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Kelly Answers Your Questions
If you would like to ask me a question on fitness, self-care, motivation, relationship & boundaries, healthy eating, or other "Health for ALL Sizes" issues, just email me.
Below are some of the Questions and Answers that are typical of the emails I get.
Dear Still Here,
I encourage you to listen to the expert on your body. There is only one true expert. That is YOU. If you want to know how carbohydrates affect you, try eating some low carbohydrate meals and notice how you feel. Pay attention to your energy levels, your cravings, and when you get hungry again. Then, on another day, try eating meals and snacks with more carbohydrate content. Pay attention to the same things. You will learn very much from this increased awareness of how food affects you. Choose to eat the foods that make you FEEL best and have the least wrestling with cravings.
I would like you to try something. Experiment with getting more of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Then notice how you feel. Many people get more energy and more stable blood sugar levels when they enjoy fruits and vegetables as a substantial part of their carbohydrates. You can experiment and see if that is true for you.
I don't know how eating low carbohydrates will feel for you … but your body does know. Trust the expert (you and your body) and listen to what the real expert has to tell you.
Next, and most importantly, if you modify your eating in order to get thin or lose weight, then you are participating in body-criticism. This negative motivation will likely prevent you from maintaining the motivation for long term healthy eating.
I encourage you to eat healthy because your body deserves to feel good. Focus on taking care of the body you have, instead of rejecting your body. In the long run, you will be more likely to build your healthy lifestyle and feel better about your body.
I can tell you what to look for in a workout video so that you will:
Choose a workout with a focus on fitness and health. Avoid body-critical workouts that promise to make you "look better" or get "a whole new you".
Choose an instructor with a pleasant voice and music that you enjoy. Only high budget videos can afford to get license to use actual artists and original hits. Most workout videos use generic music … but some is better than others.
Watch for instructors who CONSTANTLY give safety information. You need to know how to do the moves correctly and what common dangerous mistakes to avoid. Find a LOW or NO impact workout for joint safety.
You want to feel successful the first time you do the workout and continue to feel challenged after you have used the video for a while. The instructor MUST show several different ways to do each move so that you can choose the intensity that works for you. Beware of instructors who just say, "tone it down if you need to". The instructor should show HOW to change the moves to meet your needs and still be effective.
You can rent videos at libraries, watch them at video stores, and order videos with a guarantee so that you can return them if they do not meet your needs.
I cannot say for sure if any other workout videos have these important characteristics. Please check some out for yourself. I do know that the many workouts on video or DVD available at on www.KellyBliss.com and www.PlusSizeYellowPages.com can be very helpful.
If you are eating healthy and working out regularly, GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Those are things that you can do for your wellness and health. I hope that you can continue to focus on the healthy lifestyle choices that are good for you.
Studies have shown that the people who appreciate and accept their bodies are the ones who are most likely to continue healthy habits for a lifetime. If you criticize the shape, texture, or size of your body, you will reduce your motivation to take care of yourself. So, right now, what you need to do is make peace with your body and appreciate it.
In answer to your question, "What are the best exercises for you?" You are already doing one of the best exercises you could possibly do… walking. Keep walking. Don't walk to change your body. That would be self-critical. Instead, walk because you deserve the benefits of walking. That is self-nurturing.
Working on various weight machines will improve muscle tone. This may effect the texture of your skin, but that is not the reason to strive for good muscle tone. The reason to work toward strong and flexible muscles is so you can live your life and FEEL good.
I will encourage you to develop ways to think and speak about your body that are less critical. This will really help your feeling of success. There are a few things you can do to take good care of your skin and the softness on your body.
Whenever you walk, wear supportive undergarments on any area of your body that "bounces" or "jiggles". When you support these areas, the collagen elastic fibers in the skin and substructure are not damaged by the bouncing action of walking.
For women, wear a supportive bra to support your breasts. For both guys and gals, a spandex t-shirt will support upper arms, chest, and midriff. For your lower body, guys and gals can wear spandex leggings to support the belly, butt, and legs. The slipperiness of spandex will help with chaffing in the upper thigh area too. You can always wear sweats, T-shirts, or pants on top of these supportive garments if you want.
I am impressed. It is difficult to find a no-impact aerobics class and you accomplished it. Congratulations. It is always safest to recommend that you check with your doctor on this matter. He or she may have some medical advice that would be valuable.
It is likely that the discomfort you are feeling is due to overuse of the muscles in your shoulder and arms. I am guessing that when you say you have "pressure in my arms due to lactic acid", you are referring to that "burning" sensation that muscles get when overused. If this is true, there are several things you can do:
1. Warm-up thoroughly BEFORE you start to lift your arms in the workout. You may want to do some warm-up moves even before the class starts so that you have a few extra minutes for your body to prepare for more intense exercise. This will dilate the blood vessels in your body so that you get more oxygen to the muscles. When you have more oxygen, you will have less build up of lactic acid.
2. Instead of lifting your hands over your head, lift them up slightly in front of your forehead. This puts less strain on the shoulder muscles and is safer for the shoulder joint.
3. Change how high you choose to lift your arms. Just because the instructor has her/his arms up high, does not mean that you should follow. Listen to the real expert… There is really only one expert on your body in the room… That is YOU! When your arms feel fatigue, lower them slightly. After the muscles in your arms and shoulders recuperate, then you can lift your arms up again. Keep listening to your body and keep adjusting to make your workout better for you.
Enjoy! Working out should feel good!
I encourage you to pay attention to your lifestyle. Keep working out! Make it fun! Focus on eating enough of the healthy foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. When you are successful at these lifestyle choices, celebrate your success. Appreciate your body for the miracle that it is.
Because you workout vigorously and regularly, by definition, YOU ARE TONED! (even if genetically you are predisposed to have some softness on top of your toned muscles) You cannot judge your fitness and health by the size or texture of your butt and thighs.
Keep taking care of yourself. Buy clothes and exercise wear that support your body and feel good. DO NOT continue to seek an "ideal" body shape and texture. That may cause you to become frustrated and give up on exercising.
It sounds like you do a vigorous workout on a regular basis. That is good. I will caution you to listen to your body. If you become aware of ANY discomfort in your knees, hips, shoulders, or elbows … DO NOT IGNORE IT! Tae-boTM can cause joint problems in many people. If you do develop a problem, there are other ways to get a good workout without joint damage. If you feel no discomfort and want to continue with Tae-boTM, just keep listening to your body.
Bottom line: Learn to accept your bottom, it is the only one you've got! Keep taking care of yourself, and appreciate your efforts!
I was depressed and very angry. My mother is a psychologist an she was a great support, but still...In December my family and I received news from my doctor's office. She said that the problem is not in "my head".
The problem is that I have too much testosterone in my blood. I'm on medication now but the kg are still here. I eat healthy and I started training for badminton (2 weeks now) but I want my body to look as perfect as possible. I'm young and I just LOVE sports. Do you have any advice for me.
Thank you very much.
Right now you are working on your fitness and your healthy eating. KEEP IT UP! Those are things that you do have control over. Right now you are actively taking care of your medical needs and taking the medication your doctor prescribed. GOOD! This helps you manage your medical problem instead of being the victim of it.
It sounds to me like your body and your weight changed with puberty. That makes sense if your have a testosterone imbalance. I hear the frustration in your message. I also hear something in your message that will make your frustration MUCH WORSE. You say, "but I want my body to look as perfect as possible." Wanting perfection IS a problem. If you want perfection, you will never be satisfied. Seeking perfection causes body loathing, depression, and more.
If you equate thinness with perfection, then you are participating in eating disordered thinking. This is dangerous for your health. Expand your concept of beauty to include a variety of body sizes - including your own. This will help you feel better about yourself. Feeling better about yourself is the most likely way to CONTINUE YOUR HEALTHY LIVING FOR YOUR LIFETIME.
Keep living healthy. Keep active and exercising. Keep eating healthy foods. These are things over which you DO have control. Your weight is a side effect of your individual body, genetics, medical history, diet history, etc. You do not have control over your weight. I recommend that you strive to live healthy and focus on your lifestyle instead of your weight. Your weight will stabilize at the weight that is right for your individual body.
If what I say seems impossible, get support for your journey to self-acceptance. If you are afraid to let go of the ideal of a "perfect" body, seek out support groups, read books that help reduce body-loathing.
Send me your email address and I will make sure to add you as a member of my website. Then you will get my eNewsletter for self-care and self-acceptance. You will find LOTS of resources for your journey to self-care and self-acceptance at www.KellyBliss.com
I am so glad that you enjoy fitness training. I hope you are experiencing positive results like improved stamina, flexibility, and strength.
It is unusual for a woman to experience substantial muscle growth. There could be a few things that would contribute to this. You may just naturally have more testosterone than average. This will allow your body to "muscle up". You may be using heavy weights with few repetitions. That is another way to encourage muscle development.
Here are my recommendations. If you want to keep fit and minimize muscle growth:
I encourage you to exercise for your health and wellness, not to attain some "ideal" body size or shape. Expand your idea of what is beautiful to include a variety of body sizes and shapes, especially your own! This change of mind is not easy. It is worth the effort. By appreciating your own body's size and shape, you are more likely to maintain your healthy living activities.
If you exercise because it FEELS good and it is good for you, then you are more likely to keep exercising as a lifelong habit. Keep moving!
First of all, please consult your doctor on medical problems like this. Next, I may have some useful information that you can use in your discussion with your doctor. These are my thoughts as a fitness professional. Your doctor's advice is what you should follow.
Think of the arch of your foot like the suspension on a car. The tendons and ligaments in the arch are like the springs in a car. When these get overused or over stretched, you get pain and inflammation. To reduce the discomfort and allow healing, reduce the overuse and over stretching.
1. Minimize your walking. (I know, this is difficult to do with a busy life. Just try.)
2. When sitting, prop your feet up and wiggle your toes. This will encourage circulation of blood, synovial fluid (in joints), and interstitial fluid (the stuff that the lymph system pumps away and cleans). This gives your tendons and ligaments the best environment in which to heal.
3. When sitting and you can't prop your feet up, set them on a cool water bottle, well, actually you might want to use two cool water bottles. If it were ice cold, you would not stay there as long because it would be too cold. If it is cool, ahhh, you can enjoy resting the arch of your foot there! This will reduce inflammation.
4. Wear shoes that have a SLIGHT heel, like sneakers that have a nice size heel. Then add a soft arch support with a bit of a heel lift. (You can get these at most drug stores.) This supports your foot, takes the stress off of the tendons and ligaments in the arch.
5. I know the doctor said to take anti-inflammatory. Talk with your doctor about this. I have found that if you only take the anti-inflammatory SOME of the time, you will get little long-term relief. The inflammation comes back between doses. My doctor told me to KEEP anti- inflammatory in my system round the clock for a few days to a week. This breaks the cycle of inflammation. See what your doctor says.
6. When your symptoms subside, EXERCISE. But, exercise in a way that does not irritate or overuse your arches. Do you have some my "Fitness with BlissTM" video workouts? If you do, that will be a great safe workout if you do one thing … TAKE THE BOUNCE OUT. I know this is a non-impact workout already. However, I see people in my classes who bounce even though they are not actually jumping. When you take ALL the bounce out and move smoothly with your legs, your arches will be pampered. If you want more aerobic work, add small wrist or hand weights with extra smooth upper body moves as well.
Lastly, be patient. This is an injury that should improve with these steps in a few weeks. However it takes months to completely recover.
How many grams of calories and fats should I consume per day to lose weight? Also, I do not understand the nutrition labels on foods. There are total fat, saturated. fat, cholesterol, sugars. You know the label. How much of each should I consume per day?
I am more serious now about my weight. I have to lose 60 lbs for my doctor to consider taking me off my blood pressure medication. Please help.
I would encourage you to be more serious about your HEALTHY LIVING and take the focus off of weight loss. This will give you the best chance of continuing your healthy lifestyle.
Be patient. Take the focus off of your weight and soak up your success at exercising. Continue to work on healthy eating. Measure your success by your healthy LIVING, not by your weight. If you focus on your weight, you will get frustrated and give up. If you focus on your successes, you will stay motivated and change for a lifetime.
Keep exercising. Keep eating nutritious foods. For some thoughts on coping with cravings, please check out the section in Chapter Two of this book called: First, Eat Something Healthy
I encourage you to work on building your healthy lifestyle. Gradually work your way up to eating more fruits and vegetables, until you are eating 5 to 8 servings a day. (That will take a lot of focus and attention to accomplish that goal. It is worth it. It will improve your health.)
Increase your activity and exercise in ways that you enjoy. Work toward exercising 4 to 6 days a week. Include some aerobic activity, some muscle toning, and some stretching. This goal will take your attention and your energy as well. Good.
I encourage you to put all your attention on your healthy lifestyle. I hope you will measure your success, not on the scale, but rather by looking at your actions. Whatever your size, small or large, when you take care of yourself with healthy eating and regular movement, then you ARE a success. Check out the section on www.KellyBliss.com called "Track Your Success". You CAN succeed at healthy living ACTIONS.
What about your weight?
My recommendation is to stop focusing on weight loss and focus on your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy your success at eating healthy and exercising regularly.
If you focus on your weight, you will probably hop on the weight loss and gain merry-go-round. That causes weight gain. If you want your body to be your best natural weight, instead of an artificially high weight caused by yo-yo dieting, FOCUS ON YOUR LIFE AND NOT YOUR WEIGHT. Learn to love and enjoy your body. It is the only one you've got!
The most important thing I can tell you is to check out all the support and information on www.PlusSizeYellowPages.com and www.KellyBliss.com Subscribe to the eNewsletter by becoming a member. Use Your Personal Workbook. Find self-esteem boosting exercise videos and classes. Get what you need to take care of yourself. You ARE worth it! Expose yourself to this new way of looking at self-care and self-acceptance.
You are trying. You are just doing unhelpful things. The following list seems simple. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is difficult. But these goals are worth your effort because they result in feeling better and being healthier! To do simple things, you need to get creative. Try putting your time and energy into doing these things:
1.) Eat when you are hungry. If you skip meals or go hungry, you are slowing down your metabolism.
2.) Eat healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When you fill up on these, you will have less room for junk food.
3.) Enjoy your food, SAVOR IT! If you don't taste what you eat, you will probably eat more so you can feel it.
4.) Stop eating when you are full. (You can always eat again when you get hungry.)
5.) Take a walk TODAY. Even if you can only take a short walk. JUST START.
6.) Find fitness that FEELS GOOD! Find a plus-size fitness facility where you feel comfortable. Or, you can use exercise videos that are made for plus-size people.
7.) Stay off the scales. Measure your success by noticing your healthy eating and fitness ACTIONS. This will keep you motivated toward self-care.
THESE ARE THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOUR BODY AND LIVE HEALTHY!
You CAN feel better. I know. I see people do it all the time.
Dear 31 and 130,
Many of the actions you describe sound like a great part of a healthy lifestyle. I am glad that you are doing aerobics and lifting weights. This can help you feel more physically fit and psychologically able. Drinking enough water so that your body has what it needs will help your body function better. This is all good for you.
I am concerned however, about the REASON you are making these lifestyle changes. If you do all these things because you hate your body the way it is and you want to lose weight, then every thing you do becomes an act of self-criticism.
I have NO idea if or when your body will return to your pre-pregnancy size and shape. That is the result of a complex set of influences: genetics, weight loss and gain history, medications, etc.
I do know that if you learn to love the body you have, you will be more likely to take care of yourself over time. When you take care of yourself over time, then your body FEELS best. Feeling good is a self-sustaining motivation to continue your healthy living actions.
I also know that if you learn self-acceptance and self-care now, you will be able to teach these concepts to your two beautiful children … what ever size and shape they turn out to be.
Wishing you well,
I liked the outline of how to handle people who overstep boundaries. That will be useful to many of us this holiday season and beyond.
My problem is more about in-law types who like to talk about weight and dieting when I have to be in their presence for family reasons. I think it is rude to do so when they are all normal size and I am well over 300 pounds. I know that everyone in America thinks they are fat, at least we women do, and that they must discuss these subjects when I am not there. But sometimes I feel it is directed at me. Sometimes it is directed at me in the sense that they will try and draw me into the "conversation". I don't think I am overly sensitive and I do know when I am being attacked. Would you have any suggestions for how to deal with these very uncomfortable occurrences? Food for thought maybe?
Anyway, thank you again and I hope you have a very happy holiday season!
I think the key to your boundary setting in the situation you describe above is the phrase " I have to be in their presence". Let's think about this a bit more.
If you were taking care of a little one, and their well being required you to get up and leave the room to tend the little one, you would get up and leave. You just would. If a little one in your care was hurt or needed you, you would simply (and probably quickly) get up, excuse yourself, and leave.
I propose that you take care of yourself the same way. There is no need for explanations or comments. If you simply leave the room whenever this body critical, diet talk occurs you accomplish two things.
I encourage you to take care of yourself just like you would any little one in your care. Get up and move if necessary to protect yourself. I can tell you from personal experience and from the boundary setting success stories my clients tell me, this works!
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