Sleep On This!

The Health Triad is REAL

It is a simple and very effective approach to great health and longevity. It’s personal development at its finest.

Quality sleep

Unfortunately, it doesn’t market as well as the attention-grabbing, quick-fix weight-loss gimmicks that are so prevalent in the health & wellness industry.

Why?

Because unlike quick-fix, effort is required with The Health Triad. And the results take time.

Quality sleep

We wrap up our 3-part series this week. You can review Parts 1 and 2 in the links below:

Part 3 is about the importance of quality sleep. But not just quality. Quantity matters too. Between 7 to 9 hours every night.

So how do you determine where you fall in that range? You can find your “Goldilocks” zone by waking up without an alarm clock.

Let’s say you determine that 7 hours is too little; and 9 is too much. But 8 hours is “just right” for you to feel recharged and rejuvenated.

If your alarm clock sounds at 6:00 AM every morning, you may be wondering, “How am I going to get 8 hours of good quality sleep? It’s impossible.” Well, it’s easy math, but you may not like the answer.

Quality sleep

If you find it difficult to get to sleep on time based on your current routine, you may need to set a go to bed alarm at 9:45 until it becomes a habit so you’re in bed by 10. Nighty night!

This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re getting up early, exercising regularly, and working your ass off all day long. By 9:00 PM you’ll be exhausted and wanting to hit the sack. But we also need to realize there will be special exceptions along the way.

Earlier this year I created a program called “The 6 Pillars of Health & Wellness”. In it, I did a 4-part segment on sleep. So I’ve included links below.

You would think sleep is one of the easiest things you can do. And for some of us, it is. But that’s not true for everyone. Many adults have a difficult time trying to get to sleep (like my wife). Which could make getting your required 7 to 9 virtually impossible.

You can prove how crucial sleep is by conducting your own experiment; on the weekend of course. Aim for only 4 to 6 hours of sleep by setting your alarm. Or if you’ve recently had a late night with limited sleep, that will work too.

Quality sleep

How did you feel the next day when you were sleep deprived? Not exactly focused, productive or energetic, right? Would irritable, lazy and disoriented be a better description?

It’s a great example of the importance of getting adequate sleep.

If you struggle with getting to sleep, I would like to pass on a few sleep-inducing tips from the experts. Here are a couple of articles that I found to be informative on the topic.

You’ve probably seen some or all of these tips before. And you may be thinking (or yelling), “These don’t work for me!”. My advice would be to relax and try to give it some time.

One or two nights is not enough. I would suggest approaching it like a new habit. By giving yourself at least 3 to 4 weeks to try new things and let them take shape.

Besides, what do you have to lose?

There are massive benefits when you’re able to log 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep every night. So please do whatever you can to make this a priority for YOU!

I’ll leave you with a very interesting quote from the National Institutes of Health. “Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety”.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value (and tranquility) in this week’s post.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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Straight From The Heart!

Last week I asked everyone to consider a walking program. Especially if you’ve been sedentary and are looking for a way to start moving for better health.

power_walking

I hope that I was able to inspire you to take action!

In that post, I attempted to use my own experiences and setbacks to help you get creative about finding alternative ways to exercise. So just in case you’re still not moving, I’m going to take another shot.

This week I’m going to get really personal. This message is straight from the heart. Literally…

chest_pain

It started with chest and arm pain on my left side last Saturday.

I thought it was odd, yet knew these 2 symptoms were something to pay attention to. But I wanted to give it some time to see if the pain would subside, which I don’t recommend.

I thought, “I’m a healthy 53-year old. This can’t be the early signs of a heart attack, can it?”.

After about 2 hours, I became a bit more concerned. So I mentioned it to my wife. And unlike mine, her good judgement took over. No more waiting to see if it would pass. Next thing, we were in the car driving to the Emergency Room.

They immediately brought me in and took my vitals, which were a little higher than normal. And the pain was becoming a bit more uncomfortable. Not excruciating, but concerning.

I couldn’t understand what was happening. I take great care of myself, and I’m in very good shape as a result. I do everything I write about in this blog, and then some. Including focusing on The Health Triad. A concept that evolved from the success of my daily activities. And the disciplines I maintain with my nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

So why was I experiencing symptoms of an impending heart attack?

It just didn’t make sense. But far better to get checked out and be safe than ignore warning signs and have something tragic happen.

call_911

Take Away # 1: If you experience chest pain, or any of the common heart attack-related symptoms, heed the warning and call 911 immediately.

Here’s a list of symptoms you should never ignore.

Fortunately, “chest pain” symptoms are treated as a priority with medical professionals.

The emergency room and hospital staff conducted a number of tests to identify the source of the pain. And to make sure that a heart attack hadn’t already occurred.

Thank God my heart was fine!

I had an overnight hospital stay so they could monitor my symptoms and conduct more tests.

It’s difficult to sleep in the hospital with all of the noise and poking. But more on that next week.

The next day, the pain was gone. Very strange…

But this is not a self-serving, sympathy-seeking account of my weekend. There’s a point, and here it is.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.

And there are 2 reasons I am sharing my story:

  1. To raise awareness, and
  2. To promote prevention

Awareness is important. But I believe that prevention is equally as, or even more important.

prevention

Although we can’t prevent death, we can live longer by preventing an early death. And many of these Top 10 causes are preventable.

This is where the quality of your health & wellness compounds in a good way and becomes so beneficial.

It starts with making the right choices. These choices enable us to build better habits. And finally, our good habits are the foundation for developing the long-term disciplines that lead to a healthy lifestyle. We’ll talk more about this in 2 weeks.

Take Away # 2: If you are sedentary and overweight, you need to start helping yourself by getting into shape and back to good health.

I can’t imagine how concerned I would’ve been about the symptoms during and after my hospital stay if I were sedentary and overweight. Instead, I was calm and had confidence that I would be okay. And I am.

I realize there are no guarantees. And none of us are invincible. But the odds are our favor if we are at a healthy weight and in great shape. So it’s essential that we take better care of ourselves.

take_care_of_yourself

And if you find it difficult to do it for yourself, perhaps there are others in your life who depend on you. This may be the leverage you need to get motivated to take action.

It’s very simple. We are defined by our choices. So find your “WHY” and choose wisely.

And if you smoke, do whatever you can to quit as soon as possible.

In closing, I am so grateful that everything turned out well. I am also thankful for the unwavering efforts of the nurses, doctors, and hospital staff. They all go above and beyond to care for complete strangers. They save lives and are all heroes in my book!

I hope you found value in this week’s post.

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? I welcome your feedback.

What’s your Win to be Thin?

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.

What’s Your Exercise Alternative?

ExerciseI have a question for you… Do you exercise?

If the answer is NO, then please continue reading. This is for YOU.

If it’s a YES, congratulations! But there’s no need to continue reading this post.

Unless… your exercise routine has ever been disrupted by occasional bouts of pain or injury.

If it has, then I would encourage you to read on as you may learn something.

If you’re still here, thanks for staying. This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on The Health Triad.

Last week we discussed nutrition, which I believe is the first “point” on the Triad.

Good nutrition is essential and sets the tone for everything else in our lives.

But nutrition alone is not enough. It just can’t stand on its own.

Exercise

Just like a tripod can’t support itself with 1 leg. Nutrition requires additional support to maximize its effectiveness.

So this week we’ll discuss the 2nd leg – exercise.

I want this to resonate with anyone who is sedentary. Anyone who does not exercise at this time. Yet realizes they need to.

Why?

Because just like nutrition, exercise is extremely important to your health & wellness.

Let me begin with a quick personal story that inspired this post.

I have recently gained a new respect for exercise. Specifically, the opportunity to be able to exercise. Something I used to take for granted.

This new respect occurred over the past year thanks to an injury and some unrelated aches and pains that rear their ugly head from time to time.

The bottom line is that it’s caused a disruption to my regular exercise regimen. And a loss of momentum.

But there’s an upside. There’s always one if you look for it.

Exercise

I’ve learned to get creative and find alternative ways to keep getting exercise and burning calories; even though it sometimes has to be in a less-intense way.

It’s also helped me see things from a different perspective. And allowed me to find empathy, instead of the lack of understanding I’ve had to this point about why people don’t exercise.

Or why they exercise at such a low intensity.

I can’t wait for the pain to subside so I can kick up the intensity again. But it’s just a matter of time. And in the meantime, I’m focusing on other forms of exercise and working other body parts that I’ve neglected when I was “in the zone”.

Walking has become my new “go to” exercise and calorie burn replacement when I’m unable to strength train due to recurring pain. It’s amazing how many calories you can burn on a 40 to 60-minute intense power walk. And the benefits continue beyond the burn.

So what’s the main point that I’d like you to take away here?

Exercise has been proven to be essential and necessary for our overall health & wellness and longevity. If you are sedentary, find one thing you can do to start moving. And start doing it.

Exercise

Walking is the easiest in my opinion. And it’s something you’re familiar with. Unlike perhaps different machines or weights.

So let’s start there.

After getting your doctor’s approval to begin a walking exercise program, set a goal based on your situation (your age, weight, fitness level, medical condition, etc.).

If you’ve haven’t exercised in a while, I would start slow. There’s no need to set an aggressive target. At this stage, you need to:

  • Start moving.
  • Accumulate some positive experiences you can feel good about.
  • Begin building momentum so results can eventually follow.

So keep it simple and just start walking. That may only be 5 or 10 minutes the first couple of days. It doesn’t matter.

You’re going to take this one day at a time. And you’re not going to compare yourself to anyone else. This is about YOU!

Now it’s time to STOP reading and START walking.

Enjoy and have fun!

And stay tuned for next week’s post. It’s straight from the heart…

Exercise

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Nutrition 101

Want to take your nutrition to new heights?

Last week, I referred to a common theme that’s woven into most of the content of this blog.

I often talk about the importance of good quality nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. These are the 3 elements that I believe to be the main components of a healthy lifestyle.

Nutrition

For simplicity and efficiency, I refer to this as The Health Triad.

And I firmly believe that if you master these 3 elements, you will get into the best shape of your life and you’ll never have to worry about your weight, ever again.

This week I’d like to expand on the first element of the Triad.

Nutrition

I’ve chosen a simple question & answer (Q&A) format to help you understand the importance of this topic. I’ve also selected some of my more popular posts, which I’ve linked to so I could keep this one brief and manageable.

But before we dive into the Q&A, I’d like to clear up any confusion around the term diet.

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. And NOT some restrictive, calorie-cutting regimen that leaves you hungry or craving for more after every meal.

For more details, click here for a recent post titled “Are You Nutritionally Challenged?”.

Ok, let’s move on to the featured segment.

Nutrition

Q1. What is eating clean?

A1. Eating clean to me means eating foods in their natural state. Or as close to it as possible. This includes fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, and whole grains. Less additives like heavy sauces, high calorie creams or other fat-laden toppings.

For example: grilled chicken with steamed broccoli, a baked potato and a salad with olive oil & vinegar (or lemon juice). Looking at it from a more general “macronutrient” perspective, it’s lean protein, fibrous or complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Eating clean means eliminating (or significantly cutting back on) added sugars. It’s avoiding processed foods crap, and all the nasty preservatives that are synthetically infused into already unhealthy stuff, just to extend shelf life. Basically, if it comes in a vending machine, or a package with ingredients you can’t pronounce and don’t know the meaning of, just say no and avoid it.

Q2. What are macronutrients?

A2. Macronutrients are essential to our body. They are the main components of our nutrition and must be obtained through our diet. Macronutrients perform vital functions and supply our bodies with energy (aka calories). The 3 types of macronutrients our bodies need include protein, carbohydrates, and fat. For more details, click here for the post “The 6th Habit Is Here”.

I strive to obtain 50% of my daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, 25% from lean protein, and 25% from healthy fats. I have found through personal experience that this ratio works well for me. And I get 100% of my macronutrients through whole foods, with the exception of an occasional post-workout protein shake.

You should aim for a macronutrient balance with every meal and snack you consume. This means that all 3 are present and close to the ratio you’re trying to achieve.

Q3. How do calories add up so fast?

A3. It all depends on what you are eating. And how you are preparing it (or how it’s being prepared for you if you eat out). To learn about “calorie math”, click here for the post “The 6th Habit Is Here”, and go to calorie basic # 5.

Q4. I’ve read and heard a lot of bad things about carbohydrates (carbs). Should I completely avoid carbs? Or is there such a thing as good and bad carbs?

A4. First off, your body can not survive without carbohydrates. They are the natural sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, vegetables and grains. They are your body’s main source of energy.

There are 2 different type of carbohydrates – simple and complex. And some carbs are definitely nutritionally better than others, so quality matters (as it does with most things including the proteins and fats you consume). Simple carbs are digested and absorbed more quickly than complex carbs. For a great article titled “What Are Carbohydrates?”, click here.

Q5. How important is water? I prefer soda and iced tea. Is that ok?

A5. Water is extremely important. Women should aim for at least 2 to 3 liters per day. And men should aim for at least 3 to 4 liters per day. I would strongly recommend re-thinking the soda and iced tea type of beverages because they are SO HIGH in sugar with virtually no nutritional value. Soda, sweet iced teas, and other fruit juices are definitely NOT a substitute for water.

But if you see a lemonade stand in your neighborhood, stop and support the kids for their entrepreneurial efforts. Just don’t ask for Ice-T.

Q6. I’m pressed for time in the morning. Is coffee and a bagel a good start to the day?

A6. Not exactly. There’s nothing wrong with coffee, just ease up on the sugar and high calorie additives in that latte. And there are much healthier options than a bagel for breakfast. Also, a bagel is not going to assist in your weight-loss initiative.

Your body has been fasting, hopefully for at least 8 hours (possibly longer). So you need to break that fast” with a nutrient-dense, macronutrient-balanced meal. Something that will fuel your mind and body, and prepare you for the day ahead.

It’s been said that breakfast is your most important meal of the day. So make it a priority.

I hope this Q&A provided value and new information that you can take action on.

Let’s wrap up with some:

Nutrition

Check out these 2 apps on your smartphone. They offer a wealth of information and allow you to easily track your results.

  • My Fitness Pal
  • Apple Health (for iPhone)

Recent posts on nutrition:

Recent posts on calories:

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Are You Ready For Summer?

“Am I ready for summer? Huh?”

ready_for_summer

“Didn’t summer just end?” you ask. YEP

Did I mess up and post this at the wrong time of year? NOPE

Stay with me and this week’s message will become crystal clear.

Although the summer of 2016 recently ended, I’m asking about the summer of 2017 (or 2018).

So let me explain…

For many people, getting in shape is contemplated twice a year.

The first time is usually in January when there’s a focus on the new year ahead. This is where goals and resolutions are typically made. Where we proclaim that we’re going to:

  • Lose weight
  • Get in shape
  • Start exercising…

The second time is usually in the spring when the weather starts to improve. This is where thoughts like “Oh crap, I’ve got to get into a bathing suit in a month.” Or “Oh jeeze, how am I going to fit into that (suit or dress) for Niki & Chris’ wedding in July?”

Don’t fall into the common trap of making a vague, “fleeting” resolution on New Year’s Eve about losing weight this year. Or equally as important, don’t wait until April to get your ass in shape for Memorial Day.

These are unhealthy amateur moves (that don’t work!). So DON’T do them!

This is about your life.

Extreme diets or taking a cleanse in an attempt to drop 30 pounds by next month is ridiculous! But it happens every day unfortunately.

NEWSFLASH: It doesn’t help! That “quick-fix” crap is garbage. It’s an insult to your intelligence. And it’s killing you.

Sure, you might drop a quick 30. But now what?

Instead of falling into the quick-fix, immediate gratification trap, learn how to build your lifestyle around healthy habits that will have a long-term positive impact on your body, your quality of life, and your longevity.

quality_of_life

Then you won’t have to worry about “getting in shape” because you’ll already be in great shape as a result of the healthy choices, habits, and disciplines you maintain.

So what does this healthy lifestyle look like?

It’s very simple. If you follow me or this blog, then you already know. For the benefit of new subscribers, let’s review.

I often write and talk about 3 main components of a healthy lifestyle. Let’s refer to these as The Health Triad.

the-health-triad

Master these 3 things and you will never have to worry about your weight, ever again!

And you will feel better, look better, and live longer.

Looks too easy, right? To my friends and followers that struggle with weight issues, I know it’s not easy for you. But in all due respect, it’s not that hard either (once you know what to do).

Notice there’s no mention of diet or pills. “Why is that?” you ask.

Here’s why. If you focus on (consistently) improving your habits in these 3 areas, and give yourself time, you’ll be AMAZED at how much you can accomplish.

Learning what to do is easy. Sticking to it after the initial excitement or motivation wears off is more difficult. Consistency is key. And momentum is your friend. Remember The Compound Effect?

But how can you learn what to do? Especially with all of the marketing and advertising about the latest weight-loss program. It’s not only confusing, it’s distracting.

I get it. You’re looking for a solution and will do anything to find one.

I’m telling you that you don’t need a special diet. Although the billion-dollar “weight-loss” industry would disagree, and lead you to believe otherwise. By trying to convince you to spend hundreds of dollars every month on their specially-prepared meals.

Their sole focus is to help you achieve some short-term results (e.g. 10 pounds in your first week, 40 pounds in 30 days…), so they can promote it. And so you’ll continue buying their stuff every month.

You’ve seen the ads. You’ve heard the commercials. If their stuff worked, wouldn’t more people be thinner. But that’s not happening.

It’s time to

wake_up

You don’t need them!

If you learn the basics of the Health Triad and focus on them every day, you’ll discover that it’s all about the choices you make, which influence the habits you build, that shape the disciplines you develop. And when you get it right, you will lose weight and you will get into the best shape of your life.

But here’s the problem. It’s hard in the beginning. It takes work. It also requires focus, discipline, effort, and time.

When results plateau, it becomes discouraging.

And too many people are into quick-fix. They want the results without the effort. And they want it now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Here’s what I found works:

  • Learning how to eat clean with quality and nutritionally dense whole foods. This means good quality carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats with every meal. (Please don’t buy into the ‘carbs are the enemy’ myth.)
  • Making sure to exercise with intensity 3 to 5 days per week so you’re burning a lot of calories, building lean muscle, and strengthening your heart. (Yea, sorry but you’ve got to move, lift, and sweat.)
  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night to restore, repair, and recharge. (Your body needs adequate rest.)

So, although summer is technically over, NOW is the time to start building the habits that will make a difference on your future. And determine whether it’s a healthy, long-term one; or not.

And hey, you may even look pretty good in a tee shirt or bathing suit a year from now. Wouldn’t that be cool…

muscle_tee_shirt

Make the decision and start taking action today.

I hope you found value in this post.

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? I welcome your feedback.

What’s your Win to be Thin?

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.