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«Gold Standard of Thin Janice Rowland & Kathleen Rowland Copyright 2012 Petals in the Gazebo Press, Kathleen Rowland Cover Art Copyright 2012 Mariya ...»

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Secrets in our Little Gold Suitcase

Secret Number One: For optimum fat melting, use this formula to calculate your daily calories. The way to lose weight is taking in fewer calories than you burn, right? Actually, that’s only correct up to a point. A landmark study at Georgia State University found that people who took in significantly fewer calories than they burned were actually fatter than people whose calorie intake and output were more balanced. The study found that the most weight loss occurred when the difference between calories consumed and calories burned was in the narrow range between 300 and 500 calories.

This is what we found amazing: per day, for optimum weight loss, consume 300 to 500 calories less than your body requires. This has to do with how human metabolism works in regards to “feast and famine.” Our bodies are designed to burn fat in times of plenty. If our body feels it is in a famine state, our energy will slow down, and our body will hold onto fat. To lose weight, we absolutely cannot dip below a thousand calories per day. Because I’m past middle age, I can’t lose two pounds a week if I consume more than a thousand calories. Janice, on the other hand, loses readily at 1500.

To customize your total daily calories, use the classic formula for weight loss. By the way, even TV’s The Biggest Losers use this tried-and-true method. Here’s how it works: take your present weight and multiply it times seven. For example, a woman weighs 145 pounds; 145 x 7 =

1015. A food plan of 1000 calories a day guarantees a 2-pound per week weight loss for this person weighing 145 pounds. As this woman loses weight, she will adjust her daily total calories downward. Or, she can feel content with a one-pound-a-week loss. The bottom line is, even if you are desperate to lose weight fast, do not dip below a thousand calories. You need good nutrition to maintain health and rebuild normal cells.

Have you dreamed lately about being thin? Wishful thinking can lead us to dreaming pounds gone! Secret Number Two: Pretend to weigh twenty pounds less. Can you visualize yourself eating smaller quantities? You would do this naturally if you weighed twenty pounds less. The mind is a powerful tool. Picture your thin self again and enjoy how swanky you feel with a small waist. This is a way to strengthen your resolve. You will achieve your dream and feel your best in the process. Visualization is a mind shaper. Spending just five minutes a day picturing success is all it takes to make it happen. Consistency makes the positive images a permanent part of our mindsets.

If we don’t plan, we plan to fail. Secret Number Three: Plan your food for the day, and then keep yourself honest with a journal. Although information about food plans appears in later chapters, know that you need a food plan every day. I use a small notebook, and Janice has a section in a binder. It doesn’t matter when you write your plan. Whenever it’s convenient, jot down your plan in the morning, the night before, or plan out a week’s worth. If you stick closely to it, all you have to do is make checkmarks. In addition to food eaten, record where you consumed the meal, how you feel emotionally, and how hungry when you started and how satisfied you are after eating. The order doesn’t matter. You’ll probably develop your own method and enjoy keeping a record to remember your journey.

Most weight-loss experts agree that a daily food journal is valuable. If we goof up, we know why. Practicing a new behavior is a process before it becomes a habit. Your eating plan, in the range of 1000 to 1500 calories a day depending on your formula, is broken up into four meals for optimum metabolism, or three meals with two snacks or half-meals. After eating, take a few minutes to log information. It keeps us accountable. Research from The Biggest Loser Ranch backs this up. People who keep a food journal lose twice as much as people who don’t, nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, R.D. tells us. We agree but feel it’s important to add more: the time of day, where you ate, and your feelings at the time. Emotions are very important. Bottling up your thoughts, worries and frustrations about problem people or being fat won’t help you to stay motivated. Think of your journal as a trusted friend as you pour out your feelings. Always guard your tender heart. All you want to do is identify the obstacle or vulnerability you consistently face that stymies your weight loss. None of us are perfect, and every one has regrets. Know what they are but let them go. Delving into painful old history doesn’t resolve the issue because most problems will forever remain open-ended. When we identify hot button triggers that cause overeating, we can do something other than eating at that time. In this way, we will have won.

Hunger that’s emotional will pass. When we feel upset, this is the perfect time to engage in an exercise DVD or your favorite cardio exercise.

Even if you’re not upset, log your hunger level and mood. When you take time to give attention to yourself, you might be surprised to find out things you didn’t know about yourself.

There are minor stressors in our daily lives. Sometimes little hassles build on themselves and add up to a huge stress load. Stressors are both positive and negative. We respond to stress both physically and emotionally. We feel and do things, sometimes by overeating. This is more damaging than we realize at the time. Behaviors are learned over time and then become habitual.

If the habits are not helpful, they can be unlearned. A journal helps us develop awareness and build motivation for change. Keeping one gives us insight into ways to resolve chronic, predictable stressors. We become stronger and more aware of how negative and critical our thoughts and self-talk are!

In addition to how you feel, you will log the tangibles—food, water, and exercise. Each and every day, log every morsel of food, water, (64-plus ounces) and exercises. The food plans in the next chapter will ensure replacement of empty carbohydrates with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. There is nothing wrong with purchasing ready-made food. Almost every day while away at college, Janice stops at a Subway for their 280-calorie 6-inch turkey sub on 9-grain honey oat bread. It’s fully loaded with yellow mustard, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions, black olives, bell peppers, and tons of pepperoncini. She gives away the BBQ Baked Lays that go with the meal but enjoys a tall unsweetened iced tea.

Here is an example from small-boned 5′2″ Janice. Because of her younger age and higher metabolism, her calorie allotment is 1200, and she adds another 250 calories when she goes to the gym. She happened to be home on this day but was taking a summer school class.

Saturday, June 13th

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Janice’s journal entry reflects a successful day of consuming 1200 calories, but she did not make it to the gym because of a test. Instead she did a yoga routine at home. She wasn’t severely stressed. High stress indicators are muscle tension, shallow breathing, tight stomach, and racing heart. In her case, it was good that she acknowledged stress over the test. On the average, she works out four days a week and does mild yoga in between. At the time we are writing this book, she wants to lose another five pounds before going away for the fall semester. She thinks her cheeks look like a chipmunk’s and wants to look her best on her student ID. On the subject of stress, she is a transfer student and doesn’t think she will rush a sorority. She goes back and forth about this. Rush week takes place during the second week of school, and she thinks the tension level would make studying nearly impossible. Overall, this method of food logging is valuable for looking back and understanding when and why a binge took place. This is how we overcome them.

Below is a day from Kathleen’s food journal:

Saturday, June 13th

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Secret Number Four: Choose an exercise routine, and get moving for thirty minutes every single day. Maybe you enjoy self-paced activities like Janice, who likes the fitness center, a brisk walk, or yoga. Maybe you have a love for a certain sport such as cycling or swimming. Exercise DVDs serve us well with convenience. Remember, the time it takes for forming a habit is 21 days. A month will make any habit stick. Find some way to move around for a half hour every day for a month, and you’ve got yourself a comfortable routine. You will look forward to it and won’t feel content if you don’t get it in. The emotional benefits of exercise are astounding.

To some people, swimming laps sounds boring. Not for me! I’ve turned this time into something special. While I swim, I have grateful thoughts. I cherish the connections I have with family and friends. Sometimes, to stay out of trouble, I remind myself to stay out of their business. I consider this to be an attractive quality, and I don’t feel I need to know their inner thoughts. If someone wants to discuss a problem, I listen but don’t give advice. That’s too tall an order and makes me prone to frustration. I encourage others to solve their own problems since this empowers them. Telling friends I will pray for them is a special kind of encouragement that brings up their morale. Aerobic exercise frees our minds, and because we’re releasing stress, can channel our behavior in positive ways.

A friend in our neighborhood has lost twenty pounds in two months. Becky Jones wanted to try our work-in-progress at the time, and we gave her an early version food plan. Combined with the Gold Standard Plan of lean protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, she took our advice to walk thirty minutes a day. Becky started putting one foot in front of the other every evening and managed to lose two to three pounds every week. She works as a vocational nurse at an assisted living center on weekdays, but on the weekend, Becky walks in the morning. After two months of walking and dieting, 35-year-old Becky looks terrific. She has added 1-pound hand weights with brisk walking. Her use of hand weights builds muscle, and muscle increases metabolism.

This is a moderate exercise.

An Arizona State University study proved that power walkers only burn slightly more calories than those walking about 3 to 4 miles per hour. Since Becky doesn’t want to lose any more weight, she’s added 500 calories to her previous plan of 1200. She’s testing it out to see if 1700 calories works for maintenance and says she will continue her walks.

Walking gives Becky appetite control. Because exercise stimulates the brain’s appetite control mechanism, she experiences a natural drop in hunger. She says she’s eating more fruit and vegetables than in the past. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that walking every day for 30 minutes reduces risk of heart disease by 30% and reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes by 50%.

Forty-five minutes of walking 5 times a week reduces the risk of catching a cold by 50%. An hour of walking every day reduces the risk of breast cancer by 20%.

You’ll read more about exercise in Chapter Four. With exercise we can eat a little more but not a lot more. We need to stay close to our optimum calorie range. You’ve probably read the same research studies we have: the wrong carbohydrates and stress are a combination that increases abdominal fat. Exercise reduces stress. Take optimum advantage by exercising during the time of the day you like to munch. The time I can “go downhill” is at three in the afternoon, and that’s when I head to the pool.

It is frustrating to struggle with weight loss without success. If we want to get down to the size we were in high school or on our wedding day, that may have been when we stopped growing. We should give ourselves a break. Anyway, experts say we can weigh more than our ideal weight and still be healthy (not to mention happy). According to WebMD, a woman is considered overweight when her waist measures over 35 inches. A waistline should measure no more than 40 inches for a man. (When I weighed 140 pounds, my waistline was 36 inches.) If we really are overweight, which I was, losing just 10% of our body weight is associated with a myriad of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar, and reducing your risk for heart disease. Not only that, experts say, but this kind of weight loss is easier to attain and maintain, setting you up for success in the long run. Our weight has a “set point.” Just as our body temperature is programmed to stay around 98.6 degrees, our body weight is naturally regulated to stay within a range of 10 to 20% of The Ideal, according to Thomas Wadden, Ph.D., director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

A complex set of hormones, chemicals, and hunger signals help your body naturally maintain your weight within this range, agrees American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. It is not just a matter of genetics, though. Our eating and exercise habits can also help to determine our set point. Isn’t it wonderful that we have control over it?

“Overeating swamps the internal regulatory system, and, as a result, the set point increases— which is much easier to do than it is to lower it,” says Wadden. The body adjusts to the higher weight and “resets” the set point to defend the new weight.

It is difficult, but not impossible, to set your range lower. “With changes in healthy eating and exercise behavior, you can lower your set point,” says Blatner.

Money can’t buy attractive bodies. Exercise can! It buys youth by toning our muscles.

Secret Number Five: Keep to a rigid schedule for eating and drinking water. Rigidity is essential for creating new habits. Carve breakfast time in stone and wait four hours until lunch and subsequent meals. Rigorous, yes, but you will feel less hunger. This is the magic behind keeping to a schedule. After three days, your brain and body will be in sync. Your body will adapt to the times you have set for eating. Remember to drink water, which guards against water retention and constipation.

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