Wednesday, March 18, 2009

5 Helpful Tips!

"Variety is the spice of life!"

This post will not focus on one topic like "motivation" or "commitment" but rather a variety of tips.  When it comes to realizing your health and fitness goals, it's very rare that changing one behavior will make all the difference.  The Law of Thermodynamics simply states, "burn of more calories than you take in."  Here are some suggestions on how to make that a reality...

1.  Drink more water!  According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine the daily recommendation for water consumption is 96 oz.  Many of us drink a few bottles of water per day and figure that's enough-start keeping track and shot for a full 96 oz.

2.  Sleep more!  More and more studies are linking sleep to weight loss and building immunity.  This month's issue of Glamour Magazine featured an article where a group of women aimed for 7.5 hours of sleep per night for 10 weeks and the results were weight loss of four to 15 lbs across the group.  Two main reasons why this works:
*People tend to not only eat more, but junkier food when tired
*How many people have said, "I'd spend more time exercising if I only had the energy"? Well, more sleep = more energy!

3.  Portion control!  Next time you go to the grocery store take a look around and notice how many foods come in "100 calorie" packs.  It's not that the foods are much healthier (in some cases they may reduce the fat or sugar) they just come in small packages!  There's no reason to pay Nabisco or those little Keebler elves any extra to do this for us when it only takes a few extra seconds to do it at home.

While it may take a little more time to actually read food labels-you'd be surprised how many extra calories we ingest because we don't both measuring the serving size.  This is especially helpful with carbohydrates like pasta, cereal and rice.  Try it out!

4.  Pack your lunch, dinner or both!  This is a calorie saver and a money saver :) You can choose healthier options if you put a meal together yourself rather than relying on stores/restaurants/food chains to provide healthy options that are often not as healthy as we presume.  (For those of you who live or work in NYC, we learned this the hard way when they started posting calories in all our favorite food chains and some of the salads/sandwiches/wraps we all enjoyed telling ourselves "weren't so bad" were listed at 700-1000 calories each, what??!!)

and finally my personal favorite...
5.  Laugh more!  For year's I've joked that I'll never be fat because I laugh too much-but there is some truth in that statement.  Laughing burns calories and engages your core muscles...So go ahead...laugh until your tummy hurts, it's good for you :)!!


"At the moment of commitment the universe conspires to assist you"
-not sure who said it originally, I heard it from Jon Vroman a long time ago

Commitment is the next logical step after motivation.  One you figure out what motivates you it's time to make a commitment.  Motivation is the fuel and commitment is what keeps your foot on the gas pedal.  Lack of the commitment is the reason most people fail-not just in health and fitness but in life.  When you're commited 100% nothing gets in your way because you have your eye on the prize.  When you're feeling lazy or your schedule gets busy, you remind yourself of your commitment and you drag yourself to the gym or make that healthy meal instead of ordering out.

A friend of mine recently shared her commitment with me:

"I'm going to Florida in a few weeks and want to look great. That means gym 6-7 days/wk.  I work an 8am-5pm job Monday through Friday.  Last week I had something to do EVERY NIGHT after work.  It was brutal-that time for the gym at night.  So what did I do?  I woke up at 4:30 every morning and got my ass to the gym before work.  It was SO HARD getting out of bed, even getting my eyes to stay open.  My MOTIVATION was picturing myself a few hours later, sitting at my desk at work, and feeling awesome.  Feeling awesome that I got my workout out of the way for the day, feeling awesome physically, energized, etc.  Feeling awesome that I actually pushed through it and felt amazing mid-morning, I wasn't dreading the workout all day that I knew I would have to do at night."

I give Kristen a lot of credit for waking up at 4:30am for five days straight, I don't even like dragging myself out of bed at 5:15am on Weds to teach one spin class!  For sure she is 100% committed.  Commitments less than 100% won't get you over the hump once adversity in the form of distractions, unhealthy temptations, reasons not to work out at night like, "but Dancing with the Stars is on" or "It's half price Martini night at Madisons!"

You may be thinking "easier said than done Liz," so this week's CALL TO ACTION will be steps to committing:
1.  For beginners start with something you are 100% positive you can do such as "workout 3 days this week" and commit to doing it for a month straight so it will become a habit.  Depending on your schedule maybe you work your way up to 4-5 days/wk by the end of the month-as long as that 3days/wk stays consistent.  This will boost your conficence and strengthen your commitment when you are able to say, "I said I was going to do it and I did it!"

For those of you who are more advanced and have been working out for a period of time, maybe you get to the gym/exercise 4-6 days/wk challenge yourself to switch up your routine and push yourself beyond what you've been doing.  But again-still apply the principle of only committing to something you're 100% positive you can do so your commitment promotes confidence-not disappointment because you challenged yourself to do something unreasonable.

2. Start telling others (like me if you'd like to comment) what your commitment is so you are now accountable to someone other than yourself.

3.  When you get out of bed in the morning and before you to go to bed at night remind yourself what motivates you and tell yourself (out loud even!) that you are committed to that goal.

If you're unsure of where you should start, let me know-I'm happy to make suggestions!

"People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing-that's why we recommend it daily" -Zig Ziglar

I'm starting this blog as a means of keeping on my toes and paying it forward.  I'll do my best to keep the posts short, powerful and most importantly USEFUL!

To get started I'd like to ask...what motivates you?!

There are 3 types of people reading this message...
1. Those who exercise in some way, shape or form 3+ times per week and consider yourself dedicated.
2. Those who dabble, sometimes you're dedicated and sometimes you're not.
3.  Those who talk about getting in shape but never actually find the time to get around to it.

Often, figuring out what motivates you, why you do what you currently do (regardless of what category you fall into) is the first step in taking it to the next level.  You may decide it's a great motivation, you may decide to find something more meaningful.

What motivates you can be broad, "to be healthy", "the Dr said I really need to start exercising" or specific, "I'm motivated to look amazing in that Victoria's Secret bikini I just ordered this summer", "I have a history of cardiac health issues in my family and use exercise as a preventive measure."

Take 10 minutes out of your busy schedule this week and decide what motivates you. Write it down and put it in a place where you can see it everyday, on the fridge, tape it to your alarm clock, a post it not in your car or near your computer...etc.  And finally, feel free to comment on what motivates you!