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New Year's Resolutions Tips & Tricks

I am up early still pondering Christmas. For our family it is the most wonderful time of the year. I was at the gym yesterday and there were a lot of pudgy noobs at the front desk and some folks really suffering on the treadmills and it's not even New Year's yet!?! I used to be one of them back in 20 - 11.

For many, the New Year is about resolutions! Shoot, I tried to quit smoking a number of times. I made it about 2 or 3 hours. I even made it 24 hours once and my ex bought me a carton of cigarettes and left it with a note: "Smoke all these, then call me!"

I finally went to a healing service and haven't had one since April 4, 1994.

Although I think every new habit begins with a single decision, I find that changing my life is not all that easy. The good news is that SUCCESS is just NOT quitting after a failure.

Maybe you are one of those that took off the holidays, gained a few pounds and are planning to hit it hard after your hangover clears. Good for you!

Here are some things that I do to keep the momentum going:

- Make Friends: I make MFP friends with people that have lost more weight than I have, or have the same goal as I do. The good news for me, there are no background checks on MFP. I have actually met a hand full of you guys at local road races - what a pleasure.

TIP: Pick people with pictures and completed profiles - they seem to be the more serious ones.

- Read Success Stories: Nothing says it better than before and after pictures! The winners that lose here on MFP knock off between 40 and 110 lbs of fat in a year. Think about next year, and then get out there for today's workout!

TIP: Hide the sex toys and feminine hygiene products before taking those photos!

- Encourage Others: I try to encourage those that do their exercise and fill in their food diaries. Sure "WTG" and "Nice job!" get old. So try "Holy crap!", "Nice freakin' job!", "Wear the thong!", "Take off your shirt!" or "You rock!" but do it.

TIP: Be consitant.

- Log it All: I don't take days off. I hate to, but I even log when I go over - way over. I logged on the holidays and I logged on vacation. I am initiating a life change, and I am done with diets. Logging reminds me just how fragile this whole thing is.

TIP: Pre-log your days whenever you can!

- Open Diaries: If your friends can't see what you are shoving in your face, it is unlikely they can help you. Being honest is an important step. Keeping secrets is a pretty good sign that there is some failure hidden in there.

TIP: Don't friend the sodium police.

- Pictures: Post a picture and get involved. We know you are overweight; you are on MFP for God's sake!

TIP: Just do it!

- Be Realistic: If you can't do it for a day, how the hell are you going to do it for a lifetime? I suggest making exercise a daily thing, that way you don't get lost in skipping days. Take it slow.

TIP: A 10 minute walk is better then a can of Pringles.

- Blog: I write these blogs to remind me of what I am up against. Obesity nearly killed me, and exercise saved my life. Dialoging about it helps!

TIP: Use short paragrpahs!

- Health Care: I worked with doctors and nutritionists and I am fortunate to have regular blood labs and monthly visits to discuss my food diary with a professional. I also got a personal trainer to make sure that I develop a routine I can live with. Here is what I found out; all this information is available free online. So let me save you a few grand. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, lean meat, and fish. Do some strength training and get the heart rate up.

TIP: Schedule your exercise times and stop lying to yourself.

There are some constants in life. There are no perfect mates, churches or shortcuts to weight-loss. Diet (what you eat, not what you do) and exercise are the only way.

Thanks for reading along and being my friends!

Have the healthiest year of your life in 2013.

Thanks for the comments and votes. Friend me at your own risk!

Ten Weight-Loss Gadgets and Apps for Christmas

I just started think about Christmas shopping - no wonder I can't get anything done.

iPot - an app for counting cleansing as weight loss.

iLied - creates unique diaries to within 2 calories of your goal.

iRon - takes your photos and adds guns, thigh gaps and ripped abs.

iScale - always shows a lower weight than the previous weigh in.

iWhine - random excuses for your MFP profile.

iDrink2Much - finds low-cal drinks by scanning the shelves at the bar.

uSuck - detects trolls on the message boards.

iLight - penetrates the thick heads for under 1200 calorie eaters.

iPad - warns of TMI about TOM.

iWin - detects those that actually do the program and meet their goals!

There is still a few days left to shop, did I miss any?

The Skinny on Weight Loss Excuses

It doesn't matter where you go, overweight and obese people have a million excuses for not losing and maintaining their weight. You can call it grasa, fett, gordura or just plain old fat, but it is a health hazard and you know it.

I had a heart trauma in April '11, and what I heard afterwards was this: 57% of those that have had a heart attack don't even continue to take their medication after the first refill! While, close to 80% make no significant life style changes.

If you are telling yourself there is some reason you cannot lose weight, you probably won't!

I don't have time. - If it was going out to dinner you probably would. Look you have time for lots of things, you need to schedule it. If working out is not in your calendar, it is unlikely that you'll win at this game.

I still have time. - You may be young enough where your food and lack of exercise is not a problem, but for most it doesn't work forever - especially past 40. Yeah, I know about your grandmother that drank a case of beer and smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, only ate fried food, dated 5 men at a time and lived until 145. Let me know if you make it.

Everyone in my family is fat. - Why is that? Could it be diet and exercise?

It's a cheat day. - Get out your stones and excuses about shaking up your metabolism blah blah blah. The truth is that cheaters are in the group of roller coaster dieters, from which nearly all of them eventually gain back the weight they lost the other 6 days a week.

I have kids. - Yeah, so take them for a run. I take my 9-year-old walking, riding bikes, rolerblading, running every day that it is nice enough to do so. We plan vacations near bike trails so we can ride as a family. When she was a baby, we just put her in the front pack, or bicycle trailer. My YMCA has kids care as well.

I'm too busy. - Well, health is a choice; it might be time to make it.

The dog/kangaroo didn't eat it. - If you are full at the restaurant, you'll be tempted to eat whatever you bring home before lunch the following day. If that is the case, leave it.

I don't know what to do. - I don't know about you, but most of us here do not have degrees in health and nutrition. MFP is a good guideline for the amount of food, and balance of what we call macros: carbs, protein and fat. Here's a tip, if it is low-cal junk food, its still junk food. Cardio which is truly healthy is when the heart rate goes above 120. This requires walking at 3 mph or possibly higher.

It's too hard to lose weight, I've already tried. - You are correct, and you've proved it. That is why you need to forget dieting. You make changes you can do for the rest of your life.

I can't afford healthy food. - I will agree that a variety of healthy food costs more. Here are some tips for saving money. Drink only water, it's free. Many grocery stores have fruits and veggies that are discounted because they are past fresh: we buy 6 apples for a dollar, 2 peppers for half a buck, and 3 bananas for even less. Over all we find them to be a good value. Brown rice is the same price as white and far better. You'll be eating less, usually 3-4 ounces of meat or fish. You can buy packaged ham and cheese in bulk and freeze it. The same is true for some fruits and veggies. Frozen food isn't horrible, and most canned food can be rinsed to reduce sodium content.

It's too late.  - I'm already _____ years old. - Yup, and tomorrow you be that plus one day. I don't get it.

I'm afraid of failure. - I have met a few folks on MFP that have a lot weight to lose (me I was close to 100). It is a daunting task, and it takes time. Read the Success Story forums and friend those folks who have done what you need to do. I find it inspiring. On average, those that work at it can lose 40-100 lbs in a year. (Yes, I am sure there are some with medical reasons who cannot and I am not talking about them.)

I'm afraid of success! - Being obese for a long period of time becomes a way of life. We set up our enablers, buy cars, furniture and even our personality changes to accommodate our physical state. I sat with a guy the other day that could not fit in the booth at a lunch place. It was sad. Then he ordered a 3000 calories steak bomb.

My significant other doesn't care why should I? - Most mature adults are smart enough not say "I would love you better thinner!" I suppose there are some that have spouses that like them in an unavailable state, but for the most part, our health is our concern. Losing weight has many benefits other than just looking and feeling better.

I can't exercise, there's no place for me to walk. - We need to start where we stand. The goal is eating well, and getting in three 30 minute cardio session a week in which we get the heart rate over 120. You can walk in place, by home gym resistance bands, and an array of other things. I bet you can find a treadmill on Craigslist for cheap!

I love to eat. - Yup, me too. I am just enjoying eating better, and less.

I do a lot of traveling for work and find it hard to stick to my weight loss plan. - It is not an easy task to eat out all the time, but many places I have stayed at had a refrigerator and a grocery store nearby.

I've heard that running puts me at risk for knee problems and arthritis later in life. LOL, that's BS. But you can try swimming, use the elliptical or riding a bike.

It's just one. - One breakfast muffin is equal to two 30 minute cardio sessions.

It's the holidays. - So?

I don't cook my own meals. - It's hard to control what others do. I made an agreement with my wife over what I was willing to eat each week. Communication helps, and filling up with a large snack before meals is also another option. If you eat half a bag of baby carrots, you are probably not going to chow down on the fried chicken.

Well, those are the ones that I used. How about you?

Thanks for the votes and comments, I very much appreciate them.

Injuries and Stupidity

I admit it, cardio is dangerous. But you still have to try it at home! For lots of MFPers, injury from exercising is a real threat which should be addressed.

I have had three surgeries since I joined MFP and none of them were liposuction damn it! I am not talking about breaking a nail doing preacher curls. I am the king of collecting stupid overuse injuries.

Injuries suck!

So what do I know that I should share with you? Lots. Before you stop reading because you just walk, or haven't had any problems, you might want to read on.

A lot of folks want to do C25K, run a race such as a 5K or 10K; even a half marathon or longer. Others want to do a warrior dash or just walk fast - at least as fast as the dog! (3.5 MPH according to MFP) And the rest want ripped abs! You know who you are!

I am tried of being fat and out of shape. I also have a 9-year-old that doesn't sit still for a minute. I need to be active!

Because the race season is pretty much over, I am not running as much as I used to (about 100 miles per month). In one year I injured my ankle, my knee and my shoulder; two of those required surgery. The truth be told, there is little else I would rather do than run. I also swim when I can, bike, rollerblade, ride a motorcycle, play catch, kick the soccer ball, and get on the ice.

Avoiding injuries is actually easy if you follow these steps.

Proper Equipment: If you run, get a running store to fit your shoes! If you bike, get the shop to choose a frame height and set up the saddle angle and distance to the pedal so that it fits you. Your joints and tendons will love you!

Bikers be sure to get riding shorts, and for the men, they have special seats. Runners, I suggest dri-fit so you don't grind off your nipples and catch your crotch on fire. I understand Vaseline and/or Hello Kitty Band-Aids work too.

If you pole dance make sure it's attached to the ceiling.

Warm Up: One of the things I love about running is flying out the door and heading down the street. The change I HAD to make was a 1/2 mile walk before I run and a cool down on the way home.

Stretching: One of the fastest ways to pull a muscle, or tear something is to avoid stretching.I happen to think yoga is a little gay effeminate. However; it's good for all the things that help you move. I also stretch before I run. I hate the time it takes, but it's worth it.

I do it again when I am done.

Stretching is essential - and sometimes erotic. :). And if you have ever had plantar fasciitis, you know what I am talking about!

Strength: If you are going to increase your activity, you need some basic strength. Even after months of running 100 miles per month I discovered my calves are weak. Because they control foot stability (strike) and when you are tried from racing, it's a recipe for an injury. I had one.

I am doing calf lifts or raises, squats, lunges, leg lifts, and high knees. I have added push ups and planks. (All done at home!)

Cross Train: Runners should bike and bikers should swim, and swimmers should run. Mixing it up takes the pressure of certain muscle groups.

Joints: Your joints need to be cared for. For those that are over 50, you know there is a big difference from when you were 31. For those that are younger, you can enjoy years of injury free cardio by mixing it up, taking rest days, and staying hydrated.

I also use joint supplements, and for me they work really well.

Rest: Even if you are healthy a certain amount of rest is important. Rest days, and time off from the running schedule always show up in faster times!

Overuse: As a conqueror, I always tend to overdo things. I did it with running, riding and weight lifting.

Start slow and increase as along as you do not have lingering pain. The problem with pain is that some times it is too late. Increasing runs by 10% might be TOO fast for YOU. Cranking up the weights too quickly could cause a joint or muscle injury. Running on a steep treadmill can cause foot issues.

If you are injured: See a doctor, don't just follow instructions in a Community thread! I have used a chiropractor and I am not certain that staying off an injury is always the best thing. I have also had injuries that required RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation along with anti-inflammatories. Other injuries responded to ultrasound, and some to electric stimulation. Then there is massage. There is no formula!

What do you do to stay injury free?

Thanks for the votes and comments!
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