Sunday, January 06, 2008
Thatís one excuse so many people use for not exercising. I acknowledge that it can be rather expensive, particularly since many stick you with a contract for two or three years. So what alternative do you have, you might ask? Well, there are some things you can do at home. Let me highlight a few of them for you.
- Turn on some music and dance. Yep, thatís right. Pretend youíre out at a club or a party, play some of your favorite dance tunes, and dance away. To make it easy for you, you can purchase such dance CDs to help you. But if you donít want to spend the funds for a new CD, you can use whatever you already have. This is an excellent way to get in your cardio workout without spending extra money.
- Get yourself some dumbbells. Use them to do curls and workout your arms. If that is an expense you donít want to incur, then, fill up a liter soda or juice bottle. This is an excellent alternative.
- Do basic workout routines. If you donít know of any, do a search online. You can also find some on your cable lineup. I have Comcast and found some on my OnDemand listings. There is yoga, jazzercise, aerobics, pilates, and many other great exercise routines.
These are just a few creative ways to get in a workout without going to a gym. And of course, you can do some of the basic things like:
(1) Take the stairs instead of always riding the elevators;
(2) Donít park near the entrance of the store youíre visiting Ė park at the opposite end of the parking lot;
(3) After dinner, go for a walk. In winter months, this may not be desirable, depending on where you live. But you can go to the mall and take several laps around;
(4) Visit the Sparkpeople.com exercise portion of the site (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exerc
ise_demos.asp). There are many exercises you can do at home, many of which you can do without any additional equipment, others require a chair or exercise ball or resistance ropes, which are relatively inexpensive.
Donít allow an expensive gym membership keep you sedentary and motionless. You can do as many exercises at home as your imagination and creativity will allow. It is a new year. Make 2008 a great one, and achieve all of your health, nutrition, and fitness goals.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Achieving Your Goals Bit By Bit
There is an old saying, ďHow do you eat an elephant? The answer is, one bite at a time.Ē
This is also the best advice for getting a handle on your diet and nutrition. Our waistline didnít get too large in a day. So, we shouldnít expect to reduce it overnight. In fact, you donít want rapid changes. Studies show that those people who lose a lot of weight over a short period of time donít usually keep it off for very long. Besides, rapid weight loss can have negative health consequences.
A lot of people struggle for years trying to lose weight, and that struggle is the reason why many of them give up and donít stick to their plan. It becomes overwhelming, and when they donít see immediate results, they lose motivation.
Instead, think of your diet as a large project with small segments. Rather than focus on how much weight you lost , wanted to lose, or didnít lose this week, focus on developing overall healthy habits. For instance, in stead of eating those chocolate chip cookies for dessert, drop some raspberries into some vanilla flavored yogurt. If you have a strong craving for those cookies, have one or two rather than eat half a bag. Rather than have potato chips as an after dinner snack, have some raisins and a handful of peanuts.
When you go to the mall, donít park close to the door. Leave your car near the opposite end of the parking lot. If you need to go up or down one or two floors, try taking the stairs rather then the elevator. Walk up or down the escalator rather than ride.
Each one of these little feats is an accomplishment, and you may not see any results immediately. But, thatís okay. Doing each of these things is an accomplishment on its own. If you use a little creativity, I bet you can come up with a few things of your own.
Be tenacious and make daily progress.
As you maintain your progress and achieve your goals, be sure to reward yourself after each week of success. If you go a whole week of passing up that chocolate cake or you consistently did your cardiovascular exercise all week, you will likely feel proud. Go ahead and do something special for yourself. I happen to love monetary rewards. Each week, drop $20 in a coffee can and leave it there. Let the sum continue to accumulate. You might be thinking how you donít have $20 a week for such a reward; however, if you are like most people, you most likely throw away more money than that on many other things that you probably donít even need. So, finding $20 each week should be easy. If it isnít, make it $10. The point is, put aside something each week and allow it to grow. In about six months, you will have a nice little bonus.
You could also use the same system to punish yourself when you fall short. If you lay on the couch after dinner and fall asleep rather than go for your walk or get on that treadmill, drop in your $20 in that can. Reward yourself when you do well Ė punish yourself when you do poorly.
Setting these short-term goals and having long-range objectives will make you more successful in the end. When you first walk up to that elephant, eating the whole thing may seem like a rather daunting task. But if you remember to do it bit by bit Ė in a piecemeal manner Ė then in no time youíll see the progress youíre making.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
During this time of year, it often becomes very difficult for many of us to resist temptation. No matter how determined and strict you claim you will be, it can be a real challenge staying on track. If you have some wise guys among your friends and family, you may even have to deal with hecklers who poke fun at your healthy eating making it doubly difficult. But donít give in. In addition, here are my Big Eight tips to surviving your diet during the holidays:
1. Talk to yourself before you sit down to the table and remind yourself that you donít have to eat in gluttony. Maintain moderation;
2. Try to have some healthy and wholesome food before you go to the formal dinner. This will help you to eat less. If you arrive at the affair hungry, you will be less likely to maintain any willpower.
3. Itís okay if you decide to have some of that macaroni and cheese and that potato soufflť. Just remember: force yourself not to keep going back for more;
4. If you have a choice, try to pass those food items that are cooked in butter or a creamy sauce. Foods that are boiled or steamed are better for you than foods cooked in butter or cream. The buttery/creamy foods will give you several hundred extra calories as well as increased amounts of fat, cholesterol and sodium;
5. If you were eyeing that sweet potato pie or that pound cake and you know you may want some, then go easy (or not at all) on the macaroni & cheese and the potato soufflť, saving up for dessert;
6. When you get to dessert, be mindful of portion sizes. A rule of thumb I follow is, ďgive me a slice about the size of two fingersĒ and I explicitly tell my hosts before they begin to cut my slices. People sometimes affectionately call me Two Slices because that is what they have grown accustomed to me eating. If the slices are already cut and they are a bit thick, cut your piece in half and share it with someone else or take the rest home;
7. If wine or other alcohol is served, beware. Alcohol is the quickest way to get extra calories. If you must drink, nurture that glass. Caress and fondle that glass of wine or cognac for as long as possible. Guzzling it down will only be to your detriment. Not only are there extra empty calories youíll be taking in, but if you get a little tipsy, your inhibitions will come down and you may fail to eat healthy like you might if you had been sober;
8. After you finish eating, donít go lay on the couch or plop down in the recliner as some of your dinner companions will likely do. Grab a buddy and go for a walk. If you are in a home with stairs, try walking up and down for about 10 minutes or so; you want to burn up some of those dinner calories.
Donít let the holidays be a reason to destroy your diet and ruin the progress you have made. You can still enjoy a little fellowship with friends and family. Just use a little common sense.
Monday, December 03, 2007
I read on one of the message boards something very interesting. It talked about our tendency to begin the New Year with goals that often include improved fitness and nutrition and weight loss. The author proposed something I thought was incredible: it talked about having end of year resolution. Rather than wait for January, go ahead and do it now.
I read that at a very appropriate time. I had some moments in which I backslid, missed some of my goals, and cheated on the things I was eating. I was at the point where I told myself to just go ahead and enjoy the rest of the year and start anew in January. But, reading that message board was just the right motivation for me. I decided to renew my goals.
Having done this, I feel great about it, not just in my energy level and the refreshed feeling I am experiencing, but also in my level of motivation. I feel good about myself for beginning NOW rather than giving up and starting new in January.
So, I encourage anybody out there who has felt as I have not to quit. Do not wait until January or next week or tomorrow to get yourself back on track. Get started right now. The results you will see and feel will be immeasurable.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"Most barriers to your success are man-made. And most often, you're the man who made them." - Frank Tyger
WOW! Isnít that a powerful statement? Itís the person you see in the mirror that has the greatest impact on your success or your failure. That is most true when it comes to your health and fitness goals. If your mid-afternoon snack is a piece of cake rather than a banana or handful of raisins, you canít blame anyone but yourself. If you lay on your couch looking at that treadmill or you bypass the gym, thinking youíll go tomorrow, itís your own fault. Most people give up completely following a mistake. However, try approaching it differently if you slip. Rather than thinking of it as a succession of days Iíve been on track, I think of each day as a new day. So, today, I began again with my plan. Tomorrow, itís the same thing.
Taking it one day at a time can help you regain your focus. It really doesnít require a lot to achieve your goals. Just a little effort goes a long way.
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