Saturday, January 22, 2011

Not Another EFT Tapping for Exercise Motivation Part 1: The Dreaded Gym

The "E-Word." Physical activity. Move your body time. Fitness. Those are the synonyms of the dreaded word that makes many people scream: exercise.

So why, oh why, do people dread exercise? Maybe they are doggone tired - too tired to move their bodies and drive their apples to the gym. They want to catch their favorite television show (often with a bag of chips) or local news commentary, no matter how much someone they view as a health nut coaxes them to do the E-Word. Or maybe they had a long, grueling day at work or school and want to plop down on the futon to watch a music documentary hosted by someone with a British accent. (That was me, in my preteens and teens, thus I got myself obese along with poor diet.)

But the ground zero of exercise hatred is the fitness center.

There are myriad (and I mean myriad, as in things-about-the-gym-I-hate) reasons why a place where people obviously take physical activity to heart can spur the inner hatred towards it. Obviously, many of them have to find themselves as T-shirt and baggy shorts (or sweats, if cool or cold outside) clad people among the fittest, skimpily-clad peers. For the ladies, fatter ones often experience low-self-esteem when they see them work out in tank tops and tight-fitting jazz pants. For the men, they often yearn for those ripped muscles and sleeveless shirts that show them off.

Many fatter people envy at fit people with tight clothing at the gym. That really discourages them as they wear sweats and other baggy clothing. (Photo by Ed Yourdon)
There are  a lot of fitness components they have to face, whether in class or on the floor with those machines. (Body composition is way too obvious to describe for so many exercise haters.) A lot of them are based on fostering cardiovascular fitness - which makes the heart able to pump oxygen to the blood when moving. The exercise in the class for that component is aerobics. A lot of people who are clearly overweight and have to drag themselves to the gym have to either dread being short of breath or being considerably slower as they keep pace with their thinner classmates.

Then, there are the floor exercises, which focus on muscular strength and endurance. For a lot of those people who are used to being inactive, they have weaker core muscles (abs, lower back, hips, and buttocks). Try having them do a full plank and they would just give up before that minute is up.

While all exercises require people to clinch the core muscles, the other ones that strengthen it are troublesome. One of the troubling ones is the bicycle crunch. You lie on the floor, place your hands lightly under your head, and try to touch the alternate knee to your shoulder in that exercise. Oftentimes, fat people use their elbow to touch the knee alternatively. Alongside the strain on the neck and back, that demonstrates a weak contraction of the obliques and the inclination to give up on that exercise.

Those are two health-based components of fitness that many overweight and obese people lack in: muscular endurance and strength, especially those of the core muscles.

Finally, there are stretching exercises. Many people who are fat in the gym can't touch their toes because their ranges of motion are limited than those in, say, camisoles and bike shorts. Touching the toes requires the last fitness component: flexibility.

The downward-facing dog - it's a yoga pose that requires flexibility. (photo by lulemon athletica)
There's no need to dread the gym to make you exercise. A simple way to exercise is to walk around the block, at a brisk pace. It costs less than a membership in a venue with fit bodies  and you don't need a car to drag yourself! If you can't help but go to the gym to exercise, find some exercise motivation. It can be simple as saying that you can do it.

Part 2
Part 3

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Worst Foods at Chain Restaurants (and Better Choices)

Many of us have those days when cooking for the family is impractical or when they want to eat out. Let's face it - that gourmet burger, set of chicken nuggets and fries, or that pepperoni pizza can hamper our weight-loss efforts.

Well, I have good news for you. Whether you're eating from work or just eating out, here's my own list of some worst foods at various chain restaurants (not just fast foods).

All Meat Combo Pizza at Chuck E. Cheese

Pizza and entertainment really co-exist, but kid-friendly food can spell out waist-unfriendly. A good example is a slice of the All-Meat Combo pie from Chuck E. Cheese, which can set you back 240. But that's not all - it has 566 grams of sodium and 4 grams of saturated fat.

Not bad, but you'll likely eat another slice or two and you're on your way to a belly akin to Pasqually's (the Italian chef who plays the drums) if the pie's eaten regularly. Three slices can cost you 720 calories, 1698 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of sat fat. The pizza chain's main mouse's favorite leisure activity is skateboarding, but you* have a bit over two hours to do what he does for active time!

Better Choice: Want a Helen Henny-sized waist? Have a slice or two of a small BBQ Chicken pizza at your next outing at this joint with kids. It has 150 calories, 2 grams of sat fat, and 394 milligrams of sodium. Earn extra health tokens if you ask for half the amount of cheese and an order from the salad bar with a tablespoon of dressing.

A Full Rack of Ribs from Beef 'O' Brady's

Sports pubs are the last places you would find unhealthy items, or aren't they? Face it - there are tempting entrees to select, and the full rack of ribs is sure to please any sports fan. Consume all of it and you'll get a whopping 2239 calories, 47 grams of sat fat, and 4624 milligrams of sodium. Beef O'Brady's loves football, but fate forbid if you'd play the touch version for 3 hours and 45 minutes after eating this!

Better Choice: 3 out of 4 nutritionists recommend the Chicken Breast Dinner, which has 407 calories, 2 grams of sat fat, and 453 milligrams of sodium. Round it out with a fresh garden salad with a tablespoon of dressing and you'll increase your fiber as well.

Bacon and Cheddar Burger at LongHorn Steakhouse

Oh gosh, where do I start at this lofty and fatty LongHorn Steakhouse sarnie? Bacon and cheddar cheese are horrid burger toppings, gosh darn it! Oh, and if the 920 calories make your waist, hips, thighs, and heart scream, make them scream louder in agony for its 22 grams of saturated fat, three whopping grams of trans fat (Gah!), and 1230 milligrams of sodium.

There's a previous study from Denmark that found out that playing soccer burns more fat than jogging, but be prepared to play 2 hours of it after eating this!

Better Choice: Grab healthy eating by the horns with the LongHorn Salmon, (the 7 oz kind). Don't worry about the 13 grams of total fat (3 of them saturated), it's mainly omega-3 and other unsaturated ones. But the 300 mg of sodium and 290 calories are something to kick your heels up for joy! All it needs is a side of fresh steamed asparagus to round out a great meal.

It's possible to eat healthier and lose weight while eating out. Just don't do it more often and cook most of your meals at home, no matter how much it kills you.

*That's based on a woman who weighs 150 pounds, give or take!