Monday, December 20, 2010


What is motivation? Motivation is something that often gets talked about when working towards a weight loss goal. Especially around January when people start making resolutions, which often include health and weight loss goals. But what is the real motivation behind the goals/resolutions? What is needed for the change in fitness and nutrition to occur? What reasons are there for change? Will the movement keep going (as persistence is key in success)? So many questions and all around finding a motivation for change. But what is motivation exactly and what motivates you? What goals and rewards help in the struggles of maintaining motivation?

Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. This is a general definition from a dictionary.

In weight loss, motivation is the reason or reasons for changing behaviors to lose weight. Often times the motivation to lose weight is health factors, wanting to avoid health risks linked to obesity, but it can also be personal motivations like weddings and high school reunions. There are many different motivations available and it's usually a personal one for each person though some people will have similar reasons. But that's the basics of it. Motivation is a reason to do something.

One method is known as the carrot and stick. It's used in simple things like training pets to large organizations and even international affairs. The method has some variety as some people go with just the carrot while others go with just a stick. Just a carrot (reward) or just a stick (punishment), each have times when they work but the carrot and stick approach combines both as there is a reward in front and a threatening reality behind to get someone moving. Or the stick can hold the carrot, lol.

That is one way to look at it, at least. However, I prefer just to have the goal and visual approach when it comes to finding motivation. I view motivation as the reasons that help drive me to keep going even when times get hard and success doesn't seem to exist. Motivation is what helps persistence exist. There are many different kinds of motivations. So, to end this post I'm going to list a bunch of motivations and some will be my own and some won't. We'll say which ones are mine later, maybe. Or you can guess and see if anyone gets them right.

List of motivations for losing weight/getting fit:

Medical Professional Advice
Prevent Diabetes
Other Disease Prevention
Take Less Medication
Look Better Naked
Gain Confidence
Sky Dive
Marathon/Triathlon Participation
School Reunions
Perform on Stage
Fit Before Pregnancy
For Family
For Self
Wear a Two-Piece/Swimsuit
Enjoying Life
Ride Horses
and many more...

What are your motivations?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Music for Working Out

Playlists are one of my favorite things to make. I've used them in novel writing and it really helps when I'm going to do an hour or so on the treadmill to have something playing in the background. Music even helps when I'm bowling, which is slightly exercise though probably not very much. I can listen to many different types of music when exercising in general, so here are a few options I consider.

Classical - I used to go on walks since we live out in the country and found especially during cold winter walks, listening to classical music worked very well. There are some strong, faster beats, it just depends on the song. Also, I listen to both instrumental and vocal because both have powerful options in sound and are good for listening to while walking. Not sure how they are for faster paced exercises.

Oldies - Best to listen to while bowling, that is for sure. I prefer to listen to oldies while bowling than current hits, except maybe an occasional cosmic bowling night with the fog machines and all. This music is just fun and that's what makes it good for listening to while working out. There is such variety, different types of beats, artists and the like to choose from that it's hard to say no to this music. And there is the memory of the old exercise tapes like Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies. lol

Modern - Okay, this lumps pretty much any type of song that has been done in the 2000's and 90's really. Upbeat tends to work better than slow but a variety is key to a good playlist because if it's all high energy then that can be exhausting where that change between super speed and breather slower ones can actually help. Now the songs shouldn't be really sad or very very slow but there can still be a mix of speeds to keep things interesting. Listen to whatever music you like, and sometimes try new ones.

Some Web sites to use:
Youtube is fun because if you set up a profile then you can save songs into different playlists. The only issue is that the page has to be open for songs to change because they are music videos instead of just streaming music.
This is a good site to hear different songs without picking out every single one. While there is a monthly limit for the free version, it is still useful. All that a person has to do is put in a few songs or artists they like and the generator will play those and others that are similar.
This site is where one can create different playlists that just streams music instead of having music videos. While there is a large plethora of songs available, it does have its limitations because there are a number of songs that can't be found on the site even by popular artists. But overall, it's a really good site for creating personal playlists.

Ipods are useful for exercising and listening to music whether at home or at the gym. Also, the program on the computer does allow for the making of playlists from music downloaded. One good part about it is that it's music that has been paid for (for the most part). It's always good to support the artists you enjoy. Even if you use a free playlist option, if there are artists or songs you find then consider buying the CD or getting the music on a program like Itunes to support the maker.

What music do you listen to while working out?
What programs do you use?
Any playlists you would recommend?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Calorie Count

I'm still a bit on the fence about calorie counting every single day. While I see the validity of keeping track, I find it a difficult task to do and the idea of having to do it for a year makes the task seem daunting, let alone having to watch everything I consume forever. But let's talk about what it takes and how many calories are recommended with help of my account on

What is a Calorie? While most of us consider the term calorie, some nutrition books discuss as an incorrect term because the full term is kilocalories. But what is it exactly? According to the authors of the textbook Foundations and Clinical Applications of Nutrition consider kilocalories as the energy released from food, as it is a type of measurement of those energies. On a technical level, a calorie is viewed as the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius/0.8 Fahrenheit. If we considered the calories of an 8-ounce glass of milk (example from the textbook) it would technically be 90,000 calories, but instead we are usually told the 90 kcals, which is said to be the calories.

Seems odd to have the change in wording but at the same time it makes sense. Imagine how the daily calorie count would look if going by actual calories instead of the kcal number. 1,500 calories would actually be 1,500,000. Course it would even out since the calories taken in would be on the same number range. But think I'll stick with the kcal instead of a full calorie.

Recommended Range: There are a few factors that go into figuring out the expected daily calorie range. Some potential factors include weight, height and current fitness level (which is given in ranges as to how active the person is in general). I used the calculator on the calories per hour web site linked below and based on the factors given for calculation was told to lose 2 lbs a week I'd have to consume 1700 calories. It's a little bit higher than the recommended count by sparkpeople, which gives a range. On sparkpeople I picked a goal weight and date, then was given a range of 1310-1660 in order to reach that goal in the given amount of time. So, obviously not all say the same thing and it's something to consider when picking which number to follow.

I'm not going to count every kcal/calorie just yet. For now I'm just going to eat a little healthier and exercise more. There will be a time where I do the caloric range because even short term, having that kind of information can be useful in understanding how food affects our bodies.

Some Web sites to consider:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Walking. It seems like a simple, every day activity and yet adding an extra hour of walking a day can supposedly improve ones health along with aiding in weight loss.

Health benefits to walking from the Mayo Clinic web site:
1. Low impact, natural form of exercise
2. Lower blood pressure
3. Reduce risk of diabetes and/or help manage type 2
4. Manage weight
5. Improve mood

While watching television and not walking, I did noticed that some of the fitness/health professionals on the dieting shows often recommend walking to the people they are helping. One example is that of a little tv show titled "I Want to Save Your Life." The show features a man known as the "diet doctor" and he spends a week with the person/family that needs help and then returns several months after leaving to see how they did on their own. On every episode I've seen (when I have time to watch television and be lazy) there is always the tip to walk an hour or ninety minutes a day with a few days of resistance training per week.

A few tips from the Mayo Clinic on walking.
- wear walking shoes and comfortable clothing
- warm up. Either walk slow or walk in place for around 5 minutes.
- stretch lightly after warm up
- after walking do a light cool down similar to warm up then stretch again
- start slow and easy. Don't over do it right away.
- measure intensity of work out with a heart rate monitor

I would start a challenge but it's a little early for such activities since I currently have zero followers but I'm going to do a personal challenge. When there are followers I will have a walking challenge for others to take part in as well. For now, it's up to me to get things moving.
I'm going to start off slow.
2 weeks of 30 minutes a day
2 weeks of 45 minutes a day
1 month or more of 60 minutes a day

Other sources:

WW for Wednesday

Thought under consideration.

Had a light bulb moment. Since Wednesdays are kind of in the middle between the nutrition/health and fitness/exercise posts, maybe it needs its own topic. And "Weigh-in" starts with the same letter as "Wednesday", which is always fun to do. So, it may not start right away but my thoughts are that maybe in the near future Wednesday will become:

Weigh-in Wednesday