Category Archives: Holidays

Resolutions… Why Wait?

reach-2697953_1920(1)

Here is a link to a blog by an insightful career coach.  The blog is from last year and directed toward career goals, yet the message is timeless and crosses all areas of well-being – including weight loss goals.   She proposes three questions to ask yourself each January….instead of setting resolutions.  Why not set resolutions?  Because January is a great time for recovery from the holidays and reflection of the year past.  December is no time for reflection as the holidays fill our days with a longer to do list and more emotions to sort though.

Here are the questions revised for this year and for reaching your health and well-being goals.

  • What went well in 2017?  What were your accomplishments that you’re really excited about?
  • What did you learn in 2017 about what makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight?
  • What would you have done differently? This third question will begin to prepare you for  having some 2017 goals that are based on what you learned last year rather than just a reaction to the holiday stress.

So, enjoy a January free of pressures to set resolutions.  Take a walk to help your brain learn and be creative as you ponder these questions.  When you return, jot down the answers.  Let them “simmer” a bit until February 1st.

Wait to set resolutions and you will be ready to set goals for 2018 that are well thought out and and more lasting .

May you discover an overflow of health and happiness in 2018!

Keep Moving, Be Well,

Janet

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

 

Leave a comment

by | January 2, 2018 · 1:52 pm

Please, do NOT exercise to burn calories this holiday season!

winter-1285275_1920

Yes, that’s right! I do NOT want you to exercise to burn off those extra calories this holiday season.  Why?  First of all, we can’t predict with any great accuracy how many calories you are actually burning when exercising.  So, playing the “calories in calories out” game can just lead to frustration.

But mostly because you run the risk of missing out on the real benefits of taking time to be physically active and exercise this season:

#1: Stress reduction.  Mental stress prepares your body for movement.  Movement is the antidote for stress.  So taking time for exercise means you get to enjoy the holidays with a bit less overwhelm and tension.  Taking even just 5-10 minutes for a walk or stretch break can give your body what it is preparing for when you are stressed and you get to relax and enjoy things a bit more.

#2: Boosting mood.  “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” does not always ring true.  This time of year can be full of emotions, especially if you are battling depression or living through the loss of a loved one.  Exercise boosts brain chemicals that help us feel better and battle the blues and handle strong emotions.

#3: Crave less.  Exercise also boosts the same brain chemicals that create cravings for comfort foods, but in a much more balanced and user-friendly way.  So your brain gets what it is looking for giving you a greater ability to resist the temptations of all the extra goodies hanging around.

You see, if you are exercising focused on how many calories you are burning you might miss out these great benefits.   So, use exercise as the tremendous resource that it is for not only surviving but enjoying the holidays!

Wishing you and yours a wonderfully relaxing and fun holiday season.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

Leave a comment

by | December 20, 2017 · 5:15 pm

An Exercise in Gratitude

happy-1060140_1920Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and yours!

This time of year, exercise can slip to the back burner.   No one wants to be rushing around, over stressed, and emotionally drained.  It can simply be a by-product of the added to-do’s and emotions of the season.

I invite you to let go of the “exercise to burn off those extra calories” approach to staying motivated this season.  Honestly, it is near impossible to know how many calories your body is burning with exercise.  There are just too many factors that effect how many calories we burn that vary person to person and change day to day in each person.  Besides, the calorie burning motivation only distracts us from the real benefits of exercise this season.

As we discussed, exercise is different than physical activity because it is focused, purposeful and consistent.    This makes it a perfect opportunity to be mindful.  Mindfulness is paying attention in tpexels-photo-255381he present moment, on purpose, with kindness.  The overlap between these two resources makes them perfect partners for restoring calm, health and well-being.

Gratitude is a shortcut to mindfulness.  When we turn our attention to what we are appreciate, we are automatically brought to the present moment in a way that is purposeful and kind.  A simply way to bring mindfulness to exercise is practicing an attitude of gratitude about exercise.  What are you grateful for about your body; its abilities, its possibilities? What opportunities are you grateful for that allow you even a brief moment to exercise?   What knowledge or skills are you grateful for that allow you to move in a healthy way?  What are you grateful for about how exercise makes you feel?  What do you appreciate about what you see and hear around you as you move?

Take a walk, stretch, lift some weights, dance, move intentionally in some way while focusing your attention on what you appreciate in each moment.  Keep it playful, see how many gratitudes you can brainstorm.   As you do, know that you are not only strengthening your body, but your ability to stay present as well.

Keep Moving, In Gratitude,

Janet

Leave a comment

by | November 23, 2017 · 1:36 pm

I don’t mean to nag, but…

alarm-clock-590383.jpg

 

This time next week the sun will set at 4:30pm! 

The “frost was on the pumpkin” this morning! (and on my windshield!)

Holiday decorations adorn the end isles in every store

What does this mean?  Physical activity is reduced simply because of less daylight.   Exercise routines are at risk of being squeezed out of schedules by holiday “to do’s”.   Hibernating often replaces moving at the end of a work day.

This blog is a quick check in.  How is your spring training plan coming along?

Its time to get excited about the possibilities of exercise boosting your mood this season, take this opportunity to try something new for exercise and set your sights on that first spring day when your body and mind will be ready to enjoy it!

Take a moment now to post your plan in comments here or email it to me or a friend.

I look forward to hearing what you have planned!

Keep moving, Be well,

Janet

Leave a comment

by | November 1, 2017 · 3:05 pm

How to Set Successful Exercise Goals

goals 3This time of year it is common to see all kinds of advice on goal setting.  As I read through the articles though, I realize there are some unique aspects of setting physical activity goals for weight loss.Goal setting is important.  There is a science to goal setting that increases the chances of success:

A study conducted by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., at the Dominican University, found three factors that increased success:
1. Written Goals:  Those who wrote their goals accomplished 50% more of their goals than those who did not write their goals.  Use the format below to write down your goals.
2. Shared Goals: those who told a friend about their goal accomplished more.
3. Accountability:    A regular check in with another person increased rates of success .  This does not need to be complicated, a simple text to an accountability buddy would work.

This is also supported by a recent study by our own Sherry Pagoto, PhD on using social media for support and accountability.

In the last support group meeting we chatted about the SMARTER acronym for goal setting.  The SMARTER system is a very useful formula for increasing the chances of success.  While there are several variations of this method, I find there are specific ways to make it most powerful for exercise and weight loss goals.
Specific – The more specifics in the way the goal is stated, the more chance your mind will stay focused on the goal. Goals that are vague are difficult for the mind to maintain focus on.   The nice part about exercise goals is we can get very specific.  What is one thing you can start doing regularly right now for physical activity that will have an impact on your weight goal?  Now make it as specific as possible, including the when, where, how’s.  IE:  I will walk every day for 15 minutes after work, I will do these three  stretches for my back every morning before breakfast, I will do these 6 strength training exercises every other day at 7pm after dinner, one set of 15 repetitions each.  Include in these specifics who will be your accountability buddy.What will I specifically start doing for physical activity?  Is this measurable?  Who will keep me accountable on this goal?
Meaningful – Why are you setting this goal?  Why do you want to do strength training, walk, stretch?   State what is important about it more that just to lose weight.    Make the connection between why you are exercising and the real underlying reason you want to be at a certain weight.  This taps into your natural lasting motivation.   I want to be able to play with my kids, be more independent, be around for my grand-kids, be more effective at my job, keep my home clean, feel good about myself when I get dressed.   The more important the “why” is to you, the more motivation you will have for the specific actions you need to take to reach your goals.Why is this goal important to me?
Achievable – Success is motivating.  Setting goals that are just within reach creates enough of a challenge to keep interest in them, but not too overwhelming to drain motivation.  I find most people set an exercise goal that is way to big to start.  We tend to need more practice with setting the small goals.    If you have a big goal,  set it as a long-term goal for one to five years from now.  Chip away a  much smaller version of that for a very short term 3 month goal.  Three months is long enough to achieve something but short enough to make it urgent.
How confident are you that you can achieve this goal?  If your confidence is low, go back and chip away some more until you come up with a goal you feel confident about achieving.
Relevant – This step reminds us to look at our goals in terms of what is important to us.  When our goals match with what we really want more of in life, the motivation to stick with them is easier.   Make your exercise program very specific to what you want to be able to do in the future.  Create a program that is training you for what you want to do in the future – kayak, ski, dance, climb stairs, get up and down off the floor.   When you are in training for your healthy future, you are as motivated as an athlete with his eye on the goal medal.How will this exercise plan train me for what I really want to do more of in life?
Time-Bound –  Start today!  Not on Monday or the first of the month.    Motivation will not be stronger later.  Waiting only reinforces the procrastination habit.  If you set goals with meaning and relevance, you won’t want to wait to start . So if you are tempted to put it off, it is a sure sign it is too overwhelming or not meaningful enough. Go back to the first steps and create a goal you cannot wait to start.   If there is some prep work like joining a gym or getting new sneakers make those the first goals, but still make your actual start date today.    Write the three-month end date on your calendar as well as on the top of your written goals.  This will be a reminder each time you look at them. My three-month goal date is______________?  In order to get there, today I will __________________________.
Evaluate Every Day – This daily check in will keep you close to your goal.  Again, goals that are set on meaning and relevance to your life are a tool for maintaining motivation. Review your goal every day to keep you focused on why you are making efforts.  With exercise goals especially it is easy to let a week or two go by without exercise.  Daily reminder will prevent them from becoming an after thought thgoals 4at just leaves you feeling guilty.  Evaluate in a way that you are observing  what works and what gets in the way without judging.  Simply notice what is going well and where you need some extra support. Keep it quick and easy so you can stick with this important step in the process.How will I evaluate this goal each day?  How will I include my accountability buddy in this evaluation process?
Readjust – The evaluating step leads into this.  As you learn what is working and what is not, re-adjusting will be needed.  We take our best guess on goals.  Learning only lets us be more specific and realistic.  Reworking the goal based upon what you learn is not a cop-out, it is a “smarter” way to achieve your true goals.

 

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

If you know someone interested in weight loss surgery, forward this link to the Weight Center website and online orientation video

If you’re in the process of preparing for weight loss surgery at the Weight Center and have questions about your status or next steps, call 774-443-3886

If you’ve had weight loss surgery at the Weight Center and you’re due for a follow up appointment with one of our providers, call 774-443-3886 or email to weightcenter@umassmemorial.org

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barriers, Goals, Holidays, Inspiration, Motivation, Success, support, Weight Loss

Post Weight Loss Surgery Support Group Meeting January

Hello friends! Hope you all are well!

Anna and Narmin here with information on the January post surgery support group.
The next support group will be on Thursday January 7th 2016, 4-5 pm, same place as last time.

Room S2-310 in the medical school building.   If you go past the Hiatt and Lazare auditoriums, you will see a sign above, saying “Basic Wing Elevator” to your left.  Take the elevator (or stairs) to level 2, just one level above.  Take a left out of the elevator, and follow the signs to Room 310, you will see it to your left in a minute or two.

Topics for January will include:

  1. Exercise: Less talking, more doing!!  We  will do 10-15 minutes of light movement to music!  Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  2. Healthy Food Tasting: Anna is getting creative with her Spiralizer to come up with a low-carb “vegetable-pasta” dish.  Also on the menu – roasted chickpeas and veggie-burger patties.
  3. Mindfulness:  10-15 minutes of guided body-scan and breath focus.
  4. Discussion: Setting SMART goals for meal-planning, exercise, and stress management in the new year.

So mark your calendars for January 7!  Please RSVP by January 1st, by calling the Weight Center at 774-443-3886 or email Narmin at Narmin.Virani@umassmemorial.org

Happy Holidays to all!!  Don’t forget to keep BREATHING!  Enjoy your holiday feasts mindfully!!

Warm regards,

Narmin and Anna

Leave a comment

by | December 28, 2015 · 3:09 pm

ENJOY the Holidays!

thCASYRORCIt’s the holiday season.

You might be expecting me to say how important it is to stay on your exercise routine.

Take a walk with family members instead of sitting around the table.

Exercise helps with stress.

Yada yada yada.

You know it –  I don’t need to say it.

So this is just a simple reminder to ENJOY the season –

in all its craziness, temptations, mixed emotions and stress.

As much as possible, take care of yourself.

Not because you are trying to lose or maintain weight

and you are “supposed to”

but because you know that when you take care of yourself

you  feel good,

 and when you feel good

you can really enjoy the season.

My wish for you  is that you take the very best possible care of yourself, that you feel great, and enjoy this season.

Happy Holidays!

Keep Moving, Be Well – and Enjoy!

Janet

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery. 

Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays