Tag archive: health

5

How to Set Effective Goals

It happens before every summer, and every new year: people will make resolutions to lose weight, eat right, and get healthy. Unfortunately, up to 88% of people fall through on their goals in record time. So how can we make our personal goals stick, and avoid the usual pitfalls? Here are a few tips to help with making effective goals on the way to any achievement:

Set Your Horizon:
Your journey cannot begin without a destination. A goal always starts with the driving factor which is the long term outcome you want to achieve. Whether its ”I want to change my eating habits,” ”I want to lose 50 lbs” or, “I want to quit smoking”, you must decide on the end point.

Make a Plan:
To create an outcome is the first step, but it is completely hollow unless it is followed with “I will achieve this by…” This is also the best time to do research. Research may include collecting healthy diet recipes, finding a workout plan that best suits your lifestyle and interests, or browsing the local gyms for one you would feel comfortable working out in. It may also include looking into the success stories of others, and asking questions: some of the best advice you can receive is from someone who has reached a similar goal. The planning stage is the best time to set a realistic deadline for when you want to be successful by. Not only does this keep you on track, it helps you evaluate your progress over time, to better understand how far you can go. (Research is also very useful for understanding what a reasonable timeline is for your specified goal).

Be realistic, and start with small goals:
Once you have determined an end point and a plan to follow, its time to plan a few pit stops. Progress does not happen over night, and small goals help gratify our successes while keeping us focused on the end outcome. If your overall goal is to lose 100 lbs, start with 15, and celebrate your achievement. Start with dropping a pant size, lifting 5 lbs more than you can at the moment, or switching to whole grains. The success of these small goals replenish our drive to reach our final destination, and encourage us through those long phases in between, where it may feel as if we are not getting very far.

Find a support group:
Share your goal with your friends and family, and ask someone to join you on your journey. Exercise partners are a great way to keep yourself accountable, and motivated! Support groups can help facilitate the research portion of your planning, share their own experiences, and help you when you are struggling. In many cases, people find that their immediate friends may not be the most supportive to their plans, but do not be discouraged by this! There are people everywhere who will support you, and you may gain new friends in the process.

Be accountable and honest:
One of the largest pitfalls associated with exercise, health and diet goals is denial, so do not be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Everyone is capable of making an excuse for why they didn’t make their workout, and we all know they’re usually tenuous at best. But the excuse game is in no way is beneficial towards reaching your goal. If you don’t have an excuse, don’t try and make one. Acknowledge your slip up, take responsibility, and move on. It is only through acknowledging our faults, weaknesses, failures and slip ups, that we are able to meet them head on and achieve better in the future.

Do not succumb to guilt:
Regret over an indulgence or a missed workout often leads to an entire guilt trip, causing the person to fall further and further behind on their goals, or starting all over, which we know can be so discouraging. Many people also consider their exercise to be, “all or nothing.” Slipping up once, means its just not going to happen for them. This is ridiculous! So you skipped the gym, so you had that cupcake, is it worth throwing everything away? Mistakes happen, and so do missed workouts. You may not feel good about it, but it is not the end of the world. Pick up where you left off, because lamenting gets you no closer to your goals. Those who wallow in guilt rather than face their problems head on are more likely to repeat the guilty action, or fall out of the habits entirely. Do not be a victim of your guilt!

Keep Track:
Write everything down. Your weight, what you eat, what weight you were using for your reps, everything. By having the information handy, not only can you see where you are progressing and have a better understanding of how to increase your intensity at a reasonable rate, but you can also see where your weaknesses are. Does your weight shoot up after a lazy weekend? Are you not eating as healthily as you should when you’re out of the house? Tracking your progress on a regular basis helps you evaluate your patterns, and improve upon them.

Reward yourself in the proper ways that promote your new, healthier lifestyle:
 A reward for your hard work should motivate you to move further, not act as a setback. There is something so counterproductive about treating yourself to sweats for succeeding in healthy eating, or taking a week off at the gym to celebrate six months of consistency. Try little treats that will excite you about your health and fitness – a new workout outfit or a new piece of equipment you’ve been eying, new supportive shoes, a day at the beach, a new supplement, or something that reminds you of what it took to achieve. Also, ensure that the reward match the accomplishment; losing that first ten 10lbs is a huge step in the right direction, but not quite worth that trip to Africa. Save that for your last ten lbs when you can show off your beach body with pride.

Most importantly, never stagnate!
Continue to make regular, active goals, even once you have achieved your milestone. The ceaseless drive to improve and the endless pursuit of success will always enrich your life. Once you have achieved your endpoint, strive for personal bests, better diet, harder muscles, anything that will keep you chasing happiness and health! The fulfillment of your triumphs will inspire others, and leave many memories for you to be proud of.

What do you want to achieve? What are you waiting for? You can do anything, as long as you make those first few steps.

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6

Spicy Sweet Potatoes!

I love sweet potatoes. Before I started eating clean, I had no interest in them, but they have become one of my favourite carbs to enjoy with my meals. And as a result, they have made their way not only into my every day diet, but to my holiday meals!

This recipe is one of the most delicious, indulgent-tasting holiday foods I have made to date, and I serve them as often as possible, to incredible rave reviews!

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

  • 1-3 Sweet Potatoes, depending on the size.
  • 1/2 tbsp Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp Cayenne, depending on your spice tolerance.
  • 1 handful crushed walnuts (if desired)
Directions
  • Peel and slice the sweet potato into discs approximately one half inch to one inch thick
  • Boil for approximately 20 minutes, until they are soft enough to be pierced through with a fork, without force.
  • Drain and mash, add your spices. If needed, add a small amount of water to help the mashing process.
  • Add crushed walnuts for presentation.
  • Enjoy!!
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Despite our best efforts, even the fittest people can fall sick.  What inevitably follows is the struggle whether or not to work out based on our condition – can we push through? Should we take a rest day? Will we make ourselves feel worse?

The best way to determine whether or not you should be hitting the gym while ill is to follow the neck up rule, which stipulates that if your symptoms are mostly felt from your neck up (sore throats and coughs, runny noses and congestion, headaches and so on), then you’re good to push through a moderate workout – modify where you need to, but don’t be afraid of getting your sweat on.

If, on the other hand, your symptoms fall below the neck (chest congestion, nausea, stomach flu, etc), then you’re better off taking an extra rest day to recover rather than make yourself any worse. The one exception to this rule that need be noted is a fever: if you have a significant fever, skip the workout to prevent overheating your body.

Follow this simple rule, and you’ll be back on the path to consistency in less time than you’d expect!

 

 

November 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm no comments
4

Tips for Getting Through the Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was written for Muscle and Strength

The advent of Thanksgiving commences the holiday season; a time for togetherness, giving, and of course, lots of delicious dinners and desserts. What is a health oriented individual to do when it seems everyone else is indulging?

The holiday season is a difficult time to stick to health goals as we all know — certainly contributing to the upcoming New Years’ Resolutions surrounding wellness. But this does not mean we should throw our carefully crafted discipline to the wind! So in light of the approaching holiday challenges, I present to you my survival tips for making it through the holidays with a clear conscience, no guilt or regrets, and less worries for your waistline.

Don’t go hungry. Temptation is much easier to resist if your stomach is not growling at you. Save overindulging later by eating breakfast and lunch on holiday dinner days. This way, you will not feel ravenous while selecting what you put on your plate.

Watch portion sizes. Follow the Plate Proportion Rule:Protein and carbs should make up 1/4 of your plate, whereas veggies should take up half. By setting a visual guideline for yourself, you will prevent overindulging on filler such as mashed potatoes and gravy, and ensure you get a serving of vegetables that you may have otherwise passed on. Fill your plate reasonably, and avoid seconds. The second helping will not taste better than the first!

Be condiment conscious. Have your vegetables without the cheese sauce and your meat without the skin or fat. The slimmer alternatives are just as delicious, and you will save an enormous amount of calories. Do not add extra salt, and you will avoid bloat. NO Gravy! Gravy is as empty in nutritional value as a soda, and just as potent in calorie content. Avoid!

Eat slowly. Allow your mind the time it requires to communicate appetite satiety to the rest of your body. Holidays are often culprits of overeating, given the tendency to enjoy as much as we can, as quickly as we can. Everyone has had the experience afterwards of “I ate too much!” Avoid this by savoring your food, and reap the rewards.

Do not consume empty calories. Liquids, such as wine, beer, juice and soda, contain no nutritional value. Each is filled with sugar and calories that we often not even considered when we eat. Save these calories for the food; stick with water. Not only will you be able to enjoy more, but water consumption will help you feel more full.

Stick to your guns. Aunt Mabel shouldn’t guilt you into having her famous cheesy potatoes if they are not part of what you have allotted for your planned plate. Remember that these are your goals, and what someone else does, or says, does not affect you. Only you have the power to improve yourself. Do not give that up!

Have some. Just be wise. Remember that indulging every now and then is perfectly acceptable! In fact, it has been shown that those who ‘cheat’ occasionally, are more likely to stick to their diets in the long run. This is a result of satisfaction; it is easy to resent your healthy choices if you receive no enjoyment.

Like a child who knows good behavior will earn him periodic privileges, we can accept our parameters, if the payoff is worth it. In the end, if you choose this option, just be wise about your choices. The piece of pie may not turf your results, but a whole pie and whipped cream might. Be reasonable.

To conclude, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to any comments or tips you might have about how you make it through the holidays in a healthy way!

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2

Easy Diet Tips that can Change Your Body!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was written for ActivewearUSA.

Eat breakfast.  I cannot stress enough the importance of eating within an hour of waking. Not only does this fuel you with adequate energy for the day ahead, it also jump-starts your metabolism, which will keep you burning calories and fat at an elevated rate throughout the day. And I know for those who don’t eat breakfast, the majority will respond they just can’t eat breakfast because it unsettles the stomach.  You need to STOP making this excuse! The reason your stomach doesn’t respond well to breakfast is because you aren’t used to it; like any diet change, it takes time to adapt. Stop whining, start eating breakfast, and in two weeks, you’ll no longer have an issue.

Eat every two to three hours.  Nearly everyone in the modern world understands or has heard that the traditional three meal schedule we structure our society around isn’t the healthiest or most effective way to eat. Instead, try eating five to six smaller meals throughout the day, spaced apart by two to three hours.  This keeps your metabolism running smoothly because there are no long stretches without fuel; when those periods happen, your metabolism drops off and your body tries to conserve energy.  Smaller meals are also more comfortable for your digestive system; no bloating, no “I ate too much” feelings, because you will have never allowed yourself to get that hungry!

Eliminate empty liquid calories.  Nothing you drink should have caloric or sugar content. You gain no satisfaction from the surprising amount of calories you drink, nor is there truly any nutritional value that warrants their consumption. This includes soda, alcohol, and juice – yes, juice. It’s not as healthy as you think!  One serving of orange juice is a whopping 250 calories with 20 grams of sugar!  (Comparatively, a can of Coke has 27 grams.)  Instead, opt for zero calorie beverages such as water or tea. Not only will you remove excess sugar from your diet, you’ll flush toxins from your system, gain more energy, see improvements in your skin, and reduce cellulite!

Even if you cannot remove liquid juices entirely, consider removing one can of soda a day which saves you around 679 calories and 189 grams of sugar a week!

Make “processed” a dirty word.  There should be no room in your diet for processed foods. This means anything that has been fried, pre-cooked, and packaged, such as frozen dinners and junk food (chips, chocolate, soda, even non-natural peanut butter; all these items have been processed). Instead, opt for things in their natural or whole state; buy your meat uncooked and prepare your own meals, invest in whole fruits and vegetables, and look for natural peanut butters. By removing the preservatives and unncessecary chemicals from your system, you will feel more energetic, and your body will function more efficiently!

Consider simple replacements.  Switch from white bread and rice to whole wheat and save yourself the additional processing that these foods undergo. Switch out your normal yogurt for a no-fat Greek yogurt and save mass amounts of sugar while gaining protein.  Switch from regular to natural peanut butter and lose fat.  Replace your condiments with low-sodium, low-sugar versions and watch your bloating and water weight disappear.

These are a few easy steps you can take to make positive changes in your diet, your health, and your overall fitness outcomes. Now isn’t that worth it?

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