Healthy Changes That Last; How to Make Them

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Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to make healthy changes that last, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Many, of my clients come to me after they have tried… and failed, to eat healthy, lose weight or add exercise to their schedule. I make them an individual plan that works for them and check in with them on a schedule that holds them accountable.  Here’s some tips to help you make healthy changes that last.

Healthy changes that last need a plan

Make it specific. Make a long-term goal (eat healthier) and then get specific (reduce the starchy carbs in your meals and increase the fresh fruits and veggies).

Write it down

Healthy changes that last are ones that you write down and post where you see them every day.  Post your plan on the fridge.  You’ll see it every time you walk in the kitchen!

Start Small

Pick one healthy change you are relatively sure you will succeed at. A good example is to replace one sugary drink during your day with an 8 ounce glass of water. Sure it’s not much, but if it becomes a habit, you can soon replace another, and another until you are drinking the recommended 8, 8 ounce glasses of water and sugary drinks are a thing of the past. You’ll be surprised at how fast you won’t even crave them anymore.  If you cut them all out at once, you’ll feel deprived and have more of a chance of failing, feeling defeated and quitting altogether.

Healthy changes that last should be one at a time

When it comes to making healthy changes that last, we tend to do too much, too fast (see above). Change just one thing until it becomes second nature, then you can move onto one more thing. I’m working on an e-book that makes 10 healthy changes in 10 weeks.  Look for it here soon!

Get into a routine

Put the change you want to make on your calendar. Treat it like any other important appointment. Be there and be on time.  Soon it will be second nature.

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Find someone to keep you accountable

This translates into a friend that can join you in whatever healthy change you are trying to make.  It’s a little harder to make excuses when someone else is waiting for you to join them.  Pick someone who will be supportive and will be fun.  Everything is easier with a buddy!

Do what works for you

I hate to run! It would be silly for me to make a fitness goal of running in a 5K and beginning a running program. I would soon quit.  But I love cycling, kettlebell workouts and dancing.  I could do any of those and still get the same amount of exercise. Running wouldn’t work for me.  Healthy changes that last have to be things that fit into your life.

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Brainstorm ways to get around your roadblocks

One roadblock for me is coming home hungry at the end of a busy workday.  I will graze on anything I can get my hands on. That’s a big healthy eating roadblock. So I keep junk food out of my cupboards and pack a healthy snack with my lunch.  I eat it right before I head home. That can usually get me through until dinner is cooked. Think of a roadblock you might have to your goal and think ahead to be able to crush it!

Let people you love know what your are doing and ask for help when you need it

Talk to the people in your life about your goals and how you are trying to make healthy changes that last. The more people that know, the harder it will be for you to quit. Ask for help from those that support you in your efforts.  Most will be happy to lend a hand.

 

21 Day Fix Fiesta Chicken

This recipe came into being after I made some 21 day fix enchiladas. There were some ingredients left over and I used them to make this one. It made a delicious, filling lunch. You will need:

1/2 green container of canned corn
1/2 green container of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red container of cubed, cooked chicken breast (I used chicken I had pre-cooked, but the pre-cooked, pre packeged chicken strips would work well too)
1 tsp non fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt
1 orange container of salsa

1. Mix the cooked chicken and the yogurt
2. Spread the container of corn and beans on a plate
3. Top the corn and beans with the chicken mixture
4. Drizzle with salsa
5. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds and enjoy

If you make it, let me know how you like it.

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Why do YOU Exercise?

When most people start an exercise program, the reason they give is “to lose weight”.  It’s no wonder. Our culture is obsessed with thinness and equates being thin with being happy.

If you ask someone who has made exercise and fitness a part of their lifestyle, you will get a very different answer.  Did you know that money, looks and status contribute to only 10% of our happiness?  (Idea Fitness Journal, “The Skinny on Happiness”)

A long-term exerciser will have other reasons as to why they continue to work out. They feel healthier, more relaxed or less stressed.  They have more energy, more focus, are more productive at work. They can keep up with their kids or grandchildren.  They experience a reduction in chronic pain. They are training for a future fitness event. They have made a new set of friends they enjoy.  And the list can go on.

Here’s just one example of the  reasons I exercise almost every day.  On October 18th, my oldest daughter got married.  We have been planning and preparing for this day for almost a year.  The weekend involved a trip to Pittsburgh for my side of the family.  On Saturday morning, I woke up with an overabundance of energy.  I’m not one to show my excitement on the outside.  It all builds up on the inside.  By 7 a.m. I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin.

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Thank goodness the hotel had a nice size gym.  A half hour on the elliptical and the stationary bike and I was much calmer.  Good thing..as later in the day we were stuck in a traffic jam getting back from hair and make-up and it was touch and go on the decision about an outdoor service.  Thanks to my workout, I was able to stay much calmer and really enjoy such an important day.

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So what are YOUR reasons for working out regularly?  If you  haven’t started yet, why do you want to get started? #notjustweightloss

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Recently I was invited by Jennifer Whitehair (she promotes vacationing in Las Vegas and it sounds like there is tons to do there besides gambling and going to see shows on the strip) to blog about staying fit on vacation. It’s a part of #TravelFit2014. She contacted me right before I was headed to South Bethany Beach Delaware.

We have been going to Sunset Beach, NC (and loved it) for years. This year all of our young adult kids have jobs that don’t mesh too well with traveling 12 hours away so we decided to bring the party North.

This is a perfect time for me to explore what kinds of fun things I can do to stay in shape while I enjoy the shores of South Bethany for two weeks.

June 15 was our first full day here. I decided to try some Yoga on the beach. I have my P90X Yoga X pretty well memorized so I just walked down the beach access and gave it a shot. It was great gazing at the ocean while doing my sun salutations. I felt very relaxed after about an hour doing Yoga in the wind and salt air. Sure beats my basement home gym!


Today my sister and I took a two mile bike ride up highway 1 to Bethany Beach. There is a bike path that runs parallel to the road. We were able to park the bikes and walk around, check out the shops and restaurants, and walk the boardwalk a bit. It was a beautiful day for it! On the way back DelDot had a bike safety station and installed free lights on our bikes. Thanks 🙂

When we got back to the beach house, I decided to use my 12 Minute Athlete app on my smartphone to get some resistance exercise. This app is great for traveling and it only costs about a dollar so the price is right. You just put in how long you want to work out (12 or 16 minutes) and what equipment you have and it creates a workout for you. If you don’t like it, you just shake it and it creates another one. Since it didn’t have resistance bands as an option for equipment, I had it create a bodyweight workout and substituted 2 band exercises for two bodyweight exercises. I just went under the beach house in the shade. Who needs to spend extra money to go to the gym?

You Have Options If You Suffer Chronic Pain

The FDA recently announced that it will approve a new painkiller that is 10 times more potent than Oxycontin.  Really?  Is that what we need FDA? In a country where deaths from prescription pain killers rose from 4,000 in 1999 to 15,000 in 2008? Should we really drugsusamake it even easier for people suffering from chronic pain to add a debilitating addiction to their list of problems?

If you suffer from chronic pain, you need to know that you have several alternate options to manage pain that don’t involve addictive drugs.  Keep in mind, there is a time and place for strong drugs to manage pain, but pain is a symptom of a bigger problem. Painkillers simply mask the symptoms.  This is far from a comprehensive list, but if you haven’t tried some of these alternative methods of pain management do some research. Try one in place of, or in conjunction with a more traditional treatment plan.

  • Yoga has been shown to be effective in treating low back pain. Yoga can strengthen weak muscles, increase flexibility and increase oxygenation to body tissues.
  • Meditation helps patients face the pain and then release it.  Meditation can then help the patient take the focus off the pain and shift focus to something more pleasant.
  • Accupuncture is somewhat of a mystery to Western medicine.  It works for dental pain after surgery, menstrual cramps and pain caused by fibromyalgia.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) can train your brain to think differently about chronic pain. Negative thoughts about pain can cause stress and anxiety which actually increases the pain. CBT helps to decrease it.

Click here for more resources on alternative treatments for pain.

How do you deal with pain when you experience it?  Do you have any tips to share? Comment below!

Weight Workout for Heel Spur

So I’m still nursing this heel spur and I continue to modify my workouts. If you are dealing with a foot injury, maybe you can benefit from my workout modifications. The doc says I can still lift weights as long as I’m not putting heavy pressure on the foot.  Here’s what I came up with:

Since I am not doing any squats or or lunges with weights, I have added some cardio on the bike on my weight days.

  1. Two minute bike warm-up followed by a four minute bike tabata
  2. Total body weight workout, eliminating any squatting or lunging movements. If I could do the weight move and eliminate the squat or lunge. (Example: kneeling shoulder press instead of a shoulder press with a lunge) I did it.
  3. Second two minute bike tabata, followed by a bike cool-down and a ten minute stretch.

10 Minute Core Workout Video

My private fitness group has started our 10 days of abs workout challenge.  The beginner Ab workout video is being used and I just added this intermediate workout video.  I’m sharing it here so you can use it too. I am creating a spreadsheet to keep track of participant’s workouts.  When they get to ten, they get 25 bonus points toward our next points challenge. In the meantime, we will all end up with killer abs!

 

 

Beginner Ab Workout

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, we were stuck inside while Hurrican Sandy raged outside. I used my time wisely and made a video for my private facebook  fitness group.  We are starting an ab challenge.  The challenge is ten days of abs, the participants choose what days to do their workouts and post on the site when they do them. If they do all ten days of abs, they get bonus points for our next points challenge. So…here’s my beginner ab workout video I made. It works your upper and lower abs, obliques and back muscles to help strengthen your core. It’s almost ten minutes long.  Look for the intermediate and advanced ab workout soon…

 

Fitness: Rip Deck Workout App

Ever do the Deck of Cards Workout? Each suit represents a different type of exercise (hearts are jumping jacks, spades are burpees etc.). Each card stands for a certain number of reps. My hubby tried this the old school way (real deck of cards) with his group training class.  Being the techie that he is, he googled “deck of cards workout” and found the Rip Deck Workout App.

 

This app gives you four levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced and custom). Once you set up your workout, you just tap the screen to flip your cards.  It gives you the suit, what exercise you should do, and the number of reps to complete. All you need to do is follow the directions. Simple! The workout takes about 30 minutes.  You can do it literally anywhere and you don’t need any equipment at all.

It times you on each exercise and gives you a breakdown of how many reps you completed and how long it took to do each card. It has a social component too.  You can e-mail your results to a friend and challenge them to beat your score.  You can also post your results on facebook or twitter.

The cost of this app is only 99 cents.  If you use it and get in great shape, it will be well worth the investment! If you have used Rip Deck, let me know what you think about it.

Exercise Can Prevent Hip Injuries

Regular exercise and good nutrition are a part of my lifestyle so I can have quality of life and enjoy the years I will be blessed with. This guest post by Elizabeth Carollton supports this view.

Preventing Joint/Hip Injury with Proper Exercise

Did you know that hip injuries that happen over your lifetime can come back to haunt you years later? Hip problems are among the top causes of disability in adults. In many cases, the damage that caused those problems accumulated gradually. That’s usually how hip osteoarthritis develops — one little injury at a time over the years, each one wearing away a bit more of the cartilage that cushions joints.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting around a quarter of all adults. Some will develop arthritis severe enough to warrant hip replacement. Learning how to prevent joint injury with proper exercise can reduce your risk of becoming one of them.

Inactivity: You’ll Feel it in Your Hips

Weak hips and bones can cause a lot of trouble, and inactivity is one of the chief causes of that weakening. Among the issues that can occur as hip muscles weaken are stiffness and limited range of motion, hip pain, excess stress and wear on hip joints and poor balance or unsteadiness while standing and walking. Hip injuries are more likely with weak hip muscles, and eventually, chronic joint problems like arthritis can develop. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, a common condition in which bones become fragile. Once that happens, even a light bump or fall can result in hip fracture.

Serious hip problems can often be corrected with hip replacement surgery, which has been a blessing to many disabled by these problems. However, preventing hip problems is the better way to go, since hip surgery is not without risk. Recent trouble over recalled hip implants has been a good example of that.

Many patients who had defective or poorly designed metal on metal hip implants used in replacement surgeries have suffered complications ranging from premature implant failure to metallosis and osteolysis, which are serious conditions related to implant debris than can lead to pain, inflammation, tissue death and bone loss.

How Exercise Can Help

Your hips need the support of the muscles that surround them to maintain optimal function. Keeping the hip muscles strong and flexible with regular exercise makes sure they are able to keep the hip joints well-aligned, stable and somewhat insulated from the force exerted on these hard-working, weight-bearing joints as you walk, run, stand and bend.

Strong bones are crucial for hip health, and regular exercise benefits bones too. The stress placed on them during exercise stimulates the production of new bone cells to keep them dense and strong. Last but not least, exercise can help in weight control, which is important to hip health, since excess weight places a lot of strain on weight-bearing joints

Half an hour of exercise five days a week is a simple and effective way to keep your hips strong and healthy. However, avoid activities that pound away at the joints, since they can do more harm than good. Walking, low-impact aerobics, bicycling and swimming strengthen the hip muscles and help maintain bone strength without causing trauma to your hip joints.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.