LLU: Day 4 – I second that emotion

So today I watched the fourth video in LLU’s Fitness 101 program. It’s among the more interesting, as it’s about the third leg–leading an emotionally fit lifestyle. Before I get going too far, let me drop the breadcrumbs again…here are my thoughts on:

Day 1: Overview
Day 2: Adventures with Food
Day 3: Can you outrun what you eat?

Yesterday I said I would listen to the two free MP3s. I did this as I ran/walked to the health club and then did my strength training.

First MP3 – Cardio Workout: This was a simple little overview meant to be played while doing an elliptical or treadmill. It was good enough for what it was. The music’s beat was useful just to keep my pace.

Second MP3 – Strength workout: I had never done strength training to such a set program before, so I found its method of leading you through a workout somewhat novel. I also got something out of having the rep-pace counted out. I’ve always done strength training on my own, and probably go at it a bit too fast.

Bottom line: both were interesting, and I may actually use the strength training framework again. If you’ve never had any guidance, you’ll probably find them better than you would if you already know a bit.

Moving on, here are my thoughts on the video:

Day 4: The video

As can probably be guessed given the topic of emotional wellness, this video has the least raw meat to it. And given that, it leads me to say the video has more of the flavor of being an advertisement for the program than the others do (rather than being a direct piece of educational material). That said, the parts that focus on the definitions of what being emotionally fit is may well serve to still make this the most important video in the program.

Why do I say this? Well, David G. defines the emotionally fit lifestyle as one that helps you make the right decisions more often. Therefore, the emotionally fit life style helps make it easier (not easy!) to actually do the exercise and nutrition parts of your program.

This then makes weight control become more consistent and sustainable.

This is the root of most of my own thoughts about how I use the language of weight loss. For example, I dislike the use of “healthy” and “unhealthy” when tagged to a food. A food (let’s say, ice cream) is only unhealthy in context of everything else you’re doing, and calling it “unhealthy” makes one a failure every time you eat it. Similarly, a food that is normally considered healthy (let’s say, zucchini) is very unhealthy when eaten to excess, so you’re in trouble if you fixate on it. Nutritionists will probably tell me I’m wrong, but I’ll stand by the idea that it is not the food itself that is healthy or unhealthy so much as it is the entirety of the decisions we make around those foods.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I know that when I use the entirety of my decisions as a lever to help determine if eating a specific food (let’s say ice cream), I can stay positive and on target better than if I give weight to something I’ve labelled as inherently “bad.” In other words, I want to make a decision to eat ice cream only when I can feel good about it (and I want to allow myself to feel good rather than feel I’m doing something “unhealthy”).

The goal in any hard undertaking is always to focus on going the right direction, and to make sure you keep your attitude as positive as you can so that you make good decisions in stressful moments.

David G. goes on to suggest that When you failed in the past, it was probably the emotional fitness leg of the stool that fell by the wayside.

This goes counter to his first rule of eating (It’s always the food), but yes, I get his point. (grin)

The video uses several buzz-phrases that I assume are staples of the program (“we focus on growing inside as we shrink the outside,” for example), and feel very Dale Carnegie-esque. I’m fine with that as a general rule. These things serve to get folks into a mind-set, and I like them in the psychological areas better than I do the “science” areas.

This probably says more about me than anything else–but, for example, as you can tell from my earlier commentaries it sets me on edge when the coach here says that “Eat Less and Move More” (ELAMM) is wrong, despite the fact that I’m certain it’s merely another buzz-phrase that helps people feel better about themselves for having failed earlier.

This is the contrarian engineer in me breaking out. ELAMM is scientifically correct, so it annoys me to see it misused. “Grow the inside while we shrink the outside” is just as buzz-wordy, but it’s fundamentally correct even if it can’t be measured, and even if some folks will think of it as being too new-agey or too touchy-feely (which I don’t).

Full Disclosure: I supported Dale Carnegie training for quite awhile as a Graduate Assistant back some years ago. It made a huge, positive dent in the way I see the world.

Anyway, the video spends time describing what it means to be emotionally fit, and it suggests that to be emotionally fit requires you to actually engage in wellness. That emotional fitness is much more than simply being lean.

To be emotionally fit is defined as:

  • To feel authentically good more often.
  • To make mature, rational, grown-up choices, more often.

In other words, being emotionally fit makes actually doing the mechanics of weight control easier.

Again, lots of “yes” here.

I note (and like) the “more often” parts of those statements. That does not mean “always!”

He ends the video with a testimonial from one of his students–which is always interesting, but smacks to me of an advertisement (okay, I know the whole thing is an ad)–and by sending me to the site to read a thread titled “What is emotional fitness.”

There is a small homework assignment, again somewhat similar to the Dale Carnegie approach I’m familiar with.

Overall Thoughts on Day 4 Video

Definitely a valuable part of the program, but I wish the video had spent more time on this bit of actually engaging in wellness. I think that’s a key, and the “if it’s is to be, it’s up to me,” flavor of the concept is missing.

The goal is to actively engage in emotional wellness, which seems to me to be very much a mindset thing. But this kind of mindset change seems to require specific examples, and while the assignment at the end will give folks a little push, I think the video itself would do better service if–rather than talk about what the program will do for you–it actually had some examples of people who thought about wellness goals, set them, and then described what it took them to meet or exceed those goals.

Hey, it’s always easier to critique than it is to create, right?

Bottom line: having seen what I assume are the three primary videos that define the LLU philosophy, I think it’s a great mindset when taken as a whole. I can see why people find it works. It makes me wonder about the LLU graduation rate.

Daily Progress vs. Plan:

Day 1:
Calories eaten: * 1907 (target = 1887)
Calories exercising: 778 (target = 429)
Balance: 329 calories better than “plan”
Carb: 59% vs. 30% guideline
Protein: 17% vs. 40% guideline
Fat: 24% vs. 30% guideline

Day 2:
Calories eaten: * 1648 (target = 1887)
Calories exercising: 681 (target = 429)
Balance: 491 calories better than “plan”
Carb: 52% vs. 30% guideline
Protein: 22% vs. 40% guideline
Fat: 26% vs. 30% guideline

Day 3:
Calories eaten: * 1814 (target = 1887)
Calories exercising: 983 (target = 429)
Balance: 627 calories better than “plan”
Carb: 53% vs. 30% guideline
Protein: 23% vs. 40% guideline
Fat: 24% vs. 30% guideline

A couple comments here:

1 – I assume I’m not alone in struggling with the carb-heavy portion of the spectrum. I’m not overly worried about it, but I’ll see if I can do better at finding proteins today.
2 – The plan would have me lose 1 pound in a week. If this data is accurate (always in doubt), I am now 1,447 calories better than plan. If that is true, I should have lost about 1 pound by now (day four). I’ve been tracking my weight daily, and–as the fates would have it–the scales say I have lost exactly 1 pound. I’ll expect I’ll post my weigh chart at the end of the process just for kicks.
3 – All of that said, the process of tracking calories eaten is always frought with error, IMHO.

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