We All Start Somewhere With Weight Loss. Don’t Hide Yourself.

By: Guest Blogger Jessica Barczewski

Who am I? What a question. This little question keeps popping up along with “What do I want?” and “Who do I want to be?” The truth is, as it is for all of us, these are not questions that I have thought much about and instead try to avoid because of fear of the answer. So let me just start from the beginning.

All of my life, I can remember that I was big. Maybe not always overweight, but my feet, for example, were too big for the box on my birth certificate. I never wore newborn size shoes, and by the time I started school I wore a shoe size bigger than my mom. By the time I entered school, my dad could no longer carry me on his shoulders and my mom could not bounce me on her knee. Before I entered middle school, I was already wearing plus size women’s clothes. But I never saw it. Oh sure I saw a stomach and a double chin, but in pictures of myself I never saw myself as being overweight. I just saw a cute child smiling back; I do have a great smile by the way. But I never took notice of how dangerous life was getting with an overweight body. As I grew up, the teasing was merciless. In eighth grade, I got my first pair of glasses and I felt that they had become my very own invisibility cloak. I could hide behind those lenses and the hurtful words people would say to me could not penetrate those glasses. I wore them proudly and I have never stopped wearing glasses since. Unfortunately, the glasses did more than just protect me. They also helped to isolate me. A disturbing trend among the overweight/obese population is isolation and loneliness. Somehow, we all feel that we are not worthy of being happy and being loved so we retreat into ourselves and deprive the world from knowing how great and special we are.

Three years ago, I developed a terrible pain in my lower back. I could not bend over, stand, or do housework (darn) without my back being in a horrible pain. I was scared the day I went for a walk with my family and couldn’t even walk more than ten feet without my back suddenly starting to hurt. It was on that day that I decided something had to be done. While I was thinking about chiropractors and doctors for my back, a tiny voice in the back of my mind said “Why don’t you try to lose some weight first?”

I had never thought about losing weight. I never cared about the opinion of others because I believed that what mattered was how I saw myself. I realized that I am the one who spends every minute with this brain, heart, and body and I needed to like, and possibly love, myself. I also knew that I did not want to be one of a million other women who hate the way they look. I never liked the word “diet” because to me that was an evil word that said you hate your body. I don’t hate myself. So I refused to diet and exercise because I felt these two things went hand and hand with an evil mixed up world. I felt that loving me meant giving in to everything I wanted and never saying no.

I did get exercise. I have burned through more walking shoes than exercise clothes. I have my most creative thoughts when I am out for a stroll around the neighborhood. So this was the only form of exercise I got and it was enough to keep me at 30 pounds overweight all through high school. In college, I ate poorly. I was a poor college kid, and I would eat pre-packaged meals and fast food and never once did a fruit or vegetable enter my system. And once I got out of college, the cycle continued.

So two years ago, I was tipping the scales at 278 pounds. 100 pounds more than what I weighed in high school and over 130 pounds of what my healthy weight should be. But I was not discouraged when I saw that number. I took that number as my starting point feeling that we all have to start somewhere. To date, I have lost 60 pounds and I have learned so much more about myself. There are things I am doing today that I would have never thought I could ever do. I feel like I have strength and the courage to tackle anything that may have seemed scary years ago. I refuse to hide behind my invisibility cloak and instead I greet every day with the knowledge that I can be better and do better today than yesterday. This has been my journey and it is nowhere near the finish line. I have seen a few finish lines since I took up running last summer, and one day I hope to cross my own. But this is just me and my discovery of who I am, what I want, and who I want to be.

Part I: You Have To EAT To Lose Weight

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

Photo c/o: Britt Selvitelle

Naturally when I hear most people talk about losing weight the word diet is mentioned in one way or another. Diet by definition assumes restriction of food in some form, which often leads to unfortunate behaviors – namely, not eating sufficient calories and more importantly the nutrients your body needs.

I am forever perplexed over why we work against our body’s natural biology.

Here’s a hard fact: Our body is built to SURVIVE. At the most fundamental level your body does what it does to SURVIVE. Bottom line, there comes a point where the fewer calories you take in the fewer calories your body burns. This is your body’s basic response to survival…in other words; it doesn’t want to starve so it will run on less energy to make the most of the calories it does get. This WILL happen when you hit that “danger point” for YOUR body.

This fact has been studied and studied. In fact, you may have already experienced this phenomena: You’ve been cutting your calorie intake by 500 calories a day so that you lose 1 pound per week (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3,500 calories =1 pound) and at first it worked like a charm but suddenly you hit a plateau and the weight loss is less and less each week. Frustrating isn’t it? The simple and hard fact is, your body is just not built to follow such a simple equation. There are so many more variables to consider.

Bottom line – You have to EAT to lose weight safely and effectively. Not too much and not too little…confusing right? Weight loss is a tricky equation but ultimately there is no magic pill or extreme diet that can replace simple healthy eating at regular intervals that corresponds directly with your personal needs. Because all calories are not created equal (an issue I will discuss in the next part of this series), it is critical that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to do basal metabolic tasks. Add in exercise and personal physiological circumstances and there certainly is a lot to think about. Yes, what AND how much you eat aren’t the only factors!

Current research is telling us the best way to keep the body in an optimal state of metabolic bliss is to eat smaller more frequent “meals” throughout the day. There is research to suggest that even small calorie deficits within a single day may alter our metabolism in ways that have negative effects. While the ultimate goal is for the body to burn stored energy, we have to always keep in mind the fact that we don’t want it to enter starvation mode either.

So now you’re wondering how to strike the perfect balance between calorie consumption and energy expenditure aren’t you? Great! Check back next week for my next installment looking deeper into how to set proper weight loss in motion.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to track, check out our nutrition journal at 411.com.

Read Part 2: Food Journaling Matters a LOT by clicking here.

411Fit Soon to Release New Coaching Technology

Making a Deeper Connection + Real time feedback = Real time progress

As a company committed to helping individuals and corporations reach their health and wellness goals, we are constantly analyzing what works and what doesn’t in personal training software, online nutrition journals and corporate wellness. It is very hard for individuals to discern what is best when it comes to better health – especially with all of the medical, fitness and diet related information in the media today. That is where the health and wellness professional comes in. Whether advice is sought from a coach, personal trainer, nurse, or doctor, people are looking for someone to decipher the code.

411Fit has found the biggest obstacles in getting the information an individual needs to make the right decisions are:

  • Proper access to health professionals.
  • Proper feedback as it relates to their own personal issues.

This is where the 411Fit coaching dashboard comes in. For the health professional, finding better ways to connect to a client is always needed.  Clients craves feedback and professionals craves meaningful health data. For the first time, 411Fit has created a platform that facilitates both needs seamlessly.

411Fit has created an innovative blend of education, tracking, accountability and reporting that allows health professionals to monitor and provide real-time feedback to  facilitate behavior change and goal progress.

For the Professional:
Using the 411Fit Coaching Dashboard as personal training software, professionals can offer 24-7 personalized service at a fraction of the cost. How do you know how well your client/patient is progressing with their goals?  It is often a combination of many factors, isn’t it? Professionals often manage exercise, diet, disease factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and weight. This new tool allows you to set guidelines, prescribe goals, and run reports to analyze how clients are doing and where they need help.

  • Minimize the number of systems you use for each client by consolidating all of your data into one, comprehensive solution.
  • Motivate anytime, anywhere – The beauty of an integrated, on-line, real time system!
  • Set alerts that fire when a client or patient falls out of acceptable ranges.
  • Have daily and weekly summary reports sent directly to your email for review.
  • Share training tips, exercise plans and nutrition advice – to just one client or to all of your clients.
  • Set goals and track measurements – Be specific about what you want  your client to work on and run reports daily and weekly to monitor their progress. 411Fit’s robust reporting features allow for quick and easy data analysis.
  • Use 411Fit’s proprietary grading system to quickly and easily see when a client or patient is doing well or poorly.
  • Communicate with your clients and share information, awards and motivational notes all with a click of a button.
  • Expand your client base by being able to reach more individuals in less time.
  • Create a library of plans that you can utilize across multiple populations.
  • Build stronger relationships by providing your clients and patients a truly personalized experience.

The concept: Prescribe in real-time and give real-time feedback – a level of interaction only surpassed by one-on-one contact. Using 411Fit’s robust nutrition and exercise tracker, individuals are able to follow guidelines set by their health professional all while their health professional monitors and tracks their progress. Clients feel a sense of confidence knowing you are on top of their health!

The 411Fit Coaching Dashboard will be released January of 2012. Questions? Contact us!