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    Friday
    Sep242010

    Embrace the Opportunity

    I got word the other day that my brother-in-law, my younger sister's husband, was rushed to the hospital with what he thought was a heart attack.  When my older sister called, she told me that he was watching football and felt pressure in his chest and numbness in his left arm.  They called emergency services, and he was whisked away to the hospital.

    He's 39 years of age.

    I'm not writing this to slam my brother in law.  Sure I'd like to see him give up the cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food, but I'm not putting him down.  After all, I'm not always the model of healthy living myself.

    I'm writing this because it's important to remember - you don't always know.

    You don't know when the last cigarette you smoked will be the last one you ever smoke.  You don't know when the last drink you had will indeed be your last drink ever.  You don't know if the last meal you ate will be the last meal of your life.

    You just don't know.

    You are in the perfect position now to do what needs to be done to take control of your life.  Nothing has to change.  Nothing has to happen beforehand.  You don't have to wait until Monday.  The time is now.

    You must embrace the opportunity to become healthy before it's too late.  While I hope it never happens to anyone reading this message, someone is going to have a stroke today.  Someone is going to have a heart attack today.  Someone is going to go into a diabetic coma and never recover.

    Don't let it be you.

    Don't wait until something dire happens before you take control.  Why must it be a heart attack or a stroke, or the loss of a loved one to some weight-related condition that jerks you awake and compels you to act?  Embrace the opportunity to be healthy.  Embrace the opportunity to show self love and respect.

    Embrace the opportunity.  Then act on it.

    You can do it.

    Go!

    Tuesday
    Sep142010

    Going Mental

    What happens in your mind usually goes off without any help from you.  It's not until we've been made aware of something that we begin to take control of the things that happen in our minds.

    Let's look at a couple of detrimental thought processes that will absolutely kill your progress in dropping fat.

    Thought Process #1 - Clean Your Plate

    Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday.  Mom used to tell me, "There are starving children in Africa, and you're going to leave all of that perfectly good food on your plate.  Clean your plate!"  Effectively shamed into submission and despite feeling full, I begrudgingly ate the remainder of my mashed potatoes and corn so, presumably, the poor starving kids in Africa would live another day.

    Further, my father was a pretty tight-fisted kind of guy when it came to money.  Throwing food away, he claimed, was akin to tossing dollar bills in the garbage.  He brought that military mindset into the house - "Take all you want, but eat all you take."  So rather than scrape the last bits of uneaten food from our plates into the garbage, we found ourselves eating in excess when our eyes were bigger than our bellies.

    Having this message imparted to us day after day, is it any wonder that my entire family (3 children and both parents) have at one time or another struggled with being overweight?

    "Clean your plate" is a TERRIBLE message.  Basically it's saying, "Ignore your body's cues and eat beyond necessity." The feelings of guilt that were thrust upon us as children are unfounded - after all, will throwing away 2 ounces of baked potato and the last bit of chicken REALLY cost an African child his life?  Eating every morsel of food from your plate isn't honorable or moral.  It's counter-productive to your weight and fitness goals.

    If you haven't quite figured out portion control, then just paying attention to your body can save you a LOT of unnecessary calories.  It works like this: If you can feel your belly bulging - even slightly - then you're done eating.  It doesn't matter if there's still half a chicken breast and a few green beans on the plate.  Feeling full means you ate too much, so stop before you reach that point.

    You don't have to clean your plate.  Eat until you are satiated, and not a crumb more.

    Thought Process #2 - Get Your Money's Worth

    I do enjoy the opportunity to go to the local buffet restaurants.  I don't do buffet very often, but when I do, a measure of self control is in order.

    We have a little tradition in our family.  When one of us has a birthday, the celebrant gets to pick a restaurant for lunch or dinner.  As fate would have it, both my younger son and younger daughter chose buffet restuarants for their birthday meals. 

    First, my son chose Chinese.  At $7.99 per adult, it's often tempting to say, "I'm gonna make sure they LOSE money on me."  That is a very, very dangerous mentality to have.  My daughter chose Golden Corral.  $8.99 per adult for dinner.  That represents an even bigger challenge.  It's as if the pricing is challenging our ego by saying, "Ha!  You'll NEVER eat $9 worth of food," to which the more determined mind says, "Oh, yeah?  Just watch me."

    And the self-abuse begins.

    Businesses like this are going to make money off of you.  Unless you stay for hours and eat every piece of shrimp in the building, it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to out-eat the bulk-rate pricing restaurants get for their food.  The only rewards you'll receive if you do manage to out-eat the menu price are a stomachache and more girth.

    There's no prize for beating the cost of your food at a buffet restaurant.  Years ago, I used to think it was funny when I said, "They're not going to make money off of me!"  Now I realize what I was really saying: "This restaurant is out of my price league, so I'm going to eat until I'm sick to make sure I get every penny's worth."

    If you find yourself having this thought upon entering a buffet restaurant - the thought that you're going to out-eat the menu price - then do yourself a favor.  Save the money and eat a meal at home (all the while remembering to avoid Thought Process #1).

    Hopefully being aware of these mental processes will help you take control of your eating behaviors.  Be well!

    Friday
    Sep032010

    Coolness

    Just found out today that the editor of our local newspaper wants to do a story on Wo40.com.  How about that!?

    In my brief phone conversation with him, the editor mentioned that the site is well done without being overly self-serving.  It's something that I've tried to maintain in my writing here - to inspire and encourage both through words and example without trying to be self-aggrandizing.  This site, as I've mentioned before, isn't really about me.  It's about every reader out there who has ever looked at him or herself in the mirror and thought, "I need a change for the better."

    Thank you Betty, the friend who referred us to the newspaper.  Thank you, Terry, for taking up the story and getting the message out there.  Hopefully together we can help Tarboro and people everywhere take control of their lives through fitness.

    Be well!

    Thursday
    Sep022010

    Breaking out of the Summer Doldrums

    Summers here in Eastern North Carolina have a tendency to do one of two things.  They either direct people toward the Outer Banks and the beach or they force people to just stay inside.  As if the often-oppressive heat weren't enough, we get humidity that makes the air so thick being in it feels like putting on a heavy winter coat.  Exercising outside is unheard of.

    Unless you've bought a good at-home training program (P90X and Insanity, for example), it's quite easy to forego your exercise routine.  Then starts a downward spiral - once we're no longer exercising, we stop eating well.  The rest of the story is a journey into weight gain.

    I'm personally looking forward to fall.  Even though I love the at-home programs, there's nothing quite like getting out of the house and into the crisp fall air that just invigorates the body.  It's my favorite time to go for a run down by the river or along the tree-lined streets.  I especially love the trails down at the park around the lake. There is a running trail with a pull-up bar and beam for doing incline push-ups and dips between laps.

    I've personally found myself slacking a bit since going back to school and having most of my free time dominated by work, karate, and kids' activities.  Thankfully I can still get a good workout in karate, but I need to do more still.  Since the kids have just started soccer, once the temperatures go down just a bit more, I'll be donning my running gear and using those trails I mentioned earlier.

    If your summer has found you taking it easy, make plans now to get back into a regular routine of training and nutrition.  Sit down and make a plan that you can work with and will lead you back into a body that will declare your fitness to the world when next summer rolls in.  If you're fairly new to fitness training, you can read my article on Getting Started with Physique Transformation to get yourself on the right road.

    It's been a great summer.  Embrace the autumn reprieve from the heat and get outside for a daily walk.  Once the winter rolls around we'll probably huddle up inside again, so now is the perfect time to get yourself into a new routine.  We're behind you all the way.  Go for it!

    Be well!

    Sunday
    Aug012010

    I'm not gonna lie...

    It's been a rough and tumble sort of summer.  Between travel, and fixing the house, and a dozen other things, it's been kinda hard to just sit and gather my thoughts for a lucid blog post.  In all of that madness, we've lost track of our training schedule to where we dropped to training only 3 times a week instead of 6.  Not a total failure in that regard, but it is a slide in the wrong direction on the fitness scale.

    With the summer coming to an end, we can get back on a regular schedule.  We're dropping our current gym membership and going to another locally owned gym with 24-hour operation.  Part of our problem now is that our gym has flaky hours that don't coincide with our availability.  We're also going to be doing the P90X program at home, though Alice and I won't be able to train together due to time conflicts.  The P90X workouts are as long as 90 minutes, and doing them at 4:00 after work and then running to a karate class at 6:00 just won't work for us.

    I've realized the necessity of having a schedule worked out in advance.  When left to my own devices, I'll end up putting off things like working out until late in the day when it's a lot more tempting to just say, "forget it," and move on with other stuff.  A consistent yet flexible plan will limit the potential for missing workouts due to time constraints.  Saying, "I'm going to train from 4:00 -5:00," is a lot better than saying, "I'll train later this afternoon."

    We look forward to getting fully back into the swing of things.

    Be well!