It’s easy to get caught up in trying to lose that last 5 pounds or get that one pose in yoga. Remember that exercise is an investment in your future self.
You’re in it for the long haul!
Nicole Mims. PT, DPT
As a Personal Trainer and health advocate, the most common story I see about losing weight is that of the dreaded yo-yo. When clients hire you for weightloss it is necessary to impress on them the importance of diet for their success, sadly this is a double edged sword. Often people overdo whatever method of diet they choose to pursue and after initial success they see decreasing results, feel trapped, become frustrated, and then quit. I have been asked multiple times what I eat/do on a regular basis that I can indulge in that occasional pint of ice cream or dinner out.
Let me preface the following with saying that I am not a body builder or professional athlete, I am a normal woman who has found a (mostly) healthy relationship with food and exercise that allows me to stay well within a healthy bodyfat percentage and also eat out without regret.
Here’s a 3 day example of how I eat
Day 1 –
Breakfast – scrambled egg + egg whites + turkey sausage, coffee, water
Lunch- Turkey suasage links, salad, apple
Dinner – baked chicken breast, steamed veggies
Day 2 –
Breakfast – Oikos greek yogurt and 1/2 grapefruit.
Lunch – forgot to eat this day (:0)
Dinner – baked chicken tenderloins and steamed veggies
Dessert – whole fruit sorbet
Breakfast – sausage, jalapeno and cheese kolache, raspberry kolache, coffee.
Lunch – chicken and steamed veggies (again, darn you mass meal prep)
Dinner – forgot to take a picture, SUSHI!!
As you can see, not too crazy in any direction. I also ran 2 of 3 of those days and lifted weights 2 of 3 as well (different day).
I believe that keeping a fairly regular workout routine along with consistent but not extreme meal planning is what gives me the latitude to have the occasional splurge. Not consistently denying myself things prevents the obsessive eating and then guilt/denial that i feel contributes to the yo-yo dieting.
As always comments, questions and feedback are welcomed.
In the previous post on balance I defined what balance is, why it is important, and what affects it. I discussed the fact that balance is trainable and that training should be systematic, progressive, and safely challenge “limits of stability.” One challenges limits of stability by performing exercise in an environment which is unstable, but also safe. I.e. a single leg balance is a great exercise, but don’t perform a single leg balance in a place where you will hit your head if you fall. It is important to note that as with most exercise, “challenging” is relative to the person in question. An exercise which may challenge me could be exceptionally easy to someone else. Difficulty can be added in balance training in several ways.
Duration is one of the more intuitive methods of making an exercise more challenging. This can be done by adding repetitions or if the workout is timed, by increasing one’s time goals. I.e. hold for 45 seconds as opposed to 30 seconds.
Instability- Another method is by increasing the demands of the environment in which the exercise is performed. An example of this would be to perform a single leg balance on an Airex pad as opposed to the flat ground. By making the surface more unstable, the proprioceptive demands of the exercise are increased.
Plane of motion- A third method is to change planes of motion.
There are three planes of motion that we use to communicate exercise. Though we never truly move in only one plane at a time, they are still useful concepts. The three planes are “sagittal,” “frontal,” and “transverse.”
Sagittal motion is front to back. Envision someone climbing a flight of stairs. The movement of their arms and legs would be in the sagittal plane. Sagittal plane of motion is the one that is most commonly trained at the gym. Think, bicep curls, tricep extensions, squats, lunges, running. Because these are very common movements, the body should be more adept at performing them than motions in the other two planes and thus sagittal plane is a good place to start training balance.
The next commonly trained plane is frontal or lateral. Frontal plane would be out to the sides, or parallel with the front/back sides of the body. An example of this would be shoulder flys, or side lunges. Once a reasonable level of stability has been built in the sagittal plane, one can progress by beginning lateral movements. A single leg balance with extension would become a single leg balance with lateral extension.
Finally the least trained plane of motion is the transverse. This is turning or crossing the body. This is also, unsurprisingly, the plane of movement that one is most likely to become injured in. We see this for example in ACL injuries. When an athlete plants their foot and tries to change direction they are at an increased risk for a knee injury. An example of a transverse movement would be a cable rotation, or an oblique crunch. This should be the final plane of motion that one begins training in, as it is the most difficult. This is also the training that will do the most for injury prevention.
Stay tuned for Balance part-3, as I will hopefully have my recording device and software operating and will be able to show some specific exercises. Please feel free to leave feedback or ask any questions.
Today I received my first ever topic request! The question was regarding the above picture.
Let’s talk about ways to avoid using food as a coping mechanism.
I try to avoid keeping unhealthy food in my house for this very reason. If you were a recovering alcoholic you wouldn’t keep bottles of liquor in your house and expect it to all turn out fine. If you know that your weak link is nutrition, pass on that tub of ice cream or bucket of popcorn when you are at the grocery store. Having it in your house is a set up for disappointment.
Remind Yourself of Your Goals
Many people try to use guilt to keep themselves true to their nutrition goals. The problem is that this creates a negative mindset…this negativity can cloud your judgment, lead to negative self talk, and ironically cause you to eat poorly. If you adopt a negative mindset regarding food, then all you will think about is what you can’t have rather than enjoying the results of your hard work and the foods that are good for you. Instead of worrying about guilt and focusing on the negative, remind yourself of why you should be eating healthy. Focus on the positives, like the progress you have made and your fitness goals rather than the things you “can’t have.”
A friend of mine occasionally says “moderation in everything, including and sometimes especially moderation.” If you had a crappy day at work, it’s probably not time to break out the Oreos and wine just yet. (see the first two points) But when you are at a wedding reception, or out with friends you haven’t seen in ages…RELAX! No one is good 100% of the time. Trying to be will increase your stress and ultimately make you unhappy. Being unhappy is often a trigger for unhealthy eating. Remember that a healthy body looks much better when it houses a healthy mind. It isn’t worth it to become orthorexic in your pursuit, and it certainly inhibits your ability to enjoy your hard work when you are worrying about every morsel you put in your mouth.
This one will seem exceptionally obvious to some but it is definitely a point that needs to be made. Habits and mindsets can be trained just like the body. I have found that one of the best ways to avoid emotional eating is to change your coping mechanisms. Try this, when you have the urge to reach for a candy bar or a drink, make yourself go for a jog instead. If you don’t like running, go hit the weights or a boxing class at the gym. Do something active to release your stress and negative emotions. You will boost endorphins, improve your self confidence, and relieve your stress in one go. Eventually this will become your go-to strategy for dealing with negative emotions and your new healthier habit will repay you exponentially.
So there it is. Keep out the negative influences and temptations, focus on the positives of your health and goals rather than the things you feel like you can’t have, and be good most of the time but make sure that you enjoy life as well. Change your mind and your habits…everything else will fall in line.
Lets talk about Balance training- Part I
What do we mean by Balance?
– We intuitively understand that balance means maintaining our posture and equilibrium despite our surroundings. We know that a person with good balance can do things like skateboard, ski and play sports well. A person with poor balance may trip just walking on an uneven surface.
Why do we Care?
– Balance is a component of all movements and can help in both our athletic pursuits and day to day lives. A functional example can be seen in the elderly. An older person who falls is at a greater risk for breaking a bone than someone who is younger. This is important because balance can be trained. By spending the time and effort to train balance we can become more functional, safer, and better at the things we enjoy.
What affects Balance?
– Balance has a lot to do with the neuromuscular system. Certainly we have all heard of those with inner ear problems, but for a majority of people balance involves neurologic pathways, muscular balance (length tension relationships), proper joint dynamics, and neuromuscular efficiency. There is substantial evidence to suggest that sensory feedback to the central nervous system (involved in proprioception and neuromuscular efficiency) is inhibited after injury. This means that those who have been injured are more likely to have problems with balance than those who have not. This decreased efficacy of the central nervous system will lead to poor movement patterns, posture, and likely further injury.
How do you Train Balance?
– Balance like strength training involves constantly challenging oneself. With strength training you strive to lift more weight or do more reps, with balance training you want to stress “limits of stability,” or the area you can go outside of your base of support without losing control of your center of gravity. This is done by training functional movement patterns in an environment that provides controlled instability and utilizes multiple planes of movement. This trains the nervous system to activate the right muscles at the right time, and in the right plane of motion.
– It is important that a Balance-training program be systematic, methodical, and progressive. The exercises that should be chosen depend on an individual’s specific abilities and the phase of training they are in. The next post will involve different stabilization exercises including how and when they should be utilized.