Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Classroom Workout

We can't always get to our preferred place to workout. That's why I created a workout that teachers can do in their classroom.

Here's how it worked for me yesterday. 

Goal: exercise everyday. Couldn't. Due to an evening appointment, I was at school until 6:30 PM. 

And my mind was tired.

So I turned on the TV and got a little work done. 

Commercial came on - I did push ups. Or squats. 

I break my strength training routine into push days and pull days. Pushes are push ups, dips, squats. Pulls are pull ups, horizontal pull ups, and leg lifts.

Yesterday was a push day. Today is a my-arms-and-chest-are-burning day. But in a good way.

It's one way I know that my workout was effective.

And even when my food is messy messy, I know I can work at keeping fit. 

Right now the food is real messy. Lots of good input, but I'm struggling to really stay on a weight loss food routine.

Exercises You Can Do In Your Classroom (or office?)...

  • Squats - I like doing these in a classroom because there is always a desk to hold on to for starters. I like to hold on for balance when I'm getting everything warmed up.
  • Push Ups - Even in a skirt, this can work. I don't like pushing up from the floor in a classroom, so I work from a desk or table. I slow it way down. This makes each rep count more.
  • Leg lifts. Just sit on a chair or on a desk and lift up your legs. Bend your knees if you need to. If this is too easy for you, slow them down and hold at the top position for 2 seconds.
  • Pull Ups - You will have to get creative to figure this out. I'm talking horizontal pull ups. Sit on the floor and pull up to the edge of a desk. Bend knees or straighten to make it easier or harder. Do them slowly and hold at the top for more difficulty.
And that's the basic workout. If you would like my full write up on how to do this with more details (and I recommend it!), join us at Stress Relief 4 Teachers. I'll send you the details for free. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Focus Head

Ever just need a break?

Working your brain to the bone (that just sounds weird) and not seeming to get anywhere.

That's what I feel like with weight loss right now. I'm finding it very hard to focus on it. 

I need some weight loss chats on Twitter or something. 

I love education Twitter chats. I wonder if there are any good weight loss chats. Probably.

It feel like I need to interact with other people on this to get better at it. That's the way teaching is for me. I interact and get good ideas, and I get better. Especially if I listen.

I wanna weigh 173. 

But the more I want it, the harder it is right now.

Here's what I'm gunna do.

  • Write down some ideas.
  • Writing down all the ideas that come to my head.
  • Do the ones I can just start.
  • Next day, make another list.
  • Write down all the ideas jump on me.
  • Do the ones that say, "Right Now," to me.
  • Review and reflect.
  • Rinse and Repeat.
I don't know. Maybe I'm making it too hard.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Exercise Working - Soda Control, Not So Much!

Ever get got at one thing while losing it with another? I'm fussing with this a lot this year. 

Exercise habit is churning right along nicely. But drinking a soda everyday. It gets me through 5th period. 

I love the kids. Just having fits with the allergies. 

I worked out last night. Win!

And during lunch today. It's a cool workout designed for teachers to do in the classroom. Love it. (I'll share it with you for free if you decide to take the Keep it Cool Newsletter - Stress Relief 4 Teachers). 

The workout cleared my head. And I felt better off. 

But I've created this daily habit of the soda. Now I'm having a heck of a time breaking it.

I feel better after drinking it, but I know it's ultimately messing with me. So the feeling good is all a ruse.


Well, okay. Need to put my big boy britches on and figure out how to crush the soda while massaging the exercise habit. 

This is my whack-a-mole life.

In a hurry today. No amazing list to go with the story.

I'll be back in a few days. 

I'm going to work more with my prose and publish less in an attempt to put out better writing.


You are my enthusiasm.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to Get Going When You're a Zombie

It's hard to get going. I mean, sometimes it's like opening an old rusty car door that's been sitting out in a field for 8 years. 

Right now, the pollen is hitting. And I'm not dripping or headachy or itchy. I'm just tired. It's wiping me out. 

I eat dinner. Very pleasant time with my family, wife and five boys. They get going to a karate class. And all I wanna do is sit. Take a nap really.

But I thought, I can get on that bouncer for a little while. 

I put on an oldish TV show, The Magnificent Seven. BTW, the show choice is important. Don't want something where I need to pay really close attention. It's The Magnificent Seven, I already know the plot. But it also keeps my attention enough that I notice my effort that much.

I start bouncing. Don't want to do it. But I get into the show. And in five or seven minutes, I'm warmed up. So I start doing intervals. Real hard for 10 to 20 seconds. Slow it down for 20 or 40 seconds. And I go back and forth like that for ten minutes or so. 

I bounce for 40 minutes. 

And I didn't feel like it.

That's a win.

How To Get Going When You Don't Feel Like It

  • Drink some water.
  • Put on the exercise clothes.
  • Set up the exercise equipment.
  • Find a show that works. 
  • Put the show on.
  • Start exercising real slow, like you don't even mean it.
  • Enjoy the show.
  • At the first commercial, check your progress.
  • See if you can go hard for 10 seconds.
  • If you can, go back and forth for the next 5 to 10 minutes. Push as hard as you want. 
  • After the intervals, cruise until you are done.
If you need to start an exercise program. This is a great way to get going. Of course, don't jump in if you know a Dr. would tell you, "No."

Bouncers are pretty cheap. $40 will last you for years. I get a cut on this one

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mucking Out The Mental Fog

Brain in slow motion?

Mine is today.

I am enjoying my fun lesson, but I'm feeling like I'm heaving water to get up on top of the wave. 

I enjoyed my family and then slept well last night. Looking for Mr. energy today.

I'm having to fight my brain. And I will until I get it humming on all cylinders. 

Here's what I'm going to do:

  • Exercise - Yes in my classroom. If you want more information about that, email me and I'll send you my crazy, downright nutty way to exercise in class.
  • Drink water. Need a gallon. 
  • Talk to kids. 
  • Drink a soda. Just kidding. By the way, just found half a soda in my desk from last week! Win! (not that I'm gonna drink it now -- win, because I never finished it. I threw it away. Really.)
  • Take some vitalHerbs.
How do you deal with mental sluggishness? 

And how do you keep up your enthusiasm all the way to the end of May? Tweet: #mindshiftMay

Monday, May 4, 2015

Working For Peanuts


The smallest thing can bounce me off my trajectory. And I don't think it's the thing itself, it's evidence that my mental game needs work.

So last week my wife got a good deal on peanuts. We have five boys still in the house; she's always looking for a great deal on food that can fill them up.

The lovely Ginger came home with a huge box filled with roasted peanuts. The ones in the shell. 

That's good.

But I need to monitor everything that goes past my gums. And I think I'm battling that notion right now. The everything part.

I want my fat burning factory of a body to swiftly and capably handle every little extra nuisance of fact attraction.


It doesn't work quite that efficiently. 

So my revised plan to tune-up my mental play is this: 

  • Eat peanuts within the context of a meal. 
  • Eat a measured amount so I know what I'm consuming.
  • Keep a food log until I start losing again
  • Keep walking
  • Never miss a Monday (of exercise)
Follow me on Twitter: @artfling. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Said I Would Walk and I Did!

When you have a goal. It's important to get going on even the smallest step. Create the habit that leads to the goal. I like this approach. 

I enjoyed listening to this podcast on the topic of habits.

Start Walking
So yeah, I'm driving home after writing the post on walking and I'm thinking to myself, "I told everyone I was going to start walking again." 

I went home. Found some kids. Three of my boys went on the walk with me. And we walked for a short half hour.

We had a great time. My 17 year old and I discussed his SAT which he was taking the NEXT DAY. 

In other words, it was a very good time, a time with family. 

When we can take something like exercise and make it a family time, that's a win. 

I absolutely love that.

How I Change Things for The Better

  • make a decision to do something - in this case walk five times a week
  • start doing it - ease into it
  • write about the experience 
  • share the time with someone else if possible
  • if I miss a day, work 10 times harder to make it happen the next
If you are having trouble getting some good exercise into your life, try walking. It's a great way to get started. Almost everyone can do it. 

Of course make sure you know that you can do this. Probably the safest way is the check with a doctor first. 

But we are talking about walking here. Nothing strenuous. 

It's your responsibility to know the condition of your health before you start something. So do that. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walking to Lose

We have all heard that walking helps us lose weight. Yes, there are other great ways, but walking can work for virtually anyone.

When my #weightlossjourney began about a year and a half ago, I had a coach helping me. And he told me something I didn't want to hear. He told me that I had to exercise.

I like to exercise, so that wasn't the problem, but I have an issue. I tend to injure myself when I workout--especially when I am lifting something. 

But then, I thought about this. I can walk. I can walk like crazy. I walk in the heat (well hydrated). I walk in the freezing cold. I can walk in the daytime. I can walk at night. 

Using a bouncer, I can even "walk" in my living room.

And that's what I did. And I lost 40 pounds. Love it.

I would be walking around the track at the college and it was so cold that my fingers cried. But about 20 minutes in, I didn't care. About 30 minutes in, every care in the world would just drop right down on the track.

And then I quit walking and went to more body weight exercise in a bid to build more strength. 

And I quit losing.

I just figured this out. 

I have previously done the 10,000 steps a day. And it was great. And it's fun. But my step-counter is nowhere to be found. 

But it doesn't matter because I don't really need it. 

One of the great things about being a teacher is that I walk on the job. 

*I know that some of you think that teachers sit behind a desk and bark out orders. I'm not talking about that. I don't call that teaching.

*Side note to teachers: set up your classroom to make it easy to walk around. It's good for the kids and for you.

So as a teacher I walk. From previous experience, I know that I can easily put 4000 to 6000 steps on the counter just by teaching. 

I can also easily add 30 to 45 minutes of walking in my neighborhood or at the track or down the creek path. 

And I know it will really help my nutrition efforts.

By the way, my strength training consists of whatever variety of push ups, squats, pull ups, and leg lifts I can dream up when I work out. And I love doing it. I have every intention of continuing this.

The Exercise Plan

This is my plan going into May. My goal is to hit this at least five days a week. And to keep up strength training at least 2 days a week.

If YOU need to exercise more (or some) or differently, I bet you can sit down for five minutes and figure out a plan that will work better than what you have been doing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Emotional Eating

Sometimes it feels like there's no rhyme or reason to the crazy baloney I do. Do you feel like that?

So last night, I go home and eat a regular, modest dinner. And then.... on comes the t.v. and out come the peanuts. The salty ones in the shell. 

And I eat. 

I pay no attention to how many.

And here's the deal: I'm not hungry.

I think I've been doing a lot of this. And it's not about check this food on and check this food off.  

It's about feeling anxious, or conflicted. 

I'm going to say it again just so I can hear myself say it. I want to be 173. 

That's the goal.

Today 191. 

I am struggling getting down to my comfortable 188.

Here's what I'm going to do about it.

  1. Sit down with a sheet of paper and write stuff out.
That was a list of one on purpose. That's the one thing I'm going to do. 

I'll get back to you with what comes from it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Green Smoothie Tweak Results

When something isn't working, it doesn't always mean trash it.

So after battling hunger last week, and that setting me up for eating the wrong things at the wrong time, and after listening to guys like the Fat Burning Man, I decided to up the fat and protein content of my smoothie. 

This morning I began drinking a smoothie with coconut oil and raw farm fresh free range chicken eggs added.

It definitely kept me satiated until lunch time! Yes!

I would still like to drink more water during the day. But there's a big but. It can be hard for me to get to the restroom between 11:30 and 3:00. 

So I'm thinking through that. 

I believe more water will help.

So yes, I do feel better. In a week or so, I'll know if the tweaks are impacting my weight loss.

How to tweak it?

  •  Remember that the diet is an experiment. It's okay to try different things to get it to work.
  • Not everything works the same way for everyone else, but there are basics that probably do.
  • When things don't seem to work, look at it carefully. Usually that means this: start writing things down.
  • Change it and see what happens.
  • Don't slip into things that you know aren't going to help.
Gotta keep after that tiger until it jumps through the right hoops!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Write About It - It Reveals

When you write about something, you learn. 

I have formed a habit, which is pretty much out in the open for you to read. It's where I ask two questions: "What did I do that worked? And, What could I have done better?"

I'm beginning to think that I need to be more critical, in a good way, of myself. I don't mean calling myself names. 

I mean, dig into every area where I can improve.

I don't necessarily think I need to share ALL of that with you.

You get the lion's share anyway.

But I do need to cut deeper.

Today, I drank half a soda. That's after a week of no soda. It's a Saturday soda. Why?

Because my lunch wasn't well planned and I ended up eating food that makes me tired.

What I did well was ate a good breakfast. Green smoothie. Gonna work on making more hefty though. Needs more oomph. I'll get back to you on that as I experiment with it all.

My plan is to write every day about it. To narrow my focus until I find the exact habits that help me lose weight and leave me feeling good.

It doable. 

But it's a struggle today.

I Wanna Eat, Eat, Eat!

What a day... I just wanted to eat. 

Working through it.... 

Here's the win: no doughnuts. Everyday, on the loudspeaker, there was an announcement - "doughnuts on Friday in the conference room." I didn't so much as lift the box to see if there were some healthy bear claws hiding in the box. That's a win. Not even a sniff sample.

Ate apples -- win.

Ate my salad -- win. But there's an oops - Back at the oops in a minute.

Didn't eat any candy on my way to tutoring assignment. Found a place with 50 cent (not the rapper) ice-tea, unsweetened. Win.

Confession: I like to eat peanut M & Ms before I tutor. It gives me that lift I need to make it through the two hour tutoring session.

But the iced tea did the trick.

And oh yeah, I didn't drink any soda. Doesn't seem like a big deal today, but a week ago, that was huge. 

What I could have done better: eat more protein or fat at breakfast. I'm realizing that I need to change the profile of my green smoothie. I always feel like I need more to eat at about 90 minutes after I drink it. I'm going back to the drawing board on the green smoothie. There's a blogger out there who writes about something she calls green thickies. And I think I'm going to read up on those again. 

We were loading my smoothies with coconut oil a while back and I'm thinking about going back to that. 

Okay back to the oops. I was so hungry, that I had to go find something. I ended up with a subway breakfast sandwich. 6 inch on wheat. Carefully watched the amount of added mayo, etc. But if I had made sure to get enough protein and fat to begin with, I wouldn't have had that blood sugar drop. 

I'm going to say that I need to focus more on getting enough water. I need to systematize that and and more to make something that I don't need to think about anymore.  

Learning how to build on your mistakes is important. The process above shows a guy who is working at losing weight, making a lot of good choices and some that need to be better. But until I sat down and wrote all of this out, I saw the day as a failure. The refrain in my head was all about how I had messed it all up once again. We need to learn how to train the refrain. 

Create a system to sit down and write down what you did well and how you can improve. 

How do you work out those craving monsters when you just want to EAT?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Walking Past the Doughnut for Teachers

There it is, right in front of you, sweet and sultry, saying here I am. 
What to do? 

The STAAR test in Texas is our state mandated, big-deal test. And we just spent Tuesday and Wednesday doing it. Even Monday was affected. Teachers are spent. Kids are restless. And admin is tired and appreciative of the hard work that teachers have put in.

And what is the best way to show your appreciation? Bring on the doughnuts! It really is a nice thing to do.

But for the teacher who is trying to lose weight, especially this one, it's a trap.

Because I feel like I deserve it. 

Is that sweet hole what I really want? I know it's not what I need.

Do I really want to dump sugar, processed white flour and fat into my stomach? I don't.

But it tastes so good. 

But when I'm trying to lose weight, here's what happens (and this is what happened with Coke and me recently): it resets your body's expectations. It's something that happens in the brain. Now, the brain begins to expect that jolt of sugar, want it, crave it.

So right now, as I write this, I'm imagining my stomach and what it will look like at 173 pounds. I'm getting that image in my mind. I'm thinking about my joints and what they will feel like without inflammation. I'm reminding myself about what I really want in life.

There's plenty of time for sweet snacks later in life. Right now, I'm on a mission.

So how do I make it past the doughnut box?

  • Be clear about your goal. I'm clear in my mind that I want to weigh 173.
  • Sleep. I'm arranging my life to make sure that I'm getting 7 1/2 to 8. (which is hard with the thunderstorms).
  • Drink water. Add to the habit.
  • Enjoy something. I drink great coffee (Java Jacks).
  • Eat enough fruit. I'm making sure I have apples in my desk.
  • Get plenty of veggies especially greens. I'm starting my day with a green smoothie.
  • Eat an especially good lunch. I'm eating a great salad at work every day.
  • Exercise. I'm doing three to five times a week.
  • Write. I write almost daily, but that's probably overkill. 
You can either take one step toward your goal or one step away when the doughnut box presents. I'm walking away from it today.

What works for you?

For more on these subjects read How to Handle Life on 3 Hours of Sleep and The Power of Maybe Later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reducing Toxicity In The Teacher's Diet

Do you ever feel toxic? I mean physically. Like you got junk floating around in your body that makes your blood filters work overtime? 

I do. And I'd rather not.

And I have found myself listening (to podcasts) to Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof products and like a lot of what he says. 

So I started looking at the Bulletproof Diet road map to see if I could make changes that would bring down my toxic intake and get me to lose weight faster.

Good high quality stuff mostly. But dang it looks expensive for this single-income teacher with five boys in the house. There are lots of proprietary buy-from-Bulletproof-items on the menu. And I would bet that they are very good products. And I'm assuming very expensive. 

And yes I totally get the point that if you don't pay for quality now, you end up paying a Dr. bill later.

The diet also features lots of grass-fed fat and protein sources. And we know that these are good for you. 

But I need to figure out how to do this stuff on the cheap.

You ever tried this diet? Anyway to do this without robbing a bank?

Here's my seat of the pants evaluation from looking at the road map. 

  • Beverages: Water with lime or lemon, unsweetened tea. Okay these are right up my alley. 
  • I got the veggies down pretty much. I can buy this stuff at the market.
  • Oils and fats: Can't figure how to do those on the cheap. Don't know where to get them.
  • Dairy: I'm not complaining here, but where do I find all this grass-fed organic butter and yogurt. But it all sounds wonderful.
  • Protein - I do get to eat high quality eggs on a semi-regular basis. But I really don't know how to get the rest of that stuff.
  • Starches are easy. Sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, and white rice.
  • Fruit, relatively easy. 
  • The sweeteners seem weird to me. Maybe I don't know enough about them. These sound like chemicals (not the Stevia - though it sounds like a chemical too). Hey, I admit, I may need to learn more about things like xylitol. It just sounds like something that I don't want to put in my body.
In a future post look for me trying to figure out how to approximate this list in a way that a teacher can afford.

If you found a shopping list that works, please do tell. Or if you figured out how to eat like this, tell me how you did it.

Because every time I hear Dave Asprey talk, I'm thinking how much he seems to know what he's talking about. 

And I really do want to weigh 173 pounds. Just saying that in case you hadn't picked up on that piece of information yet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beating The Flash of Desire

You ever stayed away from the fattening food for days and then had that quick WANT, that - "Oooo gotta have it NOW!"

I had that today. I wanted a Coke. It came at me quickly. Like a stab in the heart out of nowhere. 

I didn't give in, and it went away.

The feeling really didn't last long. Somehow I was able to get my wits about me and remember that a soda bottle was the last thing I needed in my hand.

I wanted it, but I steered away. 

That makes four days. Eventually I'll stop counting. 

Had enough of that Coke-lust eating my lunch.

It's hard to think back and figure out how you get to the place where things go bad. But it is important. And it's crucial that you remember how bad you feel when you actually drink the sugar water (or whatever). 

Okay, of course I don't feel bad right when I drink it; I feel bad later. That sick feeling from too much sugar and salt and caffeine all at once like a bomb in the belly.

Also the mental part--I'm trying to lose weight. I want to see the numbers go down when I step on the scale. I want to feel that glee. Not disappointment. 

It's about being honest.

When I want that sweet sip, I can lie to myself. I can tell myself a story that I won't mind this time. But it isn't true.

And please hear me, I'm not saying it's evil to drink a soda. It's not morally wrong or anything like that. 

It just creates a sick physical feeling and works against my goal, my goal to feel better. To get the inflammation in the body down to a manageable level. 

For the past four days, I've desired a body without the inflammation in the joints more than I've wanted the corn-sweetened bubbly stuff. That's the picture I hold in my mind. 

How to get past the I-Want-It-Right-Now urge:

  1. Be clear about what you really want before the urge hits. Part of being clear about the goal ahead of time is to write it down.
  2. When the urge hammers you, remember your goal. Picture it. Even read it.
  3. Get a picture in your mind of how you want to feel and what the scale will read when you reach your goal. 
  4. Every day say to yourself, "I did this well today."
  5. Every day say to yourself, "I could have done this better."
We all deal with this. 

How do you beat it?

Monday, April 20, 2015

No Soda Week

Ever tried to quit a habit that was so hard to stop it made you scream? I'm trying. 

The latest scoreboard:

Weekend = No soda. Win
Monday = No soda. Win. Win.

And there are good reasons why it started to work.

I casually read diet and nutrition stuff. I listen to podcasts like Fat Burning Man, Half Size Me (it's kinda girly but I still get a lot out of it), and Bulletproof Radio. And they don't all agree with each other on the best ways to lose weight. 

But one thing they all agree on (the blogs, the podcasts, and the books) is that drinking sugar is really bad for us.

It's starting to sink in.

And so I haven't imbibed over the last three days. 

But I did every day last week. Half a soda each day. Dang it. 

And my weight isn't budging down. Not an ounce.

And I mean I posted and everything about how to start a new habit in one day. Remember that? And I believe it. But I didn't have enough foundation in place to make it work.

And my wonderful new habit lasted for like one day. Maybe two.

So why go through the humiliation of writing about it.

Because I KNOW that I will beat it. And I know that some of you are trying to beat it too. And I know that you will.

This is a struggle. 

And we don't all do this the same way.

I went six months with out drinking a soda. It wasn't hard at all after a few days.

Then, I did drink.

And quickly I reset my body and mind to desire the soda. And that's why that one bite or drink can turn the whole thing south. It resets what your body wants. 

I want to set that switch back to the position where I don't have that desire.

What am I doing to get back on track?

  1. I'm very clear in my head that this is something I don't want to do.
  2. Get a lot of sleep.
  3. Keep a bag of apples in the desk.
  4. Read and listen to everyone about drinking sugar.
  5. Writing about it.
  6. Eating lots of good food. Back on the green smoothies.
And I feel so much better right now than I usually do at the end of a Monday of teaching.

Write comments about your efforts. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Think It Through

One of the ways weight loss derailleurs get us, is that we don't think it through. Our belly is thinking. Not our minds. Or possibly our worries are blurring our focus. 

Focus: I wanna weigh 173.

This week: What I did well - ate more apples. Didn't eat candy or doughnuts. What I didn't do well - drank 1/2 a soda every weekday. Hoping that getting back on green smoothies will take that craving away from me.

So I'm noticing something. I'm battling a huge headache everyday. I don't realize it's there until my aggravation has built up to the point where every little tap on a desk is bugging me.

I believe the headache is allergy related. The rains in Texas have been unrelenting this year. So Spring is powerful. 

This has caught me by surprise. 

Here's my plan for coping with the daily headache.

  • Reduce caffeine intake. 
  • Eat inflammation reducing foods. 
    • Obviously the soda has to go.
    • Whole foods become primary.
    • Processed foods need to fade to black.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Take allergy relieving supplements. 
  • Take headache relieving supplements (I only take pharms in the the most dire --can't go on--situations).
  • Pay attention to how I feel and deal with it.
  • Stay up on "must-do" items. Getting behind adds to stress and allergic response.
  • Exercise to keep endorphin response high enough to help.
You have good ideas too. What are they? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Back to Green Smoothies

Sometimes it's important to stick with habits that you know work, not look for some new thing. 

So a few weeks ago, I stopped drinking green smoothies for breakfast. Why? 

Because our blender broke. It wasn't the long-run plan. 

Yesterday, I drank my first green smoothie in weeks and was so happy. 

The green smoothie is packed with mega nutrients per cubic inch. If you have never had one I very much recommend you try.

The one con is the blender. You need a high quality blender. We use the Vita-mix. They are pricey. 

By the way, they are a great company that stands by their product. We are a large family with two adults and five boys. The Vita-mix is used more than any appliance in the kitchen. We have used ours roughly for more than a decade. We got a good deal from the company on a rebuilt model. 

And we are back in business.

Here's how you do a great green smoothie:
  • start with a great blender
  • use excellent greens - most beginners use spinach
  • make it tasty with good fruit (mango, pineapple, bananna) 
  • add some water
Wanna lose weight and feel your best. Try the green smoothie every day for a while. There are hundreds of recipes online, so you won't get bored. I drink 2 pints of it a day; one in the morning, one at night.

What's your favorite green smoothie recipe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Handle Sleeplessness

Wow. Tuesday... Good day. Took a day I wasn't too thrilled about doing due to a sleepless night and turned it oh so nice.


Teach Like a Pirate
So Monday night, I planned and "attended" the #TLAP Twitter chat. If you haven't done a chat before, TLAP (Teach Like a Pirate) is a great one to get you started. It starts at 8 PM central on Monday nights (I'll let you work out the other zones). I came out of the chat with two ideas. Keep my students active. And get them to generate questions. My mind was buzzing (hey, maybe why I couldn't sleep). But those two ideas activity + questioning = engagement.

Around the World (my classroom)

Here's the basic review lesson we did. Put vocab words up all over the room. Students go around the room to each word and ask a partner a question. The partner tries to answer. BUT THEN the partner who answered gets to ask another question about the same word. I like this because that second question drives the questioning deeper. Students think, "Oh I need to change the question. How can I ask it differently." My job, while students were doing this, was to go around and ask them about their great questions. And...It worked! It kept my attention and theirs.

Why It Worked

  • Very clear with students about expectations
  • Kept them moving
  • Kept them talking
  • Kept the guessing
  • Kept them thinking
  • Drank a lot of coffee in the AM
  • Dialed way back on PM coffee
  • Ate some chocolate and nuts! 
  • Worked at not being all so serious - Gotta laugh at yourself when you can't sleep!
What's this got to do with losing the final fifteen? 

Everything. Because pulling a win out of a difficult situation is what you have to do over and over to lose weight. In weight loss and diet change, you get decision after decision come your way where you have to change your thinking. I think that's why it's stressful. 

We have to get our thinking to the place where the right decisions about food aren't really decisions anymore; they are formed habits.

Then the stress is out of it.  Now lets get home and not do a double dinner! Still needed to mess with that one until I get it down pat.

Okay, in my sleepy mind, that all goes together. 

How do you get through your difficult days? Tell me in the comments. You have my permission. Really.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Handle Life On Three Hours Of Sleep

Gotta think ahead about how things are going to affect you. That's what the weight loss game is all about. Seriously, one blink-eyed decision can have day-long, week-long, and even longer affects. 

So yesterday, I drank a Coke at about 3 PM. 12 hours later the affect finally wore off. That 10 ounces, seriously affected my ability to go to sleep. Today, as soon as I get an opportunity, I'm running out to get a bag of juicy apples. That gets me through the rough spots. I also have to work at not taking myself too seriously on a day like today. 

Handling Life (and Middle Schoolers) On 3 Hours of Sleep

  • Have Fun
  • Tell Stories
  • Laugh
  • Listen
  • Get Some Exercise
  • Go Home (earlier than normal)
How do you get through days when you aren't feeling your best? Add to my list. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dinner Coming

I'm happy. I did my diet right. Mostly. I did drink half a Coke. Hmm, you wonder. What's the big deal. All on it's own, it's not. It's that one fizzy, sugary soda, feeds my craving. It makes me want one tomorrow. And that all leads to weight gain, not weight loss. The goal here is loss. It's one of the few goals in life in which we wanna lose, not gain. I'm focused on finding 173. I am.

I exercised when I got home but dinner is coming. I've done relatively well. I wanna end the day with a win. Dinner can be like a sand trap on the 18th hole for me. Shooting great and then stuck. 

I am interested in what you think about all this. Seriously. 

So do this. Click on the comments link down there. And add your two cents. 

Click and Add Your Comments

Getting involved in the conversation helps us both. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Did My Sunday Feast Plan

Isn't nice to have a plan to do something to improve your life that you actually follow through with? I did that today.

Here's how it worked. If you read yesterday's post, you know that I came up with a plan to make it through the Sunday church feast in such a way that I wouldn't undo all of the hard work from the week. 

Here's how it worked. I walked into the community center and fixed my eyes upon the salad. The salad was the target. Then I noticed a huge bowl of fruit at the dessert table. The plan began to form in my mind. The food I need to eat was there.

While I was waiting to eat, I drank a full glass of iced herbal tea. BTW, I keep telling myself to do this. I've been trying to start this habit for weeks. I just keep forgetting. So I started to talk about it and write about. Today I remembered! And that's how things often work for me. Keep saying it until you make it happen and it does. 

So I grabbed my plate, and skipped the fried offerings. I took a small piece of meat. I loaded up on some beans and cooked cabbage.

When I made it to the salad, I loaded up half my plate with it. 

A Plate Full of Veggies

I added a small stuffed pepper. 

For dessert I ate some mixed fruit. Okay, I went for seconds on a little bit more fruit.

Finally, and maybe the hardest part, I skipped the coffee. I love drinking coffee after a large Sunday meal. It seems to just hit it off. But today, I skipped it. Here's why: when I drink coffee in the afternoon, I have trouble sleeping on Sunday night. Monday, I get to school tired and load up on too much coffee. I feel a huge drop in the afternoon and want to drink a soda to get over the hump. And that's why it is so important for me to skip that Sunday afternoon coffee. 
Skipping Sunday Afternoon Coffee

Now, this may not be a perfect dieter's meal, but it was waaaay better than what I usually consume on a Sunday. And I'm happy with it. I came up with a plan and worked it.

I've told you what I think I did well. 

Here's what I could do better. Smaller portions with the fruit.

Next week, I'll come up with a plan for my Sunday evening meal. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

7 Goals To Enjoy The Feast and Lose Weight

Mental challenges in the weight loss game can be so interesting. So peculiar to an individual. Here's one I will deal with tomorrow.

On a typical school day, I eat lunch around 11. It's a little early, but I don't get to make my own schedule. If I don't eat at 11, I'm waiting until 3 or later. 

But on Sunday, I usually eat lunch around 1, two hours later than a normal day for me! 

So I'm famished. 
Enjoy the Feast and Lose Weight

And there is something wonderful before me: a feast. A table laden with wonders. Each Sunday is a different theme. One Sunday it will be Mexican food, on another it will be Italian. You get the idea. 

And this is often the best food I've ever tasted. These ladies knock them selves out. I mean it is amazing. I want doubles of everything. 

So here comes famished Lieberman with a big old white plate that cries to be filled up. On one end of the table are the entrees, then the sides, and finally the salads, not to mention the dessert table.

The healthy stuff is always there. And it's really good. But guess what? I I'm usually so loaded up with the tasty entree stuff that I have little room for my salad or cooked veggies. 

My habits are working against my goal. I want to weigh 173 pounds. I'm tired of having a back and hips that hurt. I've already lost 40 pounds or so. I'm talking fifteen more. And the 40 didn't seem like a fight.

But lately I'm brawling to keep my weight DOWN to 188. I'm in the thick of a mental battle here.

One of the issues is how many calories I consume on Sunday. 

Because here's the deal, one can reverse a week's gain in one meal. You can go from logging 1800 calorie days to a one meal 4000 or 5000 gain. 

I can anyway. 

I'm ready to not do this to myself anymore. 

Here are my 7 goals for negotiating the wonderful Sunday feast:

  • Find the salads and load up.
  • Find the veggies and get some.
  • Sample the entree. 
  • Fruit or Pass on desert.
  • No repeat.
  • Drink a full glass of unsweetened tea or water before I eat.
  • Enjoy the fellowship with those around me.
So that's my plan. I'll get back to you Sunday night or Monday and tell you how it went. Do you deal with similar quandaries?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Soda: 7 Ways To Kill The Craving

To lose weight, you must win your fight with sugar. There isn't any diet guru in any system I've ever read that says, "Eat all the sugar you want."

So one way that I handle this is that I make rules for myself. Maybe a rule is too strong a word here. I mean more of a benchmark. 

Here's one of my sugar benchmarks: no soda. By benchmark, it's an indicator that I'm not getting something my body probably needs: rest, exercise, unprocessed sugar, human interaction...

The benchmark tells me that I need to make some changes.

I craved soda this week. And last week too. 
Craved Soda This Week

I get to fifth period class and find that I'm floundering to find the energy to deliver all the way through to 3 o'clock when students get on the bus.

So I sneak over to the vending machine and buy a pop. 

I usually drink half of it.

I didn't do that today (win). Instead, I took some Dr. Christopher Vitalerbs and drank some water. And guess what, the craving passed. 

Here are 7 ways to keep out of the Coca-Cola:

  • Keep a bag of apples on hand. I like apples because they last all week in a desk. And they give me the natural sugar I'm craving.
  • If you can keep it reasonable, hide some high quality dark chocolate in the desk. Sometimes I can keep it reasonable, sometimes, not so much. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. That way, the 1:30 PM blues aren't quite so weighty. 
  • Exercise several days a week. This also helps so liquid mood lift no es necessario.
  • (This one's for teachers) Create fun lessons. That way you don't feel like you are dragging students through drudgery; you're having fun together. 
  • Drink water.
  • Try Vitalerbs. I'm not an affiliate--just like the product.
These are my go-to ways to get off of the notion that I need that afternoon caffeine kick. And they really help.

What are yours?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Potluck Stuck

When you are trying to win at weight loss, there are good things that get in your way. The church potluck is one of those for me.

I find myself at a potluck feast sometimes three times in a week. And by their very nature, church feasts are not designed to help the weight wary. 
Last night was one of these.

Long table filled with delights = I eat too many of them. And my scale goes orbital (exaggerating a little).

I put too many white things and sweet things on my plate. 

I need to go in with a plan. 

Here's the plan for next time, probably Sunday:

  • Decided ahead of time to fill half my plate with veggies. 
  • Don't eat white things.
  • Stop after one plate and refill on water or unsweetened tea.
That ought to work.

What would you do?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eeking Down the Pounds

One thing I realize, as I try to lose this final fifteen pounds, is that I can get way too focused on the small stuff. It really is about progress, not perfection. 

Yesterday I had a plan to go home from work and go on a bike ride with my 7 year old. And guess what, that's what we did.  We had a great time just cruising along for about 45 minutes. We pedaled and poked along. We got some exercise with the wind in our faces. Lots of wins there: fun, exercise, and time with my son. Gotta love it.

Dinnertime and beyond: Do you have issues with dinner? I can be great all day long then, poof, all of my resolve blows away like so much mist. And it wasn't a big deal, I ate an extra 200 calories that I didn't need. But still, I would like to figure out how to get past it. 

Here's my ideas to get past those mental cravings...

  • Get busy with something. 
  • Get a drink of water.
  • Make a list of good things to do. 
  • Play a game or have a conversation with someone.
  • Catch up on my reading. 
And what doesn't work: 
  • Watch TV.
  • Watch TV.
  • Watch TV.
Guess what I was doing when I ate the snack?

I'm sure there are lots of things to do to beat the evening extras. 

But here's the thing, I made progress right? I exercised. I ate well other than those extra 200 calories. It's progress. And this morning, the scale said that I lost a pound. 

I can live with that. 

Comment. Let me know what you do. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Start That Change Today

I saw a quote on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. It went something like this: Start the change today that you would like to see 12 weeks from now.

After a good start on the weight loss which I have been telling on this blog, I have had some difficult days. Spring break was hard. Easter weekend too. 

I am nailed down at 188 right now. If I overindulge on a weekend say, I drift up. But I come right back down in a few days. That's what happened this weekend.

But it happens the other way too. If I lose a few, get down to 185, 184, if I don't hold my mouth just right. The weight comes back to 188. 

My goal is for 173 to be that number. I might drift up or down from 173, but unless I make a new goal, 173. 

But today, my body is very comfortable at 188. 

Maybe I'm having difficulty convincing myself that 173 is where I need to be. 

It's all so mental. 

And blogging about it everyday really feels embarrassing sometimes. 

How to get focused on 173...
  • Keep blogging about it
  • Maybe I need to write down my food again. I was having a lot of success when I was logging my food.
  • My exercise is as good as ever. I'm getting 5 to 6 days a week. I'll keep it up and lengthen sessions.
  • Not quitting.
I'm in it for the long haul.

Share your comments. I know you have some wisdom.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend... Well...

Didn't get on the scale this morning.

Wasn't ready for that conversation with a piece of metal.


How do you handle the holidays?  I could use some tips.


If you could fill in the list for me, I would appreciate it. Could use a little perspective and sense of humor.


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Power of Maybe Later

A wrench can get thrown into your habits. And that happened to me yesterday.

At the last minute, I ended up going on a field trip for the day. No lunch plan. 

There came a point at which I made a choice about food. A split second choice, one I had no time to think out. And I chose something with more calories/fat/sugar than I would have had I been carefully selecting.

Today, I'm back on my programming. Yes it is programming. Many cringe at the idea of programming themselves. But in fact, that's what habits are: programs. They can be either routines that give us more freedom or less. 

For instance, when I was a new teacher, and STRESSED out. I drove through what I called the gauntlet. Doughnut shops, burrito places, the best Mexican food in Los Angeles.  It was about a three mile boulevard (slow traffic) of one place after another. 

I went through a period where I stopped every day for a doughnut. And on my way out, ate a burrito or some other wonder. That's like putting down the welcome mat for Fat to come right on in, sit in the easy chair and put his feat up. And I ballooned up to 250 or 260 pounds. 

Then, I got control of my life, started eating sensibly and the weight came off. I was eating lots of greens and exercising almost every day (unicycling). My weight dropped down to 190. 

The programmed habits of the doughnut shops and burrito places made me feel like I was dealing with stress. But I wasn't thinking through what was best. I was just doing what I wanted in the moment. And I suffered for it.

I realized that I was going to keep gaining and getting fatter, lose my health, so I reprogrammed, changed out the doughnut routines, and replaced them with salad routines. Sometimes it was as easy as thinking, "Maybe later," to that doughnut. 

"Maybe later," are two powerful words. Say it to the less healthy choice. Say, "I'll try it," to the healthy choices.

These mental messages eventually become new routines that work when you need them the most.

What my experience yesterday revealed to me is this: my best mental messages aren't fully functional yet. I need to give them more gas, more focus. I know from experience that they will get better.

If you are trying to create new programs and subroutines in your mind here are some ideas that can work:
  • Build easy mental messages that can help you stay with the plan. I like, "Maybe later," or "I can try that." 
  • Say, write, rehearse those messages until they become second nature.
  • After a food choice that didn't go well, reflect on how well you utilized the mental message. Figure out what you did well and what you could have done better. 
  • After a food choice that went better, reflect. Examine what you did right so that you can figure out how to rinse and repeat.
  • Write and refine your food, fitness, and health goals.
Creating new habits is absolutely doable. Start now.

And leave me comments to let me know how things are going for you. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hocus Focus

So I got up and weighed myself this morning. One pound down toward my goal. Three weeks ago, I was at least 5 down. I'm happy to see it go down. But it doesn't count until I see it down for at least 3 days in a row. 

Now how can I keep it going?

  • Don't celebrate by eating something "good."
  • Punctuate it by exercising today.
  • Write down progress and struggles.
  • Keep focused on the goal.
This is a matter of knowing the target, and staying focused on it.

How do you stay on it? 

Let me know right now in the comments below.