Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Weight Loss

3 Mindset Shifts That Help Weight Loss

Ted Spiker  Oct. 14, 2014  
Reprinted from Time Magazine. Find the original article at

In a recent Facebook thread about weight loss that I was following, one commenter wrote that if she could write a diet book, she’d call it “Eat Less” and then leave all the pages blank. Drop the mic, call it a day, solve our obesity mess with a two-word prescription.

Most of us who have read anything about diets, obesity, and weight loss would nod in agreement. We have too much food, too much sugar, too many processed foods, and too many choices. And the reality is that we could likely engineer a one-size-fits-most diet that would push everybody back to healthy weights. Example: Eggs and berries for breakfast, grilled chicken salad with nuts for lunch, and fish with vegetables and avocado for dinner might get us there if we followed that plan every day (adjusting for variables like vegetarian options and allergies). Most of us who have read anything about diets, obesity and weight loss would also agree that it’s nowhere near that easy.

It really has more to do with adjusting our mindset so that healthy choices feel right—and don’t feel like deprivation, hard work or punishment. So read on to find out answers to the question how much should I weigh?

I’ve spent most of my career writing about health, and I’ve spent most of my life in a bleep-off relationship with the scale. I’ve had quite a few lows (almost ballooning to 300 pounds while writing diet books, getting a D in sixth-grade gym class), and I’ve also had some successes. (For what it’s worth, our individual definitions of weight-loss success need to include not just pounds, but also things like bodily satisfaction, life satisfaction, numbers like blood pressure and achievement of other goals not associated with pounds.)

We all have the ability to change our mindsets—not with a tire-squealing hard left, but by simply drifting into a new lane of thinking. These 3 switches will help you start:

Reverse the leadership model. The protocol for people who want to lose weight typically comes in two forms. You have the people who seclude themselves, privately trying to swim upstream against all of the forces that will make them gain weight. And you have the follow-the-leader model, in which the would-be dieter listens to the plan/advice/program of the trainer, the doctor, the nutritionist, the author, the infomercial-machine-seller: the person who, by degree or some other definition, knows more about the subject than anybody else. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either model, because either of them can work.

The glitch, however, comes when the follower grows tired of following. And when one grows tired of following, one consumes three pieces of Oreo pie. It’s not that the experts don’t know what they’re doing, because most of the many I’ve worked with and interviewed in my career do. It’s just that we dieters, though most don’t even know it, need a more balanced mix of following and leading. We need to harness some of the power and control back from the people who are telling us what to do. We need to lead, even if we don’t look like we should.

Leadership can come in many forms, whether it’s being the person to arrange the neighborhood walking group, or the person who prepares the family meal and makes kale chips instead of buying chocolate chips, or the person who organizes a work team to run a 5K together. The last couple years, I’ve organized weekly workouts with friends and neighbors. I’m the worst athlete in the bunch, so at first glance, the question would be, Why is blubber boy in charge? Exactly zero percent of my friends have ever given me any inclination that’s what they felt. Instead, the dynamics of the group workout are that we all push and pull each other, no matter our athletic abilities. I know I’m not as good as the others, but I also know that these workouts don’t happen unless I kickstart them.

Dieters can redefine the roles we’re supposed to take, and that’s what drives changes in the way we think and act. This is where sustained energy comes from—what we deliver to others, we get in return.

Steer the fear. In the weight-loss world, fear is almost as bad of a word as pudding. We fear the scale. We fear the doctor. We fear shopping for clothes. We fear the camera. We fear being embarrassed. The more we fear, the more we retreat—and the harder it is to climb out of whatever destructive habits we have.

As someone who once was told I had child-bearing hips, I know that the fear is real, and I know it’s not easy to squash. But instead of letting fear steer us, we need to steer the fear.

Plenty of scholarly and popular writings have addressed the issue of goal-setting, though there is some debate about whether we should set dream-big goals or more attainable goals. My take: Every year, you should set at least one physical and mental challenge that scares you just enough to help you make good choices—because those choices are a means to reaching that goal. What is “just enough”? It’s that spot right in between “of course I can do this” and “no way in the world can I do this.” For me, it was taking on the challenge of trying to complete an Ironman in 2013 (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run in a 17-hour time limit). I’ve found that the canyon in the middle of those two extremes is where the growth lies. Maybe it’s not fear in the traditional sense, but that bubbling angst of uncertainty feels different from and healthier than the kind of fear that dieters tend to have. (Tell us about your new challenge with the hashtag #TIMEtosteerthefear.)

Crank the voltage. As someone who has finished last in a race (maybe two, but who’s counting?), I do subscribe to the turtle-inspired mantra of slow and steady. When it comes to weight loss, that mindset will win the race. The choices we make over time, not one day or one hour, dictate the way that our bodies will look, feel and act.

I do think it’s a mistake to think that slow-and-steady is always the answer. Especially when it comes to exercise, we need high-intensity (read more about this at the 7 minute workout), those short periods of working as hard as we can. Why? Because that kind of work—the kind where you’re so immersed in the activity because it’s fun and intense—is what feels good, what feels enjoyable, what feels in the moment and what gives us the post-activity high that helps us make healthy decisions, especially when it comes to food choices.

My friend and sports psychologist Doug Newburg, PhD, has taught me a lot about the concept of feel, because he has studied how it works in hundreds of elite performers. It’s different than feelings or emotions. Exercise, like eating, shouldn’t feel like a chore. For it to truly work over the long term, it has to feel more like recess than like detention. Going all in—whether it’s running, dancing, playing tennis or playing tag with your kids—excites you enough to take you out of your own head, and that’s what makes you want to do it again and again. The byproduct of playing hard is that, without thinking, you find what you were after in the first place.

Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker), the interim chair of the department of journalism at the University of Florida, is the author of DOWN SIZE: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How Much Should I Weigh?

Calculate Your Ideal Weight!
Reprinted from: My Bariatric Life Health Guide September 30, 2012 available at

  • How much you should weigh is actually within a range of weight as long as your body fat is lean to moderate. How much you should weigh can be determined by your height and body frame size. The width of your wrist measured in inches is the standard used to determine frame size.
    Determine Your Body Frame Size

    1. Extend and spread apart the fingers of your dominant hand.
    2. Place cloth tape measure around wrist at the point where there are two "knobs".
    3. Measure ensuring that the tape goes across both "knobs".

    Height over 5' 5"
    •Small = wrist size 5.5" to 6.5"
    •Medium = wrist size 6.5" to 7.5"
    •Large = wrist size over 7.5"

    Height under 5'2"
    •Small = wrist size less than 5.5"
    •Medium = wrist size 5.5" to 5.75"
    •Large = wrist size over 5.75"

    Height 5'2" to 5' 5"
    •Small = wrist size less than 6"
    •Medium = wrist size 6" to 6.25"
    •Large = wrist size over 6.25"

    Height over 5' 5"
    •Small = wrist size less than 6.25"
    •Medium = wrist size 6.25" to 6.5"
    •Large = wrist size over 6.5"

    Here’s a helpful tip: A rule of thumb to determine your frame size is to wrap your thumb and middle finger around your wrist on the opposite hand. If the thumb and finger overlap then you have a small frame. If they touch then you have a medium frame. If they do not touch then you have a large frame.
    Calculate Your Ideal Weight

    Now that you know your body frame size, you can use the following weight loss calculators to calculate your ideal weight range.

    1. Traditional Ideal Body Weight Calculator

    Knowing your frame size, you may now calculate your ideal weight range using this free body weight calculator. Based on my height of 5'7" here are the ideal ranges for me as a healthy female according to this body weight calculator:

    Small frame: 126 - 130 pounds
    Medium frame: 135 - 139 pounds
    Large frame: 144 - 148 pounds

    I have a large frame, so my ideal weight is between 144 and 148lbs per this body weight calculator.

    2. Ideal Body Weight Calculator

    You can check your ideal weight using the Ideal Body Weight Calculator on HealthCentral. Again, you will need to know your body frame size. This calculator also asks for your height and current weight.

    Using HealthCentral’s Ideal Body Weight Calculator, my ideal weight range is 158 - 174 lbs. This range is based on a formula that calculates what a healthy weight is for most people of my height of 67 inches and large frame size.

    3.   Full Body Analysis Calculator

    This calculator combines the output from several individual calculators to give you a full body analysis. You will learn your BMI, waist to hip ratio, body frame size, ideal weight, body fat, metabolism, calories burned, target heart rate, and maximum heart rate. You will need a cloth tape measure so that you can accurately input your measurements.

    My ideal weight range is 143-168 lbs. according to the Full Body Analysis Calculator. I learned a number of other interesting statistics about my metabolic and heart rates, as well as lean body mass and fat body mass. I also learned that my waist to hip ratio is 84%, meaning that I have an “apple” body shape, and this puts me at risk for heart disease and other related conditions. Read Belly Fat May Be More Dangerous than Obesity.  

  • How Much Should I Weigh?

    These calculators are not for providing medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a medical professional. Before starting any diet to lose or add weight, be sure to consult your doctor to discuss what is the best weight for you.

    Here are my ideal weight ranges based upon my height of 67 inches and large frames size using the three body weight calculators:

    Traditional Body Weight Calculator: 144-148 lbs.
    Ideal Body Weight Calculator: 158-173 lbs.
    Full Body Analysis Calculator: 143-168 lbs.

    While the three weight ranges vary widely, what is most telling to me is that while I am not obese I have a hip to waist ratio of 84% that is concerning. Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 80% are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution. My next step is to research ways to reduce belly fat and discuss them with my doctor during my annual physical exam.

    What did you learn from using these calculators to determine your ideal weight range? Are there any health changes you may need to make? Read more about all these topics at the 7 minute workout.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The 7 Minute Workout

7 minute workout chart
This article was originally posted on The New York Times Blog at:

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice.
An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.

“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.
Work by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions shows, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.
Interval training, though, requires intervals; the extremely intense activity must be intermingled with brief periods of recovery. In the program outlined by Mr. Jordan and his colleagues, this recovery is provided in part by a 10-second rest between exercises. But even more, he says, it’s accomplished by alternating an exercise that emphasizes the large muscles in the upper body with those in the lower body. During the intermezzo, the unexercised muscles have a moment to, metaphorically, catch their breath, which makes the order of the exercises important.
The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.