I know it has been a very long time since I was last on here. I realised after a very short absence that I was somewhat being slack or distracted, and that I needed to get back on here. I made myself a note regarding ‘falling off the groove’ and ensuring one gets right back on. Clearly I didn’t take my own advice.

For a little while now I have been utilising the knowledge base built by many people and communicated via a great website. It’s US based (not that I have an issue with this, given I am Australian) but I just put my thinking hat on when they refer to pounds and inches. They have a great survey style application you can use that covers many aspects of life to help you determine your, wait for it, Real Age. Hence their name! They have loads of useful tips on managing stress, eating well, exercise etc, and there are a few items that have come through in the recent weekly email bulletins that I would like to share.

As I have said once in the past that I don’t know if anyone out there will ever read this, however I write with the intention of being clear, rather than like I am talking to myself. I mean no disrespect to the authors of the Real Age info, and try to refer to author names where they are provided. All info would be copyright to Real Age I am guessing, but I am conveying their information (hopefully to others) in a positive way and not plagiarising as though my own work. I am hoping to share this with others who may in turn sign up to the great website themselves.

>Taken from realage.com tips section:

Why Diets Don’t Work 

The next time a double-fudge brownie indulgence has you racked with guilt, remember this: Guilt just guarantees that brownie will go straight to your belly. How? By causing you to ditch healthy eating completely. A recent study revealed that feeling bad for backsliding may cause people to abandon weight loss efforts altogether. So tell that self-imposed guilt trip to hit the road. Just forgive yourself and move on.

Hello, Mr. Guilt-Free
In the recent study, researchers examined differing food attitudes and their impact on body composition. And the women in the study who were “guilt-ridden dieters” had a higher body mass index (BMI) than the women who tended not to be racked by guilt over occasional slips. This led researchers to suspect that guilt-ridden people adopt an “all-or-nothing” attitude with dieting. One misstep can lead to complete abandonment of their healthy-eating plans.

Busy, Impulsive, and Overweight
The researchers also singled out two other study groups that often had higher BMIs and body fat percentages: women too busy to cook and “impulsive eaters” — people who don’t pay close attention to what and how much they eat and use food to cope with stress, boredom, or negative emotions. Bottom line: Our food attitudes can have a pretty complicated impact on our weight and health. The study group that fared best? Women who tended to be focused on nutrition. So the take-home message here: Keep your eye on high-nutrition, high-fiber meals but be more tolerant of yourself. If you give in to an occasional junk food craving, don’t beat yourself up too much.

>And another tip:

Don’t Blame Yourself 

By RealAge

Most diets aren’t about action; they’re about thoughts. You spend so much time thinking about not having food, that you develop only two sets of standards when it comes to eating. Either you follow your diet or you don’t. It’s all or nothing. And once you’ve blown it and deviated even an inch from the plan, that’s it. You head back to the locker room, game over. Diet’s dead. Pass the fondue pot.

What’s worse, you point the finger squarely at yourself. Deep down in your gut, you blame yourself. Not the fast-food industry, not the unrealistic body images of magazine covers, not the 60-hour workweeks at a desk or the cloud-soft recliner and reality TV programs that keep you glued to the set — and sitting down — all night. You blame yourself. And you start to play the “if only” game.

If only you had the willpower to step away from the mayonnaise. If only you could stop after four Pringles. If only you had the power, the strength, the discipline, the chutzpah, the energy, the drive, the motivation to control your waist, then you’d finally have the body you want.

Ultimately, you blame your mind for not being strong enough to win over your waist. You’ve placed all the responsibility for dietary success or failure on your little 3-pound brain, and you’re ashamed that it wasn’t strong enough to go head-to-head with such formidable foes as deep-fried taco shells and fettuccine Alfredo.

But you can’t outwit nature. The truth is, your body is built for eating. It’s full of hormones and neurotransmitters whose jobs roughly translate into “pass the pound cake.” Here are just a few examples:

  • Overeating works a bit like drug addiction. Studies show that obese people have reward centers in their brain similar to the reward centers of drug addicts.
  • Stress eating is cyclical. When you eat to reduce stress, you activate the reward centers of your brain. When the feel-good effects wear off, you reach again for the thing that made you feel relaxed: food.
  • Heavy people respond differently to certain foods. For example, in heavy people, the parietal region of the brain — the control center for the tongue, lips, and mouth — is activated by sugar. In skinny people, it isn’t.
  • Some cravings are hardwired. When people on a rigid diet crave certain foods, the hippocampus lights up — triggering a willpower-busting memory of the food.

To expect that your will or your fortitude can override chemical messages like these is the equivalent of trying to stop a train with your pinkie.

To get on the road to waist management and stay there, you have to first strip away the guilt that comes with eating, the guilt that comes with diets, and the guilt that comes with occasionally enjoying foods that aren’t at the platinum level on healthy-eating charts.

And you have to start listening to your body and responding intelligently to your cravings and your emotions. You have to train your brain to stop obsessing about eating right — and stop punishing yourself for slipups.

Over time, you’ll learn what your body is saying and why, and you’ll learn how to eat right to manage those cravings. Because the unrecognized truth about dieting is that when you stop overthinking, you’ll stop overeating.

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Again, with insight from Realage.com, I plan to take their advice on another topic (below). I will make a plan to set aside half an hour every day. I will make sure I walk at home, either on the treadmill, cross (eliptical) trainer or with the dogs around the block. I will make sure I follow the advice below as closely as possible on as many days of the week as I possibly can – my aim is seven days for the next seven days, but major catastrophes or prior engagements that cannot be avoided will be justified, I promise! 

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Burn Fat More Easily

By Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

Adding lean muscle to your body — through strength training and cardiovascular activity — and limbering up your body with stretching can help burn fat, reduce stress, improve health, and decrease waist size, all without bulking you up to the size of a Miami condo.

And trust us, it doesn’t take that long to accomplish. Here’s what you need to do:

Every day

Walk. For 30 minutes. No matter what. No excuses. It doesn’t matter if you do this all at once or break it up into as many as three shorter sessions.

Stretch. Once your body is warm (after walking, for instance), stretch for 5 minutes to help elongate your muscles.

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I heard once that it takes 6 weeks to develop half a habit (and that most people confuse this with “it takes 6 weeks to develop a habit”). A habit that you are trying to develop, rather than kick, is something that is apparently almost near impossible to fully develop.

So, 6 weeks to half a habit. Another 6 weeks to develop half of the remainder (half of the remaining half). Another 6 weeks to develop half of the remainder (half of the remaining half of a half – or quarter). So you see, that after blocks of 6 weeks, you develop half a habit, then another quarter of it, then an eighth of it, then a 16th, continually breaking down that small portion remaining until you get really close to 100% of a habit. But you never quite get there. Only addiction is a real habit.

I wanna get addicted!

Gutsy Girl Out.