Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day - It's Not About the Hot Dogs

Since I was a young girl, I never saw Memorial Day as a "day off for a cook-out". It became ingrained in me, at that time in my life, that it was a day to honor those who died for our country.

Those of us with food issues, might have a better time coping with the temptation for that extra scoop of potato salad, if we stop to truly think about what Memorial Day means.

Did you ever have a relationship with someone you never even met? I don’t mean a celebrity or a secret crush. I mean a real person, someone who touched you deeply and perhaps even helped shape the person you became?

In fifth grade our class walked from Mary Thurston Elementary School to Thomas Edison Junior Senior High School in Elmira Heights NY. I saw my first play, The Music Man, and the performance by the lead, Alen Gardner as Harold Hill, was so amazing that it instilled in me a love of theater that I hold to this day.

The tragic death of this incredible talent, also planted in me a lifelong devotion to our veterans especially those from the Vietnam War.

Here is my tribute to the boy I never met.

“The Music Man”By Ellen M. McCauley

In Memory of Alen Gardner, Class of 1965
Thomas A. Edison High School
Elmira Heights, New York


Even now my mind still sees
Muddy, brown patches
Where grass used to be.

Mid-day posed as deepest night
To hide winter’s trees
From their naked plight.

Found inside, the brilliant sun,
Shining on stage for
The Play had begun.

Velvet seats, the room so grand,
A boy named Alen
Was “The Music Man”.

Far out in the last of rows,
A girl, he would touch,
But would never know.


Still I see the new display
By the very room
Where the music played.

Such a handsome smile stared back
From the frozen glass
With its frame draped black.

Few words told about a lamb
That was sacrificed
Far in Vietnam.

Walked home slow that saddest day,
Past the budding trees,
Nature gone astray.

“God?” I questioned as I tread,
“How can spring bloom, when
“The Music Man’s” dead?”


I stood still before “The Wall.”
The list of those who
Bravely gave their all.

Traced his name “The Music Man.”
Over twenty springs
Later, understand.

His spirit rose years ago.
He laughs and he loves
For he lives, I know.

In my soul he will remain
If we remember
No life was in vain.

My children and now, you, I trust,
Know forever he’ll
Sing, inside of us.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 5/27/10 Stress Management WITH VIDEO

Stress Management - Ways to Relieve Stress*

“The best way to manage your stress is to learn healthy coping strategies. You can start practicing these tips right away. Try one or two until you find a few that work for you. Practice these techniques until they become habits you turn to when you feel stress. You can also use this coping strategies form (attached) to see how you respond to stress.

Stress-relief techniques focus on relaxing your mind and your body.

Ways to relax your mind

Write. It may help to write about things that are bothering you. Write for 10 to 15 minutes a day about stressful events and how they made you feel. Or think about starting a stress journal. This helps you find out what is causing your stress and how much stress you feel. After you know, you can find better ways to cope.

Let your feelings out. Talk, laugh, cry, and express anger when you need to. Talking with friends, family, a counselor, or a member of the clergy about your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress.

Do something you enjoy. This can be:
o A hobby, such as gardening.
o A creative activity, such as writing, crafts, or art.
o Playing with and caring for pets.
o Volunteer work.

You may feel that you're too busy to do these things. But making time to do something you enjoy can help you relax. It might also help you get more done in other areas of your life.

Focus on the present. Meditation and guided imagery are two ways to focus and relax your mind.

Meditate. When you meditate, you focus your attention on things that are happening right now. Paying attention to your breathing is one way to focus. Use guided imagery.With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in any setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed. You can use audiotapes, books, or a teacher to guide you.

Ways to relax your body

Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking is a great way to get started. Even everyday activities such as housecleaning or yard work can reduce stress. Stretching can also relieve muscle tension.

Try techniques to relax. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and yoga can help relieve stress.

Breathing exercises. These include roll breathing, a type of deep breathing.

Progressive muscle relaxation. This technique reduces muscle tension. You do it by relaxing separate groups of muscles one by one.

Yoga, tai chi, and qi gong. These techniques combine exercise and meditation. You may need some training at first to learn them. Books and videos are also helpful. You can do all of these techniques at home.

In addition to practicing these skills, you might also try other techniques to reduce stress. “

*Article Link:

HOW DO YOU COPE WITH STRESS (WEBMD) Quiz can be found at the following site:

How Do You Cope With Stress


Friday, May 28, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 5/27/10 The Mind Game of Losing Weight and Getting Fit WITH VIDEO

The Mind Game Of Losing Weight and Getting Fit*

“How fit we are and how successful our latest attempt at losing weight is, has more to do with how we feel about this matter than it does with genetics and high or low metabolisms. Sure, they play a role, but any of those factors can be overcame with the right attitude and determination. Developing that right attitude of course can be the hard part. Let’s take a closer look.

Psychology has a lot more to do with how much we weigh that most people realize. Our subconscious plays a role in how much we eat, whether and how much we exercise, and what weight range we deem as acceptable for ourselves. When it is discovered that someone is anorexic or bulimic, it’s apparent that the problem goes deeper than eating habits. But what many of us fail to see is that the same thing applies to those who are overweight.

There are infinitely many reasons that a person may feel compelled to overeat. Here are a few general ones.

* Some people overeat as a way of making up for something that is missing in their lives. This need often goes back to childhood, but it can also spring from more recent events. For instance, someone who has recently divorced might overeat to compensate for the lack of a partner.

* Those who have been or are currently being abused may overeat. In the case of sexual abuse, the victim might overeat to make herself less attractive as a means of preventing future abuse. Victims of other types of abuse may overeat in an effort to comfort themselves. These patterns often continue long after the abuse is over.

* Overeating is sometimes a reaction to stress. Instead of facing the sources of stress head-on, some people eat to take their minds off of them. This only works temporarily, however, and when the stressor resurfaces, the cycle continues.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Those who are overweight are rarely that way because they want to be. They often try diets, medications, exercise programs and alternative treatments, only to fail. But if they were to work on the underlying issues before attempting to change what’s on the outside, they would have a better chance of success.

The psychological problems behind obesity have a way of setting us up to fail at losing weight. They are often accompanied by low self-esteem, which is notorious for thwarting weight-loss efforts. Even if we give it our best shot, a lasting reduction in weight does not happen overnight.

However, low self-esteem can lead us to believe that lack of quick results means that we’re incapable of succeeding, so we give up too quickly. And even if we do manage to lose the extra weight, if the psychological problems are still there when we go off the diet, the weight will reappear.

Getting treatment for psychological problems is essential if we want to stop destructive behaviors such as overeating. By improving our state of mind, we give ourselves the foundation we need to make lifestyle changes that will help us achieve a healthier weight.”


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 5/20/10 6 Best Walking Workouts/Cobb Salad/Song WITH VIDEO

6 Best Walking Workouts for Weight Loss

Use these dynamic new ways to challenge your body and never hit a plateau.*
By the Editors of Prevention

The best exercise motivation is seeing and feeling the results. Simply getting active will help the average person look and feel better, but in order to continue losing weight in the long haul you need to challenge your body with the most effective workouts. Some ways to avoid hitting a plateau in your walking program include picking up the pace, going a new distance, and integrating strength moves to build muscle, maximize your metabolism, and burn more fat. Here are the six crucial routines every walker needs to guarantee lasting weight loss.

1. Interval walks

This type of routine involves alternating fast and moderate to easy bouts of walking, so you might walk for 2 minutes at a very brisk pace and then recover at a slower pace for 1 minute. (If you graphed your speed, it would look like a series of peaks and valleys). This type of pattern helps rev fat loss—you'll turn up your calorie burn by as much as 100 percent during your workout and afterward. It's best to vary the length of these workouts as well as the intervals themselves to keep your body challenged.

2. Toning walks

Using an exercise band while walking will help firm your upper body and boost your calorie burn. Building muscle is the best way to stoke your metabolism long-term. When Prevention tested exercise bands in a head-to-head competition with dumbbells and other popular strengthening workouts, we found that the bands delivered faster firming. Our band-users slimmed down and toned common trouble spots such as the belly, thighs, and butt by 30 percent more than women who did other types of strength training. Try carrying a light to medium resistance band while you walk and stretching the band overhead and in front of your body for 45- to 60-second intervals.

3. Long walks

Endurance training (about an hour at a moderate intensity) has been shown to keep your calorie burn revved for up to 7½ hours post-exercise. Long walks will help maximize results because there is a dose response to exercise; that is, the more you do, the greater the benefits you'll receive. These will likely be the slowest walks you do in the program.

4. Recovery walks

Active recovery is important in any fitness program. During a recovery walk, you should walk as if you're in a bit of a hurry, so that you're slightly breathless, for about 20 minutes. While they don't blast fat like intervals, these tried-and-true calorie-burners have an important place when you're trying to walk off pounds. They're the perfect workout in between vigorous interval days to keep up your calorie burn without risking an injury.

5. Speed walks

During these shorter workouts, you'll maintain a high intensity for the entire session, striding as if you're late for an important appointment, so you're only able to speak in very brief phrases. This type of training has been shown to specifically attack belly fat better than longer, lower- intensity exercise.
Avoid sprains and injuries with these yoga stretches designed for walkers.

6. Strength training

Adding strength training to cardio workouts improves results: It boosts metabolism, increases weight loss, and can even help you eat less. In addition to the toning walks that target your upper body, you should aim to do lower body, core, and total body strength routines 2 to 3 days a week after your regular walks.


Cobb Salad*


1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
2 cups chopped red leaf or romaine
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced cucumber, quartered
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped avocado
1 tablespoon shelled raw or roasted
sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded
cheddar cheese
2 slices (two ounces) roasted
prepackaged or deli-sliced turkey (such
as Applegate Farms)
1 slice (one ounce) uncured prepackaged
or deli-sliced ham (such as Applegate

1. Combine lemon juice, oil and dill in
small bowl. Season with salt and freshly
ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.

My Life Is In Your Hands by Kathy Troccoli

Life can be so good. Life can be so hard
Never knowing what each day
Will bring to where you are
Sometimes I forget
And sometimes I can't see
That whatever comes my way
You'll be with me

CHORUS: My life is in your hands
My heart is in your keeping
I'm never without hope
Not when my future is with you
My life is in your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
Cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in your hands

Nothing is for sure
Nothing is for keeps
All I know is that your love
Will live eternally so I will find my way,
And I will find my peace
Knowing that you'll meet my every need

When I'm at my weakest Lord
You carry me
Then I become my strongest Lord
In your hands

My life is in your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
Cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in your hands
I trust you Lord
My life is in your hands

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 5/20/10 Dr. Oz's 16 Tips for Summer Weight Loss WITH VIDEO

Dr. Oz's 16 Tips for Summer Weight Loss* by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel

The warm weather's here, beach season is just around the corner, and that means it's time to shed the last of your winter clothes -- along with the extra pounds you've been hiding underneath all those layers. If you're dreading the thought of bathing suit shopping and fear the idea of actually wearing that suit on the beach or around the pool, relax. America's favorite physician, Dr. Mehmet Oz, best known as the host of "The Dr. Oz Show," can help. Over the next four weeks, Dr. Oz will share his strategies for slimming down and toning up so that when summer arrives, you can storm the beach with confidence. Here's are his 16 tips on how to get started:

See yourself looking fabulous. Successful athletes do this all the time -- before they even start a race, they picture that they've already crossed the finish line. So take a page from the pro-athlete playbook and before you count a single calorie, picture how successful your bathing suit reveal will be. "Visualize the first time you'll be out at the beach, walking around with confidence," said Dr. Oz. "You'll have lost some of the extra pounds that make a huge difference in how you look in a bathing suit and you're going to go out there and you're going to look hot. Focus on how you think that will feel and shoot for that."

Take a "before" picture in your swimsuit. Don't worry, no one else needs to see this, said Dr. Oz. All this picture does is give you a baseline reference point so you can see how far you've come when you reach your goal. Each week, take another picture in your swimsuit and compare it to the earlier ones. "As you shed the pounds, you'll be able to see that you are steadily progressing," said Dr. Oz. And it's a reminder that while you won't see results overnight, you will see progress.

Hang your favorite summer outfit where you'll see it every day. Buy something sexy, or dig out an old favorite that you've longed to fit into again, then put it in a prominent place so that your goal of wearing it stays top of mind. "It's an empowering visual cue," he said. "As your weight comes off, try it on periodically to see how much better it's looking on you."

Let your family in on what you're up to. Tell your co-workers. Tell everyone about your weight-loss mission. Use Facebook to update your status and tweet about the fat you're losing. "Telling people is an insurance policy," explained Dr. Oz. Not only will friends and family lend support and cheer you on, either with encouraging "You can do its!" and "Looking goods!" or at least keep the donuts and pizza out of your face. "Accountability is a spectacular motivator," said Dr. Oz. "If everyone knows what you're up to, you'll stay on track simply to avoid the embarrassment of not reaching your goal."

Kick off your efforts with a token gift to yourself. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive -- a pair of quality walking shoes, a pedometer, a nice workout outfit, even an iTunes gift card so you can download your favorite workout tracks. The idea is that now, you're invested in yourself. "This kick-starts the psychology of change," he said. "At this point, you're no longer planning to lose weight, you're actively doing it!"

Take advantage of longer days. More daylight hours means more time for physical activity. And that can take all kinds of forms. Of course you can get out and work out, or simply spend more time walking -- aim for 10,000 steps a day. But according to Dr. Oz, yard work counts -- as long as you're not sitting on a ride-on mower -- and so does racing around with your kids! (Tag is a fun game that can get the whole family on their feet.) Keep in mind, you can divvy up your exercise into chunks of time that fit in with your schedule. You don't have to do a full hour all at once. And even if it doesn't feel like you're pushing yourself to the max, burning just a few extra calories a day can add up. "If you lose two pounds a month, over the course of the summer, that's six to eight pounds," Dr. Oz said. "And every two pounds is about an inch around your waistline."

Skip the elevator. With this simple strategy you don't have to think about when you'll fit in a workout -- you're already doing it. "Taking the stairs at work or any building you're in helps you shed pounds and maintain your cardiovascular health," said Dr. Oz. "All the years I worked in the hospital, I took the stairs -- seven flights -- between the operating room and my office. It built exercise into my day without even realizing it."

Have sex. Slimming down and rekindling some red-hot passion with your hubby? That's called win-win. And in theory, said Dr. Oz, makin' more whoopie should lessen your desire to make a beeline for the snack machine. That's because the brain has four satiety centers -- sleep, hunger, thirst and sex. "Food is one way the brain seeks to satisfy itself," Dr. Oz explained. So, from a neuroscience perspective, having more healthy sex should divert your food cravings. "Satisfying one appetite center you seem to satisfy the other," he wrote in "YOU: On A Diet."

Eat breakfast. Eating a healthy, fiber-filled breakfast can curb hunger for up to 18 hours a day, so you don't crave simple carbs and sugar, said Dr. Oz. Bonus: You'll also eat less at lunch and dinner.

Cut 100 calories a day. Be diligent about finding ways to trim a mere 100 calories from what you eat every day, and this subtle change can add up to about 10 pounds lost in a year. "This just takes a little bit of willpower," said Dr. Oz. "It's doing things like not finishing the donut or taking one donut less." Other easy ways to trim 100 calories daily:

1. Swap regular soda (97 calories in an 8-ounce can of Classic Coke) for water.
2. Trade your morning latte (a 16 ounce with whole milk can have 220 calories and 11 grams of fat) for coffee with reduced-fat milk (15 calories, 0.6 grams fat) or black (4 calories, 0 fat).
3. Have a cup of watermelon chunks (46 calories) in place of a bag of Sun Chips (140 calories, 6 grams fat).

Have a drink. The hormones in our guts that tell us we're hungry are very similar to the hormones that let us know when we're thirsty, so sometimes our bodies get confused, thinking we're hungry when we're actually thirsty and having a drink will often quell the craving. But instead of soda, beer or juice, which can be packed with empty calories, reach for no-calorie water. If you find plain water too bland, no-calorie flavored waters are a good choice. So is seltzer with a dash of juice. Aim for a 3:1 ratio of seltzer to fruit juice. Two of Dr. Oz's favorites: pomegranate or grapefruit juice. "It tickles my palate and has a little bit of flavor," he said. "A lot of people find water boring, which is okay."

You can also go for this diet classic: the pitcher filled with filtered water and sliced fruit, which is what they do in the Oz family. The all-natural alternative to soda avoids the artificial sweeteners found in other diet drinks that can trick your brain into mistaking the sweetness for sugar and storing the calories as fat. If you're craving a little sweetness, have a little sugar. "People don't realize that a teaspoon of sugar is only 12 to 16 calories and that's no big deal," Dr. Oz explained. " You'll taste the sugar and enjoy it and it's better than drinking 140 to 160 calories of soda pop which contains roughly one teaspoon of sugar per fluid ounce."

Snack before you eat your meals. Mom was right -- snacking before dinner will ruin your appetite. But Dr. Oz wants you to ruin it just a little. Here's why: When we feel hungry, it's because our empty bellies are madly secreting the hormone ghrelin, sending out a message that basically says "Hey! Feed Me!" Ghrelin levels continue rising until we've eaten. And then they drop back down to normal and you no longer feel like eating. Having a snack about 20 to 30 minutes before you sit down to eat starts to lower your ghrelin levels, so that by the time you sit down to eat, you don't feel like eating as much. Of course, this isn't license to tear through a bag of cheese puffs. Instead, grab a small handful of walnuts or a piece of fruit. That's not only because of their filling fiber, but also because nuts and fruit both contain antioxidants, which play a special, if somewhat indirect role, in weight loss too. "Antioxidants reduce inflammation, which contributes to chronic stress in the body," said Dr. Oz, "and which in turn activates certain receptors in the brain that lead us to overeat."

Fill your plate with summer fruits and vegetables. Brightly-colored fruits and vegetables are chock full of the antioxidants we just mentioned. And, let's not forget, they're rich in fiber and low in calories (provided you don't drench them in high-calorie dressings or toppings) so you can eat heartily without worrying that you're "overeating."

Eat dessert in the afternoon. "The one thing I'm adamant about is not having dessert after dinner," said Dr. Oz. "You can have sweets, like chocolate, but I don't want people having dessert after dinner." Why the hard line? Because following a big meal with a sugary-dessert, he explains, produces a surge of insulin which in turn socks away all the calories you ate at dinner as fat. "Dessert is metabolic suicide," he said. That said, Dr. Oz recommends -- indeed urges you -- to eat chocolate every day! "Of all the sweet snacks, chocolate is the healthiest because it's not loaded with trans fats," he said. In fact, a recent study just reported that chocolate-eaters have nearly half the risk of heart disease as non-chocolate eaters. Here's how to make chocolate work for you: Choose dark, rather than milk chocolate or white chocolate. The dark chocolate has many of those indirectly-helpful-for-slimming antioxidants we mentioned earlier. Eat a small amount (say, a quarter of a regular-size candy bar) as your afternoon snack. "Since you're not eating other food with it," said Dr. Oz, "you won't deposit those calories as fat."

Have wine with dinner. Timing is everything when it comes to alcohol. Drink a glass of wine or have a cocktail before you start eating, and the pleasantly relaxing intoxication may relax you enough into making less-desirable diet decisions: What's a little sour cream? A bite of your macaroni and cheese? Sure! How 'bout some cheesecake for dessert? Instead, Dr. Oz recommends pouring your wine and having it as you start to eat. "That way you're not going to overeat and -- " he points out, "the rest of your wine can be used as your after-dinner dessert."

Dine outside. Warm weather and more sunshine don't just make for more opportunities to be active; you can also take advantage of summer days to eat less by eating outdoors. For starters, we eat less when the light's bright, said Dr. Oz. (This works in the kitchen, too, by the way, so turn up that dimmer switch!) We also eat more slowly when we eat outside. "You look around, things happen, birds fly by, you have to stop the napkin from blowing away," he said. "Simple, little things in the environment slow you down. When you're in an environment where nothing's happening around you, all you can do is eat."


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 5/20/10 Keeping Your Head in the Game WITH VIDEO

Keeping Your Head in the Game: Why Support Groups are so Important*
By B. Charles Ihrig, PhD

Everything in our culture is centered around food. We are bombarded with
advertisements, and restaurants are seldom more than a block away in the city or a five minute drive from anywhere. Eating is our social event and family time; it is how we celebrate, how we romance, and the one thing that consistently marks every significant event in our lives.

If you made that decision to address your weight, you now no longer fit into this part of your culture. The good part is, with some sustained work, you will never fit into those big pants either. Those people around you may not understand your food choices. They may be supportive of your efforts, or they may resent that you do not celebrate food with them anymore. They may be your food police and monitor everything you eat and you may be the one to resent their “help.”

Whether supported by family and friends or not, there is a place to turn –
It’s your local support group!

Support Groups and Long-term Success

Weight-loss support groups are key for long-term success. Throughout years of seeing individuals succeed and struggle, one thing that most of those seem to have in common is that they are not well connected to a support group.

Simply, it is about “Keeping Your Head in the Game!” This line was a recent statement from a regular member of one of my aftercare groups as to why she continues to come, and I felt that sums up the whole point.

No matter how you chose to lose weight significant weight-loss produces dramatic changes in your life. However, no changes were made to your brain and how you think. No matter what, changes are difficult, but are not unique. Others who have gone through this can guide you through these changes.

Support Groups and Helping Your “Addiction”

The notion has been put forth that for many individuals struggling to lose weight, food was an addiction. While everyone’s experience with obesity is a very personal one, this theme rings true for many. People feel isolated in their addiction and in their recovery. Support groups offer the companionship, accountability and healthy substitute for the prior unhealthy eating behaviors.

For people with all types of addictions, meetings have been the solution. For example, alcoholics find solace and support in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Those addicted to drugs gain sobriety with the help of Narcotics Anonymous. Likewise, gamblers learn to spend time at Gamblers Anonymous meetings rather than at the horse track or in a casino.

Those who have spent most of their lives in a battle against obesity are also in need of such support to conquer their addictions and change their behaviors. Support groups typically offer the same anonymity and acceptance found in 12-step experiences. Members share a similar history and unity in their weight-loss journey.

The group offers an understanding not found in our homes, family and communities. Families are also welcomed in these support groups. They see the similarities in others and feel less alone. They also get support for themselves with the changes in their home when a loved one has changed their lifestyle and chosen to treat their obesity.

Exploring Your Weight Problems

Very uniquely, I lead aftercare groups at the Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity in Nashville, Tenn. I am a Clinical Psychologist and the groups are geared toward a more therapeutic approach. While most support groups are organized and led by patients in their communities and neighborhoods, professionally lead groups offer the opportunity for a more guided experience. This allows for exploration of some of the thoughts and behaviors that lead to their initial weight problems.

Individuals are able to identify obstacles that may now stand in their way. Additionally, struggles during the weight-loss occur; patients share these struggles and are guided into identifying what may be behind this struggle. Stresses, depression, family problems and relationships all provide possible hurdles to the weight-loss and numbers take on new meaning, or old meanings haunt the numbers.

For instance, a patient may be stuck at 85 pounds of weight-loss and they recall the last time they were at that particular weight. They were in high school and were rejected by their high school sweetheart who had commented negatively on their weight. Meanings and motivations can be explored in such formats. Although, this should not be seen as a substitute for individual counseling, which provides an opportunity to deal with issues too personal to discuss in the group format.

Peer-led Support Groups

Peer-led support groups often reach out beyond the group itself. They serve as small communities. Peer-led support groups form walking groups or advocate for obesity-related causes in their cities and towns. Also, they share recipes and cook weight-friendly foods for each other. As a group, they go to restaurants to patron those places which accommodate appropriate food choices and servings. Mostly they share experiences, triumphs and failures.


Regular attendance and involvement in support groups serves as a reminder of what you are supposed to be doing. Support groups keep you honest and accountable. You are reminded of the importance of portion control and exercise. You learn tips that work for others and how to incorporate them into your life and family. Also, you learn strategies and get advice, but most of all, you will not be in it alone.

So, “Keep Your Head in the Game!” Go to your local support group, or start one in your area. Get online and join an online support group; whatever it takes, get connected to others and stay connected.

About the Author:
Charles Ihrig, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner and founder of Athena Consulting and Psychological Services, LLC. His company has been offering pre-surgical evaluations and follow-up psychotherapy for surgical groups in the middle Tennessee region for the last seven years.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pray It Off May 20, 2010 Meeting The Strategies For Lasting Weight Loss WITH VIDEO

The Strategies for Lasting Weight Loss by Alice Lesch Kelly

A surprising study cites what's critical for sticking with an exercise and diet plan to lose weight by Alice Lesch Kelly Freelance Health Journalist and Medical Writer (Shape Magazine)

"You're ready to launch your weight-loss program: You've joined a gym; stocked your kitchen with fruit and microwave popcorn; and cleaned the candy out of your desk drawers. But wait, before you start to become the trimmer new you, consider the compelling research that shows it pays to get your head in the right place first.

Weight-loss researchers are finding that people who lose weight and keep it off don't just alter the way they eat and exercise. They modify their minds too. "The difficulty with weight loss is you have to be committed to changing habits which are extremely ingrained," says Jane Ogden, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Guys Kings and St. Thomas' School of Medicine in London.

Ogden studied a group of women, one-third of whom had lost weight and maintained it for more than three years. She compared their habits to women who didn't lose weight and to women who'd lost and gained it back. She found that the women who can keep the weight off change not only the way they eat and exercise, but also the way they think about eating and exercising. By doing so, they're able to make a commitment to changing their ingrained behaviors. Weight-loss experts have pinpointed several important psychological factors that help women change their mind-sets. These factors may mean the difference between success and failure. Here are five attitudes to get you into a successful weight-loss frame of mind.

1. Believe you can lose.

Why this works: In her study, Ogden found that the women who believed their weight problems were caused by their own choices (such as what foods they ate and how much they exercised), rather than by metabolism or genetics, were more successful at losing pounds because they believed that they were in control of their weight -- and, therefore, believed they could lose weight.

Many people think they can't lose weight, either because of their "slow" metabolisms, their mothers' large thighs or because they've had trouble sticking with diets or exercise routines in the past. They're wrong. Maybe you'll never be considered svelte, but you can take off enough weight to feel better, look better and reduce your risk of disease.

"You have to believe that you will drop some weight and then begin that journey," says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and author of Fight Fat Over Forty (Viking, 2000). Once you believe success is possible, Peeke says, you'll feel less intimidated by the challenges along the way.

Who it's worked for: Michelle Chapman, 37, of Portland, Ore., lost 35 pounds and has kept them off for three years. She's 5 feet 8 inches and now 145 pounds.

At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Chapman grew frustrated with her weight. "I was a size 12for as long as I can remember. I was an athlete, playing team sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer, track and field. So I was in shape, but I was a big girl," she says. A divorce a few years ago led Chapman to think hard about herself, and she decided to make some changes. "I was tired of being unhappy with my weight and not doing anything about it," Chapman says. "I ate well -- I'm a vegetarian -- but I ate too much. I decided I wanted to be in control of what I put in my body." One of Chapman's transforming moments came when she was trying on clothes and had to wiggle into a size 14 for the first time in her life. "I thought to myself, this is ridiculous! I felt very much out of control, and I realized no one could change this but me. I believed that if I set some goals, I could eventually be the person I wanted to be."

Chapman educated herself about portion sizes, started working out with weights and on the elliptical trainer (in addition to playing her team sports) and lost 35 pounds, which she's kept off so successfully that her personal trainer suggested she contact a local modeling agency. She didn't think anything would come of it, but now she does print modeling for Nike, Columbia and other athletic-wear lines.

2. Seek support.

Why this works: Women who have a support group -- of family or friends or an organized gathering -- cheering them on are more successful with long-term weight loss. in one recent study, the men and women who participated in a structured weight-loss program that included weekly group support lost more weight and did a better job of keeping it off for two years than did people who lacked group support.

Years of fast-food lunches, takeout dinners and her grandmother's Italian cooking contributed to Collins' weight gain: She weighed 162 pounds in 1997. Determined to trim down for her wedding, and frustrated at her inability to lose weight on her own, Collins joined Weight Watchers and found that group support made the difference for her.

Who it's worked for: Tiffany Collins, 29, of Haverhill, Mass., lost 22 pounds and has succeeded in keeping the weight off for four years. She's 5 feet 2 inches and now 140 pounds.

"What helped was hearing other people's stories, and sharing recipes and menus and advice on what restaurants to go to," Collins says. "That kind of experience was excellent. I had a whole group of women cheering me on."

3. Look at healthy foods in a new light.

Why this works: In Ogden's study, the women who lost weight and kept it off were more likely to have permanently changed the way they view food; and they understood that their eating patterns would have to change. The women educated themselves about good nutrition and made a commitment to enjoying healthy, lower-fat foods. "They did that by focusing on the positive aspect of what they were eating -- trying to see healthier foods as desirable foods," Ogden says. The women also allowed themselves small portions of different desserts because, Ogden says, "lowfat, low-sugar diets are impossible to stick to." And they learned that denying themselves certain foods backfires. "If you say you're never going to eat chocolate again, instantly chocolate becomes the thing you crave," Ogden says. "No specific foods should become forbidden. You can still have them, but in smaller amounts."

Who it's worked for: Lisa Picciola, 34, of Orland Park, III., lost 20 pounds and has kept them of f for 12 years. She is 5 feet 8 inches and now weighs 159 pounds.
Originally, Picciola had dieted all the way down to 137 pounds -- without doing any exercise -- but she found she had to eat like a bird to keep herself at that weight. And she knew it was neither healthy nor possible to live like that forever. So Picciola started doing aerobic exercise (running, stair climber, elliptical trainer) and lifting weights. The byproduct of her new workout program was that she started thinking of food as fuel, and not an emotional crutch.

"I started looking at food differently," Picciola says. "It's just food. It's not my best friend. It's not going to make my problems go away. But it is fuel for my body." Now she eats a healthful diet: six daily mini-meals made up of such foods as oatmeal and fruit, turkey sandwiches, protein shakes, salads, chicken breast and vegetables. She still exercises regularly and feels better than ever. "I may be a couple of pounds heavier, but I'm stronger than I ever have been before," Picciola says.

4. Welcome the opportunity to exercise.

Why this works: The evidence is in: You're far more likely to get and stay slim if you accept that exercise needs to be an everyday part of your life. Information from the National Weight Control Registry, a national database of more than 2,000 people who have maintained an average weight loss of 60 pounds for five years, indicates that exercise is crucial both for losing and maintaining weight loss. "Subjects in the registry report engaging in about an hour a day of physical activity -- much more than is generally recommended to the general public to maintain health," says James O. Hill, Ph.D., director of the center for human nutrition at the University of Colorado and co-founder of the registry. (FYI: You need 30 minutes of activity a day to maintain good health.)

Who it's worked for: Christy Collinson, 30, of San Francisco lost 10 pounds and has kept them of f for three years. She 5 feet 7 inches and now weighs 135 pounds.

Collinson credits daily exercise for her success. She had always been a swimmer because it was a great way to reduce stress and maintain good health. She never thought she really needed to lose weight, but she just wanted her body to feel better, so she committed herself to more exercise. She added strength training and other forms of cardio -- and the pounds came off naturally. Her new workouts have become such a part of her life that today she still swims regularly, but also lifts weights, walks to work and explores her city on foot for three or four hours on the weekends. She says she exercises because she loves it and because it makes her feel good -- on most days, anyway. "Sometimes I don't feel like doing it, but then I remind myself that exercise really does make a difference," Collinson says. "When I exercise regularly, I can pay a lot less attention to what I eat, and I have so much more energy."

5. Concentrate on short-term goals (and avoid long-term ones.

Why this works: Studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have shown that obese men and women who set a more modest goal of losing just 5-10 percent of their body weight are more likely to succeed than are those who set more extreme goals. This study has led researchers such as Thomas Wadden, Ph.D., director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, to recommend to his patients that when attempting to lose weight, they focus only on losing a small amount.

Long-term goals alone -- for instance, wanting to go down three dress sizes before bathing-suit season -- fail to motivate healthy behavior because they are too far away to inspire you to make smart choices dozens of times a day. "Short-term goals are doable, and long-term goals are a fantasy" Peeke says. Say you weigh 175 and want to trim down to 140. "If all you think about is 140, it minimizes the tremendous accomplishment of losing 2 pounds, because it's 'only' 2 pounds" Peeke says. Having small, achievable goals creates a positive feedback loop that nurtures your resolve.

Who it's worked for: Kristi Whisenant, 33, of Ormond Beach, Fla., lost 68 pounds and has kept them off for three years. She is 5 feet 6 inches and now weighs 134 pounds

Turning 30 jolted Whisenant into wanting to slim down her 202-pound body. She didn't succeed by fixating on pounds. Instead, she concentrated on two daily targets: Stick to her healthy eating plan and either walk or take a Spinning class. These two small and simple daily goals helped Whisenant shed the weight she wanted to lose. "If there were weeks when I didn't lose anything, I didn't beat myself up over it," Whisenant says. "I knew that I was still going to try to eat well and that I was still going to try to walk that day. That was what got me through it."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Three W's of Weight Loss

I was at one of my son's lacrosse games and instead of sitting down I was stepping side to side (as I am wont to do) and another Mother said, "Are you cold?" And I said, "No, I have to get my 10,000 steps in and I'm behind." I hear laughter behind me and I turned to find the smiling face of another lacrosse Mom, Jane, who had her dog on a leash.

Since she thought I was funny, I decided to make her one of my new best friends. We got to talking about weight loss and I told her my credo of "Eat Less, Move More and Pray." And she said she had her own credo. "Water, Walking and Worship." I told her, "I LOVED IT" and got her permission to use it in my blog.

Water is critical to losing weight and maintaining it. "All functions within the body require the presence of water. A well hydrated body enables these functions to occur quickly and efficiently. All chemical processes involve energy metabolism and drinking plenty of water will make us feel more energetic and boost our metabolic rate. Water makes your metabolism burn calories 3% faster. Some studies have shown that thirst and hunger sensations are triggered together. If there is a slight dehydration the thirst mechanism may be mistaken for hunger and one may eat when the body is actually craving fluid. As most food contains some water, if one doesn't drink much they may be subconsciously driven to eat more to gain the necessary water supply however, you also gain the undesired effects of increased calorie consumption. Drinking more water can help to prevent overeating and benefit weight loss."* You almost never find me without my water. I am addicted to it now which in my book is a good addiction.

Walking, for me, is the perfect exercise. No equipment, no gym membership; it's something I can do any time and any place. I made a goal of 10,000 steps or 5 miles a day and almost every day I hit that goal. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment besides the health benefits. My new friend Jane, loves to walk her dog. I love to walk with a buddy and yak and yuck it up. The time and distance goes by so much faster. It's nice weather, finally, so strap on those sneaks and GET WALKING!!

The last W - Worship can mean so many things to so many people. For us Catholics it means the celebration of the Mass. I used to think that going to church once a week and praying a few times was enough but over the past two and almost one half years I have tried to incorporate "worship" into my daily life.

It ain't easy being a "good Christian". Just yesterday I said to my husband. "How could Jesus be such a great person?" Then, I answered my own question, "Well, I guess being God helps!"

I am not prone to jealously but cloistered nuns and monks eek out a little envy in me. Ahhh, to lock myself away and pray and worship God all day!! Nirvana. But alas, I have to try to worship and live life at the same time. Most of us do. One thing that has helped me is that "unceasing prayer" St. Paul recommended.

Instead of turning to the chips and sundaes, I say, "Jesus I Trust In You." or ask the Blessed Virgin to help. The Saints are there to intercede for us and I like to seek out ones I think aren't as busy as the rest. St. Dymphna is one of my favorites. She is the Patron Saint of Nervous and Mental Disorders and I like to think she has a special spot for those of us with food problems.

Thank you Jane for "The Three W's", if anyone has any other credo's for long term weight loss please feel free to add a comment.

Embracing a NEW WAY OF LIFE for THE REST OF OUR LIVES means constantly looking for any thing that can help sustain it.

I am open and ready to learn. How about you?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pray It Off Guest Speaker 5/13/10 Personal Trainer Q&A & Quick Chicken Recipe

How much protein do you need for good health?

“As a general rule, between 10 percent and 15 percent of your total calories should come from protein. So, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, at least 200 should come from protein, or about 50 grams. You should try to eat around one gram of protein per one kilogram of body weight, or around 0.4 grams per pound. An easier way to figure this out in your head is to take your weight, divide it in half, and subtract 10. The total will be the number of grams of protein you should consume each day. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should eat about 50 grams of protein.”
Read more: - 15 minute office/desk workout

Two great web sites for nutrition and weight loss:

Should I Use a Heart-Rate Monitor?*

I see people in the gym using them, but I’m not sure if I should, too.

Q. I just joined a gym and see people on cardio machines using heart-rate monitors. What’s the point of them, and should I use one?
A. Most cardio machines have built-in heart-rate monitors. So as long as you place your hands on the appropriate handles, you can get a reading on how fast your heart is beating. The question is, do you need to use this tool?
Heart rates are used to gauge exercise intensity, or how hard you are working. The most accurate way to determine your exercise intensity is in a lab, where you can be hooked up to equipment that monitors your oxygen and carbon dioxide intake and output.

Talk test and breathing rate

The more you huff and puff, the higher your intensity.
On your own, you can only estimate how hard you are working. There are several ways to do this, including the “talk test” -- if you can sing while exercising you, are working at a “light” intensity; if you have trouble talking, you are working at a “vigorous” intensity. Or you can assess your breathing rate. The more you huff and puff, the higher your intensity.

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE)

You can also rate your level of effort by assessing your perceived exertion. This is a scientifically validated scale developed by a Swedish exercise physiologist that equates the level of effort and the corresponding percentage of maximum heart rate, with a number that reflects how hard you believe you are exercising. The original scale ranged from 6 to 20 (see here). But a more user-friendly revised version was created using a scale of zero to 10. To use the scale, you ask yourself how hard you think you are working and then match the perception to a number or description on the scale. You can then work a little harder or easier to move up or down in your intensity level.

Heart rate

Checking your heart rate, either manually with your fingers or by wearing a heart-rate monitor, is another way to gauge your intensity. Some people assume that checking heart rate is the most accurate approach, since it seems so high-tech. But this is not necessarily the case. Research has shown that for regular exercisers especially, using RPE can be just as accurate as checking heart rate.
Also, your heart rate can vary from other factors, and so it doesn’t always reflect your true exercise intensity in terms of oxygen consumption. If you are dehydrated and you work out on a hot, humid day, your heart rate may be higher. This is not a reflection of your exercise intensity; it simply reveals the fact that your heart is working harder to keep you from overheating.

The latest guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association frame their physical-activity recommendations in terms of effort level (i.e., “moderate” or “vigorous”), rather than heart-rate ranges. You can adjust your workouts to work in your target intensity range either by measuring your heart rate or assessing your perceived exertion.

Some beginning exercisers and people with medical conditions may benefit from monitoring their heart rate. It’s not uncommon for beginners to push too hard and get their heart rate too high. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous, it may make a novice feel bad (dizzy or gasping for air). The biggest downside is that newbie exercisers may then give up on regular workouts, since being too out-of-breath can take the fun out of exercise.

Some medical conditions or medications, such as beta blockers, may affect heart rates and levels of exercise exertion. For example, cardiac patients may be recommended to not work above a certain intensity--often defined by not going above a heart-rate upper limit, so as not to increase the risks of heart arrhythmia—so using a heart-rate monitor to track may be a good move. If you have any medical conditions, you should consult with your physician about heart-rate concerns.
So they answer is, you don’t really need to use a heart-rate monitor, although it can be helpful. But should you?

Using heart rates as a fitness training tool

How hard you work out determines the type of benefit you’ll get. An easy workout can improve your heart strength, but not nearly as much as working out at a higher intensity and challenging the heart to pump faster than normal.

You’ll burn more calories per minute by working out at harder intensities. And if your goal is to improve cardiovascular power, monitoring heart rates to work out at different effort levels in an interval-training mode can make your training more effective. A fit exerciser might work at super-high intensities (such as 85 to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate) for brief intervals. Then they might purposefully spend a predetermined amount of time at a very low intensity (say, 50 percent) to recover before they push to a higher level again. There are different formulas for intervals, but all are based on working out at a high intensity for a period, and following that with a recovery period working at a lower intensity.

25 Healthy Snacks for Kids

When a snack attack strikes, refuel with these nutrition-packed snacks.

Easy, Tasty (and Healthy) Snacks

You may need an adult to help with some of these snacks.
1. Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.
2. Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins. Enjoy your “ants on
a log.”
3. Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of
4. Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
5. Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana to make a yummy
6. Top low-fat vanilla yogurt with crunchy granola and sprinkle with blueberries.
7. Microwave a small baked potato. Top with
reduced-fat cheddar cheese and salsa.
8. Make snack kabobs. Put cubes of low-fat cheese
and grapes on pretzel sticks.
9. Toast a whole grain waffle and top with low-fat
yogurt and sliced peaches.
10. Spread peanut butter on apple slices.
11. Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a
banana for thirty seconds for a delicious smoothie.
12. Make a mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on a
dinner roll.
13. Sprinkle grated Monterey Jack cheese over a corn
tortilla; fold in half and microwave for twenty
seconds. Top with salsa.
14. Toss dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in
instant oatmeal.
15. Mix together peanut butter and cornflakes in
a bowl. Shape into balls and roll in crushed
graham crackers.
16. Microwave a cup of tomato or vegetable soup
and enjoy with whole grain crackers.
17. Fill a waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top
with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
18. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on hot
19. Banana Split: Top a banana with low-fat
vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt. Sprinkle
with your favorite whole-grain cereal.
20. Sandwich Cut-Outs: Make a sandwich on
whole grain bread. Cut out your favorite
shape using a big cookie cutter. Eat the fun
shape and the edges, too!
21. Spread mustard on a flour tortilla. Top with
a slice of turkey or ham, low-fat cheese and
lettuce. Then roll it up.
22. Mini Pizza: Toast an English muffin, drizzle
with pizza sauce and sprinkle with low-fat
mozzarella cheese.
23. Rocky Road: Break a graham cracker into
bite-size pieces. Add to low-fat chocolate
pudding along with a few miniature
24. Inside-Out Sandwich: Spread mustard on a
slice of deli turkey. Wrap around a sesame
25. Parfait: Layer vanilla yogurt and mandarin
oranges or blueberries in a tall glass. Top with
a sprinkle of granola.

Now that you are refueled, take a trip to
Planet Power. Play the MyPyramid Blast-Off
game at

©2009 ADA. Reproduction of this tip sheet is permitted for educational purposes. Reproduction for sales purposes is not authorized.

This tip sheet is provided by:
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest
organization of food and nutrition professionals.

ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and
advancing the profession of dietetics through research,
education and advocacy.
For a referral to a registered dietitian and for
additional food and nutrition information visit
Authored by American Dietetic Association staff registered dietitians.

Dip it! Bonus Snacks

• Dip baby carrots and cherry tomatoes in
low-fat ranch dressing.
• Dip strawberries or apple slices in low-fat
• Dip pretzels in mustard.
• Dip pita chips in hummus.
• Dip graham crackers in applesauce.
• Dip baked tortilla chips in bean dip.
• Dip animal crackers in low-fat pudding.
• Dip bread sticks in salsa.
• Dip a granola bar in low-fat yogurt.
• Dip mini-toaster waffles in cinnamon

Quick Chicken
From My High School Buddy Eleanor (THANKS Pal!!)

4 boneless chicken breast pound to 1/2" thickness
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar - divided
6 oz portobello mushroom cut into 1" pieces
1 - 10oz bag fresh spinach
1 - 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (can use flavor or plain)
Saute chicken in 1 Tbsp oil till no longer pink in center. Remove from pan and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp vinegar, cover with foil and set aside.

Add mushroom to skillet and saute until soft. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Add tomatoes and 1 Tbsp vinegar. Simmer 3-4 minutes. Add chicken breast and cook on low till warm and chicken is completely done (about 30 minutes).

Serve with angel hair noodles, or we like a wheat/tomato basil noodle I found with it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pray It Off Personal Trainer Jay Cohen 5/13/2010 - Walking

Walk to Ward Off Age-Related Weight Gain

Walking Every Day Prevents Extra Pounds from Adding Up as You Age

Jan. 5, 2009 -- "Walking as little as half an hour a day may keep the extra pounds from adding up as you get older. A new study suggests that the more you walk, the less likely you'll gain weight as you age. Researchers followed nearly 5,000 men and women for 15 years and found that a half hour of walking per day reduced the usual weight gain per year by 1 pound among women who were the heaviest at the start of the study. "Walking is of particular relevance because it is generally an affordable and accessible form of physical activity for most people," writes researcher Penny Gordon-Larsen of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues. "If we can increase walking participation by Americans, the evidence is strong that we will improve not only weight control but overall public health."

The results appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Walking Prevents Age-Related Weight Gain

It's a fact of life for most Western societies that aging is accompanied by weight gain. Previous studies have suggested that this age-related weight gain may result from a decrease in physical activity as people get older. Although walking has been shown to promote weight loss and prevent obesity, researchers say this is the first study to look at the long-term effects of walking on weight gain and weight control.

The study examined walking habits and weight gain over a period of 15 years among a group of 4,995 men and women aged 18-30.The results showed that the average body weight and BMI (body mass index, a measure of weight in relation to height) increased over time, but physical activity and walking decreased. However, men and women who walked more in the early to middle adult years gained less weight and were more likely to lose weight or maintain their weight than gain weight as they got older.
The anti-weight gain effect of walking was greatest among heavy women. For example, the half hour of walking per day was associated with about 15 fewer added pounds over the 15-year study period. Results were similar but slightly less significant in men.

In an editorial that accompanies the study, Miriam E. Nelson and Sara C. Folta of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University say this is the first study to demonstrate that walking has a protective effect on long-term weight gain. "It lays the groundwork for future studies, which will help answer how much walking or physical activity in total is needed to maintain body weight over time."

By Jennifer Warner WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Gordon-Larsen, P. Nelson, M. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2009; vol 89: 19-26; 15-16.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival May 16,2010

Sunday Snippets a Catholic Carnival highlights various Catholic Blogs.

My highlighted entry for this week, answers the question "Is now the right time to lose weight?" with the following answer, "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?"
Pray It Off

Thank you RAnn at This That And The Other Thing Blog! Please check out the Catholic Carnival at:

Sunday Snippets A Catholic Carnival

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pray It Off 5/13/10 Jay Cohen Personal Trainer- Balance Training WITH VIDEO

Pray it Off Meeting Syracuse NY 5/13/10 - Guest Speaker Personal Trainer Jay Cohen Speaking On Balance Training

"The Benefits of Balance Training" Harvard Women's Health Watch.

Though not included in official exercise guidelines, balance training can do a lot to help keep us on our feet and active.

With ankle sprains, it is important to restore ankle function as soon as possible after an injury. One important goal is to prevent the ankle from giving way recurrently during weight-bearing activity, such as running, walking, or even standing. This chronic ankle instability, often caused by inadequate healing or rehabilitation after a sprain, can result in increasingly injurious sprains, arthritis, or tendon problems.

Experts in sports medicine and physical therapy say that in addition to the usual range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening exercises, rehabilitation should include exercises aimed at training (or retraining) the body's sense of its position in space -- in particular, its sensation of limb and joint movement. This largely unconscious capacity -- the medical term for it is "proprioception" -- is what allows us, for example, to walk in the dark without losing our balance or to distinguish the brake from the accelerator without looking at our feet. Aging and injury to muscles and ligaments can take a toll on proprioception.

One form of proprioceptive exercise -- balance training -- has been shown to prevent ankle re-injury and reduce the risk of ligament problems in athletes. It's also under study for wider use to improve mobility and prevent falls and injury.

Ways to work balance exercise into everyday life

It may be easier than you think to fit balance training into your daily routine. Try some of the following activities: Stand on one leg whenever you're waiting in line at the theater, bank, or grocery store. Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth: one minute on one leg while brushing the upper teeth, and another minute on the other leg while brushing the lower teeth.

Keep a wobble board in your office; stand on it during a break or whenever you're on the phone. Ask someone to toss you a Frisbee or beach ball while you balance on one leg and then on the other. Practice sitting down and getting up from a chair without using your hands.

Practice walking heel to toe -- that is, like a tightrope walker, placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step.

Take a tai chi or dance class (or use DVDs at home), or take up social dancing. Although more research is needed, there's evidence that dance can improve balance and stability. Studies comparing dancers to non-dancers suggest that dancers rely more on proprioception than on visual cues.

Visit a fitness center and find out if it offers balance classes or the use of (and training on) balance or wobble boards.

Not just for athletes

Balance training helps reduce the risk of falls in older adults with balance problems and women with low bone mass. It also improves postural stability after a stroke. More research is needed to identify which components of balance training do the most good and to test them for preventing falls and injuries in healthy adults. So far, the evidence hasn't been sufficient for an official recommendation, such as the one for physical activity that most of us know (by heart!): To reduce your risk for chronic disease and preserve function, get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) on all or most days of the week, plus resistance and flexibility exercise a couple of times a week.

Many organizations, including the National Institute on Aging, recognize the importance of balance for preventing falls -- especially among older people -- and recommend certain techniques for improving it, often as part of strength training (see "Selected resources"). Besides being one of the normal challenges of aging, balance problems are also a concern for people with such conditions as Parkinson's disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis.

Staying on our feet

Balance relies on input from several of the body's systems, including the following:
Visual system. To get an idea of how important vision can be for balance, see if you can stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 30 seconds. (If your performance is wobbly, don't worry; balance training can help stabilize it.) Our eyes also help us adjust our body's position, so we can steer around obstacles in our path.
Vestibular system. If you've ever suffered from vertigo, you know about balance problems caused by inner ear trouble. Nerve receptors in the semicircular canals, the utricle, and the saccule -- parts of the inner ear -- are sensitive to movements of the head and relay its position to the brain.

Proprioception. Receptors called proprioceptors in the skin, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles receive stimuli (for example, pressure on the bottoms of the feet) indicating the position, orientation, and movement of the body, and convey information to the brain, which uses it to create a constantly changing map of your position. When you lift your right leg, for example, the map is revised, and you maintain your balance by unconsciously shifting your weight to your left leg.
You need sensory input, central processing (motor control), and muscle power to maintain stability during both purposeful movements, such as lifting the foot off the ground during an exercise routine, and reflexive ones, such as recovery from a sudden stumble. Injury, illness, neurological disorders, medications, and advancing age can affect all the systems involved in balance.

Balance training and tai chi

Healthy older people can reduce the risk of falls with tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art that incorporates slow turning movements, weight shifts, and deep breathing. But research published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society in December 2006 showed that balance training can outperform tai chi.
The study involved older adults with balance problems. The researchers found that participants who practiced combined balance and step training (CBST) -- exercises designed to improve balance and speed while stepping in different directions – made greater gains in balance and mobility than participants who practiced tai chi. The CBST routine included walking backward and sideways, walking on a plank, stepping on and off curbs, practicing heel and toe rises, and catching a ball while standing on an unstable surface.

This study shouldn't be taken as an unequivocal endorsement of balance training over tai chi. The advantage of CBST was modest, and variants of both methods have been shown to reduce falls when tested individually. In other studies, tai chi has also been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility.

Better balance

Balance tends to erode with time, especially if you're not active -- neural connections, for example, may be lost if they're not used. So whether you want to recover from an ankle sprain or maintain your long-term health, balance exercise should probably be on your "to do" list.

Fortunately, you don't need a lot of equipment and training to perform the basics. In fact, good balance starts with good posture -- something you can practice almost anytime, anywhere. Some strength is also important for balance. Strong hip, knee, and ankle muscles will give you a solid foundation and help you stay upright (for more on strength and other types of exercise, see "Selected resources").

Much of what we know about balance and proprioception comes from research on ankle sprain and instability in athletes. For example, athletic trainers and rehabilitation experts at the University of Kentucky recommend exercises to improve proprioception at the intermediate stage of rehabilitation following injury -- that is, once the ankle is able to bear full weight without pain (Journal of Athletic Training, December 2002). This training also helps cut down on ankle injuries, says Timothy L. Uhl, Ph.D., a faculty member in the university's athletic training program in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences.

The basic idea is to stabilize the body under increasingly difficult circumstances -for example, balancing on one leg first on a flat surface, then on a wobble board (see photograph), and eventually on a wobble board while catching a ball or receiving a push to the shoulder.

Athletic training and ankle rehabilitation programs often involve various pieces of equipment, but you can start your own training much more simply with a routine that Dr. Uhl recommends to people with some ankle or hip weakness:

Stand on one leg on a wood floor or other hard surface for 30 seconds. (You may want to stand in a doorway or near a table, in case you need to stabilize yourself at any point.) Repeat using the other leg. When you can do this without touching the door frame or table, go to step 2.

Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, then on the other, with your eyes closed -- again, don't hold onto anything. After you've accomplished that, go to step 3.

Place an old foam pillow on the floor. (Foam is better than feathers because feathers pack down. Foam has some spring to it.) Stand on the pillow on one leg for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat. Then do the same exercises with your eyes closed.

Do the above pillow exercise on tiptoe. Stand on one leg, then on the other, for 30 seconds -- first with your eyes open, then with them closed.
According to Uhl, standing on one leg not only helps rehabilitate the ankle, it also appears to reduce knee and hip pain.
Gale Document Number: A159657627 © 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Copyright © 1999-2009, VHI Page 1 of 1

Routine For: Pray it off
Created By Personal Trainer: Jay Cohen Apr 26, 2010

Functional Strength and Balance

SHOULDER - Strengthening: Wall Push-Up

With arms slightly wider apart
than shoulder width, and feet
inches from wall,
gently lean body toward wall.

HIP / KNEE - Strengthening: Wall Slide

Leaning on wall, slowly lower
buttocks until thighs are parallel
to floor. Hold seconds.
Tighten thigh muscles and return.

HIP / KNEE - Functional Quadriceps: Chair Squat

Keeping feet flat on
floor, shoulder width
apart, squat as low as
is comfortable. Use
support as necessary.

ANKLE / FOOT - Balance: Unilateral

Attempt to balance on left leg,
eyes open. Hold seconds.
Then safely - Perform exercise with
eyes closed.

TRUNK STABILITY - Sitting to Standing

With straight back, tighten
stomach, place right leg
back under chair, lean
slightly forward and stand.

TRUNK STABILITY - Forward Lean (Sitting)

With straight back, tighten
stomach and lean forward
at hips.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pray It Off May 13, 2010 Guest Speaker, Personal Trainer Jay Cohen on Weight Control With Video

On Thursday May 13th, the Syracuse, NY Pray It Off Group welcomed Guest Speaker, Jay Cohen Personal Trainer AFAA. If you are interested in talking to Jay about his services - please email me at and I will give him your contact information)

• Customized Exercise Program to Meet Your Fitness Goals
• General Conditioning Weight Gain / Weight Loss Overall Health and Fitness
• Provide Weight Training and Cardiovascular Training Instruction
• Provide You With Accountability and Motivation In Your Workouts
• Sports Specific Conditioning Programs for Golf, Tennis, Skiing...
• Functional Training
• Flexibility Training
• Fitness Assessment: Body Fat Composition

One-On-One Personal Training and Group Personal Training

Over 16 years of combined experience personal training, promoting health and fitness, and teaching and managing a variety of health and physical education programs to all age groups.

At our Syracuse, NY Meeting Jay first discussed Weight Control.

Weight Control*

There are lots of ways to lose weight, but the main question is how do you lose the weight and keep it off. Many diet advocates argue that their strategies work, an example is Atkins, but is it worth all the work if you eventually get back into your old eating habits because these diets we try restrict our food choices? Most people that try these diets do lose weight but then regain what they lost, and then some.

What does work?

The bottom line with weight loss is that you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. Regardless whether the calories come from protein, carbohydrates or fat, calories are the main culprit. Losing weight is individualized, so something that works for someone else may not work the same for you. Regardless of the way you choose to lose weight, there are some fundamentals to weight loss success.

Strategies for success

• Make small changes in your life that work for you. Drinking 1% or 2% milk instead of whole is a good start if you like milk. When you are accustomed to that, switch to skim. Try lighter or low-fat versions of items you like to eat.
• Eat with a sense of purpose. Savor flavors and engage your senses so your body truly acknowledges you are eating, and forget those mindless munching habits that happen when you cook, drive, or watch television.
• Control your portions. Successful weight loss individuals don’t super-size their meals.
• Eat a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources, and limit the total amount of fat, alcohol and sweets.
• Start every day with a healthy breakfast that includes protein, in the form of low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meats, or an egg.
• Find physical activities you enjoy or sneak exercise in your daily routine by walking to work, taking stairs, parking further away in parking lots. Whichever you choose to do, do it daily for the cardiovascular, stress reduction and calorie-burning benefits.
• Don’t try to manage your stress with food. Food does not help us cope with stress; it simply adds calories to your daily total. Find healthier things to do like get a bath, exercise, call a friend but steer clear of the kitchen!
• Keep track of what you eat each day with a food journal or diary.
• Read labels to determine the healthiest food options. Pay close attention to serving size, calories, fat, sodium and sugars.
• Stay motivated because it is easy to fall off the wagon! Get support from family and friends.

How do successful losers do it?

A group at the University of Colorado tracks successful losers – those that have lost 30 lbs or more and have kept it off for a minimum of a year.
• They limit their calorie intake.
• They restrict fat to approximately 24% of calories.
• They start the day with breakfast.
• They eat a wide variety of foods and never follow a fad diet.
• They get regular exercise, with walking being the most popular of choice.
• They use food journals and exercise journals to help them stay on course.
• They weigh themselves regularly but not daily.


Regular physical activity can help you lose weight and keep it off. It can also improve energy level, mood, and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Getting some activity is better than none. A majority of the activity should be moderate to vigorous in intensity; however, you should aim to include muscle-strengthening activities as well.

You can aim to be physical active every day for one extended period of time, or you can break it up into shorter intervals of 20, 15 or even 10 minutes. Some suggestions are:

• Walking (15 minutes per mile or 4 miles per hour)
• Biking
• Tennis
• Aerobic exercise classes (step aerobics, kick boxing, dancing)
• Energetic house or yard work (gardening, racking, mopping, vacuuming)

A wealth of benefits

In addition to feeling better, looking better, and having some added zip in your step, losing weight brings enormous health benefits. Losing 5% to 10% of body weight can reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes, lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Adopt sensible behaviors. You can still have the foods you love, just eat them in small portions, balance them with other foods, and eat a variety of nutritious foods daily.

Even if you do not need to lose weight or you are not overweight, you should still follow healthy eating habits and maintain good physical activity habits to help prevent weight gain and keep you healthy for years to come.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

If Not Now.....When

Like many of the Twelve Step programs, the Pray it Off (Catholic Weight Loss Group) was created by an "addict in remission"! This makes perfect sense. Who understands how a person feels, better than someone who has lived through the same experiences?

Unlike drugs and alcohol, however, we "Food Addicts" have to eat to survive. We must interact with our "drug of choice" daily.

So many people, who truly need to lose weight for their health, say that now just isn't a good time for them to "diet".

One thing about fighting the battle of the bulge, my entire life, is that there aren't many excuses I haven't used myself.

Here are a few:

1. There's not enough time to lose 50 pounds before the Prom (I told you I could go back a few years!)

2. College is just too stressful what with classes, tests and papers (that have to be typed with carbon paper on a manual typewriter.)

3. I have to find a job, get an apartment and pay bills?!?

4. I have a baby, a full time job and a husband who's away on a Merchant Marine ship for six months.

5. Problems in my marriage - how can I diet now?

6. A divorce isn't what I wanted in life - I am too depressed to even think about losing weight.

7. My job is so demanding and I drive 55,000 miles a year and still make it back on time to get my daughter from daycare EVERY DAY!

8. I am TOO TIRED to exercise.

9. I meet, and fall in love, with a great guy and adopt his two small children who need a lot of help - I love them as my own - but there's a lot going on and it's just not the right time to, even begin to start to, think about losing weight.

10. What?? Pregnant at 41 years old AND 300 pounds - I update my will as I am sure it's going to kill me.

11. Back to work six weeks later - how can I lose weight with four kids, a stressful job, and a sick mother AND sister?

12. It's too much work to diet.

13. I always gain the weight back anyway!

14. When things "calm down" I'll lose.

15. When I have more time I'll diet.

I think you get the picture. The funny thing is that the past two years, when I have lost almost 140 pounds, things haven't always been hunky dory. There have been problems - some HUGE and pressures - some HUGE but by getting closer to God, and reading the Bible, I've learned that LIFE is NEVER going to be calm and stress-free. He never promised that. He said He would be with us always. He offers us His peace to handle the pressures of life. He doesn't say, there won't ever be any.

There's NEVER going to be a perfect time to lose weight, to exercise, to GET HEALTHY.

After a lifetime of making excuses, I can now say, and more importantly believe, "IF NOT NOW.... WHEN?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 5/6/10 Metabolism and Weight Loss /Hummus Wrap/Song/Group Prayer WITH VIDEO

Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories*

By Mayo Clinic staff

You've probably heard people blame their weight on a slow metabolism, but what does that mean? And is metabolism really the culprit? Is it possible to rev up your metabolism to burn more calories?

While it's true that metabolism is linked to weight, it may not be in the way you expect. In fact, contrary to common belief, a slow metabolism is rarely the cause of excess weight gain. Although your metabolism influences your body's basic energy needs, it's your food and beverage intake and your physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.

Metabolism: Converting food into energy- Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function. Even when you're at rest, your body needs energy for all its "hidden" functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells.

The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR) — what you might call metabolism. Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate:

1. Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn up more calories, even at rest.
2. Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.
3. Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.
Energy needs for your body's basic functions stay fairly consistent and aren't easily changed. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn every day.

In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors determine how many calories your body burns each day:

1. Food processing (thermogenesis). Digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume also takes calories. This accounts for about 10 percent of the calories used each day. For the most part, your body's energy requirement to process food stays relatively steady and isn't easily changed.
2. Physical activity. Physical activity and exercise — such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement — account for the rest of the calories your body burns up each day.
Metabolism and weight - It may be tempting to blame your metabolism for weight gain. But because metabolism is a natural process, your body generally balances it to meet your individual needs. That's why if you try so-called starvation diets, your body compensates by slowing down these bodily processes and conserving calories for survival. Only in rare cases do you get excessive weight gain from a medical problem that slows metabolism, such as Cushing's syndrome or having an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

Unfortunately, weight gain is most commonly the result of eating more calories than you burn. To lose weight, then, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both.

A closer look at physical activity and metabolism - While you don't have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active — and maybe more fidgety — than are others.

You can burn more calories with:

1. Regular aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as walking, bicycling and swimming. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase your activity even more. If you can't set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of activity throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.
2. Strength training. Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.
3. Lifestyle activities. Any extra movement helps burn calories. Look for ways to walk and move around a few minutes more each day than the day before. Taking the stairs more often and parking farther away at the store are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.

No magic bullet

Don't look to dietary supplements for help in burning calories or weight loss. Products that claim to speed up your metabolism are often more hype than help, and some may cause undesirable or even dangerous side effects. Dietary supplement manufacturers aren't required by the Food and Drug Administration to prove that their products are safe or effective, so view these products with caution and skepticism and always let your doctors know about any supplements you take.
There's no magical way to lose weight. It comes down to exercise and diet. Take in fewer calories than you burn, and you lose weight. But if you're worried about your metabolism or you can't seem to lose excess weight despite diet and exercise, talk to your doctor.

Simple Hummus Snack Wrap

Ingredients (One Serving)
Hummus (2 tbsp)
Fat Free Feta Cheese (1 oz)
Roasted Red Peppers (1 oz)
Low Carb Wrap (La Tortilla Factory is 50cal, high fiber, high protein, low fat)
So simple, if you couldn't already tell from the ingredients.

Spread hummus on tortilla. Press feta crumbles into hummus and put roasted peppers on top. Roll up and enjoy.

Nutritional Info
Calories: 140.0
Total Fat: 5.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 410.0 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.0 g
Protein: 13.0 g
Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user GINAKINA.

Nothing Left Of Me by Joel Engle

Your sacrifice is brokenness
A heart that's full of
Tenderness come and break me Lord
To seek You in Your righteousness
To find You in Your holiness
Come and take me Lord

CHORUS: That I could learn to trust You
In every way to love You
Strip away all that remains for Your glory and Your
Name 'til there's nothing left of me
Burn the kingdoms I have made that You would shine
And I would fade 'til there's nothing left of me
'til there's nothing left of me

Your Spirit is the only One that can conform me
To Your Son, let Him move in me
Your grace is written deep in me
You've signed my heart to purity with Your holy blood
Strip away all that remains for Your glory and Your
Name 'til there's nothing left of me
Burn the kingdoms I have made that You would shine
And I would fade 'til there's nothing left of me
'til there's nothing left of me (repeat)

May 6, 2010

• Discuss the Benefits of keeping a Food Log. Have you been diligent filling out your Food Log?
• Can you add calories and “feelings” to your Food Log? Do you have access to a computer for calorie counting or do you have a Calorie Book?
• Do you equate “Happiness” with being thin? What are the problems with this line of thinking?
• Are you a Yo-Yo (Weight Cycling) Dieter? How can you break this behavior?
• Do you have hand weights at home? Can you use them daily? Discuss?
• Can you incorporate stair climbing into your daily routine?
• Say the Hail Mary to Close the Group.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” Romans 12:2