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    Discover positive articles, with new ways to look at life and live healthy.

    • HealthDiscovery
      Most people start off strong with an exercise program, and then within a few weeks they've got an excuse for not being there. The majority of people will stop participating in a new workout program within the first 90 days which is why health clubs that are packed in January can seem virtually empty by March.
      What's your excuse for not making it to the gym on a consistent basis? Locker room too smelly? Eye candy not sweet enough? Music volume making your ears bleed? Feeling intimidated by buff bodies crowding the free-weight area?

      Don't let your gym membership go to waste!
      If you're starting a new exercise program, you're probably very excited about it, which is great. But that excitement is going to wear off, at which point you'll begin to notice how much time and effort a workout plan really requires.

      And that's the point where you may be tempted to start pulling back, or even to quit entirely. But we're not about to let that happen. Follow these steps from the very beginning, and you'll be one of those dedicated gym members who really get their moneys worth. 1. Make workouts a key part of your schedule.
      Many people see exercise merely as recreation, not a necessity, which means it's the first thing to go when daily schedules get crunched. YOU NEED TO DECIDE that working out is as important as ANYTHING in your life, even as important as LIFE ITSELF.

      If you don't, as soon as the initial excitement of a new program is over, everything else will get in the way; business appointments, family obligations, TV, sitting on your duff. Write your workout times into your calendar and stick to them just as you would a vital business meeting. 2. Keep it mellow.
      You're a lot more likely to keep your program for the long term if you avoid letting going to the gym become a hassle. Choose a gym you can get to in a reasonable amount of time at the time of day you're going to train.

      If you're fighting gym traffic, you'll be a lot less motivated. Find a place where you won't have to line up to use the equipment you want. And unless you'll be going at the end of the day and can wash up at home, make sure it has clean showers and a comfortable changing environment. 3. Don't bite off more than you can chew.
      Many people often start out too aggressively, going to a level that's higher than they're capable of. As a result, they injure their muscle fibers, so for 48 hours they're walking around like a mummy. Then they stop going to the gym because they find themselves dreading the pain.

      Many people don't realize that long, drawn out workouts is NOT better. You're not giving your body enough time to recover between workouts. 60 minutes TOPS (if you're doing a strength and aerobic workout), or about 30 minutes of a strength OR aerobic workout. Make those minutes COUNT! You can still workout daily as long as you keep your workouts short. 4. Set achievable goals.
      It's inevitable that as you start a new program, you picture yourself looking like the models on TV or in the magazines. But if you set your sights too high, you may find yourself discounting the gains you are making. When you're starting out, go over your long-term goals with a trainer or coach, and decide what you can achieve based on your workout schedule.

      Then, instead of looking far into the future, give yourself intermediate weekly and monthly goals, such as doing an extra rep or lifting 10 more pounds. If you always have new goals to shoot for, it stays interesting.

      REMEMBER: You're not exercising to lose weight. You're exercising because of HOW YOU'LL FEEL as a RESULT of exercising regularly. You WILL get leaner, you WILL have more energy, you WILL have a higher self-esteem. If you don't achieve the goals in the time you first set, it's not the goal that's wrong. It's the time frame that was wrong. Keep focused on your goals. 5. Chart your progress.
      Gains from one workout to the next can be subtle, and the only way to know how well you're really doing is to write everything down. Keep a journal of your workouts, as well as what you eat. Even people who are diligent don't remember exactly how well things went if they keep everything in their head.

      When you write it down, you can compare results, see what is and isn't working, and see that as time goes on YOU'RE REALLY MAKING PROGRESS. 6. Mix it up.
      Doing the same workout over and over again gets old fast, and your results won't be as good as if you try a variety of exercises. Instead of doing 40 minutes daily on the treadmill, try every darn aerobic machine in the gym and go on hiking, in-line skating and bicycling adventures whenever you get a chance.

      Change your weight training routine regularly to keep things interesting and to help break through plateaus. A lack of variety leads to staleness. A good rule of thumb is to change your sets, reps, weight, and rest periods every 3-4 weeks. You'll have more fun if you learn new tools and keep doing different things. 7. Go one on one.
      One reason working out can seem less enjoyable than playing sports is that it lacks interplay with others. But there are lots of ways to have some spirited competition in the gym, whether it's racing >> on treadmills or competing (safely) with your weightlifting buddy. When two guys are on the same regimen, they can make things more fun by having "mini-contests."

      Try going as many reps as you can on a certain weight. Or see who can lift the most weight for 4-5 reps. Just make sure the contest rules specify doing the exercise right, since sacrificing form to lift more weight can be dangerous. 8. Work with a trainer or coach.
      Workouts seem easier and are more effective with a professional prodding you on; plus, you're more likely to feel obligated to show up (especially if he's going to charge you anyway). When there's someone watching you and keeping an eye on your progress, there's incentive to keep going. If you can't afford to hire a trainer for every workout, just do it every couple of weeks or once a month and have him/her help you set goals for you to reach in between.

      Also, consider getting a training partner - just make sure it's somebody who will show up every time, is dedicated as you are... in other words, a clone of you. 9. Force yourself to hang in there religiously for the first three months.
      Nothing sustains motivation better than results. However, whether you're a beginner or a competitive bodybuilder, your muscles must be given enough time to adapt to the growth and recovery periods that strength training requires.

      Though you may see some results, like increases in strength, early on, noticeable changes in your physique CAN take up to three months. (NOTE: This DOESN'T mean that everyone will take this long to see results. I've had clients see results in the first couple of weeks; some waited a few months before things fell into place.)

      It also takes that long to establish a rhythm and discipline to your training schedule, but after three months of dedication, you'll be a lot less likely to fall off the training wagon. 10. As soon as you miss a workout, re-motivate yourself.
      This is the danger zone, the time when most people start giving up. You've missed one workout, so what's the big deal about skipping another, or all of them? Before you know it, your whole program could go down the tubes. If you miss a workout, you miss a workout. It's over. You can't bring it back. So it makes NO sense to beat yourself up about it. Article by:
      Garrett Braunreiter

    • HealthDiscovery
      Even the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routine. Waning motivation, cutting short and not having your old enthusiasm are signs of a stale exercise regimen. But that doesn't mean you can't re-energize your routine.
      The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has worked out the following 10 tips for staying motivated to stay active.

      Vary your routine or change your scenery!
      A new variation on your favorite activity -- cardio kickboxing instead of Step aerobics; power yoga instead of working on machines -- may be enough to reinvigorate a stale routine. If you've always exercised indoors, move your workout outside for a welcome change of scenery. Try something entirely new!
      Make it something you never dreamed you'd do. If you've always stuck to solitary pursuits, sign up for a team sport. Or tackle something you've shied away from... maybe even rock climbing! Find a workout buddy!
      Exercise companions add a social element to any routine. Ask a friend to be your workout partner -- you won't skip a workout if someone is waiting for you. Set a new goal!
      Working out to stay in shape is fine, but setting a goal -- such as finishing a 10k race or completing a rough water swim -- will give your daily workouts more meaning. Treat yourself to a workout gadget or accessory!
      Heart-rate monitors, aquatic toys and other exercise gadgets can make your workouts more fun and challenging. Keep an exercise log to track your progress!
      Unsure if your making progress toward your goals? Then start a workout log. It allows you to keep track of your goals, monitor your progress and adjust your routines as necessary. Don't berate yourself if you miss a workout!
      Life is full of obstacles. Unexpected appointments, illness and setbacks are bound to happen sooner or later. Don't let a few missed workouts turn into a month of unfulfilled resolutions. Reward yourself!
      Reaching a fitness goal or milestone is a great excuse to treat yourself to something new. A massage, an evening out, or some other "indulgence" may be the key to staying motivated. Focus on how good exercise makes you look and feel!
      You know that incredibly satisfied and healthy feeling you get immediately after a workout? Remember it! And use it to motivate yourself the next time you're thinking about blowing off that next workout! If all else fails...
      Take a break from exercise! Sometimes a lack of motivation is your body's way of telling you to take a break. If anything hurts, or if your energy is running low, take a break for a few days before resuming your workouts. A little "R&R" may be just what your body needs to renew your motivation. Article prescribed by:
      The American Council on Exercise
      The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.

    • HealthDiscovery
      Yes, the dreaded plateau!


      Don't think you're the only person this happens to (although most people DO believe this only happens to them) - nearly everyone trying to lose weight experiences a phase when the scale won't budge and there's still 5, 10, 15 pounds to go. So, when this happens, you've got a choice to make: You can either call your diet a success, or keep plugging away.
      If you've lost quite a bit of weight - even though you still have that last 10 pounds to go - and you're sleeping better, feeling good about yourself, have lots more energy, feeling good about how you look, then maybe you've already achieved your goal. But, if you REALLY have some more pounds to go, here are ten strategies you can use - try one or any combination - to melt the last 10 pounds.
      1. JOURNAL, JOURNAL, JOURNAL
      This is one of the most powerful tools to help you stay on track or get back on track. Your journal can help you see where you are perhaps going over or under on your number of points for the day, or aren't getting in the Guidelines for Healthy Living requirements. Use your journal as a detective tool: Had a good week? Look over it at the end of the week and try and see what you think contributed to that success. Had a not so good week? Again, look over your journal to see what may have contributed to you playing a little looser with the program. Look at last week's journal for clues too, sometimes it takes a full week before the effects of a blown week show up. Using the journal on a consistent basis is the best way to make sure that you're really eating the amount of food that you think you're eating, which can be two different things sometimes. 2. Eating By the Numbers
      Are you getting in too many carbs? Protein? Not enough fat? Look at your food choices and ask yourself if you are really getting a wide variety of foods in. Remember, your body needs nutrients from lots of different sources and if you're eating the same things all the time or too much of one type of food, you're probably not getting the proper nutrition your body needs. How is your protein to carb ratio? Look at the Eating by the Numbers chart on page 5 of your Part 1 booklet for suggested guidelines of how to most nutritiously spend your points during the day. There are suggested ranges for someone under and over 200 pounds.

      There's a helpful Excel spreadsheet on Rea's homepage: that is called something like 123 Journal Food Groups that she's got set up for 28-35 points per day, but all you've got to do is input your points range and the suggested guidelines from the Eating by the Numbers chart for the various food groups. This can help too if you're one of those WW selection plan people who just don't like the Points system. You can use this to follow the points, but use it for the selections of the various food groups so that you keep a healthy balance in your points.

      Take a look at your food choices as sometimes we have the attitude that as long as our points balance at the end of the day we're okay, but if we keep in mind the Guidelines for Healthy Living on page 3 of the Part 1 booklet (with further details explained about the guidelines on pages 54-57), we'll see that we still are asked to do a few steps to ensure we're spending our points in a way that keeps our bodies healthy. Your points might balance if all you ate was 3 hot fudge sundaes a day, but it wouldn't be giving your body the nutrition it needs. Beware of those empty points. 3. Weigh and measure portions
      Too many times our portions have gotten bigger without us realizing it, using measuring cups and spoons and weighing out our portions can give us a better idea if our portions have suddenly grown bigger than we're counting. Remember, portion size does matter. 4. Read labels carefully
      Are you counting your points right for the product that you're eating? I remind everyone of my jumbo dinner frank story where the serving size was half a frank! Who eats half a frank? I was counting 4 points when I should have been counting 8 points. If you're eating a bigger serving size than the one listed on the label you're probably eating more points than you calculated. 5. Remember, zero multiplied is not zero Okay, not when it comes to food points. If you're eating one serving of fat free sugar free gelatin for 10 calories, okay, that's zero points, but if you're now eating 4 servings plus 2 tbsp of fat free whipped topping, you've got yourself one point! Beware of those hidden extras where we multiply portions, and beware of BLT's: Bites, Licks, and Tastes that never seem to get counted on any journal. These add up. Also, remember that if a food like high fiber cereal or bread, comes out to zero points according to the PointsFinder, you have to count one point! Trying to rationalize eating a whole box of cereal and saying that you consumed NO points is falling in that diet mentality where certain foods don't count. 6. Too many refined carbs?
      Are you eating too many sources of simple and refined carbohydrates, the stuff that's heavily processed and no longer looks like its natural food source. Think of it as the difference between whole grain bread and processed white bread, brown rice vs. white rice, popcorn cakes vs. corn on the cob. Try to include more of the natural sources of carbohydrates in your diet stuff like beans, yams, potatoes, brown rice, and whole wheat anything rather than so many crackers, pretzels, and chips (even low fat chips). This is not to say you can't have any refined carbs, just try to limit the amount of them if you're having trouble losing weight. 7. Not enough fat?
      Okay, this sounds counterintuitive, but according to the Eating by the Numbers chart and for good nutrition you should be actively adding in about 2-3 points of fat per day. This is stuff like vegetable oils, margarine, butter, regular or reduced fat (not fat free) salad dressing, avocados, regular or reduced fat (not fat free) mayonnaise, olives, and peanut or soy butter. I have personally met a number of people now who weren't losing and when I suggested they start actively adding in 2-3 points of fat per day they started losing again. Our bodies need enough fat in order to properly function. You think there's enough fat in my food already, right? Not when you're limiting your number of points in order to lose weight. We are often making much lower fat choices than we normally would have, and as a consequence our consumption of fat falls far below the recommended guidelines according to lots of nutrition experts of 30% of your total calories in fat per day. If you are limiting your fat intake to only the fat that's naturally in food and even then you're probably taking the skin off the chicken and drinking skim or 1% milk, then you might only be getting around 10% of your calories in fat per day, not enough for your body. So, the reason our bodies need enough fat in our diets each day as opposed to just feeding off of our body's fat stores is because fat contains an essential fatty acid: linoleic acid, that our body can't produce on its own. That fat is needed for proper metabolic and digestive function. Fat provides essential nutrients our bodies need, it transports fat soluble vitamins that our bodies need, it is needed for proper digestion and metabolic function, it helps us keep fuller longer, keeps our hair and skin nice, and is crucial for proper gallbladder function. If you're on a super low fat diet you can develop gallstones that are no fun and super painful. 8. Drink half your body weight in water each day
      According to Barbara Levine, R.D., Ph.D., the Director of the Nutrition Information Center at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and reported in the June 1999 issue of Weight Watchers magazine, she says that overweight people need more water than the typical 8 cups a day rule. "Overweight people tend to need more water, because fat cells hold more water than other fat cells in the body. To determine the number of ounces of water you need per day, divide your weight by two. For example, a person who weighs 140 pounds should consume 70 ounces, or about 9 cups. Of course, this is an estimate. The best way to gauge whether you are getting enough water is to monitor the color of your urine. If you're drinking enough, it should be the color of pale straw. If it is a deeper yellow, you're not getting enough fluids" (page 16, June 1999). Lots of times we misinterpret thirst for hunger, try water first, wait 20 minutes, real hunger will not go away. 9. Make sure you're getting five servings of fruits and vegetables per day Eating the zero point veggies can often help us to fill up so that we're not eating the other higher points foods instead. If you're hungry, try non-starchy veggies first. Lots of members make the Garden Vegetable Soup recipe in the Part 1 booklet and eat a bowl of that before dinner to fill up a bit so that you can get full on the smaller portions you'll be serving yourself. Try a glass of V8 juice before a meal during the summer when soup sounds too hot. Variety is good here too, try a new fruit or veggie each month to expand your repertoire. 10. Increase the frequency or intensity of your physical activity Are you exercising? If not, know that you'll be much more successful at losing the weight and keeping it off if you are also physically active. Find something that you enjoy doing and just do it! Start with a five minute walk out of your door, look at your watch after five minutes start heading back, just like that you've done 10 minutes! Next week start adding in a couple of extra minutes, try walking for 7 minutes out of your door, and 7 minutes back, you've now done 14 minutes. Keep adding until you're up to at least 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back.

      If you're already active, are you exercising at enough intensity? If you can easily carry on a conversation while exercising (you should be able to speak, but it should take a bit of effort) you're not challenging your body enough. Your body becomes really efficient at adjusting to the amount of physical activity you're doing, so you regularly have to adjust either the intensity of your workouts or the frequency in order to continue to reap the maximum benefit from physical activity.

      Try strength training in order to build lean muscle tissue. As we get older we lose lean muscle tissue, which depresses your metabolism; in addition severely restrictive diets where we eat too few calories can cause us to lose weight but lots of it is lean muscle, which also depresses our metabolism. If we build muscle tissue this can help us to reverse that process and to make us trimmer and stronger. 11. Move the furniture around
      Do you always have your biggest meal at dinner? Try eating your biggest meal for lunch or even for breakfast, with smaller meals for the remaining meals. If you regularly eat most of your points at one meal your body converts the rest of the food into stored energy...fat...so that if you balance your points out throughout the day better you can actually give your metabolism a boost by keeping it revving throughout the day instead of only one spike at dinner. Food actually helps to boost our metabolism, that's why it's important never to skip meals. There's a saying that you could help to lose weight by eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. This gives us the majority of our points early in the day when our bodies can use them because we're active instead of right before bed if we eat them at dinner. 12. Try varying your number of points
      Do you always eat at a certain number of points per day? Your body gets very efficient at predicting its intake and adjusts itself accordingly. Keep it guessing. Try mixing up the number of points you have...low one day, middle the next, back to low, then high end of your points.

      Special note: If you're very active never eat at the low end of your points, your body may think it's starving, always eat middle to high end of your points and take those extra food points you earn with the PointsBooster (you'll get one after you reach your 10% goal) if you need them...let your hunger be your guide. Remember, you can trade exercise points for food points once you have earned more than 2 points of activity in one day, trade them for food on a one-to-one basis. 13. Take your measurements and look for other non-scale signs of progress
      Often even when the scale isn't moving, we're still improving our health and our bodies, which will show up in other ways other than the scale. Have your measurements gone down? How are your clothes fitting? Can you climb a flight of stairs without being winded? Has your cholesterol gone down? Can you walk now for 20 minutes when before you were huffing and puffing at 5 minutes? How do you feel? Have you reached your 10% goal? Hold that keychain in your hands as a measure of your success. 14. Are you on an attitude plateau?
      Are you just tired of feeling like you're going to be doing this forever? Does that translate into that right now your desire to lose weight is equal to your desire for freedom from counting and having to think about points and healthy food choices? If so, then that mental attitude might be the culprit in that you're following a more relaxed adherence to the program but you think you're still doing it to the letter. Remind yourself of why you started this process, look at how far you've come. Is your goal still the same? Is it that you're scared of success, are okay with how you look right now, have you become complacent? Ask yourself these kind of questions honestly. If you're tired of the weight loss routine or have become complacent, try spicing up your food plan by trying more interesting meals and snacks, adding new foods, trying new recipes or new restaurants. Set new goals, setting a new goal can continue to challenge yourself. Pretend like it's your first week on program all over again, try to recapture that enthusiasm that you had in the beginning! You can do it as long as you don't give up! 15. Consider maintenance
      A plateau that lasts a long time can be the practice to show you that you can maintain your weight. Sustaining weight loss is a challenge in itself. Consider doing the maintenance process so as to take a break from weight loss. Taking a break from weight loss and focusing on keeping the weight off can be the best thing to do, especially if a vacation or stressful situation is what is keeping you from continuing on your weight loss journey. It's better to gain some ground, then hold it, then go back and gain more ground than to give up because then you lose all of the ground you've gained (lost!).

      Thanks to Elizabeth Hoyt, Weight Watchers leader in Manhattan Beach, CA who wrote this article.

    • HealthDiscovery
      A little effort and a positive attitude will perk you up in a flash. These simple energizing tips will give you new life.

      1. Eat properly.
      Nutritious meals are number one in the battle against fatigue. Make sure to eat high-protein foods, such as meat, cheese, eggs and whole-grain breads with each meal. Munch on fruit when you need a snack. Avoid too much caffeine.
      You may want to try perking yourself up with a high potency vitamin B complex, Fifty mg. Of B15 with each meal is said to help. Cayenne pepper is another natural stimulant. You can mix a teaspoon in hot water or take it in capsule form.
      2. Get Proper rest.
      If you are not getting enough at night, take a break and nap during the day. Or perhaps before you head out at night if youre a late night partygoer. 3. Keep in shape with exercise.
      A good daily walk will get those tired muscles moving. You don't have to go to the gym everyday, but you should avoid sitting on your tush all day. 4. Meditate.
      Any form of meditation can be a real, natural healer. Just sit quietly, breathe deeply, and let your mind forget your daily hassles. Think of pleasant things.

      Re-energizing your dead batteries will help you put fatigue to rest for good.

      Above all, you can fight fatigue best by keeping a positive mental attitude. Try the tips mentioned, and pamper yourself; take a break when you need it.

    • HealthDiscovery
      Want to wake up without hitting snooze? Feel full of energy all day long without caffeine? These are just some of the amazing benefits of a healthy diet. I know, the information out there on this topic is overwhelming, and you probably don't know where to begin. So Where Do you Start?
      *Hint* Check Your Grocery List! Get started with your shopping cart. This may seem like a routine task to many, but the hour a week you spend in the grocery store will DRAMATICALLY alter how you feel each day. I’m going to break down 5 essential foods that you should be buying each week to ensure your diet has you feeling like a SUPERSTAR (think Molly Shannon from Saturday Night Live)!
      1. Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries.
      Berries are full of antioxidants and high in potassium and Vitamin C. They are essential for lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer as well as being anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the root cause of all major chronic diseases so think of berries as your guardian angel against these illnesses that affect 75% of Americans. 2. Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Trout
      Like berries, fish is going to help reduce your risk of many illnesses including heart disease and may also aid in psychological issues such a memory loss and depression. The key nutrients in fish are the Omega 3’s which can also be purchased as a supplement in most grocery stores if you don’t like the taste of seafood. Sorry, no excuses for missing this one! 3. Vegetables – Kale, Spinach, Broccoli
      You were hoping this wasn’t going to be on the list…but here it is! Vegetables are going to add fiber to your diet which will aid in the protection against many common problems like type 2 diabetes and obesity. Vegetables are also low in calories so they can help fill you up while you maintain a low caloric intake each day. 4. Whole Grains – Whole Grain Rice, Whole Grain Cereal
      Whole grains contain all the antioxidant benefits of fruits and vegetables but on a MUCH larger scale. Everyone can find whole grain foods they enjoy whether it’s Kashi cereal, Quaker Oats flavored oatmeal or whole grain peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (mouthwatering)! Add these into your diet today. 5. Nuts – Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews
      Even though nuts are high in fat, studies have shown that combined with a healthy diet, they help accelerate weight loss and reduce waist size. This is due to the healthy fats and high amount of protein that your body needs to function effectively. No, this is not an excuse to head out to the nearest bar to start eating peanuts because you don’t feel like shopping!

      To start eating healthy, the key is to focus when you’re at the store. Always shop around the perimeter of the store where the essential foods like fruit, vegetables and proteins are - before going down the aisles of sugary temptation.

      You should always consult with a personal trainer or nutritionist to make sure your diet lines up with your specific goals. Whether you’re looking for a healthier lifestyle or want a specific body shape, consulting with experts is a great way to ensure you’re making the most of your meals. Article prescribed by:
      Lex Ronin
      Lex Ronin is a certified personal trainer who offers nutrition consulting, marathon training and group classes such as yoga, meditation, and self defence at Ronin Fitness.

    • HealthDiscovery
      Well, if you’re like most Americans (88 percent in 2001 according to a General Nutrition Centers poll), you have at least one resolution. And, if you are like the majority of these promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and fitness.

      Every year, approximately 55 percent promise to eat healthier, 50 percent resolve to exercise more, and 38 percent wante to lose weight.

      While resolutions have well intentions, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype surrounding these promises, it’s easy to get caught up in them without really taking them seriously. We live in a throw-away society and even our resolutions, I’m afraid, are not immune. However, especially for promises that include improving our health it’s in our best interest to not take them lightly.


      So, what’s the secret to successful resolutions?
      While you can’t wave a magic wand and make your resolution come true, there are some easy steps to take to make it easier to fulfill your promise to yourself.
        • Choose an obtainable goal.
      Resolving to look like a super model is not realistic for the majority of us, but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is very possible.

      Avoid choosing a resolution that you’ve been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment. If you are still tempted to make a promise that you’ve made before, then try altering it. For example, instead of stating that you are going to lose 30 pounds, try promising to eat healthier and increase your weekly exercise. • Create a game plan.
      At the beginning of January, write a comprehensive plan. All successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifics on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you’ll be more likely to succeed as well. • Break it down to make it less intimidating.
      Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. Set several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year that will help you to reach the ultimate goal. Then even if you aren’t able to reach your final goal, you will have many smaller, but still significant, achievements along the way. For example, if your goal is to complete a 10K race, your smaller goals could be running a 5K in less than 30 minutes, adding upper and lower body strength training to increase your muscular endurance, and running 2 miles with a personal best completion time. • Don’t do it alone!
      Ask friends and family members to help you so you have someone to be accountable to. Just be sure to set limits so that this doesn’t backfire and become more irritating than helpful. For example, if you resolve to be more positive ask them to gently remind you when you start talking negatively. Reward yourself with each milestone. If you’ve stuck with your resolution for 2 months, treat yourself to something special. But, be careful of your reward type. If you’ve lost 5 pounds, don’t give yourself a piece of cake as an award. Instead, treat yourself to a something non-food related, like a professional massage. • Get professional assistance, if needed.
      Everyone needs help and sometimes a friend just isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the help of a trained professional. Don’t feel that seeking help is a way of copping out. Especially when it comes to fitness, research studies have shown that assistance from a fitness professional greatly improves peoples success rate.
        • Limit your number of promises.
      You’ll spread yourself too thin trying to make multiple changes in your life. This will just lead to failure of all of the resolutions. • Don’t let statistics get you down.
      On average only about 20% of us keep our New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, some of the biggest failures are found in fitness resolutions. But don’t let the statistics get you down. By following the tips above you’ll be better equipped to fall into the successful 20% category. Article written by:
      Lynn Bode

    • HealthDiscovery
      Here is an easy set of suggestions and tips to follow for living a longer, healthier life

      WATER 
      Adequate water can actually reverse atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up). It seems that water can actually flush the arteries of plaque. It also expands blood vessels and makes arteries more elastic, which is essential for healthy hearts. Most importantly, I believe, is that adequate hydration raises the metabolism and allows for stored fat to be burned more efficiently as well as slowing heart rate, reducing blood pressures and reducing fluid retention. ** Drink enough water to make your urine clear and colorless all day. Limit coffee, tea and pop to three cups a day.
      BREAKFAST
      Breakfast should include at least four grams of fibre, which in turn reduces cholesterol and fat in the blood. Every 10 gr. of cereal fibre reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes by 30 per cent! It also reduces cancer and diabetes risk. Good sources of fibre are cereals, dried beans and lentiles.

      He also suggests adding nuts and seeds to breakfast cereal and to have a whole piece of fruit as well. Whole wheat toast, a bagel or a bran muff is NOT a good source of fibre.

      It's important that one eats breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. It reduces the risk of cancers by preventing absorption of carcinogens and also reduces cholesterol by preventing its absorption.

      He suggests that breakfast should be the heaviest, while lunch should be a little less, and supper even less than that. He informed me that the body adjusts and hunger won't be an issue at the end of the day.

      So, in other words, our bodies become more efficient and burn, burn, burn those calories when we eat a good breakfast. VEGETABLES
      Choose at least two different vegetables at lunch AND at supper. Eat a minimum of one cup of vegetables at each meal then eat the rest of your meal. Rice, potato and corn are starches and are NOT counted as vegetables. MEAT
      Eat a maximum of four ounces of meat, pork, chicken or fish a day. WALKING
      Walk for 25 minutes every night after supper. The benefits of walking after supper compared to walking before supper are many. It can lower your blood sugar by 50 per cent, but best of all when one exercises as described above, your body is burning calories the whole time you sleep.

      Most North American (95 per cent) eat little through the day relative to their large meals and evening snacks. This raises the blood sugar really high before sleeping. Higher bedtime sugars directly create extra weight and extra cholesterol and lower anti-oxidants which help prevent cancer.

      Walking for 25 minutes after supper raises your metabolism, releases growth hormones which suppress appetite for late night snacks and act as a natural fat burner overnight.

      He says one can change diet overnight, but allow an average of 3-5 weeks for these changes, as listed above, to impact your metabolism. REGULAR WEIGH INS
      He suggests that if one follows the above, they don't need to weigh in weekly. It has been found, that the stress of weigh-ins create a chemical in our brains which actually retains the fat and thus we reach those dreaded plateaus. He asked me how many stories I had heard about people who only had five or 10 lbs. to lose, but just couldn't do it. According to him, weigh-ins become so stressful that they create these fat-holding chemicals. Now THAT was an interesting thing for me to hear!

      He suggests instead, that we take monthly body measurements as a true picture of how we are doing.
        Poor Nutrition and Associated Health Problems
      These suggestions are based on certain statistics - People with cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol/heart disease, bowel problems, and those who are overweight, generally have five things in common! Five Commonalities
      Small or no breakfast with adequate fiber. Inadequate water consumption. Inadequate activity after supper. Inadequate daily fiber intake. Inadequate daily vegetable intake.
      This article was submitted by our BCB Community member, Diamond (Thank You!)

    • HealthDiscovery
      The popularity of walking as a fitness activity is growing by leaps and bounds. Low risk and easy to start, walking has proved its health benefits in numerous studies. An eight-year study of 13,000 people found that those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised.

      A regular walking program can help:
      Reduce blood cholesterol Lower blood pressure Increase cardiovascular endurance Boost bone strength Burn calories and keep weight down Get Ready!
      A walking program is simple to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that exercise elevates the body's temperature. Shoes specifically designed for walking are best. Every workout should begin with a brief warm-up and a few simple stretches. Walk around the house or in place for a few minutes to get the blood flowing to the muscles before you attempt to stretch them. Although walking primarily works the major muscles of the legs, don't forget to stretch your back, shoulders and arms. This will help to loosen up any tension you may be carrying and make your walk more enjoyable as well as more effective.
       
      Get Moving!
      Beginning walkers can make their workouts less strenuous by limiting how fast and far they walk. Keep in mind the following: Walk short distances. Begin with a five-minute stroll and gradually increase your distance. Forget about speed. Walk at a comfortable pace. Focus on good posture, keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally, and breathe deeply. If you can't catch your breath, slow down or avoid hills. Be sure you can talk while walking. If you can't converse, you are walking too fast. Get Fit!
      Walking is one fitness activity that allows you numerous options. Once you have reached a point where you can walk a few miles with relative ease, you can start to vary the intensity. Walking hills, in addition to increasing your cardiovascular endurance, is a great way to tone the legs. Concentrate on lengthening your stride or increasing your speed. And don't forget to reward yourself after each workout with a few minutes of relaxing stretches to help prevent sore muscles. Listening to lively music while you walk is also a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear.
      Keep track of your progress. Many experts recommend that you walk a minimum of 20 minutes a day. But there are no hard and fast rules. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean two 10-minute walks each day, or even hour-long walks two to three times a week. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!
      Article by:
      The American Council on Exercise
      The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.

    • HealthDiscovery
      Because thin females and muscular males are seen as the ideal in our society, we have come to believe that body size and shape are totally under a  person's control.
      If you continually strive to achieve a socially imposed ideal, you will never be free of your insecurities or your self-consciousness. You must truly realize and then learn to accept that we are not all meant to be fashion-model size.
      Our body size and structure reflects not only our eating and exercise habits but also our genetics. The role this latter factor plays in determining weight seems to vary greatly between individuals. We are all born with a certain body type inherited from our parents. Although hardly anyone is a pure body type, there are three different applicable categories: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

      Characteristically, ectomorphs have a light build with slight muscular development. They are usually tall and thin with small frames and narrow hips and shoulders.
      Mesomorphs have a husky, muscular build. They often have broad shoulders, and their weight is concentrated in the upper body, making them look compact or stocky.
      Endomorphs are characterized by a heavy, rounded build with shoulders usually narrower than their hips. They have a round, soft appearance and are more often overweight or obese.
      When we understand and appreciate our bodies, we are able to work with them, not against them. Although many of us are a combination of two body types, we cannot become what we are not. However, everyone can improve their appearance and their health and performance levels by implementing the principles of a safe and effective eating and exercise program.
      Even if you have a genetic predisposition to being overweight, the way you live is what ultimately determines whether you become fat. Genes clearly play a role, but they certainly don't determine what you're going to have for dinner or how often you exercise. Chances are if you're living an unhealthy lifestyle, you'll become fat and unhealthy.
      All of us can't be thin. But every single one of us can be healthy. By focusing on what you're eating and how much you're exercising, you'll be able to achieve optimum health and fitness, even though you may not achieve society's ideal of thinness. Accepting yourself does not mean that you're hopeless and that it's okay to do nothing. It means that you feel good and care about yourself, and that you want to be the very best you can be, regardless of your genetics, regardless of society's standards.
      To achieve this level of optimum wellness, you must have a positive self image. This means that your feelings about your body are not influenced by events in your daily life. For many people, life's problems are projected onto their body. "If only I were thinner--or more muscular, I would have made the team, gotten the job, been chosen. . . . If only I were thinner--or more muscular, I could meet more people, find the right guy/girl, be happy." This self-defeating habit is reinforced by the images we see in advertising; your body becomes an easy target for everything wrong in your life.
      When you have a positive self-image, you value and respect your body; you are also more likely to feel good about living a healthy lifestyle.
      No matter how much genetics predetermines how you store and lose fat, the body you've been given will still respond positively to being appreciated and treated well. Focusing on fun physical activity and eating healthy foods will help you feel good whatever your size. Developing a healthy, positive image of yourself is the first critical factor in your fitness success. Having a strong sense of self-worth provides the basis for making rational and affirming decisions about your health. Good luck, stay positive, and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle!
      Article prescribed by:
      Chad Tackett
      Chad Tackett is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and the president of Global Health and Fitness. Offering the best online programs and guides to meet your fitness goals.


    • HealthDiscovery
      I know what you are thinking – the holidays are a time for fun and indulgence. You don’t want to think about fitness during that time. You want to enjoy yourself.

      Don’t worry! The festivities don’t have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a fabulous time while also maintaining your weight and your fitness regimen.

      The secret to achieving a holiday season that is both full of fun and also includes fitness is found in moderation. There are two typical approaches to the seasonal festivities: 1) throw all healthy habits out the window and indulge in every guilty pleasure 2) starve and binge approach (for example, you eat nothing all day long to allow yourself to overindulge in party food). Of course, neither approach is successful at maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle throughout the holiday season.

      As mentioned above, the key is found in moderation. With a moderate approach both to what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much exercise you do (or don’t do), you can avoid packing on extra weight AND also partake in all the fun of the season. So this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting January with extra pounds to lose. How to avoid gaining weight, while still enjoying the holidays.
      Create a plan ahead of time.
      Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out and/or eating healthy meals. Don’t put your fitness goals on hold until New Years.
      If you can’t exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don’t use the excuse that since you don’t have time for your full workout you just won’t workout at all. Instead accept your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise. It’s much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it. On the day of a party, be sure to eat regularly all day long.
      If the party is in the evening, eat breakfast, lunch and a snack before hand (just as you would on any other day). Once you are at the party, go ahead and indulge in some of the fun, delicious foods. Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you probably will find that you aren’t tempted to go overboard and eat everything in sight. However, if you starve all day long attempting to save up all your calories for the party, you will be so famished by the time it begins that it will be difficult not to overeat. Schedule your workouts.
      Mark them on the calendar and set-aside time to complete them. Consider them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar. When at a party, start by eating some of the healthy offerings.
      For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. Yet, you will not feel deprived or unsatisfied. Force yourself to do a simple 10 minute exercise.
      On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better than zero minutes. Choose smaller portions.
      When presented with a large variety of food options, it’s tempting to want to eat everything. Rather than eating one large slice of chocolate cake or a huge plate of meatballs, select a sampling of bite size pieces of several of the desert or appetizer offerings. This way you get the enjoyment of trying many different foods without overeating. Exercise at home.
      You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive. Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages.
      The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve drunk the equivalent calories of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a diet cola. This will help cut your calories in half. Pack a snack.
      When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.
        Have a healthy holiday season!
      Hopefully these tips will help you find a balance between staying fit and also enjoying the fun of the season. Remember, moderation is the key. Article written by:
      Lynn Bode

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