Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
November 20, 2007    

Genetics

How to stop eating

Exercise while traveling

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Amy Culver
QueenOfLean.com

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Genetics

Few things get me as riled as hearing people give excuses for being significantly overweight.  Note I said significantly.  I'm not talking about 10 pounds.  I'm talking about people who are carrying around 50 or more pounds above their healthy weight.

I keep hearing that we’re supposed to love ourselves as we are.  We’re supposed to accept our bodies, and find our own natural beauty.  And yes, to a degree that is true.  Most of us are not going to look like cover models.  Heck, without all of the technical fakery they use on their photos, even cover models don’t look like their own pictures!

Again, that’s not what I'm talking about.

If you are doing something to hurt your body, why on earth would you want to learn to accept it?

One of the most common “excuses” I hear is that fat is simply genetics and it can’t be fought, so why try?  Well, there are two big problems I see with that statement.  One is that it’s not likely as much due to genetics as you might want to think and two, even if it is, that doesn't mean you are doomed to an unhealthy weight.

So, what is the likelihood of genetics affecting our weight?  Yes, if your parents were heavy, you may find that there is a genetic pre-disposition in your family.  But take a minute and think about how your parents ate.  What kinds of foods did you grow up with?  Did you have home cooked dinners with lean meats and fresh vegetables, or did your dinners come home in bags picked up from drive-through windows?  When you asked for a snack were you given a piece of fruit or a cookie?  Were you that kid that always had whole wheat sandwiches or were you the one that didn't know there was such a thing as brown rice?

I think you get the point.  If your parents were overweight and had a poor diet, how can you possibly know how much genetics has to do with the picture?

And I agree that there are those people that can seemingly eat anything they want and never gain any weight.  They apparently have an unusually high metabolism and don’t have to worry about ever counting calories.  If you are reading this newsletter, chances are pretty good you are not one of those people.

So where does that leave the rest of us?  Well, it means that we have to work at it.  It means that we have to watch what we eat.  We get to have treats only on occasion and we need to make sure and get activity into our life.  Everyone has their hurdles in life.  One of ours happens to be our weight.  And THAT is something that will make life a lot better if we learn to accept it.

LIGHT BULBHow to stop eating

Do you ever have trouble knowing when to stop eating?  As an ex-smoker, I know it can be a challenge.  I think that’s why so many of us gain weight when we quit.  It’s not so much that we go to food instead of a cigarette, it’s that once we start we don’t stop.  We became used to that cigarette being a signal that we were done and without it, we seem to miss our signal.  Of course ex-smokers aren't the only ones with this problem, and although I have no interest in cigarettes, I still seem to have trouble with stopping eating when I've really had enough.

For starters, make sure that you serve up your entire portion ahead.  Weigh, measure, eyeball, whatever you do to decide how much you will eat, put it on your plate - no second helpings.  When the plate is empty, you are done.

Sometimes, though, our taste buds just don’t cooperate do they?  Some people just can’t seem to feel “done” until they've had something sweet to eat.  Again, it’s not a hunger thing; it’s a taste bud thing.  These signals are so ingrained in us that they can be just about impossible to resist.

If you are someone who really needs to give their mouth a strong signal, there are some relatively benign alternatives available.

If you need a little bit of sweet, try a spoonful of light Cool Whip.  Eat it slowly and lick the spoon completely.  Another suggestion would be a chocolate mint candy.  There are chocolate covered Altoids, or you can buy a pack of Andes mints like the ones you get at restaurants.  Just be sure you limit yourself.
                  
Speaking of restaurants, they can be one of the toughest challenges.  You are having lunch with a friend and sit there chatting long after the actual meal.  In front of you is that bread basket.  You were so good at resisting it before the meal, but now you have that urge to munch.  Or you want to sit picking at that other half of the food you so conscientiously set aside.  This is a really good time for a piece of gum, preferably something minty.  It will be a little sweet tasting, but the minty taste will wash away the meal memory from those taste buds and help you stick to your guns.

With a little moderation and adaptation, you'll start some new habits that won’t hinder your weight management plans.

Exercise while traveling

Are you going to be traveling this holiday season?  Are you wondering how you might be able keep up your exercise routine while away from home?  Okay – maybe you haven’t thought about it, but you should!  So, go ahead and click here for some fun tips on keeping your activities up while you’re on the road.

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Queen of Lean is a registered trademark of Culver Fitness, LLC