Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pray It Off 6/24/10 Stephen Lonergan Testimony



Cheers: 20 lbs in Session 6




Hello, my name is Stephen Lonergan and you’ll find me at Table 2 each Thursday Night at the Pray it Off meeting. I just received my “Praise The Name of Jesus – 50 Pounds Lost Award” and although I am not to my goal weight yet Ellen asked me to join the blog today to encourage others with my story.

Prior to this last “Pray it Off” Session, which was Session 5 (each session lasts six months), I set a goal of losing 20 lbs and I exceeded that! My body is still thanking me. As Session 6 begins in July, I plan on losing 20 more pounds. My battle cry is “20 in 6”!



I would like to have you join me! We can lose 20 pounds together. For starters eat only 3 meals daily. Use the PIO motto: “eat less, move more, and pray”. Log everything you eat and exercise, attend the meetings each week, or join on-line, then pray and read the Bible.

Refer to your doctor for your allowable calorie daily intake of food. Exercise every day; at least a twenty minute walk. Again check with your doctor to see if that’s okay for you. I lost my 20 pounds in Session 5 by walking every day.
Now vision yourself losing the 20 lbs. Believe that you’ve already done it; what you do, think and say matter to all of us. You are not alone. God and all of us in PIO believe in you, love you and are proud of you for taking action to lose those 20 lbs.

Now you need to decide to lose it, discover how you are going to, and then deliver the 20 lbs loss. I hear an Amen from Table 1 (thanks Bob). Ellen and her husband Bob are our PIO founder and first member (a big thanks and a "love you" shout out).

Focus on fit over fat. Choose fit over fat. Live fit over fat. Use self control, courage. You are not the victim. Jesus has taught us that. Use our PIO prayers and ask Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the saints to guide you.

Please do not just sit there and read this. Now is the time to take action. Start leaning on the Lord. “I call you friend” (John 15:15). Be a friend of Jesus. “I lay it down of my own free will” (John 10:18)

Please join the “fit” journey with me and Ellen and the whole PIO gang – we can travel the road to wellness together.

Cheers to losing 20 lbs in Session 6!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 6/16/10 Too Tired to Exercise & Song



Tired All the Time? Step It Up*



Low-Intensity Exercise Edges Out Fatigue -- Without Requiring Lots of Sweat
By Miranda Hitti WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

If fatigue hounds your days, a little exercise may shoo it away without leaving you drenched with sweat. So say University of Georgia researchers. In a new study, they report that healthy young adults who say they're tired all the time got an energy boost from a low-intensity workout plan.

Here's all it took: three sessions per week of pedaling a stationary bicycle at a mild pace. They didn't need to train every day, and they didn't push themselves too far -- just far enough to shake their fatigue. In short, that old excuse, "I'm too tired to exercise," is dead wrong. You may feel too tired, but if you can just do it anyway, you'll likely wind up with more energy.

"Too often we believe that a quick workout will leave us worn out -- especially when we are already feeling fatigued," researcher Timothy Puetz, PhD, says in a news release. "However, we have shown that regular exercise can actually go a long way in increasing feelings of energy, particularly in sedentary individuals."

Puetz and colleagues studied 36 young adults (average age: 23) who said they were tired all the time but who didn't have chronic fatigue syndrome or any other medical reason for their tiredness. When the study started, all participants were sedentary. They took a fitness test and then were split into three groups.

One group was assigned to moderate-intensity exercise. Three times a week for six weeks, they rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes after a five-minute warm-up.

Another group followed the same workout schedule, but at a low-intensity pace. For comparison, the third group simply sat on an exercise bike -- without pedaling it -- for an equal amount of time. Every week, participants rated how energetic and how tired they felt.

Both groups of exercisers reported a 20% boost in their energy level. The low-intensity group reported the biggest improvement in fighting their fatigue. That may be because the gentle pace of their workout didn't overtax them, note Puetz end colleagues.

Participants didn't become exercise fanatics. They pretty much remained sedentary except for their study assignment. So their new vigor didn't require a lot of time or a radical lifestyle change.

*http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20080229/tired-all-the-time-step-it-up



Nobody Know the Trouble I’ve Seen

Nobody know, Lord, the trouble I see;
Lordy, nobody know my sorrow.
Yeah, nobody know the trouble I’ve seen;
But glory hallelujah!
Sometimes I’m standing crying,
Tears running down my face,
I cry to the Lord have mercy,
Help me run this all race.
Oh Lord, I have so many trial;
So many pains and woe,
I’m asking for faith and comfort
Lord, help me to bear this load.
Oh, Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen;
Well, nobody knows but Jesus, well, well,
No nobody knows, oh the trouble, the trouble I’ve seen;
I’m singing glory, glory, glory, glory hallelujah!
No nobody knows, oh the trouble, the trouble I’ve seen;
Lord, no nobody knows my sorrow.
Well, well, well, no nobody knows, you know the trouble,
the trouble I’ve seen;
I’m singing glory, glory, glory, glory hallelujah!

PHOTO http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3179/3028082611_fb94e0b8ec.jpg

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 6/16/10 Priorities and SUPERFOODS

10 Ways To Set Priorities* By Lisa Kanarek

1. Use a paper-based, electronic or computerized list to keep track of your tasks, instead of relying on your memory. A list will give you a clear idea of what you need to accomplish.

2. Which tasks could you handle another day? If you would face no consequences by moving a task forward, move it ahead another day or another week.

3. Know the difference between important and urgent. Important means a task needs to be done, while urgent means it must be done immediately. Knowing the difference between the two will make prioritizing easier.

4. Realize that you can't do everything. This will help you to realistically prioritize your tasks.

5. Determine if postponing the task would affect other projects you are working on. Tasks and projects can have a domino effect. If you do one task, yet fail to do another, you may have wasted effort on the first task.

6. Set clear goals. There's a saying, "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?" By not setting clear goals, you may be accomplishing tasks with short-term benefits.

7. Decide if the task will help you achieve your goals. If so, give it a higher priority.

8. Are you making a task a top priority because it's easy? Don't be fooled by easy tasks, especially when they could be done days or weeks later.

9. Focus on quality, not quantity of tasks. Accomplishing a few tasks that are a higher priority is better than accomplishing several lower priority tasks.

10. Which task will increase your income? If the task will only serve to keep you busy, it is not a top priority. Think in terms of how the task will improve your productivity and performance.

*http://www.score.org/om_2.html

5 Superfoods You Should Eat—but Probably Don't*
By Tracey Neithercott / Recipes by Robyn Webb, MS, LN


What makes a food “super”? If you believe what you see in the grocery store, superfoods are everywhere these days: goji berries, acai juice, wheatgrass, seaweed—many of them exotic ingredients pitched with promises of weight loss, smoother skin, an energy boost, or even a healthier heart. But despite the marketing, there’s little to no proof that the food fad of the moment will improve your health. Most people will do best with a diet that derives nutrients from a variety of whole food sources.

Still, there are some foods that deserve the superlative treatment because they have been scientifically shown to contain high amounts of the good stuff—like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The following five are all proven sources of nutrients your body needs, no gimmicky mumbo jumbo required.

Beets

If vegetables were judged solely on looks, deep purple-red beets would be a perennial favorite. The root veggies’ jewel-toned flesh is popular with restaurant chefs because it adds excitement to a dish. “They’re beautiful [and] they dress up a plate, and you know we eat with our eyes,” says Joan Salge-Blake, MS, RD, LDN, a clinical associate professor at Boston University and author of Nutrition & You: Core Concepts to Good Health. Buy firm beets with the greens intact (they’re edible, too, and keep the bulb fresh) and they’ll last a week in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to cook them, wash the bulbs under water to remove dirt—but keep the skin on. After you bake and cool the beets, you can rub or peel the skin right off.

• Why They’re Worth It

Beets are high in vitamin C and folate. Plus, they’re a great source of the antioxidant lipoic acid. “Recent research shows it can be helpful in healing nerve damage in people with diabetes,” says Salge-Blake.

• How to Cook

The easiest way to cook beets is to roast them in the oven, which brings out the vegetable’s natural sweetness. To roast, cut the greens from the bulb, leaving about an inch of stem. After washing, place the beets in a baking pan and add ¼ of an inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil, and roast at 400 to 450 degrees until you can easily insert a knife in the beet. Once the beets are cool, peel the skin away. (Beets tend to bleed, and the juice can stain, so use caution.) Slice roasted beets and put them in a salad. Or cut them into cubes and toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dill, and crumbled goat cheese, as Ryan Hutmacher, chef and owner of Centered Chef Food Studios in Chicago, does. He also likes to incorporate beets into traditional foods. “If somebody doesn’t like beets, you can introduce beets to people through pancakes,” Hutmacher says. Shred roasted beets finely with a grater (or use a food processor), then add to the batter.

Sardines

If you’ve given salmon and tuna a try, why not taste sardines? For starters, sardines are an environmentally sound alternative to overfished salmon and have lower mercury levels than larger fish like tuna. You can buy the small, silver-fleshed fish fresh, but if you don’t plan to eat them soon, opt for canned.

• Why They’re Worth It

Like other fatty fish (such as salmon), sardines contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. “[You] want to be having two fish meals per week because that’s going to lower your risk for heart disease,” says Salge-Blake. Sardines are also high in protein, so they’re a great add-on to veggie-heavy dishes. When it comes to canned sardines, you can pick between those packed in water and those in oil. The only difference: Oil adds more calories. (Some sardines are packaged in mustard, with lemon or chili peppers, or in tomato sauce, which might add additional calories; check the label.)

• How to Cook

Sardines are cheap and versatile. The most adventurous eat them whole—head and all. You can remove the head, scale and gut the fish, then grill or barbecue it as a main dish. Some canned sardines are already scaled and deboned. For a simple meal, clean the sardines and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake the fish for 10 to 12 minutes in a 350-degree oven. When done, the sardines will be crispy and perfect as a salad topper. If you’re new to sardines, Hutmacher recommends “hiding” them: Mince the fish and add them to pasta sauce, stews, or three-bean soup. “It’s going to add a really nice depth of flavor to that sauce,” he says.

Brussels Sprouts

You could mistake brussels sprouts for mini heads of cabbage, but the tiny green globes are really a close relative. Pick sprouts that are about an inch thick, bright green, and firm—and skip those that are yellow, squishy, or wilted. Stored in the refrigerator, your sprouts will last a couple of weeks, says Hutmacher. When you’re ready to eat, peel back the first few leaves, which can be wilted or damaged, then soak them in cold water to remove any residue or dirt before cooking.

• Why They’re Worth It

Brussels sprouts are low in sodium and cholesterol free. “They are a good source of fiber,” says Salge-Blake. “And we also have some studies to show vegetables in the cruciferous family have phytochemicals [plant compounds that have protective health benefits] in them.”

• How to Cook

You may remember the boiled brussels sprouts Mom used to make, but there are tastier ways to enjoy the veggie. Hutmacher loves to roast his sprouts with olive oil. First, boil the brussels sprouts in water for 15 to 20 minutes to soften the hard heads. Then roast them with olive oil and salt and pepper at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Roasting and adding fat in the form of olive oil will help cut through the vegetable’s bitterness. Add zip by topping the sprouts with lemon slices before baking. Hutmacher also uses brussels sprouts in place of lettuce to create a nutrient-packed salad. To make your own, chop your raw sprouts into thin strips, then toss them with pomegranate seeds, shaved fennel, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese, and a vinaigrette dressing made of lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and herbs like parsley. If you do opt for boiling, be careful not to overcook; you’ll lose water-soluble vitamins. Salge-Blake’s rule: Cook them with only a small amount of water, until they’re tender—and no longer.

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve ever carved a jack-o’-lantern, you’ve most likely baked or toasted pumpkin seeds. But there’s no need to wait till October to enjoy the nutrient-packed seeds. The bagged variety (pick a low-sodium kind, either with or without shells) is just as nutritious as home cooked.

• Why They’re Worth It

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber, vitamin K, and iron. Plus, they’re loaded with protein, so they’re the perfect addition to vegetarian dishes. “This could be a good way of having a meatless meal,” says Salge-Blake.

• How to Cook

You can snack on a handful of pumpkin seeds between meals—just don’t eat the whole pack at once; a 6-ounce bag can have more than 500 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 90 grams of carbs. Or add them to your morning cereal or oatmeal, as Salge-Blake suggests. Hutmacher uses a Mexican technique to incorporate pumpkin seeds in his meals: Start by toasting the pumpkin seeds. Next, add chicken or vegetable broth, and let the mixture come to a boil. Add thyme, garlic, and sesame seeds to the mix, then blend it all until it’s emulsified. Hutmacher uses this mixture (which is a bit runnier than hummus) as a sauce for fish or poultry.

Kale

The dark green vegetable looks something like lettuce with its ruffled leaves, but, just like brussels sprouts, it’s a member of the cabbage family. Fresh kale is coarse with dark leaves. Avoid bunches that are yellow or brown and have a rubbery texture. Kale will last three to five days in the refrigerator if you store it loosely in a plastic bag. Before you cook the leaves, rinse them and trim off the thick stems. And keep in mind: Two cups of raw kale will cook down to about a cup’s worth.

• Why It’s Worth It

Like its cousin broccoli, kale is packed with vitamin C. (Two cups have twice as much vitamin C as a medium orange.) It’s also a good source of vitamin A (beta carotene), calcium, and potassium, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

• How to Cook

You can eat kale raw, in place of lettuce in a salad, but the classic cooking method is braising. Hutmacher chops his kale into strips (smaller pieces cook faster) and adds it to a pan of turkey bacon sautéed in olive oil with onion, celery, and carrots. To cut the kale’s bitter flavor, he adds lemon juice or cider vinegar to the mix, then steams the kale in the broth. Once the kale has stewed in the covered pan for half an hour (the kale will look dark and wilted), he removes the lid and lets the liquid reduce. That’s when Hutmacher grabs a big serving, spoons sauce over the kale, and digs in. Another option? “I like stir-frying it,” says Salge-Blake. She cooks it in olive oil with garlic and then uses it as a bed for grilled scallops or chicken.

The main reason to add some superfoods to your meals? The nutritional benefit. “There isn’t one perfect vegetable that has everything. There isn’t a perfect food,” says Salge-Blake. “The more variety in your diet, the more chance you’re going to consume all the nutrients your body needs.” And remember, there’s no need to spend half your paycheck on mysterious fruit drinks from South America. The best superfoods can all be found close to home.

*http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/food-thought/5-superfoods-you-should-eat%E2%80%94-probably-dont


Sicilian Sardine Ziti*

8 servings Serving size: ¾ cup pasta, ½ cup sauce

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the celery, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. Put the whole tomatoes and their puree in a large bowl. With your hands, crush the tomatoes coarsely so that some chunks of tomato remain. Add the tomatoes and their puree to the skillet. Add in the sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Let the tomatoes cook for about 20 minutes or until thick.
3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rapid boil. Add in the ziti and cook, about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
4. Add the sardines and raisins to the tomato sauce, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. Add in the pine nuts. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Garnish with the parsley.

Ingredients 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 large onion, diced, 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped, 1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
Pinch sugar, Pinch cayenne pepper, Kosher or sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste. 1 lb. ziti, 2 (3¾ oz.) cans sardines packed in water, drained
½ cup golden raisins, 2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Garnish
¼ cup minced parsley
Nutrition facts Starch exchanges 3, Fruit exchanges 0.5, Vegetable exchanges 2
Fat exchanges 1
Amount per serving Calories 355, Calories From Fat 70, Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 320 mg (without added salt)
Total Carbohydrate 59 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 12 g
Protein 13 g
*http://forecast.diabetes.org/recipes/sicilian-sardine-ziti


Photos: http://hadassahsabo.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/beets1.jpg
http://www.magazine.ayurvediccure.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/sardine.jpg
http://enlargedprostate.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/pumpkin-seeds.jpg
http://www.noonewatching.com/archives/2009/03/kale.jpg
http://www.theocelot.co.uk/modules/news/images/storys/0812010905-brussels-sprouts.jpg

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I wish a Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband Bob, my own Dad (Vincent Louis McCauley the First, who is no longer in this world), all the Pray It Off Dad's, Fr. Prior, Fr. Greg, all the Priests who faithfully serve God, and to Our Father in Heaven.

Pray it Off Meeting 6/16/10 Priorities



Nine Tips on How to Get Your Priorities Straight*



1. Know your priorities. Not sure what your priorities are? Ask the test question. Here's an example: "If I had to choose between my health and my family, what would I choose?" I would choose to sacrifice my health for my family. That places family first. Go through all your priorities and list and rank them(examples: family, finances, health, relationships, job, education, God, personal development, community service, values, character, attitude).

2. Be your priorities. It's not enough to simply know what your priorities are. They must become a part of your very inner being so that you are one with them. How can you accomplish this? Feed you mind with books and other media that support your priorities. Limit your exposure to "intellectual" junk food. Spend time with those who support your values and dreams. Do your closest friends and acquaintances you spend time with, support or detract from your priorities in life?

3. Live your priorities. One of my clients was sharing how he began to focus more on his health by getting his weight under control. Over the period of many months, he has had to buy new clothes. I asked him this week what he thought was key to his success. His response was, "I made realistic adjustments that fit my lifestyle. I cut back on the bread, drank less alcohol and also cut out the sugar. If I had a 12 or 14 oz. steak at a restaurant, I would cut it in half and eat half of it. I have lost over 2 inches from my waist by making these small changes. No diet can do this because it is unrealistic in the long-term."
Or are you having problems paying rent or your mortgage? Try planning and budgeting for two to three payments in advance. This will cause you to become acutely aware of some of the less important expenditures and will result in a greater awareness of how you manage your money.

4. Reassess your priorities. Priorities guided by higher values basically do not change. We do, however, need to reassess to make sure we are still on track. We may get side tracked by interruptions or obstacles along the way. Or there just may be an unrecognized higher need to help others that may very well take priority.

5. Measure your priorities performance. There is a quote I have heard many times. Measure it and it will improve. Keep a journal with you and use it freely to list your priorities and how you can improve upon them. Reflect on a daily basis. This only takes a couple of minutes so we all have time to do this. This is a part of the measurement process.

6. Keep the big picture view of your priorities. Once you have a clear focus on your priorities, every decision you make as you pursue your lifestyle can be checked with your long-term, big picture goals. It's much easier and much more fun to deal with the short-term goals and challenges when you have the big-picture, long-term view.

7. Priorities need absolute awareness of time usage. Time can only be used, it can never be saved. Once time has passed, it's gone. Treat time as sacred. In the course of your day, think in increments of 10 or 15 minutes when it comes to accomplishing what you have to do. The big-picture of your priorities will better help you to use your time to maximize your performance in support of your life goals. Constantly ask yourself in the course of the day, if what you are doing is the best use of your time and how you can better use it.

8. Priorities need a dose of "Vitamin D," better known as Discipline. We don't always feel like doing what we're supposed to do. That's where you just tell yourself, "Get up and do it!" and then you do what? You get up and do it. The word discipline is a personal responsibility and personal accountability word. Our culture seems to shy away from this one. Embrace discipline and you will increase your success, be secure and happy.

9. Strong inner values will strengthen your priorities. Be clear about what values you stand for, the values that are not just of benefit to you but also to others. Some of these values are truthfulness, honor, selflessness, courage, dependability and caring for and about others first.

Call to action: This week start making a list of your priorities in all the key areas of your life. Start with the areas that concern you the most and then tackle the others.

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs035/1100843578412/archive/1102135519540.html

How to Manage Time and Set Priorities*

Key Point - Good time management means defining priorities and scheduling activities.

What Are the 3 Rules for Effective Time Management?
1. Don't create impossible situations.
2. Define priorities.
3. Avoid distractions and lack of focus.

Don't Create Impossible Situations.

Don't get trapped into doing too much. Don't try to work full time and take a full load. Don't take too many lab classes. Use time to create success, not failure. Be realistic about school. For most classes, plan to study 2 hours for every 1 hour of class.

Make time your friend not your enemy.

Identify your first priority classes and do whatever it takes to succeed. Drop second priority classes or reduce work hours if necessary.

Define Your Priorities Using the 3-List Method.

Plan your work, then work your plan

All time management begins with planning. Use lists to set priorities, plan activities and measure progress. One approach is the 3-list method.

List #1 - The weekly calendar.

Create a weekly calendar. Make it your basic time budgeting guide. List your courses, work, study time, recreation, meals, TV, relaxation, etc.

Plan to study first priority classes when you work best. Be flexible, adapt your schedule to changing needs. Keep your schedule handy and refer to it often. If it doesn't work, change it.

List #2 - The daily "Things to Do".

Write down all the things that you want to do today. Note homework due or tests or subjects you want to emphasize. Include shopping and personal calls, etc.

This list is a reminder. Use it to set daily priorities and to reduce decision-making and worry. If time is tight, move items to your long-term list.

Rewrite this list each morning. Use visualization to help you focus on what to do. This list is also a measure of your day-to-day success. Check off items as you finish them and praise yourself for each accomplishment.

List #3 - Goals and other things.

This can be one or two lists, a monthly list and or a long-term list. Put down your goals and things you have to do. What do you want to accomplish over the next month or year? What do you need to buy?

Use this list to keep track of all your commitments. If you're worried about something, put it on this list. The purpose of this list is to develop long-term goals and to free your mind to concentrate on today.

Avoid Distractions and Lack of Focus.

Time is precious. Yet many people waste time by getting stuck in one or more of the following habits.

Procrastination - putting off important jobs.

Crises management - being overwhelmed by the current crisis. No time for routine matters.

Switching and floundering - lack of concentration and focus on one job.

Television, telephones and friends - these are all ways of avoiding work.

Emotional blocks - boredom, daydreaming, stress, guilt, anger and frustration reduce concentration.

Sickness - getting sick and blowing your schedule.

In all of these cases, the first step is to recognize the problem and resolve to improve. Use priority lists to focus attention. Try positive self-talk. To avoid distractions, find a quiet place to study, the library or a study hall. Get an answering machine.

*http://www.marin.edu/~don/study/5time.html

PHOTO: http://carersblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/changed-priorities.jpg

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival 6/20/10

Sunday Snippets a Catholic Carnival highlights various Catholic Blogs.

I created, and run, a Catholic weight loss group called Pray it Off or PIO. Even with God on our side it is so easy to get discouraged or run out of steam, in our weight loss journey. So, my highlighted entry for this week, talks about never giving up. Pray It Off

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

This That and the Other Thing: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Never, never, never give up. ~ Winston Churchill

I've been wanting to write a blog entry on never giving up for quite awhile now but was waiting for the right opportunity. Then I realized today, it's not a "one time topic". We have to consistently, and constantly, fight the battle of not giving up on our healthy goals.

Some of us are tempted by imagined truces in the bloody warfare. Thoughts such as, "Maybe I'll just take the summer off and then I'll get right back into it in September", creep into our consciousness.

Summer is here and it might sound so good to "take the summer off" from our weight loss goals but what will we accomplish if we do that? Who are we fooling? The enemy will still be waiting for us in September and by that time even more troops will have arrived and burrowed deeper trenches and strongholds to fight us from.

As the founder and facilitator of Pray It Off, it makes all the effort I put forth worthwhile when I hear from members that they too are believers in the "never give up" mantra. I received the following letter a few days ago and was blown away by the powerful punch it packed in so few words.

Yes, it is hard to stay commited to a healthy lifestyle but this PIO member reminds us of the alternatives!! I asked her if I could share it with you in the blog and she kindly said yes.

Please add your your comments on why we can NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up!!!


Ellen,

I watched the video from last week's meeting! Love it! This is so neat being able to still see the video when you can't go to the meetings!


Just a comment. I think when people say they want to take off time from PIO they're basically saying they don't want to be accountable any more! It becomes, as you said, about you and they're accountability to you - not what it should be about - their accountability to themselves. Why? Because it's so damn hard to do something consistently for as long as it takes to lose the weight and keep it off - the rest of your life!!


I only know this because I have felt the same way so many times! Right now, after all of the insanity of the past few months, I really feel like I will never do this - never lose the weight. But then I remember being in the hospital with a family member and seeing very heavy people there for heart surgery or diabetes related surgeries. Or I remember the Doctor telling my family member that the surgery, he had just had, only went as well as it did because he is thin. And I know I don't want to be hooked up to those machines and iv's and in pain and have things amputated!! And then I remember why I can never give up!!!


Thank you every single minute for not giving up on me!!! And thank you also for continuing PIO even though you are working full time now and have that extra added stress!! You continue to inspire me. I just have to put that inspiration into action!


Love you more than Chocolate!!






PHOTO: http://www.teachmychildrenwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/never-give-up.jpg

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 6/10/10 Making a Salad and Song Lessons to Be Learned



How to: Make a Perfect Salad* By Robyn Webb, MS, LN


Do you ever find yourself stranded in the fruit-and-veggie aisle of the supermarket, desperately trying to figure out which combination will make the best meal? Do you fantasize about that one great salad you had on vacation, and wish you could learn how to replicate it? Or—admit it—have you given up on trying to make your own salads, after that fiasco with the iceberg lettuce, capers, and balsamic vinegar?

Here, we take you step-by-step through the making of a great salad. The basic idea is to think of adding layers to your bowl: greens first, then veggies, then toppers (we divide them into different categories based on texture and taste), and finally dressing. Use the freshest ingredients, and don’t overdo it—you don’t need 17 different kinds of vegetables in one salad. Want to go from side dish to main course? We also give you ideas for bringing protein into the mix.

Work your way through this plan and you’ll find that you’re never too far away from your next great meal.

1. GREENS Begin with fresh, crisp lettuce. For the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, go for dark green leaves: romaine, spinach, arugula, and the like. If you find them to be a bit on the bitter side, you can add some lighter leaves in there, too, like bibb or Boston, or choose sweeter veggies and toppers in the next steps. Tear the leaves by hand into manageable pieces, and figure on about 2 to 3 cups of greens per person.

2. VEGETABLES Add some color and depth. Here’s where you can give a salad some heft, plus a dose of color and flavor. We’re talking about tomatoes (yes, technically a fruit) and cucumbers, but also carrots, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and yellow squash. Not all of them have to be fresh: You can try some roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or jarred artichokes. Add starchy veggies if you want—think corn, peas, potato slices—but remember that they can add significantly to carbohydrate content.

3. TOPPERS Lay on a shot of flavor. Think of these as the soloists of salad: The toppers stand out from the crowd. They can give your meal crunchiness or creaminess, or add a blast of saltiness or sweetness. Pay attention to serving sizes; you’ll use less of these than of most other salad ingredients (and a little goes a long way). Another option: a quarter cup of your favorite whole grains, cooked and cooled.

4. DRESSING Give it a splash. What’s the sign of a properly dressed salad? No liquid puddling at the bottom of the bowl. Wake up your leaves instead of drowning them; a well-tossed salad needs only 1 tablespoon of dressing per 2 cups of greens. Make sure the greens are dry to begin with; dressing adheres best to dry leaves. And while you can use store-bought if you want, it’s easy enough to make your own fresh dressing (recipes for four different ones can be found here). Either way, plan on dressing your salad just moments before serving it.

5. PROTEIN Make it a full meal. Salads are great as side dishes and greater as main courses, which can be created simply by adding a bit of protein. Opt for leaner meats (a single serving is 3 ounces), beans and lentils, or soy-based proteins, and you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary fat. If you have a bit of extra time, the recipes here offer elegant variations. The possibilities are nearly endless, limited only by what’s available in your local supermarket—and the breadth of your imagination.

Next up: Technique–Prepping & Storing Lettuce

Technique: Prepping and Storing Lettuce
1. Core the lettuce, separating the leaves
and discarding any wilted pieces.
2. Wash thoroughly.
3. Dry leaves completely.
You can lay them out on
a dish towel, roll them up,
and store them in your
refrigerator crisper, still
in the towel. Or line a
salad spinner with a
paper towel, and spin dry.
While best eaten right away,
properly stored leaves
will keep for a few days.

Next up: Technique–Cutting up Vegetable

Technique: Cutting up Vegetables
1. Slices are thin or
chunky.
2. Julienne slicing makes
matchstick-sized veggies.
3. A crinkle cutter
adds a bit of whimsy.
4. Cukes don’t always
need to be sliced; cutting
them and other veggies
into short spears makes
a nice change.
5. A dice can be
small or large.

Next up: Tips–Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Creamy

Tip: Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Creamy
1. For sweetness, try a
tablespoon of raisins,
dried cranberries, or
other dried fruits, or a
quarter cup of cut-up
fresh fruits, like citrus,
pineapple, or apple.
2. While you don’t
want to add unnecessary
salt, sprinkling on a
tablespoon (or less) of
cheeses like Parmesan
or feta can pack a punch.
3. Crave a crunch?
Try veggies like jicama,
water chestnuts, or endive;
a couple of teaspoons of nuts
or seeds; or a tablespoon
of whole wheat croutons.
4. Creaminess comes in
many forms: a diced slice
of avocado, a chunk of
goat’s cheese (chèvre)
or mozzarella, or a
dollop of cottage
cheese or ricotta.

Next up: Technique–Making Your Own Dressing

Technique: Making Your Own Dressing
1. For a traditional vinaigrette,
start with wine vinegar, mustard,
minced garlic, chopped tarragon,
and a squeeze of lemon.
2. Mix them together.
3. In a stream, slowly add in
olive oil, whisking constantly
(this is known as emulsification).
Then season with salt and pepper.

Next up: Tips–Pick Your Protein

Tip: Pick Your Protein
Here are some good options
1. Fish (sardines, tuna, or
flaked salmon, for example)
or shrimp
2. Eggs
3. Tofu, beans,
chickpeas, edamame,
or lentils
4. Chicken, lean beef
(like flank, eye of round,
top roast), or pork
tenderloin

http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/features/how-make-perfect-salad



Lessons to Be Learned – Sung by Barbra Streisand

They say there's a universal plan for every woman for every man
I do believe there's a higher power but in our darkest hour
it's hard to understand, so we start to question
start to doubt, we lose faith in what life's all about

CHORUS: Why did the right road take the wrong turn
why did our heart break, why'd we get burned
just like the seasons there are reasons
for the path we take there are no mistakes
just lessons to be learned

Don't give up keep on looking deep inside
let your heartbeat be your guide
cause there's a gift for those who keep believing
you'll find what you've been needing
is right before your eyes you'll hold the answer
in your hands and then you'll know
you'll finally understand why

CHORUS

No matter how many times you stumble or fall
the greatest lesson is loving yourself
through it all

CHORUS

PHOTO: http://superbodysuperbrainblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/salad.jpg

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 6/10/10 Swimming and Weight Loss With VIDEO



Swimming And Weight Loss

Take The Plunge And Lose A Few Pounds* From eDiets - The premier online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource



What’s your reason for not swimming? Don't like getting your hair wet? Don't think swimming can give you the healthy bones you want? You can't swim?

Well, these are a few of the reasons swimming is one of the least popular sports among adults. That's an unfortunate statistic, considering swimming remains one of the best and lowest impact activities for overall physical fitness and mental well being. And beyond the health benefits, it is one of the few sports that can be enjoyed at any age!

So why not take the plunge to get fit and stay cool this summer? Find out why swimming is a seaworthy way to fitness, then try our solutions for sidestepping those excuses and getting into the swim:

How Swimming Keeps You Fit

Provides a good aerobic workout: The cardiovascular benefits of swimming and aquatic exercise are similar to other aerobic activities such as running and cycling.

Tones the whole body: Water offers 12 to 14 percent more resistance than air, so water is a good substitute for weights. In addition, all swimming strokes tone the muscles of both your upper and lower body.

Improves and maintains flexibility: Swimming enhances joint flexibility more readily than with land-based programs, especially in the neck, shoulders, hips and midsection. Much of this is thanks to the repetitive twisting movements, as your body turns from side to side during the crawl, backstroke and butterfly.

Mobilizes joints without stress and pain: In water you are 90 percent lighter than in air and that makes your body buoyant. The water supports the body while providing a head-to-toe workout that puts joints through their full range of motion -- even if they're inflamed -- without the problem of gravity. So swimming can be ideal if you're obese, pregnant, have chronic back or joint problems or suffer from a sports injury.

Stimulates muscle growth: Although not considered an effective activity for increasing bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, swimming does provides a stimulus for muscle growth because of the resistance working against the water. Stronger muscles mean improved mobility and support for the joints, which in turn can reduce the risk of falls and fractures. If you need to build bone, walking can be a good complement.

Helps with weight loss: Water workouts have a calorie-burning potential of 350 to 450 calories per hour. Combined with a healthy diet, swimming will help fat loss and increase muscle mass to give your body a lean, firm, well-defined appearance. Compare land walking, which burns 135 calories every 30 minutes with deep-water walking, which burns 240 calories per half hour.

Stress reliever: Swimming can be good for the mind as well as the body. The soothing aspects of water can help ebb away the days tensions!

Solutions For Your Swimming Excuses

Excuse #1: “Swimming is boring.”

Solution: Instead of doing only laps, shake it up. Vertical water training effectively strengthens your muscles, providing 75 percent more resistance than simply swimming. You'll maximize the drag effect of the water, whereas swimming minimizes resistance. If you're not comfortable in the deep end, also try these alternatives:

Water aerobics: This type of water exercise involves total body movements to music in shallow or deep water.

Water walking/jogging: This involves step and arm moves in waist- to chest-deep water. You can do it with head and shoulders above water, or in the deep water wearing a floatation device.

Water toning/strengthening training: Movement of the upper and lower body using the water as resistance will strengthen, firm, and sculpt the muscles. You can make larger movements when you're buoyant.

Wall exercises: Using the pool wall for support allows you to isolate various parts of the body.

Excuse #2: “My eyes get red and sore.”

Solution: This effect is due to the chlorinated water. Purchase a pair of comfortable goggles. Your eyes and visual health will thank you for them. There are dozens of different goggle brands and styles on the market. You can even get prescription goggles!

Excuse #3: “I don't like getting my hair or face wet.”

Solution: Secure your hair on top of your head or wear a bathing cap. While the cap doesn't keep all the water out, it helps keep hair dry and healthy. Chlorine can remove natural oils in your skin and hair, making them look dull and dry. If you have light hair, a cap can also prevent hair from turning green due to high concentrations of copper dissolved in the pool water. Try water exercises such as water aerobics or water jogging to keep your face drier.

Excuse #4: “I don't feel comfortable wearing a swimsuit.”

Solution: This is a common problem for people who are both average and overweight, but don't let worries that others are scrutinizing your body stop you from taking advantage of the wet and wild fun! Attend public pools with a friend to build your confidence.

Excuse #5: “I get breathless after one lap, even though I'm in shape.”

Solution: New swimmers tend to sprint a lap or two, exhausting themselves and ending the exercise session prematurely -- and maybe permanently. Start out by alternately swimming and resting; swim for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend moving until you can comfortably swim for 20 to 30 minutes without rest.

Excuse #6: “I can't swim!”

Solution: Plenty of local pools and the YMCA (www.ymca.com) offer swimming lessons for a range of experience, as well as a variety of water activities that do not require a good command of swimming. Your stroke doesn't have to be perfect, but the more technically correct it is, the better the workout you will get. Here is a description of the swimming strokes, all of which can give you a good workout:

Front crawl. In this stroke, alternating over-arm strokes and the flutter kick are used, while your head is above the water and moving from side to side

Backstroke. Lying on your back, this stroke requires alternate over-the-head arm strokes and a flutter kick.

Breaststroke. In the breaststroke, a frog kick is used while the arms move from a point in front of the head to shoulder level.

Butterfly. The most difficult and exhausting stroke, the butterfly employs the dolphin kick with a windmill-like movement of both arms in unison.

Sidestroke. This relaxed movement, which entails a forward underwater stroke and a scissors kick, is performed with the body on one side.

*http://www.howtobefit.com/swimming-weight-loss.htm

PHOTO:http://www.huntersglen.com/residents/files/images/Water%20Aerobic%201.JPG

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 6/10/10 Change and Goal Setting



SMART Goal Setting*



When preparing your development plan or setting personal and/or professional goals, it’s important to make sure that your goals have enough S.M.A.R.T.s to help you reach and achieve them! When setting a goal, be sure that it meets the SMART goal criteria outlined below:
S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Realistic T = Timely

Specific

Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.

Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.

WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc.

WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?

HOW are you going to do it? (By...)

Ensure the goals you set are very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2cm off your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.

Measurable

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; however, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.

Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! "I want to read 3 chapter books of 100 pages on my own before my birthday" shows the specific target to be measure. "I want to be a good reader" is not as measurable.

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.

Attainable

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop that attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Your begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won't commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it's too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.

A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn't achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you've achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.

The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.

Realistic

This is not a synonym for "easy." Realistic, in this case, means "do-able." It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn't break them.

Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, crisps and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.

For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.
Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren't very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!

Timely

Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don't set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there's no urgency to start taking action now.

Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART, is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives

*http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/goal-setting-tutorials/smart-goal-setting
PHOTO:http://harvest.cals.ncsu.edu/applications/newsletter/WebFile/GoalSetting.jpg

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 6/10/10 Change and Excuses With VIDEO



Why Is It So Hard to Change?* Steve Olson

Why is it so hard to change? To lose weight? To quit smoking? To get in shape? To change negative character traits? There are many reasons. And I don’t have all the answers, but I can share what I’ve learned over the last 39 years.

The biggest reason we fail to create the lives we want is because we continually make excuses. But why do we make excuses which trap us? Personal change is actually quite simple. It only requires five high level steps:

1. Identify the thing you want to change about yourself
2. Decide to change it
3. Garner help and information from other people who have successfully made the same change
4. Build and execute a plan of action using this information and the help of others
5. If you fail, go back to step #3, tweak your plan, and repeat until you produce the desired results.

Most people quit in the middle of #3 and I have discovered one reason why. Since I began my personal development blog 18 months ago, other writers have been telling me to read “The Games people Play” by Eric Berne. I finally read it this week and it revealed an eye opening psychological game we play regarding excuses.

Eric Berne didn’t buy into this “victimology” that people are “powerless” over their lives. He believed that we can change ourselves because we are the most powerful force in our lives. Eric Berne created a form of psychoanalysis he named Transactional Analysis. I won’t explain the details here, except to say that we all play psychological games with other people to get our emotional needs met. Not all, but most of these games create negative experiences in our lives. These games were programmed into our subconscious during childhood, so as adults we are unaware we are playing games. Unfortunately these negative games tend to create a negative “script” for our lives.

One of the first games Dr. Berne discovered is also the most heavily researched. From Wikipedia: Why Don’t You/Yes But

The first such game theorized was Why don’t you/Yes, but in which one player (White) would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer solutions (the “Why don’t you?” suggestion). This game was noticed as many patients played it in therapy and psychiatry sessions, and inspired Berne to identify other interpersonal “games”. White would point out a flaw in every Black player’s solution (the “Yes, but” response), until they all gave up in frustration.

White: I wish I could lose some weight.
Black: Why don’t you join a gym?
W: Yes but, I can’t afford the payments for a gym.
B: Why don’t you speed walk around your block after you get home from work?
W: Yes but, I don’t dare walk alone in my neighborhood after dark.
B: Why don’t you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator?
W: Yes but, after my knee surgery, it hurts too much to walk that many flights of stairs.
B: Why don’t you change your diet?
W: Yes but, my stomach is sensitive and I can tolerate only certain foods.

“Why Don’t You, Yes But” can proceed indefinitely, with any number of players in the Black role, until Black’s imagination is exhausted, and he or she can think of no other solutions. At this point, White “wins” by having stumped Black. After a silent pause following Black’s final suggestion, the game is often brought to a formal end by a third role, Green, who makes a comment such as, “It just goes to show how difficult it is to lose weight.”

Doesn’t that sound familiar? I’m sure we’ve all been on both sides of this game at one time or another. We play these games because we get an emotional “payoff.”

The emotional payoff of Why Don’t You, Yes But:

1. Protection of the ego. You’re the “winner”. It makes you feel like you’ve “beaten” the solution provider. It demonstrates that you, the person seeking answers, are not inadequate but instead the solution provider is inadequate. It is a form of competitive excuse making. Remember, this isn’t conscious, it’s subconscious. Most people who play this game have a subconscious fear of surrender and to accept any answer is to surrender. Your desire to be in total control is greater than your desire to learn.

2. Avoiding feelings of guilt. Accepting a solution means there is an answer to your problem, thus you can rid yourself of the problem. So this game is effective at avoiding guilt (and some say personal responsibility which is frequently confused with guilt – you can be responsible without being guilty).

Sometimes we play this game with ourselves. I know I have. I think about a problem and then I shoot down every solution which rises into my consciousness and then I go back to living the way I’ve always lived, until the negative consequences rear their head, and then I play the game again.

Some strategies… I’m not an expert at de-programming the sub-conscious mind, but I can give you some ideas.

• Identify when you are playing the game. If someone is seeking a solution to a personal problem and every solution is shot down, you are probably playing the game.
• Identify if you are playing the role of excuse maker or solution provider
• If you are playing the role of excuse maker, stop yourself and consciously force yourself to accept a solution. Tell the solution provider, “Now that is a great idea. I’ll try that.” See how it makes you feel. If the idea is reasonable, put it into action, and the next time you find yourself making excuses, accept a solution again. With enough practice you’ll break your negative habit and your life will begin to change.
• If you are playing the role of solution provider and you’ve offered several reasonable solutions and they are refused, stop playing. Instead say, “Wow, that is a tough problem, what are you going to do about it.” This response will likely leave the excuse maker at a complete loss of words. It may even wake him up to the game he is playing.

To live the life you want, you must stop playing destructive games. But what makes giving up games so difficult is that we tend to surround ourselves with people who play the same games we do. Sometimes we will find, if we stop playing destructive games our current relationships evaporate because they weren’t based on true intimacy, they were based on game play. This is most obvious with alcoholics and drug addicts, but it can happen to anyone with ingrained destructive patterns, even overeating.

Ultimately, in life, we are trying to fill the time between the nursery and the mortuary with something meaningful. Games give us phony meaning. So if you are on journey of personal growth, learning to live a game-free life is worth the effort, because the rewards pay a thousandfold more than any futile game. On the inverse side of game play is a life filled with awareness, spontaneity, and intimacy. A life which doesn’t repeat the same monotonous script until tragedy strikes. I encourage you to join me on this quest for personal freedom.

*http://www.craigharper.com.au/philosophical-spiritual/why-is-it-so-hard-to-change/
PHOTO:http://voicecats.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/back_bone_shiver_-_no-excuses-480.gif

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 6/10/10 Why is Change So Hard WITH VIDEO




Why is change so hard?* By Johnny Diaz

Eat healthier. Exercise twice a week. Read more books. Lose weight. We make the same resolutions every year, but why is following through such a challenge?

If Jim Novetta could change something in his life, he'd stop smoking. He's tried several times but failed. "After doing it so long, you look forward to your next cigarette," said the 42-year-old Everett man. The longest he's lasted without a cigarette? Three days. "My challenge is myself."

For most of us, the New Year is synonymous with change. We use January 1st as a benchmark to usher in a list of lofty resolutions. Pay off debt. Spend less. Work out. Lose weight.

Yet most of us fail, petering out after only a few days or, at best, weeks. Even the most successful among us, those who've climbed to the pinnacle of their fields, crash and burn when it comes to personal change. Oprah Winfrey, who's built nothing less than an empire of self-help, recently admitted she'd gained back 40 pounds. President-elect Barack Obama struggles to snuff out his cigarette habit.

So why is change so challenging? Are we wired in a way that keeps us from making changes? And do we need the support of others to implement our goals, or can we go it alone?

Professionals who help people make changes in their lives suggest that the anatomy of change is determined not by one's surroundings, but one's mindset. Beginning with small goals or steps usually leads to a bigger payoff later, they say. And trying to make a change is easier with support from a cheery group of friends, family, or co-workers with shared goals. But they caution that the experience is different for everyone.

A recent, highly publicized study that found that happiness can lift the mood of a person's extended network of friends also reported that same support base can influence change in someone's personal life.

"People are more likely to make positive changes in their lives not only when their friends do, but when their friends of friends do, and when their friends of friends of friends do," Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard University and co-author of the study, wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. "The Biggest Loser," the popular NBC reality show where people compete in a group to lose weight, is one such example. They embark on the experience with rah-rah encouragement from friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.

"People are better able to make changes in their lives - lose weight, quit smoking, become happy - when they do this with a large number of other people," he added. "Social networks have this interesting property of magnifying whatever they are seeded with, and so taking advantage of your social network ties can result in a magnification of your own efforts."

Jhonny Augustin understands that well. His resolution for 2008 was to shed 30 pounds from his 237-pound frame. But the change didn't come easily. "I'm a huge procrastinator," said the 24-year-old criminal psychology student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. "I kept putting it off until tomorrow. I didn't get to do it until the summer."

That's when he saw his older brother working out. Augustin got inspired. Today, Augustin weighs 190 pounds. "I read that it only takes 21 days to get into the motion of things. It's easier for me now to work out," he said.

Of course, change can happen only if people don't set their expectations too high or try to tackle too many changes at once; one of the biggest mistakes we make is setting unrealistic goals, said Dalia Llera, a psychologist and associate professor of counseling and psychology at Lesley University.

"You can't accomplish in a few weeks what you haven't accomplished in a few years," said Llera, of Jamaica Plain. "People set themselves up and then get discouraged because they failed in their attempts to make the changes they were hoping for. We have to take small steps."

Former Marine Charla McMillian subscribes to the baby-steps approach. People should keep their changes small and simple, she says, especially if those changes are focused on shedding pounds and getting into shape.

McMillian runs FitBoot exercise classes in Boston where she trains small groups of students in structured boot-camp drills - and she tells her clients to practice what she preaches. "When you start off with this gigantic plan in place, it's really a set-up for failure," she said. "It becomes so abstract. 'I am going to get in shape in 2009.' But what does that mean?"

McMillian finds that people invest in new work-out equipment and gym memberships believing that will do the trick, when all it takes is something as simple as "rolling out of bed and banging out a set of 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups."
"Once you've established a habit," she continued, "and that you've gotten up at a certain time, you've shown that you can execute something simple and you can build from there."

Having a positive attitude is one of the keys to making a successful change, according to Judy Zerafa, author of several books based on how people can improve their lives. In her "Seven Keys to Success" program, she underscores the importance of believing in yourself - and having positive habits, creative imagination, and persistence - to make change happen.

"Success in overcoming any self-defeating behavior particularly those related to health, finances, relationships and weight loss is almost guaranteed if you learn to reprogram the subconscious images in that part of the mind," Zerafa said in an e-mail.

Boston life coach Mary Kay Duffy believes that change can be extremely difficult for some people because they are "settled in a personal framework," meaning they tend to be passive when dealing with issues.

She suggests that people start a journal on what things may be troubling them. She also suggests that people prioritize and draft a timeline that allows for realistic goals. Jenny Johnson, 26, is trying to do that now after failing to follow through on last year's resolution: to quit eating candy. "I have an enormous sweet tooth," Johnson said. "This was my way of being healthy." But Johnson didn't last a weekend, surrendering to a box of Raisinets. Soon enough, she was back to munching on Tootsie Rolls, Sour Patch Kids, and Charleston Chews. She says she now sees where she went wrong.

"Instead of doing something that is more possible, you go to the extreme and you set yourself up for failure," said the cohost of NECN's "TV Diner." For 2009, she plans to keep her resolution relatively simple: Go to the gym twice a week.

"That will give me an opportunity to succeed and I will feel good about it," she added. "And maybe next year, I will try quitting candy again."

*http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/articles/2009/01/01/why_is_change_so_hard/
PHOTO: http://berenschotstrategies.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/change-management1.jpg

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting June 3, 2010 Diabetes Information


I'd like to thank one of our group members who spoke on Diabetes. The following are supplemetal hand-outs that I encourage you all to read.

Pre-Diabetes FAQs*

Q: What is pre-diabetes and how is it different from diabetes?
A: Pre-diabetes is the state that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. About 11 percent of people with pre-diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program standard or control group developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average 3 years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years.

Q: Is pre-diabetes the same as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose?
A: Yes. Doctors sometimes refer to this state of elevated blood glucose levels as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IGT/IFG), depending on which test was used to detect it.

Q: Why do we need to give it a new name? Has the condition changed?
A: The condition has not changed, but what we know about it has. We are giving IGT/IFG a new name for several reasons. Pre-diabetes is a clearer way of explaining what it means to have higher than normal blood glucose levels. It means you are likely to develop diabetes and may already be experiencing the adverse health effects of this serious condition. People with pre-diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. People with pre-diabetes have a 1.5-fold risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people with normal blood glucose. People with diabetes have a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We now know that people with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes.

Q: How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?
A: Doctors can use either the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to detect pre-diabetes. Both require a person to fast overnight. In the FPG test, a person's blood glucose is measured first thing in the morning before eating. In the OGTT, a person's blood glucose is checked after fasting and again 2 hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink.

Q: How does the FPG test define diabetes and pre-diabetes?
A: Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100 mg/dl. A person with pre-diabetes has a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl. If the blood glucose level rises to 126 mg/dl or above, a person has diabetes.

Q: How does the OGTT define diabetes and pre-diabetes?
A: In the OGTT, a person's blood glucose is measured after a fast and 2 hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. Normal blood glucose is below 140 mg/dl 2 hours after the drink. In pre-diabetes, the 2-hour blood glucose is 140 to 199 mg/dl. If the 2-hour blood glucose rises to 200 mg/dl or above, a person has diabetes.

Q: Which test is better?
A: According to the expert panel, either test is appropriate to identify pre-diabetes.

Q: Why do I need to know if I have pre-diabetes?
A: If you have pre-diabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent through changes to their lifestyle that include modest weight loss and regular exercise. The expert panel recommends that people with pre-diabetes reduce their weight by 5-10 percent and participate in some type of modest physical activity for 30 minutes daily. For some people with pre-diabetes, intervening early can actually turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range.

Q: Will my insurance cover testing and treatment?
A: Because all insurance plans are different, this is a difficult question to answer. However, Medicare and most insurance plans cover diabetes testing for people suspected of having diabetes. People at risk for diabetes are also at risk for pre-diabetes. Since the test is the same and the risk factors are the same for both conditions, a pre-diabetes test may be covered. It is best to consult your physician and health insurance representative with specific coverage questions.

Q: What is the treatment for pre-diabetes?
A: Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10 percent of total body weight) through diet and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don't worry if you can't get to your ideal body weight. A loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at a 50 percent increased risk for heart disease or stroke, so your doctor may wish to treat or counsel you about cardiovascular risk factors, such as tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Q: Who should get tested for pre-diabetes?
A: If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for pre-diabetes during your next routine medical office visit. If your weight is normal and you're over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate. For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor may recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes or pre-diabetes. These include high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or belonging to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes.

Q: How often should I be tested?
A: If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, it is reasonable to be checked every 3 years. If you have pre-diabetes, you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every 1-2 years after your diagnosis.

Q: Could I have pre-diabetes and not know it?
A: Absolutely. People with pre-diabetes don't often have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don't know it because symptoms develop so gradually, people often don't recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of diabetes include unusual thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision, or a feeling of being tired most of the time for no apparent reason.

Q: Should children be screened for pre-diabetes?
A: We are not recommending screening children for pre-diabetes because we don't have enough evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in children at high risk for the disease. However, a study published in the March 14, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found 25 percent of very obese children and 21 percent of very obese adolescents had pre-diabetes. If future studies show that early intervention also works for children, a recommendation could be forthcoming.

*www.diabetes.org

Diabetes Forecast

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers

Meal Planning Made Simple*
By Tracey Neithercott

DOCTOR'S ORDERS: You need to completely change the way you think about food. Eat healthy. Watch the carbs. Stick to a meal plan. OK—but what does that mean?

Too often, people newly diagnosed with diabetes are told they need to develop better eating habits without being given specific information about how to do it on a day-to-day—or meal-to-meal—basis. It’s like telling someone who’s never been behind the wheel to drive a car down the interstate. The general idea is easy to understand, but the logistics are insurmountable.

Eating well with diabetes doesn’t have to be as difficult as that. But it’s going to take some work on your part, and perhaps even a new attitude. If you keep dwelling on what you can’t do instead of what you can, you’ll hinder your ability to manage your diabetes. But once you’re willing to learn a little bit about nutrition, carbohydrates, and meal planning, you’re ready. “You have to start here with a commitment and make your diabetes a priority,” says Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a dietitian with the Lake County (Ill.) Health Department. She and other experts helped us develop the healthy-eating primer that follows.

5 Steps to Meal-Planning Success

1. Visualize Your Plate 2.Count Carbs 3. Watch Those Portion Sizes 4.Consider Nutrition 5. Keep Learning

Strategy No. 1: Visualize Your Plate

What’s It Look Like?

Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, created these sample meals based on the plate method. Dinner (above): 1 cup broccoli; 2 to 3 oz. baked chicken; 1 small baked potato; 1 tsp. margarine for potato; 1 (6 oz.) container nonfat, sugar-free yogurt; ½ mango

How To Do It:

The most basic meal-planning tool is the “plate method.” It’s pretty simple: Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables like broccoli, peppers, and snow peas; fill a quarter of your plate with lean meat, such as fish or chicken breast; and cover the final quarter of your plate with carbs, including grains or starchy veggies like corn and potatoes. On the side, you can also have a serving of low-fat dairy (like skim milk or low-fat yogurt) or soymilk and a serving of fruit, such as an apple or a half cup of berries. You can add a small amount of fat to the meal, but avoid saturated fats, such as in butter. Check out the photo above for an example.

Next: Count Carbs

Strategy No. 2: Count Carbs

What’s It Look Like?

Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy, created these sample dishes based on the carb-counting system. The breakfast portion has about 55 grams of carbs; lunch has about 60. Lunch: Tuna salad made with ½ cup (2 oz.) tuna packed in water, 1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. diced celery, 1 Tbsp. diced onions, tomato slices, 2 slices whole wheat bread; 1 cup zucchini; 1 cup fat-free milk; ½ large apple

How To Do It:

Following the plate method is a good way to learn how to balance your diet, but many people who take insulin use another tool: carbohydrate counting. Foods like crackers, oatmeal, apples, and bread all contain carbohydrates, one of your body’s main energy sources. Your dietitian, diabetes educator, or doctor will help you determine how much carbohydrate you should get per meal—say, 40 to 60 grams—for optimal blood glucose control. (You can also use carb counting to figure out how much insulin to take at meals, as explained here.)

Though carb counting focuses on the amount of carbohydrates in each meal or snack, you still need to pay attention to overall nutrition. “The meal plan that you have is somewhat of a puzzle,” says Debby Johnson, RD, LD, CDE, coaching manager and nutrition coach for the diabetes Web site Fit4D, who has type 1 diabetes. But it’s not a particularly complicated one: “If you can have 40 grams of carbohydrates, it’s a puzzle of do I want two servings of fruit and one serving of rice? Or two servings of rice and one serving of fruit?” Pick healthier carbs over junk food; an apple and a half cup of ice cream both have 15 grams of carbohydrates, but the apple is a smarter choice.

If carb counting seems daunting at first, understand that it’s a process you’ll continually get better at. “You learn which are foods that have carbohydrates,” says Smithson, who has had type 1 diabetes for 41 years. “You learn what the portions are for a 15-gram serving.”

Next: Watch Those Portion Sizes

Strategy No. 3: Watch Those Portion Sizes

There’s an overarching message that everyone—not just those with diabetes—should keep in mind: Portion control is key. Restaurants in particular can pack two or three servings onto one jumbo plate. But despite what they may have you believe, the recommended serving of meat is only 3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. A serving of pasta or rice should be the size of a clenched fist. A baked potato should be about the size of your computer mouse. A cup of veggies is the size of a baseball, a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter is equivalent to a ping-pong ball, and an ounce of cheese is the size of four dice. “It’s a bit of a learning process,” says Smithson. “You’ll get to a point where you know what a serving size is. In the beginning, you may need to look it up.”

• 1 cup steamed green beans or 1 cup low-fat yogurt is the size of a baseball
• 1 cup brown rice is the size of a light bulb
• 2 to 3 oz. grilled salmon is the size of a deck of cards
• 1 oz. dried fruit is the size of a golf ball

Next: Consider Nutrition

Strategy No. 4: Consider Nutrition

What’s It Look Like?

Get a feel for a full day of healthy eating by following the sample plan created by Debby Johnson, RD, LD, CDE, coaching manager and nutrition coach for the diabetes Web site Fit4D. It boasts a balance of carbs, fat, and protein and averages 1,400 calories for women and 1,700 calories for men.

Breakfast
½ cup cooked oatmeal
¾ cup blueberries
1 whole egg and 1 egg white, scrambled
1 cup (8 oz.) 1% milk
Coffee
(Men: Add a cup more cooked oatmeal)
Total Carbs
Women: 40 grams
Men: 55 grams Lunch
2 slices light whole wheat bread
2 oz. turkey
1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese
Mustard
4 oz. apple
1 cup (6 oz.) nonfat yogurt
1 cup baby carrots
2 Tbsp. light ranch dressing
Caffeine-free diet soda
(Men: Add ¾ oz. tiny pretzels)
Total Carbs
Women: 45 grams
Men: 60 grams Dinner
3 oz. broiled pork chop
2/3 cup brown rice
¼ cup brown gravy
½ cup steamed green beans
1 cup salad
1 Tbsp. Italian dressing
1½ cup light or no-sugar-added
ice cream
Decaf unsweetened iced tea
(Men: Add 1/3 cup more rice)
Total Carbs
Women: 60 grams
Men: 75 grams Snack
½ cup sliced peaches in light syrup
¼ cup 1% cottage cheese
Total Carbs
15 grams

How To Do It:
Whichever meal-planning tools you use, keep in mind the basic nutrition recommendations that all Americans should follow. “What we need to talk to people about is healthy eating and behavior changes,” says Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy. Aim to get a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at each meal, and pay attention to the source of these nutrients. Warshaw suggests getting 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat. (The sample menu above to this recommendation.)

Lean meat always trumps fattier cuts when it comes to protein because it has less saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Whole grains and fruits are better than refined grains, fruit juice, and fruit in syrup when you’re considering carbs. Low-fat dairy is a better source of protein than the full-fat variety, so stick with skim or 1 percent milk and cheese, and low-fat or nonfat yogurt. And monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, canola oil, and avocados, are better for your heart than the saturated fats found in butter, red meat, and cheese. “There is no perfect food,” says Johnson. “It’s about balance.”

Next: Keep Learning

Strategy No. 5: Keep Learning

The preceding strategies might be the most common meal-planning tools, but they’re not the only way to judge the nutrition content of what you eat. If you haven’t found your ideal method yet, it’s worth investigating other options. One size truly does not fit all.

The exchange system, for example, helps people balance their diet by controlling the number of carbohydrates as well as calories in a meal. Foods are grouped into categories with similar nutrient content—such as starches, carbohydrates, nonstarchy veggies, fruits, fats, and meat. Within each group, you can exchange one item for another because all foods have roughly equal carbs, fat, protein, and calories.
Another tool you may hear of is the glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly carbohydrates raise blood glucose. Foods with a high GI raise glucose levels faster than those with a low GI do. For example, a potato with 15 grams of carbs might raise your blood glucose quicker than an apple with 15 grams.

Whatever method you choose, remember that a meal plan isn’t about dieting—it’s a lifestyle change. Enlist the help of a dietitian to better understand which foods are the most nutritious. Check out ADA’s My Food Advisor for comprehensive nutrition information on thousands of foods. Or join a support group to trade meal-planning tips with other people with diabetes. “A lot of it is experimentation,” says Johnson. “It’s learning your body. You kind of have to be your own scientist.”

http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/features/meal-planning-made-simple

Photo:http://nanomegamedical.com/images/type2_diagram.jpg

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival June 6, 2010

Sunday Snippets a Catholic Carnival highlights various Catholic Blogs.

My highlighted entry for this week, talks about the true meaning of Memorial Day with the blog - It's Not About the Hot Dogs!
Pray It Off

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

Sunday Snippets

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 6/3/10 Speed Walking WITH VIDEO





What is speed walking?*

“Without a doubt, walking is good exercise. But if you want a great exercise, try speed walking or its stepped-up cousin, racewalking. These activities increase your caloric burn rate without the joint-jarring effects of jogging.

Simply put, speed walking - sometimes called power walking, fitness walking, health walking, exercise walking, or striding - is walking very fast without running. Arms are swung in pace with the stride, and one foot is on the ground at all times. Your stride is slightly longer and considerably quicker than in a leisurely stroll. Speed walkers generally walk at a pace of 3.5 to 5.5 mph.

Racewalkers travel even faster, from 5 to 9 mph, although some competitive racewalkers can cover a mile in as little as 6 minutes. The object of racewalking, according to the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, is to move your body ahead as quickly as possible without running and avoid the up-down motions of regular walking.

How many calories does speed walking burn? The number of calories burned during a speed-walking workout depends on such factors as your weight, the length of your workout, and how vigorously you swing your arms.

Walking at a brisk pace of 4.5 mph on level terrain burns about 440 calories per hour if you weigh 150 pounds. You'd burn about the same number of calories by running slowly. Heavier people burn more calories per hour no matter what activity they are engaged in; lighter people burn fewer. Walking on gravel or grass burns slightly more calories than walking on a treadmill, according to the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. Another way to burn more calories is to speed walk on hilly terrain or on an inclined treadmill.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, walking harder or faster only slightly increases the calories spent. A better way to burn up more calories is to increase the time spent walking.

Advantages Advantages of speed walking several times a week are manifold. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who walked 1 to 3 hours a week were 30% less likely to develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack compared with sedentary women. Women who walked 3 hours weekly were 35% less likely to have heart problems. Walking 5 or more hours a week reduced the risk of heart problems by more than 40%.

According to champion racewalker and certified exercise leader Bonnie Stein, racewalking provides a lower- and upper-body workout because of the accentuated use of the back, shoulders, and arms.

Speed walkers and racewalkers also enjoy a low injury rate. "Because of the smooth and fluid stride, the body lands with much less force than in running - resulting in less pounding on the feet, legs, knees, hips, and back," states The First Walking and Nutrition Newsletter. It was edited by Stein and Page Love-Johnson, a registered dietitian, author, and certified health and fitness instructor. And, the newsletter points out, if you keep an erect posture, you are unlikely to develop back problems.

As with other forms of aerobic exercise, speed walking for 20 to 60 minutes, three or more times a week, provides stress-relief and other psychological benefits. Other advantages: Speed walking is independent and inexpensive. You don't need a partner or a team. All you need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a place to walk - be it a park, track, treadmill, the local mall, or your own neighborhood.

Disadvantages If you walk too slowly, it can be difficult to raise your heart rate enough to derive the same cardiovascular benefits provided by other forms of aerobic exercise.

Depending where you live and work, you may lack access to a safe place to speed walk for long distances. Unless you have access to a treadmill, mall, or an indoor track, maintaining your speed-walking schedule may be difficult during inclement weather. Another potential downside is boredom, as walking is monotonous to some people.

Speed walking or racewalking can lead to foot pain if the soles of your walking shoes are worn or too thin, if they provide inadequate arch support, are too loose around your heels, or lack shock absorbency, according to Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, published by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. If you usually wear shoes with heels greater than 2 inches, you may experience heel pain when you switch to walking shoes, the Mayo publication states.

Who should participate? The beauty of speed walking is that almost every ambulatory person can do it. Speed walking is also a great family activity.
You should probably consult your physician or foot specialist before beginning a speed-walking program if you are flat-footed, or have a high arch or a gait abnormality. According to the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, these problems can cause your weight to be distributed unevenly as you speed walk. This can lead to plantar fascia, a painful inflammation of the soles of your feet.

Learning to speed walk Many people teach themselves to speed walk by increasing their usual walking pace and swinging, or "pumping" their arms vigorously. For those concerned with perfecting their technique, there are walking clinics and books about walking. One such book is Healthwalk to Fitness by Jake Jacobson (HeartFit Books, 1999), which also includes information on warming up, cooking down, stretching, nutrition, and other topics.

Racewalking technique is more difficult to master. Like speed walkers, racewalkers do not let themselves become airborne, as runners do. What makes racewalking unique is that the supporting leg is kept unbent from the time the foot touches the ground in front of you until the moment it passes under your body. Racewalkers also accentuate their arm swing and move their torso and pelvis in a rhythmic, albeit peculiar-looking manner.

Posture is important in both speed walking and racewalking. The torso is kept upright yet relaxed throughout each stride. The head remains in a neutral position; you are not looking down or up. In racewalking, your footfalls should be aligned, and your hips, which drive your stride, should be rotating horizontally with very little vertical movement. Some walking clubs offer speed walking and racewalking clinics.

Speed walking guidelines Talk to your doctor. Despite speed walkers' low injury rate, consult your physician before beginning this or any other exercise regimen. Obtaining medical clearance is especially important if you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems.

Heed your pain. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports advises walkers to listen to their body when they walk. "If you develop dizziness, pain, nausea, or any other unusual symptom, slow down or stop," council literature states. "If the problem persists, see your physician before walking again."

Don't forget to stretch. To reduce your risk for muscle strains and other injuries, be sure to warm up, stretch, and cool down properly. To warm up, walk for several minutes at a relatively slow pace to increase blood circulation through your muscles. Then gently stretch your calves, shins, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, arms, and shoulders. Slow down your pace during the last few minutes of your walking session to cool down, and then repeat your stretching routine.

Safety in numbers. If there are no safe places to walk alone near your home or workplace, join a speed walkers club. Or find one or two friends or coworkers who also enjoy walking, and hammer out a walking schedule that works for everyone. Speed walking in pairs or groups fights monotony and motivates you to speed walk regularly. Keep left. You may need to speed walk on the street if the sidewalks are uneven or absent. If you speed walk in the street, remember what you learned in scouting: Always walk along the left side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.

Be visible. Wear light colors or reflective tape on your clothing when speed walking. This is especially important if you walk in the road, at dusk, at night, or in foggy conditions. Fight boredom. Listen to your Walkman, focus on the natural beauty around you (if you are outside), meditate on a fixed point (if you are on a treadmill), or just allow yourself to get lost in your thoughts. Katherine R., an author and fitness-aficionado, says she takes brisk walks to deal with writer's block. And she doesn't consciously focus on the problem she is trying to solve; she simply clears her mind as she walks. This technique, she says, invariably leads to a breakthrough by the time she returns to her desk.

Stay challenged. As your physical conditioning improves, step up your pace and swing your arms more vigorously as you speed walk. The longer and faster you walk, the more fat you'll burn. Speed walking gear A good pair of walking shoes is the only "special equipment" a speed walker needs, although proper attire and walking adjuncts can make the walking experience more comfortable and intense, respectively.

Shoes. Wear shoes that are comfortable, supporting, and fit your feet well. If they are too loose or too tight, you could wind up with blisters, calluses, or foot pain. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, any pair of decent running shoes, particularly the training models with heavy soles, make good walking shoes. Other footwear options include lightweight trail or hiking boots, or casual shoes made with heavy rubber or crepe rubber soles.

Walking shoes should have arch supports and elevate your heels one half to three quarters of an inch above the sole of the foot. The shoe's uppers should be made of materials that "breathe," such as leather or nylon mesh.
If you speed walk several times a week, you will probably need to replace your walking shoes every 6 months or so.

Clothes. Weather will dictate the rest of your attire. In general, it is best to wear lighter clothing than temperatures seem to indicate. Speed walking generates lots of body heat, and you may become overheated if you are dressed too warmly. In cold weather, wear several layers of lightweight clothing than one or two heavy layers. The extra layers help trap heat, and they are easy to shed if you get too warm. A wool watch cap or ski cap also will help trap body heat and provide protection for the head in very cold temperatures.

Wear thick athletic socks made of 100% cotton or a cotton blend. Thicker socks provide a degree of padding that can help prevent foot injuries. Indoors, wear a tank top or T-shirt and comfortable shorts. Female speed walkers and racewalkers should wear a supportive sports bra.

Pedometer. If you like to track your walking distance, consider getting a pedometer. While these digital devices are generally accurate on flat routes, they may not be accurate when you walk on hilly terrain because the length of your stride changes.

Walking Adjuncts. To add intensity to your walking workout, you may wish to try a walking adjunct. Walking adjuncts are devices that add weight to your body or help you work your upper extremities. Walking poles, for example, are used like cross-country ski poles and help you exercise your arms as you walk.

John P. Porcari, PhD, FACSM, a professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, found that using walking poles increased the intensity of walking from 68% to 78% of maximal heart rate in a group of cardiac rehabilitation patients. The poles also increased their caloric expenditure by 22%, compared to walking without poles. In his study, pole users used an average of 45 more calories in a 30-minute workout.

Other walking adjuncts include hand weights, wrist weights, ankle weights, weighted gloves, and weighted vests. While these devices help you burn more calories, they also raise your risk for injury because they place more pressure on your joints with each stride.”

What is Speedwalking?*