Newsletter: Volume 30, August 2001
Left Brain v. Right Brain
The Left Side of Our Brain Tries to Hold Us Back
Inside the left hemisphere at the top of your head is the center
of logic. The left brain solves math problems, organizes and nit-picks,
and conducts the structured cognitive activities during your workday.
One of the primary missions of the left brain is to steer you in
the direction of pleasure and away from discomfort. Any form of
stress or perceived stress will stimulate this negative center of
logic to produce a stream of messages to "slow down!"or "quit!"or
to question your sanity: "Why are you doing this?"Because we rely
upon the left side for logical guidance, we listen to these messages.
If we're weak or tired, we're very likely to give in to the messages
and compromise our goal. Certainly we must always monitor the real
dangers which could produce health problems (heat buildup, traffic,
overfatigue) and take action when there is due cause. Most of the
time, however, our left brain overreacts in warning us long before
we are in real danger. Motivation training desensitizes us to the
extraneous negative messages and the left brain's nagging style.
You can also set up a positive mental response to the negative left
side that will reduce its effect and allow you to head toward your
goal at a speed that is within your capabilities.
The Right Brain
Your creative and intuitive center is in the right side of your
brain. Running is one of the best ways to tap into your right brain,
as long as you're running slowly enough to stay within your capabilities.
This right side is a reservoir of creative solutions to just about
any problem, challenge or obstacle. Through pacing, walk breaks
and blood sugar-boosting, you can cut down dramatically on stress,
reducing the negative left brain messages so that you stay on the
right (brain) track. To maximize time in the wonderful world of
the right brain, become sensitive to the stress buildup of your
runs and the marathon itself. Only you have the complete power to
reduce the intensity and disconnect the negative speaker of the
left brain before it makes your running seem like work.
Vision and Focus
No one stays totally motivated all of the time. Those who are more
successful sometimes seem to be always fired up, but they have down
times like everyone else. By concentrating on the positive aspects
of your run, several times a day, you become focused on something
that makes you feel good. It only takes a few seconds every two
hours or so and you'll be motivated to get out there and collect
A mid-run motivation crisis is almost always the result of going
too fast, for you, on that day. The more stress you place on yourself,
the more negative messages you'll receive from the left brain, which
will lead to a desire to quit. Ease up, take more walk breaks, and
you'll get through most of these "walls."If the weather presents
you with too much heat/humidity and/or you went too fast in the
beginning or the middle of the run, it may be too late to do anything
but walk. Learn from this, and back off early the next time.
For more information on "The Source of Motivation,"look at pages
75-79 and 84 in Jeff Galloway's new Marathon!
(Phidippides Publication, 2000)
Don't forget that Jeff Galloway will be leading
a trip to Athens for the original marathon in late October/early
November. Contact email@example.com
for more info.
Dieters Lose Weight: Acknowledging Weight loss
THE ATHLETE'S KITCHEN
By Nancy Clark, MS, RD
Copyright July 2001
"My wife has lost about 30 pounds. She looks
GREAT!""My roommate has dropped 10 pounds. She's down to a size
4 and I'm so jealous...!"
"My brother is dieting by eating only one meal a day. He has shed
20 pounds in three weeks ... he looks awesome!"
We all know someone who has lost weight and
our knee-jerk response is "WOW...Don't you look GREAT!"At diet workshops,
the leader and participants applaud the successful dieters who,
upon weighing in, register a lower weight on the scale. Advertisements
for weight loss programs idolize how much better you'll look when
you shed excess flab. High schools runners ogle over their friend's
loss of two pounds.
This praise is intended to be positive but
you should be aware it can sometimes backfire. The following story,
told by an athlete in recovery from anorexia, can perhaps teach
you how to acknowledge weight loss wisely. The story goes like this-
"When I was a student in medical school,
I was very unhappy and my life felt out of control. I followed my
strong desire to be able to control something , so I started to
diet and exercise. I got a bit carried away and within a year, I
had to admit myself into an eating disorders program. The surprisingly
sad part is, no one saw my unhappiness.
"Mind you, I was in medical school, surrounded
by health professionals, and I got nothing but praise the whole
way down. Doctors, nurses, friends and family alike would say to
"You've lost weight. Don't you look great...!".
"You are so dedicated with your exercise program. I feel like I
barely have time to sleep, but you manage to get up early enough
to run an hour every day. You're too good.".
"You always eat such healthful food--salads, fruits, rice cakes.
I'm living on junk out of the vending machine, and you're preparing
your own healthy foods every day. You are just so dedicated when
it comes to eating well. I admire you."
The praise and compliments flowed endlessly--but
no one saw this woman's unhappiness. Twenty pounds later and exhausted
with compulsive, relentless exercise, she ran out of energy and
admitted herself into a hospital program for people with eating
disorders. She knew her lifestyle was sick, but no once else had
seemed to notice. No one made the appropriate comment: "You are
looking very thin...are you OK?"or "I'm worried about you. You look
so tired and seem to have lost that sparkle in your eyes..."
Another similar episode took place in a health
club. A 39 year old man just trying to get back to his college "fighting
weight"started dieting and exercising to the extreme. He claimed
he was training for an Ironman triathlon. The truth was, he was
abusing exercise to lose weight. His thoughts about food and exercise
consumed 99% of his day--to the point he did little but exercise,
work, sleep, and (try not to) eat. He also heard nothing but praise
about his changed body:
"You look great...How much weight have you
"You are so dedicated with your training program. How do you find
time to exercise for two hours every day? You are a better man than
"You are so good with your diet. I wish I had your discipline when
it comes to eliminating junk food from my life..."
After a year, this exhausted "athlete"ended
up in my office saying "I don't know if I need to see you or a psychologist..."
In both cases, these "athletes" got nothing
but praise as they tumbled into their eating disorders. Granted,
their friends, teammates and training partners were not responsible
for this happening, but they failed to say appropriate words.
Acknowledging weight loss
So what should you say when someone has lost weight? What you do
not want to say is "Have you lost weight??? You look GREAT!!!" This
1) They looked horrible before.
2) Physical size is more important than health.
3) They are a better person if they are lighter.
And what happens when the dieter regains
the weight (a common occurrence)? Does he or she revert to being
a worse person? Be it two pounds or twenty pounds, the better way
to acknowledge weight loss is to shift the focus away from physical
weight changes and focus instead on the praiseworthy aspect: the
person's improved health status. Here are some recommended phrases
to share with dieters who are losing or have lost weight:
"You look like you've been working hard at
losing weight..." The dieter will be ever-ready to talk about how
proud they are of their hard work. Let them brag.
"You look smaller... Is there is less of
you to love?" The message is, you are not a better person if you
lose weight; you are just less.
"You look pleased with your weight loss.
How do you feel about it?" They'll undoubtedly feel healthier, more
"You are looking more fit. How are your workouts
going? How is your energy level? How do you feel...?"If they are
losing weight appropriately, they'll feel great.
"You appear to be trading some of your excess
fat for muscle?" Acknowledge what you see but don't suggest they
are a better person.
Sometimes you can just say nothing. After
all, how often do you acknowledge weight gain: "You've gained weight!!?"
(But then, maybe you should: "You look stressed, exhausted. Are
Regardless of the dieter's response, the
goal is to help the person hold a solid appreciation of their value
as a person. Their beauty is in their smile, their friendship and
caring--not in being size two instead of size twelve. Dieters need
to know they are loved from the inside out, not judged from the
outside in. If dieters lose weight, they need to fully realize there
is simply less of them to love. They are not better, more perfect
or more likable. They are just less. But hopefully they are healthier,
more energetic, stronger, and happy with these benefits.
is just a bowl of berries
Ripe berries are hard not to love - some
of the best foods ever, as well as the sweetest (except cranberries).
Not only do they offer vitamins, minerals, and fiber in a lovely
low-calorie package, but they are also loaded with fascinating substances.
The intense red and blue pigments of berries
come from anthocyanins, which are high in antioxidant capacity.
That is, in the test tube, and perhaps in the body, anthocyanins
mop up free radicals, particles than can damage our cells. Berries
are rich in other phytochemicals that may benefit humans. Not to
mention the vitamin C.
Prelimary research has found that berries
contribute to good health. Blueberries may improve vision. Cranberries
may help prevent urinary tract infections (See Wellness Letter,
February 1999). Studies in animals and in the test tube have found
that extracts from strawberries, blueberries and raspberries may
help protect against various kinds of cancer. Other studies have
found that strawberries help keep animals' nervous systems in working
But it would be a mistake to think of berries
as medicine. They make a great dessert, snack, lunch, and/or breakfast
food. Warm weather is their natural season. You may be lucky enough
to know where to pick blackberries or blueberries yourself. Strawberries
are usually available at produce counters year round, along with
blueberries and raspberries - though out-of-season berries can be
costly, and local berries in season taste better. Cranberries show
up in quantity around Thanksgiving. It's wise to buy a few extra
packages and freeze them.
Berry good tips
- Don't wash the berries until ready to
- Don't be shy about trying new kinds: raspberries
can be black, gold or red. Marionberries and boysenberries (hybrid
versions of blackberries) are delicious and nutritious.
- Most berries freeze well. Remove stems,
debris and blemished fruit; put in plastic bags or containers.
When ready to use, rinse in cold water. This washes and helps
defrost the berries. They won't taste as good as fresth, but they
are fine for muffins and pancakes, smoothies, toppings, and fruit
- Dried berries, particularly cranberries
and blueberries, are becoming more common. Though they don't taste
like fresh ones and have less vitamin C, they are a good snack
and well worth keeping on hand.
From Wellness Letter: The Newsletter of Nutrition,
Fitness and Self-Care, Volume 17, Issue 10, July 2001, from the
School of Public Health of the University of California, Berkeley,
page 3, www.WellnessLetter.com
(and Slow) Way to Fitness
"Interval training" involves mixing
moderate physical activity with some that's more vigorous - such
as picking up the pace for short periods of time during your daily
walk. Exercising in intervals can make your regular routine more
interesting, burn more calories and increase health benefits.
You have been walking most days now, but
you are starting to get bored. Or maybe you feel the need for a
more challenging activity. One way to add some oomph to exercise
is with interval training - that is, alternating moderate or light
physical activity with brief periods of more demanding exercise.
"If you want to see progress in your physical activity program,
you have to change one of three things: how long, how frequently
or how hard you exercise," says Carla Sottovia, assistant fitness
director of the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas.
Aside from increasing your fitness level,
interval training can be mentally stimulating and help relieve boredom.
For example, when you ride your bike at the same pace for 30 minutes,
time may seem to pass slowly. But when your mind is occupied with
increasing or slowing your speed at different intervals, the total
time may seem shorter. "It makes it more fun to be active,"
Of course, one of the best reasons for staying
active is your health. Regular physical activity protects against
several types of cancer, as well as heart disease, adult-onset diabetes
and other chronic illnesses.
Anyone can use interval training. You just need to exercise at a
pace that is appropriate to your fitness level. Beginning exercisers,
for example, can go back and forth from a very slow walk to just
a slow walk if necessary!
Be sure to check with your doctor before
beginning any new type of exercise or when increasing the intensity
of the exercise you already do. Even if you are currently active,
it is important to get your doctor's approval before trying interval
Once you've gotten go-ahead, simply incorporate interval training
into your usual activities. For example, if you typically walk for
30 minutes start off slowly and build up to your normal speed. Then
increase your speed every two to three minutes, alternating more
demanding and less demanding intervals.
This idea can be modified for any number
of activities, including swimming, biking and running. You can also
alter the length and number of intervals you do, or how challenging
they are. One way to step up intensity is walking uphill, which
can also be done on a treadmill. Today, many exercise machines have
computerized interval programs.
Common mistakes include pushing too hard, which can cause an injury,
and doing interval training too often, says Sottovia. She suggests
alternating a day of intervals with a day of moderately paced or
light physical activity.
Be on the lookout for warning signs that
you're overdoing it: If you're totally out of breath or can't talk
while you're active, decrease or eliminate the vigorous intervals.
Remember that physical activity should not hurt or be unpleasant.
The best kind of exercise is exercise you enjoy and perform regularly,
so move at your own pace.
From the American Institute for Cancer Research's
Newsletter on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Prevention, Summer 2001,
Issue 72, page 11, 202/328-7744
To order any Cooper Complete vitamin or joint
maintenance product - all based upon research from Dr. Kenneth Cooper's
Aerobics Institute - check out our merchandise
Running has never been shown to cause osteoarthritic
joint changes or to cause spinal disk degeneration, which is reassuring
to the millions of us who run. Yet some experts warn that this may,
in fact, be an aberration in the research due to the "healthy
runner effect." Runners who remain injury-free continue to
run, demonstrating the resiliency of those healthy runners, not
the harmlessness of running per se.
Here's a study that suggests, in fact, that
long-term recreational running does not cause disk degeneration.
This study specifically looked at disk degeneration among identical
twins whose histories were different. Identical twins with different
lifestyles provide the perfect resource for answering cause and
effect questions because you can evaluate the effect of something
on genetically identical individuals - studies are automatically
controlled for all genetic variables.
The researchers studied 22 pairs of identical
male twins whose lifetime endurance sports activity were dissimilar.
The exercisers (running and cross-country skiing) had on average
a history of exercising four times a week for about 24 years. Non-exercisers
averaged only once a week exercise for most of their lives. Based
on detailed interviews and magnetic resonance images the researchers
concluded that lifetime endurance sports caused neither beneficial
nor harmful effects in the spine.
It seems that your spine is either destined
to hold up during a lifetime or not, and that regular running will
neither protect nor damage it. For runners this is good news indeed
and stands to contradict those who believe that the repetitive impact
of running must ultimately deteriorate the spine and leg joints.
This is not a license to overtrain, however.
Running without adequate time for rest and recovery, increasing
training load too fast, and running in worn out shoes, are all risk
factors for injury. The take-home lesson here is that regular running
is not going to your spine and comes complete with a huge list of
mental and physical benefits - overdoing it is, as usual, asking
From Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,
Vol., 29, No. 10, pp. 1350-1356
Jeff Galloway offers a low-mileage marathon
Training Program to get you to the finish line injury free. Jeff
offers tips that will give you the added psychological capacity
and stamina to push harder before getting tired. In search of more
goodies and inside scoops? Read Jeff Galloway's column every month
in Runner's World Magazine. Runner's World provides advice and education
to motivate runners of all ages and abilities. Subscribe TODAY!
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