Archive | Wednesday , January 2 , 2008

Book Review: Small Changes Big Results A Twelve Week Action Plan For A Better Life

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Let me tell you dear readers after a year of lying to myself about feeling tired and lacking energy I realized I had to confront my fears. During my life on this planet I have always had a love hate relationship with my body. I know how to lose weight but the struggle I have is keeping the weight off. I remember when I was young in my mid twenties a few years ago and I could eat anything I desired and not gain a pound.

I am an emotional eater when I feel depressed I eat, when I am lonely I eat, when I feel sad I eat. I definitely don’t want to be in the situation where my health is compromised. The quandary is I love food I love to eat. The problem was for the longest time I didn’t know when to stop.

I remember when I was a kid in the 1980s I used to watch Golden Girls all the time and this is when I fell in love with cheesecake. I know it sounds funny but I remember watching Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia say “I’ll get the cheesecake” . Sometimes I imagined I was sitting at the kitchen table with the Golden Girls and eating a slice of cheesecake. It was so exciting seeing the Golden Girls eat cheesecake I told myself I simply had to have some! I just love cheesecake but I also realize it can pack on the pounds. I mean does low calorie or low fat cheesecake actually exist?

I realized I not only had internal issues but also external issues. I dreaded looking in the mirror and seeing how much weight I had gained in the past year. Instead of waiting until 2008 to start exercising again I decided in early December 2007 to begin my exercise program. So for over the past month I have been working out and now I’m starting to get sick of it. One thing my friend told me on the phone the other day is that I have a tendency to give up when things get tough. It is true I realize this is one of my main weakness. I chicken out if life gets hard or if it will take a while to reach a goal.

Ever since December 4th 2007 I have been exercising at least four to six times a week. I started off working out for twenty five minutes and now I have increased the intensity to thirty five minutes on the treadmill. I also lift some weights. I have broad shoulders and I remember even when I was young I never was a thin person. I don’t know if I will reach 150 pounds I used to be that thin around ten years ago. The smallest I have ever been in the past five years was around 170 or 175 pounds. I am not a tall man in fact I am average height. I am five feet eleven inches tall so I am not a tall person.

Last month I began reading a book called “Small Changes Big Results” by Ellie Krieger. One section of the book I liked was when Krieger says to write a “dear me letter.” A “dear me letter” is a letter you write to yourself discussing the issues you have with your body image, food, and the goals you want out of life. Krieger’s opinion is that you need good mental health to balance the physical exercise.

Krieger is a dietitian and her book is very well written and also makes a lot of common sense. Krieger says to start a food and exercise diary. A food and exercise diary is really simple it can be a notepad or just a journal. You have to track your progress to see how many times you workout during the week and also the food you are eating. You can pick up and notice patterns that are either helpful or harmful. Krieger doesn’t say to stop cold turkey completely because that won’t work. All Krieger is saying is eat the right foods and cut down on the bad foods. Krieger isn’t a drill sergent and her writing is not patronizing or pretentious either.

Krieger is very realistic she says the problem people have with exercise isn’t the motivation but keeping up with the cardio workouts. I love this advice because I notice when I write down the specific days and times I have exercised that it motivates me. I am now counting calories and reading labels. I have been working out for a month and I do see progress but I am still working on reaching my goal. I definitely see a difference I have lost weight and I have a long way to go.

I don’t eat fast food anymore I also realize that too much starch and potatoes are poison. I am eating more fruits and vegetables as well. I think the struggle I have is and I know this will sound  foolish is  I didn’t know exactly what to eat? I just eat whatever I want. My metabolism has changed and now I have to modify my eating habits.  Krieger’s book makes an excellent argument that I have to learn to train myself to only eat when I am hungry and to stop when I have eaten enough food.

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