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Don’t Give Up What You Want Most…

Yesterday I posted an article to Redefining Strength about life lessons you’ll learn from a healthy lifestyle.

I thought this was important to post because I see people every day learning more about themselves through exercise.

And the things they learn about themselves in the gym make them more confident and empowered in everyday life.

For the full article, click here.

Today, however, I just want to touch more on number 3:

“You learn to balance living in the moment with staying dedicated to long-term goals.”

You’ve probably all seen those fitspo that say:

While often the fitspos are being used to say not to cheat on your diet and eat out of stress, there is a good message underneath.

Sometimes you have to ignore immediate desires to achieve your long-term goals. Sometimes you can’t just indulge in every baked good people bring in to work. Sometimes you have to workout even when you are tired and stressed (and it will actually make you feel better in the long run!)

Sometimes you have to do a little work on your day off.

Sometimes you have to think long-term even when it is easy to be short-sighted.

HOWEVER, you can’t become so obsessed with your long-term goals that you don’t live life.

There has to be a balance between thinking long-term and getting to be spontaneous and indulge.

If you constantly restrict yourself and never get to be spontaneous, you probably won’t be able to stick to your program long enough to truly reach your long-term goals. Restriction and deprivation end up leading to binges (be them food binges or simply slacking on work and being a blob binges).

Too much long-term thinking and farsightedness can actually be a bad thing. Because you can’t put off immediate desires forever. And if you try to, most likely you will end up binging worse and falling off your program when a little indulgence could have kept you on track.

So cut yourself some slack every once in a while. Live in the moment.

You need little breaks from your goals – be them health and fitness goals or work goals.

Find a way to balance your goals with enjoying life!

The Five Pillars of Health

Being healthy is about more than working out or eating well – it is about balancing what I call “The Five Pillars of Health.”

These five pillars are:

  • Diet
  • Activity
  • Sleep
  • Vitamin D/Sunlight
  • Stress

When you do your best to get the most out of all five pillars, you will be healthy. Ignore one and all of your hard work with the others may go to waste.

Being healthy is all about BALANCE.

Let’s take a look at all five pillars and how they each contribute to us being healthy.

Read the rest of this entry

When you see progress…PUSH HARDER

Often I see clients start to get on a roll, start seeing progress and then completely slack off.

Instead what they should really do when they see progress is PUSH HARDER.

They should let the progress motivate them to keep going.

But that never seems to be the way it works.

For some reason when we see progress, especially when we progress quicker than expected, we let ourselves slack off.

We think, “Oh I should celebrate!” Or “Oh I can take a day off now!” We think, “I deserve a piece of cake.” Or “I don’t need to workout since I was so good about it all week.”

The thing is, success doesn’t work that way. Reaching our goals doesn’t work that way. Consistency is key.

Progress, especially great progress, should motivate us to work harder. To be more committed because we know what we are doing is WORKING.

We need to learn how to see progress as motivation to continue NOT an excuse to slack off.

So here are some tips to motivate you and keep you moving forward on this wonderful Monday.

Get Results, Push Harder Tips:

  • Pick HEALTHY rewards that promote the changes you are trying to make. If you are trying to eat better and become more dedicated to your workouts, don’t pick rewards centered around food or cheating on your healthy lifestyle. Make something HEALTHY a reward. I’ve heard this comment before, “You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with food.” And while I don’t like the statement, it does make a good point. Make your rewards HEALTHY. Make them something that celebrate and even further encourages the lifestyle changes you are trying to create!
  • Take time to celebrate victories! Sometimes I think we slack off or give up on our goals EVEN when we are progressing because we don’t truly take time to celebrate our victories. If you hit your goal for the week, take a second and appreciate the hard work you’ve put in. When you look back at all the HARD WORK it took to get there, slacking off may not seem worth it. I mean…do you really want all that hard work to be for nothing!?!
  • Be willing to adjust your goals. If you are progressing more quickly than expected, adjust your goals. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off because slacking off will lead to you getting off track and eventually failing. If you wanted to lift 10 more pounds by the end of the month but hit that goal early, adjust it and up your goal for the end of the month. If you accomplish one goal early, don’t take “time off!” Move on to the next goal! Give yourself a reason to keep moving forward!
  • Don’t measure your progress every day. Don’t weigh every day. Don’t take circumference measurements every day. Don’t do physical testing every day. You won’t see true progress every day and measuring every day puts too much pressure on you! Measure once a week at most. Preferably measure once a month. Give yourself enough time to truly achieve results; HOWEVER, measure often enough that you can see progress to keep you motivated. While we can slack when we see results, we can also slack if we feel like we AREN’T achieving!
  • Remember it’s a lifestyle and lifestyles don’t have an end date! When we make healthy changes, diet and exercise changes, generally we aren’t just trying to hit a one-time goal. Most of the time we are trying to create a new lifestyle to last us years and years! So even if you’ve made great progress, even if you’ve hit that weight loss or exercise goal, that doesn’t mean you are done. Remind yourself that your actions every day add up to create a healthy lifestyle. While a healthy lifestyle isn’t about perfection, it is about committing and being consistent with new healthy habits.

So as this week goes on, appreciate all of your hard work. Appreciate your consistency and use your progress and results to further motivate you and keep you committed!

Get great results and let them motivate you to push HARDER toward your goal!

My way or the highway?!?

So I definitely have solid views on nutrition, but I actually don’t vocalize them as much as you would think considering I rant and rave all the time about them here.

If someone asks me my opinion, I will tell them what I personally think.

Like yesterday, the volleyball girls asked me about post-exercise nutrition.

My answer? Eat a lean protein source and a simple carb. Those will be quickly absorbed by your body and used as fuel.

When asked what counted as a lean protein source or simple carb, I answered…

Turkey, chicken, whey protein, rice, potatoes, fruit.

Notice I didn’t say no gluten. Notice I didn’t say no protein bars. (Heck notice I didn’t even say, “Well honestly, I don’t even worry about pre and post workout nutrition…That is something that really only a top few elite competitors/athletes/bodybuilders need to worry about…That the most important thing truly is to eat a whole, natural food diet throughout the day and make sure you are eating when you are hungry!)

I simply listed things I believed are good – things that I would eat.

When asked specifically about bread or gluten or processed foods, I usually say, “Well I don’t believe in eating those things, but there are other people who do x, y and z and it works for them.”

I will almost always present the other side. (Except of course for here where I get to rant about the other side! YESSSS!)

Because it isn’t up to me what you choose. I can provide you with information about my reasons for my decisions, but I can’t tell you what is right.

Because it is a gamble. There are literally thousands of studies and people on both sides of the fat/gluten/carb/vegetarian fence.

Which side you decide to pick is ultimately up to you.

I’ve picked a side and am constantly doing research to make sure that I know WHY I make the decisions that I do.

Anyway, the reason I thought about all of this is because I’m writing up a “10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips” for this Heart Healthy Expo Jeff and I are going to tomorrow.

I was reading through a lot of the different heart-healthy tip things online and I couldn’t bring myself to provide people with recipes or tips that included canola oil and other such crap as healthy.

So below are the 10 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips I came up with. I managed to make the tips stay pretty darn mainstream WITHOUT going against my beliefs. I didn’t say not to eat whole grains…I just most definitely didn’t say to do it!!!

  1. Eat whole, natural foods and cut back on processed, pre-packaged food items. Processed foods are loaded with sugars and bad fats that cause inflammation.
  2. Use healthy fats such as olive oils, coconut oils and naturally-raised animal fats INSTEAD OF canola and soybean oils, which cause inflammation because they are loaded with omega-6s.
  3. Cut back on sugar and consume more complex carbohydrates especially fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our health.
  4. Cook more meals. No matter how healthy the restaurant meal supposedly is, it never measures up to a home-cooked meal. Even with our busy schedules and long workdays, we can fit in time to cook. It just takes some planning. Find meals, like casseroles and crockpot recipes, which allow you to make huge portions all at once so that you have leftovers for all those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
  5. Plan in some “me time.” Too much stress can negatively impact our health.  It is important to take some time each day. This can mean going for a walk with friends, reading a book or anything that allows you to relax for even just 5 minutes at the end of your day.
  6. Get more sleep! Those who average five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a far higher incidence of “silent” heart disease. In a study done, 27% of those who slept five hours or less per night developed calcifications that can signal heart disease after five years, compared to just 6% of those who slept an average of seven hours or more.
  7. Do 30 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking, hiking, swimming, chasing after your kids on the playground) 2-3 times per week. Low intensity aerobic activity helps to strengthen our heart and burn fat.
  8. “Sprint” once a week. To sprint means to do short, intense activity once a week where you get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you go again. The intensity of your sprint will be dependent on your fitness level. A sprint should be between 8-20 seconds of intense work followed by a long period of rest (2 to 5 times the amount work).
  9. Lift weights! Too often we ignore weight training when it comes to heart health, but strength training is important! Resistance training has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure while improving cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. All of which result in a healthier heart! Add in weight training 2-3 times per week.
  10. Skip the two a days! More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better health. Overtraining can actually have negative effects on your health. Your workouts don’t need to be more than an hour especially if they are super intense. So don’t worry about how long you workout for – focus on your intensity!

NOTE: I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but I do believe that sometimes if you are too vocal upon first conversation with someone who you can actually get them to shut down and complete tune out all of the good stuff you are saying. Sometimes if you ease people into the unknown they are more accepting of the things you have to say!

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