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May 22, 2013
Wellness is a term used to describe and measure the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and cultural, etc., dimensions of an individual’s wellbeing. Medical, social, and mental health professionals quantify the quality of our wellbeing based on the results of standardized assessments such as blood pressure, blood tests, BMI, and depression scales to name a few. It is important to know your numbers. However, awareness is only the first step because “awareness without action is worthless” Dr. Phil. While I am not a Dr. Phil fan, I agree that knowing something needs to change in order to improve your wellbeing and not taking steps towards doing so is a waste of mental, emotional, and physical energy.
Perhaps one of the reasons many people find it difficult to either take the first step towards improving their health or maintaining their current health promoting behaviors is because they’re only focusing on what they have to give up. What you focus on eventually becomes your reality. If you concentrate only on those things you can no longer do such as smoking, eating fast food, drinking sugary beverages and eating sweets, then you are developing a punitive mindset. This way of thinking deteriorates self-confidence, creativity, and self-efficacy (the belief that you can achieve your goals).
Instead of thinking about what you perceive you are losing by engaging in healthier habits, decide to concentrate on what you have to gain. This is what I call a restorative mindset. Every time you make a better choice, taking the stairs, drinking water instead of a sugary beverage, or eating fruit instead of sugary baked goods or candy you are restoring your health. It is all about how you choose to think about creating and maintaining a lifestyle of wellness.
Stephen Covey stated “every human has four endowments: self- awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... the power to choose, to respond, to change.” We all have the capacity to decide how we choose to respond and think about the process of change. Developing a restorative mindset costs you nothing but reaps the rewards of better health.
May 15, 2013
Spring is a time when everywhere we look we see signs of growth and new life. It can also be one of the busiest times of year, zapping our energy. Our physical energy, not time, is our life currency. If we make it a priority to move our bodies, eat and sleep well, and schedule downtime or fun, we can be energetic, creative, and productive. Often our best ideas and solutions come when we are well rested, working out, or having fun. We need energy to relate well to others and to engage our strengths in meaningful work or other activities.
The path to growth and development in our lives is to realize our strengths and talents and stretch ourselves regularly. It’s interesting that many of life’s most nourishing “flow” experiences happen at work and we don’t even enjoy them because we’re fretting about what’s gone wrong and what’s not getting done. We’re missing the best moments of our days and even our lives. What is truly satisfying is to engage in a life which stretches us, employs our strengths, and enables us to grow wiser, stronger, and more capable.
What gives you energy? Think about it, write them down and put them into practice to be reenergized and grow.
I ask clients to list ten things that energize them. Here is a mix of responses:
1. Engaging in a life that is healthy,
2. Recalling past accomplishments
3. Hang out with friends and my family.
4. Move - jog, walk, yoga, spinning, strength training weekly
5. Cook and eat great food, including incorporating seasonal vegetables and fruits
6. Wear clothes that flatter my body type
7. Listen to music
8. Being outside
9. Serving others
10. Practicing daily meditation in a quiet environment
May 8, 2013
Eat your vegetables!
Have you found yourself repeating this at the dinner table to your loved ones? Why do so many well-intended “healthy people” not get enough vegetables in their diet? “According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, 67.5 percent of adults ate fruit less than two times daily and 73.7 percent ate vegetables less than three times per day.” Additionally, “over the past decade there has been a 2 percent decrease in fruit consumption and no change in the vegetable consumption.” Not only do the phytonutrients in vegetables help to prevent different types of cancers, they are also an essential player in a heart-healthy diet. A report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that “ .. convincing evidence suggests that a change in behavior such as increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables, and (whole) grains is a practical strategy for significantly reducing the incidence of chronic disease.”
The best strategy for including more fruits and vegetables in your diet is to follow the rainbow. Add bright colorful berries and sunflower seeds to your yogurt, sauté spinach and onions with your eggs, steam broccoli and cauliflower with your wild rice, and throw some jicama and tomatoes on your leafy green salad. Before you know it, you’ve eaten the rainbow!!
|Reduces risk of cancer, heart attacks & Alzheimer’s||Red raspberries, beets, tomato-based products|
|Orange||Beta-carotene, bioflavonoids||Powerful antioxidant, boost immunity, healthy skin and vision||Carrots, mangos, clementines yellow raisins|
|Yellow-Green||Lutein, Folate, Chlorphyll||Good vision, reduce cancer risk, cell growth; methylation||Leafy greens, kale, broccoli, kiwi, cauliflower|
|Blue-Purple||Anthocyanins, Phenolics||Powerful antioxidants, reduce risk of age related memory loss, diabetes, helps control HBP||Blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, prunes, plums, eggplant|
White, brown, black
|Allicin||Boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, reduces risk for spread of cancer||Garlic, onions, beans, seeds, jicama, coconut, lentils|
May 1, 2013
My first professional fitness certification in 1994 through AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), gave me my first glimpse of a contract for accountability and results. For Personal Training, there were several forms that we could use for our clients to help keep them on track. One that stood out seemed funny to me at the time; it was called, “A Contract with Myself”. It looked like this:
I, ___, am making a commitment to myself to change the following behavior:___.
I will do this by (how will I do it?)__. I will do this (how often?):___.
I am doing this so that: __. I will reward myself by feeling good about myself and ___.
(Signature) Witness (Signature) Participant
Completed ___ I reward myself: Y/N *Not Completed ___ Reasons: _____.
Today, in 2013, and several professional certifications later, I realize exactly what this document means and what it does for us in fitness, and in life. It actually came to me in a grand “A-ha” moment as a parent this year. It took hitting a rock-hard bottom of feeling frustrated with how things were going as I was raising two young teens at home. The emotional upset of running late on a Thursday morning forced the application of an emergency, self-made contract. I created one for the family. This contract was based on the admission that this kind of morning would NEVER happen again. When the time was right, I stood before my children and held up, for public viewing, a piece of paper that I had printed earlier that day. As I read aloud to my children, I pointed to each item on the paper indicating EXACTLY how our future mornings together would go. It looked like this: I said, “In honor of never repeating another morning like we had yesterday…”
EARLY IS THE NEW ON-TIME
The night before I will: 1. Have my clothes chosen and ready on my dresser, 2. Finish my homework for tomorrow. The next morning:
6:00am – alarm goes off, I will choose: 1. Get up, 2. hit snooze, 3. get in the shower.
6:15am- I will: 1. get out of bed 2. hit snooze again 3. get dressed and make my bed.
At this point, if I have chosen to stay in bed, then ____ goes. (I explained that whatever is chosen is not a sacrifice, just a displaced activity.) “Think about what you can live without doing for that day in that moment (no shower, no hair style, no more time for homework, grab-n-go breakfast”, I suggested.
By 6:30am I will: 1. have showered, 2. have gotten dressed, and 3. have made my bed.
6:45am I will be: 1. working on residual homework, 2. making/eating breakfast
7:00am I am: 1. finishing breakfast, 2. placing my prepared backpack by the front door, and 3. brushing my teeth.
7:20am, we will be in the car, backing out of the driveway, no questions asked, whatever is in the car AT THAT TIME goes to school with you, no exceptions!”
I asked, “Do you have any questions?” The look on their faces was priceless. It makes me smile every time I think about how the next school morning rolled…and the next, and the next! We were all on our best behavior. It was the most beautiful example of flow in our early morning minutes I had ever seen! Apparently, it was in each one of us all along. It built us as a team each time we would roll up to the front door of school on time, if not a bit early. It gave us all a sense of control over our own behavior and how we each had an influence, positive or negative, by each action step we took. Each small step achieved gave each of us confidence to get that goal met in excellent form EVERY TIME.
What will YOUR contract look like to make a difference?
April 24, 2013
Most people probably think about pH balance in terms of optimal soil conditions for growing healthy plants or aquarium conditions for healthy fish, not the condition of their blood. Maintaining the proper pH balance in your blood can protect your organs and tissues from unhealthy organisms that thrive in an imbalanced environment of acidity and alkalinity.
What is pH?
PH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of our body’s fluids and tissues and is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is perfectly neutral. The pH of blood and tissues should be approximately 7.3 (slightly alkaline) while that of saliva and urine should be 6.8 to 7.0 (neutral). Readings below this range indicate excess acidity. Optimally, we want a pH between 6 and 7.5. However, this number will fluctuate throughout the day.
What affects pH?
Stress, lack of sleep, greater exposure to toxins, and consuming processed foods as your major source of nutrition creates an internally unhealthy acidic environment. This forces your body to rob minerals from bones, cells, organs and tissues. The result is your cells end up lacking enough minerals to properly dispose of waste or oxygenate completely. Vitamin absorption is compromised by mineral loss. Toxins and pathogens accumulate in the body and your immune system becomes suppressed.
How to improve your pH
Try adding these into your daily nutrition:
• Dark green and yellow vegetables, root vegetables, freshly juiced vegetable juices, foods with high contents of chlorophyll, nuts like almonds or hazelnuts.
• Sprouted grains and beans like alfalfa, mung beans, clover and radish, seeds, essential fatty acids from flax oil, borage oil, and virgin olive oil, soy products like tofu, grains from spelt, millet and buckwheat, herbs, spices, seaweed, lots of onions and garlic and distilled water.
• Fruits like avocados, lemons, limes and grapefruits.
Optimal health is achieved from the inside out.
April 17, 2013
Spring is busy and we are welcomed with many additional activities, obligations, opportunities and responsibilities. Keep up the progress you’ve worked so hard to attain this winter by following a couple roadblock solutions.
Not enough time?
You will need to make time and if health and fitness is a priority you will find it. The good news, you can still burn an extra 200 calories/day on those days you are too busy for that 60 minute trip to the gym. To do: 7-8 high-intensity intervals of 30-60 seconds, followed by 30-60 seconds of rest. Try a combination of cardio and resistance added intervals to increase the intensity.
Think differently. It’s time to try something different. A different venue - outside perhaps, a different type of exercise, class, equipment or activity. Think about the things you do for fun with your family and friends and turn them into a workout. That trip to the park, bike ride, or fun run are all exercise.
Think you just can’t do it? Address the stress right away by practicing deep breathing exercises. Inhale all the way down to your belly button. Proper breathing - where the stomach rises on inhalation - delivers oxygen to the whole body. This will reduce the stress hormones and restore your belief that indeed you can do it, one step, one change at a time.
Hit a plateau?
We’ve all been there, the strength seems to have stopped increasing, the scale hasn’t budged. It’s time to rework the program and monitor what you’re eating. Rework your program my changing the frequency, intensity, time or type of exercise. Try interval or varied periodization workouts. Now is also the time to record your food intake, everything that you eat and drink. Take time to evaluate patterns that might need some cleaning up.
And as always, if you need help, contact myself or any of our helpful team members!
April 10, 2013
Sitting = Smoking?
In terms of risk of dying an early death, yes, sitting (or sedentary behavior) is as big of a risk factor as smoking! Dr. James Levine of Mayo clinic discovered that in one study “adults who spent more than four hours a day sitting in front of the television had an 80 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with adults who spent less than two hours per day in front of the TV. This risk was independent of other risk factors such as smoking or diet. ”In fact, the death rate associated with obesity in the US is now 35 million as compared to just 3.5 million related to tobacco.
I know what you’re thinking ~ “but I don’t watch TV and I go to the gym three days per week and workout!” Sadly, even if we exercise on a daily basis, as we work, we are averaging 9.3 hours a day sitting. Research shows that after 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90%, and extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism affecting things like (good cholesterol) HDL levels in our bodies.
One way to determine if you are moving enough throughout the day is to buy a pedometer and see just how many steps you are taking in a given day. I recommend that you purchase one and just wear it for one week. See what your average daily step rate is and work on increase that each day or each week by at least 10%. On average, people take between 3,000-5,000 steps per day (men more than women). Researchers have classified pedometer use in determining the physical activity level in healthy adults. Consider these ranges for your lifestyle index:
1) Under 5,000 steps/day = “sedentary lifestyle”
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day excluding sports/exercise = “low active”
3) 7,500 – 9,999 = includes some exercise “somewhat active”
4) 10,000 steps/day = “active”
5) 12,500+ steps/day = “highly active”
April 3, 2013
The manner in which we speak to ourselves and others has a great impact on the result of each conversation. We can learn and develop skills that will improve the quality of our relationships by communicating more effectively. “Our culture has taught us to think and speak in ways that can actually perpetuate conflict, internal pain and even violence.” ~Marshall Rosenberg
Learning practical skills and vocabulary can help you feel personally empowered to get what you want, peacefully.
1. Make observations, not evaluations.
Making a truly objective observation without being judgmental can be a challenge, but with practice it will come naturally. An example of an evaluation would be, “John was angry with me yesterday for no reason”, while this statement, “John was angry”, or “John pounded his fist on the table”, works well as an observation. When we combine observation with evaluation, others are apt to hear criticism and resist what we are saying.
2. Express feelings, not thoughts.
Building a vocabulary for feelings will help you increase your power to articulate and clearly describe a range of emotional states. It helps to use words that refer to specific emotions, such as, “happy” or “afraid”, rather than words that are vague or general, such as “good” or “bad”. Feelings reflect whether we are experiencing our needs as met or unmet.
3. Identify needs, not strategies.
When we can talk about what we need rather than what’s wrong with one another, the possibility of finding ways to meet everybody’s needs is greatly increased.
4. Make request’s, not demands.
Using positive, clear, and concrete action language when making a request will help others hear and understand what you want. When requests are worded in the negative, people are often confused as to what is actually being requested, and furthermore, negative requests are likely to provoke resistance. If one is looking for a “yes”, but receives a “no”, learning how to empathize with what is preventing the other person from saying “yes” is important before deciding how to continue the conversation.
When we change our approach to communication for the better, we can create peace in our life one interaction at a time.
March 27, 2013
Spring has arrived, well at least according to the calendar. This time of year like New Years, is a time of renewal and cleaning. The interiors and exteriors of our homes undergo the annual spring-cleaning process this time of year, but what about your body?
Spring is an excellent time to freshen up your insides by improving your gut and liver functions. Here is a brief list of foods you can eat and steps you can take to help you Spring-clean your body:
Foods for a Healthy and Clean Liver
Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins.
Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. Beets and Green Tea
Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.
Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver.
Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials.
Lemons help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.
This spice helps our bodies digest fats and stimulate the production of bile. It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.
Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our liver through its cleansing process.
Steps for Optimal Gut Health
1. Eat whole unprocessed foods. Make sure to include plenty of fiber from foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
2. Eliminate food allergies. If you think you have food sensitivities, try an elimination diet. Cut out gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy, and eggs for a week or two and see how your gut feels and what happens to your other symptoms.
3. Replenish your digestive enzymes.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that helps create enzyme production for digestion.
4. Get good fat. Take extra omega-3 supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
5. Heal your gut lining. Use gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine and zinc to repair the lining in your gut so it can resume its normal function.
March 20, 2013
One of the important elements of setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-Oriented) goals is creating goals that are measurable. Success in health and wellness goals can be measured many ways including changes in time, frequency, accuracy, weight or distance.
When reviewing goals with my clients we try to measure the goal by how much success was attained. Notice I did not say IF success was attained, but HOW MUCH success was attained. For example, if your goal was to go to the gym 4 times last week and you made it 3 times, we’d say your success was 75%. And that success, no matter how great or small is to be celebrated. It is in celebrating the ability to succeed that we gain momentum to continue these healthy patterns.
Take for example, a client who has been trying to stop bingeing on cookies after dinner. For the last 4 weeks he has been trying to limit himself to 2 cookies instead of half the package. In reviewing how much he was doing, he was beating himself up because he was still “stuck” doing the same behavior.
We then reviewed what he was doing 4 weeks ago and discovered that he wasn’t even thinking about changing his habits. He was munching mindlessly on cookies 7 days per week and presently he was consciously trying to stop and was only allowing himself cookies 4 days per week. It would be easy to say that he is still failing, because mindlessly eating a package of cookies isn’t a healthy habit. However, to this client recognizing and celebrating his ability to succeed motivated him to limit his cookies to 1 day next week! Celebrate the SUCCESS that you do have and learn from the experience! Every little improvement can add up to big success!
March 13, 2013
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Rohn
I find this quote particularly ‘motivating’ in my line of work. When people understand that it isn’t about what motivates them, who motivates them, or how they are motivated, then REAL change begins to happen. Change is what brings people to me. People want to change their behaviors (i.e. their habits), and they want ME to tell them what to do, how to do it, AND provide the motivation to be successful! That is a tall order for anyone to accomplish without a LOT of help from the one seeking that change (i.e the client).
Motivation is what gets people to pick up the phone and call for help, but creating new, healthy habits in one’s daily life, is what creates success. One of the things that Terri McElwee and I presented as part of the “I Lost it at the Club” wellness meetings was the idea of creating a daily habit for fat loss and sticking to it for 14 days. Admittedly, this was not an original idea, we borrowed it from Precision Nutrition and it was met with such great success that I wanted to share it with all of you! Here it is:
Pick one of the following ‘fat loss’ habits, and do it every day for 14 days.
1. Exercise for 30 minutes.
2. Take fish oil and a multivitamin at breakfast.
3. Drink at least 8 cups of water.
4. Eat at least 4 one-cup servings of vegetables.
5. Sleep at least 8 hours.
6. During each meal, stop eating when you are 80% full.
7. Twice during the work day, get up and do 5 minutes of muscle stretching.
8. Eat 4 – 5 meals.
9. Eat lean protein with each meal.
10.Replace grains with GREENS during each meal.
You see, the key to successful weight loss is creating good habits and sticking with them for a lifetime, not just a period of time. Once you have mastered one healthy habit, you can move on to another health habit. The beauty of this is that when you pick a habit and stick to it for 14 days, you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment and confidence that you really can do this. Although my friend, Terri McElwee, is famous for saying “you can do anything for 10 seconds” when referring to an exercise, I would suggest that you can do anything for 14 days!!
Good luck and let me know how you did with this challenge!!
March 6, 2013
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
~Tom Hanks “A League of Their Own”
What do the wobble board and an algebra problem have in common? They can both present a remarkable platform for incredible growth through the journey of struggle. We fail forward to success in both fitness and math. It’s OK to not be perfect at something at first, or ever, for that matter. It’s OK to not even be able to do it on your first attempt. Never give up! Continue to improve by taking small, intentional steps of action, but push forward no matter what. If the goal is to stay on the rocker board, try the wobble board, or to solve the algebra problem, we practice.
Our body is extraordinary when it comes to making adaptations. Neuroscientists have discovered that you have the capacity to create an almost infinite number of new neural connections in your brain when you run new thought patterns. With a combination of matching up memory with input from senses repeatedly, our brain changes and our physical response becomes quicker and more accurate each time. We are physically changed when we practice! In order to practice, we need to try. Even the first try counts. Knowing ahead of time that the first try will feel terrible, but that with practice the result will come, we will not be discouraged from trying a second time. Also, getting your questions answered about why you are doing what you’re doing can keep you motivated to persevere.
Breaking down the rules and facts to begin to understand each increment before taking on the whole task will make the learning process doable. Understanding what makes one part of the challenge difficult and another manageable helps you find success along your path. A good teacher, trainer, or coach to introduce a new concept is always beneficial when you are not able to on your own.
It’s OK that you are feeling frustrated during the process; it’s temporary. Once you experience more confidence and power to master the rocker board, wobble board, or algebra problem by understanding specific dynamics of the strategy, change in general becomes something to embrace.
“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”
January 30, 2013
I recently started working toward my Master’s Degree in Counseling. In reviewing the syllabi for my classes, I discovered I had to learn how to write papers in Chicago Manual Style. I purchased a manual and attempted to follow the guidelines for formatting my papers but became frustrated trying to format the footnotes. That is when I decided I needed some help. I went to the writing lab on campus and explained my problem. In less than ten minutes, the young woman showed me how to change my default settings in Word so that it would automatically format the footnotes and bibliography.
I share this story with you because as we approach the end of January, your goals/resolutions may have fallen by the wayside and you are finding yourself slipping back into your default settings (old habits). If that is where you find yourself right now, don’t give up…change things up. Behaviors/habits don’t occur in a vacuum. Your home, social, work, and even cultural environments impact how you think and ultimately how you behave. Taking time to acknowledge and analyze how your surroundings influence your actions will help get you back on track and/or help you stay on track.
Unfortunately, this step is the one many people don’t take time to implement and instead try to sustain their newfound aspirations based on the same environmental triggers (defaults). For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight do you know how your kitchen, home, or even office environments influence your eating habits? Is your pantry full of pre-packaged unhealthy snacks? How often are you mindlessly eating in front of the TV? If you have been struggling with keeping your New Year’s resolutions, maybe it is time to change your wellness default settings. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson said it best “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” If you need assistance resetting your wellness defaults (old habits) contact me at email@example.com. I would welcome an opportunity to assist you.
February 20, 2013
Whether you enjoy the rhythmic pattern of a steady paced long distance run, or you prefer the atmosphere of the weight room and can’t stand the sight of a treadmill, interval training can be a great way to boost your workout. Particularly if you are trying to lose weight, interval training once or twice a week can be the difference between getting stuck at a plateau or reaching your next goal.
The theory behind interval training is that you are able to complete the same amount of work, or more, at a higher intensity. Interval training has been shown to burn fat up to four times faster than steady continuous running.
So what exactly is interval training? Interval training consists of short bouts of high intensity exercise followed by a rest period leading into another highly intense short bout and another rest period, and so on. An example of an interval training workout might be running as fast as possible for one minute and then slowing to a walk or a jog for three minutes. If you average a pace of 8 miles per hour you will have run over a mile in just 6 minutes of running! This routine has a 1:3 work to reset ratio, which means that your rest period is three times as long as your exercise bout. One of the best characteristics of interval training is that it is not limited just to running, but can incorporate swimming, boxing, and cycling among other various activities. Interval training can be done within cardiovascular activity, as just described, or it can be alternating strength training with bouts of cardiovascular exercise in a circuit.
Interval training has been successfully employed in workouts for over 45 years and continues to be one of the most effective methods of burning fat while providing a high intensity workout that taxes multiple energy systems of the body.
February 13, 2013
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
While this may seem like a very obvious, simple quote, it reminds us that we are in charge of our course in life. And, although change is not easy, it is possible once one is ready to change. Are you ready to change? We are six weeks in to the “New Year’s Resolution” phase and I’d like you to ask yourself, have you changed? How have you changed your direction? Are you still on your path to better health and wellness?
For those of you who celebrated “Fat Tuesday” yesterday, perhaps today is the day when you ‘change direction’ and give up something ~ typically sweet treats or meat on Friday’s ~ for the next 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Have you every stopped to ask yourself why you go through these specific rituals each year? If refraining from indulgent foods during this time of year is good for you, wouldn’t it be beneficial all year long? Why do we set specific parameters around these healthy behaviors and then abandon them after a time? If you have focused on your health by giving up something over the next 40 days, I would challenge you to focus on why you’ve chosen to give up (x) and how that behavior change will benefit you all year long. Forty days is certainly enough time to instill good habits and maintain them if you have seen positive results from that change. So, why stop on Easter Sunday? Why go back to your ‘unhealthy’ behavior simply because the calendar says its time to be done?
Part of living a healthy life is making choices that affect your health each and every day, all year long. So, this year, I challenge you to change your direction for good and stay on your path to better health and wellness. Not only will you benefit yourself mentally and physically, you will be an inspiration to those around you.
February 6, 2013
Responsibility ~ The ability to choose your response.
Have you ever been triggered into an eating binge and not quite sure what happened? What made you reach for the Oreo’s? And why 12 cookies, not just the individual serving amount of 2? Many people use food, especially sweets laden with sugar and unhealthy fats, to self-sooth. One may feel it’s out of their control on how to handle an intense craving or binge eating behavior. Here are some ideas to put into action instead of the usual reaction.
• Identify your feelings. Realizing what your personal triggers are may be the very first step to change that you’ve been looking for. Having feelings based on other’s behaviors saying things, such as, “My wife/husband makes me so angry when she/he does that!” or “I had a tough day at school; I hate my teachers”, or “Ugh! The stress of deadlines I’m under at work!” Many times our reaction is to feel anything good immediately. It’s sometimes just a habit that we go to for self-soothing purposes. There is a real reason, a physical reaction in the body, that occurs when we eat the Oreo’s…”New discoveries in science prove that processed, sugar-, fat-, and salt-laden food –food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant (as Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, would say) –is biologically addictive.” The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman, MD.
It’s too easy to become accustomed to these types of “go to’s” for immediate relief because science teaches us it becomes a vicious cycle…an even better reason to stop.
• Look at Belief systems and Practice Proactivity. Our beliefs are very important to understand. They are the springboard from which we launch into our next healthy or unhealthy action step. “We do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning (for their behavior). Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their own conditions, based on feeling. Because we are, by nature, proactive, if our lives are a function of conditioning and conditions, it is because we have, by conscious decision or by default, chosen to empower those things to control us.” ~Stephen Covey. Watching our own behaviors in a heightened emotional state is key to digging up what beliefs still serve us well, and which ones that do not. Remember, too, that thoughts are also things that drive us to behavior.
• Observe the gap between stimulus and response. The stimulus being the wife, husband, school, work, thoughts, etc. that is the trigger, and response, meaning the way in which we respond to the stimulus or react to it. Reaction is the action step we take based on our own belief systems. Typically, we are more ready to react than respond. However, we are ALL capable of response…able to respond = being responsible!
• Identify the need that is not being met in the moment. Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs is a great start to begin to remind yourself of your basic needs. After you have observed this, make a specific list of what it is you personally need so you can have the information to ask yourself what healthy behavior needs to happen next. A quick reference in the moment is to ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Then take the next action step to remedy each one applicable. (hungry = eat a nutritious snack or portion controlled meal, angry=pick up the phone and reason things out with a friend, lonely=get your gym shoes on and get to the club :), tired=sit down, meditate, take a 10 minute nap.) Do whatever you need to do, on the side of making healthy choices.
January 30, 2013
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC)
This is likely Hippocrates most famous quote, but my favorite quote reminds each of us that the power to heal is within each and every one of us. “Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.” Hippocrates is considered, by many, to be one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He was undeniably the ‘Father of Medicine’ and it strikes me that Hippocrates lived to be 83 years old over 2400 years ago, while our current (2010) life expectancy is 75.9 for men and 80.5 for women, which is considerably up from 1990 when life expectancy was 71.7 and 78.6 respectively. I realize that there are a lot of factors that influence these rates, but I would like you to focus on those things that are within your control on a daily basis. Clearly, living a life that is filled with healthy food, physical activity, and healthy relationships will help to extend your life. Conversely, choosing to eat convenience foods void of nutrients and engaging in toxic behaviors will reduce your life expectancy considerably. I would like to share with you those things that will enable you to extend your life beyond the current statistics and enjoy a long, healthy, happy life.
Eat a rainbow a day ~ choosing foods from each color of the rainbow ensures that you are getting a wide variety of essential phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to discover foods in every color; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Get 30 minutes of physical activity EVERY day ~ moving your body is essential in maintaining a healthy mind and healthy body. Include bone strengthening activities such as strength training, heart-healthy activities such as walking, and stress reducing activities such as yoga.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep on a daily basis ~ Every BODY requires a different amount of sleep, but studies support the idea that getting the required amount reduces your risk of increased body mass index, diabetes, heart problems, depression and attention deficit issues.
Remember that YOU have the power to change your health and the health of your family. Be a role model, set an example, and enjoy a healthier life today and for years to come!
January 23, 2013
One of the best tools I can use as a trainer is to have my clients log nutrition and exercise. The ones who do have the highest success with body fat loss. While it may seem tedious to some, knowledge is power. And the facts on paper or on an app in front of us tell the truth. Studies have shown that just the act of recording exercise and the foods you eat instantly and significantly result in better choices. I can help review where strengths and weaknesses are, what habits and patterns go together and what needs to be changed based on what’s recorded.
A few tips on completing the logs:
1. Exercise. Record exactly how much cardiovascular and strength and conditioning exercise is performed each day, as well as the intensity of each workout and the type of exercise.
2. Nutrition. Record everything you eat and drink, noting the time, quantity, location and hunger level. Look for patterns - do you eat late at night? More when with a certain group of friends? In front of the TV? In the car? You may need to find alternate activities if you eat when bored, depressed, stressed or anxious.
3. Daily gratification. Record at least one thing per day that happened or something you saw that you are grateful for. You will begin to look for the positive and pursue change knowing you have the ability to succeed at it!
4. Goal setting. Having a vision and goals directed toward that vision provide a road map and give energy toward action. Set three month and weekly SMART goals, reviewing and monitoring whether they are still applicable.
For help on creating a Wellness Vision, contact one of our Wellness Coaches to get started today.
These 4 areas can all be recorded on the same page or in the same journal. Try it for yourself and take note of the change.
January 16, 2013
As the Happy New Year has arrived, so has our great intention to do something magnificent in this fresh start of the year 2013. Although we know that the “fresh start” can begin at ANY time of the year…there is just something special about January 1st.
When one begins a new venture (project; goal) such as weight loss, muscle gain or simply striving for consistent workouts, the motivation is high and this can be a very exciting time. We think of all the positive reasons that a change such as these will make in our life.
The truth for many is that we need to figure out ways to keep that high motivation going until the project is finished or the goal is reached. Some of us tend to “fizzle out” before we cross that finish line.
One way to look at this phenomenon is that we have two ways to think about how we proceed after the heightened sense of motivation has diminished. We can look at how far we’ve come, or how far we have to go, in order to finish or complete our New Year’s goal. People routinely use both kinds of thinking to motivate themselves.
Psychologists have studied this and examined how people pursuing goals were affected by each of these ways of thinking. What they found is that those who focus too much on how far they’ve come actually undermine their motivation to finish rather than sustain it. “When we focus on progress made, we’re more likely to achieve a sense of “balance” by making progress on other important goals. This is classic Good Starter behavior – lots of pots on the stove, but nothing is ever ready to eat.” Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.
When we focus on how far we have left to go, motivation is not only sustained but heightened. Studies show that this has to do with how our brains are wired.
“We are tuned in (below our awareness) to the presence of a discrepancy between where we are now and where we want to be. When our brain detects a discrepancy, it reacts by throwing resources at it: attention, effort, deeper processing of information and willpower.” Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.
It’s the discrepancy that signals that an action is needed. Thinking about how far we’ve come, masks that signal. We may feel good about the progress made, but we probably won’t make much more.
Stay focused on the goal and never congratulate yourself on a job half-done. Continue to focus on how much more it will take to cross that finish line! You can do this. Keep your sites ahead of you…keep your eyes on the prize!
January 9, 2013
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau
This year instead of making New Year’s resolutions, goals, plans, or whatever you choose to call them. Take the time to get R.E.A.L. with yourself first. What is getting R.E.A.L.? Glad you asked. R.E.A. L. is an acronym I created for Removing Excuses to Activate your Life. It involves asking yourself some challenging questions and being honest with your answers, even if your answer is “I don’t know.”
Getting R.E.A.L. will help you find some real solutions to achieving those reoccurring annual resolutions. Below are three steps to starting your get R.E.A.L. process:
1) Clearly define the problem. “Don’t major in minor things” Jay Johnson.
a. Identify what specific results you are committed to achieving.
2) Ask yourself probing, expansive, and action-oriented questions.
a. Probing questions help you uncover hidden fears or resistance that maybe keeping you in your current situation. Examples of probing questions are:
i. What is keeping me from getting started?
ii. What I am afraid will happen if I take action?
b. Expansive questions help you envision your future success. Examples of expansive questions are:
i. How will I feel when I lose weight, run my first 5K, start my business, etc.?
ii. My life will be enhanced in what ways by making this change?
c. Action-oriented questions are just that, they require you to take action. For example:
i. What step can I take today that moves me closer to achieving my goal?
3) Be honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself is not easy but it is necessary if you are serious about making and sustaining lasting change.
Getting R.E.A.L. requires courage and discipline. You’ll need courage to be honest with yourself and discipline to see the process through when the questions become uncomfortable. Remember change is usually uncomfortable but necessary if you want to make progress.
January 2, 2013
Research has shown that losing 10% of your body weight -- or less – can have big payoffs for your health. Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk for the development of a multitude of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more,'' says David Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and of the Yale Preventive Medicine Center. Losing a few pounds cannot only reduce your risk factors it can improve your health. ''Lifestyle changes that include healthier diets, regular physical activity, and weight loss of 7%-10% have shown phenomenal health benefits that can be more effective than medications,'' says Katz.
Eating a pound of vegetables and drinking 50 ounces of water a day are two ways you can improve your weight loss results. Below is a list of some common vegetables you can incorporate into your diet. Be intentional about looking for ways to add vegetables to your meals. One-two cups at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks can quickly add up to one pound a day while helping you drop pounds on the scale.
Asparagus 1 pound = 3 cups chopped
Beans (string) 1 pound = 4 cups chopped
Beets 1 pound (5 medium) = 2–1/2 cups chopped
Broccoli 1/2 pound = 6 cups chopped
Cabbage 1 pound = 4–1/2 cups shredded
Carrots 1 pound = 3–1/2 cups sliced or grated
Celery 1 pound = 4 cups chopped
Cucumbers 1 pound (2 medium) = 4 cups sliced
Mushrooms 1 pound = 5 to 6 cups sliced = 2 cups cooked
Peas 1 pound whole = 1 to 1-1/2 cups shelled
Pumpkin 1 pound = 4 cups chopped = 2 cups cooked and drained
Spinach 1 pound = 3/4 to 1 cup cooked
Squash (winter) 2 pounds = 2-1/2 cups cooked and pureed
Sweet potatoes 1 pound = 4 cups grated = 1 cup cooked and pureed
Swiss chard 1 pound = 5 to 6 cups packed leaves = 1 to 1-1/2 cups cooked
Tomatoes 1 pound (3 or 4 medium) = 1-1/2 cups seeded pulp
December 19, 2012
Gratitude. We’ve just gone through a season of reflecting on things we are thankful for. Celebrated in many different ways and often gathered around tradition, food and religion, the common theme is gratitude, things for which we are grateful. A full 24 hours devoted to thanksgiving. But what happens on Friday? We are suddenly in need of so much more (Black Friday has a way of presenting itself that way...).
Did you know that being grateful year-round can improve your health by boosting your happiness? According to Dr. Seligman in Authentic Happiness, raising your level of happiness can be accomplished by working on the three components of happiness - getting more pleasure out of life by savoring sensory experiences (practicing gratitude), becoming more engaged in what you do and finding ways to make your life more meaningful.
A study conducted at the University of California at Riverside found that those who kept a gratitude journal and wrote down things they were grateful for once a week over six weeks were more satisfied with their overall life than a control group that did not keep journals experienced no such gain.
Another study suggested practicing 3 blessings - taking time each day to share or write down a trio of things that went well and why.
Simple steps that can lead to an increased sense of happiness, a positive self-image and a setting for positive change to achieve lasting success.
For more information visit Authentic Happiness:
December 12, 2012
“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This week is the beginning of our “I lost it at the Club” program. To begin our program, we are talking about GETTING STARTED and preparing ourselves for the change that is coming in our lives and in our health. We all know that change is hard, but with the right tools in place, change is possible.
In order to see success in life, either personally or professionally, one must be PREPARED for change. As we set out on our journey of better health, there are five things that we will focus on and prepare for change.
Prepare your mind
Now that you have decided to focus on your health in the form of: weight loss, strength gain, more restful sleep or more energy, it is time to connect to your true motivation. Take a moment to connect to what really motivates you today to stay with your program and be successful.
If you’ve entered the “I Lost it at the Club” program, you have already committed to a program and have a clear start date (MONDAY!). If you are still contemplating the right program for your needs, make the commitment and set a start date.
Prepare your KITCHEN
This is probably the most important thing you can begin with when trying to improve your overall health. If you believe as I do that FOOD is MEDICINE, then you are going to want to have the best foods available to you in your kitchen. Equally important, is to clean out the toxic foods and ingredients in your cupboard.
Prepare your inner shopper and inner chef
Take the time to understand how to navigate your way through your supermarket and find the best ingredients so that you are able to effectively and efficiently cook to support your health.
Prepare your body
Begin to reduce and eliminate toxins such as sugar, stimulants and depressants from your diet. Learn to nourish your body with healing foods and eliminate harmful food-like substances.
These are just a handful of helpful tips we will teach you over the next 12 weeks. Join us for a fun, informative class that will increase your energy, decrease your waist-line and have you back in shape in no time.
For more information on this and other programs, please email me at Kristi@michiganathleticclub.com
December 5, 2012
The holiday season is a time to talk, to remember, to laugh, and to listen. This time of year is one when we can give the gift of time to our family and friends. In this day and age of video games and high technology, a good listener can be hard to find!
Communication is the foundation upon which we build our lives. Listening is an active process. It does not mean simply sitting silent and looking at someone while they talk. To be effective in understanding another's perspective, we need to do things which show interest and genuine concern. As we become truly engaged, our body reacts by leaning forward. We show we are listening by moving your body instead of our mouth; moving forward in our chair, gently touch the speaker’s arm, making eye contact, nodding our head and smiling, saying, ‘yes’ or ‘go on’, rephrasing or echoing what the person has said, and asking open-ended questions are ways to let the other know we are listening.
Being a good listener is different from hearing. Stopping whatever we are doing so we are able to give undivided attention is important. When about to listen to a friend who needs to talk, keeping your lips together as a reminder to stay quiet; the soft vocal, ‘mmm-hmmm’, is another way to show we are being attentive. As tempting as it is to interject our thoughts, hold back. It’s insulting to cut someone off when they are voicing an opinion, but it’s even more hurtful when they are sharing a feeling. When one interrupts, it is a discounting of the friend’s emotions. It’s natural to relate what someone else says to your own experience and respond without thinking, but considerate listeners keep their focus on the speaker. Even though we may have something important to say, try not to worry about how wise or empathetic you’d like to appear. Just concentrate on the speaker.
Listening is the first step to peace. Even if one does not personally agree with the speaker, it is encouraging and respectful to listen considerately, and without judgement, to the end of what they have to share. This very act is imperative to building healthy relationships, whether business or personal.
Listen closely to the finest joys the holiday season can bring!
November 28, 2012
It’s that time of year again. When everyday life becomes more demanding due to holiday activities and responsibilities. It seems rather ironic; the season that’s supposed to be about joy and peace can create feelings of stress, aggravation and depression. These feelings can be difficult to manage once they begin. Here are 8 tips for preventing holiday stress:
1. Get regular exercise. Don’t allow the demands of the holiday to break your exercise routine.
2. Take good care of your body. Eat and drink sensibly throughout the holiday season. Set a goal of holding your weight for the holidays.
3. Schedule a relaxing activity every day even if it’s only 15 minutes.
4. Practice good time management. Prioritize your holiday responsibilities and delegate tasks when appropriate. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. This will help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients.
5. Set realistic goals and expectations. Give yourself a break by realizing perfection isn’t necessary or possible. Instead, live by your values. The more your actions reflect your core beliefs, the better you will feel.
6. Practice forgiveness. Give people a break. Remember others are probably dealing with holiday stress as well.
7. Acknowledge your feelings and reach out. This time of year can heighten feelings of loneliness and isolation. Instead of pushing those feelings down, acknowledge them and reach out for support from family, friends or other support groups.
8. Gratitude and giving back. A 2003 study conducted by R.A. Emmons & M.E. McCullough examined the effects of gratitude on well-being. Their results showed
participants of the gratitude group experienced a more positive outlook on life, reported getting more restful sleep and less physical complaints such as illnesses or muscle aches. Volunteering during the holidays also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Sources: The Hope Heart Institute, Seattle; Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003) Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well being in daily life, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84: 377-89.; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress
Practicing these tips over the next six weeks of the holiday season will make it a joyful time for you and your family. Happy Holidays!
November 21, 2012
It is true, not all vegetables are created equal and some give you more vitamin C, potassium or fiber. Overall leafy greens and dark orange vegetables still give you the most bang for your buck. However, if this doesn’t include your favorites, there’s no need to skip them. Here are 5 things you may not know about vegetables.
1. They make a filling snack
Made of mostly water, vegetables are low in calories (with the exception of avocado, artichoke, lima beans to name a few). A serving size of the majority of vegetables ranges from 10-50 calories, so double up! You can eat an entire red pepper, cup of grape tomatoes, or half a cucumber and feel full. Eat veggies instead of other snack foods to lose weight.
2. They pack more than just vitamin C
Spinach tops the list for most vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. A serving of red pepper, 1 whole, meets your RDA of vitamin C. Need to rethink the money you spend on a multivitamin???
3. They may shield your eyes
The leafy green vegetables are a rich source of lutein, a main carotenoid found in the lens and the retina of the eye. Carrots are also right up there (there’s that dark orange again..) It is true, vegetables help improve and maintain your eyesight. Those found to consume a diet higher in lutein had an 18% lower risk of cataracts.
4. They may lower your risk of stroke
A British study of 235,000 people found that those who ate 5 or more servings of vegetables a day had a 19% lower risk of stroke than those who ate less than 3 servings. A healthy diet rich in vegetables helps lower your blood pressure, decreasing the risk for stroke. Strive to make half of your fruit and vegetable servings (RDA = 11) vegetables.
5. Don’t fear vitamin K
The green leafy vegetables are an abundant source of vitamin K, best known for helping the blood to clot. However, many folks on blood thinners steer clear of these power packed veggie for that reason. Check with your doctor to see if you can still safely consume these veggies or possibly adjust your dose of medicine to reap the benefits of the greens.
If you only pick 5 vegetables to eat per day, choose spinach or kale, pumpkin or sweet potato, red bell pepper, carrots and broccoli or Brussels sprouts to ensure the most nutrients calorie for (minimal) calorie.
November 14, 2012
“Every excuse I ever heard made perfect sense to the person who made it.” ― Dr. Daniel T. Drubin
As a personal trainer, wellness coach, and mother of four, I hear a LOT of excuses! Most of the time, people truly believe what they are saying and do not view their responses as excuses. However, it is my experience that in order to see change happen from within, one must be held accountable. When we are young, as in the case of my children, it is difficult, if not impossible, to be held accountable when there is so much temptation surrounding you ~ toys to play with when you are suppose to be picking them up, for instance. Children do not hold themselves accountable because they cannot always see the consequences of their behaviors. However, as we mature, and begin to take responsibility for our own actions, it becomes more clear that in order for positive change to happen, we must hold ourselves accountable. Obviously this is much easier said, than done! Making long lasting change is hard. Whether you are talking about quitting smoking, losing weight, increasing your activity, or decreasing your stress, habits are hard to break ~ and even harder to maintain.
So, how do successful people do it?
They not only hold THEMSELVES accountable, they engage others to be accountable to as well. When we are serious about making changes in our life, it is best to include others in your decision. This can mean any number of things. Here are some ideas I have found to work for people who are seeking change and engage others in the process.
Join a group or club ~ finding people who are attempting to reach similar goals will enhance everyone’s success. A running club, a weight loss group or our “I lost it at the Club” program!!
Enlist friends and family ~ telling someone else about your goal or challenge will help you stay accountable and allow them to offer you support as well. Encouraging them to make a change in their life, so you can help hold them accountable as well. Simple email messages and phone calls can keep BOTH of you moving in the right direction.
Hire a Trainer or Coach ~ obviously, in my line of work, it goes without saying that when you hire a professional to help you reach your goals, you will reach them faster and with greater success!
Whatever path you choose, don’t go it alone. “The data is clear: when individuals are accountable to a team or get encouragement from others, it has a big impact on their well-being ~ the more support they have, the greater chance they’ll achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.” Dean Witherspoon, Health Enhancement Systems
November 7, 2012
Many people feel guilty when they take breaks. I know I do! Teaching and reminding ourselves that it’s not only OK, but imperative to staying on track. Breaks can be just what we need when it comes to ultimate productivity.
Thinking is similar to exercise – you have to do it in “reps” or the quality of performance drops. Studies show that we need to take small breaks while involved in a focused task because our attention fades. Our brain gradually stops registering a sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains constant over time. However, just as with exercise, it’s best not to cease all activity while recovering – you need to keep the muscles warm! When you catch your attention drifting, briefly switch activities, come back fresh and focused. You’ll keep those creative and critical juices flowing, while taking a rest from the heavy lifting.
Because brief diversions vastly improve focus, switching for a few minutes to a game, a walk around the block, reading, listening to music, etc. can be just the energy builder you need to proceed with your work to take it to successful completion.
Remember: Do take break times during focused tasks, but don’t overdo it, either. There is a fine line between a break and procrastination.
October 31, 2012
Have you ever wondered why you set goals but rarely achieve them? On the other hand, maybe you dream of starting your own business, writing a book, taking a once in a lifetime trip, etc., but you just can’t seem to get started. If either of these two scenarios sounds familiar to you, perhaps you need an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is someone who guides and motivates you along the path toward achieving your goal. Successful people often work with accountability partners in the forms of coaches and/or mentors. Here are some characteristics of an effective accountability partner:
• Encouraging and trustworthy: someone who will keep your confidence and cheer you on through the process
• Realistic and optimistic: they have a positive attitude and are able to keep you grounded and focused on developing your S.M.A.R.T goals
• Willing to not be so nice: they won’t accept your excuses for not completing agreed upon tasks. They help you identify and address limiting factors that block your progress.
• Been there done it and succeeded at it! Someone you respect and who has accomplished what you are trying to achieve
• Committed to your success: they are willing to meet with you regularly and monitor your progress
Where do you find an accountability partner that meets the qualities listed above? Look in your social support system of family, friends, or co-workers. One word of caution, choosing a family, friend or even a co-worker as your accountability partner could potentially strain your relationship especially when they have to hold you responsible for not completing your tasks. If you believe having an accountability partner will help you move forward in achieving your goals, you may want to enlist the services of one of the wellness coaches at our clubs. For more information on wellness coaching services contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 24, 2012
Self-improvement. That is the theme of so many of our tips. Maybe you are already on your way to being physically or mentally healthier and have learned some things that you have put into practice.
How often do you share your success, failures and knowledge with someone else? It’s easy to internalize the information and move on, but why not share it with someone who could benefit?
While some may be more receptive than others, there are ways to share what is working for you in a way that motivates others. First, ask questions. What is or is not working for them? How would they like the outcome (of weight loss, better nutrition, exercising more etc.) to look or feel? Second, share what has and has not worked for you, without assuming it will be the same for them. Each person is unique, each situation unique and success will look slightly different for everyone. Third, encourage them to think of and commit to what they would like to change. Finally, check-in with them. Accountability to someone yields a great chance of success.
If you are succeeding at being healthy, chances are someone has noticed. We often don’t take time, even when we know someone shows interest, to engage in activities or conversations that may help motivate someone else. Share what you’ve learned with someone who wants help. Invite them to join you in your workout (yes, this may involve a sacrifice on your part), train for an event with them, refer them to your gym or trainer. Be an advocate for the health of those around you by sharing your knowledge!
October 17, 2012
October is here and that can only mean one thing, PUMPKIN SEASON! Pumpkins and their seeds are one of my favorite fall foods, not to mention carving pumpkins with my kids is a great family activity. So, in terms of health and wellness, this power-packed winter vegetable is good for us in many ways.
Nutritionally, raw pumpkin has only 15 calories per ½ cup serving and is high in Vitamin C (to help ward off colds) and beta carotene (an antioxidant that fights free radicals) and low in carbohydrates and calories with zero cholesterol. Dried Pumpkin seeds weigh in at 373 calories per ½ cup serving and are a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc (helps bone mineral density), Copper and Maganese. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good sources of protein and fiber. Pumpkin seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the pain of arthritis.
One of my favorite ways to eat pumpkin is in soup! Here is a recipe from Chef Robin, personal chef, for Roasted Pumpkin Bisque. This soup is vegan and gluten-free and is fantastic on a cold fall day!
Roasted Pumpkin Bisque
A warm bowl of soup can warm you up on the chilliest of days. This wonderful savory combo of pumpkin, apples and onions makes for a great dinner on a chilly evening.
2 (15 oz each) organic canned pumpkin 2 T olive oil 1/2 onion diced small 3 cloves chopped garlic 1 organic apples, peeled, cored & diced Sea salt, to taste Pinch cayenne pepper 2 quarts vegetable broth 1 teaspoon dried thyme 2 C coconut milk 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon curry
Toasted pepitas(shelled pumpkin seeds)
Place a large soup pot on the stove. Heat to medium and add olive oil. Add onion, garlic and apple and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add pie spice, curry and thyme. Add pumpkin and stir to mix completely. Add broth and then bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add coconut milk. Allow to simmer. Serve hot, topped with toasted pepitas and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
Canned pumpkin gives you 280% RDA of Vitamin A and 4 g. of Fiber
For other great recipes from Chef Robin, check her out at
October 10, 2012
We all know the importance of eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity. However, self-care goes beyond these basics. Practicing self-care does not come easily to many people who are busy taking care of others, such as young children or aging parents…or to those who have many responsibilities and are just plain busy. One must take good care of themselves in order to be effective in caring for others. Therefore, proper self-care is extremely important.
Levels of self-care include, but are not limited to, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual realms which should be properly addressed in order to create optimal life balance. Developing a routine of healthy daily habits that support your best energy is the catalyst for consistent self-care. One can create these habits by simply experimenting with activities beyond eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Such activities may include developing a practice that exercises your mind and soul or balancing your family, social and work demands with time to unwind by spending time in nature, getting a massage, soaking in a hot bubble bath; watching a beautiful sunrise; listening to your favorite music, etc.
Taking time to relax can revitalize you inside and out! While self-pampering, such as a hot bubble bath doesn’t always lead directly to major improvements in overall health the way diet and exercise do, the relaxation response, which is the counterpart to the fight-or-flight response, can. Learning meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises may become a part of one’s personal habits for effective self-care.
October 3, 2012
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar
Most people are familiar with making changes. They start with the best intentions, faithfully practice their new behaviors, keep them up for a while but eventually go back to their old ways. That process is called surface change. All behavior transformations begin as surface changes. People use this course of action to increase their knowledge about the behavior they want to alter, seek advice and set goals to accomplish their desired outcome. However, somewhere along the way, motivation fades and they find themselves back where they started.
The things that drive you to modify your behaviors during surface changes are readily accessible in your mind. For example, imagine you have a special event coming up in two months and you decide you need to lose ten pounds. The vision of you attending the event ten pounds lighter is in the forefront of your mind. However, what happens when you make your goal and the event is over?
Deep or lasting change comes from addressing the roots of your motivation, which involves exploring your feelings, beliefs, values and why you do and do not want to change. The decision balance tool below may help you clarify your issues about changing this habit.
Pick a habit you want to change. Answer the questions below to clarify your issues about change. Use the 0-10 scale (0= none and 10=very high) to give a global score for all of your reasons to stay the same (resistance) and all of your reasons to change (motivation). If your resistance score is higher than your motivation score, you should address those issues first.
Reasons to stay the same
What are the benefits of staying the same?
What concerns do you have about staying
Resistance Score =
Reasons to change
What concerns do you have if you were to
change your unhealthy habit?
What are the benefits of changing your
Motivation Score =
As a Wellness Coach, I assist my clients in developing an action plan to reduce resistance and to bring about lasting changes. Contact me at email@example.com if you are ready to make lasting changes in your life.
September 26, 2012
What is a functional food? You are probably already consuming one or more in varying quantities. A functional food is widely considered to be a food or food component that provides a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. For example, tomatoes are good for us because of the lycopene they contain that may contribute to decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Functional foods contain phytochemicals, substances found in plants that may promote good health, even though they are not essential for life. Phytochemicals are complex chemicals that vary from plant to plant. They include pigments, antioxidants, and thousands of other compounds, many of which have been associated with protection from heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.
Phytochemicals are part of the reason why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends ample servings of fruits and vegetables each day. In the MyPyramid food plans, 2 cups of fruits and 21⁄2 cups of vegetables are recommended daily for a 2,000-calorie diet. Of course, fruits and vegetables are also naturally low in fat and calories and tend to be rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamins. In addition, studies show that groups of people who consume more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower rates of common chronic diseases.
So, what can you do to ensure you are consuming these foods? As is the answer for many ways to improve your health - start with eating a VARIETY of fruits and vegetables. They should vary in color, not just quantity. Aim to eat a fruit or vegetable from every color of the rainbow each day and you will have met not only your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but your phytochemical intake as well.
(Source: Insel, Paul, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein. Nutrition: Custom Edition, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 04/2010. <vbk:9781449672829#page(74)>.)
September 19. 2012
As a wellness coach, my job is to help my clients achieve their goals by allowing them to focus on all aspects of health and wellness. When a client sees the bigger picture, recognizes their strengths and acknowledges their challenges, together we can begin to work on changing their life and realizing their goals. The first step in this process is to create a Wellness Vision. This vision is a statement that embodies who and what they wish to become. This can take some time to create, especially if the client begins by simply wishing to be ‘healthier’. It is important to be very specific about what wellness means to you as an individual.
What is “Total Wellness”? Obviously nutrition plays a huge role when we are talking about being ‘well’, however, eating right is only one piece of the pie. Take a look at the Integrative Nutrition Food Pyramid and see how high quality whole foods and water are surrounded by four additional factors; Spirituality, Career, Physical Activity and Relationships. Having total wellness means feeding your body and soul so that you can maximize your potential in all aspects of your life. So, when you create your wellness vision and begin to work on the areas in your life that have been underserved, consider these lifestyle factors. Recognize what you are doing well and utilize those strengths in other areas to create a total wellness circle that will lead to greater health and happiness for you, as well as those around you.
If you are interested in finding out more about how wellness coaching can change your life, contact one of our Certified Wellness Coaches today!
September 12, 2012
“Accountability means monitoring and giving an account of what was done, what happened, what worked, what didn’t, and what one wants to do differently in the future”, according to the authors. Wellcoaches® (Moore, Moore, and Tschannen-Moran 2008). When one is being held accountable by a Health and Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, a caring friend, or relative, a positive outcome is more likely.
o A Health and Wellness Coach will always focus on the positive, such as the accomplishments one has made, in an objective manner, rather than in judgmental terms. One creates a Wellness Vision, 3 month goals, and weekly goals that are consistently reviewed and action oriented. Accountability for behaviors through coaching conversations, which provides structure, measurement, and support, is almost certain for positive change.
o A Personal Trainer will help one understand, not only exercise moves that are appropriate for the goals one has created, but also one’s own body, capabilities and strengths. When the client is able to explain what they have contributed to their own fitness level, responsibility and learning take place. In physical fitness, accountability for actions taken toward better fitness levels will be obvious during performance of prescribed workouts toward one’s goals.
o A caring friend or relative can be a comfortable resource to find motivation and support. Accountability is not the same as pestering or nagging. A person to discuss intentions and efforts with can be not only effective, but relationship enhancing.
Excellent communication with your Coach, Trainer, or Person will be only beneficial to you as you strive for improvement. When such accountability comes into play, one often becomes empowered to reach their goals.
September 5, 2012
The Summer Olympics are over. Hundreds of athletes trained for years to get their bodies in Olympic caliber shape. They didn’t just train to be Olympians, they lived to be Olympians. Achieving optimal wellness in your life also requires getting in S.H.A.P.E. (Sacrifice, Help, Action, Practice, and Earnest). If you want to start living like a Wellness Olympian, apply my S.H.A.P.E. principle to your life.
Sacrifice- If you want to improve your level of wellness, you’re going to have to make some changes/sacrifices. Small changes = less resistance=better compliance=SUCCESS. What small change can you make today to improve your well-being tomorrow?
Help- Michael Phelps could not have earned 18 gold medals without help. During an interview with Bob Costas, Michael commented that early in his career his coach had to walk him to the weight room everyday to make sure he did his strength training. Coaches help improve the performance of an athlete. As a Wellness Coach, I provide the same type of assistance to my clients; I help them improve their life performance.
Action- The athletes who competed in the Olympics had to have a plan. They developed SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. What are your SMART goals for improving your wellness?
Practice- How many times do you think Gabby Douglas practiced her uneven bar routine before she got it right? Making changes to improve your health requires practice, patience, and perseverance. Don’t give up on your goals too quickly. Perhaps your goal is too big, or not specific enough. If you’re not achieving the results you want maybe it’s time to call in coach to help you fine tune your goals and improve your performance.
Earnest- When medal winners were interviewed, they all talked about their desire to compete in the Olympics. They had a deep, intrinsic need to succeed. This earnest desire kept them focused on their goals and made them push beyond their mental and physical boundaries. Are you earnestly pursuing a life of wellness?
Success without hard work requires a miracle.
August 29, 2012
The statistics are staggering, one in four American adults have what health experts call metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome means having 3 of the following 5 features and results in increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
1. Large waist size: men greater than 40 inches and women greater than 35 inches
2. Triglycerides*: 150 or higher
3. HDL (‘good’) cholesterol*: men under 40 and women under 50
4. Blood pressure: systolic 130 or higher OR diastolic 85 or higher
5. Blood sugar*: 110 or higher
However, a lifetime commitment to exercise can help manage these numbers. Losing just 5-10% of total body weight improves every feature of metabolic syndrome and lowers your risk of developing these life threatening diseases. A well balanced exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise 5-7 days per week to increase metabolism and improve insulin function. Strength training 3-5 days per week should be included to help increase calorie burn (more muscle = more calories burned) and decrease risk of osteoporosis. Flexibility and balance exercises should be performed 3-5 times per week as well to improve range of motion, increase core strength, decrease risk of falling and improve overall confidence in performing daily activities.
August 22, 2012
When it comes to losing weight, there are several ways in which you can reach your intended goal. Many of you are experts at weight loss, you may even find that you have a particular formula that has worked for you in the past. However, my experience in helping people for the past 20 years has shown me that it isn’t the weight loss that is the difficult part. The bigger challenge, you may agree, is maintaining that weight loss for an extended period of time. This continual struggle comes from the way people approach losing weight. For those that maintain weight loss for more than two years have incorporated “strategies” which include some of the following things.
Set SMART goals:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely
You all know the importance of setting goals surrounding your business and financial success, now you can apply the same principles to your health and wellness success.
Surround yourself with support:
Finding a partner to support you in your weight loss can be essential to your initial success. Once you have made it known that you wish to lose weight, ask your friends and co-workers to help support you with your goal. You will find that you are not alone and others will welcome the support as well.
Prepare for success, and acknowledge obstacles:
One thing is certain when it comes to weight loss, you will face obstacles more often than you would like. Planning ahead for these “bumps in the road” is the best way overcome them. Take football season for instance, if you know you will be going to games or parties and surrounded by unhealthy food, decide how you are going to handle the situation before you go. Bring a healthy snack and encourage others to do the same or eat before you go and forego the food table altogether.
Reward yourself for a job well done:
Your hard work deserves a reward, but make sure that you are not sabotaging your efforts in the process. Reward yourself with a new pair of shoes or exercise clothes, new music for your iPod or tickets to a concert or event. Celebrate your success along the way and keep going strong.
Choose food that NOURISH your body:
Reading food labels and preparing your own food is key to being able to properly nourish your body. Since we must eat several times per day, it is impossible to talk about weight loss without addressing what you are EATING. One of the simplest ways of doing this is to read food labels. If you cannot pronounce something on the ingredient list, you likely shouldn’t be eating it. Eating mostly fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a great place to start.
I am confident each of you can succeed in your weight loss efforts, and my team of Fitness Professionals are here to help support you each step of the way. Please let me know how we can be of more assistance to you!
August 8, 2012
When one is attempting to improve a behavior or habit, small changes do add up. It’s sometimes difficult to focus on the small details of a day when we have such busy lives, but everything counts. As one begins to prepare, it may be helpful to think of a small change in terms of an experiment. As with any sized change, it may be helpful to review one’s motivation for doing so, as well. For example, if one is planning to include daily water intake as part of optimal health, it may be conducive to positive results to look objectively at the process as opposed to relying on feelings about it. Break the goal down into the smallest steps possible and attach them to an increment of time. A goal statement may look like this: “For today, I will drink a glass of water in the morning upon awakening. I do this because it is good for my skin, kidneys, and for keeping my body fluids balanced. ” When the small addition of one glass has been completed, check off on a system of accountability for the action taken, such as telling a friend or a simple mark on the calendar. Continue to add small changes in small increments.
It is important not to set oneself up for failure with good intentions and grand expectations. Create a personal plan when you are ready to begin.
August 1, 2012
One solution to losing and maintaining a healthy weight is being able to recognize when you’re hungry and when you’re satisfied. Being out of touch with your body’s natural hunger and fullness signals can lead to overeating and weight gain. Babies are excellent role models for being in touch with those natural hunger signs. They cry or get fussy when they’re hungry and stop eating when they’re satisfied. However, somewhere along the way many of us lost the ability to tell when we’re truly hungry and more importantly, when we’re full (not stuffed) but satisfied.
One reason we’ve become disconnected from our natural hunger signals is because we’re often distracted when we eat. Multi-tasking during meals whether it’s watching TV, reading, getting caught up on emails, etc., means your mind is occupied with other tasks. Consequently, you’re really not enjoying or concentrating on what or how much you’re eating. Reconnecting with your hunger signals requires mindfulness (not eating while distracted) and practice.
Using a hunger scale is an easy way to become mentally and physically aware of what it feels like to be hungry and full. The next time you feel like you want to eat, stop for a moment and use the following scale:
1-Starving, weak, dizzy
2-Very hungry, cranky, low energy, lots of stomach growling
3-Pretty hungry, stomach is growling a little
4-Starting to feel a little hungry
5-Satisfied, neither hungry nor full
6-A little full, pleasantly full
7-A little uncomfortable
9-Very uncomfortable, stomach hurts
10-So full you feel sick
Waiting until your hunger is at a 3 or 4 will help re-establish those natural cues you had as a baby. However, waiting until you get to a 1 or 2 can lead to overeating. Also, if you grew up as part of the clean your plate club, you may have a tendency to feel like 7-10 after eating. Learning to stop eating when you reach 5 or 6 on the scale may require you using a smaller plate and/or eating smaller portions until you can naturally feel when you’re satisfied. Learning how to properly nourish your body is a key component in living a healthy life.
July 25, 2012
People often hear what I do for work and ask, “so do you eat healthy all the time?” Usually I smile and nod and tell them that I actually enjoy eating and preparing healthy food. I don’t feel like a victim for eating healthy, I do it because it is who I am. Depending on how the question is asked, sometimes I elaborate and sometimes I don’t. Some don’t want to hear that you have to CHOOSE to eat healthy. When I sense that someone really wants to know if I do eat healthy, I usually tell them honestly these things. 85-90% of the time, I make that choice. I did NOT like many vegetables as a kid, but they were present at our meals and I had to eat a few. My parents modeled healthy eating to me, and I am a product of that.
I also chose to educate myself on what eating healthy means. I read, research, and practice, paying attention to what makes me feel good and how junk food makes me feel bad. Whole foods (fruits, vegetables etc.) are better than processed foods. You should avoid trans fats, eat less sugar, prepare your food ahead of time, know and adhere to proper portion sizes.
I also have come to really enjoy exercise and because diet and exercise go hand in hand to keep healthy, maintain weight and perform better, I commit to both. If I exercised a lot, but didn’t evaluate what I’m putting into my body, I’d be doing myself a serious disservice. The same is true conversely, if I’m going to devote myself to exercising to keep healthy, I also need to eat foods that contribute to feeling the best I can to exercise.
As for the other 10-15% of the time, there are foods that are certainly indulgences for me. I like dark chocolate and tortilla chips, sorry. But those cannot be the staple of my diet and so I won’t let them be.
The real benefit from my line of work is not “I must eat healthy” but that I am able to share my passion for health with my clients. It is my goal to help free people from feeling like being healthy is a chore and realize it is an exciting choice!
July 18, 2012
Our bodies are made up of 75% water and our brains consist of 80% water. With temperatures regularly reaching 90-100 degrees over the last several weeks, it is essential that you keep yourself, and your children, properly hydrated. We function optimally when we are fully hydrated. Water helps our body convert food into energy, regulates body temperature and carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. Conversely, when we are dehydrated, we become thirsty, lethargic, irritable, have headaches and are more likely to have trouble concentrating.
The recommended quantities of water will vary from person to person depending on body weight, activity level and age. However, experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest dividing your body weight in half and using this number as the ounces of water you should consume. Based on this formula, a 150 lb person should consume 75 oz of water each day. If you break this up throughout the day, you should be consuming about 8 oz every hour for 9 hours.
There are a number of ways in which you can get an adequate amount of water in your diet each day.
• Keep a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you and aim to drink 6-8 oz every hour throughout the day. Add a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange zest to enhance the flavor.
• Add fruits such as grapes, watermelon, or cantaloupe to your salads, lunches or snacks to increase the fluid intake through foods.
• Add an additional 8-10 oz of water with each workout. Especially if you are exercising outdoors in the heat of the day.
• Avoid sweetened beverages or ‘flavored waters’ that contain artificial sweeteners. Instead choose natural electrolyte replacement drinks such as coconut water!
• Avoid milk, juice and carbonated beverages as fluid replacement drinks. They can be part of a healthy diet, but are loaded with sugar and calories, so keep it to a minimum.
Finally, make drinking clear water a habit that you instill in your whole family. Remember that YOU set the example for your family and friends!
July 11, 2012
Sometimes, an event can trigger change. Let’s say, for example, you are with friends playing a round of golf on the South 9 and your performance is not “up to par”. One of your friends tell you that you are terrible at golf. This comment leaves you feeling angry or sad because your feelings are hurt. You may ask yourself:
• Were they right? Is it true? Do you care that you played poorly? (Or is it really more important to just be with friends?)
What do you want to do about it?
• Understand why this event mattered or didn’t matter to you. Understand why you didn’t play to your potential. Were you capable? Or just out of the “swing of things”?
This event doesn’t define you, it’s just where you are for today.
• People use words. We can’t be angry with them as they are just doing the best THEY can with what information they have. Do not let what ANYONE says determine what or who you are today or influence where you are headed. It was just an event, it doesn’t define you. It’s just where you are for today.
• What are your limits and expectations of yourself?
When you’re less than thrilled about your latest performance in any given event; a workout, an interview, parenting, you name it…what is your rock- bottom belief that will get you back on track toward where you want to be?
Be exactly where you are today, embrace the feeling knowing fully that this is an event, a phase, the passing of time, and that other possibly better times are in your near future.
• Celebrate the fact you have friends who will honestly tell you what they see. It’s tough at first, but be open to that information such that you grow from it. Figure out YOUR OWN BETTER WAY, but only because it matters to you, not someone else.
GO FORTH AND BE FIT…and be exactly where you are today!
July 4, 2012
Anyone who has ever experienced having arms that have become too short to read even this article, understands the benefit of using reading glasses to help you refocus. Sometimes we also need assistance refocusing on our wellness goals. However, the signs of out of focus goals are not as apparent as needing reading glasses or bifocals.
For instance, losing the ability to easily and clearly read printed material is a gradual process. At first, it is just fine print and we often say “nobody could read that without a magnifying glass.” The same thing happens when we start to lose focus on our goals; we justify not adhering to the small things we used to do consistently. Here are some examples:
• You finally broke your dependence on your biggest vice (coffee, sugar, alcohol, junk food, etc) but one day you decide to indulge just once. Before you know it, once a week is twice a week and then daily. Why…you lost focus!
• You decided to get healthy and blocked our time for your workouts. You’re diligent for two weeks and feeling better so you figure you can cut back from 4 times a week to 3, then 3 to 2 and before you know it you’re only working out once a week. Why…you lost focus!
In the hectic, over stimulated, over scheduled, multi-tasking world in which we live, it’s easy to lose focus on your goals. So how do you keep your goals in the forefront of your consciousness?
• Set mini-goals that will carry towards your long-term goal. You couldn’t run a marathon without doing smaller runs first and gradually increasing your miles. Mini-goals are your small runs, they increase your changes of success.
• Check your motivation. Ask yourself why your goal matters to you. However, it’s also important to revisit your motivator frequently to see if it is still strong enough to carry you towards your goal. For example, if your goal is to be able to do 5 body weight pull ups in 6 months. Revisit your motivation behind this goal monthly.
• Focus on one goal at a time. Trying to change and accomplish too many things is setting you up for defeat.
We wear vision correction to help bring the world into focus. We also need to take time to do goal correction to help us bring and keep our lives in focus.
June 27, 2012
Your metabolism is responsible for converting your food and drink into energy. Why is it that some people seem to have a “high metabolism” and can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound, while others seem to have a “slow metabolism” and struggle to burn the calories? Your age, gender and body size all contribute to your unique basal metabolic rate ( BMR). Your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs to sustain life while it's in a resting state. This rate accounts for well over 50 percent of the calories you burn each day. A few alterations in diet and lifestyle may help boost your metabolism.
You can give your metabolism a boost by performing physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Aerobic exercise such as jogging, brisk walking, biking and swimming can increase the number of calories you burn and help to prevent weight gain.
Resistance training is another good way to jump start a sluggish metabolism. Using free weights, machines or doing a weight training circuit two to four times a week for 20 minutes can increase your resting metabolic rate for several hours after your workout.
The bodies of people who have a higher percentage of muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
Adopting active hobbies and habits can also contribute to a speedier metabolism. Activities such as gardening, climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, standing up while using the phone and parking farther away from the entrances to buildings are simple changes you can make throughout your day to enhance your metabolism and keep from mindless snacking.
Begin the Day with Breakfast
Eating breakfast helps enhance your metabolism at the start of each new day. Your metabolic rate slows overnight after being deprived of food for several hours. Your cells need to be replenished with nutrients or they will adapt to surviving on less by storing fat in anticipation of future deprivation.
Don't Starve Yourself
Breakfast isn't the only meal that is important for a healthy metabolism. Your metabolism works best when you eat several small meals each day. Eating small amounts every two to four hours throughout the day helps regulate blood sugar sand encourages your metabolism to work at a higher rate over a longer period of time.
Choose High Fiber and Colorful Foods
Eating a nutritious diet that includes plenty of fiber and limited amounts of sugar can help improve your metabolism. Good food choices include whole grains, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, blueberries and tomatoes.
Say No to Sugar
When you eat sugar, you throw your metabolic switch into fat storage mode. High blood sugar levels then lead to increased levels of insulin, our body's signal to store unused energy as fat.
Drinking at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water every day can contribute to a higher metabolism.
Get Enough Sleep
When you don't get enough sleep, you may feel hungry even when you're full. Sleep deprivation can lead to overeating, which compromises your body's ability to sufficiently metabolize carbohydrates. This can result in weight gain and make weight loss more challenging. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
June 20, 2012
New to fitness? Getting started? Getting back on track? All of these situations can be rather intimidating if you’ve never had the experience of getting and staying fit, or have been away for a while. How will you begin?
Be willing to try. Knowing what to do doesn’t have to be a mystery. Resources to building an effective program are easily available. A Personal trainer will help you make educated decisions about what is right for YOUR body. Get Fit group programs in the Fitness Center can also be a comfortable way to get yourself involved with fitness that will suit your needs. Ultimately, it is your own personal experience with any one of these that matter. You need to DO something.
Understand why you exercise. A frequently visited list of reasons to exercise can give us a boost in willpower and motivation to get us, and keep us, moving. Our genetics say we are meant to be active. In fact, inactivity, or lack of exercise, literally changes who we are on a molecular level. And to not exercise is a depressant!
Is it motivation that you need? Do what you enjoy. Take a bike ride! Also, think about the facts. Newton’s First Law states that the state of an object is maintained as long as the object is not acted upon by an unbalanced force. All objects resist changes in there state of motion – they tend to “keep doing what they’re doing”.
Get a Coach. A Wellness Coach will meet you right where you are in your fitness process today. This connection will facilitate a greater understanding of your self so you can create realistic goals and follow through.
What will you do to “tip the scale” today to get motion started?
June 13, 2012
It is well documented that physical activity is good for our bodies and our minds, but, perhaps, not as well known that being physically active has also been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. In fact, an expert panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization estimated a 20% - 40% decrease in the risk of developing breast cancer among the most physically active women, regardless of menopausal status, type or intensity of activity. One thing that may explain this relationship is that physical activity has been linked to lower levels of circulating ovarian hormones. Although few data exist to support the hypothesis that lower estrogen levels among physically active women with breast cancer could potentially improve survival rates, there is plenty of data that supports being physically active is good for almost anything that ails you and improves quality of life. In addition, being sedentary is as much of a risk factor to your overall health as is smoking and obesity, so, it is essential that you begin to move more throughout each day.
Research conducted at the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) has concluded that: “Physical activity after a breast cancer diagnosis may reduce the risk of death from this disease. The greatest benefit occurred in women who performed the equivalent of walking 3 to 5 hours per week at an average pace, with little evidence of a correlation between increased benefit and greater energy expenditure. Women with breast cancer who follow US physical activity recommendations may improve their survival.”
So, if you, or someone you know, are struggling with the debilitating effects of cancer and it’s accompanying treatments, please let us know. The MAC, East Hills and Orchard Hills family of clubs, in coordination with The Lacks Cancer Center of Saint Mary’s, has the only specialized cancer exercise program in West Michigan. The Cancer Well-fit™ program has been taking patients and their supporters for over 10 years. Call us for more information, we would love to help get you started.
June 6, 2012
Gnats are bothersome little flying pests. They are tiny bugs that you don’t see until they are inches away from your face buzzing around your head and basically annoying you. N.A.T.’s are the mental version of those pesky insects. N.A.T’s are Negative Automatic Thoughts and they’re buzzing around in your mind everyday affecting your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, self-esteem and confidence.
N.A.T.’s like many of our thoughts and responses are created by daily interactions with our environment, people, memories, images, sounds, smells, etc. The problem with N.A.T.’s is they typically go unnoticed like the insect version until some triggering event brings them to the forefront.
In order to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months, we usually light citronella candles, torches, use special variety of plants or spray the area to ward off gnats and other pesky insects that might keep us from enjoying the outdoors. We need to take the same preventative measures in addressing our mental N.A.T’s in order to fully enjoy our lives and achieve our goals.
Here are some tips for addressing your N.A.T.’S:
1. Find the triggering event and write it down this will help you remember it later.
Example: “I made a mistake at work”
2. Initial thought. What thought first popped into your head? This was probably a subconscious or automatic thought that you have had before.
3. Negative thinking and feelings. Identify the negative thinking and unpleasant feelings behind your initial thought.
4. Source of negative belief. Is there a deep belief or fear driving this thinking? Can you trace your thinking back to a situation or person?
5. Challenge your thinking. Look for evidence (both for and against it) in respect to your automatic negative thought in question #2. Make sure you see the whole picture.
6. Consider the consequences. What are both the short-term and long-term consequences if you continue to think like this? Look at the physical, psychological, professional, emotional, and spiritual consequences
You wouldn’t let insects keep you from enjoying our wonderful summer months so don’t let your N.A.T’s keep you from enjoying your life.
May 30, 2012
What gets in the way of all those weight-loss, fitness, and living-healthier goals we set in moments of motivation? Rigid expectations, negative emotions, and nonstop distraction to name a few. Here are five tips to take a step back, explore a vision of your best self, and clear space to make positive change.
1. Don’t overcommit. Often people set the wrong goals; goals that are too lofty, unrealistic and overwhelming. Make a ‘vision statement’ with no deadline, such as: I’m going to be thinner and stronger. Then set a realistic, shorter-term goal, such as I’m going to have a regular exercise regimen by a certain date.
2. Dig deep to get to the “why.’’ When you tap into the source of your drive to be healthier, you create energy to change. What is it that you really, really yearn for, that you’ll have when you are healthier and fitter? This is what drives your vision statement.
3. Sit down with a coach, trainer or friend and brainstorm what your top strengths are and how you can use them to handle challenges. Because negative feelings are so good at taking over the brain’s resources, we tend to focus on our weaknesses and ignore strengths. Identifying the strengths gives us power to draw on them and use these qualities to change.
4. Experiment like a scientist. The same thing does not work for everyone. Try a new strategy, and see if it makes a difference. If you are trying to break a habit, like snacking, say, work on things that could replace it. Experiment with five-minute options that could distract you from mindless eating like five minutes of walking, stretching, or meditating. Use mindfulness to really listen to what your body is telling you it needs, not wants.
5. Get a handle on distractions. Schedule an hour on a specific day of the week to go to the gym, for example. Put away your cellphone and don’t check e-mails first. Focus on managing everyday distractions by having a plan and sticking to it.
May 23, 2012
May is Exercise is Medicine® Month. We all know that exercise is good for us, right? How then is it possible that more than half of the adult population (56%) do not meet the meager requirements of 150 minutes per week of physical activity? If that statistic isn’t shocking enough, it is even more depressing that as much as 36% of adults do not engage in ANY leisure-time physical activity at all.
It could be that the medical community has not stressed the importance of physical activity on our health. The truth is that physical INACTIVITY is the new smoking in terms of risk of death. Yes, research shows that a low level of physical activity exposes a patient to a greater risk of dying than does smoking, obesity, hypertension, or high cholesterol, and for older men, regular physical activity can decrease risk of death by 40% (www.exerciseismedicine.org).
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that adults should be moderately, physically active for 30 minutes per day on five days per week ~ and half of which should be vigorous in nature. Considering there are 1440 minutes in a day, it seems reasonable that we should be able to find just 30 minutes to be more physically active each day. Given the health benefits of this amount of activity are so great.
Regular physical activity can do all of the following:
• Reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50%
• Lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%
• Lower the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58%
• Decrease a woman’s chance of dementia by 50%
• Improves our ability to learn, improve focus and pay attention
When you realize that your cardio respiratory fitness has a greater effect on your rate of mortality than being obese or smoking, how can you NOT find time to exercise?
May 16, 2012
I find that the most important aspect of conversation is being fully present. The same goes for physical fitness. For many of us, this can be a real challenge. First of all, this means setting aside distractions so you can focus. Ideally, this may mean putting away your cell phone and other devices. I like meeting with friends at my house in the afternoon, more than going out, because there are no distractions then. A restaurant setting by comparison usually has frequent interruptions, which can disrupt the flow of a good connection. On the same note, finding a quiet time at the health club after the rush is over may be perfect for you to get the most effective workout.
When you listen, focus your energy on what the other person is saying, not what you would like to say next. When you are in for a workout, listen closely to what your body is telling you. For example, understand why your right shoulder still aches after 2 weeks before you begin to do what is on your list of exercises. Listen with your heart, not just your ears. Do your best to understand the emotional context behind what the other person is communicating. You know yourself the best of anyone else. Honor what your body needs in the moment.
Learn how to use empathy, which is the respectful understanding of another person’s experience, including his or her feelings, needs, and desires. When you speak, focus your energy on your center. Speak from your heart, not just your head. Use this same technique while considering your fitness plan for the day.
Being present with others and yourself takes practice, but when you get good at listening and speaking from your heart, it can create a very special feeling of presence. It allows one to acknowledge that two have co-created a strong connection together.
In relationships with others, you will create a vibe of openness, trust, and empathy. When this type of energy is present, it's easy for people to open up and share deeper aspects of themselves. They know they can expect understanding and compassion instead of judgment. In the relationship we have with ourselves, it also creates compassion, and possibly forgiveness, instead of judgment which means speaking kindly to ourselves when we don’t meet an expectation properly.
May 9, 2012
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all have a need to connect with other people. The rising popularity of social media indicates how important it is for us to reach out to others. However, in this age of Facebook, texting, tweeting, and other forms of instant communications, we seem to have lost the art of having real conversations. As a result our face-to-face interactions with others fall into one of the following five levels of conversations*:
1. Clichés: mere exchanges of verbal symbols that require very little investment on the part of either person. (“Hi, good to see you, bye, etc.)
2. Facts and reports: descriptions of things which have occurred
3. Opinions and judgments: assignments of value - are things right or wrong?
4. Feelings: how something is affecting you personally.
5. Open, truthful exchanges: affirming one another; respectfully and lovingly correcting one another, and encouraging one another.
Obviously, different levels of conversations are appropriate under certain circumstances. You would not engage in level five conversations with a complete stranger. However, having relationships that promote more level five conversations indicates that you have a good social support system. Numerous studies have shown the importance of social support systems in improving and maintaining well-being.
Whether it’s an accountability partner who makes you get to the health club and exercise, a mentor who helps you improve your professional skills, a wellness coach who helps you clarify and prioritize your life choices, or a person close to you that you can always count on. Knowing you are part of a community of people who love and care for you, value you and think well of you, helps reduce stress, improves your overall outlook on life, and fills up your emotional tank; all of which contributes to better health. So, here’s the challenge. Over the next week be mindful of how many conversations you have that fall between levels 1-4 and level 5. If you find most of your social support comes from level 1-4 interactions, be deliberate about creating new social networks that promote deeper conversations. You owe it to your health to have a good talk with people you care about you.
*Adapted from John Powell’s book, Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?
(Niles, IL: Argus Communications, 1969)
May 2, 2012
Wake up. Go to work. Sit at desk for eight hours (or more). Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Does this routine sound familiar? You are not alone. The average American spends about 33 percent of the week sitting, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Studies have shown that adding up the cumulative minutes of exercise can be as effective for weight loss as continuous minutes of exercise.
How can you be more active at work this week? Let’s explore some ways.
First, consider your job. If it is primarily sedentary, then incorporating some movement will be key. If you have regularly scheduled breaks, you can use part of it to take a walk or climb stairs. If you do not have scheduled breaks, then adding a few minutes on the way into the office, around the office, to a meeting or to another department is a great suggestion. In other words, the old “take the long way around” applies here. Personally deliver a message instead of sending an email or take a bathroom break.
Keep inexpensive exercise equipment at work. Pedometers, exercise bands or small hand weights can be easily grabbed to squeeze in a quick workout. Need to take a trip to another floor in the elevator - how about adding in some wall sits on the way? Stand with your back against the wall, feet hip width apart 2-3 feet from the wall and slide your hips down to a sitting position, hold for a count of 5-15 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. Or consider bringing in a stability ball to replace your chair. This will challenge your core muscles (abdominals and low back) as you sit. Consciously contract and relax your various muscles, tap your toes and perform under the desk calf raises to keep muscles moving and burn more calories.
Working out twice during the weekend means that by only adding one weekday, you’ll already be doing something 3 days of the week! Current exercise recommendations are to do 30-60 minutes on all or most days of the week.
The motivation to move lessens when you're either really hungry or really full. Instead of eating one big meal at lunch, try to eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours. This way, you will be ready to move at the next opportunity.
Estimated Calories Burned for Common Activities (for 150 lb. person)
Climbing a flight of stairs 10 cal/minute
Wall Sits 4 cal/minute
Walking (3.5 mph) 4 cal/minute
Band weight training 4 cal/minute
Stretching 3 cal/minute
April 25, 2012
One’s ‘believe system’ is center to how one navigates their day, week and life. Influences from childhood, family dynamics, professional life and our social environment help to determine how we think, feel and react to life’s daily challenges. Since everyone’s story is made up of different ‘characters’, there is no perfect formula for successfully managing our lives. As a wellness coach, it is my job to help people define their personal ‘vision of wellness’ and guide them through the challenges that are standing in the way of meeting their intended goals. One way of doing this is to identify one’s level of “Self-Efficacy”. Psychologist Albert Bandura has termed the phrase self-efficacy and has defined it as, “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations” (1995). What this means in layman’s terms is: How confident are you in your ability to succeed in a particular situation? Whether it is in your professional life, personal relationships, parenting or health and wellness goals, your ‘belief’ in yourself can determine the outcome.
Through his research, Bandura has described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave and feel. Humans are an ever-evolving species and are continually growing and learning from the daily experiences that life brings. Meeting these experiences, and many times challenges, with confidence will help to strengthen one’s sense of self-efficacy. The more successful you are at performing a task, the greater your belief is that you will succeed at future tasks. This, to me, says that I should take on new challenges and work to master them even in the face of failure, because the harder I work toward that challenge, the greater my chances are of achieve success at not only this challenge, but future challenges as well.
Bandura’s research has also shown that people of differing self-efficacy perceive the world in fundamentally different ways. People with a high self-efficacy are generally of the opinion that they are in control of their own lives; that their own actions and decisions shape their lives. On the other hand, people with low self-efficacy may see their lives as somewhat out of their hands (1995).
So, I ask you again, do you BELIEVE?
April 18, 2012
“Do, or do not. There is no try”.
~Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back.
This is a very results-oriented statement, wouldn’t you say? The way I interpret this quote is something like this, “Trying is not an action, but rather a condition of the mind”. The act of trying sets up a built-in excuse, so that if you don’t do it, you can say at the very least, “I tried”.
There is a difference between trying and doing, however, I’d like to explain some possible steps for you to bridge the gap between “just do it” and “what do I do?”.
Personally, before I begin something new, or need a gentle push, I need my “how to’s” in place. This method has a direct correlation to my confidence level. Keep in mind that everyone has their own check and balance system and you will need to find what works for you.
Imagine you are just beginning a workout program, you have good intentions but aren’t quite sure what to do. Or, you’ve always exercised regularly but you are stuck in a rut, depressed, afraid, or feeling lonely. Perhaps most of the time you’re on fire with ideas and action, but lately it’s different for you.
Here are some things that may make a difference:
• Review what you know and add to that knowledge daily…educate yourself…is a great place to begin. Look at the facts.
• Identify your needs. No change is possible until your unmet needs are fully and respectfully recognized and expressed.
• Understand your intentions. Know what you want first before you try something.
• Be in touch with your intuition. Have an intuitive understanding of what it takes to make your goals (dreams) a reality. Create a mental picture of what this looks like for you.
• Be willing to “experiment” (yes, this means try) with a small change for a short period of time. An example of this could be: I will top my yogurt with raw almonds instead of granola this week…or I will walk for 15 extra minutes 5 of the 7 days this week.
There is something that inspires me by just simply trying. The single act of putting one foot in front of the other has more impact on me than anything else. I have found an art in this act. It gets the personal ball rolling and I show myself what I’m made of and that I can, and will, create my wellness from wherever I am in my process.
It’s GOOD to try when we cannot just do.
NOW you can “just do it”. Try something, anything you choose!
“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is”
April 11, 2012
Over the last few years, those of you who read the weekly Trainer/Wellness tips have gleaned a lot of information about exercise, managing stress, overcoming challenges, weight loss, nutrition, etc. My tip this week is different from the norm. What makes this tip unlike the others you’ve read is I’m going to challenge you to do some mental work.
For the last three years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to learn how to conduct empirical research as well as examine and internalize the data in ways that not only enhance my understanding of the coursework but also subject of research. I’ve used this new found (and still expanding) skill to increase my knowledge base regarding psychology, nutrition, and environmentalism to name a few.
Let’s face it, we’re all subjected to numerous contradictory statements, ideologies, gimmicks, and yes research articles about everything from exercise to proper environmentalism techniques. So how do you root out the facts? Take time to do your own research and form your own conclusions about subject. Then apply what you’ve learned to your life by trying it. For example, after watching the documentary Forks over Knives and reading some of the research from the China Study, I decided to increase my meatless days from one per week to three per week. The results, I initially lost twelve pounds but have been able to maintain a nine pound weight loss. This may not be for you but it’s worked for me!
My point is this. You have the benefit of receiving a wide range of information from the highly trained, well educated and professional trainers and wellness coaches at our clubs, so don’t just read the weekly tips with a passing glance. If you find a topic that speaks to you, take the time to print it from the website, research the topic(s), and apply them to your life. Just like the old Life cereal commercial slogan “Try it you might like it.”
April 4, 2012
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." ~Hans Hofmann
Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to prepare for the upcoming season. May I suggest a purification process for a fresh start?
Here are some suggestions.
DECLUTTER YOUR MIND…
Get rid of what you don’t need by writing things down. Getting your tasks and ideas out of your mind and out on paper. It will free up space and help you feel more in control of your thoughts.
Identify what is most important in your life and what’s most important to focus on right now.
Make a short list for each of these things.
Talk to the right person about what’s on your mind.
Purify your mind and body with a breath of fresh air! Just breathe…so simple, yet, so effective. Take a few minutes to take some deep breaths and just focus on the air coming in and going out. On the mental aspect, think about inhaling what you need and exhaling what you don’t. Get into the HABIT of organizing instantly without delay. Feeling the rewards of the action step can push us into a happy, confident place in our mind.
DECLUTTER YOUR BODY...
Get rid of what pollutes your cells. Get rid of what your body doesn’t use constructively for energy or healing. Get rid of what you don’t use or need! Examples are, junk in your refrigerator, cabinets, and grocery cart.
Refuel your body with whole foods, fresh water, proper sleep, and appropriate, consistent exercise.
ORGANIZE IT ALL..
Make sense of what you have.
1. HEALTHY MIND – Find your way to weed out the bad and add in the healthy. A clear, organized mind creates space for new ideas and allows you to block out distractions. The organized brain is able to instantly evaluate and screen out what is not worthy of your attention – to “identify the proper signal through the noise”.
2. HEALTHY BODY – Find or create a way to cleanse out physical system of impurities that do not serve our body well. Add in proper nutrition, great sleep, healthy habits, self discipline, and perseverance.
3. HEALTHY SPACE – Have a way of creating your space to serve your personal needs. Have a thinking spot, a reading chair, a writing place, the right person to listen to you.
1. Positive, nurturing thoughts.
2. A Green Smoothie, for cleansing or detoxification, and nutrients.
3. Discover the power of a clear counter top! What adds peace to your days? Perhaps looking at open space in your living environment could be just the right sight to inspire you to continue your fresh start habits.
March 28, 2012
Spring is just around the corner and I can feel it in the air. The sun is rising earlier, the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer. For those of us in Michigan this is a time for change!! A time to change our workout routine, a time to change our eating habits and a time to reinstate those tired, old New Year’s Resolution set in January. Many people tackle new goals and resolutions as they celebrate Lent, and others are just invigorated by the change of the season. Whatever motivates you to “change” now is the time to make it happen.
Many of the people I work with on their health and wellness goals are looking to make changes in their eating habits, however, they do not like the idea of “restricting” anything from their life ~ and food is usually at the top of their list. However, when you look at the vast majority of people who have lost weight successfully, or have maintained a healthy weight their whole life, you would find that they all have something in common ~ Rules!
Having certain Rules about Food is very important to successful weight loss or weight maintenance. If we didn’t have a set of rules to follow, we would likely be eating whatever and whenever we like and that can be detrimental to the overall plan. Regardless of WHAT your rules are, you will be more successful if you follow a plan. And there are a multitude of “plans” to follow. If you have food allergies, you may have rules such as: no wheat, eggs, peanuts or dairy. If you are a vegetarian, your rule is: no red meat, poultry or fish. If you are diabetic, you may abstain from sugar-laden foods. Wherever you are in your wellness journey, you likely have some food rules that help to keep you in line when it comes to eating. Since every BODY is different and everyone is at a different “stage of change”, there is no one GOLDEN rule to follow. The best thing to do is work with a professional who can help you determine whether or not you are ready to change, and if you are, help you on the right course for success.
If you know you are ready to make a change, call me, I can help to get you started with one of our 18 fitness and wellness professionals.
March 21, 2012
Mindful eating means we are paying attention to and aware of what we are putting in our mouths. We eat when we are hungry, when our body needs refueling and we make healthy choices. If we are trying to lose weight we need to keep a close watch on calories in versus calories out. If we are trying to maintain our weight, then we strive for a balance in calories in and calories out. No matter which category you find yourself in, I’d like to point out ten rules to keep in mind to ensure successful mindful eating.
1. Make vegetables a main course - they should fill up at least half of your plate at lunch and dinner.
2. Keep saturated fat and cholesterol low -small portions of lean meat or protein each day. Avoid fried and commercially prepared foods.
3. Pick great grains - whole oats, quinoa, millet, whole grain pasta.
4. Avoid refined sugars - includes added sugars and artificial sweeteners/
5. Keep a lid on sodium - avoiding high sodium processed, packaged, prepared foods.
6. Eat beans and nuts- feel fuller longer, use as a meat substitute in main dishes.
7. Eat real food, not junk - food ‘type’ products, pastries, soda.
8. Cut calorie density to lose weight -fill up on crunchy, watery veggies and fruits to feel fuller with less calories.
9. Eat veggies instead -adding veggies only curbs calories if you eat less of everything else, substitute veggies for other ingredients.
10. Cut liquid calories - drink water, unsweetened coffees and teas, eat fruit instead of fruit juice.
If you attended “The What and When of Eating” lecture for I Lost It, we explored these in even more depth. If you have additional questions on nutrition or mindful eating, contact me and I’d be glad to help you.
February 29, 2012
February was American Heart Association Month focusing on heart health especially among women. However, heart health should be a part of our everyday wellness routine. According to the 2010 CDC mortality tables, heart disease remains the leading cause of deaths in the U.S. We all know the importance of eating a low-fat, low cholesterol, whole foods diet, and getting 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily. However, most people have never heard of endothelial cells or nitric oxide. I must admit I knew very little until I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. After doing some research, I understand how properly caring for our endothelial cells impacts our body’s ability to produce nitric oxide which directly effects both cardiovascular and sexual health (bet I have your attention now!).
What are endothelial cells? They line all of your blood vessels and ultimately determine your cardiovascular health. By acting as selective filters, endothelial cells regulate the passage of gases, fluid and various molecules across their membranes. White blood cells, for example, travel through the blood stream and endothelial cells facilitate their passage into your body’s tissue making it possible for them to destroy foreign agents.
Cholesterol and other toxins like nicotine damage the intercellular junctions between the endothelial cells allowing deposits to build up. This causes what was once a smooth and flexible lining in your blood vessels to become rough and hard leading to the disease commonly called arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis. As this process continues over time, the deposits or plaques become larger which narrows the interior of the blood vessel making it harder for blood to pass through. This can lead to heart attacks and/or strokes.
So how does nitric oxide contribute to cardiovascular health? Nitric oxide (NO) is produced by many cells in the body including endothelial cells. Nitric oxide , reduces inflammation in blood vessels boosts the immune system by killing pathogens, increases blood flow by relaxing and dilating blood vessels (an important function in sexual health.)
Some foods that promote nitric oxide production are:
Nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios and pecans are a high-protein source of l-arginine and nitric oxide. *
Lentils and Beans: a good source of l-arginine, are kidney beans, soybeans and Tofu, which is prepared from soybeans.
Dark Chocolate: with a cocoa content of 70% or higher may also increase nitric oxide levels.
Vegetables: Beets, spinach, carrots
* consume in moderation due to calorie and fat content.
If you want your heart to take care of you…you have to take care of it. Improving the health of your endothelial cells is a great place to start.
February 22, 2012
There are so many ways and lists of things to do to manage stress. We can read everything… but the only way to start feeling some relief or make progress toward relief will be the action step you take. What will it be today? Let’s do an experiment! My assignment for you is to try something new this week. Here is my list.
1. Find or create a calm moment. Think deeply about what is and isn’t working well to feel at your best most of the time. Be still, breathe, and think.
2. Identify those problems, obstacles, fears or issues that cause you distress.
3. Identify what beliefs keep you locked into being stressed for each one.
4. Think deeply. Reflect. What type of stress are these causing you? Of the 4 types… decide. List them. Journal about them. Understand why they affect you.
5. Develop a new belief system that encourages you to recognize that you don’t need to stay in your current state-of-mind or situation. (I certainly realize we are not always able to alter our situations… but our state-of-mind? Oh, yes!)
6. Move your body! Exercise, dance, walk, run, swim…
7. Think deeply. Observe your behaviors.
8. Talk. Reason things out with a trusted friend or professional. Do whatever it takes to stay on track with healthy habits and life-giving activities.
9. Think about the small changes you’ve experimented with so far and notice how you feel. Stepping off of a well traveled path is uncomfortable. New paths are created by putting one foot out and setting it down… then pulling the other foot forward and setting it down in front of it. Don’t stop just because a new step is uncomfortable. Keep making steps forward on your new path!
10. Stretch. This physically relieves muscle tension. Progressive relaxation is helpful, as well. Tighten every muscle in your body and mindfully, slowly, release muscle groups one at a time. When you have no tension in your muscles, it’s impossible for your body to be stressed.
11. Use imagery. Imagery has a calming effect and enhances positive feelings. Close your eyes and picture in your mind a special place where you feel happy, comfortable and relaxed. Notice and discuss the sights, sounds, smells and touch of this special place and enjoy the peaceful feelings.
12. Practice Positive Self-Talk. (You may be surprised once you observe this for a day). Write down each time you catch yourself (time of day and what you said). Recognize, listen and evaluate how you talk to yourself. Is it with respect and kindness? Or are you saying things such as, “I can’t”, or “I never do anything right”? Negative self-talk can and do lead to bad feelings about your self.
13. Avoid using Labels. Labels such as, “Klutz, dummy, lazy, careless, shy, selfish, forgetful” stick in your mind and we tend to identify with these negative labels. Please realize we all act like this sometimes, but that we act in many wonderful ways, too. Point out some of the positive things you do!
14. Speak up for yourself. Confidence helps relieve stress. A healthy sense of control goes a long way.
15. Be creative. Make outlets for yourself. Gain a new skill. Take up a new hobby such as scrapbooking or bring back and old one… such as knitting, sewing, or learn how to play drums, or join a pottery class, Kung Fu lessons, etc. Remember that you don’t have to be good at it, you just have to enjoy it. Possibly something you’ve never tried before! (I’ll never forget my first session of Adult Basics Tennis)
16. Share Humor. Laugh together. Play. Enjoy your life.
Stress management takes exploration and practice. You’re worth it!
February 15, 2012
Last month I began a twelve-month journey of wellness by discussing my R3 approach to wellness. To refresh your memory R3 encompasses: reframing how you thinking about wellness, reclaiming your wellness by setting goals, and restoring your wellness by taking action steps based on your goals.
This month my focus is on the four components of cellular heath: cell food, cell exercise, cell environment, and cell protection. Your cells are constantly in the process of dying and being replaced. The health of your new cells depends totally upon the building materials you provide them – the foods you eat, the liquids you drink and the environment you provide. If you want an energetic, strong, lean body that’s free from disease, it’s up to you. Here’s how you can build healthy new cells and thus develop a healthy body.
Nourish your cells with whole, natural, fresh foods that are easily digested and assimilated by the body. High calorie, low nutrient foods such as fast food and highly processed foods do not provide your cells with proper nutrients.
Exercise promotes blood and oxygen circulation around your cells. This brings nutrients to your cells (if you’re eating nutrient dense/low calorie foods). Exercise also provides strength, endurance, flexibility, and mental alertness and is an excellent stress-reliever. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:
• Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
• Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
• People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
• Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
• Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
• Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
Drink at least 64 ounces of pure water a day to flush toxins out of your blood and keep your kidneys and liver functioning at optimal levels. Consuming high quality omega 3 fatty acids reduces inflammation and promotes healthy cell membranes. Getting adequate sleep and rest is also essential to reducing stress and cortisol levels.
The bottom line is this; if you want a healthy body it starts with you deciding to take the steps necessary to improve your cellular health.
February 8, 2012
Here we are, almost six weeks in to the New Year. Now is the time our New Year’s Resolutions begin to be challenged. Have you stuck with your resolution? If so, GREAT!! Keep going, research tells us that in order for a new behavior to become a habit you have to stick with it for 20+ weeks. Give yourself a pat on the back if you have followed through on your resolutions thus far, but be aware that you will be met with challenges in the weeks and months ahead of you. Do not give up but, instead, take on each new day with a renewed sense of energy and intensity.
It is natural for a person to fall into a seasonal routine where outdoor activities are relegated to spring, summer and early fall, and when the weather turns, we limit our choices of activity to those available indoors. However, with the Michigan weather unseasonably temperate, recognize the potential for taking those indoor workouts ‘out of doors’ and enjoying a breath of fresh air!
It might take a shift in mindset to recognize that there is no difference between a 40 degree day in May and a 40 degree day in February. If running or walking outside is your habit in the spring and summer months, there is no reason that it can’t be enjoyed in the winter as well.
Walking or running on the uneven terrain of a wooded trail will challenge not only your senses, but also the musculoskeletal system in a way that the treadmill and elliptical cannot. I encourage you to include one workout a week that allows you to enjoy the sights, sounds and wonder of nature.
Try some of these winter outdoor activities that may mimic your summer outdoor activities:
If you are an avid tennis player, try outdoor paddle tennis.
If you run outside, try snowshoeing or walking with walking poles.
If you are a rower or paddle boarder, try cross-country skiing.
Don’t be afraid to stay connected to the natural world when winter rolls around and don’t fall victim to the mindset that we ‘wait out’ the winter in anticipation of spring ~ after all, we still have six more weeks of winter to get through. Use your time wisely!
February 1, 2012
Studies have shown that people with intrinsic motivation are more likely to stick to their goals and see success. Incorporate these 4 tips for getting and staying motivated to exercise!
1. Set your own goals. In order to make them personal and meaningful, you need to set the right kind of goals. These need to be designed to your needs and fitness level, not just what the latest magazine article said. While a goal with extrinsic motivation - losing weight for an upcoming class reunion - has a high chance of immediate success, the studies show these types of motivators don’t stick for long term behavior change. Tap into your intrinsic motivators - getting fit in order to feel better or stay healthy for your family - and you will see significant long term results.
2. Ditch the machine. Unless you really like the machines, your challenge is to find a form of fitness that you enjoy that produces addicting moments of flow. These are the moments that you are fully engaged and enjoying the activity for what it is. Turn your workout into play.
3. Seek mastery. Find an activity that you can improve on and learn more about. This type of activity gives us more energy to keep pursuing it. You will naturally be able to increase the intensity and difficulty if you are taking on a new or different activity. Take it to the next level!
4. Reward yourself the right way. Rewards can be beneficial motivators toward a goal, but use the right type. Beware of bribing yourself with “if-then” type goals. Instead try the occasional “now that” type reward. “Now that I’ve made it to the gym 4 times this week, I will get a massage!”
January 25, 2012
ACUTE is brought on quickly. A devastating event in our life that brings about negative stress is acute. What we do with that stressor and where we go with it is going to determine how things turn out after the onset.
CHRONIC is the kind of stress that once we recognize it we need to get out of it as quickly as possible. It’s the ongoing daily stress of negative situations in our lives…bad relationship, job, etc. It’s the stress that can kill us if we don’t move out of it quickly. I recently reviewed a documentary on stress of this type. The title was, “Stress: Portrait of a Killer”. I highly recommend you watch it. The more we can educate ourselves about stress and what we are going through in our lives, the more power we will have to make positive changes. How will you move out of your chronic stress? What steps can you take right away?
Having a sturdy foundation, such as faith, the right people in your life, proper nutrition, etc. is what will pull you through. Staying busy with the “good stress” can help keep you on track through a hard time. On a personal note, one practice that has worked for me to get through insurmountable chronic distress is to “swing a deal”. I choose an area of weakness in my life and believe with every ounce of my being that if I can master success with this weakness, then I can get through this distress, too. It’s extremely empowering to “move mountains” in your life. (When you get a minute, ask me about my “bean story”). It’s not only about survival, but about coming out shining on the other side! It’s a Win/Win situation created by you! This is one method I have learned works for me. What is your personal way to get yourself to the other side with minimal damage? Remember everyone has stress.
I once heard that stress happens when your values and actions are not aligned. Taking time to understand what you truly value and choosing to observe your behaviors can be a nice wake up call to direct you toward something better. When will you take that time?
“You will have to make the effort to break old habits and establish new ones. You will have to admit to yourself that your ‘gut feeling’ about things is askew, and unless you learn a better way, you will continue to suffer”.
You can do it!
January 18, 2012
It’s that time of year when many people make New Year’s Resolutions. This year, instead of using a one R(resolution) approach to improving your well-being, try the R3method. What is the R3 method? It’s part of what I call the Healthy Cells=Healthy Body equation designed to promote wellness from the inside-out. As the name implies, there are three components to the R3 method:
Reframe: to look at, present, or think of (beliefs, ideas, relationships, etc.) in a new or different way
Reclaim: a: to demand or obtain the return of
b: to regain possession of
Restore: to bring back to or put back into a former or original state
Why R3 instead of resolutions? When people make resolutions, many of them simply do as the definition states: “the act of determining.” They determine that they need to: lose weight, get more sleep, eat healthier, spend more time with family, etc. All of these resolutions will improve aspects of a person’s well-being. However, more often than not, the determination to change fades with the days on the calendar and within a few weeks the fire that ignited the desire to change has burnt out. Because most resolutions are made with a pre-determined end result in mind and let’s face it, we live in an instant gratification culture. Wellness is not a destination, it’s a journey. So, if people don’t see or feel the results they want quickly, they become discouraged and quit. That’s why I created the R3method. Change is uncomfortable and sustaining new behaviors begins with a having the proper mindset. Over the next eleven months, I’ll share with you action steps you can take to help you improve your health from the inside-out.
It all begins with reframing how you measure wellness. First, change the way you think about your health and nutrition from a deprivation (diet) mindset, to a cell nutrition mindset. You're only as healthy as your cells. After all, your body is made up of trillions of tiny cells. Everything from a hair on your head to your toenails is made of cells. This includes your skin, blood, organs, connective tissue, and bones. That is why quality cellular nutrition is absolutely essential for optimal physical, mental and emotional health. Healthy, well-nourished cells supply an abundance of natural energy, resistance to stress and degenerative diseases and an overall experience of vitality.
Reframing without taking action is no different than making a resolution. After you’ve changed your mindset you must choose to reclaim your health. We make choices for either health or for disease every single day. Even not making a choice is choosing. When you take ownership of your own health, you have the power to improve it.
Restoring your cellular health will improve the functioning and condition of your physical body. Weight loss is a natural outcome of healthy cellular activity.
Next month I’ll discuss the four parts of cellular health: Cell Environment, Cell Exercise, Cell Food, and Cell Protection. Until then, work on Reframing, Reclaiming and Restoring your cellular health by eating more fiber and drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water daily.
January 11, 2012
The beginning of a new year symbolizes new change. For many, the idea of a new start is often symbolized through New Year's resolutions surrounding healthy eating and lifestyle changes. New Years resolutions are often about starting or stopping certain behaviors.
Make 2012 the year to make plans instead of simply resolutions. Take your resolutions and transform them into realistic changes that you can maintain
to make this year your healthiest year yet. Some suggestions to think about...
-Break your big goals into smaller, more specific goals. Then include a listing of realistic changes that you can make in your daily routine to achieve those specific goals.
-Since a New Year's resolution is meant to be maintained throughout the year, evaluate your progress every week or two and update you plan based upon your progress or current circumstances.
-Snack smart by paring fruits and veggies with healthy protein to maintain energy and avoid trans fat filled snacks.
-Break away from consuming excess sugar by cutting back on the added sugars in your diet, and incorporating whole, naturally sweet foods.
-Control stress by exercising, journaling and incorporating mood-boosting snacks like nuts into your day.
-Stretch, stretch, stretch - try incorporating some daily flexibility training to improve balance, flexibility and performance for all your activities.
-Get a good night’s sleep by establishing a relaxing routine in the evening, keeping lights low and avoiding screen time close to bedtime.
-Make your kitchen healthier by doing a thorough cupboard cleaning and tossing the items that are detrimental to a consistent healthy diet.
-Clear your clutter - whether the closets, the countertops or the calendar, finding time to organize and determine the essentials from the excess will restore balance to your routines.
-Finally, take care of yourself! Change is hard and you deserve to be rewarded for your progress. Build in rewards and incentives for goal achievement. And remember, feeling good and enjoying the best possible health will always be the best reward.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
January is the time when people decide to set goals and make resolutions. How effective are those resolutions in the long run? What is your track record for positively changing your behaviors? As a wellness coach, I work with people to set realistic goals and identify their motivation for change. One thing I have realized over the years is that people only make these changes when they have a strong support network, are ready for change and have identified the strengths within themselves to see effective change in their life.
One way to identify the things that you would like to work on in 2012 is to create a list of resolutions. I did this recently after reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. This book is filled with fantastic ideas about how one can learn and grow from the experiences in daily life and set resolutions to become happier for oneself and one’s family. It made me consider what things I could be doing in my life to spread happiness. One thing that has stuck with me is the idea that when you set a goal for yourself it has a start date and an end date. Once you meet it ~ say, lose 10 lbs ~ then what? You set another goal. However, when you make a RESOLUTION, you ‘resolve’ to change your behavior to see permanent change. Resolving to be happier seems to be a great place to start. When people are happy, they are more compliant with exercise, eat more healthfully and are more engaged with family and friends. Changing your attitude about what makes you happy is within all of our control.
For 2012, I am encouraging friends, clients and coworkers to set realistic resolutions for themselves in the coming months. Consider all aspects of your life and take the time to determine the areas in which you are doing very well, and recognize those areas that have needed your full attention. Identify 12 things that you would like to focus on in the coming months and then break it down so that you are focusing on a different area each month. By breaking down your resolutions and focusing on one at time, success is more likely to happen.
Here are resolutions that my friends and family are considering for 2012:
Get more sleep
Look at the bright side
Make my children laugh out loud
Be present with my children
Cook a new recipe each week
Be more active
Organize and de-clutter my home
Smile at strangers
Finish the books I start
Eat more healthfully
Ask for help
Enjoy the ride ~ life is short
December 28, 2011
Of the 4 types of stress I mentioned in my last article, eustress, is the best for us of them all. We need this kind of good stress in our lives to thrive and function well.
ACUTE happens quickly…a happy surprise! An event that causes good feelings; you feel wonderful.
CHRONIC is really good. To be here may indicate that you’ve made especially good choices and you are in places that serve you well in life. You love your job, you feel great in your relationships with people, you exercise daily and take great care of your body and it feels right to work hard. You’ve set up finances to they work to your satisfaction and benefit, you have effective communication skills, you feel driven to meet goals that you’ve created because you have a rhythm in life that keeps pushing you in a good way to get things done. Even though the events in life cause pressure, it’s a healthy pressure that keeps us moving forward.
My question to you is…how will you find ways to stay in this phase? What will you do to maintain this positive flow? What is an action you can take today to make this happen? I can say from my own personal experience that when the going gets tough, it is how you’ve set yourself up for your personal “on track-ness” that literally gets you through the hard times. When you feel signs of depression, or lack of direction, or hopelessness due to acute or chronic distress that comes your way…what will you have set up for yourself that makes the difference in how you come through?
1. Keep your workouts consistent…no matter what! But also sense when it’s time to take a structured break. This is all a part of your healthy plan.
2. Find your people. Who are your “go-to” friends that will listen and support you or give solid advice when you ask for it?
3. Persist. Go one step beyond where most people give up. Do one more rep, drink one more glass of plain, fresh water, workout 15 minutes longer, eat one more fresh vegetable, encourage one more person to workout with you.
4. Never give up. There is a solution to every problem. Sometimes we just don’t know what it is, yet. Hang in there. Corners are turned when you’ve put in the effort and the timing is right. Stay with it.
5. Know your boundaries. What are the healthy parameters that keep you safe? External stimulus will always be a part of life. Setting the bar for internal sturdiness will ensure your well-being.
Aim for sources of eustress in your daily life for optimal health!
December 21, 2011
You’ve probably seen or heard ads from LifeLock and other companies that guarantee to protect you from identity theft. It’s unfortunate that we have to consider options like this but the fact is there are people who, given the opportunity, will steal items related to your financial identity. Perhaps the most un-nerving part of identity thief is that it happens without our knowledge. There are no obvious signs or physical threats. It is not until we receive a credit application denial or are confronted with a legal matter that we become aware that we’ve been victimized. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were over 200,000 complaints of identity theft in 2009. While that number is alarming, it is only the tip of the iceberg.
The real culprit of identity theft lies deep within ourselves…it’s called comparison. Much like those individuals who engage in covert activities of stealing bits and pieces of your financial information, we rob ourselves from developing our unique talents and strengths by constantly comparing ourselves to others. Yes, there is some benefit in seeking the advice of someone who is successful in a task you’re trying accomplish. They’re called role models or mentors and they may have a certain style, skills or technique that you'd like to emulate. This is the only positive way to focus on someone else. The problem occurs when you begin to compare yourself with others and measure your success or failure only by the success of others. That’s because comparison usually involves a negative appraisal of you in relation to others which is not a good formula for building self-confidence! Instead, keep your focus on YOU. Measure yourself against yourself. Identify your own dreams, goals and expectations. Comparison is hazardous to your self-confidence, health and identity.
December 14, 2011
Many of you have already taken steps to reduce the fat, sugar and calories in your diet as a way to lose weight and become healthier. However, there is another factor that we should consider when dealing with our health, SODIUM (or salt). There still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding this essential element. The body needs some sodium to function properly, including maintaining the right balance of fluids. When we consume too much sodium, our kidneys have to work harder to eliminate the excess and if the kidneys can’t keep up, that buildup of sodium can lead to an increase in blood volume. This increased volume raises the amount of pressure in our arteries, which is known as hypertension (high blood pressure) and that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other problems.
The question then becomes “how do I reduce the amount of sodium in my diet?” Most people will state that they no longer use a salt shaker at the dinner table and they try and buy “low or reduced sodium” items at the grocery store. While these are two things that can be taken in to consideration, the truth is that when you eat a diet that is largely plant-based and whole food, there is less concern regarding the amount of sodium you are ingesting. In fact, more than three quarters of the sodium people consume on a daily basis comes from processed and restaurant foods. And, a large majority of the sodium we eat is in foods that don’t necessarily taste salty to us, like packaged bread and processed chicken. The amount of sodium we consume can add up quickly, the average adult consumes 3400 milligrams of sodium a day. However, the current 2010 US dietary guidelines now recommend that we limit intake to 1500 milligrams ~ about 2/3 of a teaspoon.
Here are a few tips to keep this in mind when trying to reduce your sodium intake:
Prepare your own food when possible and don’t use salt when cooking. Once you’ve tasted the completed meal, use sea salt or other herbs to enhance the flavors.
Eat whole grains instead of pre-packaged breads, a single slice can contain as much as 200mgs or more of sodium.
Reduce your portions when eating in restaurants and ask your food to be prepared without added salt.
When purchased processed foods, look for items with less than 300 mg of sodium PER SERVING or no more than 1mg of sodium PER CALORIE of food.
Remember that many foods that are “Fat Free” have an increased amount of either sugar or sodium to make up for the lack of fat.
Just remember that each and every day, YOU hold the power and are in charge of making the BEST decision possible when dealing with your health and well-being. Make today a GREAT day and choose your health above all else.
December 7, 2011
Does the cold, snowy weather make you want to stay indoors? Taking your exercise outdoors may help you lose weight and chase away the winter blues. One study found that we take about 2300 fewer steps per day in the winter than in the summer, marking a 30 percent reduction in physical activity. With all the extra parties and holiday treats around, now is an excellent time to get outside and get moving.
Cold-weather workouts activate the body’s stores of metabolically active brown fat (helps regulate body temperature) and increases our fat burning. Exercising outdoors in the natural light also boosts the brain’s production of serotonin to keep the seasonal blues away. Enjoy these winter workouts safely by remembering a few things.
1. Layering - always start with a wicking layer closest to your skin to move moisture away from the body. Dressing in layers leaves you the option to remove one to cool down after you’ve begun exercising.
2. Know your surrounding and your limits - avoid icy areas to prevent slips and falls and stay in a location that you can find refuge if the weather changes suddenly. Wearing anti-slip tracks on your shoes can add safety and security in your footing to maintain a normal gait. Walking poles are a good choice too for hikes in the snow and ice.
3. Hydration- the cold weakens the body’s thirst mechanism, so remember to drink before you are thirsty. Drink 12-16 ounces of water before you head out and take a water bottle with if you’re going to be out longer than 1 hour.
4. Sunscreen - don’t forget to apply before heading out and reapply after an hour. The reflection of the snow and ice increases the sun’s intensity. Sunglasses are important too - protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
November 30, 2011
Stress is universal. If you are alive today, you are experiencing it. Understanding the 4 types of stress, good and bad, is a great place to begin when it comes to knowing how to manage, deal with, or embrace it.
1. Chronic Stress (adjective) is the type that is long-lasting and recurrent or characterized by long suffering.
2. Acute Stress is having or experiencing a rapid onset and short, but severe, course.
3. Eustress (Good stress) is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment.
4. Distress (Bad stress) is described as great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering, affliction; trouble. Also, a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
On a positive note, I’d like to begin with EUSTRESS. I believe it’s important to first compare it with distress, since that is typically where our mind goes when we think or speak of this topic.
Eustress is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye which is defined in the model of Richard Lazarus (1974) as stress that is healthy, or gives one a feeling of fulfillment or other positive feelings. Eustress is a process of exploring potential gains.
Distress is the most commonly-referred to type of stress, having negative implications, whereas eustress is a positive form of stress, usually related to desirable events in a person's life. Both can be equally taxing on the body, and are cumulative in nature, depending on a person's way of adapting to a change that has caused it. The body itself cannot physically discern between distress or eustress. (From Wikipedia)
Since the body cannot recognize the difference between distress or eustress, we need to consider some ways to release the physical tension it is causing. Specifically, I highly recommend physical activity, relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, and tai chi.
Take a moment this week to consider what feels like stress in your life. Bring about awareness of the type, perhaps, by writing in your journal. Be specific on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of its effect. Start to develop a personal plan as to how you will first, understand, then manage your stress.
More to come!
November 23, 2011
ROI (Return on Investment) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the effectiveness of a number of different investments. The term is usually used when discussing finances not health and fitness. However, the underlying principles are similar.
For example, people carefully examine stock portfolios before making investments because they want to get something in return, something of value. The same holds true for your health and fitness program. You invest: time, energy and money into a fitness program to get something of value in return. The value is different for everyone. Some people want to lose weight, some want to reduce injury/pain, and others want to improve athletic performance, etc. Whether you’re planning for your retirement or working at improving your wellness, diversifying your investments (fitness program) is a necessary strategy for success.
You wouldn’t fill your financial portfolio with stocks from only one company, yet many people have been doing the same exercise program for years hoping to improve their results. If your heath and wellness results have become stagnant it’s time to take a look at your fitness portfolio. Get rid of under-performing routines and stop clinging to exercises/classes just because it’s what you’ve always done. If you need assistance in creating a new fitness program or changing your current program to improve your ROI, make an appointment with one of our Personal Trainers or Wellness Coaches today.
"If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got."
W. L. Bateman
November 16, 2011
This time of year it seems the days are shorter and we have less energy. In part because of our recent time change, it IS darker earlier, however, our energy doesn’t have to hibernate for the winter!
Our physical energy, not time, is our life currency. If we move our bodies, with vigor if possible, eat and sleep well, and schedule downtime or fun, we are amazingly energetic, creative, and productive. Often our best ideas and solutions come when we are well rested, working out, or having fun. We need energy to relate well to others and to engage our strengths in meaningful work or other activities.
The best path to growth and development is to engage these strengths and talents and stretch ourselves regularly. Do you know what your strengths are? Think back to the last time you were successful at completing a task. What strengths did you draw on to get you there? These could be external (creating a to-do list, making space and time, etc.) or internal (disciplining yourself to take a walk rather than search through the cupboards for a snack).
Engage those strengths again this month to establish a pattern for moving your body to have the energy to sail through the holidays. Walk, bike, run, swim, attend a class, make use of the weight room and sign up for our Hold it for the Holidays program to keep you going. Don’t skimp on the exercise and you will have the energy to accomplish what lies ahead of you.
November 9, 2011
By definition, resilience can be described in two ways:
Physical ~ the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape caused by physical stress.
Psychological ~ the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like.
How resilient one is may depend on a whole host of factors, experts cannot agree on why some people are more resilient than others, but they do agree that you can build resilience. Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, not a trait of an individual. Therefore, it is assumed that it can be learned over time.
One of the ways I, as a coach, help clients build resilience is by assisting in the development of self-acceptance, a positive mind-set, and self-efficacy (or the ability to BELIEVE in oneself). Identifying those strengths that are already within helps build resilience to ‘set the stage’ for when adversity hits and setbacks arrive. Learning ways to cope with mental and emotional stress ensures that steps have been taken to master how one will deal with the situation at hand.
To begin this process, you must have a clear vision of what you want to see happen in your life. Writing it down and sharing it with another person is an exercise that enhances both resilience and initiative, and builds self-esteem through studying the end we hope to accomplish. Wellcoaches®
Here are some ways that you can build resilience in to your life:
1. Accept yourself the way you are and appreciate what you have to offer.
2. Set small attainable goals each day or each week.
3. Accept help and support from loved ones.
4. Plan for lapses to your program ~ a day without exercise or a ‘cheat’ meal.
5. Change your attitude toward stressful situations. Only YOU can control HOW you react to a situation, not the situation itself.
6. Visualize your life as you WISH it were.
7. Be kind to yourself ~ take a day off, get a massage or spend more time with friends.
November 2, 2011
What will it take for you, personally, to stay on track to reaching your goals? Usually when we make a commitment to get in shape, drop 5 pounds, or reach any goal, it’s going to take some time to accomplish these things. Often, when we begin a workout program, our spirits are high because our reason’s for taking on such a feat is fresh and new in our minds and seem important.
1. Make a list of your motivators and keep the list with you in your purse or wallet, on the mirror, the dashboard, somewhere that you can see it and read it every single day… more than once a day… to remind you of exactly why you are doing what you do.
Fitness isn’t easy, but most things in life worth having, aren’t. When we gain factual or scientific knowledge about specific actions we must take to get the desired result, understanding can go a very long way. It hurts to get fit… Why would I stay on the treadmill or Stairmaster if it feels so uncomfortable? When I persevere in a cardio way, I am burning calories and creating a calorie deficit that will allow my body to lose unnecessary weight.
2. Understanding how many calories my body needs daily to be at my optimal weight is a measurable guide. I can know this by a simple formula to determine my individual Basal Metabolic Rate. Knowing that 3,500 calories equal one pound helps put into perspective what I need to do.
Know the facts about the adventure you are about to take. If you were traveling, you would have a map. Look at reaching your goal as a journey that needs careful planning and preparation for success. Don’t wonder where you are going… KNOW where to go, what highlights are along the way, and know how you want to be at your destination. How will I feel when I reach the top of the mountain? How do I WANT to feel? Why do I want to be here?
On that same note, educating ourselves on the effects of exercise on the brain can be motivating. Exercise has been proven to treat depression and improve memory. It leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. Exercise is one of the few ways that scientists have found to generate new neurons. Neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release may make us look at the treadmill in a whole new light.
Reward yourself for an effort well done, big and small. Because I understand that I am earning my reward, I will put forth my best effort as if I’m trying to make a good impression. Do it for yourself. Push 2% harder each workout. Make it happen!
3. Intrinsic and Extrinsic rewards will encourage you to stay on track when the going gets tough. Make the mini-goal happen (you’ve been weighing in at the “0” and you’ve FINALLY reached the “9”!) and treat yourself to a cute new workout top. Or it may be reward enough to just feel awesome inside that you’ve reached the “9” and know you’re on your way to the “5”.
People are motivated by both pleasure and pain. So whatever is on your list, make sure it is honest and true to what really moves you to take action. A compelling reason will propel you into taking the necessary action. It will also sustain you when things get tough or the goal isn’t as easy to achieve as you thought. It could be anything you choose from the fitness “tight” feeling in your muscles, the endorphin “high”, accountability, attention, stress, looming genetic predisposition, etc. to an upcoming class reunion, wedding, or an outfit you’ve been waiting to wear. Whatever makes your list will be what is most important to you.
This is all about YOU… Make it personal and have fun with it!
October 26, 2011
At my last vision check up my Optometrist suggested that it was time for me to consider bifocals. I was certainly not surprised by her recommendation so I decided to compromise and experiment with bifocal contacts. My near vision was perfect, however my distance vision as a little blurry. This required me to focus intently on objects far away in order to make out details. I realized two things very quickly during my experiment: 1) focusing intently on one thing narrows your field of vision preventing you from seeing the whole picture, and 2) whatever object you’re focusing on captures your attention.
This situation reminded me of a Cherokee parable my husband and I have shared with our martial arts students to teach them the importance of focusing on positive emotions, thoughts, and actions. The parable is about an old Cherokee chief who was teaching his grandson about life. The chief tells his grandson, "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight between two wolves."One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego."The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” "This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."
The same is true when it comes to your health and wellness. Focusing intently on your obstacles/challenges without having a plan to overcome them, narrows your field of vision preventing you from seeing and appreciating what you have accomplished. It also captures all your attention and keeps you from moving forward. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want or your current situation, concentrate your efforts on your goal and create a plan for prevailing over your challenges. Reward yourself for achieving small steps towards your goal. Remember, “The one you feed” WINS!
October 19, 2011
How and why does wellness coaching work? There are five things that distinguish coaching as a growth promoting relationship.
First, the client is put in the driver seat to build autonomy by establishing a relationship. In order to achieve and master change, one needs to have a strong sense self-efficacy to believe they have what it takes to make positive change. This begins with a coach-client relationship.
Second, motivation is a requirement for change. A coach will help you uncover this burning desire, a fuel for change. It is what keeps us on track.
Third, coaches know that all clients have the capacity to change. Our study of positive psychology fosters a strong belief in you!
Fourth, you learn to build resilience. Inevitably we will come upon bumps in the road - and you will learn how to build resilience so that when a setback comes, you’ve already mastered how you will deal with it.
Finally, curiosity is an important psychological skill that correlates with health and thriving. Approaching the day with a curious (wondering) mind-set of what the day will bring, what challenges and opportunities there will be is a skill that is learned and embraced in this relationship.
Making and sustaining change is a journey with steps, approaches and stages that your coach understands. She will guide you through them and draw from a broad tool box of theories and skills to keep you moving onward and upward!
Education and knowledge do matter, but the difference between the ‘expert’ and ‘coach’ is that the coach delivers the right skill at just the right time. We do not ask you to learn or acquire kills at the wrong time, but when you are ready.
Interested in seeing how coaching can work for you? Contact myself or one of our other certified Wellness Coaches today!
October 12, 2011
Have you heard of the terms: Mindless Eating? Emotional Eating? Willpower? Do you feel, at times, that you have NO control over your own eating habits? Make today the day you change all of that!
In order to eat MINDFULLY, you must first identify the behaviors that are unhealthy. In many cases, you are not even aware of the things you are doing to sabotage your own health. For instance, do you always order popcorn in a movie theatre even if you have just finished dinner AND dessert in your favorite restaurant? Do you eat the treats in the office break room without even knowing it? Do you eat the ‘free’ cookie that comes with your combo meal ~ simply because it’s free? Do you eat all of the bread/chips on the table when you are waiting for your dinner to arrive?
These behaviors are so deeply rooted in your routine that you don’t even know that you are doing it. In fact, new research shows “you don’t even need to WANT to do it. If you develop a habit of snacking in front of your TV at night, how hungry you are or how tasty the snack is will no longer determine whether or how much you eat. Many bad habits are triggered by the context (watching TV, socializing, feeling stressed), rather than by any particular desire to engage in the behavior. So the key to stopping a bad habit isn’t making a resolution – it’s figuring out how to turn off the autopilot. It’s learning to disrupt the behavior, preferably before it starts.” The Science of Success 2011
Finding ways to change your behavior before it starts can be difficult, but not impossible. It helps to identify your health and wellness goals. If your goal is “I want to lose 15lbs by Christmas.” Decide whether the behaviors you exhibit support this goal. If they do not, then it is time to change the behavior. Remember, eating mindfully is not the same as ‘being on a diet’ or ‘depriving oneself’. Mindful eating is more about being in touch with your body and slowing down. When you are more mindful, you are more aware of your surroundings. Your eating habits impact your mental and physical health. Unhealthy eating leads to feeling depressed and when you are depressed you don’t eat well. Conversely, healthy eating leads to better physical and mental well-being.
October 5, 2011
The Power of Journaling
You can journal about any topic and for whatever reason you decide. The sky’s the limit! It could be words in the form of a list, paragraph, or notes in a calendar. It is a tool to organize, figure things out, and achieve goals.
When we get things out of our head and onto paper, it opens space for us to come up with more while knowing we haven’t lost previous ideas. We can indulge in the benefits of brainstorming. Documenting facts, thoughts, feelings, and ideas can serve as therapeutic relief and a way to look for patterns in our behavior. For example: writing a list of positives and negatives about a situation that you need to make a decision about.
Sometimes just writing about your day feels good in the act itself. Making a Gratitude Journal keeps us looking at positive aspects of life. Reflection on events or accomplishments gives acknowledgment to important parts of our life that may have been otherwise forgotten. Journaling about what is significant to us is a way to preserve the memory, as well as clearing it for new thoughts. For instance: Some facts and stories about your child’s “big firsts”.
Keeping a Food Journal is another good way to help us keep track of our food intake while trying to reach a goal, like weight loss. Not only documenting the actual things you ate for meals and snacks, but also your energy levels, mental clarity, time of hunger, moods, emotions, and details of how food is specifically affecting you will help you learn about yourself and what your body really needs. (don’t forget that success leaves clues). This becomes your story of how you succeeded in reaching your goals. This can be very encouraging and motivational.
Writing things down gives it, whatever it is, importance. It is a great resource to remind us of our progress. It’s easy to lose sight when there are setbacks or we don’t reach our goals as quickly as we would like to. Also, re-reading our words in a different perspective can help us see our needs in a new light.
Make a routine of what time of day you would like to write. Make your journaling a healthy habit. Start reaping the benefits of hearing your own voice (on paper) by observing your motives, thoughts, feelings, and goals objectively.
The power of keeping a journal is that you have documentation of events in your life the way you see them, along with details that were instrumental in the person that you are today. Use it as your road map and inspiration to continue to move productively into your future.
September 28, 2011
In 1994, Dr. Jeffery M. Friedman discovered the hormone Leptin and its role in managing metabolism. Understanding how to manage your Leptin levels is a secret the $60.9 billion weight loss industry (2010 data according Marketdata), does not want you to know.
What is Leptin? A hormone produced by fat cells that communicates directly with your brain and is the primary force instructing thyroid, adrenals, hunger, and metabolism. Leptin tells your brain how much fat is stored in the body.
How does it work? The dominant role of leptin is to signal the brain when an energy deficiency is present in the body. The amount of leptin circulating in the body is proportional to the amount of fat an individual has. Meaning if you are overweight, your body produces too much leptin. This eventually wears down the receptors in your brain that control hunger and metabolism making the receptors unable to recognize and process the leptin hormone. This leads to overeating, food cravings, slow metabolism and weight gain.
Four tips for managing Leptin levels:
1. Never eat late a night. Eat Dinner and Stop. You need to have at least 11-12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
2. Eat three (3) meals per day with 4-5 hours between. Many of us have heard that eating 5-6 small meals throughout will boost your metabolism. You should eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. However, know that Leptin is released every time you eat and if your leptin levels are already high, you are dumping more of this hormone into your blood stream your body can handle. Another reason for the four- five-hour break is that the first 3 hours after eating, your body is digesting and storing energy from the food…give your body a chance to work on what it has.
3. Do not eat large meals. Eating too much, releases large amounts of insulin in to your body and will eventually lead to the same effect caused by excess leptin. Your body will begin to ignore the insulin and reduce the effectiveness of this hormone in regulating glucose levels.
4. Eat a high-protein low GI breakfast. Eating eggs/egg whites, low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt, seeds, nuts, and Steel Cut oats for breakfast helps regulate your blood sugar levels. A high-carb breakfast can lead to overeating throughout the day. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs - produces only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels. You can search the internet for more info on low GI foods.
September 21, 2011
Why is it that we know what we need to do to reach our goal, but simply don’t do it? Having the freedom to eat and do what we want most of the time, means that we have a choice to make. Take a bike ride or read a book? Go to the gym or go shopping? Eat a cheeseburger for lunch or a salad with fresh veggies and lean protein? Many factors such as time, availability and simply desire affect those choices. It is important to make the healthiest choice when trying to lose weight. This means consciously saying you will skip the bread that arrives first at the restaurant or choosing to plan when you will exercise because you know your actions control the outcome. Take ownership of your health because you have this freedom too!
So, how can we work at making the healthier choice more often? I’d like to recommend monthly and weekly steps you can take to tangibly reach your goal. You will need some sort of log, journal or calendar to get started.
For example, consider cleaning up your diet for weight loss (but you can use this method for increasing exercise or reducing stress).
Choose one goal for the month (eat more vegetables, avoid foods with added sugar, etc.) Then work this goal into your weekly food log
1. Write it down - write what you will eat for each meal of the week.
2. Portion out your food - do this ahead of time for meals at home and away from home.
3. Record your feelings about what you ate, your hunger level and if you were satisfied.
4. Repeat each day!
Remember, taste buds are malleable. You can, and should, retrain your taste buds to prefer healthier food choices that are close to nature. Start by incrementally making over familiar recipes -- breading a chicken cutlet in ground whole-grain crackers instead of white bread crumbs, or substituting a ground turkey and lentil combination for your next hamburger. Even indulgences can be prudent: next time you're looking for a special dessert, try strawberries or almonds dipped in dark chocolate. Your sweet tooth and your diet will be equally satisfied.
There will always be obstacles -- a busy schedule, family obligations, holidays -- but we can plan accordingly. The goal is to strike a balance between the pursuit of wellness and the pursuit of pleasure so that each helps you find the other.
September 14, 2011
For many of us, keeping a schedule is as routine as brushing our teeth in the morning. We get up, make coffee, take a shower, read the paper, go to work, etc (maybe not exactly in that order, but you get the idea). However, when the seasons change, as they do here in the Midwest, there are certain markers that tell us that it is time to change our daily rituals. SEPTEMBER is one of those times.
If you have enjoyed the leisure of long summer days and relaxed summer evenings, you may have found yourself suddenly AWAKENED by the busyness of September!
Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, you are undoubtedly thrown in to the maze of traffic, stop and go bus routes, and the late afternoon barrage of kids looking for something to do after school. We are all affected by this seasonal change in our lives. For some, it is a welcome change having the kids back in school and the house to oneself, but for others, it is a total disruption to the daily routine!!
Finding the right mix of family time, work time and ME time is always the challenge when faced with an overly scheduled life. However, when you take the time to create a schedule each week that includes all of these things, you are more likely to stick to it and fit it all in. The important thing to do is make it work for you each and every day. Some days are busier than others and you simply won’t be able to accomplish all that you set out to do. Being realistic with your expectations for each day and each week will set you up for success every time. Take the time at the end of each week and make note of what worked really well for you. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Make sure to re-create the environment that allowed you to be successful and make that happen each week!
Don’t just make it happen ~ MAKE IT A HABIT!!
September 7, 2011
Everything has a beginning, middle and an end. It’s fun to start a new fitness program! Spirits are high; we have lots of energy about what we’re doing and where we’re going. But somewhere in the MIDDLE…that energy can fade. It becomes more of a challenge to keep our enthusiasm alive.
Having a plan already in place is key when making it through to the end. When the going gets tough is when it’s great to have your Personal Trainer confirm you are right where you need to be and you’re doing all the right things. Reviewing what is motivating you to continue on your path to better wellness can be helpful. Remembering a past experience of success is a good place for your thoughts to be. Sometimes, just a reminder of how far you’ve come can build confidence that carries you to the next corner turned in your progress.
It’s not easy, but as progress is being made (sometimes later than sooner) your newer, better version of yourself emerges. In this sense, you’ve made it! Sometimes a smaller goal is what’s in order to create an accomplishment so we can press forward quicker into that next mini-goal. Breaking your plan down into small segments of time makes larger goals manageable. For example, what can you accomplish by the end of this week? One pound less? Perfect portion-control for one single day…just to start? One extra workout? Tracking your progress is always recommended (by me). That way, when an obstacle appears, you’ll have documentation to reflect on. You’ve left written clues for yourself!
And Beyond: A new beginning! Now that you’ve made it to the finish line, that new weight on the scale, lower body fat percentage, 10th pull up, new way of practicing great nutrition, new posture, new swim suit, new functional strength, faster mile, etc…ask yourself, “Where am I headed next? What is my new goal? How will I get there? What is the desired result?”
By gaining experience and knowing what it feels like to persevere and practice courage, endurance and persistence through the difficult parts of our journey, we open ourselves to new possibilities in our future. Things we could NEVER have imagined! Remember to create a specific plan, begin with the end in mind, celebrate your mini-successes and push forward to the next challenge. A new beginning, middle and end!
August 31, 2011
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” Scientific research now supports that statement and expands on it by proving that biologically we also become, whatever food-production animals such as cows, pigs, and poultry ate. Research published by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), identified corn (by it’s high ratio of carbon 13) as the “overwhelming source of food for tissue (meat) growth for beef and chicken supplied to fast food restaurants.
Todd Dawson, a plant biologist at the University of California-Berkeley, conducted a similar study by testing strands of human hair to determine the amount of corn ingested which then becomes part of our biological make up. He concluded that, “We North Americans look like corn chips on legs.” It is easy to see how this could happen given that total meat consumption in the US increased 63% between 1950 and 2005; and the majority of the meat/poultry we consume were fed corn.
The other area that contributes to our high carbon 13 (corn based) diet comes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Many of you know HFCS is an additive used in soft drinks, juices, condiments, yogurt, peanut butter, and numerous other processed foods. In fact it has become so prevalent that it is hard to find a processed food that does not contain HFCS.
Here are a few suggestions for reducing the amount of corn and corn by-products in your daily nutrition:
1) Choose meat sources that are organic, grass/pasture raised and fed. Poultry should be organic and free-range. Remember we are what they ate.
2) Check out our cupboards and see how many foods contain high-fructose corn syrup. Limit/avoid these in your daily nutrition and look for similar products without HFCS.
3) Instead for reaching for chips and sugary snacks. Add fruits/vegetables to each meal or as snacks.
4) Most importantly become an informed consumer, take and active role in your nutritional health. Remember, everything we consume becomes part of our biological make-up. How it is grown, what it was fed and how it was processed, all contribute to our wellbeing.
"The whole problem of health in soil, plant, animal, and man is one great subject.”
Sir Albert Howard
August 24, 2011
Just when the kids are finally enjoying the fresh fruits and veggies of summer, it’s time to go back to school! Being organized and having some healthy staples on hand will help you continue to feed your kids good, whole foods at school as well as home and fight childhood obesity. This year, send your kids off with a healthy breakfast, a balanced lunch and some energizing snacks. Avoid packaged sugary snacks and drinks and they will stay better focused on their work and play. Stock up on reusable containers with individual compartments for homemade “lunchables” and to keep produce from being bumped and bruised in the backpacks. Try these quick, healthy ideas to add fruits and veggies to each meal:
Plain yogurt sweetened with berries and granola
Whole grain toast, natural peanut butter and banana slices
Oatmeal with fruit and a few nuts
Egg white omelet with salsa
Whole grain crackers and lowfat cheese
Veggie sticks and hummus
Fruit or veggie kabobs with cheese chunks (toothpicks are perfect size to fit in containers)
Whole wheat pita with pizza sauce, shredded cheese and diced veggies
Whole grain cereal, unsweetened dried fruits and nut mix (where allowed!)
Lowfat cheese sticks and an apple
Granola bars (low sugar), ClifKid Z bars, or homemade!
Fruit or veggies with a dip of salsa, hummus, black bean dip, guacamole, etc.
August 16, 2011
By now you have learned that you should MOVE more and eat LESS. And, while I believe this formula can work for most people, there are still those people who have reduced their consumption of food and increased their physical activity and STILL aren’t losing weight!
Do you fall in this category? Have you made significant changes to your diet and exercise routine? Have you hit a plateau that you cannot break through? Perhaps it is time to look HONESTLY at the choice and quality of your foods. In a world where you are bombarded with conflicting nutritional messages and an endless variety of diets tailored to one’s taste, it is hard to know what is real and what is hype.
Take these diets for example:
High Protein, Low Carbohydrate
Low Fat, High Carbohydrate
Vegetarian ~ Vegan
Paleo Diet (aka Caveman diet)
Blood Type Diet
Cabbage Soup Diet
Fat Flush Diet
Meal Replacement plans
Have you tried any or all of these diets? Have you been successful? Have you ever wondered why you don’t stick with these meal plans long term? I would suggest that it is because you have not been providing your body with the proper nutrition that it needs to be fully satisfied. AND, you have lost the ability to read your hunger signals and address them properly. Many of these diets are based on a similar premise ~ calorie restriction. By eliminating certain food groups, you automatically will decrease your overall caloric intake. The challenging part of all of these diets is that for most people, they are unrealistic and unsustainable long periods of time. Unless you begin to change your attitude about food, you will not be able to sustain real change with your weight. Regardless of whether you eliminate the meat, dairy, fat or carbohydrates of a particular “diet”, you first must CHOOSE to eat WHOLE foods free of the chemicals and preservatives associated with most overly processed “diet plans”. The closer you are to eating a whole-food, plant-based diet; the better your chances of sustaining REAL weight loss over time.
I am not suggesting that you ELIMINATE all of the ‘bad’ things from your diet. However, I am suggesting that when you begin to ADD more whole foods to your plate on a daily basis, your cravings (especially for sweets) will begin to subside and you will make healthier choices because you FEEL better!! PLUS… the more green leafy vegetables and whole fruits you eat, the more hydrated your body becomes, thereby reducing the likelihood of those cravings which lead to overeating.
Rather than choosing to eliminate certain foods today… consider what you are going to ADD to your plate that will nourish your brain and satisfy your body!
So, here’s to you… and your health…. What are you waiting for?
August 10, 2011
“…And, your homework for this week is to read this article about the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil”. This is an example of how each Personal Training session with my clients ends. “I’m looking forward to hearing about what you’ve discovered!” Week by week we move toward a more positive place in our fitness process and take home not only the knowledge of the literature at hand (on any given topic), but the knowledge that we, ourselves, have a lot of control when it comes to making the right choices. We create our future success and stay open to the fact that perhaps there is one more thing we can learn about to help us make excellent decisions for ourselves (and families) when it comes to our optimal health.
We can only do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. So, whenever we make an educated decision about our health, workouts, nutrition, or other important areas of life, we can rest assured we are doing our best.
To achieve more we have to know more. Being a life-learner and remaining open to understanding more than what we currently know, or at least have an optimistic attitude toward it, can only propel us forward.
Knowledge is Power. How will you use the new knowledge you actively gain today toward your goals? Use your power to get yourself where you want to be!
(In case you were wondering, in a “nutshell”, the health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength.)
July 27, 2011
In the last article on healing foods I talked about foods we can consume that combat heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Today I will address type 2 diabetes, asthma and allergies, and vision problems. Remember, continue to choose whole foods over processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, choose low fat dairy products, choose lean proteins, include nuts, seeds and legumes, limit sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Type 2 Diabetes
-barley-whole grains to boost body’s ability to turn blood sugar into fuel and it also contains beta-glucan to guard against insulin resistance; 6 servings of whole grain per day
-carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies-tomatoes, mangoes, sweet potatoes, spinach and cantaloupe to decrease inflammation and encourage efficient use of insulin
-legumes - beans and lentils - like whole grains they help regulate glucose levels
Asthma and Allergies
-omega-3 rich foods-fatty fish, ground flaxseed, walnuts-to reduce inflammation and improve lung function
-apples and vitamin-C rich fruits- apples elevate your levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that alters the immune response to allergic triggers
-leafy greens-kale, bok choy and spinach contain two carotenoids that form the yellow pigment in the macula; at least one serving per day
-fish-again the omega-3s to reduce macular degeneration risk; 5-6 servings per week
Try this salad to squeeze in as many of these foods as you can!!!
Blueberry-Walnut Wild Rice Salad
Serves 4 Recipe adapted from Washington Post
Fresh berries, herbs and orange juice are recommended here. This salad may be made up to 2 hours in advance. To boost your omega-3s substitute fish for the chicken and try barley instead of the rice.
Salad: 1/2 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries, washed and drained, stems removed 1/4 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon 2 cups wild rice, cooked and cooled 3/4 cup (6 ounces) cooked turkey breast (or chicken breast), cut into strips or chunks 1 head leafy lettuce 1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into segments Dressing: 1/2 cup orange juice 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 teaspoons chopped thyme 1 tablespoon walnut oil (optional)
1. For the salad: Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Let stand 15 minutes. Add the rice, chicken or turkey and the toasted walnuts.
4. For the salad dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, parsley, thyme and the walnut oil, if desired. Pour over the blueberry-rice mixture and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings.
5. To serve, divide the lettuce and orange segments among individual plates. Top each with some of the blueberry salad mixture. Serve at room temperature.
August 3, 2011
We’ve all said it or at least thought it... “I’ll get those closets cleaned out someday.” “Someday, I’m finally going to lose this weight.” “Someday I’m going to_____ (fill in the blank).” It would be nice if someday was a day of the week but it isn’t. All too often, we fail to take advantage of the time we are given, which results in missed opportunities to achieve our goals. To illustrate this point, I’d like to share a short story adapted in part from Sharon Frame’s A Chance Meeting with Time.
I ran into time today. He was moving with focused and deliberate speed. Hey, “slow down.” “Wait for me,” I yelled. “Take it easy.” “What’s your rush?” Time shot me a cutting glance and said, “I wait for no man, especially those who squander and abuse me.” Then he turned the corner and eased out of sight. I raced ahead to catch up with time but time just kept marching on like an old battle-worn soldier, he moved briskly to the cadence of a familiar drumbeat. Left, right, left right, tick-tock, tick-tock... Time marched on.
But Time’s passing insult had wounded me. It demanded an apology, or at the very least, a proper explanation of the charges laid at my door. When did I ever misuse or waste time, I thought with a huff? Suddenly, as though he heard my vexed protest, time stopped in his tracks and doubled back in my direction.
“What right have you to take offense to the truth?” he snapped. “I was there when you hit your snooze alarm repeatedly instead of getting up and exercising like you said you would. I was there when you said you were going to use me to plan your weekly menu and prep your food so you could eat healthier but instead you watched TV. I’m also there every time you use me as an excuse for not sticking with your goals.” “Step forward with proof if you have used me well.” Time waited for my reply but I stood still. His words pierced my heart and shamed me greatly. I cowered in a dark corner along the road, awestruck and speechless. My mind raced back to the many years lived unspent. The talent, the skills, all wasted as I waited for just the right time.
How clearly now I remember time’s earnest urging back then. “Now is the time,” he kept pressing. “Now is the time to live your dreams. Step out and walk in destiny. Pull on your faith and fly. You have what it takes to excel to great heights.” Oh, yes! I believed! I was convinced time was indeed on my side. But in that very moment of personal triumph, fear slithered in.
“Come now my child, he said, “is all this talk of living your dreams really practical or even realistic? Besides, you’ve got time; time to be cautious, be sure, and play it safe.” Yes, caution ruled that day, and countless others that followed. So now here I stand, beaten down by a life of quiet resignation and empty fulfillment. My dreams are dashed, my hopes long faded, now running very short on time. Can I somehow catch up and redeem the time? Recapture my dreams and truly live my purpose? I grappled desperately for an answer.
Time stood still, touched by my woeful state and shameless tears of regret. He looked at my downcast demeanor and said with a deep sigh; “I will pass this way again but I will not linger nor wait. He who is wise will heed the call to greatness. Those privileged enough to get a second chance, must seize this moment in time and run with determined urgency.”
Whatever your goals are, time will not wait for you to act. Stop waiting for someday, now is the time to act. John M. Richardson, Jr. said “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” Which on
July 20, 2011
As a personal trainer, I have spent the majority of my career telling people what to do, when to do it and how to get it done. And, while that may work for some of the people who seek my services, it doesn’t work for everyone. Have you ever said to yourself “I know what I need to do, I just need to do it!” If that sounds like you, perhaps you should take a minute to assess whether or not you truly are ready to change your behavior. Once you have identified the root cause of your actions, it is easier to identify ways in which you can begin to change those behaviors.
What I have learned as a wellness coach is that clients are most successful when we (together) identify where they are on the continuum of change. Behavioral scientists have recognized 5 stages of readiness to change behavior:
Pre-contemplation ~ I won’t or I can’t in the next six months.
Contemplation ~ I may in the next six months.
Preparation ~ I will in the next month.
Action ~ I am doing it now.
Maintenance ~ I’ve been doing it for at least six months.
Keep in mind that this process applies to EACH behavior that you would like to change. Perhaps you are great at getting in your workouts each week, so for your ‘exercise’ you are in the maintenance stage. GREAT!!!
However, when it comes to changing your eating habits (say, letting go of eating Lucky Charms as a late night snack ) you are more likely in the “Contemplation” stage. You know that you need to change your behavior in order to see the results you wish, but seem to be unable to commit to any real change.
To help you understand your stage of readiness, consider these 5 simple questions:
1. The goal or behavior I want to work on first is:
2. My reasons for wanting to change this behavior are:
3. The obstacles standing in the way of my changing this behavior are:
4. My strategies to overcome my main obstacles are:
5. My goal for the next week with respect to this behavior is:
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: Desire, Emotion, and Knowledge” ~ Plato
Do you have the desire to change? Are you emotionally connected to this change in behavior? And, do you have the knowledge (and tools) to make this change a reality?
July 13, 2011
BE THE ONE. Always be the one to decide what you will do and what lengths you will go to, to reach any goal. Make a list of your “no matter what’s”. “No matter what I will do 20 push ups and drink more water today”. Remember who it is for. Is it for you or someone else? What is it that you value? How badly do you want it?
CHOOSE YOUR PEOPLE WISELY. Who have you purposefully put into your “healthy life” support system? Who are your “go to” people, places, things to get you going in the morning, carry your through the day, and into the evening in a healthy manner? Are the people you surround yourself with good for you? Do they support your lifestyle of healthful living? Do they share the same values when it comes to personal issues such as proper nutrition and the importance of exercise?
MAKE A DECISION. Everything is a choice! How will you choose to be today? How will you eat today? What is the optimal exercise routine for your body for this day? Where is your attitude? How will you allow others to affect your well-being today? Did you remember to say the words, “I CHOOSE” when you woke up this morning? Everything is a choice.
“CHUNK IT DOWN”. Prioritize your goals and choose the order that you’d like to work them. Divide each goal into small parts and tackle each part little by little. Instead of taking on the whole goal all at once, such as losing 10 pounds, choose one part of healthy weight loss. An example would be to focus on portion control for one week.
CREATE. Be the change you wish to see in YOUR OWN life! No more thinking about how it WILL be…BE IT right now! Behave as if you have already reached your goal! Don’t wait. Live it! Get excited because YOU are in charge of this and you’ll make it extra wonderful. Don’t hold back.
MOTIVATE! Find what drives you. Is it that fitness feeling? How clothing fits? Good health? Sports performance? The race? The kids? Figure out what moves you to move!
BE PREPARED. What are your obstacles? What stands in your way of success? Is it manageable? Can you go around it, under it, or over it? Or is it something you need to go through? What is your plan of action to stay on track? Figure it out! Do you have a personal accountability person? What is in your control? What is not? Does your goal need to be reassessed and reconfigured in any way? Plan for obstacles, they are a natural part of life journey. Just knowing they will be part of your road to success will help you get to where you want to be.
ENJOY. Celebrate your successes. Small and large are to be noticed. You went faster on the Stepper than ever before! You’re 3 pounds lighter! You had to walk a little, but you finished the race! You tried on your favorite jeans and they fit! Enjoy these types of successes because they are, indeed, successes! They are also stepping stones to the bigger ones. Every step counts.
What will it take for you? What is YOUR bottom-line?
DO what it takes to reach your goals!
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”.
July 6, 2011
Some people treat their health and well-being as a hobby, meaning they dabble in exercise and occasionally eat healthy. While hobbies and other leisure time activities, are fun and can contribute certain health benefits to ones life such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and improving positive psychosocial states. Hobbies rarely have deadlines.
A goal-oriented method to wellness helps you determine what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to get it. Using the SMART (specific, measurable, action orientated, realistic and timely) goal technique will assist you in setting and achieving your goals with success. Thereby making healthy living an ongoing lifestyle change and not a project that is finished once you’ve lost a certain amount of weight, attended that important event, or fit into a smaller dress/pant size.
If you’ve been using the hobby enthusiast method or if you’ve tried the goal-oriented technique but couldn’t stick with it, here’s a question for you that might change your perspective. If you were given $1 million at birth to cover all your expenses in your lifetime, would you cross your fingers and hope it would last until your final breath? (entreprenuer.com). Most people would look for the best investments with the highest rates of return in order to optimize every dollar. They would have clear goals and criteria for the investments and would monitor the progress regularly to know whether the investments were achieving the desired results. In short, they would not treat the investment of $1 million as a hobby.
Optimal health and wellness is a priceless asset. It’s worth more than $1 million so why dabble in it? Take charge of your most important asset and start setting goals to increase your health capital today.
June 29, 2011
We all eat for a variety of reasons. Are you eating for your health? It should come as no surprise that eating healthy food does more than make us feel good. We can and should eat foods that have been shown to help prevent or control conditions from cancer to arthritis. Keep in mind though, that the basics of good nutrition must be in place before using food as prevention. Choose whole foods over processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, choose low fat dairy products, choose lean proteins, include nuts, seeds and legumes, limit sugar and refined carbohydrates. This week we will look at what research suggests to eat to combat heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
whole grains - oats, brown rice, quinoa and barley - we are looking for 6 servings of these whole grains per day to help lower cholesterol and prevent it from clogging arteries
oily fish - such as wild salmon, sardines and anchovies - contain omega-3 fatty acids to help improve triglycerides, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation; 2-7 servings per week
nuts - walnuts, almonds - also a source of omega-3 and they provide plant sterols to prevent cholesterol absorption, as well as vitamins and fiber; a small handful 5 times a week
olive oil - the healthiest oil choice for cooking, sautéing or using in dressings - provides heart healthy fats, vitamin E and polyphenols to lower “bad” cholesterol
beans - in addition to providing fiber, beans are a source of magnesium which helps to stabilize blood pressure, and folate which decreases levels of homocysteine an amino acid linked to heart disease
leafy greens - spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy - full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals; 2 cups a day
broccoli-full of vitamins, minerals and two powerful cancer fighting chemicals - aim for four servings per week
tomatoes - lycopene rich to shield cells from cancer-causing oxygen damage; choose fresh and canned
berries - full of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants to counteract free radical damage; choose darker berries for more antioxidants
omega-3 rich foods - fatty fish, ground flaxseed -to reduce inflammation; eat one per day
cherries-also to reduce arthritis-related inflammation; consume a variety of berries daily
June 22, 2011
Practicing limits (or boundaries) in physical fitness and mental fitness keeps us safe.
We need to know how much weight we can lift before we make a goal to lift more. When we know our body and what it’s capable of, it’s easier to create a plan that will foster physical growth. If we come in to the fitness center and attempt to lift weights that are far too heavy for us without preparing our body first with smaller weights, good nutrition, ample amount of rest, and consistency, it will be impossible. We not only have a high risk of injury by doing this, but we also look like we’re trying too hard to get somewhere with no positive outcome. We can find our limits by testing various weights and techniques that push us toward our maximum capacity. Then move safely into productive, healthy changes.
We also need to know what our limits are when it comes to keeping our mental self fit and healthy. Knowing our boundaries keeps us within the parameters of practicing our knowledge and skills, safely. If we are trying to grow our confidence, for example, it may be too much to ask to perform a public speech in front of hundreds of people. However, small steps of speaking to small groups (like gradually increasing weight increments while lifting for strength) should be taken to feel stronger and more confident, little by little, to perform well.
Knowing your limits, and practicing within them helps you not only stay safe, but insures that when you’re ready to push your limits toward change, you’ll be ready with strength and confidence.
June 15, 2011
Today’s tip was inspired by an article that recently sent to me by a client and it coincides nicely with the course I have just completed entitled “Plant Based Nutrition” from Cornell University and T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study”, which promotes the health benefits of eating a whole food, plant based diet.
The item I would like to discuss today, though, is sugar (in all forms). The truth is that sugar in any form affects the body in very different ways. Many people recognize that eating too much sugar will add weight to your body and increase the incidence of type 2 Diabetes, yet still I find that people believe that a diet of sugar-free products (read: artificial sweetener) will help them avoid this weight gain and assist people with diabetes to control blood sugar. However, there is NO evidence to indicate that these products are useful for either purpose. Conversely, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually promote weight gain.
One of the reasons that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, and anything with a label stating a product is ‘sugar-free’) enhance weight gain in the body is that the brain’s hormone receptor, leptin, which give us the signal that we are “done” is disrupted. This study published in May 2008 by JAMA showed that “consuming sugar better stimulated the areas of the brain related to desire and expectation, but that after consuming artificial sweeteners, there was a lack of feeling of satiety due to a lack of appropriate feedback”. In short, the brain didn’t feel as satisfied when given the artificial stuff, so it actually stimulated the appetite for sweet foods and enhanced overeating behaviors!
A lot of the confusion started in the 80’s when it was reported that we, as a society, should reduce our FAT intake from 40% of total calories down to 30% of total calories. In the process, we then increased our carbohydrate consumption. The majority of that increase came in the form of soft drinks (41% increase) and fruit juices (35% increase). It is no surprise that we have gained weigh drinking additional sweetened beverages when just 1 soda per day is equivalent to 15lbs per year!!
So ~ if there is one thing you can do for yourself today to better your overall health. Eliminate just ONE soda (or fruit juice) from your diet. If you have already reduced or eliminated soda (diet or regular) from your diet, consider eliminating other sugary treats, snacks or processed foods containing unwanted sugars.
Take this summer to engage your senses, get outdoors, and enjoy working toward that goal!
June 8, 2011
Yield signs, we’ve all seen and probably ignored those point-down equilateral triangles. Yield signs are important on the roadways to regulate traffic flow. They require one person to slow down and give the “right of way” to another in order to prevent accidents and maintain balance in traffic flow. Given that, it is essential to recognize times in ours lives when yielding is beneficial to sustaining and enhancing wellness and balance.
We live in a time-sensitive, highly scheduled, technology driven, and overly stimulated society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans between the ages of 25-54 spent an average 24-hour workday in 2009 on the following activities:
• 8.7 hours working or in work-related activities,
• 7.7 hours sleeping,
• 2.6 hours doing leisure and sports activities, and
• 1.3 hours caring for others, including children
• 2.2 hours doing household work and eating
• 1.5 hours on other activities
While many of us would probably disagree with the distribution of times indicated above, it would appear that most Americans are busy doing something 16.3 hours a day (assuming you get 7.7 hours of sleep). With every moment accounted for, how do you ensure that you are living a life of optimal wellness and balance?
Let’s look at the five components of wellness. When it comes to wellness, most people only think about their physical body. However, mental, emotional, spiritual, social/environmental healths are integral to the total well-being of a person.
• Mental Health the ability to learn and grow intellectually.
• Emotional Health is the ability to deal with, cope with and control emotions so that you feel comfortable expressing them in an appropriate and suitable manner.
• Spiritual Health refers to issues in rightness, order, and belief to a higher being (God) and what you believe.
• Social/Environmental Health is the ability to interact well with people and the surrounding environment, to have accommodating interpersonal relationships
• Physical Health is the actual fitness and condition of the body. It takes into consideration two things, medical health and physical fitness.
Being mindful of your needs in each of the above areas of wellness will help you know when and where to yield in one area in order to grow in another. Listening, yielding, and maintaining a strong sense of personal balance will help you develop a life of optimal wellness.
June 1, 2011
Have you thought about what your summer goals might be yet? What do you want to accomplish by fall 2011? In Michigan we have the opportunity to do and participate in many things outdoors that some of us avoid in the winter months. It may be time to visit the beach again and plan to climb the dunes (a few times!!!). Maybe it is time to explore one of our many State Parks and hike the trails or kayak along the lakeshore or river.
Perhaps you could participate in the Bridge Walk on Mackinac Island this fall (Labor Day, September 5), and train for it over the next 3 months.
How about geocaching? Geocaching is a fun activity that more and more people are trying. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. We know that geocaching is good exercise, particularly when caching in the countryside; plus the mental challenge of thinking like the person that placed the cache that make the mind and body work together to solve the puzzle. Visit the Michigan Geocaching Organization website to find out how to get started: http://www.mi-geocaching.org
One place to begin your search for hundreds of local events is the Pure Michigan website: http://www.michigan.org
Whatever interests you, the steps to getting there are the same. Begin by writing down your goal. Then think about what you’d like to have accomplished by the 4th of July and write down three habits you’d like to be doing toward completion of your goal. Then write 2-3 actionable things to do this week toward those July (half-way!) habits.
To reinforce your success, enlist a friend to join you and be accountable to them, your spouse, kids or trainer!
Take this summer to engage your senses, get outdoors, and enjoy working toward that goal!
May 25, 2011
Spring is here and for many people that means CLEANING!! Cleaning out your closets, clearing away the cobwebs in your sills and getting ready for the warm summer ahead of us.
Keeping your house in order is one thing, but what about your refrigerator and your cupboards? When was the last time you ‘cleaned house’ in your pantry? If you are like most people, you have spices and mixes from the 1990’s in your house (even if you have moved since then!). Why do we hold on to these things? Why do we feel the need to keep things that we know are not good for us or healthy? How can we break the cycle of keeping things that do not fit in our lifestyle anymore? I’d like to challenge you this week to take inventory of your refrigerator, cupboards and pantry. Let’s start with your refrigerator.
Take a look at all of your items and check the dates of opened and unopened items. If they are past due ~ CLEAN them out, THROW them away and RECYCLE the containers. :) Now, go back through and read all of the labels on the remaining food items. Once you have read the labels thoroughly, throw out anything that has the following items listed in the ingredient list:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Red, Blue, Green Dye # (any colors of the rainbow ~ NO!)
While this is just the beginning, if you have anything left in your refrigerator after this exercise ~ CONGRATULATIONS! You have clearly made some good choices when shopping. Now it is time to organize your remaining space in your refrigerator. Stock all of your fruits and vegetables up front and easily accessible. Take the time to cut, slice and prepare whatever you are able to ahead of time so that these foods are what you see first when you reach for a snack mid-day snack.
Now that you have re-organized and cleaned your refrigerator, lets start on your cupboards and pantry. Go through the same exercise of throwing away any OUTDATED foods. Seriously, if you haven’t eaten them by the expiration date, you aren’t going to eat them now. If a local food pantry will take these items, consider donating them, but check with them first to find out what they will take.
Now that you have eliminated the old, outdated foods, go back through and read the labels carefully on all of the remaining items. Throw out all the foods that have any of the above-mentioned ingredients, and remember to RECYCLE. There! Don’t you feel better? Now you have a clear, clean space to fill with healthy choices. Keep in mind, however, that the best choices are those that are whole food and plant-based. What that means is that the foods that you want to focus on for your health are those that come from the ground and are a source of excellent nutrition. Fortunately for you, it is just in time for you to plant your own garden, and visit your local farmer’s market for the freshest, most local foods in your area.
(One View on Fitness and Life)
May 18, 2011
The order of NASM’s Optimal Performance Training teaches that we first build Stability, then Strength, and then Power.
We need to create physical stability before strength and power. We use our core as the springboard from which all good total body fitness comes. What good is it to have strength with no stability? Picture a sturdy foundation before you build ANY structure. Stability lowers the risk of injury (malfunction). You can build beautiful 6-pack abs, but they will not prevent low back pain. You can build a very extravagant home, but just not on a sandy hill. Stability first. It comes from the inside. Consider this a “skill building” time in fitness. If it’s for your physical self, it’s time to create and maintain a sturdy core (foundation) from which to build strength, then power. If it’s in life it’s a good time to revisit core values and how you’ll align your actions with them.
: Once we’ve established a sturdy foundation, a stable core, we can move forward toward building ourselves stronger. Now we can take an action step with confidence. Now we can work on our 6-pack abs.
Put it all together and USE IT!
Unstable times bring out the Strength in us.
Use your BOSU!