Day 5

Develop S.M.A.R.T goals around what you want the end result to be.

It’s important to be specific, but also realistic. If you say you want to lose 30 lbs. before Spring, that may be unrealistic. After reading countless fitness books over the years, realistically, as well as the healthiest way to go about losing weight is not with a fad diet, but conscious, mindful eating combined with some form of exercise done consistently. Losing 2 lbs. a week is a realistic goal.  So if losing 30lbs were your goal, perhaps 6 months may be a good time frame. You want to set yourself up to win!

You may also have goals around good posture and strength training as well. You may have goals around decreasing your % of bodyfat, or losing inches, or getting into a favorite pair of jeans These are all good goals.  What’s important is that you write them as a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals. Don’t forget to write down a positive thing you did today around fitness and health!

Wow!  We are already on day 11.  Congratulate yourself!
Today’s Tip #11
It’s not all or nothing.   By that I mean, if you didn’t get to the gym, did you fail? Absolutely not!  Perhaps before dinner, take 15 min. and do some Ab exercises, or stretch the entire time watching the news.  Just because you set a goal for what you wanted to achieve today, doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible! Doing something is better than doing nothing!  Remember to write in your journal and give yourself a “pat on the back” for making positive choices!

Today’s Tip #21: Do something different!

Make a conscious effort all day to change your normal routine. It may be to take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Or park your car at the end of the parking lot and walk to your building. Or maybe it’s to add non-fat cream to your coffee. (I actually just did this and didn’t miss the and !). Note how many things you can actually do differently and write them down in your journal. It will be interesting to see how many you can come up with!

Hello all. How are we doing? Are you noticing a difference? I hope soJ I must admit, what started as a daily tip, has motivated me to keep up on my fitness knowledge by reading periodicals and magazines as well as doing some form of exercise daily. So I thank you.

Tip #43, Reward Yourself with Visuals

A few nights ago while having dinner with friends, Melissa, a recipient of our Health and Vitality Tips, shared that each day she works out, she puts a small smiley face sticker on the calendar. “It’s rewarding, Melissa says, to see the calendar filling up with all these stickers! It makes me feel good and is a great motivator to keep working out.” Corny? I don’t think so. Whatever it takes to keep you on track with your goals is a good idea to me!

What visuals will you adopt? Be creative!

Thanks Melissa


Tip #46: Look for other ways to measure your progress

If you’ve been receiving these tips since day one, it’s been 6 weeks since we first started. Imagine?! Some of you have mentioned that the scale hasn’t budged despite your efforts. After 6 weeks of steady exercise you’ll notice you have more muscle than fat. Muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue because it is 70% water, while fat is 20% water. Even though you may not be dropping weight, you’re still making progress because your new muscle is helping you burn even more fat. (Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat cells to stay alive. So the more muscle you possess, the more calories you’ll burn- even when you are not working out).

To curb the frustration you feeling at this point in your diet, look for other ways to measure your progress. Do your clothes feel more comfortable? Do you look better? These count for as much, if not more, than what the scale says!

So keep up your program. If you “fall off the wagon” today, tomorrow is another day. Get back into your routine. Put on your favorite jeans that were tight a few weeks ago and feel good about yourself! You’re doing great!

Tip #48, You snooze, you lose

A 2004 study by researchers at Stanford University found that people who slept less had lower levels of the hormone leptin and higher levels of the hormone ghrelin. Leptin suppresses your appetite, making it easier to pass up that piece of cake. Ghrelin, on the other hand, makes the cake irresistible.

The benefits of sleep go beyond hormonal control. The fewer hours you doze, the more waking hours you have to spend overeating. And when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder to get motivated to exercise.

So, slow down before bed. Read a book to help fall asleep. Or take a nice hot bath. Stick to a regular schedule and aim for 7 -8 hours of sleep each night. You’ll feel rested and ready to start your morning workout!

Sweet dreams!

Tip #51, Find time to meditate.

Over the years I’ve been told that the advantages of mediation are endless, but have never ‘found the time.” I recently read an article written by David Eifrig Jr. M.D. and thought I would pass it on.

What can meditation do? Here are just a few potential benefits:
Increases your powers of concentration.
Increases your longevity.
Reduces the number of visits to your doctor.
Reduces the likelihood of an admission to the hospital.
Increases the ability to get pregnant amongst people with fertility difficulties.
Reduces inflammation responses of the body (a key to good health!!).
Boosts the immune system.
Increases serotonin (the chemical for fighting depression).
Lowers blood pressure more than any drug (read this line again).
The problem is, as with any lifestyle-changing activity, it is only effective if you do it! When I first became serious about practicing meditation, I studied Transcendental Meditation, more commonly known as TM. Since then I have developed variations and versions of this by reading about meditation, relaxation, awareness (may I suggest Jon-Kabat-Zinn who is famous for the phrase "Mindful Meditation"). A truly inspirational concept is that many people (including some religious folk) who invoke the relaxation response believe that if practiced by enough people, the process would lead to a decrease in crime and perhaps even world peace. Surely even the drivers at the helm of traditional healthcare could not find fault with that.
When it comes to meditation and relaxation, here is what I do:
Read The Relaxation Response every year on a weekend retreat devoted to healthy living practices. It turns out that a cardiologist named Herbert Benson first studied this in the 1970s and subsequently wrote a book called The Relaxation Response. (oops… first… take a weekend retreat devoted to studying healthy living practices).
I sit in a chair (or any relatively comfortable place) with my neck and shoulders balanced and relaxed (this is the hardest part), feet on the floor and hands resting on my lap or sides. I think of one word such as "one" or "om" or "peace." I do nothing but think of that word and when my mind drifts to other things… I slowly and softly bring my mind back to that word… taking deep, but not forced, breaths.
I do this once a week on a weekend day plus I try and fit one or two sessions in during the work week… often on the day of (and preferably right before) surgery and some times right after surgery. I think this is a part of why my hands are steady.
I sit and do this for 15 to 20 minutes the moment I recognize a headache or neck ache coming on… which is a couple of times a month and can be triggered by mental or even physical stress and tension.
Life in today's world is stressful. So do yourself a favor and try this. One guarantee is that, if you do this at least every other day for a month, it will change your life.
Peace be with you…


Tip #55, Do something fun today!

It’s Sunday, and a good day to do something fun for yourself! What could you do that you normally wouldn’t do on a Sunday? I’m talking about something that involves exercise! You could take a walk at a park. There are some beautiful trails around. Go cross country skiing. This is GREAT exercise! How about bowling?! It’s of fun and a lot of laughsJ How about a hot house yoga class? Or a Spin class at your gym?

Do something different today and have some fun! You just might like itJ


Tip #64, Listen to your body

How many times have you not felt up to par and then decided to push yourself anyway? Sound familiar? We all do it, but my advice is to “listen to your body.” Nothing is more important than your health!

You are receiving this later tonight, as I spent the day in bed. I couldn’t tell you the last time I did that. Chills and achy all over, I knew that to press on with the day was not the smartest choice. Drinking plenty of fluids and tea, and getting rest, was the right choice. Tomorrow is another day, and my body will be rested.

I hope you take this advice next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Remember, NOTHING is more important than your health!

Be well