Steeple Media Fit Club

A group of 10 Steeple Media members try to better their lifestyle.

February 2008 - Posts

Ten Reasons you should be Exercising!!

And let me point out right now, one of them is NOT weight loss!!! if you need to lose weight, exercise will certainly help you, but I am hoping we all will commit to a lifetime of exercise for reasons other than just weight control - and these are some really good ones. 

1. Exercise boosts brain power.

The latest research indicates exercise can keep the brain sharp into old age and might help prevent Alzheimer's disease along with other mental disorders that accompany aging. Carl Cotman, Ph.D., of the University of California at Irvine found a link between physical activity and mental ability. In a study published in Nature, Cotman concluded compounds responsible for the brain's health can be controlled by exercise. Cotman conducted his research on rodents because, he says, "the effects of exercise are nearly identical in humans and rats." In his study, Cotman monitored "couch" rats and rats that ran on a treadmill. The rats that exercised had much higher levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the most widely distributed growth factor in the brain and one believed to decline with the onset of Alzheimer's.

Although Cotman's study is based on animal research, his results are in keeping with previous research showing exercisers live longer and score higher on mental function tests. "It's another argument for getting and staying active," he says.

2. Exercise is 21st century medicine.

Exercise leads to radiant health without shots or pills. Consider the view of family physician Edward A. Taub, M.D., medical director of the Wellness Medicine Institute in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. In more than 30 years as a family doctor, he noticed 20% of his patients accounted for 80% of office visits. In surveying those 20%, he was surprised to find they were not people with more serious illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or arthritis. "These people were sick week after week with ear, throat and chest infections, headaches, backaches and fatigue," he explains. In an effort to help them, he developed a program in which exercise was a vital part.

"Exercise helps provide the energy necessary for personal wellness," says Taub. "Even moderate levels of exertion bolster the immune system. In fact, new studies show a small increase in physical activity, such as climbing five flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator, lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, breast cancer and colon cancer." Taub also notes exercise fights "destructive thought patterns" associated with depression, anxiety, stress, worry, panic and anger. Such negative patterns contribute significantly to physiological illness.

3. Age is no barrier.

You're never too old, and it's never too late to begin an exercise program. In fact, the value of maintaining fitness later in life is well substantiated. A recent study published in The Gerontologist reports exercise provides cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular and metabolic benefits for older adults. And the New England Journal of Medicine reports an average 113% strength increase among elderly people engaged in resistance training. If you're still not convinced, consider a landmark study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. In this study, a group of 90-year-old men and women increased their strength by an average of 174% after eight weeks of thrice weekly sessions on weight machines.

4. It's an opportunity to be creative.

If you don't live near a gym or jogging track, you can follow your creative urges by developing your own unique fitness program. Consider this 34-year-old woman's approach: "Living in the middle of a 600 acre ranch with two small children and no access to a gym or aerobics class has left me with no choice but to be inventive with my workouts," she says. "I take to the country roads and pastures with my two best friends--Siesta, a Labrador retriever, and Buddy Buck, a male white-tail deer. Hiking and jogging with them is exhilarating. Their grace and beauty gives me such inner peace. I hardly know I'm exercising.

"We climb tank dams, jump over fallen trees, step across cattle guards and straddle ravines," she adds. "You can imagine the strange looks they give me when I use a bail of hay in the middle of a pasture to do a mini bench workout. Mother Nature has so much to offer."

5. Exercise relieves PMS.

Researchers from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. investigated the impact of a 14-week aerobic training program on the psychological symptoms of PMS, specifically depression and anxiety. An exercise group met three times a week for 45 minutes of aerobic exercise. A control group continued with their usual activities which did not include exercise. Subjects completed daily prospective self-rating charts of their depression and anxiety symptoms. For the exercise group, premenstrual depression and anxiety scores decreased significantly.

6. Exercise may reduce risk of breast cancer.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports women who exercise regularly throughout their childbearing years may significantly reduce premenopausal breast cancer risk. Researchers studied 545 women 40 and under with breast cancer and 545 healthy women. They found those who exercised 3.8 hours per week or more reduced their premenopausal breast cancer risk by an astonishing 58%, compared with women who never exercised. Researchers also noted moderate exercise (one to three hours per week) reduced the risk by as much as 30%. "During a woman's childbearing years, physical activity can modify the amount of ovarian hormones she produces," says lead researcher Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D. "These hormones are tied to breast cancer, and we think exercise can lower their production."

7. Fitness is in. The couch potato is out.

Exercisers are part of a growing trend. An increasing number of people in all age groups is getting fit. A new report from American Sports Data Inc., a fitness trends tracker in Westchester, New York, reveals the following.

* Approximately 19 million Americans have a health club membership, the highest in many years and a 32% increase from 1987.

* The couch potato population is decreasing with an overall 4% increase in exercise participation yearly.

* Almost all outdoor fitness activities are growing in popularity, especially mountain biking.

* About 14.1 million Americans walk for fitness at least 100 times a year.

* In-line skating is more popular than ever before.

* More Americans are getting a kick out of step aerobics, up 25% in popularity.

8. Fun activities such as in-line skating are beneficial, too.

Many people assume enjoyable activities do not yield the same results as "challenging" workouts. Recently, researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst monitored 20 students. Half in-line skated for 15 minutes while the other half ran at their own pace. In addition, all students exercised for 15 minutes on a stairclimber. The results--running burned an average of 14.9 calories per minute, in-line skating was a close second burning 14.1 calories per minute and stair climbing burned 10.8 calories per minute. So, just because something looks like fun doesn't mean you won't get a good workout. A good way to begin an exercise program is to start with an activity you think you'll enjoy.

9. Worries dissolve while mood rises.

It's a bad day--the traffic was horrendous, the boss is in a foul mood, the phones won't stop ringing, and you're late for an important meeting. You can feel yourself become anxious and agitated. The quickest way to rebound is to take a simple stroll. That's the conclusion of Robert Thayer, Ph.D., a psychologist at California State University, Long Beach who conducted studies over seven years. His research shows a 10 minute walk can boost mood more quickly and longer than two of the most common "quick fixes"--candy and cigarettes. While candy may provide an initial energy boost, most people end up feeling worse an hour later. The same is true for smoking. Participants in Thayer's studies reported feeling more energetic and upbeat an hour after walking and said the positive effects lingered even two hours later.

10. Exercise is heart smart.

By now everyone knows exercise slashes the risk of developing heart disease. However, what is less well known is that recently the American Heart Association (AMA) upgraded physical inactivity from a "contributing factor" for heart disease and stroke to a "risk factor" along with high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and high blood cholesterol. Twenty to 30% of the U.S. population--50 to 75 million people--are so sedentary they have a three to four times greater risk for developing heart disease than their more active counterparts.

According to AHA research, exercise can help control cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. As a result, the new AHA position statement strongly recommends 120 to 160 minutes per week of activities such as brisk walking, hiking, jagging, swimming and tennis. Edward Cooper, M.D., AHA president and professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, also stresses people should begin exercising at a young age because America's young people are becoming less fit and more obese. He feels adults should exercise not only to benefit themselves, but to act as role models for their children.

Finally, don't be discouraged if some days you just don't feel like exercising. Even marathon runner Oprah Winfrey admits it's not always easy. "The hardest thing is maintaining, every day, some form of exercise," she says. "It's just the hardest thing. I've adjusted to the eating, and it's no problem for me. I prefer to have a French fry that's baked to a French fry that's fried in oil now. But exercise never ends. Every day you have to get up and do something."

On days when it is hard to follow your routine, try motivating yourself by reviewing the many benefits connected with exercise.

Victor M. Parachin, M. Div., specializes in current health issues. His book, 365 Good Reasons To Be A Vegetarian, (Avery Publishing Group) is scheduled to be released next spring.

COPYRIGHT 1996 Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group


Hands Up if you....

want to include a daily calorie count in fit club!

If you want help being accountable for calories consumed each day, let me know. I can either request totals unexpectedly or you can enter the numbers on the Sparkpeople team page Zach set up  

On the day I ask for healthy choices, I would just add calorie intake for that day each week if you would like to do that.

Yea? nay?

Always feel free to email me responses if you prefer to not post 

New Members Always Welcome!

Although FitClub has officially started, new members are ALWAYS welcome to join us!

The only exclusion is you will not be eligible for the 3 main prizes awarded at the end of Fit Club, however you will be eligible for any extra prizes I decide to award for Special Challenges!

Just email me with your SteepleMedia name so we can add you as a poster, and I will email you all the details!

The more the merrier. In fact studies always show when you join a group you are guaranteed more success than when you try to be accountable on your own!

Making The Right Choice

One of the aspects of the Fit Club is making healthy choices.  Taco Bell has made it easier for you to "choose wisely" (doesn't that always make you think of the Indiana Jones Pepsi Commercial with the Templar knight...but I digress).

Check out the new Fresco menu from Taco Bell:

You'll find nine great choices, all under 350 calories and all with 8 grams of fat or less.  Some are as low as 150 calories.  And, most importantly, they taste GREAT!  Tender meat, fresh lettuce, zesty pico de gallo.  Yum! 

Now, if you want to try out a few regular menu choices, and see how they work out, you can go here for the Taco Bell Nutrition Calculator.  Plug in what you're thinking of having and you can compare it with various options.  For example, let's say you decide to get the regular Chicken Ranchero taco.  That's 270 calories and 14 grams of fat.  Leave off the spicy avocado dressing?  You've just dropped 80 calories and 8 grams of fat!  Have it off the Fresco menu (which also takes off the shredded cheese) and you're down to 170 calories.  Excellent!  You can also see what you'd be adding if you wanted EXTRA something on your choice.

I needed something quick for lunch today, since I spent most of the time at parent teacher conferences.  So I cruised on through and grabbed the Fresco Chicken taco and headed back to work.  It was quick, it was easy, it was good - and I stayed well within my goals for today. 

So, if you're looking for something tasty, satisfying AND healthy, you should "think outside the bun"! 


Kick Start Your Fitness Plan!
How are you all going with the special challenge so far??? I hope well. Check out this article and kick your fitness plan into gear!

Get Active

Ever felt that everyone you know seems to be losing weight, but when you try their dieting tricks, you don't have the same success? You may not be doing anything wrong. It could be that those strategies just aren't a good match for you. Achieving your goals is all about finding the specific lifestyle fixes that work for you -- not for your neighbor. Try these 14 tactics. You have nothing but weight to lose!

1. Start with Sneakers

Everyone knows it takes a combination of diet and exercise to lose body fat, but researchers now believe that it's best to tackle exercise first. "Once you invest time in a daily workout, you'll be motivated to make the more difficult dietary changes," says John Foreyt, PhD, director of the Nutrition Research Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

2. Make Ambitious Exercise Goals

Instead of saying "I will exercise three days a week," plan to exercise every day, even if you know you won't make it. Most of us accomplish only 60 percent of our weekly fitness goals, according to research from the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida in Gainesville. So if you plan to work out for an hour every day, you'll probably make it to three or four workouts a week.

3. Find a Groove

Blocking out an hour or two for a sweaty workout takes dedication. Make the prospect a little more fun by buying an MP3 player. A recent study from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey found that women who listened to music while walking lost twice as much weight as those who didn't. The music-listeners walked more often each week and adhered to the full program, which also included weekly dieting and group meetings, says the study's lead researcher, Christopher A. Capuano, PhD.

Calorie-Counting Strategies
4. Keep Your Diet Simple

Most successful losers are unadventurous when it comes to eating. "Too much variety actually stimulates your appetite," explains Hollie A. Raynor, PhD, RD, assistant professor of research at Brown Medical School in Providence. "If you're faced with a ton of options, you'll likely eat more just out of curiosity." (Or perhaps because the various choices are right there, tempting you.) Curtail your dietary diversity by preparing dinners at home instead of eating out. Stick to cooking a few tried-and-true recipes with a wide range of nutrients, and rotate them often.

5. Overestimate Your Calories

Most dieters under-report the calories they consume by a third and over-report the amount of exercise they do by half, says Foreyt. Keeping an accurate journal allows you to objectively analyze what you're eating and why. "But even more than that, keeping a record helps you to stay committed to your goal," says Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, PhD, director of the Center for Behavioral Medicine & Sport Psychology in Chicago and author of The Healthy Obsession Program. When you do guesstimate, round up by a few hundred calories.

6. Target Weekend Calories

A recent study found that on the weekends, Americans tend to eat about 82 calories more per day than on the weekdays, most of them from fat and alcohol. That doesn't sound like much, but after a year it adds up to more than two pounds. Weekends are usually a time to let it all go; but losing weight is a precise numbers game, so you can't really afford to loosen the reins too much. Skip the extra margarita and find other ways to relax.

7. Order First

When you're dining out, be the first to place your order. "You can be influenced by other people's food decisions," says Gerard J. Musante, PhD, a clinical psychologist and founder of Structure House, a residential weight-loss center in Durham, North Carolina. If everyone is ordering the burger and fries, for example, you'll be more apt to go with the flow. Set a healthier tone by ordering a salad and the grilled fish.

8. Troubleshoot

When you overindulge (and you will, because you're human), don't beat yourself up, but don't slough it off either. Instead, "consider what led you to overeat, and think of ways to ensure it doesn't happen again," says Kirschenbaum. Taking a problem-solving approach reinforces your sense of accountability, a key factor in losing weight. For example, if you scarfed down a tray of appetizers at the office party, was it because you skipped lunch? Were you nervous about an upcoming meeting? Once you think you've nailed the cause, formulate a plan for what you'll do differently the next time you encounter the same situation.

Daily Tips
9. Weigh In

Daily weighing is a winning weight-loss strategy, according to research from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 4,000 people who have lost 30 pounds and kept them off for at least one year. "It's essential to know where you are and where you're going, up or down, pound-wise," says Raynor. Minor weight gain (up to five pounds) is acceptable if you're trying to maintain, because it could be traced to monthly water retention. "If you're actively trying to lose weight, gaining more than that over a week is a red flag that your calorie intake or exercise plan needs some tweaking," says Raynor.

10. Outwit Your Appetite

Eating six small meals a day to help control your appetite doesn't work for everybody. "Eating that often increases your exposure to food and ups the chances that you'll be tempted to overeat," says Musante. To control calories, he advises that you have just three meals a day and skip snacks. Musante also notes that the sight of food can stimulate your appetite, so keep it all out of view. "You should even wrap leftovers in aluminum foil, not plastic, so you won't be tempted when you open the fridge," he says.

11. Make a Connection (go Fit Club!!)

A good support system may help you make better diet and exercise decisions by boosting accountability, says Raynor. A recent study found that people who got support through face-to-face meetings with a counselor or through an Internet-based program regained less weight than participants who didn't use either.

12. Take Eight (Hours)

Shortchanging yourself on sleep lowers the level of the hormone leptin -- this can increase your desire to eat and decrease your ability to burn calories. To lose or maintain weight, there's an ideal sleep zone of about eight hours a night, say researchers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 71 percent of Americans get less than that on weekdays. If you have trouble getting to sleep, develop a ritual that helps you relax.

13. Limit Tempting High-Fat Foods

For a while, conventional wisdom urged the no-diet approach: Don't avoid tempting foods like chocolate ice cream, because avoidance only leads to cravings and results in bingeing. But in some studies, those who actually followed this method ran into trouble. "The reality is that most people trying to lose weight can't give themselves permission to eat problem foods," says Kirschenbaum. Temptation just creates difficulties.

Effective weight controllers limit their exposure to these foods by not bringing them into the house. They also eat other things that are lower in calories and fat but comparable in taste, he says. Choose replacements such as chocolate sorbet instead of saturated-fat-packed chocolate ice cream.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2006.

Healthy Choices in Every Day Living

I decided to see what I could do to "healthify" my lifestyle.  I started out by looking at my daily routine and making some really minor, painless changes:

1. Added almonds for heart healthy benefits.
2. When replacing data tapes in the server room, made a separate trip for each tape (that's 84 steps round trip each time) - and I have as many as ten tapes to swap out!
3. Replaced diet soda with flavored, unsweetened water.
4. Parked at the far end of the parking lot, instead of right up by the door.
5. Took a "stretch" break from my desk. I did a set of muscle stretching exercises (leg lunges, toe touches, side stretches, etc)
6. Had a piece of sugar-free gum instead of candy.

Nothing major, very easy to do - each and every day!

A few tasks from Zach...

Hey everyone!!

I have a few tasks that I wish for you all to complete. It shouldn't be toooo hard... (only as hard as you make it)

1. Make sure you have an Avatar on! I want to do something different on the side bar and it requires avatars. If you dont have one and need one, click on "Edit Profile" at the tippy top of this page. from there, you should be able to find a tab called "Avatar" And you can set it up there.

2.  Sign up on (with the referral link below) Get a Free Online Diet
Then join the Steeple Media Fit Club team!! I'm not sure how to get a direct link to it, but if you go to my spark page ( and click on it, you can join there.

On that website, you can do things like track your fitness... how many calories you've burned today, how many calories you take in and much more! Also, after you join, post your Spark Page url in the comments (or on the forums here) so we can all be Spark Buddies!!

Week 2 Special Challenge!

Here is your special challenge for this week. You have until Sunday evening to enter.

Email me the MOST number of steps you can record on your pedometer for one 24 hour period.

If possible take a digital picture of the pedometer and send it to me. If you can't don't worry, just tell me the number and HOW you achieved it. Eg did you walk for 45 minutes? Did you run on a treadmill for 30 minutes? Did you run around the park with your dog for an hour?

The ONE person who submits the greatest number by Sunday, let's say 6pm EST, will win a FREE PASS good for one week only, which can be used on any day to substitute your actual data with the team average instead. 

TEAM BONUS!!! For the buddy TEAM who submits the greatest combined total number of steps, you will receive an interesting advantage. If you choose to use it, you will be able to request that any other FitClub member's score for any component is the whole team average rather than what they actually did. Example you may think Flannel Man is clocking a huge number of steps on his pedometer so you might like to allocate the team average for pedometer next week rather than what he actually did.

This could work in your favor in terms of the competition, however you may also be giving that player a boost! You will not know, and it is up to you if you use it at all or not.

The individual winner and the team winners WILL be announced on Monday. 


Weight Loss Report!

Anyone care to share if they have lost any weight in the last 10 days, and if so, how much?


Which excuse is your favourite?

When I was reading this alarm bells went off. A few times! If you know me, I bet even YOU can guess which ones are my most common excuses!

Which are yours? Do you feel any better prepared to tackle these now?

Article courtesy of Fitness magazine. 

Better Be Polite

THE LOGIC: I have to have one of Mom's giant homemade cookies -- she'll be insulted if I say no.

Whether it's your mother, your friend, or your boss who's the cookie pusher, one large chocolate chunk can pack more than 400 calories. But unfortunately, in many families, offering baked goods is the edible equivalent of saying "I love you"; to refuse is to reject the sentiment.

Change your mind: One strategy, says Stokes, is to ask for a cookie to go, then immediately toss it once you're home. If it's an ongoing problem and involves something less portable -- like that second helping of paella -- you'll have to take a more direct approach. Respectfully explain that you're trying to cut back on extra helpings. Or accept the offer of seconds, but say you've actually had your eye on another serving of tonight's veggie dish.

Don't Waste It!

THE LOGIC: Leaving food on my plate (or my kids') means throwing it away -- not good home economics!

It's a message we hear our whole lives: You don't waste perfectly good food when there are kids starving in Africa! But nibbling the cold mac-and-cheese off your 4-year-old's plate doesn't help anyone. Nor does eating the entire carton of bland fat-free frozen yogurt you bought but hated after the first bite.

Change your mind: Never feel guilty for getting rid of extra food. Eating more than your body needs counts as wasting food too -- it just gets dumped in your fat cells instead of the garbage can. Chucking that 1.75-quart container of fro-yo (minus the one serving you ate) would save you 1,170 calories -- that's one-third of a pound of jiggly body fat. Try reducing recipes so you make only as many servings as you have people. Give kids who don't clean their plates smaller portions; if they're still hungry, they'll let you know.

It's a Special Occasion

THE LOGIC: It's okay to indulge at restaurants and parties as long as you eat healthfully at home.

Special occasions feel like a time to relax the rules and enjoy yourself. The problem is, when you've got an "occasion" every other day -- whether it's a birthday party, working lunch, family event, happy hour, or restaurant outing -- they can't all be considered "special" anymore. If, like most Americans, you eat out a few days a week, the calories can really add up: Just one piece of bread with butter tacks on more than 100 calories per slice.

Change your mind: Approach each day, whether you're dining in or out, with the same nutrition goals. A study of members of the National Weight Control Registry revealed that people with this mind-set were one and a half times more likely to maintain their weight. The trick is to remember that it's never your last chance to indulge -- delicious food will still be available tomorrow and the day after that. Order the must-have appetizer this time and the fabulous dessert next time.

Just can't resist ordering all your favorites every time? Take a look at your regular diet: If all you eat is lackluster food (like frozen dinners, energy bars, and garden salads), no wonder you go nuts every time you go out. Replace some or all of your "diet" meals with real food -- take a healthy-cooking class, buy a new cookbook, or make a trip to a gourmet shop. Just including one nutritious but full-flavored item at each meal, like artisanal cheese or dark chocolate, can make you feel less compelled to "get it while you can" at restaurants and parties, says Stokes.

What a Bargain!

THE LOGIC: Sure, I'll take the jumbo-size Coke -- it's only 25 cents more!

Call it the "Costco effect": An item you didn't especially want or need suddenly becomes appealing when you can get twice as much for half the price. Unfortunately, getting 16 more ounces of soda for just a quarter more ups your calorie total as well -- by 182. And don't count on making the larger serving last longer: In one study, Wansink found that people ate 92 percent more cookies each day when they had an especially large supply stockpiled in their cupboards. In fact, you're liable to keep munching away even after your monster-size snack loses its appeal, says Wansink. He found that people given larger buckets of free popcorn ate significantly more, even when it was 14 days old and stale!

Change your mind: Adopt a "pay less, weigh less" attitude. Sure, it may be a better value to buy 100 cookies for $5 than it is to buy 10 cookies for $3. But by choosing the smaller package, you'll actually spend $2 less -- and save hundreds of calories.

This concept works at restaurants, too. Order an appetizer portion of your dish even if you have to pay the full entree price. You're not wasting money; your meal costs the same either way. You're simply choosing to buy fewer calories with your money.

It's No Fun Without Food

THE LOGIC: Movies just aren't the same without a family-size box of Sno-Caps.

It's amazing how many activities are paired with food -- candy at the movies, margaritas on date night, coffee and doughnuts while reading the Sunday paper. It becomes a classic Pavlovian response. "When you combine a certain pastime over and over with eating, you eventually stop listening to hunger or fullness cues and just eat on autopilot whenever you engage in that activity," says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Orlando, Florida.

Change your mind: Disentangle food/fun associations by altering your routine, says Gidus. If your evening ritual is a bag of chips in front of the TV, relax instead with a book on the patio. "Just switching rooms or chairs can help break the pattern," says Gidus. Rather than dinner dates, plan active outings. And as for the movies, think about how much money you'll save just by avoiding the inflated concession-stand prices.

I Deserve It

THE LOGIC: With the day I've had, the world owes me a hot fudge sundae.

"Food provides a very basic, easily obtainable way to nurture and reward yourself, and delaying this gratification isn't easy," says Rick Temple, PhD, a psychologist who treats eating disorders at the University of South Florida Counseling Center in Tampa. The trouble is, we rarely nurture ourselves with broccoli: A classic study found that when an eating bout is triggered by emotions rather than by seeing or smelling food, you're less likely to take nutritional value into consideration.

Change your mind: Acknowledge all of your needs, not just the ones for instant gratification: "Yes, it's true, I deserve a sundae. But do I also deserve fat thighs and high cholesterol?" Next, grab a pencil and paper and list 10 inedible things that make you feel rewarded, or comforted, or indulgent or pampered, and pick one, suggests Gidus. Call your best friend, cuddle with a pet, or seduce your husband -- that's one thing we guarantee will be more satisfying than food.

It's Free!

Think about how often you eat food that you don't even want: the free cookie that came with your sandwich; the second helping of paella you accepted just to be polite; the unsatisfying fat-free ice cream that you kept dipping into each night because you didn't want to waste it. The trouble with such rationalizations is that they can add up to extra pounds. "These examples can total about 600 additional calories a day -- enough to cause a moderately active woman to gain five pounds a month if she doesn't burn them off," says Milton Stokes, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Here are the most common leaps in food logic and the simple attitude adjustments that will keep your diet -- and your weight -- in check.

THE LOGIC behind "It's Free!": When food's up for grabs, I might as well grab some!

Freebies are everywhere, from samples at the market to bagels in the morning meeting. But just one sesame-with-cream-cheese will set you back almost 500 calories. And that's not the only reason to refuse it: Research shows that you're likely to perceive free food as less tasty (so you're not even really enjoying it). Plus, you're unlikely to compensate for the additional calories by eating less the rest of the day, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. "In our brains, free food isn't coded as a meal but as a surprise that we don't need to enter into our daily calorie count," he explains. So even if the giveaway grub is mediocre at best, you keep eating, since it's not like you're paying for it -- not in cash anyway.

Change your mind: When faced with a tempting handout, ask yourself, "If it weren't free, would I stop and buy it?" Anything not worth your hard-earned dollars or even cents isn't worth the added pounds either.


Week 1 RESULTS are IN!!

First up I'd like to announce the WINNER of special challenge number 1..............


Zach please share with everyone how you fit exercise into your day 5 times! Also, do you think this is something you could do more often?

Ok, next let me tell you how I am recording the daily data.
Remember I don't reward crazy excess so there is a maximum and you go above it you don't earn any extra points

Exercise - 1 minute = 100 points
Water - 1 x 8oz glass = 1000 points
Pedometer - 1 step = 1 point
Healthy Choices - 1 to 5000 points depending on how much effort it seems you are making.
Bonus points - 1 point = 1000 points

If you like I can publish names - at least of the person with the most points each week, but that is up to you. Some people prefer anonymity as part of their 'game plan' some people don't like the pressure. On the other hand some people find it motivating to see names.

Let me know either in comments or in email if you'd like to see top name or not. You should be able to figure out if it is you or not from your own records :)

So our highest score for our warm up week was...

47, 715 points! Quite outstanding indeed. I hope this person manages to maintain this motivation!

On the other end of the spectrum, possibly needing a bit more encouragement, we had a score of 7500 points :(

The AVERAGE point total was 13615.5

Baseline Data
(not including one member's results who was unable to complete these this week)
Heart rate: Fewest 110, Highest 200 (Average 142)
Crunches: Fewest 2, Highest 105 (Average 30)
Push ups: Fewest 7, Highest 30 (Average 16.5)
Steps in 3 mins: Fewest 134, Highest 573 (Average 288.5)
Squats: Fewest 10, Highest 200 (Average 140)
Sit N Reach: Least minus 7, Most 11.2 inches past toes (Average 6.6")

Figure out where you lie in the spectrum. And turn it UP this week, the contest is now ON!!!

Don't forget the prizes!

#1 - prize for most competitive! Fitness magazine subscription + gift
#2 - prize for most improved! Fitness magazine subscription + gift
#3 - prize for most supportive team mate! $10 iTunes Gift Card

Gift may include wrist weights, sweat bands, fitness dvd's and related items.

Support for you teams mates will be based on - forum and blog posts, live chat interaction, emails to your FitClub buddy or other team mates, and active participation in the program, among other things. It will be decided by vote and then I will have the final say :)

Let's get a move on with week two!


Zach's Progress...

Sandi has asked me numerous times: "I wish you would post more...", "Oh, good stuff! Post that!!"::: to post on the blog and the forums but I keep telling her that I'm too busy exercising to post Stick out tongue. So, I decided with a few minutes on my hand to throw up a forum post about what I've been doing so far.

As of today, I have lost 9 (count em.) 9 lbs! I'm shocked with my progress!! But I can tell you what it is. A combination of my calorie intake and the exercise that I do.

First off, my calorie/nutritional facts...

NUTRIENTS:   GOAL 2/19 2/20 2/21 2/22 2/23 2/24 TODAY
Calories:  2630 - 2980 Add Food 1,176 1,055 1,107 1,137 1,063 465
Fat:  64 - 112 Add Food 37 36 33 41 37 4
Carbohydrates:  324 - 468 Add Food 167 139 165 165 135 85
Protein:  72 - 252 Add Food 49 49 44 36 52 24
Potassium, K:  4500 - 6000 Add Food 1,751 1,505 1,709 725 964 220
Calcium, Ca:  120 - 200 Add Food 155 116 115 77 91 67
Sodium, Na:  0 - 2300 Add Food 1,420 1,944 1,473 2,008 2,196 813
Magnesium, Mg:  105 - 175 Add Food 49 42 39 14 25 4

This chart says because of the amount of exercise I do, I should be getting a minimum of 2600 calories. WOW, I dont eat that much before ft club!! The pluses mean I didnt post that day and today's are really low because thats only breakfast. Today, I ate some cereal and skim milk for breakfast. Oh yeah and a banana.

Now, I'm sure you're curious as to where to make a cool, nifty little chart like that Smile is an awesome site that gives you a nutritional planner PLUS has a water counter (counts the number of glasses of water you drink a day with your input) and also can track your fitness. I strongly recommend this site!! I'm SMEDIA there. If you go to my "SparkPage" you can see my weight progress and my daily food intake...

For the fitness... I go on the tredmill every day. To some of you thats booooring! Well here's what I do to keep me occupied while on the tredmill. I have a Video iPod and on it the game "Phase". This game is like Guitar Hero but its a fast paced game so that there is no time for me to think about what I'm doing. Kinda like a "do or die" game. So, while walking, I forget that I'm walking and pay more attention to the game. Thats where my attention goes on the tredmill and it is the only reason I've been able to get on it for that long a period of time. So, 9 lbs, 105 to go... I'm just begining on the road for this long and wonderful journey!!!

Posted: Feb 25 2008, 09:36 AM by Zach | with 6 comment(s) |
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The Walking Plan

For those not too keen on gym or special equipment, try a walking plan!

Walking is easy on the budget, easy to fit into a busy schedule, and can be done anywhere! 

Have a look at this article on MSN, then click to download the walking plan.

With this walking plan you can lose 2 lbs per week and the maximum amount of time for week 1 is only 12 mins twice a day!!

Anyone can squeeze in 12 mins twice in one day, right? After 5 weeks of the getting started routine, you can then try 5 weeks of the regular walker routine.

Week 1 link (download is at bottom of 2nd page)

Week 2 link 

Week 3 link

Week 4 link

Week 5 link

So, who's with me in the walking plan?

Who has a more aggressive workout plan they are following?

Who is going to the gym? 

Tell us what your exercise plan is for DURING Fitclub and also for LIFE!

Mine is to include some walking every day at a minimum 15 minutes a day. My plan for during FitClub and forever is pretty much the same, although I am trying to push myself a little more during FitClub just to see what I can handle.

I'm also hoping as I get more strength and energy I will be more interested in active games with the kids, like taking them down the park to throw a frisbee and stuff. I'd also like to find a great heated indoor pool which has kid swimming lessons and go swimming with them.



Week 1 RESULTS!!!

Will be up as soon as everyone submits their weekend data!

Sometime after noon.


I've left a post in the forum listing my menu for the week if anyone is interested!
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