazy dance moves. But I did have a slight melt down internally regarding photos.

Photos are still really hard for me to deal with. I love taking Photos, I am part of a photography group, have an OK digital SLR and like to capture a shot or two… I don’t usually take photo’s of people, portraiture photograpghy is not really my thing.

But all that being said, I don’t like my photo being taken at the best of times. I am OK sometimes to pose with other people, but I really struggle with it…                                           I know that people love capturing moments at events, and I am not opposed to them in theory. But I don’t like photos of just me – at events or anytime; Even when I put them on here I am pushing myself to be honest and real. I hated photos of me when I was massive, and struggle now even though I am getting smaller. In some respects they are harder now –  as I don’t really “see” me in them yet.

Group photos are a little easier, If you give me a friend to stand with – that makes it a bit better! Sometimes I have  woken up (especially after night shift) and there are these images on Facebook, and I think “is that me? I don’t look like that” and  there is serious a “disconnect” moment;  So please don’t be offended if I untag myself, and I may ask you not to put images up or take photos of me.  It will take time (I think) to make my brain realise that I am the woman in these photos. But at the moment there is this disconnect and the only way I can deal with it is slowly and by trying to have some control.

All these crazy new brain wires need to somehow establish a new connection, make that connection strong and the new pathway will hopefully become easier to link the me in real life, with the image of me that is captured…  I just hope that I don’t short circuit in the mean time 🙂

Till next time – Lin xox

P.S – One day I will post a before photo and a now photo – it is a big step and one that I am still working up too!)