Oprah's Pep Talks
Right now, I want to join the ranks of all those who love and care about you. Imagine them putting their hands together in praise of you taking a major step in improving your life: realizing that your health is your life.
Congratulations on deciding to join!
Work: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Peeling back the layers of repressed feelings that you've eaten for years.
Because I struggled for so long and failed so many times with my weight, I really want to see you succeed. I've wasted years of my life's energy on weight. When the real problem wasn't weight at all. Weight has been the symptom of many other issues. If your life's issues have helped make you fat, the decision to release the burdens you carry in pounds forever is a pivotal moment in your life's journey. Not just another diet/exercise program to be taken lightly.
I now know after years of yo-yo-ing, and excuses like I'll start another program next Monday…tomorrow…for the Emmy's…for my birthday…etc.—that the real decision is—I choose to live my best life. Not a mediocre, somewhat healthy, getting by kind of existence. But full throttle.
Everybody tries new plans hoping for a secret weapon, ingredient, formula, combination of foods. The secret I have found is the force of your own decision to change. A decision is different than a wish, or a desire. Years ago a young mother who was on the show explained how she was having trouble getting her 3-year-old daughter to bed. She was so frustrated because her daughter was ruling the household.
Dr. Andrew Taraki was the expert advising her, who watched the videotape of her screaming child throwing tantrums every night before bedtime. He told the woman something so profound that I never forgot it. "The reason your daughter doesn't go to bed," he said, "is because you haven't decided that is what you really want her to do." He continued, "You haven't decided whether you want to be her friend and playmate, or if you want to be her mother. When you make that decision, she will follow." I have found that to be true in every aspect of life you control. Once you take yourself from "I think I will, I really want to" to "I have decided"—you feel the full force of that commitment.
Decision means: You will tolerate no excuses for not doing what it takes to get rid of the extra pounds and what put them there.
Decision means: You're ready.
Are you really ready or do you just want to lose the weight? That's the first question I asked my Boot Campers Dana, Kathleen, Reggie and Stacey. 'Cause If you're ready, this program will work your butt off, literally. If you follow this program and stick to it,you will lose the weight.
Our group lost an average of one to two-and-a-half pounds per week. They all did the same workout and ate basically the same foods but lost differently. Dana, who was the youngest of the group, lost the least amount of pounds, 15, but lost more inches and dropped two full sizes. Reggie, the oldest—and male of course—lost the most, 30 pounds. Kathleen lost 20 pounds and Stacey, 25 pounds.
Ask yourself these questions before you begin:
- Are you willing to look at your busy life with all your "to dos," commitments, obligations, and for the next three months make yourself the priority?
- Are you willing to work out six days a week, beginning with a half-hour and adding two minutes to the workout every additional week?
- Are you willing to eliminate the "white stuff" and control the volume of food you consume to fist-sized portions?
- Are you willing to shut down your eating at 7:30 p.m. no matter what?
- Are you willing to look at the truth of why you're really overweight? Are you willing to work at the answer?
We will do it together!
By getting up and getting your workout in first thing, putting it in the same category as brushing your teeth and bathing, you're choosing to operate at your optimum. Getting the workout finished early does two things: it makes you feel really good about following through with your commitment, and it allows you the physical benefit of fueling your metabolism.
Get it done first thing, so it doesn't linger and nag you all day. Get it done and give yourself a round of applause when you're finished. Cheer yourself on. Good job. Acknowledge that you just did a good thing for you!
For exercise, start slow and build. For instance, if you're on a treadmill, start out with a walk that's really comfortable for three minutes and add a tenth of a point every minute until you feel that you're working at least at a level 7 out of 10. Every day do at least a tenth of a point higher than the day before. I started my team at 3.0 speed and 3.0 incline although I knew they were capable of more. But we warmed up and cooled down at 3 and 3 the first week. By the end of the 12th week, we started at 4.0 and 4.0 incline and that was our cool down! It was so easy it felt like a backrub.
Can you just imagine how many times you've beat up on yourself for eating the wrong thing, or not working out, feeling guilty, or feeling shame because you couldn't get control? Now every time you make a move in the right direction, give yourself credit! What you focus on expands. And pretty soon you'll have extra credit—and bonuses and rewards and paybacks—in how you look and feel.
You will need a journal or a computer. Writing down your thoughts and feelings as you lose pounds and inches helps you to reveal what's eating you. Keeping a record of what you eat has a counterpart—realizing what's eating you. If you have a chronic weight issue, most likely there are many other ways in which you're not being fulfilled. That's why you use food…to fill you, comfort you and bring you momentary pleasure. You've got to be willing to change. As an overweight woman said on my show once, "Challenge the pain, not the peanut butter."
One of my favorite quotes that has become a mantra for me during my longest day workouts comes from Lance Armstrong, Mr. "Live Strong." He says, "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." Working out well is challenging. It can get uncomfortable. You're breathing hard, pushing, pushing—it's a feeling we're unaccustomed to. Lance tells me he works to and through the pain. Imagine days and hours and more days and hours on a bike uphill.
Our boot camp doesn't require Lance Armstrong skills, but you can borrow inspiration from his commitment to win. You will not be able to defeat the weight without a plan of attack that includes exercise and food control.
You're just fooling yourself if you think otherwise. There are some people genetically coded to "get away" with no exercise; who can eat "anything" they want. They're not a part of the 67 percent of obese folks who make up America. And did you ever notice the people who say they can eat "anything" really don't eat everything and volumes of it. And the stars that say they hardly exercise…well let me assure you they hardly eat either. I 've watched them push the same piece of lettuce around on their plate for an hour or take a bite (just one) out of a piece of cake—and leave the rest.
If you were one of those people who could get away with that behavior, you wouldn't be here reading this right now, and I surely wouldn't be writing it if I was one of those people.
I want you to have good luck with this program. Luck doesn't come without preparation and opportunity. Prepare yourself for the opportunity that awaits you to be healthier and to be your best.
The key to staying motivated is putting your health at the forefront of why you're working out. And go ahead and admit it—don't you feel better when the workout is over? Applaud yourself each time, and keep doing it.
For exercise, the key is to push—challenge your body, continually and consistently. Even if you started slow, you will build. In each workout, you can begin at a level that's comfortable for three minutes. Add a tenth of a point every minute until you feel that you're working at least at a level 7 out of 10. Every day do at least a tenth of a point higher than the day before.
As I said before, I started my team at 3.0 speed and 3.0 incline, although I knew they were capable of more. But we warmed up and cooled down at 3 and 3 the first week. By the end of the 12th week, we started at 4.0 and 4 incline and that was our cool down! It was so easy it felt like a backrub.
You are probably already surprised at how quickly you're strengthening and improving. And strength over time equates to power.
That, my friends, is the true goal in life to become a powerful force for your own goodwill.
By now, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself, especially if you do as I have learned to do—congratulate yourself for every right move you make, instead of beating yourself up for all the negatives.
I hope you're feeling a solid momentum…stronger, more confident. My best advice: Always live in the now, understand your stumbling blocks, and clear your path so you don't have to fall.
For instance, if eating past a cutoff point is a block for you, find a creative way around it. For some people, that may mean giving yourself an extra half hour to eat, and going to bed half an hour later.
Planning for the challenges—and giving yourself credit for meeting them—are key to getting through the tough times, and getting where you want to be.
If you haven't already gotten into a routine of planning your food, think about this. You'll have the greatest success if you know ahead of time what your meals will be each day. If you're caught off guard and hungry, you end up eating what's available, and that will lead to trouble. Prepare a snack and look forward to snack time each day. What are the healthy snacks you can rely on to satisfy you in the pinch? Have those on hand—in quantity!
I know every day between 3:30 and 4 p.m. I'm going to be ravenous. So that's when I have my almonds, some tea and one half of a sliced apple, with thin slices of Parmesan cheese. My favorite "secret weapon" is a no fat, no sugar Fudgsicle pop. It makes me feel like I'm indulging myself, and it satisfies my chocolate urge...delish!
And sometimes I feel I just need to crunch on something, so I throw a handful of Grapenuts cereal, a handful of spoon-size Shredded Wheat, a handful of blueberries, Splenda® and skim milk into a bowl—I've convinced myself it's as good as a sundae!
Another "specialty" I've made is with unsweetened flavored gelatin. Instead of water, I mix it up with Diet Sprite or Diet 7 Up or Fresca…add strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, a squirt of whipped cream, and that's replaced peach cobbler for me!
At night after 7:30 when no eating is allowed—not a grape...nor a nut—I have herbal tea with mulling spices that people often use for cider, with slices of lemon and orange. The ritual of a soothing cup of tea helps me end the day feeling full, in every way. Always use a pretty cup. You're worth it.
Are you surprised at how quickly you are strengthening and improving? I believe that strength over time equates to power. And that, my friends, is the true goal in life—to become a powerful force for your own goodwill.
You deserve the best life possible for you. The good life that everyone seeks can only come from the way you think and act towards yourself and then others. There is no true happiness without good health. So the commitment to work on your health is a pledge toward a better future in every way.
Your weight issues are metaphors for your life issues. When you are fit, strong, taking in maximum oxygen, letting it out, you are more capable of handling every other experience, challenge, difficulty joy and victory.
Continue the workouts, and maintain the discipline it takes to reach your goal.
In my early years of diet after diet, I used to pray for discipline to stick to a program. Only after remaining consistent, making my workout a priority—no matter what—did I realize, discipline doesn't come to you. You earn it by doing the thing you think you cannot do. And then keep doing it.
Where do you go from here?
Realize that this isn't just about your lifestyle, or even reaching a goal. It's about your whole life. It's about your heart…pumping blood…pumping love through your veins and being the most alive you can be—for yourself and the people who love you and need you. It's about giving to yourself—knowing you are worth the time, worth the challenge, worth the commitment to take care of yourself.
Yes, your body has changed, but more importantly, you've begun to strengthen your spirit. It's the most powerful feeling you can stir up in yourself!
The most important thing now is for you to build on what you've begun. Take what you've done in this 12 weeks. Develop your own system and plan based on everything you've learned. Make the decision for yourself that you're going to make this work—that you are going to be fit and full of life—for the rest of your life.
Claim your power!
Go well—and keep living strong!
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