Confessions of a Personal Fitness TrainerWritten by Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT
As your personal fitness trainer my passion is to teach, coach, understand, push, prod, cajole, investigate, research and apply, over and over… As a ‘Fitness Role Model’…well…I feel vulnerable with weakness, so, in hopes we can all learn, from my own weakness, here goes…My Confession. Last year I had a number of clients who started stubbornly on Atkins diet despite my warnings. Immediately I saw almost profound results in their weight loss. I reminded them it was loss of water weight, and warned of strain on kidneys and high cholesterol risk. During this time I was mastering my yoga practice as a complete vegan but found that my immune system had been profoundly compromised and I was currently on my third cold for fall season Atkins was in media again because of new study results indicating lowered cholesterol. I went to Atkins book yet again with a more open mind, and decided to try diet. I liked contrarian view point to current AMA position of low fat diet, which seemed to be producing a society of increasing obesity. Atkins view of sugar as culprit making you fat, not fat, made sense and extra work from all protein for kidneys… it’s benign. I wanted to use his diet as a tool to get myself entirely off of any sugar. I started out on high protein, low carb aspect of diet. As I reintroduced animal proteins into my diet I could feel myself get stronger and colds, finally stopped. I also saw my muscle bellies start to open and swell again. The cold of winter was not as painful as it had been while on my vegan diet. I then summoned up courage to start bringing fats into my diet, including bacon, egg yolks, cream cheese, heavy cream, whipped cream, even bacon rinds. On a daily basis I would marvel at having eaten these “forbidden foods” only to awaken next day thin, svelte. I couldn’t believe this, result! I was loving eating all these foods so familiar yet banished since …childhood I was in full swing eating high fat, high protein, low carb diet at time when pictures on my website were taken. www.vitalsignsfitness.com I felt strong, but I had no energy!!! My walks on beach were lethargic, I had to force myself to go that extra mile. I was thin but I felt like a beached whale. My love affair with Atkins continued a few more months. I followed his prescriptions religiously.
The Perfect Body. Written by Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT
Everyone wants it. If we have perfect body, it becomes a race to keep it. "I can’t gain that weight back." If we don’t have it we resent it, some to inconsolable longing. This longing can verge on an obsession to extreme measures (Al Roker). We strive for those low body fat numbers 8-10% for men and 15-20% for women. We count calories or eat low carb for that perfect thin body. We want all traces of rolls, dimples and squishy, puffy soft skin gone. All signs of gravity lifted. Our age needs to be defied. We want tone, taught and lean skin and muscles. We have to look like models and superstars who are paid thousands a day to look way they do. Lithe. long, lean, sinewy, wispy even drawn. Pay no attention that these stars can afford time and trainers to exercise 4 hours a day in pursuit of perfection. There's a plethora of diet books out there. We’re all studying weight loss. Each new book brags a new solution. But diet industry has grown as large and swollen as American public's waistlines. Diets, pills, patches, concoctions, procedures, prescriptions and remedies to supposedly 'cure your condition'. Meanwhile health care costs are spiraling out of control from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases exacerbated by being overweight. We can turn away from it in anger, disgust or frustration, to give up and get fat (1/4 of America). Or continue from one diet to next fad, yoyoing into obesity (other 1/4 America). What is going on? As life gets easier with our technological advances and our economic success we become more sedentary. Is it increased need for instant gratification causing obesity? Or is it mass produced fast foods with no nutritional value that are just too easy to acquire? Add to this a sedentary lifestyle. Speaking of instant gratification, liposuction seems an easy solution. It will suck fat away making us look perfectly thin but our blood chemistry doesn’t change. We’re still overweight inside, ripe for heart disease and sure to gain weight back. The weight then tends to come back in all wrong places exacerbating situation (look out Nicole Smith!) Self-esteem and body weight are inextricably linked. I have to say that recognition I receive (as a woman) for being slim is real. Generally thinner I am more positive response. My experience probably reflects others, in that social recognition for thin is insidious. Media, society, and culture reinforce these perspectives. Self-esteem and body weight I conclude are inextricably linked for most. It will take more than a rebellious few such as Queen Latifa who's refreshing attitude expresses "Thin for who? For what? I like my meals! I'm happy and successful! And I like being full figured!" Her message liberates perfectionist thinking. She's got curves and her body fat is probably a healthy 25%. The pursuit of perfect body then becomes a self esteem issue. If we want recognition we can't eat, drink or be merry! We need to always be in control to uphold these rigid standards. That's rub. For naturally fun loving, giving and sharing folks who want to enjoy life while being healthy and productive here’s a solution. Lose control! Queen Latiffa does it by taking off on her motorcycle going from here to who knows where. Lose yourself in something you love to do and forget rest. I call it 'zoning' when I lose myself in my writing, exercising, playing with kids, music, conversation sometimes even in housecleaning (Beware: this ‘zoning’ thing is contagious and starts to infiltrate everything you do). Just lose yourself in moment, and find zone within. It builds self esteem, burns calories and generates bliss at same time.