Online Fitness Coaching: Getting Fit in Spite of Cancer

As I write this post Penn State University is holding THON one of the biggest student fundraisers in the nation for The Four Diamonds Fund.  Money (78 million to date) goes to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital to help fight childhood cancer.   It seems like the perfect time to welcome my next guest blogger, David Haas. He has some great online fitness coaching  for those of you who may be fighting cancer.  If you know or love someone who is fighting the cancer battle, point them to this post. 

Getting Fit In Spite of Cancer

Whether you are recovering mesothelioma treatment or your treatment is still in progress, you may find that you are feeling listless, frustrated and constantly fatigued. While there is no magic formula that will make that all go away, you will find that you can mitigate some of the symptoms through exercise. According to the National Cancer Institute, a panel of 13 experts in fields ranging from exercise training to cancer stated that one of the most important things that a cancer patient or survivor can do is to avoid inactivity. This is news that can change the way that you look at your recovery.

In the first place, one thing that cancer survivors have to think about is what they are capable of. If you worked out a great deal before your diagnosis, you may want to go immediately back to where you were. In many cases, this is not possible, though you may find that you can get back there eventually. While this is disappointing, one way that many people get through this is by thinking that they are doing more than they were yesterday. Take some time to think about what your options are in this regard and what kind of exercises you might want to resume.

If you are thinking that you have never worked out before, you will find that this is a good time to start. Not only does working out allow you to reassert control over your body, you will also find that it releases endorphins that allow you to feel good. This release of adrenaline is a great way to burn off the stress that so often goes with cancer treatment, even after a full recovery has been affected. If you have never really exercised before, speak with a doctor and discuss what your options might be and what you can do to make sure that you are not going to hurt yourself.

Remember that it is okay to start small. There are plenty of people who find that just a walk up and down the street is what they can handle at first. Push yourself a little, but remember to take care of yourself as well. Exercising allows you to stay in tune with your body and to put it to work for you. So many people think that they are prisoners in their body, but the truth is that it is a tool. It may not always work well, but it is yours and you can sharpen and refine it.

Take some time to learn more about what kind of exercises are going to work best for you. This is a wonderful time get back in control, no matter where in your treatment you are. Consider how you can work out and fend off feelings of fear and worry.

About the Author

Joining the organization in 2011, David Haas is a cancer support group and  awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to  researching the many valuable programs available to our site’s visitors, David  often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer  Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while  creating relationships with similar organizations.

David can be reached at dhaas@mesotheliomacanceralliance.org

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/bio.htm#ixzz1mlcBn5ZY

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Tackling Food Pushers

This is the third post in my online fitness coaching series to help you overcome common obstacles to regular exercise and good nutrition.

Obstacle #3  “When I go to functions with family some people push me to eat more than I know is good for me.”

We all have a food pusher on our family tree or in our circle of friends.  It goes something like this:

Food Pusher “(Insert your name here), what else can I give you to eat?”

You “Nothing, (insert food pusher’s name here), I’m full.

Food Pusher  “Oh, you can’t be full yet.  Don’t you want more mashed potatoes?”

You “No thank you, I’m good.”

Food Pusher “How about some more roast beef?  You don’t want me to have to throw all this good food out do you?”

You “Really, it was great, but I can’t eat another bite.”

Food Pusher “Well, make sure you save room for a BIG piece of cake later.  It’s your favorite and I made it especially for you!”

You (Sighs)

Food Pushers usually mean well.  Food equals love to them.  The more food they cook for you= the more love they have for you.  The more food you eat= the more love you have for them.  I’m sure you are spotting the problem here.  Here are nine tips to help you navigate this minefield of food and emotional connections.

  1. Be honest about your weight loss efforts.  Tell your family or friends that you have decided to really watch the amount and kinds of food you are eating.  You can tell them it’s doctor’s orders if that takes the pressure off you.  Then ask them to help you by respecting your refusals on seconds and desserts.
  2. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal.  While you do that, the food pusher has offered everyone else firsts AND seconds.  By the time you finish it will be clean up time and the pressure to eat more will be lessened.
  3. Eat smaller portions of your regular meal.  Take a little bit of everything.  During the chaos of the big food dishout, the food pusher won’t notice.  Then take a small portion of dessert.  If Food Pusher asks why say,” I’m so full from that wonderful dinner!”
  4. Use stealthy stall tactics.  When asked to take seconds or dessert, again exclaim that you are really full from the wonderful dinner and you would like to wait till later.  Later may never come and Food Pusher may never notice.  He/she may have moved on to someone else by then.

Some food pushers are of the “misery loves company” persuasion.  They feel better about overeating if you are overeating with them.  These folks are often more persistent in their offers.  Here’s some tips for them.

  1. If you are asked repeatedly to take seconds say, “I couldn’t possibly eat another bite right now.  If you are offering doggie bags, I would love to take some home.”
  2. Just offer a polite, “no thank you” without an explanation.  Sometimes these can be shot down easily by the food pusher and that could leave you scrambling and eventually giving in.
  3. Apply the broken record technique.  Apply the tip above as many times as necessary.
  4. Bait and Switch:  Answer repeated offers for seconds or desserts with a question about the kids, the grandkids or an upcoming trip that’s planned. Be very interested in the response.  Your attention= love too!
  5. Bring a healthy side dish or dessert to share with everyone else. Combat unhealthy food pushing with healthy food.  It may turn out to be the most popular dish at the event!

Have you had to deal with a food pusher?  What were you faced with and how did you handle it?  Comment below.  Your advice could help someone else in their exercise fitness and nutrition journey.

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Featured Blog of the Week

This week’s featured blog of the week is Meals and Miles.  This blog was started by Meghann Anderson.  Her story is familiar to many.  She was active in high school and college, but was not that concerned with healthy nutrition.  After graduation came a desk job. She wasn’t getting any exercise and slowy put on 20 pounds.

This wake up call got Meghann motivated to change her eating habits and start running a little.  Her goal was to lose those 20 pounds.  She did that plus 5 more.  During her journey to get healthy, the blogging community was a big support, so she is giving back by blogging about her newfound healthy lifestyle.

This blog is well organized.  There is a section where you can read about all the races Meghann has participated in and recipes she has tried.  There’s a blogroll of her fav blogs.  She has some really nice reviews of fun things to do in Orlando, Florida and oh yes…she’s getting ready to get married and there’s a nice section on that.

So check out Meals and Miles.  If you are starting a fitness journey, Meghann can be a big help to you.

Online Fitness Coaching: Weekend Proof Your Nutrition Plan

This is my second post in a series of online fitness coaching tips to overcome some of the most common obstacles to regular exercise and healthy nutrition.

Obstacle #2:  “I do great all week. Then I blow my exercise and nutrition plan on the weekends.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone?  We work hard all week long preparing healthy meals, getting our daily workout and staying away from sugary treats.  Now here comes the weekend…family get-togethers, dinner out with friends, a holiday here, a special event there.  Monday morning comes.  We step on the scales while we peek through our hands.  Then we cringe because those two pounds we worked so hard to lose last week are back again…and sometimes they bring a friend or two!  Grrrrr! I’ve collected tips from the blogosphere at sites like Fitness Magazine, Mark’s Daily Apple, and Healthy Affordable Weight Loss.  I have also added a few of my own to help you through the minefield of the weekend.

  1. Stop the all or nothing thinking that surrounds the weekend.  Yes, you overate while you were out with your friends.  That’s no excuse to wave the white flag and binge all weekend.  Get back on track at the next meal.  Get up and move around.  You will feel better and burn off some of that overindulgence.
  2. Set a goal that 4 to 5 of the seven meals you eat from Friday evening to Sunday evening will be made at home with health in mind.  For the other two or three…..
  3. Eat a healthy snack at home before you head out for any “eating outing”.  That includes dinner out, holidays, weddings etc.  If you are not starving when you finally get your food, you will make healthier choices and eat less.  If you end up with big portions, take it home in a doggie bag for later.
  4. Plan ahead.  You can find online menus for almost any restaurant you go to.  Pick out a healthy menu option before you leave.  It can be fun to research the place you are going to eat before you get there.
  5. Be the first to order.  That way you won’t be negatively influenced by someone else’s meal choice.  Plus if you go first, you could positively influence someone else!
  6. Don’t linger at the table after the meal.  Suggest an after dinner walk or activity that doesn’t involve food.   If you don’t have any control over when you leave, order a low cal drink and sip away.
  7. Limit your alcohol consumption.  Alcohol lowers your blood sugar, which triggers eating.  Alcohol contains empty calories.  It also lowers your inhibitions. That will make it harder to say “no” to those tempting snacks and desserts present at your social activities.
  8. Build fun active-ities into your weekend.  Not everything you do should revolve around sitting and eating.  Hubby and I love to ballroom dance, so some weekends center around dance lessons, practices or dances. It’s fun, it’s social and it burns calories.  You may not be a dancer, but find something else you love to do that gets you moving on the weekends.

With these nutrition and exercise tips plus a little practice, those extra pounds and their friends will stop dropping by your house on Monday morning.  Do you have some tips that help you stick to your plan on the weekend?  Comment below!

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Finding Time to Work Out and Eat Well

I polled my Facebook friends and fans to see what obstacles they face when trying to exercise regularly and eat healthy food.  Over the next few weeks my online fitness coaching posts will offer advice on how to overcome each of these obstacles.

Obstacle #1             “I don’t have time to work out or cook healthy meals.”

This obstacle to healthy living is one we all struggle with at times.  Here are 10 tips to overcome it.

Exercise

1.  The surgeon general recommends adults get 60 minutes of exercise a day.  This 60 minutes doesn’t have to happen all at once.  You can get some exercise in when you are working (waiting) on something else.  I have a friend who sneaks some push-ups or sit-ups into her schedule every time she makes her hubby some popcorn.

2. Break your workout into smaller bites.  Today’s workout for me included a 20 minute brisk walk  early in the morning.  After work I did 30 minutes of Zumba and 10 minutes of Yoga.  There are workout programs like Ten Minute Trainer that break things into smaller chunks for you.

3. Schedule workouts when you have less distractions in your day.  For some people that is early in the morning.  I get home earlier than everyone else in the family so I get it done before they get home for the evening.

4.  Multi-task your workout.  Check e-mail on your Smart Phone while you are on the treadmill.  Have to watch the kids?  Run and play with them instead of just watching.  Make those phone calls on your list while you are taking a brisk walk.  When my youngest daughter was little she loved to play “Hunchback of Notre Dame”  This game amounted to me carrying her up the steps to our deck, holding her in the air and yelling, “Sanctuary!” We played until I couldn’t lift her up anymore.  If you think that wasn’t a workout you are wrong.  I was exhausted after that game.

5.  Remember that “functional workouts” can be part of your 60 minutes too.  Right now we are doing a lot of snow shovelling where I live.  It’s definitely a workout.  Other things that would qualify are yardwork, housecleaning, moving boxes, barn work, gardening and many, many others.

Nutrition

1.  Cook a healthy dish for dinner. Make enough so you can pack it up in some Tupperware and take it for lunch the next day.  Now you have two healthy meals instead of one.

2.  Make healthy recipes on the weekends when you are less pressed for time. Store them and freeze them.  Simply thaw and heat throughout the week.

3.  Buy presliced fruits and veggies that you can snack on instead of junk.

4.  Check the internet for healthy recipes that are quick and easy.  Google “easy healthy recipes” and see what you find.  One of my favorites that I just featured is The Picky Eater.

5.  Breakfast is the meal when I am most rushed and it truly is the most important meal of the day.  What about a protein shake for breakfast?  My favorite kind is Shakeology.  It’s easy and quick to make and I can drink it on the way to work (major time saver). It’s full of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and “superfoods”.

Try one or more of these online fitness coaching timesaving tips and let me know how they worked for you.  Do you have any of your own timesaving tips for staying healthy?  Leave a comment below.

 

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Fitness Tips to Get Back on Track

In my last blog posts, I gave nutrition tips to get you back on track after the big holiday binge.  Here are eight online fitness coaching tips to get you back on the workout track.

  1.  Don’t beat yourself up about falling off the workout wagon.  Just get back on.  Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to become (or stay) sedentary.

  2. Just do it!  It’s a good motto.  Start moving.  Use the stairs and stay out of the elevator.  Walk instead of drive whenever you can.  Take a look at your daily routine and see where you can add some activity.

  3. Get enough sleep.  There have been studies that link lack of sleep and a higher chance of obesity.  Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

  4. Write a fitness plan so you know where you want to go and how to get there.  If you set some fitness goals and write out specific steps to reach your goal, you will be surprised at how focused you can become.

  5. Start a new workout you are jazzed about.  It will motivate you to stick with it.  I try to change my workout in some way every 30 days.

  6. Pick a consistent time to work out.  Make an appointment with yourself.  Put it on your calendar or in your Smart Phone.  Treat it like any other appointment and keep it.

  7. Join with others in a fitness challenge.  I am running one right now in a private group on Facebook.  We have six teams of four people from all over the country. We receive points for the time and intensity of our workouts each day.  Teams compete for 30 days.  The team with the highest number of points wins.  It’s amazing how motivating it is, even when there is no prize.

  8. Have one other person be your accountability buddy.  Tell your buddy what your goals are and have them check in with you to see how you are doing.  It will make you more likely to stick with your workout if you know someone will be checking on you.  It can be as easy as a text or e-mail contact every day.

Make 2012 a great new start for healthy eating and regular exercise.  Comment and let me know what you are doing to get back on track after the holidays.

Online Fitness Coaching: Stressed Out About Blowing Your New Year’s Resolution?

Are you already feeling stressed out about blowing your New Years resolution to lose weight, start exercising or quit smoking? By now, most of us have made a few New Year’s resolutions for 2012 and most of us have included at least one of these top three.  Research shows that over time a majority of us will fail in maintaining resolutions.  Here are some stats compiled by Serge Prengel, a licenced mental health counselor in New York City.  Seventy five percent of us will be able to maintain our resolutions past the first week, by week two it’s down to 71%.  After one month the percent has dropped to 64% and by six months the number has taken a nosedive to 46%.  I guess we have a right to feel a little stressed out!

One of the best tips I can give you as an on-line fitness coach is to take some steps to hold yourself accountable to your resolutions.  If you really want to achieve them, do some planning to set yourself up for success.

  • Set specific goals that can be reached realistically.  Here’s some examples:  “During the next 90 days I will exercise 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week” or “Jan 9 is my quit date for smoking.  By that date, I will have all tobacco products out of my house.” or “Starting the Tuesday after New Years day, I will limit my diet to mainly lean meats, whole grains and fruits and veggies.”

  • Track your progress.  Keep a food journal.  Write down what you did for your workout each day.  Keep track of how many days you have been a non-smoker and record the health benefits you are noticing.

  • Get an accountability partner.   This is so important, I can’t emphasize it enough!  Tell someone what your resolution is and what your specific goals are.  Ask them to check on you periodically to see how you are doing.  It’s A LOT harder to give up completely if you are going to have to admit that to someone else.

Beacause I think your health is the most important possession you have. I am volunteering to be your accountability partner to start exercising or to lose weight.  E-mail me for details on joining a small (5 or 6 member) 30 day challenge group, or on making me your e-mail or text accountability buddy.

Happy 2012!  YOU can be in that 46% that keep their resolutions! Here’s some links to get you started.

Start Exercising

Lose Weight

Quit Smoking

 

On-line Fitness Coach: Exercise is Good for Cancer Patients

Please welcome Liz Davies, my very first guest blogger!  Exercise is great for relieving stress, improving self-confidence and keeping you strong when you are healthy, but it becomes very important if you are fighting disease.  Take it away Liz..

Fight Cancer with Exercise

Physical activity produces a variety of benefits for people suffering from cancer, just as it would for people who aren’t experiencing the disease. A daily exercise routine gives people a way to stay active, maintain a healthy weight and grow to be more muscular. In addition to these rewards, physical activity increases positivity and self-confidence while lowering exhaustion and the threat for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is pertinent for people undergoing cancer treatments to make sure they remain active; starting just about any type of exercise advances healing. This is true no matter what type of cancer someone is dealing with, whether that is colon cancer or mesothelioma!
It is also recommended to consult a professional before embarking on a daily
exercise routine. There are also many licensed cancer exercise professionals
that can be of great assistance and can tailor individual exercise programs.

Patients who have no prior experience exercising can start
with stretching exercises. Any movement that fosters mobility is a great if the
patient is not ready for a more intense workout program. Yoga, tai chi, and
pilates are different forms of stretching exercises that are wonderful for
movement and can be easily altered for any level of physical ability.

For people who are accustomed to more activity, cardio
exercises, like swimming, running and even walking are a great way to receive
benefits from working out. These activities burn calories while increasing lung
capacity and decrease people’s odds of having a stroke, heart attack or
diabetes.

Resistance training, like weight lifting, should also not be ignored. These exercises
will help cancer patients gain muscle which is very important because
treatments like chemotherapy and radiation often cause muscle loss. Ideally it
is important to include both cardio and strength training into a daily exercise
routine.

Motivation can be hard to find when you have an obstacle
like cancer standing in the way. This may be an overwhelming feeling and if so
adding some simple activities to a daily routine can be a good way to start.
Putting away groceries, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or buying a
pedometer to monitor activity is a good step in the right direction. With ideas
like this it is very important that all cancer patients are experiencing some
type of activity to ensure that they are optimizing the result of their
treatment.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested
in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running,
playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Healthy Tips for Holiday Stress Relief

Are you starting to stress as the holidays approach?  Worried that all the parties, gift giving and traveling will leave you frazzled and your belly bloated?  Here are ten tips from your favorite  fitness coach to relieve stress from Christmas to the New Year.

 

  1. Eat a healthy snack before you head out to holiday parties so you won’t overeat and stress about all the extra calories you have ingested.
  2. Keep to your exercise schedule as much as possible.  Regular exercise will work off built up stress.  It also releases those feel good chemicals (endorphins) that will help you feel calm.  When you are pressed for time due to shopping and social engagements, take a brisk walk or do a quick ten minute workout like Ten Minute Trainer When traveling, plan ahead.  Find out if your hotel has a fitness room.  Take along lightweight resistance bands and a workout plan on an index card that you can do anywhere.
  3. Get some alone time each day.  Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your outlook when your are experiencing the holidays at the speed of light!
  4. Pack some healthy snacks in your purse before heading out to shop.  It will cut down on becoming so hungry that you wolf down twice your normal amount of calories at the restaurant.  It can also keep food costs down.  Paying big bucks for meals while shopping can stress you out too!
  5. Help someone else.  Volunteer at a local agency this holiday.  Focusing on someone else who needs your help will take the spotlight off you, and your stress will lower.  Helping others will make you feel good too.
  6. Can’t get to the gym? Use a workout dvd or a workout on a cable channel such as Fit TV.
  7. Use smaller plates at parties.  You will eat less.  Feel free to try my trick and only take what you can carry on a napkin.  Believe me it is definitely less than you can pile on a plate!
  8. Get family and friends to help start some active holiday traditions with you.  Go ice skating or cross country skiing.  Take a long walk around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights.  With a little creativity, you can come up with something everyone will want to do for years to come.
  9. Try some calming exercise like yoga or tai chi.  These will make you feel renewed in body mind and spirit.
  10. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.  Try to keep your normal sleeping and waking schedule as much as possible.  Little ones get cranky around the holidays when they miss naps and stay up too late and us adults are no different.

Remember:  If you are stressed and frazzled, you can’t enjoy the people you love the most during the holidays and they can’t enjoy your company as much either.  Share some of your favorite holiday stress relief tips in the comment section.  I would love to hear from you!

Additional links for holiday stress relief:

The Mayo Clinic

Web MD

Life 123

 

How To Write a Fitness Plan: Progression and Overoad

You will increase strength, improve self-confidence and relieve stress with a well written fitness plan.  Your fitness coach is back with part five in this video series on progression and overload, you have all the tools you need to write a very specific plans that can get you the results you want.  Watch the video, then write your plan.  If you like this info. please share it.