Category Archives: Sleep

Judgment Day Is Calling!

Every day is judgment day for me.

And it starts in the morning…

when I step on the scale.

Actually, it’s all about the day before… knowing that I will be stepping up and held accountable in the morning.

Which helps to shape my choices and decisions in the moment.

About the quality of the calories I consume, along with a reminder about the ones I need to burn.

One of the most important things we can do to improve our health is to be mindful of the feedback we receive, as a result of all that we do (or decide not to do).

I focus on the long-term, and build habits around The Health Triad.

  • Nutrition – the quantity and quality of the calories you consume.
  • Exercise – the frequency and intensity you generate.
  • Sleep – the quality and the amount you get.

How can we know if we’re on the right track if we don’t monitor our choices and measure the results of our habits?

Feedback

Seriously…

Which is why I’ve learned to seek feedback through observation, and embrace failure when it happens. The information is invaluable, and ultimately helps us make better decisions in the future by influencing the next step we take in the moment (toward our goals).

Here’s an example…

Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re overweight. This could mean 30, 50, or 100 pounds. If you’re playing along, use your number.

Safe to say, this didn’t happen overnight.

But if you were weighing yourself daily and tracking it, over time you would notice a steady increase.

So this process of hopping on the scale every day could’ve provided you with a necessary RED flag. Which may have (hopefully) caused you to take a closer look at your choices and habits. And to maybe even seek some help.

Let’s turn this around and see how this example can help you.

The point of weighing in every day is not to cause you to freak out if there’s an increase from one day to the next.

Some days there will be an increase, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is a consistent increase every week.

So here’s why you should be doing this…

It’s for the feedback!

What patterns are you noticing?

Keep in mind, these can be positive or negative.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

~ Newton’s Third Law

And here’s the beauty of this feedback… how are these patterns (from your weigh-ins) influenced by the choices you made over the past few days or week?

Look back to find the real value of maintaining this daily routine.

Feedback

This keeps it memorable and manageable.

It’s top of mind. So let the scale motivate you! And use it to your advantage.

That’s why every day is judgment day.

“Your choices, decisions, and habits can be shaped in the moment when you know you’ll be held accountable in the morning.” ~ John Dolan

So the question becomes…

Will you maintain the momentum of healthy choices so you can live a longer, more fulfilling life? Or succumb to unhealthy ones and remain discouraged about how every diet you try ultimately fails?

It’s an example of delayed vs. instant gratification.

If your future is more important, then it will be easier to delay that gratification for the long-term value. Otherwise, disappointment and frustration may continue to rear their ugly head.

Only you can decide… so choose wisely.

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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Your Longevity Plan

I like to consume a lot of information.

No, not Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Books…

It’s something I learned from my dad.

And I have to admit, he was right.

“Reading is one of the best ways to learn” ~ Jack Dolan

That’s what he used to tell me and my brother growing up. But it didn’t sink in until I was in my 20’s. I guess you can say I was a slow learner… but not anymore.

Today, there are many ways to improve your reading habit. The obvious one is with a good old-fashioned hardcover or paperback book.

And reading is so easy thanks to technology.

Ordering with Amazon is a snap, which is my primary method.

But there are some titles or topics that I prefer reading on my iPhone with the Kindle app. And for driving, walking, or when I’m on the go, I like to maximize that time with the Audible app, and listen.

Each format gives you a distinct perspective. And there’s so much variety, so I just don’t understand how anyone can say “I don’t have time to read”; or even worse, “I’m bored”.

Really?

Stop making excuses and find a way. There’s so much to learn!

And if you feel that you’re a slow reader, and it’s become an obstacle, you can lose that excuse with an Audible subscription.

How cool is that?

So why am I writing about reading?

And what does this have to do with health & wellness?

Well, I’m just finishing up an Audible book titled The Longevity Plan: Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China. And I love it!

It’s about a small village in China once known as Longevity Village. One of the few areas in the world claiming to have a large number of centenarians.

Reading

There’s a lot to learn from these people. And the interesting thing is, that you can find a way to incorporate just a few of their healthy habits and you’ll begin to gain massive results!

You can browse to 4 different formats of this book on Amazon by clicking here.

Here’s the Amazon description:

From a renowned Johns Hopkins- and Stanford-educated cardiologist at Intermountain Medical Center — comes the story of his time living in Longevity Village in China, and the seven lessons he learned there that lead to a happy, healthy, long life.

At forty-four, acclaimed cardiologist John Day was overweight and suffered from insomnia, degenerative joint disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. On six medications and suffering constant aches, he needed to make a change.

While lecturing in China, he’d heard about a remote mountainous region known as Longevity Village, a wellness Shangri-La free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, depression, and insomnia, and where living past one hundred—in good health—is not uncommon.

In the hope of understanding this incredible phenomenon, Day, a Mandarin speaker, decided to spend some time living in Longevity Village. He learned everything he could about this place and its people, and met its centenarians.

His research revealed seven principles that work in tandem to create health, happiness, and longevity—rules he applied to his own life. Six months later, he’d lost thirty pounds, dropped one hundred points off his cholesterol and twenty-five points off his blood pressure, and was even cured of his acid reflux and insomnia.

In 2014, he began a series of four-month support groups comprised of patients who worked together to apply the lessons of Longevity Village to their lives. Ninety-two percent of the participants were able to adhere to their plans and stay on pace to reach their health goals.

Now Dr. Day shares his story and proven program to help you feel sharper, more motivated, productive, and pain-free. The Longevity Plan is not only a fascinating travelogue but also a practical, accessible, and groundbreaking guide to a better life.

I highly recommend reading or listening to The Longevity Plan: Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China.

And since we’re on the topic of reading, I can’t help but also highly recommend 3 other books that can help you get in great shape and build better habits in many areas of your life.

This includes:

  1. Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle (Tom Venuto) Great book about getting lean, naturally.
  2. The Compound Effect (Darren Hardy) This book can transform your life.
  3. Essentialism (Greg McKeown) – Learn how to simplify your life by doing “less but better”.

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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This Is Incredible News!

Nutrition and exercise

This is incredible news! For years we have been hearing…

If we want to lose weight and live longer, that diet and exercise are 2 things we need to change. But that’s kind of vague.

I agree that nutrition and exercise are important. But to be more specific, I believe we need to consistently consume the highest quality foods, exercise regularly with intensity, and get 8 hours of sleep every night if we wish to live longer. And have more vitality…

I like to call it The Health Triad. And the article I reference below gives hope and reinforcement to this valuable advice.

One of my main motivators for eating clean, exercising with intensity, and getting 8 hours of sleep on most nights has been a desire to keep my arteries clear.

Hey, I don’t want to have a heart attack or stroke. So there’s only one way to do my part to prevent it. I’ve gotta take care of myself.

After reading this article, I’m going to enhance my description about keeping my arteries clear, to keeping my arteries “clear and flexible”.

Here are 2 takeaways from the article:

One: There are 7 risk factors that age us faster. These include:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Elevated cholesterol
  3. High blood sugar
  4. Inactivity
  5. Poor diet
  6. Obesity
  7. Smoking

Two: We can lower the risk of heart disease by staying active and eating well, which works to keep our blood vessels healthy and keep our arteries youthful.

I’m not a doctor, but here’s my belief. Unless you have a serious lifelong medical condition, you have control over every one of these conditions.

Nutrition and exercise

And the prescription is nutrition, exercise and sleep – period.

I’m in! How ‘bout you?

Still not convinced. Read the article…

You CAN be as a healthy as a 20-year-old in your 70s: Staying active and eating well keeps arteries youthful and lowers the risk of heart disease by up to 55%. Researchers from Boston University found being physically active, eating well and not smoking increases the health of our blood vessels by up to 10 times, lowering our heart disease risk.

’70 is the new 20′ seems like a bit of a stretch.

But even if these best practices add 20 or 30 years to your life, it sure seems worth the effort.

Click here to read the full story.

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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A New Approach To Wellness

This week, I’m sharing a podcast episode that I believe resonates with this blog’s focus. It’s titled “A New Approach To Wellness”.

Wellness

In it, Chris Kresser discusses how a healthy diet can reverse many of the health conditions that sideline 50% of American adults.

Chronic illnesses that are preventable!

These preventable illnesses include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Cancer
  4. Type 2 diabetes
  5. Obesity

I firmly believe that these illnesses can be prevented, reversed, and eliminated by what I refer to as “The Health Triad”.

Wellness

This is where nutrition, exercise, and sleep become the foundation to a healthy lifestyle that’s focused on longevity and vitality. Instead of inactivity and instant gratification.

Great health & wellness only happens when you have a long-term vision, and blend consistency with healthy habits that get results.

Or, on rare occasions when a medical emergency strikes (as a result of facing one of the 5 preventable illnesses due to years of neglect), and you’re forced to make significant lifestyle changes.

But unfortunately, this isn’t even enough of a motivator to make those necessary changes, many times.

If better health & vitality interests you, then you’ll find a wealth of information and takeaways here. And I hope you learn from and enjoy this wellness podcast as much as I did.

Here’s the link:

A New Approach To Wellness podcast

And if you’d like to learn more about Chris Kresser, go to www.chriskresser.com.

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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Harness The Power

It’s time to learn “how to” harness the power.

Power napLet’s stop and do a quick energy check.

 

First off, what time of day is it?

Now think about your energy level on a scale of 1 to 10.

Are you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to be productive? How about energized and creative?

Or would you instead describe yourself as worn out? Exhausted and unable to focus on the task at hand? And feeling a bit sleepy?

Towards the end of the day, the latter usually happens to most of us.

Some of this depends on:

  • the type of work you do;
  • the amount of sleep you logged the night before; and
  • your activity level and physical condition.

But none of us are super-human, despite what we may think sometimes. And most of us are dealing with some level of stress.

It’s not an excuse, it’s just reality.

So we need to do everything possible to ensure that we are showing up as our best “selves”. Whenever possible.

We all know the importance of getting 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night. But sometimes that’s not possible.

Yet even when we do get enough sleep, hectic work schedules and life can demand more from us than we have to give.

It’s at these times when we can help ourselves by “plugging in” and taking a short power nap.

Power nap

Here’s what some of the experts have to say:

  • Wikipedia: A power nap is a short sleep which terminates before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS), intended to quickly revitalize the subject.
  • WebMD: A power nap will boost your memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and energy level.
  • “Daytime naps can be one way to treat sleep deprivation”, says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” she says. “You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.”
  • According to David Radcliffe, Vice President of Google’s Real Estate & Workplace Services says “No workplace is complete without a nap pod. We found that the five-minute to 15-minute power nap works on Sunday before you watch the football game, so why not here at work?”
  • Best-selling author Michael Hyatt says “The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time but your energy.”

“I love a good nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing gettin’ me out of bed in the morning.”

~ George Costanza

 

Power nap

It’s unfortunate that napping carries such a negative stigma. Like you’re lazy, unmotivated, or just wasting time. Thanks George!

But nothing could be further from the truth (in most cases).

I also think that meditation can sometimes provide us with the refreshing benefits similar to those we gain from a power nap. Click here to link back to last week’s post.

A power nap can make you more alert and productive. Otherwise, you could find that You’re Sleeping Your Life Away.

There is plenty written about power naps. And so my goal is to bring more of an awareness to it. Helping you realize the value, benefits, and even the necessity of making time for them whenever possible.

Power nap

I’d like to share some articles and resources:

  1. wikiHow – How To Power Nap: http://www.wikihow.com/Power-Nap
  2. Business Insider – How To Take The Perfect Power Nap At Work: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-take-the-perfect-power-nap-at-work-2014-4
  3. Huff Post – How To Power Nap For All-Day Energy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/power-nap-all-day-energy_n_5798256.html
  4. Prevention – The Weird Benefit of Power Naps: http://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/how-your-brain-benefits-power-nap
  5. Great article by Michael Hyatt – 5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Nap Every Day: http://michaelhyatt.com/why-you-should-take-a-nap-every-day.html
  6. And how about a little humor? Laughter is very good for us. Here’s a hilarious short clip from Seinfeld – Season 8, Episode 18: The Nap – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W__qCFWi1KA

So what do you think? Have you benefited from power naps in the past? Or have you learned something here that may help you in the future? Your input matters, so leave a comment.

Can you believe it? You’re halfway there. We have just completed our 3rd Pillar.

I know firsthand that many of you are doing great, and due to your efforts, you’re reaping many benefits from this program.

Power nap

Stay with me. Your efforts are compounding and you’re seeing positive changes. It’s only a matter of time before massive results begin to materialize.

So keep drinking plenty of water, make time for exercise, and find a way to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. This consistency will continue to accelerate your success.

And stay tuned… you’re going to love next month’s Pillar. It’s the foundation for getting to and maintaining your ideal weight.

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.

Relax and Recharge For Longevity

Does your busy schedule include time to relax and recharge? For energy and productivity? Safety and sanity? How about for longevity?

Or time to spend a few minutes, just being present in the moment

Relax and recharge

Okay, before you answer, take a deep breath in… Hold for 3 seconds.

Now let it out. Ohhhmmmm……

Back to my question. I’m guessing that finding time to relax and recharge may not be a priority in your busy schedule. And that’s why we are going to explore this important topic this week.

So we’ve recently covered why sleep is important to our overall health and wellness. And what happens when we don’t get enough.

This week we’ll take a peek inside our own mind.

Relax and recharge

Life moves quickly, and it can be stressful at times. That’s why it’s vital to create the space for downtime, by finding new ways to relax and recharge.

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can become unhealthy if we let it get the best of us for too long. Or if we don’t find a way to deal with it. (Hint: getting regular exercise and adequate sleep helps.)

Depending on the type of stress you’re dealing with, you can find relief in a number of ways. You could for example:

  • Go for a walk or a run.
  • Exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Take a vacation.
  • Find a hobby.

Notice that punching the wall wasn’t one of the options. And checking email or Facebook didn’t make my list. That just adds to your stress, and serves as a mind-numbing, time-sucking distraction. When you could’ve been doing something healthy and productive for yourself.

But hey, if checking Facebook or other social sites helps you find peace, then who am I to say it’s a bad thing. Just keep an eye on the time you spend focusing on others, which is time that you’re depriving YOU from working on YOURSELF.

You know what the flight attendants say in the safety demonstration before taking off, right?

About putting your mask on FIRST. (Click here to be sure).

Well it’s true! If you don’t put your mask on first, how can you take care of anyone else?

Are you saying, “Yea, I know all that stuff” and mentally moving on? ‘Cause you’re busy, or just got distracted by something else?

Well this is where I get pissed and say, “Okay, stop for a minute! The mask is a metaphor for your body. When are you going to get the hint, and start taking better care of yourself?”

So you can take care of your (family, employees, pet, whoever). And yes, so you can continue taking care of yourself too.

Deep breath in… Let it out. Ohhhmmmm………

We okay? Great! But I am serious about what I just said!

Alright, if you’re still with me, let’s move on.

Today I’d like to help you discover another way to relax and recharge. For short and long-term gain.

How?

Through meditation.

Relax and recharge

I find that meditation is somewhat of an abstract, elusive “thing”. Meaning that I don’t always feel an immediate result. Some days it may not feel like I’m doing it right. Or it could feel great one day, and I might struggle the next day with calming my thoughts or focusing.

But overall, I find it very relaxing and helpful. My favorite time to meditate is right after a great workout. My mind seems to be in the perfect state to relax. All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes and I feel like a new person. Rejuvenated and ready to deal with just about anything.

If you’ve never tried it before, I’d like to help you learn more about it. And hopefully influence you enough to give it a try. Or if you’ve tried it in the past but it’s been a while, get you to give it another chance.

And if you meditate actively, I’d love to hear about it. We can all learn from each other, so leave a comment below.

I’d consider myself a novice when it comes to meditation. I still have so much to learn, but will give you some of the methods I have found beneficial with the hope that it will spark something for you.

And it doesn’t have to be a rigid ritual that requires formal training. I’ve never been formally trained in this area. I’ve only read a few books over the years, which is why I feel I have a lot to learn.

Relax and recharge

At this time in my life I prefer guided meditations. There are countless smartphone apps and websites that offer “free” guided versions. So all you need is your smartphone, a pair of headphones, and a comfortable, distraction-free place to sit where you have privacy. By the way, your car can be that place.

I would suggest that you Google “guided meditations”. Or search for the same phrase in the App Store or Google Play Store. Listen to or preview a few until you find something that resonates with you based on the person’s voice, background music, duration, and the type of content.

In addition to meditation, I learned about the power of solitude over 30 years ago, which could also be considered a form of meditation. This is where you sit still, in silence, distraction free for 15 to 20 minutes, with your eyes closed, without moving. And these days, you need to put your phone in airplane mode.

If you’ve never tried this, you may find it extremely difficult the first few times. But it’s a great way to calm your mind and observe your thoughts. As you begin to relax, focus on your breathing or the ambient noise (which shouldn’t include the TV, radio, etc.).

It’s incredible the number of thoughts that appear when you slow down and observe. I challenge you to give it a try. Whether it’s to calm your thoughts. To plan your day. Or to find a solution to a challenging problem. The key is to try to remain uninterrupted so you can relax.

Here are a few resources

…that may help you discover the benefits of meditation.

  1. WebMD article: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/meditation-natural-remedy-for-insomnia
  2. Huff Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/meditation-in-action-mindfulness-sleep_n_3586716.html
  3. The Honest Guys website for free guided meditations: http://thehonestguys.co.uk/meditations.html
  4. Mindful Muscle: http://www.mindfulmuscle.com

My goal here is to get you to slow down. To think and reflect. Without distraction. Focusing on the present. Breathing deep, and letting it out slowly. You can enhance the experience by feeling the emotion of gratitude for all that you have in your life. And for this opportunity to take a few minutes for yourself.

Beautiful…

Now, it’s time to get back to reality. Keep drinking plenty of water, make time for exercise, find a way to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night, and discover the joys of meditation.

By the way, March 17th is World Sleep Day. It’s intended to raise awareness of sleep disorders and the burden they place on society.

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.

When You Don’t Snooze, You Lose!

What happens when you don’t snooze? That’s right – you lose!

Well, read on to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Sleep deprivation

Wakey, wakey… Time to get back to work!

How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep?

  • Are you enthusiastic and upbeat; or irritable and lethargic?
  • Do you feel like going for a workout; or lounging in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream or bag of chips?
  • Are you productive and creative; or distracted and uninspired?

Think about the choices and decisions you’ve made when you were sleep deprived.

Were they aligned with ones you would have normally made; or did they come back to haunt you at another time?

Like the bag of chips lounging in front of the TV…

You know where this is heading. And for good reason.

Aside from an unavoidable or extreme circumstance that may happen occasionally. Or a medical condition. You are in complete control of how much sleep you get every night.

It’s your responsibility to make sure it happens. And it’s your fault when it doesn’t.

Sleep deprivation

This week we’ll look at how sleep deprivation is costing us all more than just wasted time. And if you have trouble sleeping, we’ll discuss a few ways to help you solve this problem, once and for all.

In Michael Hyatt’s blog post “4 Reasons Your Leadership Suffers When You Cheat Sleep”, he points out: The national average for the amount of sleep that leaders get is hours a night. About 20% less than what most people think they’re getting. And it gets worse if the quality of your sleep is suffering.

He goes on by outlining 4 reasons why not getting enough sleep is undermining your team.

When you’re sleep deprived:

  1. Your ability to selectively focus your attention is impaired.
  2. Innovation and problem solving suffers.
  3. Decision making skills decline.
  4. Emotionally, feelings are expressed in a more negative way.

Sleep deprivation

WebMD wrote about 10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss.

Here’s their list:

  1. Sleepiness causes accidents.
  2. Sleep loss dumbs you down.
  3. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems.
  4. Lack of sleep kills sex drive.
  5. Sleepiness is depressing.
  6. Lack of sleep ages your skin.
  7. Sleepiness makes you forgetful.
  8. Losing sleep can make you gain weight.
  9. Lack of sleep may increase risk of death.
  10. Sleep loss impairs judgement, especially about sleep.

None of the items on either list are going to improve your life. In fact, you can expect just the opposite. Hey, doesn’t this sound like even more of a reason to make sleep a priority?

But what can you do if you have trouble getting to sleep?

According to the Consumer Reports ‘On Health’ publication, up to 70 million Americans may have a sleep disorder. And according to research published in the journal ‘Sleep Medicine’, more than 40 million of them don’t get a proper diagnosis or treatment. Jeeze!

Can you relate to this?

Sleep deprivation

If that’s a YES, you should seek help.

They suggest that if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or can’t function normally, you should consult your primary care physician to identify or rule out illnesses that can affect sleep. Like depression and overactive thyroid.

Otherwise, it’s recommended that you see a board-certified sleep specialist. They can determine if you’re suffering from a common sleep disorder that may include:

  1. Chronic insomnia.
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea.
  3. Restless legs syndrome.

Chronic insomnia affects roughly 10 to 15 percent of adults. It’s defined as trouble falling or staying asleep at least 3 times per week for 3 months or more. Lifestyle habits are evaluated including caffeine use, alcohol consumption, use of electronic devices close to bedtime, and medications taken.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 25 million Americans. It results in numerous pauses in breathing during sleep. A sleep lab polysomnogram is recommended to properly diagnose this disorder.

Restless legs syndrome affects about 10 percent of American adults. Symptoms include leg sensations such as burning, a creepy-crawly feeling, throbbing, or an uncontrollable urge to move your legs.

I’m not a doctor or a sleep expert. But for these 3 symptoms, I would also recommend that you take a close look at your diet, exercise frequency, and activity level.

There are 3 main components to The Health Triad. Check it out here.

Think about it like a 3-legged stool. If one of the legs is broken, the stool is unable to support itself. Before the stool can stand on its own, you need to restore the broken leg. The same is true with your health & wellness.

Make sense?

We’ve covered a lot here.

You need 8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re falling short, it’s up to you to take control. And if you think you have a sleep disorder, seek medical help.

Your health and your life depend on it!

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.

Time To Get Some Sleep

There are some essential things in life that, like it or not, we just have to do. And one of them is to make time to get some sleep.

This is NOT an option. It’s a necessity.

And getting adequate sleep is mandatory

We are moving into a new month, and you know what that means. Time to start building a new habit. As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”.

Remember, we are focusing on one new healthy habit every month.

  1. To make it easier to manage.
  2. By giving you time to make each one your own.
  3. While helping you develop 6 new habits in 6 months that will last a lifetime.

As you can tell by the title for month 3, we’re toning it down a little.

Sleep

I know what you’re thinking, “But I thought we were here to work hard. I want to lose weight and get in great shape”.

And you are correct. We are, and you will. But stay with me because there’s a valid reason for this month’s habit, and you’ll be able to accomplish it with your eyes closed.

And that’s because our Pillar for Month 3 is SLEEP.

We will learn how getting the proper amount of rest will enable you to recharge your mental, physical, and emotional capacities so you can be your best, and capable of doing more.

Do I have your interest?

I hope so because you’re not going to want to snooze through this one. So let’s get started.

Sleep is a major part of your health & wellness.

In an article titled, “Why Is Sleep Important”, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discusses how getting the right amount of sleep can help your memory, and improve learning ability, problem-solving, creativity, focus and decision-making skills.

So it’s obvious that if you don’t get enough rest, your abilities in these areas would be negatively impacted.

According to the NIH in this article, “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. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping.”

They go on to describe how sleep plays such an important role in your physical health. And that ongoing sleep deficiency increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and even early death.

I encourage you to read this article at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

So then this begs the question…

“What happens when we sleep?” 

Sleep

Here’s what the National Sleep Foundation says:

“Sleep architecture follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep throughout a typical night in a cycle that repeats itself about every 90 minutes.”

They go on to illustrate the role each stage and state of sleep plays:

NREM (75% of night): As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep, which is composed of stages 1-4

Stage 1

  • Between being awake and falling asleep
  • Light sleep

Stage 2

  • Onset of sleep
  • Becoming disengaged from surroundings
  • Breathing and heart rate are regular
  • Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)

Stages 3 and 4

  • Deepest and most restorative sleep
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Breathing becomes slower
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Blood supply to muscles increases
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs
  • Energy is restored
  • Hormones are released, such as: Growth hormone, essential for growth and development, including muscle development

REM (25% of night): First occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night

  • Provides energy to brain and body
  • Supports daytime performance
  • Brain is active and dreams occur
  • Eyes dart back and forth
  • Body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off

In addition, levels of the hormone cortisol dip at bed time and increase over the night to promote alertness in morning.

Sleep helps us thrive by contributing to a healthy immune system, and can also balance our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. So when we’re sleep deprived, we may feel the need to eat more, which can lead to weight gain.

The one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.

If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Then we wake up less prepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage fully.

It’s interesting to see what occurs during the various states and stages of sleep. And I think the last 3 paragraphs sum it up very well. (Scroll back up and re-read those last 3 paragraphs in bold)

The consensus from my research puts the recommended amount of sleep for adults between 7 to 9 hours per night. Most experts agree that logging less than 7 or more than 9 is not advisable.

Sleep

Over the past few years since I’ve been focusing on getting at least 7 but preferably 8 hours of sleep, I can say with absolute certainty that getting enough sleep makes a big difference the next day in so many ways.

And on those rare occasions when I get less than 7 hours, the exact opposite is true.

I hope you found this interesting. Next week we will try to put this into perspective by discussing what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Until then, make sleep a priority and make sure that you are getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night.

If you schedule it, you have a much better chance of accomplishing it. And that may mean you have to go to bed a little earlier. But you’re worth it, so take care of yourself and get some sleep!

I’d like to wrap up with a sleep-related product recommendation.

It’s about the heavily promoted and advertised product is called “My Pillow”. But this is not a favorable rating or testimonial to buy the product. My recommendation to you is to NOT buy this product.

Although the inventor and CEO appears to be a good guy, his product My Pillow is garbage in my opinion, and not worth 2 cents. I’m simply passing this on to hopefully save you time and money.

Always remember, it’s not what happens to us that matters. Stuff happens to everyone.

It’s what we do about what happens to us that makes the difference.

So keep drinking plenty of water, make time for exercise, and find a way to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

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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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.