Category Archives: Personal development

“Have It Your Way”

Eating clean

“Have it your way, have it your way…”.

Remember that slogan from 30 years ago? Can ‘ya hear it?

And no, I’m not suggesting that you go to Burger King. That would be a ridiculous recommendation.

Eating clean

But their slogan is relevant for today’s advice.

In today’s fast-paced society, eating in restaurants has become a regular occurrence. Especially when you consider the potential of at least 3 meals a day, and the number of hours most people work. The odds that you will eat out at least a few times a week are very high.

Which can become a BIG problem.

One that slowly compounds over time if you’re not careful.

I find it astonishing to see the food choices that people make. And especially for dinner. No, not kids. I’m talking about adults.

Things like mac ‘n cheese, nachos, fried mozzarella, quesadillas, deep dish pizza, bacon cheeseburger with fries, wings or sliders, a full rack of baby back ribs, or Alfredo and other heavy, creamy sauces.

Not sure if it’s due to a lack of knowledge, laziness, or simply neglect. I try not to be judgmental, but it’s worrisome.

If you consider a greasy app, a large entrée, and maybe even dessert, it’s a lot of food. Add a couple drinks to the mix and…

You’re easily over 2,500 calories.

For ONE MEAL.

For most, that’s a whole day of calories. Not to mention all the unhealthy salt, sugar, and artery clogging saturated fat.

It’s disgusting! And should be illegal.

What if this happens 3 times a week? Or more…

Eating clean

You better loosen your belt, then rethink your strategy.

Is it any wonder why this reckless approach to eating is causing obesity rates to rise? Or medical insurance costs to skyrocket?

And the restaurants aren’t helping.

If you look at the menu choices, you could make the argument that it’s not your fault. Unfortunately, that’s not an acceptable response.

Eating clean is YOUR responsibility.

You’ve got to be more vigilant! And it’s what we’ll cover in this post.

If you are trying lose weight, or just maintaining good health, you are best served to completely avoid restaurants as much as possible.

Whaaaat??? Why?

When you cook at home, you know exactly what you are including. And you can scale back, like on salt for example. Or you can substitute a healthier ingredient, like olive oil instead of butter. Or brown rice instead of white. Salmon instead of steak…

I like to experiment and so I’m always looking for ways to eat healthier. My new “go-to” whole grain is farro. It’s easy to prepare, tastes great, and it’s super-healthy. I highly recommend it!

When restaurants list the calorie total on their menu, I appreciate it. I don’t necessarily trust the amounts, but it’s a point of reference. And better than no info at all. At the very least, it can help you make an informed decision about your food selection.

Including what NOT to order.

Let’s look at some “common” examples. WARNING: These are real.

Eating clean

The recommended “average” daily calorie requirements for adults is 2,000 to 2,500. But actual amounts vary based on your height, gender, age, and activity level.

Government organizations like the Food and Drug Administration have established daily intake recommendations about calories, sodium and sugar to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The daily recommendation of sodium intake according to the FDA is no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg), which is equivalent to one teaspoon. And the recommended daily amount of added sugar intake was reduced 50% in 2014 to 25 grams, or about 6 teaspoons.

This doesn’t mean you should aim for the upper limits. Especially with sodium and sugar.

As far as I’m concerned, these are simply benchmarks to be aware of.

Sure, the FDA plays an important role in keeping us all safe. But I’ll never strive to be average and comply with recommendations that cater to the masses. Instead, do your best to minimize or eliminate salt, sugar and white flour from your daily nutrition.

Here are some other suggestions to help your eating clean initiative:

  1. Eat a little something before you go out – to dinner, to a party, or to a function where food will be served. Like a handful of nuts, an apple or other fruit, some raw veggies with hummus, or left-overs from last night’s dinner. Why? So you won’t be ravenous when you arrive, which can lead to bad food choices and unhealthy eating. Especially if you’re planning to have a cocktail or two.
  2. Skip the appetizers. You will have enough food between your entrée and a salad. And you don’t need the extra calories and unhealthy fat (as most of these apps are fried or greasy).
  3. Say no to the bread. Ask them to “not” bring it over. It will only tempt you, so make it easier by not having it in front of you.
  4. Ask for salad dressing on the side. Use “sparingly” to save  calories.
  5. Eat a little less than you normally would at home since the calories and sodium are higher. Save the rest for tomorrow. You’ll save calories and money by stretching 2 meals out of 1.
  6. Have it your way. Healthy of course. Ask to have something specially prepared. Most restaurants will do this if you ask. For example, ask for grilled chicken or fish without any heavy sauces or creams. With a side of steamed or sautéed veggies. And a sweet or baked potato, or brown rice. Even if they charge you a little more (which they probably won’t), it’s well worth it. After all, we are talking about you and your health.
  7. When a dish comes with fries, ask for an “alternative”. Like salad, fresh fruit, a baked potato, or steamed veggies.
  8. Avoid dessert. Except for special occasions. For the same reasons as skipping the apps.
  9. Strive for 95. Percent that is. Nobody’s perfect. And every situation is different. So try to make the best possible choice given the situation you’re in. And enjoy it!

Now let’s assume you have a busy schedule, but you commit to  eating in; not out. How can you make eating clean easier and save time while still making something delicious and healthy?

Oh, that’s easy.

There are 3 things you can do…

  1. Plan. Decide what you will eat tomorrow or for the next few days. Then go buy the ingredients, build in some prep time, and make it.
  2. Prep. For the next few days, or week (in advance). Sunday’s are great for this.
  3. Cook extra. This way you can just heat up what you want when you’re ready to eat it again. For example, grill extra chicken for the week, or slice raw veggies and store in zip lock bags to grab on the run. And do the same with nuts and seeds.

Eating clean will require minor tweaks to your current eating habits.

Eating cleanAnd in addition to planning, prepping, and eating out less… add these 5 things to your new strategy:

  1. Eat more whole foods, including an apple a day.
  2. Avoid sugar (start by cutting back).
  3. Minimize sodium and saturated fat.
  4. Eat every few hours.
  5. Hit your “macro” ratios at every meal and snack.

It takes thought and effort to eat clean. More so than the alternative unhealthy choices that are typically made unconsciously or hastily while flying through life on “auto-pilot”.

Eating clean also includes paying attention to things that could be sabotaging your new healthy initiative. Like saying NO to processed junk snacks and eliminating fast food.

You can do this… Start now and you’ll never look back!

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.

You Are Here

Where do you appear on the “You Are Here” map in your life?

Influence

I know, this is an ambiguous question. You could be thinking about your career, relationships, or financial situation.

You may not be considering your health & wellness in this context, though. But I am, so let me be more specific

I’d like to explore your “unknown” future together. So YOU can see what YOU have to look forward to.

And know where the current path is leading you?

…based on the choices you’re making, the habits you’re building, and the disciplines you’re developing?

I know what you’re thinking… “You can’t predict the future”. And in some ways, I would have to agree with you. You’re right!

But here’s where I have to respectfully disagree with that thinking. You may not be able to predict the future, but you certainly have the control to influence your future.

But here’s the question. Are you going to influence your future in a good or a bad way?

There’s that “compound effect” phenomenon again. Thanks Darren!

It’s like the Energizer Bunny. Always working, whether you realize it or not. And “still going”.

Hopefully, today’s choices are setting you up for an active lifestyle, with great health and happiness, well into the future.

Otherwise, you could be startled to find yourself facing the Grim Reaper around some dark corner when you least expect it.

And you know what he’s known for.

Right! Death, destruction, and ultimate sadness.

Influence

So I have to ask, what’s around the corner for you in the next year?

Is that number on the scale (looking back at you) where you want it to be? And is it representative of your current choices?

What about your overall health, including how you look and feel?

Good or bad, can you see how the choices you’ve made over the past year are compounding for or against you?

How about looking down the road, like at the next 5, 10, or 20 years?

Want to look out even further? I do!

The long-term effect of consistently making bad choices is where the Grim Reaper begins to rear its ugly head. These unhealthy habits eventually morph into some nasty diseases and conditions like:

  • A heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity due to consistent weight gain
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Depression
  • And early preventable death

Bad stuff we each have control over delaying, preventing, or avoiding. So don’t wait until it’s too late!

NOW is the time to influence your future.

Just like saving, investing, and contributing to our retirement accounts when we’re younger will ensure an enjoyable and gratifying retirement. You are saving for your retirement, right?

That’s a different topic, but the same is true about our future health and well-being. We need to make deposits into our “health” account now, if we expect to influence our longevity in a positive way.

None of us are getting any younger. And just like retirement savings, healthy aging doesn’t happen by accident! I don’t care how good your genes are.

We are 3 months into our 6 Pillars To Better Health & Vitality program. I hope you are learning and benefiting from this valuable content. It’s based on a few proven and sustainable habits that can be easily incorporated into your busy life.

In fact, I’d like to give a shout out to my pilot group. I’m running a small 6 Pillars “pilot” program with about 20 students that includes private group coaching.

Influence

And I’m happy to report that everyone is benefiting. Although each person has different goals, we are seeing fantastic results as new healthy habits are being built and maintained!

Kudos and congratulations to each of you! Keep working hard.

Your consistent efforts will continue to pay off and compound into massive results that will last a lifetime!

If you need to catch up, you can link back to the first 3 Pillars here:

Next week we will launch into our 4th Pillar. And this habit is at the top of my Health Triad, which is fully integrated with nutrition.

I hope you are as eager and hungry to dig into this one as I am!

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.

What Motivates You To Exercise?

So what motivates you to exercise? We’ll unpack this further today.

motivation

Learning about it is important. But taking action is paramount!

As we wrap up Habit # 2 (and reach the milestone of our 100th post), I want to make sure that you understand the value of exercise.

And break your sedentary lifestyle, if that describes you. Or help you maintain this essential habit if it’s something you’re already doing.

But let’s first address a common problem that everyone faces from time to time. We can assign several labels to it. And whether you’re a fitness veteran, or a beginner, we can all relate.

What’s the problem?

You can say it has something to do with accountability, commitment, and responsibility. And they affect us differently. So let’s take a closer look at 3 variations.

  1. Motivation. You know this feeling if you’re a fitness veteran. When you just don’t feel like going to the gym. And you look for reasons to justify why you shouldn’t, or don’t need to… ‘today’.
  2. Getting started. If exercise is new to you, then you simply need to show up and start moving. You may not want to go, but haven’t earned the right to call this a motivation issue yet.
  3. Getting re-started. And if you’ve ever taken any time off from your exercise routine and tried to get back to it, then you can understand and appreciate this issue. It’s kind of a combination of the first two.

All 3 of these relate to breaking a commitment that we’ve made to ourselves. Dodging responsibility.

Has this ever turned into a negotiation for you?

Inside your head, between you and you?

I have to admit. Been there, done that.

Actually, I’m not sure that you can even call it a negotiation since you’re working both sides of the argument.

And here’s the worst part – you can’t win. So stop the madness.

motivation

If you Google “motivation”, you’ll soon discover that it can be quite a complex topic. Involving behavior, and the psychology of what’s behind our actions that result in the decisions we make.

I’m going to attempt to keep it simple here. I think we’ve all heard of the carrot and stick. How about the desire to gain pleasure vs. the need to avoid pain? Same concept. Or how about intrinsic (internal) motivation vs. extrinsic (external) motivation?

In some situations, you may find that you’re more intrinsically motivated. For example, you’ve signed up for a course because you believe it will help you advance your career. You’re internally driven to complete the course because of the future potential it holds.

How about entering a competition where your results will be compared with other participants? Or the potential of a reward for achieving a sales goal (monetary, recognition, etc.). And you discover that in this situation, your drive is more extrinsically focused.

Whether you’re internally or externally motivated for a given task doesn’t matter as much as it does to recognize it. And more importantly, knowing why you’re doing this and what it will mean to you to accomplish it.

Your “why-power” is powerful, and necessary if you want to make it past the finish line.

Your WHY is vitally important for:

  • staying focused on the long-term picture.
  • keeping you accountable when your motivation wanes.
  • helping you stay on-track when setbacks take you off-track.
  • overcoming obstacles that cause you to want to throw in the towel.

We all face challenges, and no one is perfect. As we gain a better understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses, or disciplines and temptations, we can prepare ourselves to handle things that are thrown our way. Including those that can trip us up.

If you are currently exercising, accountability and motivation challenges can rear their ugly head from time to time. And they can be caused by anything.

For example, you may get derailed:

  • during a plateau, when results appear to be non-existent.
  • when long hours at work consume most of your waking hours.
  • if you’re stressed from life’s demands and it starts taking a toll on you.
  • after an injury, sickness, vacation, or extended time off from your normal routine.
  • when your workout gets boring, or no longer challenges you the same as it once did.
  • if chronic pain flares up.
  • [Insert your reason.]

If exercise is new to you, or it’s been years since you’ve worked out, getting started may represent your biggest challenge. But you may also have to deal with:

  • a weak, uninspiring goal.
  • laziness from being sedentary.
  • uncertainty about what to do (or how to get started).
  • insecurity, fear of the unknown, or a lack of confidence.
  • lack of interest, indicating the need for a stronger WHY.
  • initial soreness and muscle fatigue that keeps you sidelined.
  • expecting too much, too soon.
  • [Insert your reason.]

Realize that these are all normal occurrences. They happen to everyone. It’s part of being human.

But it’s also exciting and motivating to overcome these challenges when you’re faced with them. So it’s best to be aware, and prepare.

Here are some suggestions. You can hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, recruit an exercise buddy, mix up your routine a bit, or set shorter term mini goals to recognize incremental results along the way.

Or try exercising at a different time, like in the evening if morning is your normal routine. You may find that you enjoy the time change occasionally, and may even get a different result.

Here’s where a strong “why” comes to your aid. Forget about willpower. To overcome inactivity, you need strong reasons why you want to (and should)exercise. Along with what it will mean to you when you do.

And when you need a little extra motivation, take a page out of Nike’s playbook and “Just Do It!”.

Or, just stay home. Yes, that’s right. Take the day off.

Once in a while is okay. This could be your body giving you a signal that it needs a break. Only you can judge this. Just don’t let it become a habit.

Ok, let’s put exercise motivation aside for a minute, and look at this from a different perspective.

motivation

If you choose to not exercise, or haven’t exercised in years for whatever reason, we need to talk. I’m not here to pick on you. And I am certainly not here to judge. But I am here to help you recognize the necessity and the value of exercise.

And find a way to get you to take action.

While there is no guarantee that exercise helps you live a longer more active and enjoyable life, there is plenty of evidence and medical data which shows that it does.

In fact, exercise has been proven to provide numerous health benefits. We discussed some of them 2 weeks ago. You can link back here.

But in this post, I am not going to focus on the benefits again. I’d prefer to look at it from the ‘other side’ to see if I can entice you to reconsider exercise.

There’s plenty of proof that’s been gathered from people who avoid exercise and make bad food choices. After years of abuse and neglect, you’ll find many of them in hospitals and cemeteries.

By NOT exercising, you run the risk of:

  • Gaining weight (and getting fat).
  • Becoming depressed and unhappy.
  • Having a stroke or heart attack.
  • Developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Falling and breaking something.
  • Dying earlier than necessary.
  • ‘nuf said?

motivationThis is not a scare tactic. But feel free to use it as one if it gets you to start moving.

We have one body and one life.

It’s a gift that we should cherish, take seriously, and take care of.

Any questions?

Next week we’ll tone it down a little as we launch our 3rd Pillar. If you’re working hard and you’re feeling the burn, you’ll appreciate next month’s habit.

In the meantime, get some exercise and keep drinking plenty of water.

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.

Exercise For Longevity

Welcome to Pillar 2! This week we introduce the second healthy habit of our program – exercise. If you participated in Habit 1, I’d like to congratulate you for completing this first vital habit.

Habits help you exercise for longevity

In case you’re just joining us, we are launching 6 healthy habits to help you get into the best shape of your life. One new habit every month, from January to June.

You can link back to the first habit here.

But you may be wondering…

“One habit per month? Why are we taking it so slow?”

Here’s why

Habits can be difficult to develop, especially when life gets in the way. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. By giving you the gift of focus and time to reinforce each new habit.

For month 2 we will add exercise to your routine. It’s an essential part of your healthy lifestyle.

In addition to making you look and feel great, you will become stronger and leaner when you exercise for longevity.

I’d also like you to consider the additional benefits. Exercise will

  • burn fat and build muscle.
  • reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • improve your heart and cardiovascular functions.
  • increase blood flow to your brain and improve cognition.
  • prevent heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure.
  • strengthen bones and improve balance as you age.
  • prevent or reverse nasty diseases like type 2 diabetes.
  • improve your focus, creativity, and productivity.
  • get you into fantastic shape, if done right.
  • help you lose or maintain weight.
  • reduce anxiety and depression.

And the benefits of exercise don’t stop here.

The two primary forms of exercise that we will cover include strength and cardio training. This week’s focus will be on the strength part. Strength-training (aka resistance training or weight lifting) becomes even more important as we age.

It’s been proven that our muscles, bones, circulatory and respiratory systems all benefit from strength-training. But despite this fact, not enough people include it in their weekly exercise routine.

Reasons vary but include limited knowledge of what to do, a lack of discipline, and a concern about becoming too bulked up with big muscles. Like this guy…

Why does Arnold exercise for longevity

Ok, so I have to ask. Was this your first thought when I mentioned strength-training? Were you afraid you would bulk up like Arnold?

Be honest…

Take a deep breath. Relax. And don’t worry. You will never look like this. Even if you spent 3 hours a day in the gym, 6 days a week.

So let’s eliminate that concern right up front. Unless it’s your goal and you consume large amounts of performance enhancing drugs.

Otherwise, you don’t have to worry. Go train hard with confidence.

If you’re new to exercise, body weight exercises like the ones covered in the Accelerate Your Weight-Loss post can become your initial workout for the first month or two as you acclimate your body to exercise, based on your fitness level.

It’s best to take it slow in the beginning.

You will also need to change the order of these 6 exercises to suit your muscle groups better.

For example, start with push-ups. Then move to squats, mountain climbers, lunges, planks, and high knee pull-downs. And then go for at least 3 sets.

During the first month, you should not be concerned with intensity, or results. Instead, shift your focus to learning the exercises and practicing good form.

After you graduate to weights, you can perform one set of this “accelerate your weight-loss” routine as your pre-workout warmup.

Exercise for longevityAfter the first month or two, your strength-training routine will continue to target the major muscle groups including your legs, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and core.

I strongly suggest that you hire a certified personal trainer (CPT) at your local gym. Especially if strength-training is new to you.

CPT’s possess the skills to help people with different physical abilities and fitness levels by customizing the right exercises that enable you to achieve maximum results.

In addition, the one-on-one interaction ensures that you’re learning the proper technique and doing the exercises in good form. Even if it’s only for a few sessions.

Tom Venuto, former bodybuilder and best-selling author suggests using dumbbells when you’re just starting out. Dumbbells are easy to handle and you can use them in the gym or at home.

Dumbbells encourage equal development on each side of your body, and they’re safer. Especially if you’re training alone. I personally include them in my strength-training sessions.

Burn the fat feed the muscle teaches you to exercise for longevity

By the way, I highly recommend his book Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle if you want to get in shape, the natural way through exercise and good nutrition.

Not only is Tom an expert in his field, he offers great insight and devotes a section to specific exercises in his 28-day plan. You’ll learn about the 10 biggest weight training myths, and how weight training helps you get leaner.

So let’s recap.

  • This month’s healthy habit is exercise.
  • This week’s homework involves starting a strength-training plan.
  • If you are new to exercise, spend the first month or two getting your body acclimated by doing body-weight exercises. Click here for suggestions.
  • After your first month or two of body-weight exercises, it’s time to start strength-training with weights. Preferably with dumbbells, 2 to 3 days per week.
  • Refer to Tom Venuto’s 28-day plan (TNB-28) in Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle.
  • You should hire a certified personal trainer (CPT) to match your physical abilities and fitness level with the right exercises.
  • And there’s no need to be intimidated by big muscles or physically fit people. You have your own goals and abilities. Focus on what you want! And work towards achieving it.

Disclaimer: Whenever starting a new exercise plan or nutrition program, you should always consult a doctor.

And finally, here’s a brief list of resources to help you exercise for longevity:

In the meantime, keep reinforcing your water habit by drinking more water as you begin to exercise for longevity.

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.

Stop Being So Sweet

I hope you’re still thirsty for more information, and water.

Still thirsty for more water

In this final segment of our first healthy habit, we’ll look at the impact that “sweetness” is having on your weight-loss initiative, and overall health & wellness.

From processed table sugar to artificial sweeteners.

stop being so sweet

The point is not to pick on anyone with a sweet tooth or sugar addiction. But last week’s concept of adding a little flavor to your water so you can drink more inspired this post.

I’d also like to look at the “sugar-free” craze that’s been promoted and popularized for too many years. And the side effects of relying on anything sugar-free as a crutch in your nutrition plan.

Sugar-free beverages and processed food crap is SABOTAGING your weight-loss efforts.

This has created a serious problem that’s not limited to the diet soft drink you have with lunch. But also includes those colorful little packets like Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, and Sweet ‘N Low (to name a few), that you add to other things you consume throughout the day.

But before we go any further, let’s start by understanding a little more about sugar, which is also referred to as “added” sugar.

The American Heart Association sets daily intake guidelines by the teaspoon and total calories.

They allow up to 6 teaspoons per day for women, or about 90 calories. And up to 9 teaspoons for men, or about 135 calories.

But you shouldn’t go for the max here. Less than the recommended amount or none is better. Here’s why

Say not to sugar

Consider this, a teaspoon or an equivalent sugar packet contains 4 grams and about 15 calories.

I know it doesn’t seem like much. But those 15 calories are truly “empty” calories with ZERO nutritional value.

And they add up quickly.

I want you to think about what this means when the nutrition label on that 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi you reach for indicates zero fat.

But if you read further, you’ll see 69 grams of sugar and 250 calories. This equates to 17 packets of sugar!

Are you freakin’ kidding me?

According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes about 21 teaspoons per day from added sugars. Equivalent to about 330 calories.

That’s more than triple the recommended daily limit for women, and more than double the recommended for men.

And although naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit and some dairy products contribute to your overall sugar intake, according to dietary experts, they don’t qualify as “added” sugars.

But this doesn’t mean you should go overboard. A few servings every day is sufficient.

There are hidden dangers with added sugar. The most common is white table sugar. But added sugars also include, brown sugar, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and dextrose.

The list goes on. And keep in mind that sugar is not only limited to desserts, candy or soda. It sneaks into some “not-so-obvious” places. Like cereals, salad dressings, so-called “healthy” sports bars and drinks, low-fat yogurt, and most cold cuts, just to name a few.

So it’s important to read your nutrition labels carefully. Or just stick to whole foods whenever possible.

Remember the vitaminwater example from last week? What you see is NOT always what you get. vitaminwater is marketed as healthy, but contains 8 packets of sugar in a 20-ounce bottle.

It’s supposed to be water! So why does it need 32 grams of sugar added to it?

I won’t even waste the time to find out if it contains any legitimate vitamins as the name claims. That’s doubtful and it doesn’t matter. You can’t even use in your car’s radiator or battery.

Okay, I’m done ranting for now.

Let’s move on to artificial sweeteners, also known as low-calorie sweeteners or sugar substitutes.

It’s obvious that artificial sweeteners are intended to add sweetness without the calories.

At first glance, these sugar substitutes appear to be a good thing. You’re not consuming all of that unhealthy sugar. And they’re supposed to help you lose weight by eliminating the extra calories.

Sounds harmless, right?

Well think again…

Although they provide taste to your food and beverages similar to table sugar, they are sometimes referred to as “intense” sweeteners because they are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter. And therein lies one of the problems.

Because artificial sweeteners are so “potent”, some studies have shown that you actually train your body to crave more sugar.

And with beverages like diet soda, you could be priming your brain to want to eat more because you’re not getting the same fullness of the sugar-sweetened version.

Fat cells act like sponges, looking to absorb more fat.

One study showed that diet soda drinkers had a 70% increase in waste circumference as compared to non-diet soda drinkers. Other studies have shown associations between artificially sweetened drinks and obesity.

Here’s a very common example: “I’ll have the bacon cheeseburger with fries please. Oh, and a large diet Coke, ‘cause I’m watching my calories.”

Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve heard someone else order this before?

So let’s cut to the chase.

Added sugar has NO nutritional value. Our bodies don’t need it.

There’s plenty of data, both in favor of, and against the use of artificial sweeteners.

Want my suggestion?

Make a commitment to STOP using sugar altogether, as soon as possible. Real or artificial, it’s not helping you.

I realize that it may not be easy to quit cold turkey. And that you’re going to have to sacrifice a little. But your health is well worth the sacrifice, and you’ll be much better off not being so sweet.

Here are a few articles that may help you kick the habit:

Next week we introduce our 2nd pillar. I’ll give you a sneak preview – it’s about exercise.

But don’t sweat it just yet. We’re going to start slow.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk to your doctor first. Then you will have the opportunity to ease into this 2nd essential habit. And if you’re currently exercising, there’s plenty here for you too.

In the meantime, keep reinforcing your water habit by drinking more water.

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.

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What, You Don’t Like Water?

Are you drinking your recommended amount of water?

drink more water

EVERY day???

I am. I hope you are too. Remember to focus on one day at a time.

As we’ve discovered so far, water is essential to our health & wellness in so many ways. This week we will look at ways to incorporate water into our daily routine.

If you know me, you know that I have at least 1 or 2 bottles of water with me at all times. And a few in the car as backup. It’s one of the reasons that I am able to reach my daily water goal.

You can’t drink it if you don’t have it. And if it’s not in your face, it’s easy to get caught up with whatever you’re doing and forget to drink. So make it easier on yourself by keeping it with you.

My favorite brand is SmartWater because I like the taste. You may be thinking, “It’s just water. Doesn’t all water taste the same?”.

Actually no, it doesn’t.

But it’s a good thing that I also like the taste of my filtered tap water at home. Because I drink so much water, I refill quite a bit. Which helps to reduce the amount of trips to Costco, and recycling.

So taste is obviously affected when I refill, which leads to the main reason I like Smart Water. It’s the shape of the bottle.

smartwater

The 1 liter bottle is slim, which makes it easy to carry and easy to track. And it fits nicely in the cup holder in my car.

I’ve also learned to drink it when it’s warm. Not hot, just room temperature. This makes it a lot easier on you.

Think about it. If you can only drink it when it’s ice cold, then you are making it tougher on yourself to keep it with you.

So give it a shot and get used to drinking it at room temperature at times. Like when you’re on the go and can’t keep it refrigerated.

I’ve met some people that simply don’t like water. It’s hard to understand, but I get it. So what can you do if this describes you?

Plenty

But it may take some extra effort to prepare something that appeals a little more to your taste buds.

Try a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange in your water

Try a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange. Or add some cucumber or fresh mint. How about fresh berries?

Some people prefer to add some fizz by carbonating their water. So if natural water tastes too bland or you’re looking for some variety, the carbon dioxide gas will make it bubbly and tangy.

Think seltzer water; not club soda. Soda water (aka club soda) contains unnecessary sodium.

I was unable to confirm the accurateness, but I’ve read multiple sources that claim you can count 50% of the volume from coffee and tea as long as you don’t add milk and sugar.

If it helps in the beginning, then count it. But I would focus on drinking your recommended amount of water, and enjoy the coffee or tea for other reasons. And count it as a bonus.

The bottom line is this.

You need to drink a lot of water every day. And whatever helps you drink more of it, then I say go for it. If you need a little help with flavoring or bubbles, that’s fine. Drink up. Just be aware of added sugars, sodium or caffeine.

Beware of sports drinks

And beware of sports drinks. They’re marketed as healthy, but in many cases, they’re not. Our bodies need water; not Propel, Vitamin Water or other sports beverages that are full of sugar.

And unless you’re an elite athlete that needs to be concerned with fluid loss due to extreme training, you don’t have to worry about drinking Gatorade to replenish your electrolyte levels.

FYI, vitaminwater (owned by Coca Cola) contains 32 grams of added sugar in a 20-ounce bottle.

32 grams of added sugar – that’s insane!

I’m not suggesting this, but even a Snapple Iced Tea contains less added sugar. And vitaminwater is marketed as “healthy” – wth?

So the lesson here is: What you see is NOT always what you get.

Don’t judge a book by its cover… Or take what you see, hear and read at face value. Look closely and question everything. Including nutrition labels on food and beverages.

Want some help keeping track of your water intake?

There are plenty of smartphone apps.

Or, you can go analog and download a copy of Darren Hardy’s “Weekly Rhythm Register”.

Go to http://thecompoundeffect.com/downloads/english-weekly_rhythm_register.pdf and download it for free.

As we add new habits, you will find this to be a valuable tool for “tracking” your new healthy habits.

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.

Why Is Water So Important?

Last week I introduced a new 6-month program. It’s designed to help you take control of your weight-loss initiative by making more informed choices and building better habits.

So you can get into the best shape of your life. And maintain your new healthy lifestyle for as long as you live!

For the next 6 months, I am going to teach you 6 core fundamentals that will have a tremendous impact and long-term benefit on your overall health and longevity.

Every month, we will focus on one new habit for the entire month.

As you consciously weave each new habit into your day, you will begin to integrate the new habit with each “learned habit” that you’ve developed up to that point.

This approach builds a sustainable set of disciplines. And since they’ve become part of YOUR daily routine, they will feel simple and natural. Why? Because they are…

Congratulations! You have created your own healthy lifestyle.

You will never worry about being overweight or out of shape again.

The first habit is WATER. And you should be drinking A LOT of it.

Ladies, that’s at least 2 to 3 liters. And guys, at least 3 to 4 liters.

Yes, every day. 7 days a week.

Let’s face it, succeeding at most things really boils down to a few key things. And it’s the same for getting in shape and losing weight.

It’s not one thing, like a magic pill or supplement. And it’s not 30 things with outrageous claims. This should be a RED flag.

We’re talking about fundamentals – things you already know about. And habits – doing a few things more consistently; even when you don’t want to.

So you can maximize your results and achieve big goals.

In my opinion, it’s a simple change in some of the choices we make.

This is not a restrictive diet or rigid exercise program. But you may need to “unlearn” some of the innocent yet destructive habits you’ve managed to develop over the years. And then “learn” some new ones that will evolve over time into your new healthy habits.

What’s the central theme to this program?

Building healthy, sustainable habits that get results!

Here’s what I intend to help you with:

  1. Making more informed choices.
  2. To build better habits.
  3. And develop into healthy disciplines.
  4. That simplify your health & wellness initiative.
  5. So you can succeed at achieving your goal with routines that keep you focused, committed, engaged and motivated.
  6. Routines, habits and disciplines that are sustainable. Even enjoyable. And promote a healthy lifestyle

How? By helping you reinforce the 6 core fundamentals, one at a time. Finding effective ways to practice them every day. Until they become habits. Part of your daily routine. Something you seek out with enthusiasm because the transformation and results become so motivating.

Essentially, you are learning to leverage the compound effect to YOUR benefit. (By the way, The Compound Effect is a must read if you haven’t yet, and a re-read if it’s been a while. I highly recommend it!)

For many, this health & wellness goal involves losing weight and getting into shape. Stick with this first habit and make it part of your routine every day. Drink “water” even when you’re not thirsty. Keep it with you at all (or most) times.

It’s an easy task, but it takes work and you’ll need to remain vigilant. I want this new routine to remain “sticky” and interesting. Unlike other programs you may have tried in the past. So it doesn’t fade into oblivion, or cause you to lose interest next month.

This week I’d like to review the benefits of water and how it helps our bodies. Take a look at the chart below. It illustrates the percentage of water that your body is comprised of. As you can see, it’s based on body fat percentage.

I found it interesting to learn that the percentages are inversely proportional. A lower body fat percentage results in a higher percentage of water in your body. And vise versa.

So this means as you get leaner and lose fat, you need to consume more water. Your body will typically compensate for this. But you can ensure it happens by staying hydrated throughout the day. Hence, the first habit – drink a lot of water… Link back to last week here.

Water is very important as it hydrates our organs and aids in removing waste and toxins from our system. Muscle contains about 75% water while body fat only contains about 10% water.

Check out this graphic.

Water retention becomes a common topic when you’re trying to lose weight. You should never stop drinking water to lose weight. Excessive water retention is normally the result of a poor diet and lack of adequate exercise. Dehydration is another cause of water retention. And salt has been known to contribute to dehydration.

You may want to re-read the last paragraph.

Here’s my suggestion.

Take everything you’ve learned about getting in shape and losing weight, and hit the DELETE button. Then stay with me for 6 months and integrate these new habits into your life.

I’m asking you to have a little Blind Faith in me.

What do you have to lose? Not much except for the weight. And maybe some bad habits.

And then think about all that you have to gain…

As we wrap up this week, you may be thinking, “But I have a lot of weight to lose, and I want to do it quickly. This program is going to take too long. Isn’t there a faster way to get this done?”

If that’s how you’re thinking, then you are in the wrong place. Bookmark this site and come back when you’re ready to do it the right way, after that quick fix attempt fails you again.

This week we learned a little more about water. Why it’s important to your body and your good health. Next week we’ll look at ways to make it part of your day. Until then

KEEP DRINKING MORE WATER!!!

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.

Start Now!

Are you making any changes or improvements in the new year?

Or planning to accomplish some new goals?

I hope so!

But here’s an unfortunate scenario that occurs way too often.

Especially this time of year.

Let me know if this sounds familiar.

“I’m going to start… __________” (fill in the blank)

  • … eating better
  • … exercising
  • … going to bed earlier
  • … taking better care of myself

Sounds nice, although these declarations are way too VAGUE. But I’m not going to start nitpicking (yet). So let’s continue.

When? __________” (fill in the blank)

  • next month…
  • after the holidays…
  • in the new year…
  • after I get back from vacation…

You realize these are all LAME excuses that ALWAYS equate to NEVER.

And how about this one.

I’m going to stop smoking…

  • (Insert the same lame excuses from above)

And guess what’s not going to happen?

Right! The thing you said you were going to do.

So stop kidding yourself, and lying to others.

You’re not committed or ready to make a change yet.

I get it, we’ve all been there at some point. And have seen others make these false promises.

Need proof?

Just look back over the past 2 or 3 years. What have your actions been saying? (FYI – you have to look closely ‘cause you can’t hear them. Especially with all of the social media noise and distractions.)

Have you ever accomplished any of your “informally-made” resolutions? Or goals that you weren’t fully committed to?

Probably not.

And it’s that time of year again where the biggest and boldest false promises are about to be launched. Some will be well-meaning but will lack clarity or commitment. Others will be audibly initiated drunk New Year’s resolutions that never see the light of day.

Shockingly (well, actually NOT), 92% of resolutions fail. WTH?

It’s pretty obvious why.

Don’t waste another year of your precious life by setting yourself up for failure with useless New Year’s resolutions. Or weak goals that you’re not committed to.

Give your actions a chance to speak by doing yourself a huge favor.

Get it right this time by setting a few legitimate and relevant goals. Things you want and need to accomplish during the next 12 months.

It’s best to keep it simple and only start with a few. Especially if this is new for you.

In fact, I’d suggest that you only set one goal. A challenging, yet attainable short-term goal. Then when you achieve it, you can reward yourself by setting another one.

Let’s break it down into a few steps to make it simple.

  1. The “What” – Okay, what do you want to accomplish? Make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. With pen and paper; not in your head. For more on S-M-A-R-T goal setting, click here.
  2. The “Why” – This is where it gets exciting. Start listing all the reasons ‘why’ you want to accomplish this goal. The more reasons the better. Your WHY-power will kick in when your motivation fades (which it will), or when plateaus occur (which they will), and when your WILL-power is at its lowest point (which happens).
  3. The “How” – This is your plan for accomplishing your new goal. It includes the actions you will take as you chunk-down your goal into manageable steps. And don’t worry, you don’t have to figure it all out before you start. Just figure out the first couple of steps. Then you’ll adjust your plans along the way as you gain valuable insight from the obstacles and setbacks you begin to face. Otherwise, you could be doomed to the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome where nothing gets done.
  4. Take “Action” – Now do something by taking your first step in the direction of your goal. This is very important. Consider it your first ‘How’.
  5. Review your goal often. So it’s top of mind and to evaluate your progress. And as you’re reviewing, visualize the outcome as if you have already achieved it. This is very helpful and mysteriously powerful (but doesn’t work without taking action).
  6. You’re on your way to achieving this goal. When you do, set another one.

For example, if one of your goals is to improve your cardiovascular health so you’re able to live a longer and a more active & fulfilling life, here’s how you would start.

  • Identify “WHY” this is important to YOU. And what it would mean if you didn’t accomplish it. Sometimes it’s the consequences that motivate us more than the prize itself. So use whatever works best for you in the situation at hand.
  • Plan the 3 to 5 days of the week you will exercise based on your fitness level. Remember, for something like this, slow and steady always trumps an overly-aggressive plan that’s unsustainable.
  • Include the days you will focus on strength or cardio training (and what each workout will consist of).
  • Put those days in your calendar. You are committed, right? Would you miss this Wednesday’s client presentation, or meeting with your boss? Then put your mask on first by showing up for your appointment with yourself, and stop saying you’re too busy.
  • And since cardiovascular health is also influenced by our nutrition, you should identify the foods you will STOP eating, and the healthier ones you will START eating.
  • Then plan the next few meals and shop for the ingredients.

Now it’s time to do something by completing your first workout and making your first meal.

Pretty simple, right?

Enjoy the process and appreciate the obstacles and struggles you will face along the way.

What???

Yep… There will be challenges and setbacks, but they’ll make it all worthwhile and allow you to accomplish bigger things in the future.

I hope you found value in this post.

As 2016 comes to a close, I would like to say thank you and wish you a HEALTHY, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Be on the lookout for The 6 Pillars To Better Health & Vitality. We start up next week and run through the end of June. You’re not gonna want to miss it. So subscribe for automatic updates.

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 Example Are You Setting?

I’d like to start off by wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!

Last week’s central message was about prevention.

The concern is not only about the curves and excess flab that appear from ignoring your health for too long. It gets more serious when the life-threatening illnesses start knocking at your door.

If you are out of shape, over-weight, or all of the above, I want to challenge your mindset. And try to re-frame your situation to get you to a more desirable place.

Let me start by asking you a few questions.

  1. What kind of an example are you setting for your kids, employees, and people that look up to you…
  2. What kind of a burden are you placing on your spouse (or significant other) and family…
  3. What kind of a legacy are you leaving…

… by NOT taking responsibility and better care of your health?

Think about it. Seriously.

But don’t think for a minute that I’m trying to demean, discourage or disparage you.

I mean this with the utmost respect.

Each of us has our own set of unique challenges. Life can be demanding and unfair at times. And it can also be so rewarding and full of opportunity.

In the face of adversity, how we deal with the hand we’re dealt, and the setbacks we face along the way makes all the difference.

I know, it’s easier said than done. But as the saying goes: “It’s not what happens to you that matters. Stuff happens to everyone. It’s what you do about what happens that makes all the difference.”

Let that sink in. It’s so powerful that it’s worth repeating.

“It’s not what happens to you that matters. Stuff happens to everyone. It’s what you do about what happens that makes all the difference.” ~ Anonymous

Will you succeed or fail? Persevere or give up? It’s all up to you.

The quicker you bounce back, learn from the feedback, and then take another step forward is key.

So this holiday season, enjoy the time you “get to share” with your family & friends. And take some time to reflect on all the abundance you have in your life. We all have SO much to be grateful for…

It’s helpful to remind ourselves of this by practicing the art of gratitude. By feeling it, and by expressing it whenever possible.

And just a heads up, in 2 weeks we will begin to revisit a concept that I introduced last year about 6 healthy habits.

On January 3rd, we start “The 6 Pillars To Better Health & Vitality”6 months of building 6 core healthy habits that get results.

In the meantime, if you need some help navigating the holidays and managing the next couple weeks, check out this great post written by Darya Rose for My Fitness Pal. It’s called Your 9-Step Strategy to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays.

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.

Don’t Wait!

Don’t WAIT until it’s too LATE!

arm_fat

Life is short. And moves pretty fast.

As we get older, we need to stay ahead of the curve(s).

Before they… sneak up on us.

Are you with me?

Just like the weeds will take over your garden if you ignore them. The same is true if you neglect your health & wellness for too long.

After the excess baggage shows up at your door in the form of a bigger gut, butt, or muffin top, life-threatening illness will eventually take hold. And will usually strike in the form of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, or early death.

And these are all preventable if you catch them early enough.

But I have an idea. It’s genius!

Make better choices now, so you don’t have to worry later.

It’s not only the battle of the bulge that you’re fighting.

It’s your life!!!

So what are you going to do about it?

I have itemized a few posts below to help you get ahead of the curve:

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.