Baby It’s Cold Outside, But Exercise Anyway!

Recently there has been a lot of controversy on the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside”.  Now, I am not going to get into the controversy.  No. Instead, I decided to use the melody, which I love so much, and make new lyrics that are appropriate for those losing weight! 

Here is the song with the lyrics directly below:

I really should go play,

But it’s cold outside,

I got to get away,

But it’s cold outside,

I need to exercise,

So, I don’t get fat,

What do you think of that?

I have to go, go, go,

But my body says no, no, no,

I really should go and do my exercise,

But I despise,

The cold, the cold, the cold, THE COLD!

Most of us hate to exercise when it is cold outside.  But it is a necessity if we are going to keep on our weight loss journey.   So, how do you get your exercise in, when you don’t want to go out?  Here are five tricks of the trade.

  1.  Bundle up and play!  A key to good health is getting sun.  So, the first thing is to layer up and get outdoors.   Winter is a good time for high calorie burning especially if you are in Minnesota which I will be in a few weeks.  So, layer up and have some fun with winter sports such as cross-country skiing, and sledding (as long as you are climbing up the hill after sledding down!)  Take advantage of these great sports that are only available in the winter (or early spring and late autumn when you are in the frozen tundra up north). 
  2. Romp around in your romper!  Those Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Jack LaLanne fans out there know the power of the romper. The founding father of exercise, Jack, and Abe Weisman, Tony Shaloub’s character on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel show us how it is done old school with simple calisthenics.  Whether you are in the warmth you are home or in the Catskills as Abe, old school calisthenics can get your heart pumping.  If you have YouTube,you might even want to one of Jack’s old TV routines shown here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4A3mdG5zbQ
  3. Spin to win! Biking outside is not always available or inviting when the roads are slick.  But you can always do inside cycling and learn from the best!  Read my recent blog on the King of Cycling! https://weightlossleadership.com/2018/06/10/heroes-of-health-series-episode-2-corey-the-cycling-king/   
  4. Take your Dog for a walk!  Some dogs are conditioned to walk in the cold.  Boots, our Bernese Mountain Dog, gets way more active when its get’s colder.  As you can see from his thick coat and bear like appearance, Boots loves the cold and can walk a lot further when it is 30 degrees than 100 degrees in Austin.  So, take care of your body and take your dog on a walk to escape that pesky cat. 
  5. Dance fever. This last one comes from my daughter Kate the Great.  When she gets done from a tough day teaching high school, she goes home, turns on the X-Box and “Just Dance”s.  Whether with an X-box game or to some Venmo videos of Taylor Swift (I personally love “Shake it Off”, dancing is an excellent way to shake off the pounds!
Boots and that Pesky Cat!

These are just five ideas to keep in shape during the winter months.  There are many more like chopping wood for your own fire or hot yoga, but these will suffice for now.  Bottom line:  Don’t get old, just because it is cold.  Exercise and have fun!

Boy It is Cold Outside

Two Essential Ingredients to Weight Loss – Family and Friends (Part Two)

Two key ingredients to sustained and maintained weight loss are family and friends.  They are just as important to your weight loss journey as healthy food, careful tracking, water, and exercise.  I wrote about the first of these ingredients – family – in Part One of this blog here Two Essential Ingredients to Weight Loss – Family and Friends (Part One).   On this one, I tackle Part Two – friends – in this blog.

There have been three categories of friends that have helped me as I lost 170 plus pounds and kept it off.    Here is how Work Friends, Facebook Friends, and Fitness Friends at Weight Watchers and Lifetime Fitness have helped me along the way.

1.       Work Friends – My friends and colleagues at Accenture have encouraged me on and challenged me over these last two years.  First, my company has a program called Accenture Active where I had the good fortune to be one of 30 selected Journeyers when we initiated the program.  As a Journeyer, we had bi-weekly meetings to touch base and learn from each other.  We also had access to special lectures to inspire.  One particular one was given by Diana Nyad who told us how she trained to be the first person to swim from Florida to Cuba.  She accomplished it at 64, after several previous tries.  Her story a long with the Accenture Active group inspired and made it easier to keep on plan.  If someone can swim to Cuba, I can lose a 100 lbs.  Here is a link to Diana’s wiki page if you want to learn more. 

Diana Nyad

Second, my office friends and colleagues formed a Fitbit group.  I cannot tell you how the many contests drove me to exercise more!  I actually walked the halls of the Columbus Sheraton to pull ahead of my colleagues.  My friends also helped me accomplish a long-term goal of walking 50 miles in one day.   My friends from our sales team that walked 10 miles with me with their kids, partly in the rain!  That is what I call support! Below is a the Fitbit badge to prove it. 

Image of FitBit 100,000 step sandal
50 miles in one day!

2.Facebook Friends – My friends on Facebook were also a great help in my Weight Loss.  First, they gave me Likes to my corny workout rhymes (Example:  Today I did the typical, 5 miles strong on the elliptical!).  They also gave me Likes and a few Loves as I hit my weight loss milestones.  Along, with individual friends on Facebook, I was helped immensely by some of the Facebook groups.  Four groups in particular, Weight Watchers Saturday Round Rock Group, Sheri’s FIT (my sister-in-laws great workout group), Spreading Positivity, and the West Point Class of 85 site.  Each site gave me helpful hints and encouragement.  For example, yesterday I learned that I could get Center Cut bacon which was only 2 Weight Watcher’s Smart Points for 3 pieces!.  That made my day and helped me get my bacon fix while reducing calories and keeping the pounds off. 

3.       Fitness Friends –  I already discussed my fellow Journeyers at Accenture Active.  There are two other fitness and weight loss friends I want to give a shout out to.  First is Weight Watchers in Round Rock Texas.  This group literally changed my life.  I love meeting with them every Saturday to trade tips, words of encouragement, and recognition.  I also found out for me as a guy it was a good fit, so do not let anyone discourage you guys out there.  I found that it had the accountability and recognition of the scale while it taught me to be more empathetic and listen more. Here is a link to the meeting if you decide to join us!

Weight Watchers Round Rock

The second group is my exercise groups at Lifetime Fitness.  As I got more fit, my fitness classes changed from Water Aerobics to the Spinning AMP course.  I even have done Zumba and Yoga!  In all the classes I loved the friendship, exhilaration and fun!  I want to give a special shout out to Corey’s Saturday EDG class at Life Time Austin North.  I now know as many hip-hop songs than some of my kids (although I will never beat my son!).  I also know I can get over 130 RPMs (wait till I get my cycling shoes this Tuesday).  Spinning is Winning!   Here is the link to Life Time North Austin location.

LifeTime North Austin

 

In closing, weight loss is not an individual sport.  It takes family and friends to help you to reach your milestones.  

 

 

Two Essential Ingredients to Weight Loss – Family and Friends (Part One)

Two key ingredients to sustained and maintained weight loss are family and friends.  They are just as important to your weight loss journey as healthy food, careful tracking, water, and exercise.  Family and friends inspire you to be healthy, console you when you go off plan, and applaud you as you meet milestones.  It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child.  I say it takes your family and friends to take off the pounds and keep them off.

This has certainly been the case as I lost 170 plus pounds and kept it off over the last two + years.  Here are just a few of the ways that my family have helped with my weight loss.  Part two will focus on friends.

1.       My wife has provided great support and companionship.  She has listened patiently as I droned on about how many more Weight Watcher points a chicken thigh had compared to a chicken breast!  She has kept the cabinets and fridge stocked with healthy food and has hidden away any indulgences that she likes so I can’t find them.  She has asked each week how I did with my battle with the scale.  Most important, she has gone on numerous hikes with me.  Last year when I did my first Kennedy Walk (50 miles in one day), she walked with me for the first 10 miles at O dark thirty and finished the last 10 miles with me at 10:30 PM.  Here is a picture of us before walking the Bix 7.

Running the Bix 7
Running the Bix7

2.       My kids encouraged me and listened to all my Dad anecdotes about my latest struggles as I turned away from my Peanut M&M addiction.  They showed their support by giving me Likes on my countless Facebook posts (especially my son-in-law). They also did not gripe when our family outings changed from pizza to Brussel sprouts.  Lastly, they turned me on to the latest self-help gurus like Tim Ferris that inspired me (thanks Kyle). 

3.       Family Pets – Boots the dog joined the weight loss journey with me.  I remember that initial walk when he and I were at peak weight as we trudged up a hill on what I called our last chance workout! We both made it thankfully for Colette since she did not have to carry us up the hill (although Boots stopped for 10 minutes mid-way through)!  As we lost weight together on the trails of Turkey Creek, he shared my victories and my steak.  You can read more about Boots and me in this blog.  The two cats have been helpful because they wake me up at 4:30 AM to let them out, thus making sure I get to the morning work out on time!

A little help from friends: Striding Subbu and Boots the Dog

4.       Extended Family – My siblings and my in-laws have been companions and inspired me on my weight loss journey.  My brother also took on the weight loss challenge and has lost over a 100 lbs.  We really should have gone on the biggest loser and won the cash (but our health is way more important).  My other brother and sister have also encouraged me with Facebook likes and encouragement.  As for my wife’s family, they have been key to establishing an exercise regimen.  One of my sisters in law established a monthly challenge group on Facebook.  Together our team walked across Texas and challenged ourselves in fitness.  One of my nieces made a group called Spreading Positivity which was a key to keeping me up when I was down!

Dance the Night, Stress and Weight Away!

One thing that seriously impacts your fitness and your health is the reduction of stress. One of the things that I love to do to relieve stress and get a little exercise in to boot is to dance and Karaoke. These are two of my favorite past times and one week I got to do both of them.

Our team  had an informal outing to see and hear one of the musical institutions in Austin the Spazmatics. This group plays some of the best 80’s music that I have heard. It brings me back to my college years when I danced the night away to Hammer time, Devo, the Romantics and assorted new wave music.  Believe it or not, I had parachute pants at one time and could do a mean rendition of “Can’t Touch This”. At the time, I thought the music could not live up to my teen years filled with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But it has! Anyway back to the story.

spazmatics

We all had a great time dancing to the music and ended the night at the Karaoke club were we had another classic, song contest. The time was a great way to get over some of the stress of the work week. And beyond that, it was a fantastic way to get exercise. I broke my record for the earliest time to get 10,000 steps done pictured below. Over 10,000 steps before 2:30 AM. It also helped my fitness that I forgot where I parked! This dancing extravaganza and car search also put me over the top in meeting my goal on JIFF, a health App that works with company fitness program.   I got 1,200 points on my company Accenture’s fitness program and earned a free Amazon Prime. I now get to watch NYPD Blue while working out on the Elliptical!

 

IMG_1154

What are the key points for all those trying to get more active?

  1. Exercise does not have to be drudgery on a treadmill.  There are many ways to move and get your steps in!
  2. Life is too short not to dance.  Work hard but play hard also.
  3. Singing is good for the soul but also for the body.  The next time you feel beat, belt out a tune.  Here is me singing a Christmas song with a twist written by one of my Weight Watcher friends in Texas.

Life’s fun and attractive when you’re Active!

Spice it up in the New Year!

 

Variety is the spice of life and it is also the not so secret ingredient to Weight Loss.  During my weight loss journey over the last two years, I have found that I could break through a plateau by switching it up.  That goes for switching up food choices but as importantly exercise.

I have done 10+ exercise routines besides my old standby – walking.  Here are 10 of those exercise routines starting with those that I began with when I was 350+ and moving to my latest favorite – spinning.   Hope these give you some ideas for your own journey into health.

  1. Water Aerobics – This is a great exercise when you are first starting out (and great all the time).  At the time I started it, I was 350+ and could walk less than a quarter mile without getting winded.  I was a little self conscious wearing a bathing suit but it was a way to get moving and not put a lot of stress on my joints.
  2. Elliptical – You may think the next exercise would be walking but when I got into the 330+ range, I could still not walk comfortably.  My back would tighten up after less than a half mile.   This was very humbling for a guy who did 20+ mile marches back in his younger days.  But I needed to get some fitness back first so I went on the elliptical trainer for a good part of 6 months.  What I would do is intervals – first level 1 – 5 (a minute each) and then 5 – 10.  We had a Facebook exercise group started by Sister In Law Sheri and each day I would post a poem about my exercise that day.  An example during this time period:  5 miles of the typical, rocking the elliptical (Ok not a perfect rhyme but just starting out!)
  3. Yoga – No I still was not walking well so each Saturday I did beginner’s Yoga.  This by far was the best weight loss exercise.  I did not expect it.  I am not a natural Yogi.  First, I am as a flexible as a rock.  Second, I am the opposite of calm.  But I really wanted to get back to walking so I tried it.  I lost 8 lbs in one class trying to do the Sun Salute routine.  I never quite accomplished it.  In fact, I once cratered and fell into the wall.  This caused the Yoga instructor who was very calm to come up to me and say “It is ok.  Get to your calm spot”  I got into the child pose and muttered under my breath – “I do not want to be calm; I want to do a Sun Salute”.  Even though I still struggle, the Downward Dog and other stances loosened me up so I could begin walking.
  4. Walking and Hiking – Now that I had some of the weight off I began to walk and Hike.  I spoke about my practice of the Beer Walk – find your favorite Bar that resides of a trail and walk there – in an earlier blog.  Walking/hiking is the ultimate exercise and you can do it even when working. Below you see me at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin taking a call for work.  I got a little enamored with walking, so much so that once I reached my goal weight, I walked 50 miles in one day – A Kennedy Walk in honor of Veterans and renewed health.  But that is for a different blog!hike
  5. Tabata – Near the end of my Weight Loss journey,  I got stuck for 4 weeks and could not lose weight and even gained some weight.  That is when I learned about Tabata – which was an exercise routine established in Japan.  It is bursts of high intensity exercise all out with brief periods of rest.  I got an app on IOS called Tabatach (Tabata and watch – there are others).  I did this after my walk and it kicked the weight loss back into gear.
  6. Weight Lifting – I also went to an old stand bye during this time – weight lifting.  I still practice the total fatigue lifting process that was taught to me by my football coaches – Hank “the Tank” Kearns and Charlie Pirello from Northern Burlington football.  You do 8 -12 reps and then negative reps (usually need a partner) until you burn out that muscle group.  You then move on to the next largest muscle group until you complete a circuit.  This really revs up the weight loss.
  7. Fun Runs (and I do mean Fun) – Now that I could move well, I started to do Fun Runs again.  I went back to the BIX – a 7 mile run in the Quad cities that my Brother and Sister In Law host.  I had not done it in over 10 years.  This year I completed it and had a little fun along the way!  See me below singing Karaoke along the course!run and sing
  8. Dancing –  I love to dance.  I am best when it is non-choreographed but have taken a number of Zumba classes.  I once completed 20,000 steps (a later blog) dancing from midnight to 2 AM dancing to the 80’s cover group the Spazmatics.
  9. Functional Integrated Training (F.I.T) and Body Weight Exercises.  – I wrote in my blog about how I progressed from the Water Aerobics to F.I.T on a previous blog.  F.I.T. involves cardio with weights and body weight exercises to get the best of both worlds.  Also with the weight off, I could now do push ups again!  Maybe not up to West Point  Clicker-board but you judge.  Here are some of the 200 pushups I did on the Veteran’s day walk that I just conducted.

10.  Spinning – My most recent love is Spinning in courses offered at Life Time.  AMP, Power, Edge – I do them all.  I especially like Corey’s Edge class on Sunday’s along with the latest hip hop tunes.

 

And there you have it!  I could have even added my Rocky (boxing routine) but that is enough for now.  Get out there in 2018 and Spice It Up!