Wednesday, September 30

Lose weight by changing your mind

Huh? Well, I was asked recently about weight loss and why exercise or dieting hasn't worked for some, despite all their best efforts. This got me thinking and researching how the mind is the biggest obstacle to weight loss... and to anything else we can't seem to achieve. I don't need to lecture on the power of positive thinking (check out a book called The Secret, to which Jennifer Sage introduced me) but the mind is so muddled with baggage and history that it can be hard to find a way out. You have to literally "free your mind". I had been planning a nice article but this one by Kereru Moses has done all the work for me!

Weight loss is only possible with the correct psychology

Losing weight is often a struggle but it is even more of a struggle without the right psychology. You can have all the information in the world about how to lose weight but without the right psychology to apply it, it is useless. Weight loss is only achieved by having the correct information and using that information to take action.

Having the appropriate psychology is the most important element of weight loss but is usually overlooked and underestimated. The right psychology will give you motivation, commitment, and help you to overcome obstacles, temptations and distractions. The proper psychology can also make weight loss fun, easier, more exciting and develop changes towards a healthy new lifestyle and a better quality of life.

The Right Weight Loss Psychology

First off I will start referring to a person’s psychology as a mindset. A mindset is important because it controls our behaviour, thoughts and actions. As people grow they develop habits and associations that govern their life. These habits and associations are controlled by our subconscious and people are usually unaware of them. A person’s subconscious can also sabotage their weight loss efforts. The right mindset consists of using various techniques and strategies to control your behaviour by monitoring your actions and thoughts. This will help to replace your old habits and associations with new ones that will be more beneficial.

A colleague of mine Jack Bower couldn’t understand why people moan about being overweight but wont exercise. I replied by saying that they don’t have the correct mindset. You might think that they just lack the correct information but if they had the proper motivation then they would find it. Nothing can stop someone that has a powerful mindset. People like this will always find a way no matter what obstacles they face. People that don’t lose weight have formed associations and habits that have taken control of their life and stopped them.

How do you get the correct mindset for Weight Loss ?

Developing the correct mindset is not an instant change. It will take time and constant and conscious awareness. By this I mean you will have to regularly monitor your progress and behaviour. Sometimes it will be easy and others it will require will power. On the good side there are strategies and techniques that are easy to apply. Using these techniques will give you motivation, determination, commitment and make you emotionally charged and driven to succeed. One such technique is the power of goal setting. This is one important technique that you could use to achieve your weight loss goals. Below I have listed simple guidelines to follow when goal setting.

* You have to write your goals down.
* Your goals have to be specific.
* Your goals have to have a deadline.
* Your goals have to be measurable.
* Your goals have to be achievable.
* You have to focus on your goals everyday.
* You have to have emotion behind your goals.

The best way to set a weight loss goal is to set more than one. Have one long-term goal and then break it down into smaller goals. Make some monthly and weekly goals. You can only eat an elephant one piece at a time. This is a very simple and basic overview of goal setting. There are other strategies involved that will make goal setting more efficient and make you driven to succeed.

There are also other techniques and strategies apart from goal setting which will help you develop a powerful psychology including controlling your focus, having a critical action plan, forming new associations, developing new habits and controlling you internal dialogue and self talk. This might seem complicated and a bit overwhelming but the techniques are simple and easy to use.

To lose weight you also need a nutrition plan and it is also important and highly advised to have an exercise routine. When obtaining a nutrition or exercise plan you have to make sure that the information is correct, suited for your needs and lifestyle, individualized specifically for you and your goals, is in your best interest and that the source of the information is trustworthy and creditable. Information is readily available, free and easy to obtain. However not all of this information is correct and the best. Make sure that you get your information from a trustworthy source and that they have some type of credentials or experience. If you can find this type of free information that is great but you will usually have to pay for it.

I wish you all the best with your weight loss goals and I know that if you develop a powerful psychology you will achieve your goals and success will be yours. So aim high, push the limits become all that you want to be and live the life that you want and deserve. We are not given the gift of dreams without the power to achieve them. I highly advise you to now take action and do something towards helping you achieve your weight loss goals. The sooner you start the sooner you will lose the weight. If you do not take action now to achieving your goals and developing a powerful psychology then you will put more weight on and not live the better quality of life that you deserve.


Friday, September 18

James Martin (again)

Just thought you might like to read this article from the Telegraph, neatly summarising what an idiot James Martin really is and how his apology was just a PR anodyne. One bit stands out, quoting his moronic utterances:

“Without fail a cyclist will rap on my window and make some holier-than-thou comment, before zooming off­ through a red light where he knows I can’t get him.”

They only rap on windows with holier-than-thou statements when you’ve done something wrong. And what do you mean by “can’t get him” – what are you planning to do? Bearing in mind your other comments in the piece, this sounds like a threat.

Unfortunately, despite the venom his comments have attracted, there are motorists out there with this kind of mentality. They seem to be intent on causing deliberate harm, without realising how serious are the consequences. Sadly, the law are likely to let off such motorists with a paltry fine. That's if they're caught, that is.

Let's be careful out there!

Thursday, September 17

Injury update

If you've been following my Twitter updates, either directly or via this blog) you'll know that I've managed to injure myself and that I'm currently teaching off the bike and on crutches.

I was standing sideways on the stairs at home, talking to Cassie (my girlfriend) and my foot slipped off the last couple of stairs; I landed awkwardly, my ankle gave way and I heard a snap, followed by the most intense pain I'd ever felt, even more than when I fractured my shoulder last year. The good news is that I didn't fracture my ankle, the bad is that it seems I've torn my ankle tendons and sprained the ligaments in my foot. I say bad, as it will take a long time before I'll be back to my best, much longer than might have been had I fractured it...broken bones heal to become stronger than ever.

Oh well, at least it happened at the end of the cycling season - but it does mean missing out on a special ride on the circuit in London for the final stage of the Tour of Britain (Cassie's taking over that one), a cyclosportive on the South Downs and also means I miss out on the first Spinning Showcase in London. Considering I'd been hankering for a London version of WSSC for a couple of years now, it's disheartening to have to miss out. Hopefully, I'll be able to mooch around and soak in the atmosphere... and socialise afterwards, naturally!

I'll be back to training in no time, although running may be out for the rest of the year. We'll see...

PS - no, I was NOT drunk at the time!

Wednesday, September 16

Britain's attitude change

You may have heard the rants against a certain James Martin, Z-celebrity chef and anti-cyclist moron. If not, read this story first.

In a nutshell, he wrote in a national newspaper of his test-drive of a Tesla electric car (i.e., quiet); he had spotted a group of cyclists dressed in "fluorescent Spider-Man outfits, shades, bum bags and stupid cleated shoes. Twenty minutes into my test drive I pulled round a leafy bend, enjoying the bird song - and spotted those damned Spider-Man cyclists. Knowing they wouldn't hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split-second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed. The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I've ever seen in my rear-view mirror."

Until recently, this would have been the view of most of the country but, thanks to the efforts of British Cycling, the CTC, the London Mayor (bringing the Tour de France for last year's Grand Depart), other cycling organisations, as well as the success of British cyclists in track and road races, the backlash against James Martin was swift and merciless. A few choice responses on Twitter:

Robbie McEwen: "If you see smug chef James Martin either key his car or punch him in the face". He also urged anyone with computer skills to screw up Martin's website. Which someone almost did on Wikipedia; although it was taken down soon afterwards, someone posted a screen photo on Twitpic

BRILLIANT! on Twitpic

But the best anti-Martin messages came from Bradley Wiggins:

"James Martin TV chef, The word cock springs to mind, stick to Ready Steady Twat mate"
"Meal suggestion for this Saturday Kitchen for James Martin, Spotted DICK!"
"Hey James Martin, How about COCK au vin this Saturday"

When he calmed down somewhat, Wiggo said that people like Martin should realise that cycling is fast becoming Britain's national sport. And he's not joking - aside from the sheer numbers of cyclists, it's also the one sport we're actually any good at on a regular basis! I'm looking for Wiggo to make the podium in next year's Tour de France and for a British maillot jaune in Paris in the next ten years.

PS - there's also a Facebook group in James Martin's (dis)honour!

Group exercise makes you happy!

Two posts in one day... making up for lost time! I saw this article on the BBC News website, which is very relevant to anyone wondering the purpose of group exercise and whether they'd be better off going solo:

Group exercise "boosts happiness"

Exercising together appears to increase the level of the feel-good endorphin hormones naturally released during physical exertion, a study suggests.

A team from Oxford University carried out tests on 12 rowers after a vigorous workout in a virtual boat. Those who trained alone withstood less pain - a key measure of endorphins - than those who exercised together. Writing in Biology Letters, the authors speculate these hormones may underpin an array of communal activities.

It has long been known that physical exertion releases endorphins and that these are responsible for the sometimes euphoric sensations experienced after exercising. They have a protective effect against pain. But researchers from Oxford University's Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology found this response was heightened by the synergistic effect of rowing together.

After 45 minutes of either rowing separately or in a team of six, the researchers measured their pain threshold by how long they could tolerate an inflated blood pressure cuff on the arm. Exercise increased both groups' ability to tolerate pain, but the difference was significantly more pronounced among the team rowers. This, they said, was a measure of an increased endorphin release.

As well as potentially improving performance in sport, the researchers speculated that this endorphin release may be the mechanism that underpins the sense of communal belonging that emerges from activities such as religious rituals, dancing or laughing.

"The results suggest that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training even when power output, or physical exertion, remains constant," said lead author Emma Cohen. "The exact features of group activity that generate this effect are unknown, but this study contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that synchronised, coordinated physical activity may be responsible."

Carole Seheult, a sport and exercise psychologist from the British Psychological Society, said the findings were entirely credible. "Rowing is a sport which requires real team work and endorphins could well foster that process. But more generally we know from experience that exercising in groups is good for people at many levels, it's motivational, it's social. Groups sessions really do work."

One thing after another...

OK, so I've not posted for a while. It has been a strange old year, nothing like a bit of excitement to keep you on your toes, eh? After a relaxing three-week (cycling, of course) break in southern France, I came back home full of resolution to tackle my ever-lengthening to-do list.

I was really getting stuck into it, making good progress and enjoying the thrill (OK, so I'm weird) of crossing out yet another task to be completed, when the worst thing that could happen to a cyclist happened... I slipped off a set of stairs, landed badly and tore my ankle tendons and sprained the ligaments too.

It swelled up enough that my foot was unrecognisable as such; luckily, it's gone down enough for me to wear socks and shoes but now the bruising's come up and turned my foot into something that would make children cry. I'm still on crutches (well, one of them) although I can at least stand on both feet and walk with a limp.

The indications are that it'll take 6-8 weeks to recover and longer to rebuild full strength and mobility. So I guess I won't be running before December, then... but hopefully back on the bike soon.