The Best Way To Get Something Done Is To Begin

It could be the time of year, change of season, or something a little subtler gnawing away at you to make some changes in your daily routine to lean down. I have read the book, “Legally Lean, Sports Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Health and Performance,” by Lisa Dorfman this past week and found the many reminders throughout the book helpful and motivating to stay on track.  Combined with fall being my favorite time of year I’m hoping you will feel my enthusiasm and take away a few ideas that will help you in your journey of health, fitness, and weight management.

I have to admit that the title of Dorfman’s book appeals especially after Thanksgiving. When I think back on what I ate though overall I’m pretty happy with the quantity I consumed. Another positive this year for me was making a vegetarian option after years of being bound to the traditional menus. It was “Lentil Loaf” with a lot of tasty side dishes that didn’t make me miss the turkey!

If you think you might be eating too much meat check out my blog from a few months back exploring the idea of moving to a more plant-based diet. I also like the idea of time chunking.  If the idea of setting a block of time off to work on a specific goal appeals between now and Christmas, for example, check out my blog on time chunking.

I’m amused at myself for thinking to look back on the time chunking blog because it was written by me around the same time last year.  My point here is that even though I know I do a lot of things right, there is definitely room for improvement, and that’s what I enjoy sharing. So the idea of change and improvement is appealing, (Think leaner or healthier, like more vegetables, less meat, less eating out….) the chunk of time to change is available, and now we need to work on the specifics and get started.

Legally Lean

Historically there have been many things that one could take to improve results. “As far back as 776 B.C.E. Greek athletes used whatever they could to improve performance.” (-1) Dorfman lays out the statistics on athletes of today still doing whatever it takes, legal or otherwise to improve performance and results. When talking weight loss this leads to dietary supplements, and technically all “ergogenic aids” that encompass legitimate supplements as well as illegal pharmacological agents. Although you may be thinking the stats only apply to professional athletes, I know there are problems with this at the recreational and elite level. Whether it’s something to improve performance and recovery, aid in weight loss, prevent or treat an illness, or compensate for a bad diet it’s still something you are taking to improve results that could carry RISKS.

Who is manufacturing and monitoring your supplements? Are they safe? Who is giving you advice on what to take? Making sure you tap into professionals is the message here as friends, trainers, advertisements, and the internet do not know the big picture of you and your health history. There’s a lot to consider here including some potential interactions between your supplements, and not forgetting the cost of them. I urge you to pay attention to what you are taking.

Food First

This is where I really like the book and its succinct advice. If there was magic in a supplement or a quick fix I’d like to believe that I would have it to share. Dorfman encourages you to adopt some overriding principles and decide to succeed. “Research suggests that repetitive weight cycling (Repetitive attempts to lose weight only to regain it) impedes permanent efforts to stay lean. (-2) ”

Legally Lean’s Principles – Lisa Dorfman

Go Hard 3: Easy 1

So 3 days dialed in, and one “relief” day. Not an “eat anything you want,” or “cheat day” but one where you can regenerate and replenish.

Detox Unhealthy Habits

The hard part: removing dietary toxins, your personal food addictions, and bad habits. What obstacles are holding you back from being the best that you can be?  Working to remove harmful environmental, nutritional, and emotional toxins may take some work. Feeling worse before you feel better is something Dorfman lays out in her stages of detoxification that work on your gut and liver and mindset.

Break a Sweat

Well, of course, this is going to help stay on track as the physical and psychological benefits are well researched. Exercise helps to control your weight by burning more calories no matter what type you choose to do. Exercise, in Dorman’s (and my) opinion, is the way you are going to succeed at any of these principles because of the “holistic connection between you cardiovascular, skeletal, and muscular system, and your mind, spirit, and enthusiasm for life.”

Connect Consciously

This means eating, clean non-processed foods, fresh from the farm to finish. (Dorfman suggests organics are preferred and gives you resources to back this up and source them.) Eating slowly, watching portion sizes, and tracking your progress with a food log is also recommended.

Get Lean, Get Rest

The amount of sleep we get continues to be a hot topic in terms of weight loss. There are many factors that affect your ability to rest including stress, hormones, diet, and the use of substances like alcohol and caffeine. If you are going to commit to making some changes and your sleep habits are not good, then you might want to think about starting here.

More Legally Lean Ideas

The A-Z Legally Lean Food Reference Guide is a great resource for shopping and meal planning to enhance your training, performance, and recovery. Getting ourselves to a healthy weight and keeping ourselves there as the years go by is what we need for healthy aging.

What Supplements?

I get asked about supplements a lot and I’m happy to share what I’m taking and why but it’s not in my scope of practice to tell you what to take. Dorfman lists many of the legal supplements along with the reasons why you would consider taking them. There are many excellent websites in which to look deeper into safety. I used for BCAA’s information this week and was amazed at the amount of information on just this one supplement!

Whether it’s general health, gut health, joint health, muscle growth and repair, metabolism, or fat reduction I suggest you should know your supplements before popping them!

Investing in this book is recommended because investing in yourself is worth it. We are all athletes of sorts and so embracing a change or two can accelerate your health.

You can improve, and you should. What are you going to work on first?

Written by Sheila Hamilton

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Jon McComb on the “Fitness Segment,” which airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980am radio.



Legally Lean: Sports Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Health and Performance. Copyright 2014 Lisa Dorfman

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Copyright: <a href=’’>oligliya / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Time to take action! Chunks of your time await you!

Meat, Muscles, and Drex….The son of a butcher.