March Ab-ness Contest Begins!

rock hard absIt’s time again for March Ab-ness, when we take a month to focus on strengthening our abs. This year we’re adding a little healthy competition. Keep track of how many minutes of ab exercises you do each day. They can be crunches, sit ups, full planks, knee planks, etc. Each week we’ll post our minute totals for that week. At the end of the month, whoever has worked their abs the hardest will win a free autographed copy of my new book, due to be released in a few short months. What could be better than Sex Soup and Two Fisted Eating? MORE Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating! 

So set a goal, work your abs, and let’s celebrate March Ab-ness!

Did you know that strengthening your abs also strengthens your back?

 

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Eat Your Feet: a Quick and Dirty Portion Guide for Weight Loss

portion-statueI want you to put your foot in your mouth. Portion control is a big factor in weight loss and healthy eating and –whoa, hey! I did not think you were that flexible. Get your toes away from your nose, it was only a metaphor. I just meant that your foot is about the size of a properly proportioned meal.

Before I lost weight, I ate pretty healthy: cooked from scratch most days, got some veggies in there somewhere, and limited the junk food. The problem was I ate twice as much pretty-healthy-food as my body needed. I’m not exaggerating: twice as much.

I like food. It tastes good and it’s fun to eat. Can I get an amen? The problem was not that I ate but that I ate again and again and again at each meal.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food. In fact, I encourage you to enjoy your food with undivided attention. Studies show that if we eat while we’re distracted—watching TV, checking email—we eat about 30% more than when we simply eat. Enjoy your food thoroughly, but when your portion is gone, stop eating.

portion-handsEating proper portion sizes is easy to do with the measuring tools you have on you: your fists. Your two fists are the size of your one stomach, so you can use your fists to quickly gauge how much food will fill your belly. A meal is equal to four fists and two of those fists should be fruits or vegetables. Four fists is roughly the size of your foot, so when you’ve put your foot in your mouth, you stop eating. I repeat: you stop eating. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.

If you’re used to eating a lot, four fists isn’t going to look like enough food at first, but if you savor your food, really savor it, and concentrate on the flavors and textures, you’ll be bored with eating by the time your plate is empty. If you cut the food into small bites, it feels like you’re eating more. One study found that people who ate half a bagel cut into four pieces consumed less for lunch an hour later than people who ate the same half bagel in its full moon natural form.

portion-plateAnother study found that eating smaller bites (nickel sized) and chewing a little longer (9 seconds) helped participants eat 65% less food than those who took larger bites (3 nickels) and chewed less (3 seconds). That’s a lot of numbers… look, forget the numbers and just make an effort to chew more and eat more slowly. The longer you take to eat, the more time your stomach has to notify your brain that it’s full. Perhaps it’s not the amount of food on the plate, but the time we spend eating that makes us feel satisfied. Metaphoric translation: put your foot in your mouth and nibble your toes. If you’re still hungry after eating two fists of food and two fists of veggies, keep thinking about feet near your mouth. Toe jam near your tongue, bunions touching your boca, sweaty soles approaching your saliva… your appetite should disappear in no time.

 

How beautiful your sandaled feet,
    O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
    the work of an artist’s hands.

Song of Solomon 7:1 NIV

 

Effect of taking smaller bites outweighs tendency to eat more when distracted

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123195250.htm

Small Bites, Big Weight Loss http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/small-bites-big-weight-loss

To Slim Down, Take Smaller Bites http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/eating-small-bites-lose-weight

 

Images courtesy of: sexy food episodes (hands), http://theberry.com/2012/01/31/need-a-little-motivation-38-photos/ (plate), Wired (statue)

I’m addicted to Abs

I’m sure you’re all wondering how Abs for Money is coming along so I’ll tell you. I’m up to $5 in book money and I’ve discovered a way to make planking addictive. Technically I’m addicted to playing Fishdom, but I’ve discovered I can Plank and Play so it’s working.

fishdomFishdom is like any other match-3-or-more-and-clear-the-tiles game and therefore sucks away quarter hours by the handful with “one more try and I’ll quit, I promise”. Each level takes approximately 3 minutes to attempt which is deliciously equal to my 3 minute goal for abs per day. I set the timer on my phone for 3 minutes and get into plank position, then switch to Fishdom and start playing. The game distracts my brain from my screaming abs and–more often than not–when the timer goes off, I want to try the level again so I set  the timer again and go.

knee plankI’ve also discovered that you can plank on your knees. I hadn’t realized how long it’d been since I planked for real (on toes and elbows or hands like a push-up) and when my plank lasted a measly ten seconds, I said “Hmm, if you can alter push ups, why not planks?” It’s easier (obviously) on your knees and elbows, but it still works your abs and it keeps your hands free for playing Fishdom. This week I’m going to try going to toes again now that my abs are enormous…ly warmed up. Maybe.

If my elbows are tired of planking, I’ll flip over onto my back and hold my legs out at a 45 degree angle from the floor while I play.  How do you know when you’ve reached 45 degrees? Your abs will burn and you’ll want to drop your legs: that’s the sweet spot. If you look at your toes and it seems more like 85 degrees than 45, just listen to your abs: if they’re unhappy, you got it right.

The only time Plank and Play doesn’t work is when my kids see me on the floor and jump on my back. Maybe someday I’ll be able to plank with a child riding me, but I’ll need to defeat a few hundred Fishdom levels first.

 

Images courtesy of: Get Healthy U (knee plank) and Playrix and Google (Fishdom)

A Scale Joke

scale smiley

A lady noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach.

Thinking he was trying to weigh less with this maneuver, she commented, “I don’t think that’s going to help.”

“Sure it does,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

 

This joke has been brought to you by Mikey’s Funnies, a free daily joke email service that can be found at http://www.mikeysfunnies.com/

March Ab-ness Starts Today

March Ab-ness begins TODAY! Why today? Because I couldn’t think of a reason to wait (other than laziness). Two years ago I was doing TRX once a week and when I finished March Ab-ness I felt like I had a belt of muscle around my waist. It was wonderful. I miss that.

coreI haven’t totally stopped working my core—I work it in fits and spurts—but for months I’ve been wanting to get back to consistent mostly-daily core workouts. I’ve proved to myself in Marches past that 3 minutes a day for 30 days takes an inch off my waist. So why haven’t I stuck with it? Ha! You know why. Go ahead, think of a reason. Think of four reasons. My responses are: yes, probably, definitely, and “well, I never!”

The point is not why I let it fizzle, but what I’m going to do about it. Why not start today? I’ve “started today” a few times over months past and fizzled again. So what’s going to be different about today? I’m going to bribe myself.

I work best with goals and rewards, much like a poodle, so I’m going to set a goal and reward myself when I reach it. For example, I like books. I buy most of my books at second hand stores and library book sales and then they sit in my To Read cabinet for months until I get to them. But sometimes, dag-gone-it, I see a book I want to read and it’s new and costs more than a dollar and I look at that cabinet of books I already have and how much milk that new book money could buy and I sigh and set it back on the shelf.

However…

9df88ffd9eff46661653075fe526e848I’ve made myself a chart and decided to pay myself 10 cents for every 1 minute of ab exercises I do. At the end of the month I’m going to tally those minutes into dollars and go buy books. Three minutes a day for 30 days gives me $9 NEW book money.

Books motivate me. They may not motivate you. What does? What special something would you like to do/buy/see/hear/say at the end of the month when you reach your goal? When I first started losing weight, my first goal was a digital scale. Our old scale had a big dial that would change your weight if you leaned forward or backward as you stood on it. I’d hop on and look down and guesstimate my weight from the worn wobbly black lines and if I didn’t like it I’d lean back a bit. The digital scale let me see my progress more accurately. And I covered it with sparkly butterfly stickers so it was pretty.

Figure out what reward motivates you and what goal you’d like to achieve. Start today. Why not?

Feel free to share your own goal and/or reward in the comments. We can learn from one another’s good ideas.

 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12