Thursday, March 20, 2008
Making progress with our health, nutrition, and fitness goals isnít always easy; however for some people, it seems much easier than it its for others. But just because it seems easier doesnít mean that it IS easier. No matter how easy someone's elses success may look to us, let's face it: trying to eat healthy and lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle can pose challenges and be very difficult.
That is the beauty of a network such as Sparkpeople. It allows each of us to unite to share tips and ideas, ask questions and post our goals so that as a community, we can motivate one another and learn from each other. That makes a very difficult and daunting goal easier to manage.
We all have techniques and strategies that help us, even when we backslide and fall of the wagon. We always go back to our own tried and proven ways. For me, I think of my progress as a little baby step toward the finish line. If I donít snack all day on unhealthy foods and if I stay within my calorie and protein objectives and if I find the energy and motivation to do some exercise, then I consider myself as making progress. Baby steps.
I donít need to lose two pounds every week for me to see progress. I donít need to lose an inch or two from my waist to see progress. Progress to me is being consistent and staying true to my plan. Progress is not getting discouraged even though I saw no change, with my weight (and waistline) remaining the same for several days. Progress is recognizing that I followed all the proper steps that I created for myself toward a healthy lifestyle. Baby steps.
Itís those baby steps that keep me going. In the end, itís those types of little steps that have the longest and most significant impact, bit by bit - inch by inch. Typically, weight that is lost quickly does not usually stay off for long. It is the small steps that offer the greatest chance for success. Just think of the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare" where the hare took giant leaps and bounds toward the finish line and the tortoise moved forward at a slow even steady pace. The tortoise was victorious. This is my strategy and in the end, I will be victorious too. This is what keeps me going and remaining successful.
What about you? What is YOUR trick or tip for your success. Share the wealth!
Friday, March 14, 2008
We all make one excuse or another when it comes to eating in a more healthy way. For me in the beginning, Iíd eat healthy Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday I rationalized by saying I would reward myself on the weekends. Well, I donít need to tell you that doing that was no reward. Friday through Sunday ended up being Friday through Friday until I completely fell off the wagon.
On some level, I donít even believe I was ever really on that wagon. It takes several weeks for there to be any marked changes to the body from improved diet and nutrition behaviors. While you may see an inch off the waistline here or a pound off the scale there, those instant noticeable changes are really perfunctory changes. The real changes come over time when your mind and your body become a new organism to complement your fitness and eating habits.
As you maintain healthy living, your new habits soon become ingrained within you and you find yourself spending less time thinking and planning. Maintaining healthy living eventually becomes natural, and all it takes is having willpower and dedication to keep doing it amidst the temptation.
Experts agree that it only takes 21 days to change behavior. Maxwell Maltz first introduced that concept in a book, Psycho-Cybernetics. His training was as a cosmetic surgeon who advised his patients to try changing how they viewed themselves before getting surgery to change their aesthetic appearance. Over the years, the 21-day concept has been used for virtually everything, as the premise is the same no matter what the topic, especially when it comes to eating and living more healthily.
Stick with your eating plan for 21 days Ė consistently Ė and you will notice several things. First, your body will begin to adjust to your new habits and will help you to burn more calories and consequently, youíll notice how your weight loss and your toning will soar. Second, exercise and eating a more healthy diet will come more easily and naturally to you and youíll likely enjoy the new habits. Third, youíll notice improved changes in your numbers (i.e., blood pressure, cholesterol), and for most people, the changes will be significant. And last and most important, youíll love how you feel both inside and out. Youíll have more energy and you will sleep better and find yourself more productive throughout the day. But you will also feel good about yourself for making progress and moving one step closer toward your goals. That will go a long way to motivate you not to give up.
Add the 21 day thinking to your life. As youíre starting out, 21 days may seem like an eternity. Thatís especially true when you are thinking of that three-cheese lasagna or that German chocolate cheesecake. But with a little effort and motivation, those 21 days will zoom by and you will be well on your way to the new you.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
More people these days are striving toward a diet that consist of whole foods. No, Iím not speaking about the supermarket chain. Iím speaking about a way of eating. If you are unfamiliar with a whole foods way of eating, then take note. Whole foods, also referred to as natural foods (or all natural foods) are those food items that are in their most natural state. Whether cooked or not, whole foods are unprocessed, without any artificial colors or flavorings, and contain no preservatives.
You might wonder how to tell whether or not something is a whole food. Well, in most cases, if it comes in a can, jar, bottle, or other packaging, it usually isnít very whole. But the best way to tell is by reading the ingredients.
In many cases, reading labels or searching the Internet will not always help you. Even some experts have a difficult time trying to figure out what is or is not a whole food. When in doubt, just ask. With the increase in the number of people concerned about maintaining a more healthy diet, some food manufacturers are eager to accommodate and provide healthy options. Call or write the company of your favorite soup or juice.
Okay, I hear what youíre thinking. You want to know why you should be interested in whole foods, right? The healthiest people are those who consume foods that are in their natural form. Whenever foods are processed, it changes the foods composition and doing so diminishes some of quality. Not only that, but some of the preservatives may not be good for you.
Donít be misled. Natural or whole foods donít necessarily equate to organic. There are federally-mandate requirements that must be met for manufacturers to label something as organic. The US Department of Agriculture regulates. For more information on these requirements and a primer on whole or natural foods, visit the following Web sites:
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Did you know that Sparkpeople has free workout videos? If you said no, then I have good news for you. SP has several workout videos, hosted by Coach Nicole, to help those of you who spend lots of time sitting at home on the floor in need of exercise not knowing what to do.
Whether youíre a fitness pro or just starting out, there is something just for you among them. Check out the site,
and get busy with working out those muscles.
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.
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