On the Human Condition and Mountain Goats

You have more in common with a mountain goat than you may think.

Aside from your extremely hairy body and hooves, you also have a great ability to climb things. The invention of the elevator, escalator and that moving floor thats always in airports and Jamiroquiai music videos has left us weakened and afraid of anything that has the power to take us up and down things, yet remains stationary – and that is quite unfortunate!

Benefits of taking the stairs:

  • People are less likely to think that you are an asshole when you take the elevator to the 2nd or 3rd floor.
  • Burns the same amount of calories as doing moderate exercise.
  • Waiting for the elevator can take a long time, if you took the stairs, you might get to your destination sooner.
  • Good practice for the end of days or a power outage.
  • Endorphins are released, which makes you happy!
  • You’re less likely to touch the disgusting escalator handrail if you take the stairs.
  • Your legs will look fly as hell.
  • Improved lung and heart strength.

Basically, just take the damn stairs!

IMG_1693.JPG

Decisions, decisions…

Once you opt for the stairs a few times, you’ll start to feel like you are part of a secret club, you’ll nod to your fellow stair user: you’ve separated yourself from “the masses.” 

IMG_1753.JPG

WOW! Amazing views!

Before you know it, taking the stairs will come so naturally to you, you’ll wonder why you turned them down so many times before. Don’t worry, every stair I know has always been eternally forgiving, and your heart and the people who work in your building will thank you!

Climb onward,

unnamed1.png

Advertisements

Gym Buddies

Screenshot_2016-02-16-13-30-40-1.png
This is my swolemate/hubby pushing me around the gym on my chariot (sorry for the terrible quality photograph). 

I used to love working out alone, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still do. I love getting lost in the music and my own thoughts. It’s very rare that we get “me” time or “alone” time. Even though I am not the biggest fan of working out on the treadmill or elliptical (like I mentioned in an earlier post, I like to move around more), it’s sometimes nice to not think about what you are doing and just run and listen to music or sometimes, if I am feeling extra tech-savvy, I will bring my iPad to the gym and binge watch shows that I don’t normally watch when my Husband is around, like “Pretty Little Liars”. There is no excuse to be sitting home on the couch all day. At least go to the gym and move around while catching up on your favorite shows and burning those calories.

When my Husband and I first started working out together, we had a very basic routine. Pick a cardio machine, put our headphones on, and reconvene in about an hour or so. That got old pretty fast so we started to broaden our work out horizons. In addition to the gym, we joined a Pilates studio and fell in love with the Reformer (I highly suggest trying it out. The stretching is amazing and it helped relieve tension and any pain I had in my neck, shoulders and back).

We ended up canceling our gym membership to join a new more upgraded facility that provided classes. Spin classes, TRX, Zumba, Abs, oh my! Doing the same thing every day becomes so stale so having the class options really helped. We also have a Trainer who’s really opened our eyes to new techniques and moves that you can do anywhere. You don’t need the gym to get in a good work out (I will dedicate a post to a good at home work out routine).

Why Gym Buddies are Awesome

  • Bets: I can get super competitive especially with my Husband. Friendly wager ideas “Whoever does more squats in a minute wins. Loser has to clean the cat litter for the next week”. You bet your burning buns and thighs that I will win that bet.
  • Support system: You can still support your loved ones even if you are competitive. Listen, at the end of the day, I love my Husband more than anyone on this planet (although, if you ask him, I love my dog more than him) and I want to see him succeed. I will always support him. “You can do it!”
  • Motivation: Sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes you are just too tired. Excuses, excuses. Your gym buddy is there to remind you that you are about to eat a slice of pizza for dinner and you need to go to the gym!
  • Spotter: Your gym buddy is also there to dangle that slice of pizza on a fishing rod and you gotta keep lunging or running towards it if you want to eat said dinner above. And if you aren’t eating pizza for dinner, a spotter is good so you don’t drop that weight on your head. Fun story: the other week, my trainer had me doing kettle bell swings with a much heavier weight. I almost fell to my demise but my husband caught me just in time. Yay!
  • Bonding: Working out is a great group activity. No cell phones, tv, computer, no distractions. I truly cherish the time I get to spend with my husband doing things that we love to do and also benefits our health.

Dogs are also a great work out companion! Go to your local shelter and walk a dog for the day. Who knows, you may fall in love and go home with a new best friend.

New to town? Join a running, cycling or hiking group!

I am leaving you all an open invitation to join my future silver sneakers club when we retire. We can meet at the mall in matching sweatsuits and briskly walk in circles. Who’s in?

Do you prefer working out alone or in groups? Are you part of any groups? How did you get into it?

unspecified-8.png

 

 

 

A Way Out: Eating Without Counting

FullSizeRender 5.jpg
This plate contains meat, mac and cheese, and starchy veggies prepared in oil. But notice how it’s mostly veggies. And underneath is entirely greens.

I’m about to describe how I eat, in general.

I think that for most people, a diet like mine will allow them to lose weight – even without exercise. And yes, even without counting calories.

All you have to do is listen to your appetite.

This is basically it:

  • This is KEY: I’d guess that 3/4 of my diet is veggies, by volume. I eat as many veggies as I want. Many greens, but I don‘t shy away from starchy vegetables.
  • I dress my salads however I want – sometimes including croutons, seeds etc. I personally only like a small amount of dressing, and usually no dressing at all.
  • I eat a small amount of meat several times a week. Many weeks I don’t eat any meat at all.
  • If I’m not eating a TON of greens for a particular meal, I use small plates. Large plates are ridiculous.
  • I eat lots of soups, usually broth based (rarely creamy)
  • I eat lots of eggs, every day. With a little bit of olive or coconut oil.
  • I’m not big on dairy, but I have it when I want it
  • I try to stay away from refined foods
  • I eat not too many beans, but probably more than most people
  • I eat 1 or 2 squares of chocolate every day
  • Some days, I drink wine
  • Occasionally, I eat bad stuff

The foods I eat most often are:
greens, eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and onions

On Meal Frequency (and this is important!!):
 I eat as often as I want, but I NEVER eat simply because it’s meal time. Some days I eat very often, and some days not at all. I eat completely according to my appetite.

On Physical Activity:
I stay active, but only because I enjoy it. I don‘t do harsh exercises. I walk often, hike often, and sometimes jog.

Three caveats to all of the above

1. Losing weight is different than maintaining weight. What I’ve described, to me, is a healthy diet – based on what we know now. If you eat like this, and according to your own appetite, then your weight should take care of itself, barring some other major issues.

If you go from eating processed foods to eating like this – I imagine you’ll lose weight without counting calories. But if you always eat like this, and you haven’t been losing weight, then of course you won’t. For you, adding exercise or cutting out some calories might work.

2. Getting from A to B is a trip. If you rely on processed foods and carbs for the majority of your needs, it could be very difficult to suddenly transition to a diet like this. You don‘t want to torture yourself, and yes – it may take time. I suggest adding vegetables to your diet first, rather than taking anything away. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy and prefer eating this way. It just took some getting used to.

3. This diet makes me feel full and satisfied. If this doesn’t make you feel full and satisfied, it’s not going to work for you.  This is why I suggest adding rather than subtracting. Fill up on veggies that you love, and begin to gingerly try ones you don‘t care for. You might find that you get to an ideal weight without even trying.

Sometimes, Counting Calories is Good.

In some situations, counting calories might make sense. For more on that, check out my post On Counting Calories.

Happy not-counting 😀

unspecified-72011

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

What’s More Important – Diet or Exercise?

I’m going with diet.

Yes, they’re both important. Blah blah blah. But I firmly believe that when it comes to weight loss, physical activity is secondary to food intake.

While it’s true that some people don’t move enough, it seems to me that many more people are reasonably active, and still experiencing issues with their weight.  Perhaps I am biased because this was my personal experience – always overweight, and yet always quite active. But in any event, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

The typical Western diet is calorie dense.

In general, food is primary because while we are designed to want to eat until we’re full, we are also designed to eat foods that had a much lower caloric density than the foods we typically encounter today. Admittedly, we were also designed to work a bit harder for those foods (a factor in favor of exercise, I suppose).

Still, typical Western foods are so calorific that even a large amount of exercise won’t offset poor eating habits. And to make things worse, the caloric density of these foods  is probably magnified by our general over-reliance on carbohydrates – the consumption of which tends to affect our metabolic state in favor of storage.

For some, exercise can increase appetite.

My advice to anyone, simply based on my own experience, would be to avoid starting caloric restriction and a workout regimen at the same time.

Of course, you have to know yourself. But in my experience, exercise increases my appetite noticeably. In fact, exercise has been shown to both increase or decrease your appetite depending on a number of factors.

In life, we expect clean and predictable answers. People will say “Oh you can never lose weight without exercising.” But that’s simply untrue, because the truth is much so much more complex than what some person put in a single news headline.

You can look at what scientific studies tell you, or you can sit down and mindfully examine your own life experience, incorporating what you pick up from the news as well. Our bodies and brains are unique, and in the end, what works for you depends on more factors than a scientific study can possible consider. You need to know yourself.

Consider – how did you get where you are now?

If you have a lot of weight to lose, maybe it’s time to consider this – what caused you to put on the weight in the first place? And be honest with yourself.

If you overeat often, you should probably deal with your eating habits before dealing with your physical activity. If you find it’s difficult to get full, then you want to begin opting for more veggies with every meal. Simply adding veggies may cause you to eat less of other more calorie dense foods. This was the case for me. Of course – I still exercise regularly for the health benefits.

On the other hand, if you’ve put on a pound or two each year slowly throughout the years with age – maybe you’ll do fine just adding enough activity to compensate for your slowing metabolism. Try it out, and see how it works for you.

unspecified-7201.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

Wine about Calories

wine.jpg
wine with a view

One glass of wine has about 120 calories.
Seven glasses a week has 840.

Over the course of a year, one glass per day adds up to 43,800 calories a year. From wine! Yay.

From a strict calories in-calories out perspective, that’s equivalent to about 12.5 pounds of fat per year, and that doesn’t even begin to include rum.

I weigh in the vicinity of 135 pounds (175 on a bad hair day). If I had started out at a lower weight, and if my wine had converted to fat with perfect efficiency over the past year, I’d be a little over 9% wine (7% on a bad hair day).

Of course I didn’t gain weight in the past year. And I don’t believe in a strict calories in-calories out approach. So what’s the relevance of this?

I don’t know – it’s just fun. Turns out I drink a lot of wine.

unspecified-7.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂