Monthly Archives: January 2014

How a Roll of Paper Towels Can Help You Appreciate All Your Hard Work

“I’m losing weight, why am I still wearing the same size as when I started?”

I hear this all the time from friends, family and even clients.  They’re working hard, losing weight and eating right but not seeing the visible results they want.  They’re still wearing the same size they were 15lbs ago. If this is you, I want to share a visual tool with you that may take away some of your frustration.  The paper towel roll.Paper Towel Roll

Picture a roll of paper towels. Or better yet, go get one and put it in front of you.  When you remove a sheet or two, or three, the roll doesn’t seem to get any smaller, right? And those first several sheets off the roll only wrap around the roll once. But as you remove more sheets, the more each one wraps around the entire roll, sometimes even multiple times.  Each sheet removed eventually makes a huge difference in the size of the roll.

Fat is distributed over our entire bodies:  from the pads of our feet all the way to our cheeks!  When you are heavy, that fat is spread over a larger area – just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to your goal (the closer you get to the center of the paper towel roll), the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.  While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times!  When you reach those last “sheets” on your body, everything underneath will show more.

Having been down the significant weight loss road a few times myself, I can vouch for it.  When you have a lot of weight to lose, losing 20 lbs doesn’t seem to show much in your clothing.  It’s frustrating as heck because 20lbs is a significant amount of weight (you know those 2.5 gallon water jugs at the supermarket?  Pick it up. That’s 20lbs)!  When I got down to lower weights and my size was getting smaller and smaller, I noticed that just losing 10 lbs or 5 lbs meant I went down a size in my clothing.  5 lbs became much harder to lose as I got smaller but 5lbs is also a much more significant portion of one’s body weight when they weigh 140 vs 225.

There’s no set number you weigh that will determine how many pounds you will need to lose to see a difference in clothing size (height and body composition have a lot to do with it). But there are lots of ways you can measure your progress.  Obviously if you are losing weight, that is huge progress in itself!  Taking measurements on a regular basis is good too, as sometimes we’re losing 1/4 inch here and there that we can’t see visually but they really do add up!  Even if you aren’t technically wearing a smaller size yet, for most of us, a 20lb weight loss will result in our current size getting looser.  That feels awesome.  Also, look at your face for a reminder of weight loss.  The face is one of the first places we see it.  Take a photo of your face today and compare it to one from before your weight loss – I’m sure there is a big difference!

I hope my paper towel roll visual relieves some of your frustrations and reminds you to keep going! If nothing else, know you aren’t alone in this journey.  You have it in you to reach your goals and every day is a chance for you to make good decisions for progress towards them.  If you feel like giving up, reach out to a friend to go for a walk or even just a chat on the phone.  Sometimes discussing our frustrations and fears out loud is all we need to get motivated again.  And I’m always here too if you want to take your health and weightloss goals to the next step.

photo credit: thousandshipz via photopin cc

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Would a Zombie want to eat your Brains?

Seriously. I know Zombies don’t exactly have the most discriminating of palates but I like to think at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse when there is a surplus of human brains for them to feast on they’re going to be a little choosy.

“Ug, dementia riddled brains again, mom? Can’t we have young fresh healthy brains?”

Unfortunately, after listening to a talk recently by Dr. Daniel Amen on keeping our brains young I’m thinking that choosy zombies are going to be shit out of luck at the end of days. Some of the facts Dr. Amen mentioned about Alzheimer’s were absolutely staggering (and terrifying) and I thought it was important to do a quick post on it (but not for the benefit of the zombies).  We hear about people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s all the time but do we ever really stop to think about why it’s happening or what we can do about it?

Every 68 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s Disease.  By 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.  Yikes.

A couple of doozies Dr. Amen mentioned:

  • The number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by 2050
  • At age 85, you have a 50% chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Brain deterioration starts 30 years before symptoms even start to show.

There’s still a bit of debate about what the specific causes of Alzheimer’s are but one can see drastic differences between a healthy brain vs. one with Alzheimer’s just by looking.  If symptoms take 30 years to show up that means our brains start to develop the disease in our 30’s and 40’s and that means there might be time for some of us to change our fate.

We know that an Alzheimer’s brain is one that is deteriorating.  It is essentially accelerated brain aging.  So what makes your brain age?  Lots of things but primarily anything that reduces blood flow to the brain:  toxins & conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and depression. Also sedentary lifestyles, smoking and drug and alcohol use.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s and so far no proven method of preventing it.  But we do know that people who develop certain conditions (like those named above) have an increased risk of the disease so at the moment your best defense is a lifestyle that prevents you from developing those diseases and change your lifestyle if you already have any of them!

Decrease your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Eat a clean mediterranean based diet that includes omega 3 fatty acids
  • Drastically limit added sugar in your diet
  • Exercise regularly and move more in general
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink green tea in moderation
  • Continue to learn new things as you age.  Challenge yourself!
  • Manage stress (yoga, meditation, massage, breathwork, time with friends etc)

If looking better, feeling better and living longer aren’t enough reasons for you to take better care of yourself, I hope reducing the risk of not remembering your grandchildren (or children, or husband etc) someday is.

If you take all these steps to reduce your risk, luckily for you, there is currently no way for the zombies to know ahead of time that you have young healthy brains. Green tea in hand and lacing up my sneakers now!  There’s probably a lot of running in the apocalypse.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba  /

Image courtesy of ddpavumba /