Tips for Losing Weight Before Vacation

Ok, how many of you have decided you are headed on vacation and figure you’ll lose a bit before you go … and that doesn’t happen. I am getting ready to head on vacation and decided I was going to lose 10lbs before I left. Here’s some tips on how to get into shape before you go.

First, it is important to determine realistic goals. Many of us decide we are going to get swimsuit ready based on an old photo of us or better (worse) yet Sports Illustrated version of swimsuit ready. If you’ve put on 50lbs over years its not coming off in weeks. Sticking to the goal of 1-2lbs per week is important. This goal allows you to actually change your lifestyle and keep the weight off over the long haul.

Second, Remember that the focus should be on healthy eating and exercise. Portion size is important and make sure you are getting enough intensity in your exercise to burn sufficient calories to meet a 1-2lb loss each week. A great site I like to use is livestrong.com (I am not affiliated in any way and make no money off my suggestion. It’s just a site I have had success tracking my food and exercise with because I can take it on my phone or from my computer)

Third, Don’t crash diet. This leads to over eating later and can actually help you gain more than you lost. Here’s the deal: If I weigh 150lbs and I want to lose 20lbs, I crash diet, I get to 130 and then I decide I can eat whatever I want. See #1. If I haven’t worked on healthy lifestyle habits such as mindful eating and conscious choice in my foods I am going to fall back to the same ole same ole and we typically don’t notice how much we’ve gained until our clothes don’t fit again. MEANING – I’ve gained more weight than I was packing before because my clothes in my closet fit a 150lb person.

Fourth, it is important to keep perspective. Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing. If you don’t make your goal it is OK. Just by trying you’ve gained insight into what didn’t work for you. This is important for next time. Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results – and its the same in weight loss. If you don’t succeed this time, try again, using a different path.

Finally, ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY! You will get more out of your vacation and come back more refreshed if you just let go and have a good time.

The End of 2009 – Are you ready for 2010?

Here it is… The end of the year. How will you make the new year count?  For many Americans health and fitness fall in the top three on their resolution list.  Unfortunately for many it falls off their New Year’s resolution list pretty fast.  What will you do to continue to reach for your fitness goals this year?

I know we have spent time discussing planning, goal setting, and getting ready to reach our resolutions in 2010 a few weeks ago. Go back and re-read the archives. There are 3 series of questions to help you reach your fitness goals in 2010.  Are you ready?

Weight loss, better fitness, more strength, greater endurance, better finish times do not just happen. They take work, they take responsibility, and they take planning. Have you done your homework, and are you ready for the new year?

If you have taken on this goal in the past, what will you do differently this year to make sure you reach it? Are you ready to move beyond what has held you back in the past and forward into the future? I advocate writing down your goals and the steps you will take to get there. This will help make your goal “real” to you. Once we see things on paper it helps us become more committed to accomplishing it.

Remember to prioritize your resolutions. Many well meaning resolutions get derailed because people are overwhelmed when they look at the long list and know they will not be able to accomplish all the worthy goals upon it. Decide what tops your list and stick to it. You will feel much better when you have accomplished a goal and are able to cross it off knowing you gave it everything you had and finished.

Are your goals realistic? If you have trouble figuring this out contact a personal trainer. If you are attempting a goal that is not realistic you are setting yourself up for failure. Although, failure usually leads to success it also leads to low self-esteem, lack of motivation, and the chance that you will pitch the whole idea and give up. Being realistic about a goal will help keep you on track from the beginning.

Once your list is pared down, you can begin to break the bigger goals into smaller ones. It is important to find small things you can do daily to complete your goal successfully. Small chunks are much easier to manage and they can be quickly adapted if needed. Remember, you are responsible for your choices, and your daily choices determine if you will make it or not. You can accomplish anything, but you must be accountable to you.

Chose positive strategies for dealing with problems. There will be some, so expect them, and be ready to deal with them. Contingency plans are important. What will you do when your day does not have twenty-six hours in it? What about when you are home with a sick child, or you suddenly have a huge project dumped on your desk? How will you handle cold days that derail your efforts at an outdoor workout? Thinking through these issues is a must because they will crop in your life.

As we move into the new year, look at the old. What would you like to give up? Create a ritual to let that habit, pattern, or whatever change go. Write down what you’ll let go of this New Year’s Eve and then dispose of it. Many like to burn the slip of paper, others make a ritual by writing it down and then throwing it away. Still others write it down and stick it in a safe place (say a box or jar) so when they go back to the habit they are able to pull it out and dispose of it again. If you make a conscious effort to make the change it is important to honor that it is part of who you are today and who you will become in the next year. Give purpose to the release of old and the acceptance of new behaviors that will help move you towards your goals this year! You are worth the extra effort.

Don’t Let Fear Stand in Your Way To Health

Many people say they want more health in their life. They can dream big but something stops them from taking action and creating the life they want. This something is … Fear. What fears do you harbor about changing your life? Many of us realize that to change means we’ll have to give something up. Is fear of the unknown keeping you from reaching your fitness goals?According to Brian Tracy in, The Courage to Take Action, there are three factors which predispose us to being afraid. They are childhood conditioning, ignorance, and illness or fatigue.

Look at your own list, do you find examples of these factors? Are you afraid to succeed or fail, because fear of rejection was a strong influence as you grew up? Are you hurt or not well? What can you do to be pro-active about your situation?   I know a wonderful woman in our who survived cancer more than once, is vibrant despite heart trouble and joint complications. She is a great inspiration because she has taken the situation handed to her, faced it squarely, and over came the obstacles in her path.

How can you take fear, look at directly, even if uncomfortable, and how can you climb over, under, or around it to continue walking your path?

Brian Tracy poses these questions:

  • How does this fear hold me back in life?
  • How does this fear help me, or how has it helped me in the past?
  • What would be my pay-off for eliminating this fear?

Ponder these questions, and then allow your imagination to soar, with your pen and paper handy of course, writing down all the wonderful possibilities you have for accomplishing your healthy lifestyle. Do not hold back, write down all your dreams and prioritize!

Brian Tracy’s Article the Courage to Take Action – Club Solutions Nov 2005

Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010 – 3

New Year’s may be a few weeks away, but if you are really ready to change your lifestyle this year, proper planning will put you ahead of the game come midnight.  You will be ready and on your way by the time the ball drops in Times Square.

Here’s your next task to keep you moving forward and accomplishing your fitness goals in 2010. Weight loss typically tops the list but by Feb 14th most resolutioners have already quit their exercise program. Don’t get caught giving up this year! Use these posts as your worksheets toward a solid plan and great fitness in 2010.

First, you must decide how you are going to tackle your goals?   Will you do them together?   Do they fit?   For example: I want to become more healthy and eat better. These two goals fit together and help me accomplish both. On the other hand, if I want to learn a new computer program and how to paint, I may be better off tackling one goal at a time due to the time necessities of each. Ask: “am I being realistic about my goals?” “my time commitments?” and “my desire to reach this goal and put effort behind accomplishing it.” AND remember if it was easy you would have already done it.

Once your list is done it is time to prioritize your goals. Typically I like to create a dream list of everything I really want to do. From there I have a good idea about what is important to me, and am able to begin narrowing down what I really want to accomplish this year. It typically takes twenty-one days to create a new habit so it is a good idea to take on one goal per quarter, or for three months at a time. Not that you won’t continue once you have begun, but giving yourself three months to really focus will allow you time to create healthy habits, break the old ones, and account for setbacks, which will happen.

Once you have chosen four goals to accomplish this year (less if they are very intensive) it is time to plan. You will want to examine time commitments throughout the year, such as vacations, conferences, graduations, births, things you know are coming up and have the potential to throw you off. Then examine your daily commitments and decide how you will fit your new lifestyle activities into your existing lifestyle.

Finally, map out the next year based on your large goals, followed by the smaller goals you will use to measure your success by.

Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010 – 2

Here’s your next task to keep you moving forward and accomplishing your fitness goals in 2010. Weight loss typically tops the list but by Feb 14th most resolutioners have already quit their exercise program.
Don’t get caught giving up this year! Use these posts as your worksheets toward a solid plan and great fitness in 2010.

Next, decide on a time line.   How long will it take you to complete?   What amount of time are you willing to commit to this experience?   What is the priority level of this goal?   Do you feel you are ready to take this goal on?   Do you have adequate support?   Do you need help from someone else: ie, family member, friend, professional?   Who are your support people?
Again, write down the answers.

As you review your list, are you being realistic about your goal?

You Will Reach Your Fitness Goals

We have come to that time of year again.  The frazzled, stressful, exciting, busy, and wonderful time of the holidays.  Thanksgiving is up first. Many view Thanksgiving as a time of overindulgence and gluttony, which for many of us it is.  Some view it as a leap off track as they try to complete health ideals they know will be seriously compromised throughout the next month.  Some view it as the beginning of the end. What can we do to make sure the holidays do not derail our plans to a healthier life? One word…Plan.We have spent some time talking about planning. Lets review, first you must be honest about your goals.  What are they?  Are they realistic?  Do they match your desire, or are they someone else’s ideas?  Next, are you committed to making these goals a reality?  I mean really committed because here comes the test – the holidays.  What will you do to ensure your commitment?  Then, ask yourself, what are the obstacles that could pop up?  What will you do in response to those obstacles?  How will you stay focused on your goal? Again, are you committed to these goals? Finally, relax, you will reach your goals if you are persistent and committed.

What exactly does that mean, you ask. Well, it means that the journey is more important than the end location.  What you choose everyday is greater than the sum of choices on one day.

Changing Seasons – Changing Workouts

Most find it easier to get into routines when fall comes.  Fall is a transitional time.  This is a perfect time to re-evaluate your goals and renew your commitment to yourself.  If your schedule becomes busier during the fall and winter how will you continue to reach your daily, weekly, and monthly fitness goals? How have you been doing? Here are some ideas to get you motivated to workout during our darker days.

With good planning you can make it through this transitional period with no bumps and no missed workouts. Think about your options. As the weather turns colder many find it hard to continue outdoor workouts. Where will you go? Who will you go with? What do you like to do? For some its actually changing a workout format. Maybe you don’t like walking on treadmill, but are not getting out of your warm bed to walk in the snow. What will you do to keep moving?

There are so many options it can seem overwhelming. First, what lifestyle changes do you need to make? Do you need more time, different hours, or more variety? These questions are important to ask yourself before you have the chance to talk yourself out of exercise because it is too dark, too cold, and too boring. Will you need to make different parking or transportation accommodations? What about safety issues? Clothing, especially shoes? How about motivation and mood considerations? Many find they are not as motivated, even depressed during darker days.

Our last step is to decide our workout types and places. As a rule if you want to lose weight concentrate on cardiovascular work. If you are looking for more tone strength comes first. You will need a combination of both to make this change happen. Will you be working out at home or is there a Fitness Center near by, outside or inside, there are many options. Research the best for you in your community.

Now is the time to begin your fitness planning for winter. Fall is a great time to take advantage of routines and plan your healthy activities each day. You’ve made the most important decision to get regular exercise and now you’ve done the toughest part…deciding what you really want and where your dedication will take place. If you move everyday you will get there!

Planning and Goal Setting For Fitness Success

Goals take planning. Many people have begun the journey to better health and have taken the challenge to begin exercising.  It is important to put into perspective what you are trying to accomplish.

First, look at where you are. What is it about where you are that you want to change? Is this something you can do easily? Why or why not? What might hold you back? How will you deal with those obstacles? Are you ready to change? Remember the saying: The pain of staying the same must be greater than the pain of change. It will be uncomfortable, hard, and time consuming, but if it matters to you it will be worth it. Who are you changing for? Write down the answers to the above questions. This will help cement the process you are about to begin. If you feel you are up to a challenge ask a friend to ask them and provide your answers, truthful answers, back to your buddy. An outside observer may offer fresh perspective on where you are and where you want to go. Please, make sure the person you pick to hear your inner thoughts genuinely supports your efforts.

Next, decide on a time line. How long will it take you to complete? What amount of time are you willing to commit to this experience? What is the priority level of this goal? Again, write down the answers. As you review your list, are you being realistic about your goal? Do you feel you are ready to take this goal on? Do you have adequate support? Do you need help from someone else: ie, family member, friend, professional? Who are your support people?

Finally, you must decide how you are going to tackle your goals? Will you do them together? Do they fit? For example: I want to become more healthy and eat better. These two goals fit together and help me accomplish both. On the other hand, if I want to learn a new computer program and how to paint, I may be better off tackling one goal at a time due to the intensity of each. Ask again: “am I being realistic about my goals?” “my time commitments?” and “my desire to reach this goal and put effort behind accomplishing it.” Remember if it was easy you would have already done it.

Once your list is done it is time to prioritize your goals. It typically takes twenty-one days to create a new habit so it is a good idea to take on one goal per quarter, or for three months at a time. Not that you won’t continue once you have begun, but giving yourself three months to really focus will allow you to create healthy habits, break the old ones, and account for setbacks, which will happen. Once you have chosen four goals to accomplish this year (less if they are very intensive) it is time to plan.

You will want to examine time commitments throughout the year, such as vacations, conferences, graduations, births, things you know are coming up and have the potential to throw you off. Then examine your daily commitments and decide how you will fit your new lifestyle activities into your existing lifestyle. Finally, map out the next year based on your large goals, followed by the smaller goals you will use to measure your success by. In the end change is a difficult practice, but we call it practice for a reason: if you do not practice you will never get your new habits down!

Find Support to Reach Your Fitness Dreams

Have you ever had this experience:  You are on top of the world, flying high on your excitement and new found dreams, only to have someone close to you squash it? It may be a look or comment.  Maybe its a person whose opinion is held so dear to your heart that it devastated you to get that look or comment, and squashed your spirit.

Well, get it back.  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 responsibility in lue of leading a life full of your true calling, but if you’ve done your homework, making a change is going to be hard and those you may expect to support you the most may be the ones to avoid.

For many watching a loved one approach a goal we have seen them attempt and fail at multiple times – translation: we are picking up the pieces of their ruined self-confidence – can be rough and exhausting. Even when we try to be supportive it may not be genuine because we feel we know what the end result will be. For some it is painful to watch a loved one reach toward a goal we ourselves hold close and continually fail at, especially if our loved one is making it where we fell flat. Are these fair assessments? Maybe, maybe not, but is it our choice to make? NO.

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. You cannot succeed without failing somewhere along the line. If you are not failing once and a while you are stuck in a rut. I grew-up water skiing, as I got older I did not want to fall; I felt it was how I would be measured as a person. Well, luckily I figured it out – if I didn’t fall I wasn’t pushing the envelope, and if I wasn’t pushing my skills I wouldn’t get better. Basically, I got bored. I learned the harder and more crazy I wiped out the better my skills got, the more bumps I could take, and the less the small stuff mattered. Life is like that. The more you live, the more the small things won’t derail you from the goal.

Let’s put this into a fitness perspective. For example: I am looking to lose a few pounds. I have been for ten years. I continually have joined gyms, tried walking on my own, and new diets, but I never could keep them up. Finally, exhausted I gave up for a term and am now ready to begin again, sound familiar? If you look back through your history of trying, do you find that you got further each time. Progress is not always measured in pounds, weeks or calories, but look at whether the same issues derailed your efforts. Maybe in the beginning if I didn’t strictly follow my diet I was done for the week or day, which over the long haul derailed my entire goal. Or if I skipped a workout, I was so guilty I would overeat at lunch and dinner before snacking from the vending machine and a pint of ice cream. Next time I attempted my weight loss I didn’t let a missed workout or off meal ruin my confidence, but I let my schedule take me down. The third time, I figured out my schedule, but I let my fear of gyms dictate which direction I would go and I got bored and then it snowed. See how this works? Each time I got better at dealing with issues, but a new one popped up; until I finally put my fitness first no matter what, because I finally understand how important it was to me…no matter what.

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 does not seem hard to use them at all. It seems normal. Each time we attempt to break an old habit and make it longer than we did before; we build a stronger connection to the new habit and break down the pathway to the old, which leads to leaving the old habit behind.

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 to 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!”

How to Stay True To Your Exercise Goals When You Celebrate

This month is my birthday month and I like to celebrate all month long. Ok, I am an attention hound and it is great to have a whole month in which to ask for and get attention. And I milk it! However, if I am not carefully all that good food and fun times can go right to my waist without a second thought. Here are some tips to stay on track even when you are celebrating.

Image of friends having  fun together at a party

Plan ahead. Its important to think about your eating and drinking patterns when you are scheduling events. Planning ahead helps keep you aware of how much and when you consuming calories.

The basic equation on weight loss is:
Calories in need to equal Calories out in order to maintain weight. Usually, we see this broken down into daily caloric needs, however it doesn’t have to be a daily calculation it can be a time thing. So if I know I have an event coming up I can plan to cut back on my caloric needs a few days in advance knowing I am going to eat a few more calories during the event.

It is important to plan for fitness. I like the pay it forward idea from above. If I know I have a weekend getaway or a late night and I am not going to be able to workout the following day or days I can workout harder the week or so before. This allows me to burn more calories going into the party keeping my basic equation (above) on track. It is important to keep in mind this is not a green light to over consume calories after each workout because it was really hard!

Finally, have a great time. As with anything it is important to consider moderation – not only in what you eat and drink – but also in your workout schedule. There will be times when working out may have to take a back burner and that’s ok. It doesn’t become a problem until you realize your workouts haven’t seen the front burners in a long time. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat and exercise well 80% of the time and plan that about 20% of the time things will come up, you’ll be caught off guard, or you’ll have to focus your attention on something else.

Happy Celebrating – I know I’ve had a great month – the best one of the year!