It’s All You When It Comes to Being Healthy

People have all sorts of reasons why they can’t exercise more…or should I say excuses?  Working out doesn’t have to break the bank, take tons of time, or cause you to stress more.  Working out is about priorities and putting yourself behind your efforts.

Working out does not have to cost a dime. Many spend quite a bit on poor food choices, and then complain they have no money to spend on health. How much is your cable bill? What’s it doing for your body? What about your trips to the mall, eating out, the bar – how much are your habits costing you? Are they still worth the extra weight, poor sleep, added stress? See below for ideas.

Working out does not have to take much time. Ever sat through an episode of a TV show only to think it was dumb? Why did you waste your time? How about when you sit through one and because it ended you watch the one right after it? Half of many TV programs are commercials, so even if you like the show, you could do some activities during commercials, or better yet, you could do activity through the whole show! There is a half hour of activity and you did not spend any money or have to find any extra time.

Working out does not have to be a huge change. If you start it will snowball. What about working activity into your life? Quit driving around the parking lot looking for the closest spot – there is your extra half hour of time. Park as far away as you can and walk in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. Walk instead of drive, sometimes it’ll take you less time to walk, than to get in your car, start it up, move it, sit at the stop lights, move through traffic, and find another spot to park. Get wild buy a bike. If you don’t need a parking pass for your car – there is your extra money. (Worried about winter biking, there are many who bike all year long, and I am sure they could help you get started. Not to mention the cool fat tires you’ll get to use.)

It is no one’s responsibility to get you moving. It is no one’s responsibility to make sure you are choosing actions that correspond with your goals, and it is no one’s responsibility to make sure you follow through with your goals – its all you. Make the choice today to be accountable for your actions and in control of your choices and ultimately your health.

Try Something New

I’m still riding high after finishing my first triathlon! I am totally hooked and it got me thinking.

As I was setting up the day of the race I took extra time to look at those around me. They were all shapes and sizes, men, women, and the youngest participant was 12. This got me thinking why aren’t more people trying new things everyday? My best guess … Fear.

I know fear can be an enormous thing to overcome. But what if you started today? What if you just did something different than normal today? What if you just made a small adjustment in your routine today?

What if you decided to try the salad instead of the same old sandwich? What if you left a little bit on your plate instead of eating way past full?

What if you parked further and walked in? What if you ran? What if you signed up for that race? Or told your best friend you were going to become more healthy … and mean it?

The destinations are endless and you are the driver. Try something new today.

Tips for Weekend Warriors

Are you a weekend warrior? You know, the people who go all out each weekend as if they were as nimble as they once were. Yet, they are the ones on the couch nursing (or should I say whining about) their aching back, hip, arm, shoulder, elbow, head, whatever for the next two days!

Are you a weekend warrior? You know, the people who go all out each weekend as if they were as nimble as they once were. Yet, they are the ones on the couch nursing (or should I say whining about) their aching back, hip, arm, shoulder, elbow, head, whatever for the next two days! My former professor wrote a book on retiring from athletics gracefully, a tough but necessary rite of passage. We try to hang onto former levels of activity, however, we are no longer practicing at the same level, which means we are no longer at the same level. A hard realization, I know.
According to Jim Rauzi, physical therapist with the Center for Muscle and Joint Therapy in Superior, WI, the first part of understanding the pains associated with weekend warrior type activity is to accept that you are experiencing a little (in some cases a lot) more activity than you are used to. No matter what you used to do, you no longer work at that level and accepting that you cannot jump into activity the same way is crucial. Ideally, you should be training for your events. Train for golf outings, sports leagues, 5-Ks, and other activities you know are taxing. Many people feel this is overkill, however, those who train feel much better after the race and are much less likely to suffer a debilitating injury.

For those of you with time before the big event consider training to help you perform your best. The biggest mistake I see is overestimating what the body can do based on old memories of what it did. Yea, you used to be able to run, skate, tumble, row, ride that fast or further. Unfortunately, you haven’t been training and at one time you practiced those activities.

More on training for an event next time.

Be Accountable

Who is responsible for our health? Ultimately we are. Why then are so many people looking to blame other’s for their weight issues?

Accountability. A big, very important word, accountability. In our society of give me’s, I deserve’s, and I want’s we have lost some accountability for our actions.

America was founded on hard work. Our streets of gold were for the taking if one wanted to work hard enough. Now, I know if we look at our history from a social perspective there are many items to consider, but if we look just at the concept it is very simple. If I work hard I can do anything.

In our culture I believe we have lost direction when it comes to working hard on our fitness. The International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association posted a survey on American exercisers. It was very interesting to see that a whole demographic is still looking for a quick fix pill.

I meet many people who wonder why they cannot lose weight. “I try so hard”, they complain. Then we look at their actions. They eat large portions, have long Friday night happy hours with friends, lots of soda pop and fast food choices, and no planning for meals or workouts.

They spend their money on other items, rather than a gym membership or home workout gear. Sometimes I wonder where the rational is.

For example: If I drink a 20 oz bottle of pop each day. At approximately $1.50/pop, I could afford a gym membership, more than 6 workout videos, a small set of dumbbells, 2 yoga kits, personal training, a pair of shoes, or some workout clothing.

Hmmm…is it any wonder more than 60% of our population is overweight? Until we begin to take responsibility for our actions weight will continue to climb.

Choosing Your Ideal Body

Have an image in your head of the ideal body? Think you need to look different than your current structure allows? How did you come up with that idea, anyway? What is your real body type?

Each person is different, therefore carry weight differently. There are three different body types, and each category is going to have different properties and will carry and build muscle differently.
A Mesomorph has an athletic build – usually builds muscle quickly, an Ectomorph is someone who is thin, may have trouble putting on weight, and tends to have a small bone structure, and an Endomorph is someone who easily puts on weight, and may have trouble losing it – no you are not all endomorphs.

It is not fair to judge yourself now if you are far from your “normal” body type. Most of us can remember where our bodies felt best, and it may not be on any ole’ chart. We can remember feeling strong, having energy, how good it felt to move. This is our ideal.

Unfortunately, we are constantly looking at images of other people which may not reflect what is best for us. Many people use the media’s portrayal of the human body as ideal however one must remember that media is an art form. Images are created, modified, and altered. What we see may not be real. Things get taped up, moved over, pulled tight, air brushed, and we often do not see the entire “stage” of an image – who is behind the model, how garments are held on, how are they standing, sitting, being held up, etc.

You are not a piece of art on display. You are a real human being with daily activities, responsibilities, and patterns, many not always glamorous. You want a body that supports your life demands and has the endurance to see you through the finish line. Set your ideal body accordingly.

Failing To Success

Have you ever experienced sighs, rolling of eyes, or underhanded “not again” comments when you announce to those closest to you that you are embarking on a new fitness goal? Well, take note.

When trying to form a new lifestyle it is important to go after your dreams. Some dreams may be weird, or hard, or nearly impossible, and those that know you best, know it will be a rough, if not, wild ride before you are done, but do it anyway, and for god’s sake quit listening to them! I am not suggesting you quit your day job, move to a faraway land, and forgo all responsibilities.
If you are dealing with a friend or family member who is working hard toward a goal and failing, or if you are the friend who continually tries, but are having trouble getting it off the ground over and over, take note. Failing is reaching for success.

By repeating an activity even if it seems we are not reaching our goals, we are creating pathways in the brain that reinforce our goal. These pathways become stronger the more they are used and soon it becomes second nature.

Today look back and take stock of the failures you’ve had. Can you see a pattern? Can you see progress (remember to look at the big picture)? Can you see where you may need work? If these questions seem daunting, hire a professional in whatever area you are working to change who can help you sort through your ideas.

Once you’ve got your track record you can limit your obstacles based on past experience, draw new confidence based on what you have been able to overcome, and begin again armed and ready when your best buddy rolls their eyes and exclaims, “Not again!”

Be Happy, Lose Weight

How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight?

How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight? A recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research makes the point that being happy can help us see the big picture. Participants were better able to think abstractly therefore enhancing their ability to reach their goals and stay motivated.

Laymen terms – if you are happy you will see beyond crisis right in front of you. You’ll be better able to hold the vision of your desired weight, running time, speed and the efforts it will take to get you to your desired point.

If you are happy you will be able to focus more effectively on what to do in the short term to reach the larger goal. A direct result of being able to hold the big picture of what you ultimately want in your mind when taking smaller steps toward completion of the goal.

You’ll train harder and maybe longer and definitely more consistently if you are focused. When you examine the contents of the fridge you are more likely to choose healthy options if you are happy than if you are looking for emotional comfort in your foods.

So start today and take steps to make yourself happy. Surround yourself with activities, things and people that make you happy to reach your fitness goals.

References:

Labroo, A. A., & Patrick, V. M.(2009). Psychological distancing: Why happiness helps you see the big picture [Abstract]. Journal of
Consumer Reserach, 35(5), 800-809.

Pawlik-Kienlen, L. (2009, March/April). Happy pictures on the fridge will help you lose weight. Spirituality & Health, 30.