Your Questions, Answered 2

February 5, 2011

Happy Saturday!  I thought I’d take some time this weekend to answer some of the questions that you’ve been sending my way via the comments section of this blog, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.  I’ll start with an easy one:

Gwendolyn wrote:

I would like to get a DVD of “Sweating to the Oldies 2″ but don’t know where to get it, if you can help me please I would be so happy. thank you.

An easy one – Just click here, Gwendolyn!

Alex wrote:

I am dying to know what “healthy choices” you keep for when you want to snack.

First of all, I try to keep a variety of fruits and vegetables around at all times.  Most of the time, my desire to snack is satisfied by a simple piece of fruit or some veggies.  Right now, I have apples, bananas, pears, and a mini-watermelon that’s just dying to be cut up.  For veggies, I cleaned and cut up a bag of carrots and a head of celery just the other day, and often times I grab a handful of those as I’m heading out the door.  If fruits and veggies don’t cut it, I also keep rice cakes around (and, lately, I’ve been buying these corn thins, which I’ve really been enjoying), as well as nonfat yogurts and these single-serve cottage cheese cups that Knudsen makes.

Here’s another question pertaining to my fridge, from Robyn:

While watching your taped piece on Ellen, I noticed you had lots of sparkling mineral water in your fridge. Is that just as good as still water for hydration purposes? I have to force myself to drink flat water but love sparkling, and I wonder if the carbonation has any effect on the health benefits.

Sparkling/carbonated water is just as good as flat water for hydration purposes, Robyn!  One article I read online suggests not drinking it immediately post-workout, as the added gas will make you feel full before you’ve had enough to fully rehydrate after exercising, so be careful about that, but otherwise, go for it!  Contrary to another commenter on Facebook, carbonated water does not have any carbohydrates, it’s just water and CO2, with trace amounts of sodium (35mg per serving).  The minerals in sparkling mineral water include calcium and silica (although in small amounts), and one study out of Spain suggest that it actually may help women “keep calcium locked in the bones.”  That’s key in preventing osteoporosis, so hopefully Sally Field enjoys her Pellegrino on a regular basis!

Kenz wrote:

I have questions about Slimmons that I feel like I should know already, but I don’t.  I see that you used a stationary bike and arc trainer..did you use those at Slimmons too?  I mean, is it a full gym peppered with classes by Richard?

Nope.  Despite being owned and operated by a huge fitness celebrity, Slimmons is a pretty small facility.  There’s one main aerobics classroom (it’s big, and can accommodate well over 100 people), a tiny little lobby where you sign in for classes and can buy Richard’s merchandise, and a little side room that has restrooms.  I also belong to a regular gym, where I do cardio and/or toning a few days a week, in addition to going to Richard’s classes.

Here’s another Slimmons-related question, from Ang:

Just curious..Do you do the “Project Me” classes at Slimmons too? I’m curious as to if you feel it helps you in motivation or you just go for the workouts?

I’ve just started going to the “Project Me” classes in the past couple of months, which, for anyone that doesn’t know, is Richard’s once-a-week motivation class.  I find them helpful for a couple reasons:  1) Richard always has something interesting/insightful to say, and 2) they’re very interactive, with Richard talking to and engaging people in the class, and I like hearing from others who are trying to lose weight and get healthier, and learn from their successes and struggles.

OK – One more question, and I’ll call it a night.  Jen wrote:

What helped you get through that first week by 2010?

That’s a good question, Jen.  I think what was really helpful was that I didn’t put a ton of pressure on myself.  I didn’t wake up on a Monday morning and start thinking “This is the day that my whole life is gonna change, and I’m not going to make any poor choices, and I’m never going to eat X, Y, or Z again, and I’m gonna lose X pounds every week for a year.”  Holy crap, who can succeed with that much pressure on their shoulders?  I chose to make it a more investigative process.  I decided, that first week, to start writing down everything I ate, cut back on diet soda, and exercise more, and I would see what happened.  I didn’t articulate a goal, I didn’t set a high bar… I just decided to change a couple small things.  I didn’t weigh myself every day, I didn’t beat myself up if I ate a piece of candy.  I just started exploring what changes I could make, tried my hardest to stick to them, and I went from there.  The first week was tough, no doubt, but the second week was easier, and the third week was easier still.  And that was 160 pounds ago!

Thanks for the questions, everyone!  If you have a question, submit it in the comments section.

Keep it up, David!

Your Questions, Answered

January 29, 2011

I’ve gotten tons of new readers over the past few weeks, thanks to the exposure from appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, and I’m thankful that each and every one of you has checked out the blog, and I also love that so many of you feel compelled by what you’re seeing and reading to leave notes in the comments section.

Due to the number of new comments and because I ended up going out of town for a while right after the show aired, I haven’t been able to respond to many of them, although I have read each and every single one.  I thought I’d dedicate a post to answering a few of the questions you’ve been leaving in the comments section.  If this goes well, maybe it’ll become something I do on a regular basis!

Before the questions, though, I want to clear up a little kerfuffle from a couple weeks ago.  That’s right, I just used the word kerfuffle (and had to look up the correct spelling).  I got a lot of comments on my post where I shared the first mean comment that I’ve gotten (read the post here).  One of the comments was an apology from ‘Mike Hunt,’ the guy who left the mean comment in the first place.  Except, though, that it wasn’t.  I have a good friend who anonymously leaves comments every once and a while with the goal of trying to make me laugh (he’s not anonymous to me – I know which comments are his, even though he uses a fake name).  The apology came from him, with the thought that it might make me smile, which it did.  What I didn’t expect was that other people would then contact me, saying ‘Oh my god, that guy apologized!  I’ve never seen that before!  What are you gonna do?’  Um, I’m gonna do nothing.  ‘Mike Hunt’ is still at large, and he did not apologize, nor do I expect him to.  Case closed.

OK – here are some questions:

Mindy wrote:

Edgar Sawtelle is a fabulous book. Have you read Water for Elephants? That’s a good one too.

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a few days ago and absolutely loved it.  And yep, I read Water for Elephants and really enjoyed it, too.  Have you seen the trailer for the movie version with Reese Witherspoon?  Watch it here.  Gonna need to find a new book –   suggestions, anyone?

Zach wrote:

I need help. I just need ideas for what to eat, and how much to eat. Life is going nowhere right now, and I am a depressed eater. I eat whatever I want and in huge quanities. At this rate I am going to hurt myself. I weight 358.4 lbs, at age 25, standing right at 6 foot tall. All of my weight, ALL OF IT, is in my belly. My back hurts, shoulders, I am starting to have a hard time running short distances. I just woke up the other day and decided I need to stop wearing 4X polos. So do you have any tips to get started?

Hey Zach!  What I would recommend is to identify one thing you can do, starting tomorrow, to be healthier, and then do it.  Can you take the stairs to get to your office instead of the elevator?  Can you replace a couple sodas and drink water instead?  Can you pack your lunch instead of eating out?  Start small, and do one new thing for a few days.  Then, add a second new thing, and, a week later, a third, and so on.  I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how daunting it can seem, but one small change isn’t daunting at all, and you’ll find that once you start making those changes, you’ll gain some momentum, and see that those small changes, added up, can make a big difference!

Shelby wrote:

What do you do to stop cravings, also are you just doing exercise from the Richard Simmons videos? I have some health problems like asthma and bad knees and wonder if the video workouts are hard.  Good luck with the rest of your weight loss.

Hi Shelby!  Ugh – cravings are hard!  I can watch a commercial for Oreos and by the time those 30 seconds are over, I want some!  But here’s what’s been working for me lately:  I refuse to let myself act impulsively.  I identify a craving specifically – so, instead of thinking ‘I really want something sweet,’ I narrow it down to exactly what I’m craving: ‘I really want a Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen.’  Then, I sleep on it.  Many times, I wake up, and the craving is gone.  Sometimes, I still have it, and it’s stronger.  Then I start figuring out what I can eat that will satisfy the craving without making me feel guilty.  I’ve found that if I don’t satisfy the craving at all than it just gets stronger and stronger and I’ll end up making some really poor choices or binging.  For the Dairy Queen craving, I ended up, after a few days, going to Baskin Robbins and getting 300 calories worth of sherbet.  You can read more about that craving battle here.

Oh wait – Shelby’s question is a two-parter!  As for the exercise, I’m currently up to 5-6 workouts a week, and I switch them up – I take classes at Slimmons, do cardio and toning at the gym, and go running, too.  You mentioned having bad knees – have you tried doing a chair workout?  I haven’t done this myself, but Richard has a DVD called “Sit Tight” that’s a complete workout without any stress on your knees.  Check it out here.  I’ve done Richard’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” – and the good thing about it is that you can only do what you can.  Who’s gonna know?  If you can only make it through 1/2, than do 1/2.  Maybe the next time you can do a few minutes more.  That’s how you’ll get stronger!

Thanks for the questions, everyone, and, more importantly, thanks for reading the blog.  If you have a question for me, leave it in a comments section.  I read every comment – every one of ’em!

Keep it up, David!