Category Archives: Weight loss

Walk This Way, or Else…

You can walk this way, or else… you may end up suffering from the consequences of being sedentary.

Sedentary

We already know that walking and staying active is SO important to our health & wellness.

But do you understand the negative impact we face by not getting enough steps? Or for sitting too long?

We’ll answer this as we wrap up our “walking” habit for Month 5.

So what’s with this week’s title?

Well, last week I built our theme around a great Pink Floyd song to help you maximize your daily step count with machines. This week, I couldn’t help but incorporate a great Aerosmith song to reinforce the importance of walking.

We’ve all heard and read about the importance of taking 10,000 steps every day (aka 10K a day!). In fact, over the past 4 weeks we’ve covered numerous benefits of walking:

10,000 steps began as an arbitrary number. It was originally created as a promotion by a Japanese pedometer company. Since then, studies have confirmed that 10,000 appears to be the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of their health & wellness.

See how you stack up:

  1. Under 5,000 steps per day is considered “sedentary”. This is where health risks begin.
  2. 5,000 to 7,499 is “low active”. This is the category most people fall into. But you don’t want to stay here.
  3. 7,500 to 9,999 is categorized as “somewhat active”.
  4. Log 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day and you are considered to be “active”. With consistency, this is a great place to be.
  5. And over 12,500 puts you in the “highly active” category.

Congratulations if you fall into one of the last two categories.

So what if your activity level has you categorized as sedentary or low active? Should you be concerned and what does this mean?

SedentaryWell the answer to the first part of the question is yes, you should be concerned if you’re sedentary.

You think, “OK, I’m concerned. So what does this mean for me?”

First off, it may indicate that you’re not getting enough exercise. Walking is important to your health & wellness, but it’s not the only thing you need to do.

In addition to walking, you need to include a few strength training and a couple of cardio sessions every week.

This all contributes to your 10K a day, but walking by itself is probably not enough. Your body benefits from strength training in so many ways.

I’m not suggesting that you enter a power-lifting competition like my son-in-law Chris. For us middle-aged and older folks, this includes lighter weights, bodyweight exercises, and machines.

In addition to the benefits of strength training, the sustained intensity from aerobic exercise (aka cardio) is beneficial to your heart, lungs, brain, circulatory, and respiratory systems.

Cardio will also improve your stamina and endurance during strength training sessions, and vice versa.

Many studies have been done to evaluate the consequences of being sedentary. Problems include an increased risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

Sedentary

Here are 2 good articles worth reading:

If you are sedentary, let this be the catalyst to help you start moving. And make sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new activity, nutrition or exercise program.

Remember, the consistency of slow and steady for long-term results always trumps quick fix!

If you’re new to us, you can link back to the first post of our 6-month series here. And don’t worry about the time of year. We started in January because that’s when most people think about their health & wellness goals. But you can start anytime.

Like TODAY!!!

Sedentary

Same goes if you started but have fallen off-track. Go back to the first post of the series to re-calibrate and get yourself back on-track.

It’s a simple concept: One new habit per month, reinforced weekly to help you build the discipline. And since there are only a half dozen habits to build, it’s easy to manage, once you get into the groove.

But as Jim Rohn used to say, “What’s easy to do is easy not to do”.

6 months to build 6 healthy habits and disciplines that you can sustain for a lifetime.

Here’s how. By…

  • taking action, one habit at a time.
  • consciously (and consistently) making good choices.
  • knowing what to do and learning from your missteps along the way.
  • allowing your new habits to become part of your long-term plan and healthy lifestyle.

It’s up to you how long it takes to reach your goal. And then you have a lifetime to enjoy your new healthy lifestyle. How cool is that?

One last thing before we go.

I have a few words of caution about walking as we wrap up.

  1. First for the ladies: Never walk alone. Especially in the dark or in desolate places.
  2. And for all of us: Always be alert and walk against traffic if you’re forced to walk in the street. Distracted driving is a big problem.
  3. Safety should always be your main goal.

Next week we’ll introduce the 6th and final healthy habit of our 6-month series. In the meantime, don’t forget to Walk This Way!

Sedentary

Or get moving to one of your favorite walking (or running) songs…

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.

Welcome To The Machine

Hey 10K! Are you hitting it every day?

Cardio machineIf you need some help, you’re going to like this post.

So how can you increase your daily step count?

I have a few ideas to share that work for me, and I’m hoping they’ll work for you!

Full disclosure: I am not the type of person who likes to spend hours in the gym. I don’t have the time or desire. My average workout time is 45 minutes, which works for me.

I enjoy walking outdoors, so I supplement my workouts with it. Walking improves my thinking, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. And it’s relaxing despite doing it with intensity.

But I’m always looking for ways to log more steps.

And although running is great for so many reasons, it’s not really an option for me anymore. The lingering foot or knee pain I experience from the impact is something I now try to avoid.

But I have found other ways to increase my step count while keeping my heart rate elevated.

Cardio machineWelcome to the machine… Well, I should clarify… Low-impact cardio machines.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. Ellipticals: My favorite cardio machine is the Octane Elliptical. After using it for a while, and experimenting with different modes and levels of resistance, you can get close to a “running experience” without any impact on your knees, ankles, feet… And you’ll rack up a lot of steps during an intense 35-minute session.
  2. Bikes: It’s not my “go to” cardio machine, but it’s a good leg workout that will maximize your step count. For a super-intense session, hop on a “spin bike”. Remember your headphones and some loud, ass-kicking music for support and motivation. If you can ride outside, I’m sure my cyclist friends will agree that riding outdoors is more fun and exciting.
  3. Steppers: These cardio machines won’t give you the same high ratio of step count per hour as an elliptical or a bike will, but it’s an intense leg workout that gets (and keeps) your heart rate up.
  4. Treadmills: Aside from the obvious walking (or running), treadmills enable you to control speed or elevation to intensify your workout. I’d much rather walk outdoors at a fast pace than on a treadmill. But a treadmill is a good alternative when you need it.
  5. Jump rope: Surprisingly, I don’t experience pain from jumping rope like I do from running. So I jump rope frequently. If you haven’t jumped rope in a while, you may find that your endurance is low at first. Stick with it and increase the duration every time you jump. And before long, 15 to 30 minutes will be no problem.
  6. Walk the Mall: If the weather is bad or you want a change of scenery, walk the mall. You can window shop. But don’t stop when you see something you like. Instead, wait until you’re done with your walk. And use the stairs for added resistance and intensity.

My goal was to help you find different ways to maximize your step count, by pairing it with some of your cardio training sessions for efficiency. To make it a little easier to get to 10K a day.

Cardio machine

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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There’s An App For That…

You’ve heard it a million times… “There’s an app for that”. Well stay with me, because it applies directly to this week’s theme.

So 10K a day is your new mantra.

And you’re R’acking up the steps. Congratulations!

But how are you T’racking your results and progress?

You know the saying, so say it along with me.

There’s an app for that…

As we discussed last week, there are plenty of apps for iPhone and Android to track your steps. And if you’re an iPhone user, the built-in Health app is incredible for tracking your step count.

But it doesn’t only track your daily step count (automatically), it retains all of your recorded data from Day 1.

Track

For example, in the fitness category, you can also track your active energy (calorie burn), minutes exercised per day, number of workouts, and a few other key metrics.

Aside from the step data, the data for the other fitness categories needs to be entered manually. This info is “tracked” and displayed on a dashboard. And represented visually in graph format based on the time frame of your choice – by Day, Week, Month, or Year.

In addition to tracking your steps, you may find a few other apps useful during your walks.

Here are four of my favorites:

  1. Audible: It’ impossible to read when you’re walking briskly, working out intensely, or driving. I use those times to listen to audio books. For about $15 a month you can get an Audible subscription and continue feeding your mind. If you like reading, it’s a way to maximize your reading time. If you don’t like to read, give it a try. You may take a liking to listening to audio books.
  2. Podcasts: Another great source for learning while you’re on the go. And it’s free. You can follow your favorite thought leaders and listen to their content based on your
  3. Music: Sometimes you just want to listen to music or need some motivation to put a little spring in your step.
  4. Your calendar: I do some of my best thinking during a walk. And I want to capture those thoughts. So instead of slowing down to type, I dictate my thoughts into a new calendar event, which allows me to remember the idea when I’m done or at a later time.

And of course, there are other ways to track your step count in addition to using your smartphone. From high-tech pedometers, fitness bands and smartwatches.

Perhaps this will help to put tracking in perspective for you:

“What gets measured gets managed.” ~ Peter Drucker

Or put another way, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

TrackThe most important point here is to get moving.

Then, “measure” your activity and “track it” with an app or a device.

On another note,

I recently improved my work habits by going to a standing desk, which I love. And there’s huge a side benefit.

Although it doesn’t count for steps, this one move can improve my cardiovascular health by helping me stay “less” sedentary.

Recent research claims that even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for a number of reasons.

Here are a few articles on the subject:

“Don’t be a ‘sitting duck for cardiovascular disease’ — move more, sit less,” ~ Dr. Barbara George, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

If you want to get a handle on how much time your daily sitting is adding up to, check out this sitting calculator. And pay close attention to the notes, which I’ve included in the image below.

Track

‘Nuf said. Now it’s time to go get some more steps…

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.

Can You Give Me 10,000?

I need your help please. Can you give me 10,000?

I’m not asking you to write a check. But I won’t stop you if you feel so inclined…

It’s Month #5 and we’re launching our next habit – walking.

10,000 steps

Walking has been proven to be a healthy habit. Something we need to be doing all the time. Our bodies are powerful and resilient. And we’ve got to keep moving to remain healthy, vibrant and strong.

Walking is low impact. But it’s great exercise in so many ways.

For example:

  1. At a brisk pace, walking strengthens your legs and core.
  2. It gets your heart rate up. So it aids in circulation and breathing.
  3. And helps to clear your head. Personally, I do some of my best thinking and problem-solving when I’m on a walk (next best place is the shower).
  4. And if it’s sunny, you get to boost your Vitamin D production. Just remember the sunscreen.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends 10,000 steps per day (aka “10K a day”). And he’s not the only one.

10,000 steps

By the way, logging 10,000 steps is no small feat. You’ve got to be deliberate and make time for it. Otherwise you will struggle to get anywhere close to hitting that goal every day.

Let’s clarify a few things.

I’ve created this brief Q&A to help you get started with your new walking habit.

(Q1).   What counts as a step?

(A1).   Everything. But as with most things, quality matters. The faster or brisker your pace, the better. We are all at different fitness levels. And you will know when the steps you’re taking are meaningful, and when they’re not. Regardless, find a way to get to at least 10K a day!

(Q2).   How do I track my daily step count?

(A2).    The easiest way is with your smartphone. Or you can use a pedometer, fitness band / activity tracker, or smartwatch.

(Q3).   How do I track my progress?

(A3).    Your smartphone. As an iPhone user, I use the built-in Apple Health app. It automatically tracks your step activity, as long as your phone is with you when you’re moving. It also displays your “daily average” steps on a dashboard. Plus, a whole lot more health-related data. There are plenty of health-related apps on the Android. I’m just not aware of an all-inclusive one like the iPhone offers at this time.

(Q4).   Why 10,000 steps?

(A4).    Well first off, 10,000 steps equates to approximately 5 miles. Based on my research, I discovered that 10,000 began as an arbitrary number. It was originally created as a promotion by a Japanese pedometer company. But since that time, studies have confirmed that 10,000 appears to be the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of their health & wellness.

This article is packed with useful information about activity, ways to increase your step count, and top picks for pedometers, fitness bands, and smartwatches.

Will you commit to 10K a day?

10,000 steps

I hope so.

Just don’t do what I did last May, and you’ll avoid making a similar bonehead mistake. Click here to learn what ‘not’ to do.

This one incident set me back a few months, while the pain lingered for at least 6. But it’s a valuable lesson and I am happy to pass it on. So remember to leave the light on.

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.

Clean Up Your Act!

There’s plenty of evidence that proves the importance of eating a clean, well-balanced diet. One that consists of mainly whole foods and avoids processed ones. Which is why I want to help you clean up your act. To lose weight, achieve great health, and live longer.

Eat clean

Eating clean takes more time and effort, which makes stopping at a drive-thru an easier choice. But how do you justify unhealthy food choices? And years of neglecting your body by eating this crap?

I have been thinking about eating habits.

And although we’re all different, with varying tastes and preferences, I think we can categorize most of our eating patterns into 3 distinct profiles:

  1. Those who eat clean.
  2. Those who don’t eat clean.
  3. Those who want or try to eat clean, but still don’t.

We’re in the last week of our 4th habit – eating clean. I hope this new habit is taking shape for you (as depicted below). As you clean up your eating habits, you will begin to look better and feel great from the consistent daily steps of improving your nutrition.

Eat clean

Last week we discussed eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies. And no, that’s not a rainbow on the left.

Earlier this month in the “Eat Clean, or Else” post, we discussed why it’s essential to reach our macronutrient targets, and why doing this with high quality foods makes such a difference.

This also means avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Every time food is touched (processed), the nutrient value declines. And the calories, unhealthy fat, sodium, and sugar usually rises. Along with some unhealthy additives and preservatives that only serve to increase shelf life and sabotage your health.

I would add a few other things to the “Avoid List”, as part of your healthy regimen. Including (but not limited to) fast food, anything fried, most appetizers, baked goods, junk snacks, soda, and candy.

You should also minimize your sugar and salt intake. And products made with white flour (like breads and pasta).

For my full list, click here.

I’m not saying you can never eat these things. But you should avoid them as much as possible. Especially if you’re overweight and trying to get fit. If this describes you, you need to avoid them all-together. Or at least until you get things under control.

They’re doing you no good.

If you’re serious about losing the weight and getting in shape, do yourself a big favor and stop eating this crap. You won’t miss it as the results start showing up.

Let me ask you a hypothetical question.

I want to re-frame the importance of eating clean by comparing your body to an expensive sports car. So here goes…

Eat clean

If you had the opportunity and the means to purchase a million-dollar sports car, would you hesitate for a second to go out of your way to give it the highest quality gas? Or hire the best mechanic and make sure to perform scheduled routine maintenance?

You’re thinking “That sounds ridiculous! And what does it have to do with eating clean?”.

I’ll agree that you can’t put a price tag on your life – that’s ridiculous! But the feeding and maintenance is spot on. The only real difference is that if you neglected your car, you could always buy another one.

But what’s your recourse for neglecting your body?

An organ transplant, you say. I disagree, unless it’s for a true medical condition.

But if that transplant is needed for years of compounded neglect, it won’t work. Why?

Because it doesn’t fix the root of the problem – YOU!

Here’s what I don’t understand. With all this information and proof, why do so many people continue to make bad food choices?

Eat clean

Eating clean is essential to our health and longevity.

Sure, eating clean may not be as fast or easy as stopping at a drive-thru, but it’s not hard.

And avoiding good nutrition by not eating clean leads to far too many problems. Like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke just to name a few.

I don’t know about you, but I will do anything and everything possible to avoid these life-altering diseases. Which eventually become life-ending.

And they’re so preventable! In fact, it’s also been proven that you can reverse the negative effects of these preventable diseases by eating better and exercising.

Eating better and exercising sounds like going out of your way to feed your expensive sports car “high test” fuel, then hitting the track for some laps. And performing routine maintenance sounds like seeing for your doctor for an annual physical exam and other routine check-ups.

So WTF???

It’s infuriating to see so many people neglecting themselves. And for what? Besides a heavy future price to pay!

Eat clean

Why wait for a medical emergency?

STOP making excuses!

And STOP putting other people’s priorities ahead of your own.

Are you’re thinking. “I’m too busy and don’t have enough time.” That describes everyone!

Maybe you don’t know where to start. Did you ever hear of the Internet, Google, or Thin2Win?

Too overwhelming? Then hire a professional. Even if only for a few sessions.

You’re worth it… Aren’t you?

You may discover that your medical insurance covers nutrition counseling. Look into it. And if you need recommendations for a registered dietitian, let me know.

Eating “dirty” is more prevalent (and popular) than eating “clean” is. It just doesn’t make sense when you can have it your way.

But I have a theory. I think “eating dirty” is due to:

  • It’s just easier.
  • Lack of discipline or neglect.
  • Convenience or speed.
  • You don’t know any better (which is NO excuse).
  • “Instant” gratification feels better than its counterpart – “delayed”.
  • It’s more pleasurable to do what’s fun and easy in the present than what’s necessary and perhaps more difficult for the future. Kind of like saving for retirement.
  • Martyr syndrome (putting other people’s needs ahead of your own).
  • Not being serious or committed (which makes no sense to me).
  • Too busy looking for the next “quick fix”, or magic pill supplement.

As far as I’m concerned, these are all unacceptable excuses. Are you just waiting for diabetes, a heart attack, or some other medical emergency to wake your ass up?

You have a choice. And if you can’t figure it out, then seek help from someone who has. Someone (like me!) who can help you make better choices and build sustainable habits.

No quick fixes or gimmicks. Commit to building your healthy habits one meal at a time. And before you know it, you’ll see results. Which will help to motivate your new healthy lifestyle.

I like how Darren Hardy put it in his best-selling book The Compound Effect. On page 59 he writes: “If you took a bite of a Big Mac and immediately fell to the ground clutching your chest from a heart attack, you might not go back for that second bite. If your next puff of a cigarette instantly mutated your face into that of a weathered eight-five-year-old, chances are you’d pass on that too. If you failed to make that tenth call today and were immediately fired and bankrupted, suddenly picking up the phone would be a no-brainer. And, if that first forkful of cake instantly put fifty pounds on your frame, saying ‘no thank you’ to dessert would be the true piece of cake.”

Great words of wisdom Darren. Results take time and effort.

If you haven’t read The Compound Effect, you should. And if you have read it, read it again. You’ll learn something new every time.

Our daily actions (our choices, habits, and decisions) are always compounding… in the form of either positive results, or negative consequences.

The good and the bad each take time to materialize. But here’s the cool thing. We get to decide what we want. And what we do.

So, clean up your act!

We can eat foods that nourish our body and our mind, that fight off disease. Or we can eat foods that eventually send us to an early grave. It’s up to each of us to decide what we want…

I’d like to wrap up by sharing a great article. It’s packed with 10 healthy eating tips that resonate with my philosophy. I hope you enjoy. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/healthy-eating.htm

Next week we start Habit #5. The weather is getting nicer and I think you’re going to like this one. In the meantime, start eating clean for your overall health for crying out loud!

Ok, I’m done ranting.

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.

How Many of These Do You Eat?

We all know that eating clean is directly responsible for our great health. And you follow this blog because you want to lose weight and get fit (or stay this way) for the rest of your life. Which begs the question, “how many of these do you eat?”.

Superfoods

I know what you’re thinking. “How many of ‘what’?”; and “What are ‘these’?”. Or maybe just “What the heck are you talking about?”.

Don’t worry, we’re going to unpack the answer to this obscure but important question as we continue to clean up our nutrition in this 3rd week of Pillar #4.

We will identify foods that pack a powerful nutritional punch, with the goal to help you start eating more of them.

Okay, so what are they?

They’re known as superfoods.

And we should all be eating more of them, because superfoods are typically nutrient-dense and low calorie. They are foods that contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals.

And it’s much better to get your vitamins directly from your food than from taking supplements.

Did you know that superfoods are high in fiber?

Fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Superfoods

Superfoods are also usually rich sources of antioxidants, which means they protect our bodies from the free-radicals that cause aging and cell damage.

And finally, fruits and vegetables contain natural chemicals called phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals), which help to keep our bodies working properly and prevent disease.

It’s often been said that you should “eat a rainbow”. Which basically means to eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day consisting of different colors.

SuperfoodsThere are plenty of documented “superfoods”. And many lists to promote the best of the best…

So instead providing another “Top 50” list, I have included some of my favorite superfoods, listed in no particular order of importance.

  • Broccoli (and other leafy greens like kale, spinach, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts)
  • Cauliflower (and other light colored veggies like bok choy, onions, and garlic)
  • Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
  • Nuts (including walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachio)
  • Seeds (including pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax)
  • Fish (especially those high in Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon and sardines)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh fruit (including apples, bananas, avocados, kiwi, cantaloupe, watermelon…)
  • Whole Grains (oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, and farro)
  • Beans (including lentils, black, white, and kidney)
  • Wine 😉 (in moderation of course)

My hope is that this list gets you started, then helps you remember to include more superfoods in your daily nutrition and meal plans.

As I’ve said over and over, I am not into diets. Especially as they’re typically marketed and portrayed for losing weight.

Why?

Because they are usually restrictive and prey on our emotions or weaknesses.

They’re short-term, quick-fix attempts that rarely teach us anything about nutrition, or how to get to the root of the weight-gain problem.

So they don’t work over a long period of time.

Superfoods

Which is why they fail most of the time.

This is not only unhelpful, it’s unhealthy. And for these reasons, traditional diets should be avoided. The same goes for the all-too-popular low-carb and low-fat diets.

Whether we’re trying to lose or maintain our healthy weight, we all need something that is sustainable, for a lifetime.

Healthy habits we can practice every day.

Not some foreign program with a finish line that doesn’t teach us anything about nutrition.

One that promotes eating to live; not living to eat  starve.

Everyone also NEEDS to eat ALL 3 macronutrients to survive, and should aim for 50% carbs, 30% lean protein, and 20% healthy fats. With every meal. Which is why my mantra is…

Eating clean will keep you lean!

Here are a few articles I found to be informative and helpful.

So, back to my original question. How many of these do you eat?

And remember to make it as colorful as possible.

The takeaway here is to make superfoods part of your daily nutrition plan.

The more the better. Let’s try to add a few this week as part of our new eating clean habit.

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.

“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.

Eat Clean, or Else…

You can make the decision to eat clean, or else… expect to eventually suffer the consequences that millions of others are now facing as a result of many years of bad nutrition.

Eat cleanIt’s harmless at first. And today’s “need it now” tendency not only popularizes quick-fix solutions, our society appears to be driven by this need for immediate gratification.

Fast food establishments and highly processed junk food have become the “norm”. They’re everywhere we turn. And here’s where this problem goes from bad to worse.

When our super-busy schedules and our desire to be efficient and productive are meshed with a fast food option posing as a nutritious solution, the result appears to be a good fit.

But is it?

So you start to gain a little weight. It’s innocent at first. You’re getting older, so “it’s probably normal”. At least that’s how we rationalize it. And since you have no time to figure out a better way, you just keep going at it the same way. But expecting different results.

And you know what that leads to…

You think, “if only there was a pill on the market that could help me lose a few pounds, I’d be able to conquer this weight problem for good”.

Eat clean

Well of course there’s a pill for that. But does it really help anyone?

Stop and think for a second. If there was such a thing as a weight loss pill that actually worked, as so many companies claim and promote in their marketing, wouldn’t everyone be thin? Or at least, most people? (This question doesn’t deserve an answer because it’s so obvious).

Fast forward, and now these innocent few pounds have become more noticeable. This is one of the consequences you face with poor nutrition. You gain more fat, which leads to excessive weight gain.

Compound this over a few years, and debilitating diseases that were once preventable start to emerge.

Sad but true!

This has become widespread. And it’s getting worse; not better.

Did I make you stop and think about your own eating habits?

Eat clean

I hope so!

It doesn’t have to be this way.

But if you need a little more proof or convincing, just look around and observe the number of fast food establishments that exist.

And the highly effective marketing techniques that begin targeting our kids at an early age.

Or the abundance of “big pharma” commercials claiming to cure a gazillion ailments as long as you can handle the long list of side effects.

Eat clean

Why are all these drugs being developed in the first place? Could it be the result of too many years of bad habits that include laziness, neglect, and failure to take complete responsibility for ourselves?

You can also observe that more people are overweight than are fit.

This is not a threat or a scare tactic, or meant to be disrespectful.

It’s reality. And something’s gotta change…

So let’s shift gears and talk instead about a solution – eating clean.

Eating clean has worked for me for many years, and I want to help you understand it better by sharing my interpretation and approach.

What exactly is eating clean?

To “eat clean” means to eat foods in their natural state. Or as close to their natural state as possible. This includes whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains.

I also include chicken, fish, and lean meat in my description. But where it can go awry or get a bit confusing depends on how it’s prepared, and what you put on it before you actually eat it.

You’ve heard of whole foods. Not the fancy grocery store, but the term used as a type of food.

Eat clean

Whole foods lived at some point – in the ground as a plant, above the ground as an animal, or under water as a species of fish.

Let’s take a closer look at whole and processed foods, and contrast the differences.

Plant-based whole foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. By including chicken, fish and lean meat, you gain the benefits of protein, and the necessary amino acids that make up that macronutrient.

In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish is a great source for providing the essential healthy fat our bodies need. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in other whole foods like eggs, Brussel sprouts, and walnuts.

On the other hand, processed foods are man-made. They may have started as a whole food, but at some point during manufacturing, most of the nutrients were removed. And other ingredients were added, including chemical preservatives to increase shelf life.

Think about a box of linguini. That didn’t come from a plant. But you’re thinking, it’s made from “wheat ingredients” which came from whole grains. Yes, but to make the finished product, the whole grain no longer exists as it initially did because it was processed out.

So even though linguini may taste good, what you end up eating has little to no nutritional value.

I want to make a quick point about macronutrients, which we’ll talk more about in Pillar 6. But it’s important to this part of the discussion, so…

Here’s a crash course on macronutrients:

When it comes to nutrition, our bodies need macronutrients to survive. Macronutrients are the main components of our nutrition and must be obtained through our diet. Macronutrients perform vital functions and supply our bodies with energy (aka calories).

There are 3 macronutrients that our bodies need:

  1. Carbohydrates – contain 4 calories per gram
  2. Protein – contains 4 calories per gram
  3. Fat – contains 9 calories per gram

Yes, that’s right. Carbohydrates (carbs) and fat are essential to our nutrition and good health. And it’s important to note that quality matters. And 1 or 2 won’t suffice, as some of the bogus carb restricted and low fat diets suggest. We need all 3.

In general, you should aim for approximately 50% of your daily calories from carbs, 30% from lean protein, and 20% from healthy fat. And while exceptions may apply, these ratios are a good benchmark for most of us to aim for.

To put this in perspective, let’s do some quick calorie math with chicken that’s prepared 2 very different ways.

  • A 4-ounce serving of grilled chicken contains approximately 36 grams of protein, which equates to approximately 144 calories.
  • Compare this to a 4-ounce serving of chicken that’s been breaded and fried, and you’re looking at approximately 337 calories. And this doesn’t take into consideration additional saturated fat, sodium or other factors.

It’s worth noting that a 4-ounce piece of chicken is slightly bigger than a deck of playing cards.

Now let’s look at an example of eating clean.

Have a piece of grilled chicken or fish with a steamed vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or Brussel sprouts. You may also want to include a sweet or baked potato, or brown rice as a starchy carb. And a salad with extra virgin olive oil & vinegar (or lemon juice).

To me, eating clean means avoiding processed foods crap, and all the nasty preservatives that are synthetically infused into food that’s already low in nutritional value, just to extend shelf life.

Basically, if it comes in a package with ingredients you can’t pronounce, it probably isn’t a whole food, which usually means that it’s been manufactured. So I just say no and avoid it.

Eat clean

Commonly consumed things like (but not limited to) chips and other snacks, cold cuts, bread, baked goods and desserts, boxed meals like mac ‘n cheese, sugary breakfast cereals, creamy soups, and everything that comes out of vending machines should be avoided.

All are highly processed. And fast food is on that list too. Learn to say no if you’re serious about your good health.

And sorry, but I can’t accept excuses about not having enough time or money to eat clean. Or that you lack the desire to eat clean because you don’t like (name the vegetable). There are plenty of options, so lose your excuse and make the change!

Eating clean is a sustainable, deliberate action that’s crucial to your good health. It’s high quality fuel for your mind and body. You have a choice and get to decide what you will eat, and what you won’t.

Eating clean may require more conscious effort and planning for you in the beginning. But over time with consistency, it becomes a discipline that evolves into a very healthy lifestyle.

Eating clean is YOUR responsibility! It’s up to you. And it matters!

Over the next month, we will unpack this habit in more detail. But in the meantime, what can you do over the next week to clean up your eating habits? Pick one new thing you will start eating this week, and balance it out with one thing you will stop eating.

Eat cleanHere are a few suggestions:

  • START eating grilled chicken and fish.
    • STOP eating all fried foods.
  • START eating more fruit.
    • STOP or minimize your sugar intake.
  • START eating raw veggies, and nuts or seeds for a snack.
    • STOP eating chips and all related junk.
  • START bringing a healthy lunch with you.
    • STOP eating fast food.
  • START cooking at home.
    • STOP or reduce the number of times you eat out.
  • START drinking more water (which you should already be doing).
    • STOP drinking soda and sweetened beverages.

Pick one of these START and STOP combinations, and make it a habit starting this week.

In addition to building new habits, we’re eliminating the unhealthy ones too. There’s no quick fix, and it will take some time. Which is why we are focusing on ONE new healthy habit per month.

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.

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.