“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?

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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?

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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 ass! 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.

Choose Wisely

Most of us know the importance of exercising and eating right for our good health. There’s a vast amount of information available, perhaps too much. And a wealth of statistics that reinforce the benefits of proper nutrition and fitness. There are also countless professionals eager to help.Personal TrainerHealth and wellness is not a new concept. So why then is such a HUGE percentage of the population overweight and out of shape (pun intended, respectfully)?

With all of the information that’s available and technology at our fingertips, why aren’t more people slimming down and getting healthy? Why are obesity rates still on the rise? And how has such a preventable situation become so pandemic?

Although I can’t claim to be an expert here, I have figured a few things out. I’ve gained valuable insight through my own personal experience, as well as through the experiences of others. So here are some of the thoughts and observations I have about exercising for longevity and weight loss. Specifically as they relate to why we aren’t exercising enough or at all. And why eating right can be so difficult.

  • We know what to do but we’re not doing it.
  • We make excuses about why we can’t get to the gym.
  • We sacrifice our long-term health by making our busy schedule a higher priority than a workout.
  • We work out, but at such a low intensity. As a result, we don’t burn enough calories yet can’t understand why our workouts aren’t producing any weight-loss gains.
  • We fail to realize that exercise (and eating right) will keep our mind sharper, and improve our ability to work productively and handle the stresses that life throws at us every day.
  • We skip meals because we “think” that we’re too busy to stop.
  • We don’t take the time to prepare healthy meals or snacks, so we settle for unhealthy fast food because it’s quick and easy.
  • We know we should eat a good, well-balanced meal but order the burger and fries or nachos grande instead.
  • We delay our “supposed” healthy eating or exercise plan for tomorrow, or next week… because it’s more convenient to do what’s easy in the moment than what’s right or necessary long-term.

So what’s going on? Why does it seem so hard? Why can’t you get started? And if you do start, something always seems to get in the way. How many exercise or diet plans have you started & stopped in your lifetime? Do you think there’s something wrong with you? Sound familiar?

I have a theory.

You need to re-calibrate your mind and get your CHADD’s in tune. Your what? Your Choices, Habits, Actions, Decisions & Disciplines. Choices - Habits - Actions - Decisions - Disciplines GraphicC – Think about it, all change begins with a choice. You consciously “choose” to do something. Every day you make plenty of choices about what you want to do. Or want to change, improve, not do, etc.

H – After a while with focus, concentration and determination, your choices begin to take shape in the form of a habit.

A – And your habits only begin to take root after the repeated actions you take. Action is an integral component in every step of this process.

D – The cumulative net effect of your new habit is the result of all of your decisions to this point, including the choices you’ve made and actions you’ve taken.

D – And finally the finished product becomes a beautiful, new healthy discipline.

If you are over-weight and haven’t exercised in a while, you may find it difficult to get started. My objective is to help you start exercising. And once you do, keep you accountable to find a way to keep it going.

Exercise is vital for your health and wellness. As far as I’m concerned, one of the worst things you could do would be to get discouraged and do nothing. You may be thinking…

  • “I have a lot of weight to lose and can’t imagine getting to my goal weight”
  • “I’m not sure where to begin (or what to do)
  • “It’s been so long so why bother”

Exercise Motivation - What Fits Your Busy Schedule BetterIf you’re in that frame of mind, your primary goal should be to find a way to get moving. It’s NEVER too late to start. But before you do, make sure to get your doctor’s approval. Then set an attainable goal that you can feel great about when you achieve it. Accomplish it, then do it again the next day; accomplish it, then do it again… and eventually over time, momentum will come to your aid.

Let me give you an example. 10,000 steps a day may be too unthinkable right now. So set a goal to go on a 2,000-step walk, 3 times this week. Do that for a few weeks and then start increasing your daily step count gradually. Not sure how to track your steps? There’s an app for that.

Then once you’ve developed the walking habit, it’s time to graduate to other forms of exercise, including strength and cardio training. If you can afford it, you would benefit greatly by hiring a personal fitness trainer. They can help you get results by identifying specific exercises based on your goals and skill level. And they’ll keep you accountable. Check with your local health club for recommendations. Hanging Chad Florida RecountIn a future post we’ll punch through and go deeper into each component of the CHADD philosophy. And don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging. We’ll unpack some illustrations and examples to give you greater insight to choose wisely.

For now I’d suggest taking an inventory of your thoughts, along with some of the choices you’ve made over the past week. You can also be more present and aware of the choices you’re about to make. And perhaps even plan a healthy choice or two into your day. Then stick with it to make it a habit. You can do this!!!

I’d love to see your comments about the challenges that have prevented you from developing new healthy habits and disciplines. And how you can break through them with CHADD on your side.

Your Virtual Health & Wellness Advisor

Have you heard the news? extra_extraI’m excited to publicly announce that I’ve started a new blog called Thin2Win (pronounced Thin To Win). I created Thin2Win.net so I could write about health & wellness, which if you know me, you know is a big part of my life and something I’m very passionate about.

This idea came to me after discovering an alarming statistic that more than 66% of the population in America is either overweight or obese. No, unfortunately that’s not a typo.

Despite all of the information and resources available, 2 out of 3 people are overweight. And it’s getting worse, not better. But it doesn’t have to be this way.fat belly

Here’s another disturbing statistic that caught my attention. It’s estimated that for the first time in history, obesity is causing more deaths than malnutrition and hunger worldwide. Until recently, smoking has been the leading cause of preventable death in the US. But some studies are now indicating that America’s persistent weight problem has become the leading cause of preventable death. Poor diet and lack of exercise are the main reasons. And depending on which study you read, high blood pressure and obesity round out the top 3 causes.

[Disclaimer]: Due to the amount of information and conflicting studies online, I could not confirm this statistic with absolute certainty. But obesity is definitely on the rise and so I felt it was still worth mentioning.

My intent here is not to inundate you with a lot of statistics, or make you feel bad if you’re overweight. I simply want tell you about my new site, with the hope that I can help you or help someone you know to find a way to slim down and get to better health. I’ve been fortunate to have found success in this area, so I feel compelled to share and help others succeed at it as well.

I haven’t publicized Thin2Win (until now) because I wanted to have some content available. And after publishing 10 posts, I feel it’s time to start spreading the word and officially launch the site.

What should you expect when you subscribe to Thin2Win? I will publish a new post about health and wellness with weight loss as the central theme, every other Tuesday. But don’t worry, this is not another bogus weight loss site. Although the central theme is about losing weight, my writing focuses on healthy lifestyle changes including good nutrition and exercise; not restrictive diets or supplements.

Some of the content will help you learn how to eat right. Other posts will focus on the foods to avoid. I also want to help you find the reasons to start or continue exercising 3 to 5 times per week. It’s all about taking care of your 2 most important assets – your mind and your body – with good nutrition and regular exercise.

Face it, although we may get a few do-overs or lucky breaks in our lifetime, we don’t get to “trade in” the incredible body we were given at birth for a better one. But you can enhance it with nutrition and exercise. So it’s imperative that we make the most of what we’ve got by taking great care of it and making it better. Use it or lose it!

Think of Thin2Win as “your virtual health & wellness advisor”.healthandwellnessAn online, self-serve, do it yourself resource. I will create and curate valuable content from leading authorities in the areas of health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. My first post will help you understand my “WHY” for doing this, which you can link to by clicking here. I want Thin2Win to be something that:

  • You can incorporate into your existing routine.
  • Helps you get started if you’re not sure where to begin.
  • Becomes a catalyst that energizes you to lead a healthier lifestyle.
  • Provides strategies and ideas to enhance your health & wellness initiative.
  • Motivates you get lean and stay fit.
  • Attacks the obesity epidemic.

By the way, whenever I refer to your “DIET”, please understand that I am not referring to a plan that’s loaded with tons of rules & restrictions. Or a program that you’re going on for 12 weeks for example, in an attempt to lose 30 pounds. Your diet in my opinion includes the healthy foods, liquids, and information that you consume as part of your healthy “LIFESTYLE”. So please abandon any negative meaning you associate with the word diet and replace it with anything to do with your new healthy lifestyle.

And I’ve saved the best for last. In case you were wondering, there is WORK involved if you are truly serious about losing weight and getting healthy. If you’re not serious or aren’t ready to work hard at it, then unfortunately I can’t help you at this time.Runner in ActionThin2Win does not recommend restrictive eating or rigid exercise plans. That’s gonna be up to you based on your likes & dislikes, body type, age, gender, goals and schedule. We are also not a 1 on 1 personal training, nutrition or fitness coach. But I’ll provide guidance and input when applicable to enhance what you’re doing, even if you have a personal trainer.

And as far as the work, there’s no quick fix in our approach. It’s about getting back to the basics. You do need to eat right every day and exercise at least 3 to 5 times per week. The quality of your eating and exercising will be directly proportional to your long-term results.

There aren’t too many things better than an intense, calorie-burning, ass-kickin’ workout. But if you’re out of shape and have been sedentary for far too long, you need to start slow but be consistent, and increase your intensity as fast as possible. sweat-drenched-pushupAnd be sure to get your doctor’s approval before starting any new exercise or nutrition plans. Because intense exercise combined with great nutrition is the only way to accomplish your weight loss goal and maintain your healthy body. All natural baby!

By the way, I personally despise weight loss pills, supplements, quick fix schemes, and extreme diets; and the companies that market and sell this garbage. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s taking advantage of people. If their stuff worked (which it doesn’t, and you knew that), shouldn’t there be a lot less people with a weight problem? Well it’s all bull**** and I hope to raise an awareness that takes a huge bite out of their future earnings and eventually puts them out of business. (Sorry but that stuff makes me nuts!)

In closing, I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. I’d love for you to let me know what you think (good or bad). And if you do like what you see, SUBSCRIBE to the blog, LIKE US on Facebook, and spread the word about www.thin2win.net with your friends, family and social circles. And if for some reason you don’t like what you see, tell me why. Your feedback will help me continue to improve the site and help others.

Are You Sleeping Your Life Away?

Let’s face it, we live in a busy world. Demands for our time can be immense, despite seeming innocuous at first. If we’re not careful, a well-planned day that’s going “according to plan” can be derailed in a heartbeat by another person’s agenda or emergency.

Busy peopleWe pile on tasks, projects and commitments. This leads to more of our waking hours spent at work. To our credit, we get more done. And so we are given more responsibility, which means – more work. We say “yes” even though we are already over-booked or spread too thin. It’s like we don’t know how to say no. Sound familiar? Like I’m describing you? Yea, I know; me too…

I used to think that I could work my tail off and get by with little sleep. Hey, I was busy and there was no time to stop; right? And I definitely didn’t want to be known as a slacker. Burning the candle at both ends was like a badge of honor. But that was delusional thinking. Then I was fortunate to have discovered the importance of rest. And how crucial rest is to our mind and body by recharging every night with 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep.

The takeaway here is that if we don’t put boundaries in place, our time can be hijacked without even realizing it. BTW, I used to think I could multi-task too. And by multi-tasking I thought I was being super-productive and getting more done. Again, I was delusional. But this post is not about me or multi-tasking, so let’s get back on track.

EssentialismLast year I read the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, which I highly recommend. Greg helps us understand that we can’t possibly do everything. As he puts it, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential”.

In this post, I’ve gathered some of the best ideas that have been written on the importance of rest, and the negative effects of sleep deprivation. So rather than restating what’s already been written, I will summarize it, include my own thoughts, and then provide links to articles that I hope will be helpful to you.

ZombieIf you’re not getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night, then your mind and your body can not function properly. Your waking hours will be spent in a fatigued, zombie-like state. And although you may think you’re doing fine and able to power through your day in an alert and productive way, studies prove that you can’t. Your mind and body need adequate rest to recharge, every night.

If you’re a driven, “Type A” person, you may believe that your shortened sleep patterns are justified. But by working more and sleeping less, you are NOT being the uber productive person that’s getting more done like you think you are. You’re merely producing lower quality work by operating in a diminished capacity and sacrificing your long-term health & well-being by not getting enough ZZZ’s.

Your energy level during your waking hours will fade. This will eventually begin to take its toll on your mind and body. Your memory and cognitive ability will soon be affected. This impaired state will impact your work, focus, productivity, relationships, personality, reputation, and your health; as if that weren’t enough. Can you hear me now?

Sleeping at the conference tableSo what are the negative effects of sleep deprivation? According to WebMD, they include:

  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Stressed relationships
  • Poor quality of life
  • Occupational injury
  • Automobile injury

Some of the medical illnesses that result from long-term sleep deprivation include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Increased mortality risk

Long-term sleep deprivation also:

  • Kills your sex drive
  • Ages your skin
  • Makes you forgetful
  • Can cause weight gain
  • Impairs judgement
  • Makes you moody, emotional and quick to anger
  • Increases the rate of accidents
  • Decreases concentration & productivity
  • Causes your immune system to operate at a lower capacity

Sleep deprivation isn’t just limited to a personal choice, like working longer hours in an attempt to improve your business or advance your career. Other reasons that can seem out of your control include:

  • A health or medical condition
  • A partner that snores
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux
  • Physical pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Frequent urination
  • Stress and worry
  • Jet lag
  • Interrupted sleep patterns that distract or reduce REM sleep

SnoringAnd then there are other causes of insufficient sleep that are well within your control, which include:

  • Caffeine & alcohol consumption just before bedtime
  • Trading sleep for additional time – to work or play
  • Medication and vitamin supplements
  • A pet that sleeps with you
  • Electronics – TV, smartphone, tablet / pad, video games…
  • Falling asleep on the couch instead of going to bed

What can you do to get more ZZZ’s?

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Lose weight
  • Take power naps
  • Go to bed early and wake up early
  • Get healthy so you can reduce or eliminate your prescriptions

If you’re not getting enough sleep every night, over time, one could say that you are sleeping your life away. Let that one sink in. So do whatever you can to make better sleep a priority!

Sleeping coupleNow let’s take a look at links to some great resources:

So in closing, I can’t stress enough how important sleep is to your mind and body. A good night sleep is crucial to your health and well-being. In fact, getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night should be one of your top priorities. Make it part of your daily routine by building it into your busy schedule.

What keeps you up at night? Have you found a way to overcome it? Share your comments below.

Foods To Eat

So in the last post, we exposed 13 different food groups that in my opinion, should be OFF-LIMITS if you are serious about losing weight. We’re not here to claim that these foods are bad and should never be eaten. Most things are okay in moderation.

But when you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy, these foods can be like a “ball and chain”. And the reasons why include that they:

  1. are usually high in calories and low in nutrients.
  2. contain high levels of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
  3. may also contain trans fat.
  4. are usually consumed too often and in large quantities.

For some of you, that list of foods to avoid may have turned your world upside down. But we’re not going to leave you there for long because in this post we’ll get it right and discuss the foods that you can and should be eating – for your health, wellness and longevity.

Clarification: When we talk about your “diet”, we are referring to your healthy nutrition and eating. This is not a “plan” that’s loaded with rules & restrictions. Or a “program” that you’re going on for 12 weeks for extreme weight loss, then off and back to your normal routine. This “diet” as we’ll sometimes refer to will become an ongoing, permanent part of your lifestyle. One you will hopefully look forward to and enjoy. Otherwise, it’s not going to last, which is one of the reasons that most traditional “diets” don’t work long-term.

According to Livestrong, nearly 65% of dieters return to their pre-diet weight within 3 years. Unfortunately, many will end up gaining back more than they initially lost. This trend has earned the terms “yo-yo dieting” and “rebound dieting”.

Our goal is to help you avoid an unhealthy yo-yo pattern. How? Well first by helping you determine your likes & dislikes, so your new healthy food choices are enjoyable. Think about it like you’re getting back to basics. In a nutshell, you want to focus on eating whole foods. Whole foods mainly include plant and animal-based foods. Plant-based such as vegetables, fruits & nuts. And animal-based such as poultry, fish, meat, and eggs.

3 Macronutrients 50-30-20And for good, balanced nutrition, each meal should include the 3 macronutrients. They are protein, carbohydrates and fat. In general, you should aim for approximately 50% of your daily calories from carbs, 30% from lean protein, and 20% from healthy fat. And while exceptions may apply, these ratios are a good benchmark for most of us to aim for.

So let’s take a closer look at the 3 macronutrients:

Protein is an important building block of muscles, bones, skin, and cartilage. And protein will keep you feeling full longer. You want to consume plenty of chicken, seafood and turkey. And include pork loin and lean red meat occasionally. Ditch the frier and go for grilled, broiled, baked or pan seared. Eggs, nuts, beans and seeds are other good sources of protein. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories.

Carbohydrates provide your body with its primary source of energy. And for the record, your body needs carbs. You should eat plenty of complex carbohydrates including green vegetables – cooked and raw, whole grains, starchy vegetables, and beans. And add a few servings of fresh fruit every day. Each gram of carbs contains 4 calories.

And the 3rd macronutrient is fat. So you ask, “If I’m trying to lose weight, why do I need fat? Shouldn’t I cut out all fat from my diet?” The answer is NO, your body needs fat in order to function. Without fat you will die. But we want to minimize our fat intake and try to keep it to healthy fats whenever possible. Like olives, olive oil, nuts & seeds, avocado, and peanut butter. Salmon and other cold water fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which make them a great source for healthy essential fat and protein. Healthy fats tend to be high in calories, so limit the size of your portions. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.

In addition to macronutrients, make sure to drink plenty of water (and not the flavored, sugary type). Women should aim for at least 2 to 3 liters per day, and men should aim for at least 3 to 4 liters per day. And those amounts don’t happen by accident. You need to deliberately spread your water intake throughout the day. So keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Each gram of water contains, say it, ZERO calories. Yes!

And healthy snacks will help you in between meals. Some of my favorites include raw veggies, nuts and fruit. You can add hummus, low-cal dip or salsa for some flavor. I like spicy mustard or Tabasco too. Or you can reach for an apple, a banana, a sliced raw pepper, and any other fruits or vegetables you prefer. A handful of nuts is another great snack – just keep it to a handful or two. You can also find some great ideas online. Click here for 20 snacks that burn fat.

Healthy nutsPrepare in advance and pack some healthy snacks for the day. Whether you’re at your desk or in the car, they’ll keep you on track and nourished in between meals. There’s nothing worse than waiting too long to eat, until you’re starving and ravenous. This will cause you to overeat or binge on high calorie, unhealthy snacks that you’ll later regret. Waiting too long to eat can also have a negative effect on your productivity at work and ability to think clearly. So reinforce your weight-loss goal and brain-power with a little preparation. It’ll go a long way.

Eat Clean, Train Mean, Get Lean!

I love it! This saying sums it up if you want to lose weight and get healthy. Take charge and be the best you can be. You have one body, one life, and an unknown amount of time on this earth to make the most of our lives. So eating right and exercising consistently become essential elements for your good health. And there’s no better time to start than NOW!

Ok, let’s get specific. What exactly should you be eating? Well that’s actually going to depend on your likes & dislikes. We all have different tastes. And our eating choices may also be influenced by religious or social views.

There’s an abundance of great recipes & ideas online. So this is where I’m going to suggest that you need to use your imagination (and Google) to find and develop meal plans that fit your tastes and lifestyle. It’s a great opportunity to experiment by creating a few of your own custom healthy creations.

One Size Fits All

There’s no one size fits all. And so instead of listing specific foods you should eat like we did in the last post on foods to avoid, I’m going to suggest a few resources and ideas to give you guidance.

  1. MyFitnessPat at https://blog.myfitnesspal.com. For a wealth of great recipes, quality health & fitness information, ideas and resources. And the MyFitnessPal app for your smartphone is a fantastic resource for easily tracking & monitoring your progress.
  1. Superfoods are packed with nutritional benefits because they contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. They’re also a source of antioxidants which help to prevent disease and protect us from cell damage. Here are a few sources to check out:
  1. Nutrient dense foods have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories. Look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Food Label

  1. Learn to read food labels so you can understand the nutritional value and content including calories, protein, carbs, fat, sodium, sugar, etc. Be aware that serving sizes are determined by the manufacturer. And serving sizes are sometimes selected so the food company can “fly under the radar”. For example, if a food has less than 0.5 grams of fat (trans, saturated or total) per serving, labels can round the number down to zero. So sizes are “tweaked” so the label can display NO FAT, 0 TRANS FATS… Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. So what you see is not always what you get.
  1. Research indicates that you need to eat breakfast every day. Some experts suggest that breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, with lunch a little less, and dinner being your smallest meal. And assuming that you got seven to eight hours of sleep (which is also a must), your body and your mind need fuel when you wake up. And eating a healthy breakfast gives you a great start to your day.                                                                                                                                  Think about it this way. If you were going on a road trip, you would need a full tank of gas, right? And if you attempted this journey with an empty tank, it’s blatantly obvious that you’re not going to get very far. Unfortunately, the negative impact of skipping breakfast is not so obvious. Just know that you need to eat a good healthy breakfast every day, so develop the habit and just do it.
  1. And finally, always maintain good portion control. Despite what your mother told you, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Eat to 80% full and you’ll feel, and eventually look a lot better.

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it. What’s on your list. Leave a comment below.