This is going to be my shortest update. Last week it was extreme stress at work, and this week it’s extreme personal stress. The events in Littleton, Colo., have had an associated impact on my family’s life, catching us all off guard.

Thankfully, during all this personal stress I didn’t fall into a pattern of eating comfort foods, which I could have very easily done. My diet has been good, fats are down, and portions are down. Exercise, however, is still lacking, despite an attempt late in the week to exercise.

The lunchtime exercise strategy seemed to work. I got a good exercise session in on Thursday, but by Friday, our complex was painting the gym (surprise!), and by Saturday it still was filled with paint fumes. In general, however, I’ve been using the stairs more often, and parking further away when going shopping.

Obviously, it’s more about getting my heart rate up over a sustained period, but it’s also partly about a change of mindset and lifestyle.

Wish me luck next week.

Dan

Thursday — Exercised during lunch. 20 minutes walking. 15 abdominal crunches. Stretches.
Friday — Tried to exercise, but gym was being painted.
Saturday — Tried to exercise, but gym was still full of paint fumes.

Sharon’s Reply

Dear Dan,

Another pound down — you are working into this slowly, and that’s OK. We want to evolve your eating and exercise habits, not revolutionize them. Each step to improve your health carries you toward physical pride.

You do what you can — you don’t have to do this perfectly to be successful. Just keep recording. Research shows that most people eat less just by writing all of their food intake down, as much as 30 percent less!

The small boxes inside each meal box are for counting up whatever we are tracking. Didn’t I suggest you count fat grams? You could also count protein grams. I wanted you to figure how much protein your protein drink offered you. Your daily protein intake still runs low — Monday and Tuesday you ate none. Since your fruit and vegetable intake is also minimal, you end up eating a lot of starches.

You usually pick whole wheat foods, but only eating starches may leave you hungry a few hours later (unless you ate a huge amount.) You proved me wrong in this point on Saturday — a bowl of white rice — for dinner. No vegetables, no tofu, but then again no snacking later.

Dan, do you work in an office, or out of your house? How available is food to you all day? How difficult is it for you to get vegetarian foods? Please speak to these issues in your next report.

My heart feels heavy for you and your family.

Sharon

Armand’s Reply

Dan,

I’m sorry to hear that you had a very stressful week. When tragedy strikes, it’s usually unexpected and significantly disrupts our normal routines. It can also be a difficult time to focus on your activities, such as exercise. However, one of the better ways of handling stressful times is to exercise.

Exercise can help you think more clearly and relieve tension. It can also help your body fight the adverse effects placed upon it by excessive stress.

This coming week see if you can get in three solid cardio sessions of at least 30 minutes duration. Follow these sessions with some nice slow stretches, taking your time to complete them. Combine the stretching with some deep breathing for added relaxation. I hope you have a good week.

Good luck.

Armand

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