Today is a different kind of food Friday post. A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook group about some of the challenges they’re facing right now. One person responded and said she struggles with losing weight. I figured that would be a great topic to blog about because a lot of us fall in this category. I’m not an expert in this area, but I wanted to make sure that if I created this blog post, it would provide useful information that will benefit my readers and cover issues that I think most of us struggle with when it comes to losing weight. So I decided to team up with Jen from @sostyled.Jen. I met Jen on social media late last year. And I mentioned her for the first time in this blog post. I knew she would be perfect for this topic so I had to collaborate with her. I interviewed Jen and asked her some of the top questions that I think each of you would want to know as it relates to losing the weight and keeping it off. See what she has to say below.
TL: Most of us love carbs, it’s one of my favorite comfort foods. But is it really all that bad? What are some examples of the types of carbs we should be eating?
JM: mmmm carbs are so emotional, aren’t they? In fact, carbs are a big category: gluten, corn, beans, starchy fruits and veggies are all types of carbs. The first two: gluten & corn are highly processed so most fiber and nutrients are processed right out of them, which leaves us with mostly empty calories. Beans and starchy fruits and veggies on the other hand are surrounded in fiber, vitamins and minerals all in their purest most natural form. Our bodies know what to do with this natural goodness and pulls out all of these properties to not only nourish our bodies but also begin to heal them.
TL: When I was in my 20s I use to work out an hour a day (sometimes two hours). Looking back, I can see that was a bit excessive. I just turned 40 and I can’t see myself doing more than an hour of working out a few times a week. What is the recommended amount of days we should workout during the week and is there a recommended time duration?
JM: Oh man do I hear ya on this one. At this stage of life, I feel exercise should energize you, not exhaust you. My exercise program @sostyled.jen is 30 minutes, 3x a week, and I give progressions for every exercise so any fitness level can do them. I think this cadence, 30m 3x a week, is a great place to start. Whichever program you choose, do so discriminatingly, make sure it is a type of exercise you like doing, if you like it you will stick with it. I think that’s the most important criteria, even if you only do it 10m 3x a week, GREAT, start there and build slowly over time. Be patient with yourself, you can’t go from 0-60 without passing through 1-59 first!
TL: I love the concept of body positivity because I think it’s important for us to accept who we are even if we want to make changes. In fact, I talk about self-acceptance in this blog post. Do you think body positivity plays a role in weight loss? If so, how?
JM: I recently saw a quote that resonated with me on this topic: “You can love the body you have, while working towards the body you want.” When my accountability and personal styling clients have trouble with this, we close our eyes and visualize the body they have right now then thank that body for all its done and accomplished. As women I think we focus so much on what needs to be fixed, we forget to love all that we’ve accomplished. Loving the body, we have now, forces us to celebrate all we have done. When we do this, we let go of our shame and dislike for what is, and focus our love and kindness on what can be. We can have both, do both.
TL: Any tips on how we can combat temptation?
JM: SUGAR! Everyone is going to hate me for saying this, but sugar is your #1 enemy. Sugar hijacks our brains pleasure center, every time we eat it our brain wants more, this is where our cravings come from, our brain is telling us it wants more of the good stuff. My aha moment came when I realized that between my 2 serving of gummy vitamins and my yogurt, I was having nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar a day and I hadn’t even gotten out of my PJs yet. If you want to combat temptation, take a hard look at the amount of sugar you are eating every day, you will be surprised by how much you are actually eating. The daily recommended amount is to keep it under 10 teaspoons per day.
TL: I’ll confess, I fall off and on the workout bandwagon often. Why do you think it’s so hard for some of us to stay motivated?
JM: Being a fitness professional I hear this a lot and really what it comes down to is simply our emotions. If you’re not moving in a way that makes you happy you will never look forward to it and then eventually, you’ll stop. If you don’t like running on the treadmill, don’t do that! Pick a type of exercise that you love doing with an instructor that excites you, it will lift your spirits not just your heart rate and you’ll look forward to your workout. If you do this, you won’t say “yes” to anything that makes you say “no” to your workout time.
TL: Let’s talk about procrastination. I’m also guilty of this. I spend many nights in bed telling myself I’m going to get a morning workout in but sometimes it doesn’t happen. And I’ll put it off until the afternoon, that evening, and sometimes the next day. Any advice on dealing with procrastination?
JM: I think procrastination and motivation go hand in hand. If your workout is something that lifts your spirits procrastination stops being a thing because you’ll be drawn to doing your workout instead of avoiding it.
TL: Some of us are older and everyone’s body type and flexibility is different. What are some workout routines that you can provide for people who fit in this category?
JM: In my opinion, I would say the top three categories would be: strength, balance and stretching. Strength training we’ve all heard about, the balance and stretch training are especially important and often overlooked. These two are so integral to how our bodies function; from walking, tying our shoes or how we recover from an unexpected slip. The low impact workouts I do @sostyled.jen incorporate all three using light weights or body weight for strength. We do exercises that introduce instability, which is the balance, and stretch throughout, while your muscles are warm and most receptive to a stretch. I suggest looking for these three components in any routine; they will not only support your weight loss goals but also your mobility and functionality especially as we age.
TL: How do we keep the weight off after we’ve reached our ideal weight? I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this. You lose it, and in about a year or so you gain it all back.
JM: Oh yes lots of us can relate to this. Weight loss and weight maintenance are so heavily tied to consistency, it really is key here. You must continue doing the good healthy habits and behavior changes that you made to lose the weight in the first place. You don’t stop once you’ve reached your ideal weight, you keep going, consistently making those good choices. But the good news is once you incorporate healthy habits into your everyday routine, those choices really do become effortless, over time. Also having an accountability partner can help keep you on track through all of the ups and downs. SO Accountable is my 1:1 program where we tailor plans to your specific goals.
TL: There are a lot of weight loss products and services out there that all claim to help us lose the weight fast. Which is better, changing your eating habits or going on a diet? Can you explain why one is better than the other?
JM: Changing your eating habits hands down. A diet implies there’s an end, you eat a certain way or use a certain product and you lose weight, then you stop which usually means rebound weight gain. Changing habits implies a shift in behavior. It’s more lasting because if your investing time and energy into positive behavior changes you are incorporating those changes into your daily routine and once that happens those positive healthy choices are no longer a thought or effort, they are just what you do, who you are.
TL: Do you have any tips for people who struggle with losing weight due to health issues (e.g. hypothyroidism)?
JM: First, I would always recommend consulting your doctor before starting any weight loss plan. Second, it is my opinion that eating real whole food, these are the foods that do not come in a box, bag or bottle or have nutrition labels, is the best course of action. If you were to cut out or significantly reduce processed food from your diet and replace it with a whole food, you will be so far ahead of the game. The best part is when you stop eating processed foods you will be amazed how satisfied you feel, and for longer, your cravings will wane (because you’ll be cutting out a ton of sugar) and you’ll just feel better.
TL: What is your favorite healthy but delicious recipe?
JM: Oh my goodness this is so hard to answer there are so many. The recipes that are most often in my rotation are: black beans over greens, chicken & veggie stir fry and sausage/white bean minestrone. I really could go on forever, every Sunday I post my favorite recipes on @sostyled.jen, they are all gluten & dairy free and are quick and easy to make. Today I’m making chili!
TL: What are three key weight loss takeaways that you want to provide to anyone who’s reading this?
JM: 1) Whole foods: Eat real whole food and reduce or eliminate as much processed food as you can. 2) Be patient and forgiving of yourself, your body’s not Amazon Prime, it won’t show up in 3 days. 3) Consistency! Be consistent with what and when you’re eating and choose exercise that makes you happy, remember if it makes you happy, you’ll want to do it consistently!
TL: One food you think we should all avoid and why?
JM: Processed food. I think this one shift has huge impacts not only on our weight but our health as well. Know what you’re eating by choosing whole foods. By eliminating or seriously reducing processed foods you are cutting out so many bad things. Everything from your weight loss efforts, to your exercise routine to your overall health will thank you for this one shift.
Thanks Jen! This was a delight to read and incredibly informative for me. A lot of the information you shared helped me connect a few dots like the information about sugar and losing momentum if you’re not doing an exercise regimen that you enjoy. I did kickboxing for a year and I loved it, but once I got close to the one year mark, I was over it. I think it’s because I felt pressure from myself to go five times a week. That pressure eventually lead to me dreading the classes instead of looking forward to them like I did in the beginning. Maybe three times a week for an hour would have been more than enough for me. If you’re interested in learning more, or if you’re interested in any of the programs that Jen offers, see below for additional details and information about her background.
Let’s Chat! Let me know if you would like to see more post like these.