No weight loss program would be complete without exercise. The research on exercise is voluminous and overwhelming. Our bodies and our minds need it. Period. However, even for those of us that have exercised for much of our life, there is still a right way and a wrong way to do things. There are also a few other exercise and diet myths that Michaels addresses in her book.
The Cheat Day: many diet programs and many dieters offer a cheat day as part of their regimen. The cheat day theory says that you stay on your diet for six days, and then have one day you just don’t worry about it. In fact, my wife and I have used this approach ourselves. The problem with the cheat day is that (a) you’ve usually eaten pretty well throughout the week so when you overload yourself with crap, you feel like crap; and (b) you tend to overeat so much on the cheat day that you give up all the ground you’ve gained by eating well (Michaels 28-29). Michaels suggests a cheat meal instead, followed by several healthy meals. That way you’re not depriving yourself.
Red red wine: we all know that a little red wine is good for you. Michaels suggests only a few glasses per week though (Michaels 31). She also encourages you not to drink your calories, i.e. beer, frappuccinos, and so forth. I have since limited my frap intake to about 1-2 Tall drinks per week – down from nearly 1 a day about a year ago. The problem with drinking your calories, and this includes protein shakes in my case, is that it doesn’t fill you up so you end up eating more.
As for exercise, Michaels has plenty of advice of course, but really it comes down to
(a) do what you enjoy so you’ll stick with it, (b) get the heart rate pumping and push yourself (or else you’re not improving) and (c) mix it up with some variety.
Your body will get used to the same thing over and over so mix it up. As I said, I use P90X and Insanity, plus P90X2 and 10-minute trainer (particularly on the road).
Spike your Food: The photo for this posting is of my desert (reward) from a long week of training in New York and then the next photo is of me spiking it with hot peppers. I told myself I would only eat part of this meal and since the waiter hasn’t come to take the remainder away, I’ve polluted it so I won’t eat anymore. This is one of Michaels’ suggestions but I can’t remember the page number or else I would cite it, but I’m giving her credit.
Since my wife does the shopping, I don’t have much I can do about that other than provide input, but here’s some of Michaels hints:
– Shop the store perimeter, that’s where the fruits and veggies, dairy, meat and fish are located (Michaels 71).
– Shop from the bottom shelves. That’s where the healthier, less processed foods tend to be.
– Don’t ever shop when you’re hungry (goes without saying, but hey, I said it) (Michaels 72).
– Don’t take the kids shopping with you (Michaels 73)
– Buy whole-grain versions of any and all grains (Michaels 74). Jillian says not to be fooled by labels like seven-grain, multigrain or organic flour, (Michaels 74), or even “made with whole grain.” It should say “100% whole grain and have the orange “whole grains,” stamp on it.”
– Keep sugar intake below 5g per serving (Michaels 85) and salt intake below 1,500 miligrams (Michaels app tracks this pretty well).
Based on my review I’m up to about another 16 points. It’s difficult counting some of these points as I don’t wear makeup, or else I could add a few points for not wearing certain types of makeup, and I use natural shampoo and conditioner, so I guess I get few points for not using chemicals on myself. However, I’m finding that in many of Jillian’s suggestions, I can only follow her recommendations part of the time – there are times when I need to eat something and the only thing available, or cooked for dinner, comes from a can or has hydrogenated oil or whatever. We’ll see if I can get to the desirable point total here by the end of this series.
Michaels, Jillian. Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss. New York: EM, 2013. Printby