Category Archives: exercise

Cravings…we can CHANGE them!

I wonder how many calories I've burned off with these! (Photo by Ann Maniscalco

I’ve been working on a fixer-upper house. Patching walls and shopping for new fixtures isn’t exactly aerobic exercise (now, wielding a paint roller… maybe). But as my days and hours were spent on such tasks, my exercise routine went down the drain (wait, is that sink leaking?!?). As a few pounds crept back on, I realized that, although I was eating carefully most of the time, I wasn’t balancing the nutrition with the perspiration.

About two weeks ago, I determined to go back to baby steps and learn to “walk” again. After being up to an average of about 45 mins of aerobic exercise five days a week and smokin’ that, I found myself struggling to do 20 to 30 minutes three times a week. Strength training had disappeared totally, and what had been firming up was flabbing out:(  My body had begun to CRAVE inactivity!

But just this week, I’ve been able to get some 30 minute, and a couple of 45-minute workouts in, and after just getting going, I’ve noticed my craves have changed again…my body now WANTS to move, and it feels SO good to be back!

So I encourage you, if you are enduring your exercise instead of enjoying it, perhaps your crave-change hasn’t kicked in yet. Assuming that you are sweating to some calorie-burning routine that YOU chose above other less-desirable options, just keep at it. Before long, I’ll bet you’ll crave breaking a sweat!

And I’ve found this works for food as well… by making good choices over less-healthy ones, and keeping it up for a couple of weeks, what we are consuming will begin to become what we desire to take in, and those junk-bars will lose their hold!

(This is my 99th blog…trying to decide what #100 will be!)

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Filed under balance, exercise, making changes, physical fitness, priorities, victory, walking

Workouts pay off!

Pay yourself when you have a good workout…a simple and fun incentive!


A fellow WordPress blogger (Spagate) shared this neat idea to help motivate her to exercise. She created an exercise jar, and paid herself when she engaged in a good workout. Although she had seen the idea elsewhere suggesting putting $1.00 in the jar for each exercise session, she puts in a quarter for each 15 minutes, stating that “not  every workout is worth the same!”

I decided to get a bit creative with mine, making a colorful design on my computer. I’ve thought about subtracting $1.00 for days I don’t exercise when I should, but decided not to go there! Spagate made the suggestion to “save up for something special”, and I like that idea. Now, what will I buy when my jar is full? A new piece of exercise equipment, perhaps?

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Filed under calorie reduction, creativity, exercise, making changes, physical fitness, priorities

Visuals help!

Are you a visual learner? Sometimes, what we see has more of an impact that what we read. Case in point: After almost two months of not eating as well as I should and not exercising as much as I had been, my weight has incrementally crept up a few pounds above my goal. After working so hard to reach my goal, I’m back on track…the walking track, among other calorie-burning workouts! Another track I plan to implement again is the food-tracker. Knowing if it goes in my mouth, it goes on my chart makes me better able to say “no” to less-than-the-best choices.

Now, back to the visuals: For Christmas, I bought myself a pair of five-pound weights. They are pretty diminutive to look at, but when I pick them up, I have to brace my arms and shoulders for the extra stress. And just that ten pounds puts extra pressure on my legs as well. But another visual today really hit home. Our local store had ground chuck on sale, and as I looked at the “family packs”, most of which were three pounds or more, I saw a lumpy glop of meat about the size of what I’ve regained. Visualizing that on my backside has helped steel my resolve.

If you’re carrying excess weight, it may help to get some visuals in your mind; not only what you need or want to lose, but of smaller weights as well. Next time you’re shopping, pick up a five-pound roast or a ten-pound sack of sugar. Feel the weight in your hands. Then set a short-term goal to lose that five or ten pounds. Later, as you handle the comparable object again, you will be excited and encouraged that,  just as you can put down that bag of sugar, you’ve put off that much weight!

I hope you’ll join me in looking  forward to (and planning for)  a new year of becoming healthier, not only physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally. More to come on these thoughts in upcoming days!


Filed under calorie reduction, commitment, counting calories, exercise, food, making changes, physical fitness, right perspective

When does 100 equal 10? (small changes matter)

You never know when you’re going to hear a brief tidbit of info that can be of significant importance. Recently, our local YMCA offered a program on healthy lifestyles with a focus on weight loss. As the dietician shared, I wrote down her info, much of which I already knew. One thing, however, stood out.

If we are overweight, most of us want to lose it quickly without much being required in the way of change, right? But if we’re honest, we could probably look back and see that our weight gain didn’t happen over a three-month period, or even a year’s time. You might notice that you added ten pounds every year or two, which didn’t make a noticeable change because it was so gradual (“Hmmm, these old pants are out of style anyway, I’ll go find some new ones that fit better”). Years ago, I came across a couple of my maternity outfits, and decided to try them on. To my chagrin, I couldn’t even zip up the back of the dress, and the pants wouldn’t fit over my thighs!

Ten pounds annually over a four to  five-year period…the simple math shows that to be a noticeable weight gain. But the truth is (as the dietician pointed out), we can easily lose ten pounds a year without any significant lifestyle change. How is that possible? Two ways: Cut 100 calories a day out of your food consumption or burn 100 extra calories daily through exercise (depending on your current weight that could be as little as a 15-minute walk at a decent pace).

100 calories is just about nothing! Serving sizes and calorie counts vary by brand, but here’s a rough estimate of items that are about 100 calories each: a piece of toast with spread, eight ounces of regular soft drink, ¾ ounce of a chocolate candy bar, two hot wings, ¼ cup ice cream, or (gasp!) ⅓ of a slice of pepperoni pizza.

So, since 3,500 calories equals a pound, if we do the math, subtracting this amount from our daily calorie intake will allow us to lose around 10 pounds in a year, or…adding these extra calories daily will make the scale show a 10 pound increase this time next year (and the next…). Just a little bit of time learning about calorie counts of your favorite foods can help you make wise decisions that’ll whittle the waistline; an easy-to-navigate site I often use is  What choices will you choose to implement this week?

Note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive new articles as they post, you can subscribe on my homepage. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, making changes, menu planning, nutrition data, physical fitness, snacks

Simple Steps to Weight Loss Success

Choosing foods you enjoy will improve your chances of weight-loss success (photo by Ann Maniscalco).

Small decisions (steps) can add up to big results! Using the acronym SIMPLE STEPS, here are a few easy pointers that have helped countless folks shed excess weight:

  • S: Serving size – measuring your food before plating it will help you avoid portion-distortion.
  • I: Individualize – a plan that will work for Tom, Dick and Harry may not work for Mary! The only way to lasting change is finding a healthy-eating plan YOU can live with for life.
  • M: Meals – don’t skip them, especially breakfast. Eating at regular intervals will keep your metabolism revving.
  • P: Plan for indulgences – the mantra, “all things in moderation”, holds many dieters in good stead. Yes, you can eat cake; just work it  into your weekly plan.
  • L: Link with others for support. Being accountable to others – either online or in your community – will strengthen your resolve to stay the course.
  • E: Exercise – you’ll lose weight faster by combining exercise with eating better, and exercise will help you firm up your soon-to-be- sagging excess skin.
  • S: Start your meal with a glass of water. Since our stomachs hold about a quart, eight-ounces of H2O will help you become satisfied sooner.
  • T: Take your time. It requires about 20 minutes for your brain to get the satiety signal from your stomach, so eating slowly and savoring every bite will help you stop before you’ve over-indulged.
  • E: Entertain positive thoughts. Make up your mind to de-rail negative self-talk.  Your past failures do not define your present chance of success. Envision where you will be in 6 months or a year, and set intermediate goals and plans to arrive there.
  • P: Patience – you didn’t gain all your extra adipose tissue in a month or two, so don’t expect to say good-bye to it that quickly. Losing an average of two pounds a week can rid a person of about 25 pounds in just three months, and 100 pounds in a year’s time.
  • S: Step-by-step – most everyone falls off the wagon once in a while. Just shrug your shoulders and jump back on board at the next meal.

(A note from Slimvictory – if you want to receive new posts by e-mail, sign up at the top of my home page. And if you are helped by what you’ve read, please consider sharing my blog with others!)


Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness

Exercise for weight loss: think half-and-half

I wonder how many calories I've burned off with these! (Photo by Ann ManiscalcoTo see our weight loss progress gain momentum, we’d do well to combine eating better (not necessarily “less”) and exercising more. According to the web site:

 “Because 3500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories). Exercise along with cutting calories helps boost your weight loss. Exercise is also important for maintaining your weight and not regaining weight.”

The article goes a bit further with crunching the caloric numbers. In stating the recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services for healthy adults, it suggests at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate aerobic activity weekly, which could average out to 30 minutes, five days a week. It also suggests we “include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in [our] daily routine”.

 So think half-and-half to balance your calorie expenditure – half-an-hour of aerobic exercise (one that gets your heart rate up: brisk walking, swimming, jumping rope, jogging, bicycling, for example) and half-an-hour of other activities such as housework, shopping, or gardening…whatever “moves” you).

 Wondering how many calories you burn with various activities? It really depends on age, weight, intensity and other factors, but here are a couple of sites that can help you gauge the effectiveness of your activity:

 Consuming 250 calories less a day (it’s not hard – think approximately one 20-ounce cola, 1 large hamburger bun, 2 ounces of ranch-type dressing, or about 2/3 cup of ice cream, for starters) and burning 250 through an exercise you enjoy will result in the 3500-calorie weekly deficit required to lose a pound. Of course, results vary, but this is a helpful guideline to make sure your caloric output exceeds your input!

 ***A couple of questions  from slimvictory: What are some of your favorite exercises? Do you find it hard to commit to a regular program of physical activity?


Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, nutrition data, physical fitness, walking

35 Flimsy, faulty and/or funny excuses for not getting fit!

The only thing excuses are good for is keeping the scale numbers from going down. (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

When faced with doing something we don’t really want to do, or aren’t willing to adapt our lifestyle to accomplish, or don’t think we CAN do, we human beings are quite adept at making excuses.

Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, asked members of the AARP Fat 2 Fit community group to share some of the excuses for not getting fit. Some were funny, some were sad, but all revealed this quirky aspect of human nature.

I picked several I particularly liked (some may have been slightly edited), and created more of my own. Here’s hoping that reading this list will give you a laugh, but also provide the impetus (if  you’ve used some of these excuses) to realize that’s just what they are – excuses – and be willing to put them aside, as you pursue plans to lose weight and get fit.


 If I’m going to eat at a buffet, I want to get my money’s worth.

 I don’t have anyone to watch the kids.

 I inherited the “fat” gene.

 My mother always made me clean my plate, and I can’t break the habit.

 If I start doing things to lose weight and get healthier, my overweight (pick one) spouse, friends, sister, child will feel intimidated.

 My friends like to go out to fancy restaurants, and I don’t want to be the only one nibbling on rabbit food!

 That gym equipment made me so sore – I’m never gonna do THAT again!

 I’ve got to keep snacks around the house for my kids. I’m sure I can resist those chips, cookies and ice cream.

 I’m getting older. Everyone gains weight as they age.

 I always fail. What’s the use of trying again?

 I don’t want to deprive myself of anything. You only get to live once!

 I can’t work it into my busy schedule.

 I never have had any self-control.

 Just one more slice of pizza won’t make a difference if I skip the cookies for dessert.

 I’m a meat and potatoes man; never have liked vegetables.

 No matter what I do, I don’t lose. What’s the point? I might as well eat if not eating doesn’t help me lose weight.

 I can’t stand the taste of diet sodas. Besides, what’s it gonna hurt to have a couple of soft drinks a day?

 It’s genetic. These big hips are German hips. I’m built like my dad’s family. I can’t do anything about it.

 It’s too hot out. (OR) It’s too cold out.

 Gym memberships are too expensive.

 I wouldn’t enjoy making all the changes required to eat better.

 My mother always fixes our favorite desserts for Sunday dinner. I can’t hurt her feelings by refusing them.

 I’ll be working in the garden this afternoon so I’ll be burning off the calories from this huge breakfast.

 After a hard day at work, I can’t get myself motivated.

 My family won’t eat that way, and I’m not about to prepare two different meals!

 I’m so overweight, it takes all my energy to do the things that must be done.

 I’d have to get rid of some of my favorite clothes, and I’ve spent a lot of money on that wardrobe!

 It doesn’t matter, no one will ever love me anyway. 

 Healthy food is (take your pick) too expensive/ too time-consuming to prepare/ too bland.

 How dare he tell me to exercise? I’ll show him who’s boss!

 Some people actually prefer partners who are large.

 I don’t like exercise; I sweat too much and it makes my makeup run.

 I don’t want to get muscle-bound – it’s so unattractive!

 Watching every little thing I eat is too stressful, and stress makes me gain weight.

 I’ll get back on track tomorrow. (If not tomorrow, the next day…week…month…after Christmas…when school’s out…after I complete this project…when life isn’t so complicated…by my 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th birthday………..)

 “I was always going to start to lose weight “tomorrow”. But now, tomorrow has arrived.” (Quote from a member of the AARP Community Group Fat 2 Fit)

***A note from Slimvictory: If you are interested in learning more about the Fat2 fit support group sponsored by AARP (any age can join the online group), see the “resource faves” link on my home page.



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Filed under exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, physical fitness