Treadmill vs. Stationary Running

I was asked a question today regarding the difference between running on a treadmill and stationary running (running in one spot without a machine) so I thought I’d clarify this point.

Running on a treadmill allows you to choose the speed at which you walk or run. You can take actual strides that simulate actual walking or running outdoors. It is physically easier than running outdoors as the ground is pulled beneath you and there is no wind resistance. Treadmills are usually padded and make the impact from running soft on your knees. (This is great if you are overweight or have knee problems)

If you don’t want to use the treadmill or run outside, it is very difficult to really “RUN” or “Walk.” You cannot “run” forward and stay in place..if so, it will end up being more like jumping up and down (like when you jump rope..I just tried it….) In this case, I recommend you just get a jumping rope instead. It can also give you a great work out.

If its running you want and not jump rope, I recommend either just running outdoors or on a treadmill. Running outdoor is physically more challenging, but you get the lovely scenery and fresh air. On the treadmill, you can control the speed and the time. You also don’t have to worry about the route or bumping into people and getting hit by cars. For me, as Bangkok is so hot I just opt for the treadmill. It also gives me less incentive to stop and walk. Outdoors I end up walking whenever I see people walking or at an intersection..its all too tempting! Happy running! ๐Ÿ˜€

Many Small Meals or Fewer Big Meals?

There are so many theories on how to lose weight. I’ve heard a lot of people say we should have 5 or 6 small meals per day instead of just the 3 large meals. Both ways can help us lose weight. Which one is good for you? There is no right or wrong answer, but you have to figure out what works best for you. I had my 3 big meals during my weight loss plan.

As losing weight is basically burning more calories than the calories you consume, the number of meals doesn’t really matter. What matters most is the number of calories you eat. Having small meals may be more effective for some as eating frequently can help prevent you from getting hungry between large meals. What it does is basically divide the meals into smaller portions throughout the day to keep you constantly full.

Eating 3 large meals a day will have the same weight loss effect if you control your portions well and watch your calories. Give yourself room to snack mid morning or mid afternoon, but make sure that the snacks are not adding unnecessary calories to your diet. I usually snacked on fruits such as apples, guava, bananas or pears. Apples have very few calories and kept me full since they are high in fiber. One Golden Delicious has 82 calories. 0% fat yogurt is also a good snack with only 80 calories. Soy milk also helped. The low fat soy milk I bought had around 100 calories per portion. 0% cow milk is also a good snack. One cup will keep you quite full.

I used the following link to check how much calories I was consuming http://caloriecount.about.com So whether its 6 small meals per day or 3 large meals… just watch the calories! Try and see what works best for you!

A Sense of Fashion

You might wonder “What does a post about fashion have to do with weight loss?” Well, the topic popped up as I pondered the benefits of weight loss. We all know weight loss improves one’s good health, lowers the possibility of heart disease..blah blah blah… we know the benefits all too well, but WHAT DO I REALLY ENJOY MOST?

I know I’ve given a great gift to myself by looking after my health, but the truth of the matter is: I enjoy most being able to wear almost anything I want to.

I like the feeling of walking into a clothing store, seeing a nice blouse, dress or pants that hit my fancy and then being able to try it on.

I like asking for a size that the shops have and not having to squeeze myself into clothes that are too small for me.

I like not having to come out of the fitting room, and realize that the nice dress didn’t look good on me because of my size.

I like not having to worry about finding clothes that will hide that “big thigh” or the “flab” around my tummy.

I like wearing pants that can be low rise, instead of always having to look for waist high pants.

I like wearing shorts and skirts shorter than my knees.

I like trying on sleeveless shirts and cardigans that don’t emphasize the size of my arms.

I like to wear pencil skirts rather than A-line or pleated skirts that hide my thighs.

I like to dress up.

I used to tell myself and others around me, that losing weight wasn’t that big a deal for me because I dress “conservative.” I didn’t need to follow the fashion because it was just a trend. I dressed “classic.” However, my classic was almost always shirts with either black pants or black skirts. Black because they slimmed down my thighs. The skirts had to be either A-line or pleated. Horizontal lines were forbidden because they emphasized my size.

So many conditions. I didn’t like shopping for clothes. I shopped shoes and bags.

Now, I can shop anything I want and wear anything I want. This is what I enjoy most about being slim. Having a good health is important, VERY important, but I must admit I enjoy being able to dress a bit more fashionably. Which girl doesn’t??

Walk into a clothing store and imagine yourself wearing that dress you like. Imagine yourself having reached your weight loss goal. Think of all the possibilities out there! If you dare, imagine yourself in a bikini. ๐Ÿ˜€

Cause or Effect ?

Today I went golfing (actually went to take photos in a golf cart) and an interesting thought flashed across my mind as I watch the many types of golfers out there on the green. Most people chose to walk the 18 hole course while some chose to rent the cart. I noticed that those renting the carts were usually “bigger” in size and overweight which made me wonder…did they decide to rent carts because they found the walk tiring (which it is in the hot sun!) or was it because they weren’t very active people to begin with that caused them to gain weight easily. What came first? An inactive lifestyle or the big size that became an obstacle to becoming active?

Looking back on my own experience I think its a mixture of the two. I wasn’t a very active child and so gained weight easily. The more weight I gained, the more I didn’t feel like being very active because it was just too much trouble. I’d get tired easily and it felt easier to just sit around and not walk as much. As I did, I gained more weight. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Now that I know how much effort is required, how much hard work it is to lose weight, I find myself being much more active. I don’t want to get caught in the vicious cycle of weight gain. I walk to places nearby, take the skytrain, find reasons to move around. At work, if I’m going to a meeting 2 floors away, I’d just take the stairs versus the elevator. Before, I’d just wait for the elevator. (Taking the stairs is also environmentally friendly as we help conserve energy!)

I find that being active helps keep my metabolism running and my weight in check. A few calories burned here and there add up and are especially important if you are trying to lose weight. Every little calorie counts, whether its consumed or burned.. Don’t get obsessed though, just remind yourself that the more active you are, the easier losing weight becomes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Portion size?

I want to emphasize the importance of portion control because this is what caused me to gain so much weight. I have always eaten healthy foods, I watched what I ate, but I ate LARGE portions. As I ate healthy, I didn’t feel guilty eating. I therefore had portions that could perhaps be enough for 2 or even 3 people. No matter how healthy you eat, if you eat large portions, then its hard for you to lose any weight.

A good idea is to change the size of the serving dish in which you eat. A documentary on TV revealed a research they did on the effect of the serving dish size on our appetite. They had children eat a certain amount of cereal in a very large bowl that made the amount of food look very little. The children would almost certainly have a second bowl of cereal. The same set of children were later given the same amount of cereal in a much smaller bowl. The cereal was filled to the top. Children in this case didn’t ask for seconds and were reportedly “full.”

What does this tell us? There may be some psychological effect on our perception of “full” depending upon the size of the serving dish we eat from. Therefore, eating from a small bowl or plate will give you the perception that you are “full” faster. Also, I read somewhere that we don’t associate the color “blue” with food as it is unnatural, so if you ate from a small “blue” plate, you might end up eating very little! (I’ve never tried the “blue,” but I now use smaller plates and bowls and it helps.) Eat healthy and make sure your portion sizes aren’t too big ๐Ÿ˜€

Watch the calories

Friends have asked me before if counting the calories really work in weight loss. My reply is “YES.” For me it was a big factor in my weight loss. Keep in mind though that just limiting the amount of calories you eat without any exercise will only have some effects in the beginning, but for the weight loss to be sustainable and healthy, it has to be done together with exercise.

To be clear, limiting the amount of calories coupled with exercise is important to a sustainable weight loss. One without the other will not have as good a result. I watched a documentary recently on TV where they took roughly ten unfit people who wanted to change their lives and train for the Boston marathon. Over a period of six months, they trained the participants and had them run miles and miles until they were fit enough to run the Boston marathon (which takes roughly 5 hours!). An interesting fact though is that many of the participants didn’t lose weight throughout the training. The documentary attributes this to the fact that after running, participants continued to eat the same meals as before. Food was not controlled. Therefore, if you run like crazy, but continue to eat food with high calories, it will be very difficult for you to lose weight, even though you are more fit.

I started with switching my full fat milk to O% fat, my yogurt became O% fat, and I watched what kind of drinks I’d buy. The O% milk and yogurt had roughly 30% less calories than their full fat versions! A lot of the drinks available have quite a bit of calories…make sure to read the label! You may be drinking in more calories than you realize. Every little calorie counts and the labels are a great source of information. Weight loss is basically making sure you burn more calories than you consume. If its not worth it, don’t waste your calories on it!

A Funny Thing About Bone Structure

It's friday so I thought I'd share a story about bone structure that
always makes me smile ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I can remember I have always been
considered "big" for Thai standards but that was always attributed to
the fact that I grew up in europe and the US. People would tell me I
had a "big" bone structure and that I shouldn't worry about losing
weight even though I was overweight. Friends and family had reached
the conclusion that I was "big" because of my bone structure.

I thought so too. I didn't have that small waist or toned arms because
of my big bone structure. Those people born with small bone structures
were of course naturally small, something I wouldn't be.

Anyways, let me ask you a question.Can bone structure change in size after we have passed the age of puberty? Your immediate answer would be "Of course not!" Well apparently mine changed. 14 kgs lighter I am now getting comments on my "small" bone structure and slim body. ๐Ÿ™‚

Prior to my weight loss I had a "big" bone structure, but now that I've lost 14kgs my bone structure has miraculously become "small." ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn't that funny? I guess its all a matter of perspective. We often fool ourselves and hide from the truth that we are overweight with all sorts of funny reasons such as "I have big bone structure." ๐Ÿ™‚