Multitask Your Workout

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Above is one of the most impressive multitaskers on Instagram. Check out more of Amanda Bruce’s photos – @weirdomandys

 

 

Like me, you might be having a hard time finding time for all you need to do? Dread exercise and need a good distraction to get you through? Love workouts but love time with loved ones too and don’t want to have to choose. Multitasking workouts might be for you!

Have errands to run? Try literally running downtown. Once you get there power walk from one chore to the next. Need to catch up on email or want to watch your favorite television show? Try doing either or both while on the treadmill. Have a desk job? Place a pedal machine under your desk or use the thigh-master while you work. Want to make the most of your time doing housework? In my teens read in a magazine that actress Loni Anderson did ab flexes while washing dishes. How about a housework race? See how fast you can do the chores and how many steps you can get in. Live near work? Try walking or riding your bike instead of taking the car. Bored stiff by planks? Try reading an e-book while you work your core. Fido need to stretch his legs? Of course taking him for a walk or a run would be a great idea. How about adding in a game of Frisbee? Want to spend quality time with the kids? Try going on a roller skating outing like my hubby and kids use to do or play a game of backyard football. Amanda Bruce has made an art out of exercising while playing with the kids as you see above. Want to catch up with friends? Go for a hike while you talk.

Want more good news? The benefits of multitasking your workout go beyond just your time savings and making exercise more bearable. According to an article on mentalfloss.com multitasking may boost your performance as well. “In a study from the University of Florida, adults who were asked to complete mental tasks while pedaling on stationary bikes were shown to move faster with no negative impact on their cognitive performance” – Michele Debczak, Mental Floss (follow Michelle on Twitter). No more excuses! Workout while you catch up on all those other great things you do!

 

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Amanda Bruce stretching while enjoying intimate time nursing her baby.

 

Pretend To Be Thin!

         Several years ago a very kind friend loaned me a copy of  Gwen Shamblin’sThe Weigh Down Diet” – a Biblical approach to weigh loss. Being a student and follower of Jesus, I was anxious to read it. I didn’t have a dramatic weight loss at the time but I did gain a few great concepts from Gwen’s experience that would later serve me well. One of those I would like to share with you now.

     Gwen relays a story of observing a thin friend for “research purposes”.  This is the excerpt from the book.

     I began to think back on my own experiences with “thin” friends. My weight battle is not a new one. I lost 70 lbs as a young teen. This weight loss began as a result of “pretending” and I kept that weight off until the battle with thyroid cancer in my 20’s.

     I attended a summer camp where most of my roommates wer very thin. Some of these girls had modeling backgrounds, others were athletes, such as gymnasts and dancers. I was, by far, the heaviest in the group. I didn’t want these girls to think that I was heavy because I over ate, so I ate like a skinny person for those two weeks. I would eat a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk for breakfast. For lunch I would eat a main dish only, like a hamburger with no condiments or stir-fried meat with veggies and no bread or dessert. It was extremely hot that summer – 104 degrees average temp during that two-week period so by dinner time, after having walked all over campus and having done calisthenics, I had no appetite. I would usually have only a beverage or a beverage and fruit for dinner. I was not setting out to lose weight, but I was active and eating like I thought these skinny girls would think I should. By the end of the two weeks this overweight teen had lost enough weight that her shorts wouldn’t stay up without a belt. After the two weeks I found that I like the feeling of being thinner and the attention  I received from loosing weight.  The attention and sense of accomplishment filled the same “void” the food had previously filled. I wanted to be thin. I wanted to prove that I had control over the food and my body. In a few months time I went from a size 14 to a size 7 by “pretending to be thin”. I simply ate very few calories and moved A LOT.

     As time went on I maintained a low weight, but I worked for it. I would eat 1000 calories a day or less and exercise in obscene amounts. One weekend while spending the night with my best friend, a naturally thin size 3 track star, I began to realize how different her habits were from mine. I measured my foods and ate at planned times. I moved by design. Not her.

Pre weight loss 8th grade homecoming pics of my naturally thin best friend and I.

     After dinner, over the course of the evening, I watched her go to the fridge several times. Each time I refused sustenance. Once she pulled out a jar of spaghetti. She ate a few bites and feeling satisfied returned it to the fridge. Hours later she made a sandwich, ate about half and threw the other half away. In a few more hours she whipped a bowl of whipping cream, ate a few spoons full and washed the rest down the sink. She talked of running. She ran for fun or when stressed or when she wanted to find alone time. Her activity was motivated by the activity itself, not the weight.

After the weight loss - Best friend Vicki and I with our dates at our Junior Prom.

     Now as a middle-aged woman I look back on these examples and I think how much I have to gain from emulating the examples of the thin people I know. I have a weight issue and need to be aware of it, but these naturally think folks have some real tricks up their sleeves without even knowing it. They eat when they are hungry or craving food and believe it is ok to eat only what they want. They don’t fear “wasting” and apparently aren’t members of the “clean your plate club”. They are in tune enough with their bodies to recognize satisfaction from a taste or from having “enough”. They understand “enough” instead of believing they are thru only when they simply can’t hold anymore.  They often eat slowly, enjoying each bite. They experience their food as opposed to inhaling their food. They may sometimes eat foods that aren’t good for them, but these are often in small amounts.

     If you aren’t in a skinny frame of mind yet, it’s ok. Just pretend. This week you are an actor or actress studying for a very important role. You are getting ready to portray “thin, healthy person”. Try to imagine how “Ideal You” at your ideal weight would eat and impersonate her. Try eating healthy whole foods. Enjoy lots of veggies and whole grains. Add lean meats and low-fat dairy. Enjoy dessert of fresh fruit. Indulge occasionally, but only enough to be satisfied. It’s ok to pretend. You might just be amazed how far it will take you.

     Take Gwyn’s suggestion. Spend some time this week watching a naturally thin friend’s behaviors. Learn how people who are thin fill themselves physically. Then imitate those behaviors.

     I encourage you to read “The Weigh Down Diet” and learn more about the “missing key” Gwyn references above. In truth overeating is often the result of trying  to fill an emptiness that is often misinterpreted as hunger, but lies much deeper. We each have an empty space in our hearts that only God can fill for us. Allowing him to fill it instead of trying to stuff it full of other things is the key to permanent weight loss for many of us. If you feel an emptiness that you aren’t sure how to fill, I encourage you to pursue Him. Read “The Weigh Down Diet” to really understand how God can change us from the inside out.

A for Effort

    

     As we go into the first official “Weigh In Wednesday” tomorrow I want us to all stay mindful that though the scales can help us see how we are progressing toward our goal they should not be the only, or even the most important, measure of daily success.

     Weigh-ins are often very encouraging at the beginning of a weight loss effort. After a day or two of dieting and exercise the scales can drop by pounds in a day. However, this rate of change is temporary. If you have tried loosing weight before, you have probably noticed that often the pounds come off more quickly in the first days or weeks and then the rate slows considerably. Why is that?

     Part of the reason is that “water weight” or bloating begins to drop off as we begin to eat in a healthier way and exercise. The water can be lost rapidly. Fat burning, however, is not a quick process. It takes effort and time.  3000 calories must be burned to lose each pound of fat. 1 hour of Zumba or skating burns about 600 calories and even if you cut your daily calorie intake by several hundred calories, losses of a pound a day are unrealistic. In addition, if you have gone from a somewhat stagnant lifestyle to an active lifestyle, you will begin to build muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. Building muscle is a good thing. Keep this up! A muscular body burns more calories, runs more efficiently, and looks much better in a bathing suit.(wink)

     The above is not said to discourage. Quite the opposite. If you have seen weight loss be pleased! Celebrate! …but be mindful that as the rate of loss tapers off, that doesn’t mean you are doing something “wrong” or are “failing”.

     I want to encourage you this week to use a tape measure to take body measurements, if you haven’t already done so. Measure neck, bust, waist, hips, and thigh. As you go through the weight loss process and build a leaner body these measurements may prove to be a more effective means of noting your true progress.

     More importantly, I want you to shift your emphasis. Though you will continue to weigh and measure, I want your focus to be not on your perceived progress but on your efforts.

     The body can be unpredictable. Hormones, sodium intake, illness, and many other factors play into what the number on the scale reads. As long as you are eating a healthy reduced calorie diet and exercising at increased rates or frequency, you will lose weight. Start to measure your success not in pounds but in minutes, miles, and calories. Go back to your action steps. Review your journaling of calories or points or carbs or whatever you are using to measure your food intake. Take a look at what activities you finished from the blog suggestions. Did you write down what exercise you did?

     Each day that you met a goal give your self an A+! Seriously! Really! Right Now! Go to your journal and use a red pen or marker to give yourself an A.  Did you not meet the goal entirely? Give yourself a comment. “Good try!” “Getting Closer!” “Lots of effort!” Did you at least mark your results? Give yourself credit for that, too!

     When my kids were little I began to purchase stickers to encourage them in their chores. I liked the stickers, they were fun! I bought more for all sorts of reasons. I put them on envelopes, packages, in school lunches. I still have a bunch of those stickers. I have gone back thru my journal and have added stickers to celebrate success! Stickers that say things like! Awesome! Way to Go! You did it! I even have gold stars for extra special efforts!

     Got stickers? No. Got $1? Pick some up at Dollar Tree or Walmart. Learn to celebrate yourself, to give yourself credit for your efforts! Consistent effort IS an accomplishment and will lead to success!

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