What’s Your Achilles Heel?

I recently read an alarming statistic. It was in the July edition of the Consumer Reports ‘On Health’ publication. It’s been widely reported for years that excess abdominal fat puts added stress on the heart, which increases the likelihood of heart failure.


In this story, they reported on a new analysis that involved 12 studies and more than 360,000 people. They found that every 4-inch increase in waist size added a 29% chance of heart failure.

WOW!!! That sounds painful. And preventable. There’s no way I’m gonna let my gut put me in an early grave. Or cause me to have my chest cracked open. Sure seems like enough of an incentive to change a few habits, doesn’t it?

Personally, I’d rather eat right and exercise than have that hanging over me. How about you?

This week we wrap up this month’s habit on “calories”. And that completes our 6 months of healthy habits. Something I like to refer to as “The 6 Pillars of Health & Wellness”.

In this final post of the series, I’d like to focus on where we can get tripped up when we’re trying to make healthier choices. It’s a very common problem that derails far too many people.

But I’m not going to leave you there. We’ll discuss ideas to help you avoid these pitfalls so you can stay on track for better health.

There are plenty of things that are vying for your attention… Like other people, your work, interests or hobbies, the media, social media, smartphone notifications, and your thoughts.

I realize that your list may be longer. And in most cases, aside from the good that you may gain from some of them, these “attention grabbers” usually result in one thing.


They’re a distraction to your health & wellness initiative.

The point being, when you are trying to make healthier choices and build better habits, it’s very easy to get tripped up despite your good intentions when life happens.

As Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful) often says on Shark Tank, “Stop the madness!”.

You intend to eat something nutritious, but you’re on the run and grab a highly processed snack instead because it’s fast and easy.

You think, “but it says ‘low fat’; or ‘lightly sweetened’; or ‘organic’… So it must be okay.” Maybe it’s a power bar or a sports drink.

That’s good for you, right? Not exactly!

Or worse, you stop at a drive-thru. NOOOoooo!!!

Here are some places (and ways) where you can get derailed:

  • A hectic work schedule
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Vacation
  • Business trips
  • Family functions
  • Going out with friends
  • Holidays
  • Late nights
  • Old habits
  • Running behind schedule
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Good (but sometimes deceptive) marketing

Or just fill in the                         .

Think about what trips you up. Your Achilles Heel.

So what can you do?

How can you take control, at least most of the time?

I have some ideas:

  1. Keep snacks with you. For example, I like to keep bags of nuts on hand. Like at my desk, in my car, and in laptop bag. And fresh fruit and veggies for the day while I’m on the road.
  2. Prepare and pack those snacks in advance to grab on the run. Otherwise, spare a few extra minutes before you leave to get them together. And remember your water too.
  3. Brown bag it. This makes your lunch decision easy and healthy. And it will probably save you a few bucks too.
  4. Eat before you go out. Yep, especially if you’re going to a function, a party, or even dinner. This way you’ll have had something nutritious and won’t be starving. Which could cause you to opt for less healthy choices. Then you can just “pick” while you’re out.
  5. Eat to 80% full. Your brain will catch up with your stomach if you give it a few minutes. And you’ll feel much better. Think about those times when you think or say “I’m so full”, or “I ate too much”. How do you feel during those moments?
  6. Avoid fast food like the plague. I know it’s difficult sometimes when you’re out. It seems like 90% of your ‘options’ are garbage when you’re trying to eat clean. And they are unfortunately! That’s where the first 3 or 4 tips above can help.
  7. Don’t let 5 + 2 = 0. This is where you work hard to stay on track all week, only to throw it all away on the weekend. Late nights and some alcohol will usually sabotage your efforts. I’m not suggesting that you avoid having fun. Just trying to bring awareness to a vicious cycle that can leave you wondering why nothing is working. But it’s one you can easily fix.
  8. Get balanced. Aim for 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat with every meal. Opt for quality – complex or fibrous carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat whenever possible.
  9. Strive for 95, as Carol Merlo puts it. Stop chasing perfection, and beating yourself up when you fall short. Perfection isn’t practical so set your sights on getting it right 95% of the time. And lighten up a little.

As we wrap up the last post of our 6-month series, I want to say thank you. You’ve come a long way.

If you participated in this program, congratulations!!!

I am very proud of you.

And you should be too. And thank you for keeping me accountable.

I would love to hear how this has helped you. What was most beneficial? And most challenging?

Your feedback is always greatly appreciated.

If you’re new to us and would like to learn about these 6 habits, and how to incorporate them into your life, you can link back to the first post of the 6-month series here.

Question_markQuestion: Would you be interested in a program that teaches you these 6 Pillars of Health & Wellness in more detail?

Let me know. If not, let me know what you would be interested in.

As I create new posts I would like to incorporate your interests into meaningful content.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? Will you take action? What else would you like to see in future posts?

If you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Are You Nutritionally Challenged?

We all know that improving our nutrition by eliminating refined sugar and processed food from our diet (or at least significantly reducing it) will result in amazing benefits. And these benefits will pay us tremendous dividends over time.

“Essentially, you’re investing in yourself. So it’s the best investment you’ll ever make!” ~ John Dolan

But what does “improving our nutrition” actually mean?

Well, this month is about calories. And as we’ve already established in The 6th Habit Is Here, calories are not a habit. But the role we allow them to play in our lives is essential.

Not only for how we look and feel. It’s the quality of the calories we consume and burn that will have a significant positive impact in the short term on our mood and happiness. And long-term on our overall health & wellness and quality of life.

I would like to begin this post by clarifying something.

When I use the word “DIET”, I am referring to everything you eat, and drink. The foods you consume every day to nourish and fuel your mind and body.


Unprocessed, whole foods. Prepared “clean” without a lot of added butter, breading, or heavy creamy (high-fat) sauces.

And NOT:

  • Some restrictive, calorie-cutting regimen that leaves you hungry or craving more after every meal.
  • A “program” you have to buy and then follow by purchasing a lot of exotic ingredients.
  • A bulk supply of a magic pill or supplements you need to buy.
  • A quick fix cleanse or crash program to drop a “quick 40”.

These are not only dangerous and expensive, they’re usually bogus. Unsustainable for any length of time, which doesn’t lead to a healthy lifestyle. It’s quick fix for a quick buck. More like a scam than a diet.

Instead, consider the following as you design your healthy lifestyle:

Think grilled instead of fried. Steamed instead of sautéed in butter. Marinate or dry rub instead of cream or barbecue sauce. Fresh or raw as in fruits and veggies, or nuts and seeds.

Portion control & plate management instead of restrictive limitations or severe calorie counting.

Look at the big picture by focusing on developing long term habits. Lose the quick fix mentality and need for immediate gratification.

Or the “I need it now” approach… As in, “I know I’m 40 pounds overweight, but I need that ‘beach body’ for the summer. Oh crap, it’s already June. I need an extreme diet so I can be ready for the 4th of July!”


Have these modern trends caused us to become this lazy and nutritionally illiterate? Or delusional? Looking for the fastest shortcut.


My goal for this post is to raise awareness about the “calorie side” of nutrition and exercise. The only way I know how to get it done. By eating cleaner for better quality calories, and exercising more intensely to maximize calorie burn.

Are you giving yourself the best possible nutrients? Or have you been cutting corners and depriving yourself by consuming fast food and processed crap ‘cause you’re supposedly busy?

How about your exercise? Are you going at it with intensity and vigor? Or just going through the motions with little enthusiasm, and experiencing lackluster results?

You know the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

I can tell you first-hand that by incorporating our 6 Healthy Habits into your life, amazing things will begin to happen. But you need to be patient. And disciplined.

How? You already know… By making the “right” choices every day. Before you know it the results start flowing.


And then momentum kicks in!

Hey, I never told you this would be easy. But it’s really not that hard either. It’s just not going to happen overnight. So learn to enjoy the struggle. And the challenges along the way. It’s invaluable feedback that you’ll never forget.

It’s YOUR choice!

So let me give you some suggestions:

  1. Learn more about nutrition (good and bad) so you can start to make better choices.
  2. When you eat out, ask your server to have your meal prepared how you want it.
  3. Look at food labels or nutritional values before selecting something. There’s definitely an app for that. Be wary of excess sugar, sodium, and ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  4. Make a commitment to yourself to make healthier choices by planning in advance.
  5. Learn to be grateful. For everyone and everything in your life. For the opportunity and ability to change your situation. For the results you are achieving… Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty to be grateful for. Even if you’re just beginning this journey.

What else can you do?


It’s time to clean house! Literally…

Remove any temptation of unhealthy, processed snacks and junk in your home.


Get a clean garbage bag and toss it all! Yes, toss it. All of it. Seriously…

It’s not doing you any good. So why keep it around?

And don’t give it away, or worry about how much you spent on it. Just dump it and move on.

Treat it like poison.

Can you do it?

If you found a poisonous substance in your home, what would you do? Exactly… So do it!

You’re welcome.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? Will you take action? What else would you like to see in future posts?

If you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

This Pisses Me Off!

Do you know people who are afraid of things?

Like heights, spiders, flying, snakes, failure…?

How about when it comes to food?

No, not broccoli or Brussel sprouts. I’m referring to anyone that fears carbohydrates. Or fat.

I hope you’re not one of them! For the record, I’m not either, but it pisses me off to hear someone say it! Mainly because it’s so wrong. But “supposed” authorities will tell you otherwise to promote their agenda, book, quick fix supplements, or new “magic” claim.

Your body can NOT survive without the 3 macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat. So don’t believe it when you’re told that you should eliminate any of them.

Here’s my take. It’s all about how you look at it. Carbs are not bad. But some are better for you than others. And there are some you should consider avoiding altogether. Especially if you need to lose weight and get in shape.

They’re just not going to help you achieve your goal.

So go for the healthier, more nutrient-dense carbs. Like raw or steamed veggies, fresh fruits, and whole instead of refined grains. And avoid the less healthy, highly processed options.

The same can be said for fat and protein as well. Focus on the highest quality choices.

Last week I made a comment about how the quality of your calories matters. For example, if you were planning to have a mid-afternoon snack, you could:

  • Eat an apple with a scoop of peanut butter and a bottle of water.
  • Have a bag of chips with onion dip and a can of Pepsi.
  • Grab a Snickers from the vending machine with a can of diet soda.
  • Stop by McDonalds for a cheeseburger, fries, and a small soda.
  • Have a cup of coffee and a cigarette.
  • Skip the snack, become ravenous, stop by happy hour for a beer, then overeat at dinner.

The point being, you could approach your snack in many ways. And the quality of the contents that you’re “fueling” your body with will have an impact on both the short term. Like your energy level in the next few hours. And in your long term future. Like your waistline, resting heart rate, and cholesterol.

Hey, it’s the Compound Effect in its simplest form. And it’ll work for or against you. Based on what you do or don’t do.

And I can’t help but make another related point. Not only does the quality of your calories matter. The quality of the protein, carbs and fat that you consume every day matters.

For example, carbohydrates should typically make up about 50% of your daily calories. And to continue the comparisons, you’ll benefit way more from eating a plate of raw veggies with hummus over a bagel with cream cheese. Or a piece of fruit instead of a slice of pie. How about a handful of peanuts instead of a candy bar (even if the candy has nuts in it).

And we need to let fat make up at least 20% of our daily calories. Yes, even if you’re over-weight and trying to slim down. Healthy fat and Omega 3 fatty acids (mostly found in certain fish) are your friend.

So consider a small cup of olives instead of chips and salsa. Or a handful of nuts or seeds instead of a few cookies. How about some olive oil with fresh lemon juice as a salad dressing instead of the creamy ‘whatever’ option?

The devil is in the details… And your choices matter!

For you, and for those around you.

If you’re thinking, “C’mon John! Pick up the pace and tell us something we don’t already know”. Then I have to ask, “If this is so basic, then why are vending machines still around? Why are there SO MANY fast food joints? Why are supermarkets so stocked with junk food? Why are two-thirds of us over-weight? Why are healthy lunch choices so difficult, unless you bring your own?”

Obviously it’s because too many people are still buying this crap! And it needs to stop!

It blows my mind that people can be so lazy, uninformed, and neglectful about their health & wellness?

This is the ONE and ONLY body they we get to drive.

Each of us are unique and amazing miracles! We have ONE lifetime to work it out. And that one lifetime affords us so many chances and opportunities to get it right.

time bombBut the clock is ticking…

So WTF are you waiting for???

Getting back to my initial comments about fearing things. Like carbs and fats. Here’s what I think more people should be afraid of:

  • Sugar.
  • Fast food.
  • Processed food.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Being over-weight.
  • A sedentary lifestyle.
  • Heart disease, including a heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Cancer.
  • Having to rely on prescription drugs.
  • Dying too young because they didn’t take better care of themselves.

A lot (and possibly all) of this could be prevented with better nutrition and exercise. And it all starts with the choices we make, which influence the habits we build, and impacts the disciplines we develop. You have more control over your future than you possibly realize.

So it may be that the enemy within is your choices. And the result of your ignorance about nutrition. Or your preference of taking the comfortable and easy road instead of the one less traveled. Whatever it is, you can change your direction. The ball is in your court.

And please, please, please…

Don’t buy into extreme or highly restrictive diets. Stay away from quick fix claims. Like lose 30 pounds in 30 days. These DIETS are not sustainable. And the odds are stacked against you. Unfortunately, you will eventually end up gaining it all back, and then some.

And finally, stay away from gimmicks, like what I am about to show you below. You’ve gotta check this out. It’s freakin’ unbelievable!!!

Weight-Loss GIMMICKSWhatever you do, DON’T buy this crap!

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? Will you take action? What else would you like to see in future posts?

If you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

The 6th Habit Is Here

You have 5 months of healthy habits to your credit. Awesome!

You do, right?

It’s a new month and we are launching our 6th and final habit.


So what is it? Drum roll please………………

Your 6th healthy habit is………… CALORIES.

If you’re thinking – WTH? Calories aren’t a habit! Then you would be correct. But stay with me and I will make it abundantly clear.

Calories play an important role in our lives. And some would lead you to believe that it’s all about calories in & calories out – PERIOD.

It’s not! But in a way, it is. However, there’s way more to it. So over the next 4 weeks we will unpack this and make it simple to understand and follow. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.


Science has proven that a difference in the number of calories taken in vs. the number of calories burned will result in either a loss or an increase in body weight, over time. It’s indisputable; however, there may be other factors at play.

So my goal for this post, and the next 3 is to increase your awareness on the topic of “calories”. And to help you incorporate some meaningful healthy habits around this important yet misunderstood topic.

I will help you learn how to turbocharge your own metabolism and turn your body into a fat-burning machine that starts to build lean muscle. And this can only happen with great nutrition and intense exercise.


Let’s begin with some calorie basics.

  1. What’s a calorie?

A calorie is simply a unit of energy. Nutritionally, calories refer to energy “consumption” based on what we eat and drink. And energy “usage” through physical activity.

  1. Why are calories important?

We need energy (calories) to live. And we acquire this energy directly from the food and drinks we consume. Without this energy we wouldn’t survive.

  1. How many calories do you need?

We each have a specific number of calories that our bodies require to function properly. Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is a metric that quantifies the actual number of calories your body needs to consume daily, including any calories you burn during exercise and physical activity.

TDEE is calculated by scaling your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR; not BMI) to your level of activity. Your BMR is the amount of energy expressed in calories that your body needs to function at rest.

But don’t try to calculate this manually. There are plenty of good online calculators. Click here for a TDEE calculator.  And if you’d like to calculate your BMR separately, click here.

Your TDEE calculation is the first step in identifying your daily energy / calorie requirements. And remember, as your weight, body mass, age, and activity level changes, so does your TDEE.

  1. What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the main components of our diet. Macronutrients perform vital functions and supply our bodies with energy (aka calories). The 3 main types of macronutrients our bodies need include protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

  1. Calorie math. Let’s take a closer look at how these add up.
  • Protein contains 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
  • Fat contains 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram*

*Alcohol is obviously not a macronutrient as it is not necessary for survival. But it does provide energy, and the calories do add up. In the United States, a standard drink (which is defined as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits) contains 14 grams of pure alcohol. So at a minimum of 100 calories per drink with NO nutritional value, it’s easy to see why alcohol is referred to as “empty calories”.

  1. Quality matters.

Bigtime! As it does with so many things in life, the quality of your food choices makes a big difference. And it’s not only limited to the food you consume. It includes the intensity you put into your exercise. There’s that “calories in – calories out” thing again.

Best practices.

  1. If you’re trying to lose weight, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep a food journal. This will allow you to eventually evaluate what you’re actually eating. Keep it for a week (or two if possible). Track everything you eat and drink by date and time. Also note exactly what you consumed, including the size of your portion or volume of the container. The purpose of the food journal is to simply track everything you consume. Not to judge it or over-think it. You need a point of reference, and there’s nowhere better to start than where you are today. Remember, we’re trying to make better choices, to build better habits, which will ultimately develop the right disciplines for lasting results and lifelong happiness.
  1. Weigh yourself every morning. As long as you understand that sometimes your weight will fluctuate based on what you did or didn’t do the day before. You may also retain water differently on some days. So don’t be consumed by the number day by day. The main point about doing this every day (at about the same time and under the same conditions) is for the feedback you receive. That number starting back at you can give you clues as to what’s working and what may not be. And that information is invaluable.
  1. Wear a heart rate monitor when you exercise. This will help you measure your exercise intensity and track your actual calorie burn. Go to polar.com for options.

We have only skimmed the surface here. Next week we will continue the discussion.

FitnessBut there’s one last thing before we wrap up. Tracking is a big key to my success. However, there is one thing I don’t want you to calculate. That’s your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an inaccurate, ridiculous statistic that means nothing. So I want you to forget about it.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? Will you take action? What else would you like to see in future posts?

If you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.