Do I Have Your Attention?

Last week we left off reflecting on our health & wellness. Specifically, I asked you to think about what has prevented you from accomplishing your weight-loss goal in the past. My questions were an attempt to help you identify the obstacles and setbacks that typically derail our initial intentions. TMILet’s put some perspective on this. The first thing I want you to understand – there is TOO MUCH INFORMATION about weight-loss. Think about all of the marketing messages, sales pitches, advertisements, TV commercials, and gimmicks galore. They’re bombarding you from every conceivable direction and media source.

Wouldn’t more people be healthy and fit if all that stuff worked? I’m often astounded by the ads that “claim” you don’t have to exercise or change your eating habits. Just take this pill once a day and you’ll lose 40 pounds in 30 days. REALLY???

So why don’t these claims work? Mainly because there’s a lot of crap being marketed. And yet despite the fact that some of the information is good, other factors come into play. See if any of these strike a chord:

  1. There are too many choices, so we end up confused and frustrated.
  2. We’re busy and find it difficult to carve out time to exercise or prepare healthy meals.
  3. We’re looking for a quick fix or magic pill to solve our problem.
  4. We expect immediate results and are therefore unable to delay gratification; at least for any real length of time.
  5. We lack discipline when the going gets tough, and eventually just quit.
  6. We give up too easily because we don’t have a strong enough reason WHY we want to lose the weight. Basically, we’re not willing to “pay the price”.
  7. We may “watch” our calorie intake, and we may also go to the gym, but we sabotage those efforts with poor, unconscious choices at other times of the day.
  8. We don’t understand calorie math. And as a result, our calorie deficit isn’t actually what we think it is. It may actually be a calorie surplus.

ScamsAnd “oh by the way”, I’m not here to proclaim that I have the latest weight-loss secret, fat-shredding supplement, or scientific formula from the Amazon rainforest that’s going to finally and magically help you lose all that weight. I’m here to tell it to you straight.

So then what can I do for you? Well, I can help you break your weight-loss initiative down to its simplest components by making it a little easier for you to understand and approach. Losing weight isn’t as hard as you think, but it will take work.

Accomplishing your weight-loss goal will require you to plan, to have discipline, to sacrifice, to sweat, to get 8 hours of sleep every night, to make conscious choices, to form new habits, and to do these 3 things:

  1. Eat clean.
  2. Exercise.
  3. And figure out WHY this is important to you.

small_changesIt really comes down to only a few things, done consistently, over time, whether you feel like it or not. Hey, this sounds very familiar. That’s right, it’s the Compound Effect. If you haven’t read it, you should. Buy it here on Amazon.

Okay, now we need to understand what eating clean is all about. And what you need to do for exercise, so both elements work together so you can maintain a calorie deficit to help you lose (I mean WIN).

I personally feel that it’s all about getting back to basics. You need to start slow and remain committed and consistent on your journey.

Eating clean is about eating food in as close to its natural state as possible. By eliminating processed foods and sugar, minimizing saturated fats and sodium, and eating more fruits & vegetables. If you do this consistently, you will take control over your weight-loss.

Exercise is about moving and gaining strength. Cardio training is great for getting your heart rate up for an extended period of time. You will burn a significant amount of calories, depending on your intensity and the time you spend. You will also burn calories during your strength training sessions with weights.

Combine exercise with eating clean and you will gain maximum leverage. Give it enough time and you will achieve your weight-loss goal.

I’d like to make one more point about strength training. While it’s true that your body burns more calories maintaining lean muscle than it does maintaining body fat, this is only one small side benefit. Not only does strength training make you stronger, it’s one of the best things you can do for toning and reshaping. But it takes time.

Don’t worry about “bulking up”. This should be the least of your concerns. Unless you’re spending 4 hours a day in the gym, 6 days a week, you have nothing to worry about. You need to work with weights to gain strength, improve stability, build lean muscle, and burn calories. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.

We’ve covered a lot here. You can link to some of my previous posts that outline these key concepts:

I’ve given you plenty of information to digest. Now it’s up to you to make a plan and take action. Still confused? Perhaps this DarrenDaily episode will help – http://www.darrendaily.com/step-it-up/.

Next week we’ll look at exercises you can do at home that will burn calories and won’t cost you a dime. Exercises you can start as soon as you get your doctor’s approval.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? What would you like to see in future posts?

Do you know someone who struggles with their weight? I’d be eternally grateful if you would share this with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Excuse Me?

serious-this-is-my-serious-faceYour health & wellness is serious business. This is your one and only life we’re talking about. So I have to ask you a few “personal” questions without seeming insensitive, rude, judgmental, or disrespectful.

  • What’s preventing you from accomplishing your weight-loss goal?
  • Is something stopping you from getting started?
  • Are you nervous, intimidated, embarrassed, or afraid to walk into your local gym or fitness center?
  • Maybe you want to start at home, but you’re not sure where to begin or you’re unclear about what to actually do.
  • Are previous “failed attempts” clouding your future outlook in a negative way?
  • Perhaps you’re depressed with your current situation because you can’t see a way out.
  • Has chronic pain sidelined your exercise efforts?
  • Does complacent describe you?
  • Or is lazy a better description?
  • Do you like being over-weight, or do you hate it?

I hope I have your attention.

Excuses

Although I may not know you and your story, I do want to try to help you. I can’t speak for your past experience, but I can tell you that your past is not an indicator of your future potential or ability to succeed.

But I need to ask a few more questions:

  • How long do you want to live?
  • How healthy do you want to be in your later years?
  • Do you want to remain mobile, or confined to a wheelchair?
  • How much of your mind do you want to preserve as you get older?

Too much information

I want you to really think about these questions. So find a quiet, distraction-free place to sit and think for a few minutes. Grab a pen and paper so you can jot down your thoughts. Daydream about the possibilities and what it would be like to be thin. Try to identify when or why things went off-track. Not to wallow in self pity but so you can get mad and fix it moving forward.

Next week we’ll continue this discussion. We’ll unpack why it’s more difficult to lose weight now than ever before, and what you can do to make it easier.

Until then, thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? Did anything resonate? What would you like to see in future posts?

Do you know someone who struggles with their weight? I’d be eternally grateful if you would share this with them. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

A 12-Step Program

According to Wikipedia, a twelve-step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for tackling problems including alcoholism, drug addiction and compulsion. Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous as a method of recovery from alcoholism.

Health and Wellness Icon

But this blog is about health & wellness. And I want to help you tackle one of the biggest challenges that far too many people continue to face. What is it? Obesity, weight-loss, “yo-yo” dieting, being over-weight; call it what you will. The bottom line is that you weigh more than you want and can’t find a long-term solution for shedding the extra weight, or keeping it off.

This is where I can help. I have created my own twelve-steps for healthy weight-loss. And although it’s not a program per se, it’s something you can follow if you want to lose weight once and for all.

Since I’m a big fan of the number 13, we’ll make it a baker’s dozen. So let’s count ’em down and get you some results!

  1. Identify WHY you want to lose the weight and WHAT it will cost you if you don’t. What are the benefits and consequences?
  2. Cut out sugar. All of it, including drinks and artificial sweeteners.
  3. Go grilled, not fried.
  4. No fast food. Seriously!
  5. Drink water – lots of it.
  6. Eat breakfast every day.
  7. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
  8. Walk 10,000 steps every day. Work up to it if it’s too big of a start, and do it briskly as you progress.
  9. When you workout, do it with intensity & purpose to get the most out of your strength and cardio training.
  10. Minimize eating in restaurants, and definitely skip the app’s.
  11. Snack smart by eliminating processed food. Focus on fruits, nuts and veggies.
  12. Step away from the buffet! Nothing good happens here.
  13. Spice up your meals to boost your metabolism.

Too daunting? Start with 1 or 2 items and build them into your routine so they eventually become a healthy habit. Then add a couple more and before you know it, you will have accomplished your goal, improved your lifestyle, and added years to your life! clarityFor extra credit, keep a journal to “track” your journey. It can be as simple as keeping tabs on your workouts, your meals, your water intake, your calorie burn, your wins, your weight…

Pick one. Or pick a few. Pick whatever helps you track your progress. This valuable feedback will provide added clarity for what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content helpful? Did anything resonate? What would you like to see in future posts?

And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Rest & Recovery

rest-and-recoveryI was recently forced to take 5 days off from training due to an accidental, self-inflicted injury. Now that I’m back to my regular training routine, I wanted to share some observations and lessons learned from taking time off.

Even though I couldn’t workout, I was still hesitant to break the momentum that I had built over the course of many months. But things happen for a reason – I really believe this. I also believe that we are each responsible to make things happen. And this is validated by the choices and decisions we make every day. Whether that means deciding to eat right, workout; or having to make a decision to rest for our own good. rest-daySo what did I learn from my brief hiatus?

  1. My body needs a break, periodically.

Lesson: Daily rest is one thing, but sometimes an injury or illness can create the temporary space we need to pause and improve.

  1. My mind is sharper when I exercise.

Lesson: I need to remember this when I don’t feel like working out.

  1. I gain weight when I’m not exercising, despite eating clean.

Lesson: Being sedentary for too long is not good in so many ways. You’ve gotta move. rest

  1. I tried to get an extra hour of sleep every night during my 5-day R&R. And although it felt nice to “sleep in”, it feels so much better to get up and hit the gym. Even though the endorphins don’t kick in until I’m done. It’s like delayed gratification!

Lesson: Burning calories and pushing yourself gives you a much better high than those few extra ZZZ’s. It lasts throughout the day and builds momentum. But sleep is important, and 7 to 8 hours seems to be the right amount for me.

  1. Sleeping too long makes me lazy. And that doesn’t help toward making me feel great or wanting to burn calories.

Lesson: Being sedentary SUCKS!

  1. There are so many side benefits to exercise – like a sense of accomplishment, increased stamina to work longer, better focus, the mind & body transformation that compounds over time, and the endorphin release.

Lesson: I need exercise.

  1. I need to embrace the times when I workout by feeling more gratitude. Like feeling grateful for the ability to be able to exercise with intensity. To stay in great physical and mental shape. And to continue improving my health & wellness. Especially on the days that I just don’t feel like working out.

Lesson: Be grateful for the opportunity to exercise.

  1. The biggest surprise of all, I actually got stronger by taking 5 days off. I thought the time off was going to affect my strength negatively. But it didn’t.

Lesson: Build a “break” into every quarter.

Your health & wellness becomes a lifestyle that compounds over time. I define health & wellness as an ongoing quest that includes regular exercise, great nutrition, and mindfulness practice. It’s a choice you make and one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful, or does it suck? What would you like to see in future posts?

And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

“Healthy” Foods You Should Reconsider

Eating healthy is more difficult than eating junk. It also takes more work and that’s unfortunate. But it doesn’t have to thwart your good intentions as you seek healthier alternatives in your nutrition. So don’t let it stop you. Remember, fast food = junk food!

If you’ve decided to eat clean, congratulations!!! You are joining the ranks as one of the few. You’re in the minority of making good food choices, and that’s a good thing. You just have to spend a little more time preparing your healthy meals and packing your healthy snacks. But it’s all worth it – trust me.Healthy Food vs Unhealthy FoodI recently discovered a cool online company called Greatist. Their mission is to “help the world think of health in a healthier way”. And that caught my attention. So in this post, I am linking you to an interesting post about 19 healthy foods that you may want to reconsider (or avoid altogether).

What’s wrong with these so-called healthy foods? Excess calories, sugar and fat that you may not have expected. I personally was a little bummed that hummus made the list. You can find the post here.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? What would you like to see in future posts?

And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Eat To Lose

I Won't EatContrary to what some people believe, you need to eat if you want to lose weight. Starving yourself is a not an effective long-term strategy. So don’t buy into skipping meals. Your body needs fuel and energy – not only to operate, but to burn calories.

For weight loss, I advocate eating right and exercising. For the exercise component, it takes work; the more intense the better. Don’t fall for the “fat burn zone” myth. The harder I can workout, the more I sweat, and the longer I can sustain being out of breath is the way I go about it. You’ll burn more calories and you’ll burn them faster. Of course you should always seek your doctor’s approval before embarking on an intense fitness regimen or new nutrition plan.

It’s been proven that if you skip too many meals or cut your calorie intake too low, you will eventually end up over-eating (including the wrong foods). And that calorie surplus will not make you happy the next time you step onto the scale. Think about trying to exercise when you’re starving. Your energy levels and endurance will suffer. So essentially you’re wasting time and not getting the most out of your workout. All you can think about is food. And even worse yet, you may end up burning lean muscle. PortionThe traditional 3 meals a day that we all grew up with still has some validity, but we need to modernize it. How? By adding in healthy snacks so you’re eating 5 to 6 times a day.

In general, the biggest meal you consume should be earlier in the day. That would be breakfast. Lunch would be a little smaller, with dinner being the smallest. In between these 3 meals is where you integrate nutritious and healthy snacks. But these don’t come from a vending machine. You need to prepare in advance and have them with you.

So let’s look at some healthy snacks that can keep you nourished and full of energy throughout the day. My go to snacks are fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes… And raw vegetables like peppers, avocado, cucumbers, potato, cauliflower, radishes… A handful of nuts and seeds works too, but keep the portion small. Whatever you like that’s natural, low calorie and low fat to fill the gap between meals so you’re not ravenous at lunch or dinner. Pea-sized portionI found a recent article on “smart snacking” that appeared in the MyFitnessPal blog that I’d like to share. You can read the text version below or go to the slideshow with pictures at: http://www.strengthmeetsstyle.com/smart-snacking-how-to-keep-your-metabolism-burning-all-day/89/236/?utm_source=Outbrain&utm_medium=BriH&utm_campaign=1.

Smart Snacking: How To Keep Your Metabolism Burning All Day

Apples: Apples are a ‘good carb,’ and they’re packed with fiber. Eating two apples is enough to fill your fruit intake for the day, and you’re not adding a lot of calories. Apples also have vitamin C, and satisfy your sweet tooth. They make your stomach feel fuller, so you’ll eat less during the day, without having to worry about working off a lot of fat.

Almonds: Many kinds of nuts, when eaten in moderation, can provide a number of health benefits. First among equals are almonds, especially raw almonds that have no salt. Technically, almonds are high in fat, but a handful a day are very good for you. The fats in almonds are monounsaturated, the same as in olive oil, and these fats help reduce heart disease. Studies have also shown that almonds, eaten in moderation, helps keep your weight down, which combined with an active exercise program, can keep you healthy for a long time.

Broccoli: The greener the vegetables, the better for your body. Broccoli is a great snack you can eat raw, or steamed. It lowers cholesterol, gets rid of toxins and is packed with vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin K. If you’re busy, you’re better off packing raw broccoli florets in a bag, and eating them on the go. Avoid dipping sauces, as they are often loaded with fat and sugar.

Low Fat Plain Yogurt: Low-fat plain yogurt has many benefits. It’s probiotic, which means that it’s filled with ‘good’ bacteria, also known as ‘live cultures’ that can help relieve digestive problems. Yogurt is also a high-protein, low fat food, perfect for maintaining a healthy diet. In addition, yogurt is low in calories, but be careful about the sugar content of some flavored yogurts. You’re better off buying non-sweet yogurt and using honey or brown sugar to make it sweet.

Canned Tuna: Tuna is packed with vitamin B3, vitamin B12 and protein. It’s a lean, delicious food that is also low in fat. Tuna is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that have huge antioxidant benefits. The best kind of tuna is albacore tuna, which is pure white tuna with no mixture of other tuna species. For snacking, you can eat tuna straight out of a can, mix with brown rice or sprinkle over a healthy salad.

Edamame: Edamame is a fancy name for soybeans that are boiled. They are a delicious, low-fat and low-calorie snack that’s full of protein and fiber. You’ll also find vitamin C and vitamin A and iron. You can pack edamame in a bag to down them by the handful, but don’t add too much salt, or you’ll negate the health benefits.

Cottage Cheese: Although, you don’t want ‘cottage cheese’ thighs when you work out, you do want to eat cottage cheese to stay healthy. It’s high in protein, calcium (for bone strength), magnesium, potassium and zinc. Cottage cheese is also a low-carb food that helps regulate blood sugar, improves digestion and is rich in antioxidants. You can eat cottage cheese by itself as a snack, or add it to a salad or egg-white omelette.

Beef Jerky: Yep, they’re good for you and filled with protein. But you have to make sure you buy a brand that’s low in sugar and sodium. You should also avoid ‘smoked’ or ‘barbecue’ flavored jerky as these tend to have a lot of additives. You can also buy turkey jerky if you want even less fat. Jerky is just dried meat, so you’re getting all that protein on the go.

Blueberries: Blueberries are a superfood that you can enjoy anytime. They are one of the highest antioxidant-containing fruits in the world, and you can eat them raw, in smoothies or in yogurt. Studies have shown that eating blueberries after a workout can help your muscles recover much quicker because antioxidants help promote healing. Blueberries are also packed with vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber.

Asparagus: Asparagus is a negative calorie food item. It takes more energy to chew and consume the food than what’s in the nutritional value of the item itself. This is great for boosting your metabolism and is also giving of rich nutrients and antioxidants.

Cheese: Studies have shown cheese contains butyric acid. This compound is linked to reduced obesity, reduced hunger and higher metabolism. It is shown that consuming natural cheese with whole-grain bread has boosted metabolism nearly 50% than processed cheese and white bread.

Avocado: Much like almonds, avocado contains monounsaturated fats which plump cell membranes enabling them to work better with fat-burning hormones. Avocados boost your metabolism by protecting the energy-producing parts of your cells from free radical damage.

Egg whites: Egg Whites are a great source of Leucine, an amino acid used for weight loss. This amino acid kick starts your metabolism as it raises your base metabolic rate and boosts your weight loss. Be careful when consuming egg whites and avoid eating it raw. There are serious health risks associated to raw egg whites – take the time to cook it and see the health benefits kick in.

Water: While water isn’t necessarily a “snack,” it is a required part of your everyday eating habits. Studies found that drinking water increases your metabolic rate by 30% in healthy men and women. It also fills you up naturally which lowers your cravings for other foods.

Spinach salad: By eating spinach, you protect yourself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis and other diseases. Spinach has a delicate texture and jade green color that provides more nutrients than any other food. This is a great food to help get your metabolism to a speedy rate.

Whey protein: Whey is an ideal snack for boosting metabolism. It is quickly digested and can help boost enough t burn an extra 150 to 200 calories per day. Add some whey into a protein smoothie or make your own version of ice cream with it added in. This is guaranteed to boost your metabolism fast!

Oatmeal: To jumpstart your metabolism, eat oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is rich in fat soluble fiber which requires a lot of energy to break down. This helps boost your metabolism as it also decreases your cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of heart disease.

Lean meat: Metabolism is affected by multiple factors out of your control – however, increasing your muscle mass allows you to burn more calories (increases your metabolic rate). Muscle tissue requires protein and exercise – by eating more protein, you can build muscle mass therefore enhancing your metabolism.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is the content valuable and helpful? What would you like to see in future posts?

And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Get Back To Basics

Diets don’t work! Okay, I said it. But do you believe it?

Stop chasing the latest scientific craze. You don’t need an extreme weight-loss program or a fad diet to lose weight. And don’t buy into quick-fix supplement advertisements. You already know what to do. So do what you already know you should do and get back to basics.

no-excuses2I know that we’re all different. This just means that you need to figure out what tweaks you need to make based on your situation (e.g. age, goals, body type, overall health, etc.). But it doesn’t change the work necessary to get the results. Instead of focusing on what’s not working, hold yourself accountable by consistently working on the basics  –  one day at a time.

It’s easy to be motivated in the 1st month of doing something new. But staying consistent as time goes on and challenges or setbacks occur is more difficult. Focus on  your “why” and stick with it.

As you build momentum, days will quickly turn into weeks. And weeks turn into months; and then years. It’s The Compound Effect in action. Before you realize, you will have created a new, healthy lifestyle which becomes a little easier to maintain. Celebrate your wins along the way and then get back to work on the basics.

back_to_basicsSo what are the basics? It really only comes down to about 6 things:

  1. Eat clean. More fruits and vegetables. Carbs are not your enemy.
  2. Move your butt! You need to burn calories.
  3. Manage your portions and eat to about 80% full.
  4. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
  5. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep to recharge.
  6. Make sure to have a strong reason “why” to help you through the mundane and challenging times.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Refer back to past posts for more details. If you work hard and master the fundamentals, you will begin to see amazing results!

Thanks for sharing some time with me. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

Just Getting Started? Just Do It!

Like it or not, you’ve gotta move.

Just Do It - Every Damn DayNot only is moving important to your heart and lungs, it’s key to your weight-loss initiative. And don’t overlook the benefits to your mind and muscle development, regardless of your age.

So let’s just get used to the idea and start moving. If you’ve been sedentary for a while, then this post is for YOU!

Before you start any exercise or walking regimen, make sure to consult with your doctor.

Stock Photo by Sean Locke www.digitalplanetdesign.comOkay, so now you’re ready but what should you do and how should you start? I’m going to suggest that you start with walking, and that you start slow but stay consistent. Give yourself 3 to 4 weeks, with at least 4 to 5 days per week. Just walking. We’ll call this Phase 1.

This is not a race or a competition. The intent is to begin conditioning your body; mainly your legs, but also your heart and lungs. And your choice to begin (and continue) is the start of a new healthy habit. So you need to condition that “time” into your daily routine.

Here’s my philosophy: If you want to improve your health & wellness, which may include losing weight, then you need to incorporate some healthy lifestyle changes with regular exercise and good nutrition. This takes time so you need to have a little patience. But please don’t confuse patience with excuses blow off workouts or to slip back to your old ways.

“You need patience to allow your habits & results to materialize while you take action on your exercise & nutrition goals, one day at a time.”

For the first week just get out and walk, without any goals or expectations. Keep track of your walking time but don’t worry about your speed or step count yet. Your goal for this first week is to get moving – every day. Just get moving!

For the second week you can begin to set some targets. Either walking time or step count. For example: If you walked for 15 or 20 minutes per day last week, kick it up to 25 or 30 minutes in week 2. There are plenty of free smartphone app’s for tracking your steps, so find one that you like. If you don’t have a smartphone, just go based on walking time or buy an old-style pedometer.

For week 3 and 4, continue to increase your walking time or step count, and your intensity. This consistency is starting to build some healthy long-term habits and disciplines. And after a few weeks you will probably start to feel better and gain some extra energy.

But don’t expect any major weight-loss results yet. This will happen soon enough in another month or so when you kick your calorie burn into a higher gear with cardio & strength training, and cleaner eating habits. Remember, patience.

Walking with HeadphonesIf you want to listen to music (or a good book or podcast) during your walk, bring headphones. I find that walking is a great time to just think. But it can also help you clarify your thoughts or find solutions to problems. You will quickly find what works best for you.

Now it’s time to step away from the computer, lace up, and get walkin’.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”  ~ Jim Rohn

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’d love for you to let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like what you see, you can SUBSCRIBE for automatic updates, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles.

What Are You Waiting For?

Think about your health & wellness. Are you motivated? To eat clean and train mean so you can get lean? Consistently or when it’s convenient? It’s a big part of what it takes to get in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. But it’s only the first step. You need to get beyond the point of being motivated and get to actually doing what’s necessary. Got MotivationWe are going to explore where our motivation comes from and how to keep the fire burning long after the novelty wears off. How? By taking a closer look at 2 factors that motivate us, plus an added bonus.

Before we dive in, see if this scenario resonates with you…

You spend 50 to 60 hours a week at work. You’re loaded up with commitments, personal and professional. It’s not all work and no play, but more “me time” would be nice. And time is passing by pretty quickly (actually too quickly). You feel the weight of responsibility on your shoulders and it’s not getting any lighter; not to mention a few extra inches around your waistline.

You are missing workouts, or just not exercising at all. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep either. As a result of your busy life, you occasionally skip meals. Sometimes you settle for something on the go, but that usually involves a drive-thru. And although you know that burger & fries with a sugary cola chaser is a horrible choice, you rationalize that it’s quick and better than nothing. Crystal BallAs you look into the crystal ball of your life, you either like what you see but maybe there’s some unfinished business and room for improvement. Or you don’t like what you see. And not only is this weighing you down but so is the extra weight you’ve been packing on slowly over time, that’s now becoming noticeable.

Does any of this sound familiar? Does it describe you? Maybe a little?

So I have to ask, where is your level of motivation towards exercise on a scale of 1 to 10? Does this number correlate to your exercise “attendance”? You know, the number of times you actually exercise every week. In the gym, at home, or wherever you train. And how about your intensity level; where does that weigh in on that 1 to 10 scale? Benefits-of-Cardio-Exercise-for-HealthLet’s assume that your motivation is somewhere between 1 and 5, which means that you’re probably missing valuable workouts. By valuable I mean the numerous benefits you get from your cardio and strength training sessions. Like burning calories & fat, building lean muscle, lowering blood pressure & cholesterol levels, improving balance & stability, gaining increased energy & stamina, and keeping your mind sharp.

Let’s also presume that your healthy eating is on that same 1 to 5 scale – Uh Oh! What are you going to do to get these important elements on track? After all, the combination of exercise and good eating habits are the primary foundation of a healthy lifestyle. But you already knew this. So what’s stopping you?

What - Why - How?Re-claim those exercise benefits you’ve been missing out on. Do yourself a huge favor by clarifying what you want and why you want it. I’m not trying to turn this into a complicated goal-setting exercise. I simply want you to stop and think about it for a few minutes. Let it marinate. Then grab a pen & paper to capture your thoughts.

Here’s a quick assignment: At the top of one piece of paper, write “What Do I Want For My Health & Wellness?”. On another piece write “Why Do I Want It?”. Now list out every thought that enters your mind. Just write, don’t edit. Sit and think – alone. You will be amazed at what you come up with (without the TV, your phone, Facebook, or any other distractions).

So these are 2 simple questions that may or may not be easy for you to answer. Especially if you’re overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. But if you’re determined to do this, the answers will give you clarity and insight. You may even find some needed direction that helps you understand what makes you tick.

Want some valuable feedback? Think back to some of the obstacles that tripped you up in the past. They’ll be back unless you deal with them.

If your thoughts aren’t flowing or you’re stuck, here are a couple lists to help you get started. But remember, the answers ultimately need to be your own. Let’s look at some examples:

What Do I Want For My Health & Wellness?

  • To lose weight. How much?
  • To live longer. How long?
  • To fit into a smaller size. What size?
  • A smaller waist. What size?
  • To beat diabetes, or keep it at bay.
  • To prevent a heart attack, heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • To look better.
  • To feel sexier.
  • To achieve a weight-loss goal that’s eluded me in the past.
  • To fulfill a lifelong dream (like running a marathon).
  • To be able to climb a flight of stairs without passing out.
  • To live for at least another 30, 40, or 50+ years, in great health.

Why Do I Want It?

  • I don’t like how I look or feel anymore.
  • I’m fed up with my unhealthy lifestyle.
  • I don’t like who I’ve become.
  • I’m embarrassed and tired of being ridiculed.
  • My unhealthy habits are killing me.
  • I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • I want to see my kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews… grow up.
  • I want to take control of my life.
  • I feel like crap.
  • This unhealthy lifestyle is no longer acceptable to me.
  • My career is in jeopardy.
  • My health is on the line.
  • I’m going to die early if I don’t change something soon.
  • My kids are begging me to do something about my weight.
  • I’m scared and know that I need to do something.
  • I’m tired of being ‘judged’ by my appearance.
  • I have more to contribute to this world.
  • Just because…

So what does all this mean? Did this exercise help you clarify your What and your Why’s?

Until you dig deep and decide “what” you want for your health & wellness, and “why” it’s important, your motivation will deteriorate when life happens or gets in the way of your healthy ambition.

Here’s a bonus. Ask yourself “How will I feel when I’ve accomplished my want”? Visualize that and tie those thoughts to your list of why’s.FailureIf you’ve failed before (like all of us have), don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up, learn from that experience, and don’t fall into the same trap again. This time you’re equipped with why-power! Leverage it so you can start to build momentum and feel good about your efforts (and results) until you become unstoppable!!!

I hope this was meaningful. Enough so, that it helps you find whatever it is you need to take control of your health & wellness, once and for all. Cheers to your success!!!

Pain Free at Last!

Do you suffer from chronic pain? How about frequent bouts with back pain that may have slowed you down or sidelined you? What about tendonitis, knee, hip, shoulder or neck pain? Or a supposed herniated disc?

If you’ve dealt with any of these painful conditions, I feel your pain. For me the pain had become an unwelcome yet ever-present part of my life I just “dealt with”, for what turned out to be a 20-year span.

In addition to thinking “what’s wrong with me”, I was growing more concerned about my future. What would I be dealing with in 20 or 30 years, and how would that impact my active lifestyle? My workouts were done in pain. And my logic was, it hurts when I workout and it hurts when I don’t. So I might as well workout.

Not only does it suck to workout in pain, it affects your strength and ability to go “all out”. By the way, I am not telling you this to complain or ask for your sympathy. I’m hoping to get your attention. And if you can relate to similar symptoms or know someone that’s dealing with chronic pain, I want to help you understand there may be a solution (that doesn’t have to include medication or surgery).Healing Back PainAbout two years ago, a friend had recommended I read a book called “Healing Back Pain”. I guess I wasn’t ready for a cure yet because I didn’t heed his advice. I finally got fed up this past December and couldn’t take the pain anymore. I bought and read “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection” by Dr. John E. Sarno.

This was a real eye-opener for me. Dr. Sarno offered countless examples about the symptoms of the patients who came to him for pain and that he treated successfully. He provided information about studies he conducted that further explained his concept and the results he achieved. Some of the cases he shared sounded like he was describing my situation.

Now I was really intrigued to learn more about Dr. Sarno, so I bought his next 2 books – “The Mindbody Prescription” and “The Divided Mind”. I was already on the road to recovery after reading Healing Back Pain as my pain was fading. But I needed to learn more and became fully pain-free after reading his next 2 books.Sarno BooksDr. Sarno refers to this process as “TMS”, or Tension Myositis Syndrome. By the way, Dr. Sarno is a Board certified physician. And until he retired a few years ago, he was a Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine on the faculty of the New York University School of Medicine who helped thousands of patients.

After ruling out that the pain is not due to a physical abnormality or something structural, his theory claims that in many cases, the physical pain (most commonly in the back) is a distraction created by the unconscious mind as a way of repressing strong emotional feelings. These feelings include anger, self-imposed pressure, perfectionism, and stress-related disorders. Dr. Sarno asserts that our unconscious mind creates physical pain as a distraction to avoid dealing with the more painful unconscious emotional issues.

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection was published in 1991 and is the second of four books written by Dr. Sarno on the subject. As he learned more by treating thousands of patients, he amended the diagnosis to Tension Myoneural Syndrome to include not only muscle and tendons, but added nerve and tissue as well.TMS CollageSince I am not certified by Dr. Sarno, I am unable to give advice or provide specific treatments. However, I highly recommend that you go to Amazon and start with “Healing Back Pain” so you can begin to learn about the syndrome known as TMS.

You can also find plenty of videos and information online about Dr. Sarno’s work, including some of the more well-known people he has helped. The TMS diagnosis may not help everyone. But if you’re dealing with chronic pain, you owe it to yourself to explore his work further and learn more about it. After all, what do you have to lose?

Here are a few resources you may find helpful:

I wish you all the best in your quest to be pain free.

Take control of your health & wellness. Start today!