Hey Folks,

Just wanted to share an article I found through reading Weighty Matters. It’s from TIME Magazine and gives an interesting perspective of the relationship between exercise and loosing weight. Let me know what you think.

Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin


Coach Joe


Morning all,

I was reading an article on CNN.com today (Plus-sized TV shows find big audience) that talked about how there is a large audience (no pun intended) that are drawn to shows that portray individuals of plus-sized proportions.

Granted, I watch The Biggest Loser (which is mentioned in this article) and I enjoy it. Well, I did. As I continued reading this article I found myself wondering: ‘Are we too comfortable with being fat?’. Honestly, society is now becoming more comfortable with seeing overweight people on TV. Example: Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance which is a beauty pageant for the ‘large and lovely’. C’mon folks, don’t get comfortable with it.

There was a quote in this article from Esther Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology “The Fat Studies Reader”:

Most people feel too fat in this country and are made to feel very unhappy with their bodies … So by portraying somebody who weighs so much more than they do, it’s almost a way to make the audience feel like ‘I could look worse’ or ‘At least I’m not them.’

OK, guilty! Yup you heard it, I’m guilty. I must admit that even at the start of last season’s Biggest Loser I sat there saying ‘At least I’m not that big’. It wasn’t until I started turning on the TV and seeing them weigh in at less than my weight that I started to feel that gut-wrenching desire to change. Hmph, that’s interesting to note. I only started to feel a desire to change when I became uncomfortable with the situation I was seeing. Now let me think, where have I heard that before? Hmmm. Oh yeah .. go take a look at the ‘King of Rant ‘n’ Roll’ Larry Winget. This guy oozes the stuff that makes you uncomfortable. In fact, it was during his show Big Spender on A&E that he stated his driving idea was to make you so uncomfortable with your present situation that you had to change just to stay sane. Funny, eh?

So you can see why I might have an issue with society becoming so accepting of larger people. I really don’t think that it helps any of us. People, wake up! It’s not OK to be OBESE, FAT, LARGE, CHUBBY, PLUMP or any other colourful word you want to use to describe that extra jelly roll sitting around your waist. Look, I’m not saying that I am perfect. I’m far from what I want to be. I am also not saying that I don’t get comfortable with my present situation. I do. That’s when disaster strikes. So do yourself a favour, as I am going to do for myself: get uncomfortable. Pick out the people you admire, in a purely physical sense, and then compare yourself to them. Why compare yourself to someone who is twice your size? Don’ t ya know that the body will follow where the mind leads? Let’s get our minds right.

Additional Note: As some of you may already know, my wife (aka SimplySonya) copyedits my posts before publishing. For today’s post she decided to share another article which I think truly fits in here. It too is from CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/07/10/attitudes.overweight/index.html). It talks about our new perception of what is ‘normal’ in the realm of weight. Granted, it is probably closer to the normal scale for most young women today when compared to the late 80’s early 90’s. But it is far from being accurate for the majority of people. In fact, when looking specifically at women, the fashion industry participates in a huge conspiracy. They are marking down the sizes so what used to be a size 14-16 is an 8-10 today. Yeah, you may feel better like ‘Hey, I’ve always wanted to be a size whatever!’ but in reality you are being duped. Don’t let it happen, folks. You owe it yourselves to become informed, get uncomfortable with where you are and move towards a healthier tomorrow!


Coach Joe

PS – Some of you may have read this post and thought about a health crisis that affects some young women (and some young men) – eating disorders. When I state to find those people that you admire physically, I am in no way advocating dangerous measures to attain similarity. Our bodies are unique and there is a fitness and healthy size ideal for each of us. I truly believe that you have to work with professionals to decide what is right for you. Please be open about your goals and aspirations so that others can help.

Hey y’all,

I’ve been mulling this over for a bit. There are some trainers, coaches and gurus out there that are talking about how you must make being healthy a priority in your life. Sound familiar? Yeah, I’ve heard it a lot; I’ve even said it a time or two. But hey, guess what? Life happens! Sometimes you just can’t get to the gym, you can’t make the meal you wanted to, or you have to settle for less than what you wanted. You might have something else going on like a dance recital or sporting event for your kids, an important dinner meeting, or some family time.

I have often heard these things being labeled as excuses for not making it to your workout or for eating the wrong food. In some cases, this is correct and folks do take liberties in pushing the limits with these reasons. But for the most part, there are things that can derail your plans and are quite valid. It all comes down to priorities.

Some trainers and nutritionists have a “my way or the highway” mentality. They believe that their ideas and goals for you should take the highest priority in your life. Otherwise, they may not want to work with you or they may make you feel guilty for straying even the slightest little bit. I just want to kill that idea right now. Remember, I am talking about the vast majority of people out there, not the ones who will suffer if they don’t follow the regimes that are laid out by their health care professionals. For those of you who fit that category, listen to the medical help that is given to you – it may just save your life.

For the rest of you, before you undertake any major changes in your life, and I think those may happen from time to time, figure out where making this change falls in your priority list. BE HONEST! If you’re not honest here you’re only setting yourself up for guilt and resentment in the future – the near future in most cases. Come on now, y’all know what I am talking about: “I’m going to loose 20 lbs in the next two weeks,” “I’m going to stop eating chocolate completely,” “No more beer for me ever,” oh, and “I’m going to run a marathon.” Honestly folks, where are your priorities when you have said these things, or similar things?

The chocolate and beer ones are a couple of my favourites. You say you’re not going to indulge at all, eh? So when you’re at a social gathering having a good time or it’s someone’s birthday and they have chocolate cake, you aren’t going to have any? Some call this will power, right? Sound familiar? OK, I’ll give you a little slack here, but I live in a little place called REALITY! I know that you may be able to avoid temptation most of the time, but forever? C’mon, be real. For most of us, having a good time and enjoying life are higher priorities than our weight or our health. As I said earlier, there are those of you who might want to re-examine those priorities (we can go through how to do that another time). This is all about starting off with a proper mindset. Don’t be delusional about it – set them up right and then Step Into It!

Here’s an example of setting priorities: Jill is a working mother of three school-aged children that are all active in extracurricular activities. She has made commitments to attend events as often as she can. In addition to this, she helps out in the household and with school work assigned to her children.  With all of these items, Jill’s priorities in her life are: her children/family, then her job, then house work, then… and then… and so on. So when she decides that she wants to get in better shape and start working out, she has to be realistic about the process. She can’t sit down and say it’s her #1 priority unless she is willing to miss a dance recital or hockey game in order to make a workout session. In her case, I would say that it may fall somewhere around about third or fourth on her list. In that case, she can arrange her schedule to allow for that and not expect to work out for an hour every day, see a nutritionist weekly, and drop 50 pounds in a couple months. If she sets herself up to expect those kinds of results, she’ll more than likely get disappointed, discouraged and potentially resentful of the other “priorities” in her life.

Remember, the lower it is on your priority list, the slower your progress. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Jill is making a great decision to be healthier. But let’s start with honesty and build the proper setup, a WINNING setup, so that it can be a life long decision and not another fad.


Coach Joe

Step Into It!

Hey folks,

Have you ever walked into a room that was so cluttered with stuff that you didn’t even want to look at it? That you actually felt a wall of anxiety sweep over your body the moment you entered?

Don’t worry, it’s normal. On numerous occasions I have either sat down and looked around me or entered into a space,  mentally or physically, that seemed so busy or monumental that I became overwhelmed with anxiety. So much so that I would shut down, leave the space and retreat to anywhere else.

A simple example for ya: think about a paper pile on a desk. You’ve all had them from time to time, you may even have one now, either at the office or at home. Easy to visualize, eh? Now I don’t know you, but I do know the pile. If it’s not addressed when it’s first created, it can grow, and grow, and grow. This is because mentally we have accepted that it’s “okay” to put paper there. No biggies. It’s just a little bit more, and more, and more. Until -yeah, you guessed it – it’s such a stack of paper that you don’t even want to look at it, let alone deal with.

No worries! There is a way to handle these situations. ‘Cause guess what? They ain’t goin’ away any time soon. Actually, they never go away unless you buck up and deal with them.

This is where I can help. No, I’m not coming over to your place and doing your filing for you. You can go out and hire a personal organizer for that if you like. Before that, however, you can Step Into It!. Yup, that’s what it takes, folks. Just take a moment to go into that place (being careful not to look at the whole thing), and deal with one thing, one small item, that’s all. Handle it and put it in it’s proper place. That might even be the trash but do it! Then I want you to deal with one more small item. And then another. Before long, you’re going to notice that something really interesting is happening. Yup, you know it, you’ve built momentum and you’re getting it done. And it’s all because you took the initiative to  Step Into It! 

Another tip for ya: keep at it. One of the great things about momentum is once it’s built up, it’s easy to sustain. But if you have to build it back up again from scratch it takes time and effort. Have you ever run out of gas and had to hop out and push? It takes a lot of energy just to get your car to budge, doesn’t it? Ah, but once it’s moving it’s a heck of a lot easier to keep going.

Folks, there is one thing that I can guarantee you; once you have dealt with whatever task it is, you’ll feel better about it. And nine times out of ten you’ll look back, shake your head and say “Wow, it really didn’t take that much to get it done “. I know it; I’ve been there; I am there.

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been writing much lately. It’s been in one of those overwhelming spaces for me, but that’s about to change. 

This, is my Step Into It! moment. What’s yours?

Coach Joe

Hey folks,

It’s a situation that I’m sure is familiar to many of you: you’re surveying the empty dinner plate on the table in front of you and you realize that you have just consumed enough food to feed a family of four. Yeah, c’mon now – I know I’ve done it a time or two (or three…). Or maybe you sit down and start eating a pizza and before you know it you’ve devoured the whole thing? Not exactly the best feeling in the world, eh? Or have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered a steak with a loaded baked potato or fries and finished the entire plate? If you have, chances are you have grossly overdone the whole “portion” thing.

You know, I am ashamed to admit that I fall victim to this situation more than I would like. So let’s start off at the beginning and talk about proper portions. I’m going to use steak as an example. First off, most folks should be consuming red meat only a couple of times a week. Secondly, the amount per portion of this delicious red meat should be around about 6 oz. Yep, that’s it: 6 oz. I know it doesn’t seem like much, eh? I have been known to pack away a two pound steak in just one sitting! For those of you scratching your head that would be about 32 oz. Just a wee bit over the recommend portion. In any case, I haven’t done that in quite some time. Just the other night I helped out with a meal at the in-laws’ and put together seven barbecued steaks that were about 6-8 oz each. No, I didn’t eat them all myself (there were seven of us for dinner). We did dress it with Bearnaise sauce which added some calories, but we weren’t going nuts with our portions.

For me, it was difficult to reduce my per-serving portion of steak at the beginning because I love it so much. But I made a decision to just buy better steak instead of bigger steak. I’ll tell you this much: I guarantee I am going to savour every bite of that steak as it goes down.

When ordering a steak at a restaurant, look for the  smaller steak and dress it up a bit with mushrooms or onions. Try to avoid prime rib as it has the highest fat content. Instead, go for tenderloin or filet mignon, both of which are packed with flavour and tend to be… well… tender!

When first starting out, it is difficult to determine what a portion size actually looks like, especially at a restaurant. Who the heck carries a scale around with them anyhow?! Do yourself a favour: when you are at home,  measure out what the appropriate portion sizes are for you and what these look like. Know how many calories are actually in each portion and compare the portion size to something you can remember easily (for example, a cup of vegetables is about the size of a tennis ball). As you do this, gaging proper portions at a restaurant will become second nature. And don’t be afraid to split an over-sized meal in half and ask for a ‘doggy bag’. This can really help your waist line and your pocket book as you are splitting the cost of one meal into two.


Coach Joe

Good morning,

The one thing I would like to focus on from this episode is food. Yep go figure, eh? On a weight loss show they want to talk about food. Hmph. So we have a great chef, Rocco DiSpirito, who has brought forth three classic dishes that we all love: pizza, cheeseburger and burritos. Great stuff, eh? Well, low and behold each of these wonderful items packs a caloric punch (as if we didn’t already know this). For this challenge, the contestants on the Biggest Loser have to come up with healthy alternatives. I don’t have one for each of the items but I will go out on a limb and share with you my tip for for burgers. Shhhh be very quiet it’s a huge secret ……… POULTRY!! Yeah I know, not much of a  secret at all. For all you beef lovers out there, I hear ya. I love my succulent red meat too, guys. But if done right, turkey or chicken burgers can be made to taste awesome.

Here is what I do per pound of lean or extra-lean ground turkey or chicken:

  • Add one raw egg
  • Add 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Add 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Add 3/4 tbsp onion powder
  • Add 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • Add salt & pepper to taste

You can grill, broil or even pan fry these burgers. They will remain moist and juicy. Toast the whole wheat buns and use condiments sparingly. Add some veggies to the burgers (lettuce, tomato) and a side salad and you’re all set. Enjoy!

How y’all doing?! My guess is if I had walked in on the Black Team after the ’24 Hours of Luxury’ they won and asked them that, they might not have responded to kindly.

See folks, in this week’s episode the teams faced off in an interesting challenge that (once again) the Black Team won. Or did they? From my point of view, this is actually the one prize that is worth losing on the Biggest Loser. 24 Hours of Luxury. Basically, it means you are pampered and let loose on the world for 24 hours. Folks, I know that most of us aren’t partaking in some mass-media fueled adventure to gain a healthy lifestyle, but we are all faced with these options. In some cases, a lot more often than we would like – every Friday and Saturday night ring a bell? In fact, for some of us we may face temptations daily as those around us may not be sensitive to our desires and what we are trying to achieve.

So what do we do? Well, I don’t have some magic mantra to give you that will wipe away all cravings and peer pressures that come along. If I did, I would have accomplished a heck of a lot more by now and would have sold the sucker for a mint! But alas, we live in the real world with real problems and real, oh so very real, temptation. When faced with this, as I was last night (I was craving pizza, Chinese food, anything fried really), we really have to stay focused. 

However, I have a different slant you might want to take. When I say you have stay focused, I want you to focus in on what you will feel like after you consume all those items you are craving. Be it chocolate, pizza, beer, wine, pogos, french fries, double big macs, whatever. How will you feel about things when you look back at what you have just eaten. Not so good, eh? You’ve felt it before, right? Chances are you can feel it right now as you are reading this. Just a fantastic feeling eh? I’m kidding. But imagining this guilt can be a great tool to use when trying to avoid temptations and peer pressure. I am not saying that it is easy folks, I know for a fact it isn’t. I’m living proof, remember?

Just keep it in mind whenever you are faced with a situation in which you are tempted. Look into your own future and how will you feel afterward if you indulge. If you are okay with it, go for it. If not – well, you know what to do.


Coach Joe

Hello World!

Well, that’s what I feel like saying as I have been out of touch for the past couple of weeks. I went on vacation down south to see some family and celebrate my Nana’s 80th birthday. We had a wonderful time and I even got a chance to get in a few rounds of golf before heading back up north.

OK, enough with the recap and pseudo excuse for not writing any posts for the past two weeks!

Honestly, episode six of the Biggest Loser didn’t really show me anything worth writing about, with the possible exception of Bob giving Mike and Ron a wake up call about needing to eat in order to loose weight. I know, I know, it’s actually quite counter intuitive. Consume more to loose more?! What the…? Yeah, folks, as it turns out (and as I have mentioned before) it is necessary to maintain a healthy consumption rate and sometimes even increase your consumption depending on the amount of calories you burn. So that was what I took from episode six. Not much but it was something.

I wasn’t able to watch this episode in real time as we were driving from North Carolina down to Florida (16 hours in total). However, my father-in-law was kind enough to tape it for us to watch when we got back home. Good thing too! It was an interesting episode to say the least. It really hit on a great topic I am sure many of you face: what do we do for exercise when we don’t have access to a gym?

I know that there were many times that I either didn’t have access to equipment or just didn’t have the time to get my butt over to a gym. This had always provided me with an excuse to not do anything. “Oh well, such is life. I’ll just get back to it when I can.” BULLSH*T! That’s all that is – pure, simple and smelly. So I was really pleased to see both trainers go through different exercises that can be done without the use of “real” equipment. Mind you, Bob was able to use a neat looking device called a TRX that hung from a tree and allowed contestants to use their own body weight to provide resistance for exercises. Jillian, who hated the fact that she was locked out of the gym, was able to drive her team to a great workout using everything from body weight to firewood in order to get the job done. Great job, Jillian.

I would like to note that there were a number of contestants complaining that they were feeling pains in muscles that they hadn’t felt before. Shocking, right? After all, they have been working out like mad in the gym all this time – why would they feel new muscle pains doing simple exercises without machines? C’mon, folks, think about this. Real life movement! It’s not on a stationary bike or on a treadmill. Last I checked, not all ground was super smooth. Oh, and a real bike can’t be kept upright without constant balance. So the contestants using a number of stabilizer muscles that hadn’t been worked out fully. They were forced into different movements that weren’t/aren’t seen in the gym. AWESOME! This is something that we should all note: get outside at least once every couple of weeks and do an outside workout, be it a sport, rock climbing, or even a simple hike. You’ll find that the variation is not only rewarding to the body, but a welcome change to the routine of your workouts.

A two part episode, eh?

In typical BL fashion, there was a shake up this week – a challenge ended with all the contestants being divided into two separate teams. The majority of individuals (7 out of 12) are now with different trainers. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of emotion from the ones that had to switch. Tears flowed. I can understand this because you tend to build a bond with a trainer and it can be emotional to leave. You may even feel like you are betraying them if you move on to another trainer. However, let me just say that this was the best thing that could happen for some of these folks. Albeit difficult, it was great. Heck, it’s a benefit that wasn’t even touched upon during the first hour of the show. Folks, it’s the same principle as the last episode: with change, the system will be shocked. When the system is shocked, it finds a new gear and you tend to start burning more calories.

A personal example: I love to use the exercise bike. I can get very comfortable and eventually just glide through an hour, hour-and-a-half ride. Over time, my calorie burn effectively goes down. It becomes easier for me and I don’t burn as many calories for what I consider the same output. Now when faced with this I have to add a “shock”. In my case, not a new trainer (I don’t have one to switch) but a new piece of equipment – a treadmill. I will burn a tonne of calories in comparison by switching to a new type of exercise. OK, so my example isn’t quite as extreme as what the contestants on the show went through but it could end with the same result.  We’ll see with part two.

As I suspected, switching trainers worked out well for most of the contestants. They all seem to be reinvigorated and more determined to reach their goals. The second part of this episode was pretty much just the weigh in. They did, however, touch on a few tips from Prevention Magazine. The one that hit home for me was the fact that regular and diet pop both shorten your life span. The regular pop because of all the sugars and the diet pop …well, we all know it’s loaded with chemicals. Honestly folks, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but there have been numerous trainers that have said they see a dramatic weight loss in those who cut out diet pop. Kind of hard to swallow seeing as there are no calories in diet pop, but let’s stop to think: there are a tonne of chemicals in them and we aren’t exactly sure how our body deals with those. Another factor is that when they cut diet pop from their diets, most people end up turning to water to quench their thirst. You can never underestimate the power of water; it is a great cleanser of the body’s systems and it is a vital element to your overall health goals. So in my book it’s a win-win.

Phew! That was a lot to recap in one post, sorry for that. The basic tips to pull from these episodes are: you gotta eat, drink water instead of diet pop, and …. switch it up! Three simple ideas that aren’t always easy to implement, but I can guarantee that you will benefit from following them.


Coach Joe