If you lead a busy life and exercise has become just another time slot on your calendar... If it's starting to feel like more of a chore rather than something you look forward to and enjoy... Or if you've hit a plateau and find yourself feeling a little frustrated or disconnected... You could be overlooking or missing out on a primary component of what keeps people consistent and aligned with their goals: Mindfulness.
I hate the term diet. I feel like it has such a negative connotation; no wonder people on diets have such a low rate of success. Take a moment and ask yourself this: what is the first feeling or thought you have when you hear the word diet? For me personally, I feel anxious and I start to fixate on whatever it is that I am restricting myself from enjoying.
Think of the most attractive star you can. Do you think they are obsessing over every calorie they consume? Probably not. They have most likely hired a highfalutin dietician from the start who is planning each meal for them based on information Michael Pollan is offering you for free: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Sorry guys, but that's not how it works. “Flat abs are made in the kitchen”...
I have covered this topic in other blogs, so I will quickly review the cliff notes: exercise does wonderful things for our internal world, and for those attempting to lose weight, exercise can aid the process by balancing out calories consumed with calories burned. But, it is best used as a tool for weight maintenance and overall improvement of internal health. The sad truth? You will never be able to get a flat stomach, no matter how many abdominal exercises you do, if you keep eating crap.
Ahh, the supermarket. A cornerstone innovation of the 20th century. Centralizing all of a consumer’s shopping needs under one roof for maximum convenience in what was becoming an increasingly busy lifestyle. Forgotten was the neighborhood butcher, baker, produce stand, milkman, and pharmacy. It made enough sense. Instead of having to stop at 4 or 5 different places, one could now just make one stop. With this convenience, however, came one serious consequence: it caused us to become increasingly disconnected from our food. The food chain that brought our meals from the farms to our tables became increasingly longer, and more centralized. While the butcher from 100 years ago likely knew the local farmer who raised the animals, today the butcher at your local supermarket has likely never even seen a livestock farm. Why is this such a bad thing, you ask? Because the more we disconnected about where our food came from, the unhealthier our relationship with food became. Never in human history have we been so detached from our food, and never have we been so confused about what to eat. That is a correlation we should not ignore.
That is also where I come in to help. This blog is the first in a series that I will devote to helping you, a health conscious consumer, navigate the supermarket, decode a confusing array of labels and options, and make the best possible choices for your health and your budget
I have heard every excuse in the book regarding why people either don't workout or miss their scheduled workouts. Fine. But what I want to discuss is what it really takes to get results.
There is a level of discomfort you must endure to get results. This is not an argument for "no pain, no gain," but for real results, you are going to need to push yourself far past your level of comfort
As an in-home personal trainer, I eat on the go (mostly in my car) about 50-75% of my day. This means most of my meals are in the form of mixed nuts and dried fruits, pre-cut fresh veggies with a cheese stick and/or a hardboiled egg, or occasionally a pre-made sandwich from home, maybe even a Lara bar. When I do stop for food (for whatever reason), I tend to grab a pre-packaged sushi roll or sandwich from the nearest grocery store or Starbucks.
Hearing a statement like "reducing caloric consumption is the key to losing weight" or "you can't out-exercise a poor diet" may leave you wondering why in the world you would ever waste your time, not to mention money, at the gym. Well, despite the fact that both of the above statements are true, exercise is anything but a waste of time...
There is no quick trick, seed or root, or perfect exercise routine that you just haven't heard about yet that will give you immediate results to lose weight and get in shape. Like anything else in life, good things come to those who wait. However, in this case good things come to those who work hard, have patience, and don't beat themselves up for minor bumps in the road.
I read an "article" recently regarding the effects of caloric density on weight. Just to backtrack for those of you who would like a quick refresher on what exactly caloric density means: it is how many calories a given volume of food contains. For instance, if you look at a label for a candy bar, and then at the label for a protein bar, they may display the same number of total calories. This is the caloric density of each bar.
Once upon a time, long, long ago I took a class in behavioral psychology, or maybe it was human sexuality, where I learned that we either consciously repeat or do not repeat behaviors based on the memories we form during the behaviors. If we touch something hot, we get burned. That sensation creates a negative memory, and we are unlikely to purposely repeat the behavior. But, when we remember an experience as positive, it is highly likely that we will try to reenact the experience to recreate the same pleasurable response. Sometimes these good feelings get taken too far.
Practicing yoga over the past two decades has taught me to embrace the ideas that letting go of expectation will lead to acceptance, I must learn to breathe in the good and exhale away what's negative, and to let go of judgment and ego in order to find peace. It is said that yoga is a journey, and though these are values to live up to, "practice makes perfect." But growth can only happen outside our comfort zone, and I was ready for my next challenge.
Yoga is said to be a journey. A famous quote from the Bhagavad Gita (a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata; one of the two major Sanskrit epics) refers to yoga as the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. Having practiced yoga for 20 years, I can say I truly understand what that means.
We all have grandiose ideas of what we want to achieve in one aspect of our life or another. We may even fantasize about what it will be like when we reach this goal; how much better life will be. Maybe you daydream about strolling along the beach once you start your new magical weight loss program, and how amazing you’re going to look… and how envious everyone else will be of you and your new level of confidence. Just like in the ad.