Archive for the tag - Tips

7 Tips For A Healthier Weekend!

Be king of your weekend!

Be king of your weekend!

It’s Friday and you’re probably super excited for the weekend. Yay!

While the weekdays are often packed with school, work, appointments and other commitments, the weekends are all about you. Which is all the more reason to ensure that your weekends support your health and fitness goals.

To that end, I put together a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your weekend.

  1. Sleep! Use me as your personal excuse to be lazy. We know that sleep is extremely important to health and wellness. In fact, more than two dozen studies have linked less sleep to extra body weight. While there’s a lot we don’t understand about sleep, it’s benefits are undeniable. Use the weekend to recharge your batteries.
  2. Water > Alcohol. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5% of the average American’s calories come from alcohol. That might not sound like a lot, but consider how many calories that is over the course of a year. Based on a 2,500 calorie diet, that’s some 45,000 calories per year. Even worse, those calories are empty – and thus not providing any essential vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. Just replacing a few alcoholic beverages with water will help improve your diet.
  3. Hit the gym… harder. While our weekday schedules are often packed, the weekend is a great time to spend an extra few minutes at the gym. I like to call it a workout plus. It’s everything you normally do with an extra boost. Maybe you can add on a short workout class. Or do a couple extra intervals. The weekend is the perfect time to step it up!
  4. Visit a farmer’s market. The USDA has a massive database of farmers markets – and there’s probably a great one in your area. A weekend trip to the farmers market is a great opportunity to stock up on locally grown, nourishing foods. These fresh fruits and vegetables are a great way to nourish your body as a special treat. It’s also a lot of fun and something that you can do with family and friends.
  5. Go outside! We are spending less and less time outdoors and more and more time sitting in front of screens. And, of course, our waistlines keep getting bigger and bigger. While I’m grateful that you’re reading my blog, I’d rather you be enjoying the outdoors and moving your body. As such, plan your weekend activities around the outside world. Instead of watching a movie with a friend, take a hike. Or a simple walk. Go camping. Swim. Run. Kayak. Climb rocks. Play! Whatever you do, get off your butt and go outside! Beyond benefiting your physical health, you may also discover that communing with nature is good for your mental health – as it can help promote relaxation and calmness.
  6. Remember that weekend calories count, too. It’s the weekend, so you can eat whatever you want, right? You deserve it, don’t you? NO! You deserve to be nourished with healthy foods that support your goals. The weekend is not a time to sabotage your diet with high-calorie foods loaded in saturated or trans fats, added sugars and sodium. Eat smarter every day of the week.
  7. Plan for the week ahead. Since most of us are busy during the week, the weekend is a great time to plan ahead. Write out breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and stock up on the foods and ingredients you need. Rather than having a crammed schedule during the week and resorting to fast food, you can even use your weekend to prepare some healthy meals in advance. Stick them in the fridge or freezer for use during the week. Set yourself up for success!

Use these tips to put your weekend to work for you! And, in the comments below, feel free to share some of your healthy weekend tips or plans.

P.S. If you’re looking for a fun workout to try this weekend, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout for three, 15-minute at-home workouts that will help improve the way you look and feel!

3 Things I Learned From The Gym.

a40958112cb69149d799060bd2d1554eI’ve been going to the gym regularly for some 15 years. From childhood through now, I’ve spent something like 4,500 hours working out. It’s a lot of time. And in that time, there’s a few things that I’ve learned.

1. IT’S EASY TO TELL WHO EXPECTS RESULTS.

Next time you go to the gym, take a look around you at the people exercising. You’ll likely see a full spectrum of effort. At one end of the spectrum, you’ll see people chatting with friends or texting on their phones. At the other end, you’ll see people engaged in a balls-to-the-wall workout giving 100 percent.

The golden rule of exercise is that you will always get out of your workout what you put into your workout. There’s no magic to it. And in this sense, it’s very easy to see who is expecting real results from their workout. It’s those people that are challenging themselves and pushing their limits.

The question becomes: Where do you fall on that spectrum?

2. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE STRONGER. AND SOMEONE WEAKER.

It’s easy to become competitive, especially at the gym. But comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game to play. It’s a recipe for disappointment, frustration and even injury. The reality is, unless you’re a professional power lifter, there’s probably always going to be someone stronger than you at the gym.

And that’s okay.

Rather than compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself. Rather than lifting more than the guy next to you, lift more than you did last week. This helps ensure that you’re lifting the amount of weight you should be lifting, rather than the amount of weight you wish you could lift.

Everyone is at different places on their fitness journey. Respect where they’re at – and respect where you’re at.

3. KNOWLEDGE = RESULTS.

Going to the gym is a big and important step. But showing up isn’t enough. And though giving 100 percent is crucial, there’s more to it.

Your workout also needs to be smart. Every repetition of every set of every exercise needs to be tied to a master plan. You need to have a strategy. I can’t stress this point enough.

Whatever result you want, there is a specific strategy or strategies for achieving that result. It might mean lifting heavy weights at low reps. Or doing high intensity intervals. Or lifting light at high reps, and so on. Look at the decades of scientifically valid research and educate yourself on exercise. Put knowledge to work for you.

In the comments below, share what you’ve learned from working out!

How To Have A Healthy Cookout!

zacefron-neighbors-083113July 4th is here – and the grills are blazing!

While celebrating the holiday and enjoying the summertime weather, there are a few simple steps that you can take to make your cookout significantly healthier. And you’ll be one step closer to looking like Zac Efron (see picture at right). Yum.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Use whole wheat buns and rolls. We all know that whole wheat bread products have several nutritional advantages over white bread and other refined grains. But did you know that hamburger buns and hot dog rolls are also available in whole wheat varieties? But don’t be fooled; “wheat” isn’t the same as “whole wheat” and multigrain doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. Read the ingredients carefully.
  2. Opt for chicken or turkey hot dogs. When shopping, compare the nutritional information between traditional hot dogs and chicken or turkey variations. My top pick is Applegate’s Natural Uncured Chicken Hot Dog. They are leaner, healthier – and just as delicious!
  3. Buy grass-fed beef. Most of us already eat too much red meat. But if burgers are on the menu, select grass-fed ground beef. It tends to be a bit pricier, but grass-fed beef is leaner, has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, less dietary cholesterol and increased vitamins. Grass-fed is definitely healthier than the corn-fed beef commonplace in today’s supermarkets.
  4. Don’t char your meat. When meat becomes charred, it develops carcinogenic compounds called HCAs. These compounds have been shown to increase possible risk of breast, colon, prostate and stomach cancer. In fact, in one study, researchers found that individuals who ate beef medium-well or well-done beef had 3x the stomach cancer risk than individuals who at their beef rare or medium-rare. To reduce charring, cook at lower temperatures, trim off fat to reduce flare-ups, remove charred pieces before consuming and opt for a grill with a flavor bar between the food and flame.
  5. Eat lots of veggies and fruit. Take advantage of fresh produce by serving an array of vegetable side items. Replace unhealthy sides like potato salad with grilled corn, tomato salad or anything else that’s readily available. When it comes to dessert, replace cookies and pies with fresh fruit. Make fruit kabobs or serve fruit salad. It’ll totally hit that sweet tooth.

If you have any other healthy grilling tips, share them in the comments below! Happy July 4th!

14 Healthy Tips – Not About Food Or Exercise.

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

bigstock-young-handsome-man-doing-yoga-28364720Happy New Year! Instead of making challenging resolutions (like losing those last 10 pounds or getting up for the gym every morning at 5:30 a.m.), I recommend starting the new year with a re-commitment to your overall health and fitness.

In honor of 2014, here are 14 of my favorite ways to recommit—that have nothing to do with eating and working out. Because while good nutrition and exercise are important, equally important are coping with stress to curb emotional eating, staying mentally focused on what you want to achieve, becoming spiritually grounded to trust yourself, and last but definitely not least, using the power of your mind to follow through.

1. Choose a theme for the year.

A theme (such as patience, forgiveness, courage, etc.) guides your growth and progress through the coming year. It becomes the lens through which you make choices. 

For example, if your theme for 2014 is self-compassion, think how you will bring self-compassion to your weight loss journey every day. If your theme is health-first, how does that affect your daily habits. See what I mean?

2. Ground yourself.

Breathing is one of the most powerful ways to manage stress and emotional eating triggers. Here’s an easy and effective technique called “Four-Step Breathing”:

Slowly take in a deep breath as you silently count to four.
Hold the breath for four counts.
Slowly release the breath as you silently count to four.
Hold again for four counts. 
Repeat several times.

3. Choose your words wisely.

Eliminate the following from your vocabulary: Try, should, can’t. These disempowering words add struggle to your weight-loss journey and weaken your confidence. For example:

Change: “I’ll try to take a walk today” to “I will (or, I won’t) take a walk today.”
Change: “I should eat a salad” to “It’s good for me to eat a salad.”
Change: “I can’t exercise this week” to “I choose not to exercise this week.”

In the long run, being positive and honest with yourself keeps you strong.

4. Use the power of your imagination.

Success is first created in the mind. Take five minutes every day to visualize what it looks and feels like to release the next five pounds. Or imagine yourself reaching your goal weight. Especially important is capturing the feeling associated with what you’re visualizing. This inner work ensures the outer work of your actions take hold.

5. Create your reality.

Don’t listen to those who say weight loss is “hard” and difficult.” Remember, the quality of your thoughts create the quality of your journey, so if you believe it will be hard, it will be.

 Choose to believe this instead:

“I reach my weight loss goals with ease and grace.”

Similarly, move from thinking you’re someone who “struggles” to lose weight, to believing you’re someone who is becoming thinner and fit. This simple mind shift makes a big difference.

6. Plant your intentions everywhere.

When setting passwords for sites or accounts you frequently access, choose words or phrases that inspire you and reflect goals you want to reach. For example:

Iluvmybody
Iweigh__lbs (insert desired weight)
Iamhealthy

You type these every day, right? So, instead of the same old password, each time you write these you affirm your intention to release weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

7. Stop complaining.

It can be tempting, but don’t join others in negative conversations about how “hard” it is to lose weight, how “bad” your body looks, or how “awful” it is to get older. These conversations poison your mind and body, shake your confidence and will become your reality unless you do not to participate in such talk.

8. Choose whether you “release” or “lose” weight.

I like to say “release” weight rather than “lose” weight—and people often ask me why. Practice this exercise to find out:

Get quiet. Close your eyes. Say to yourself a few times:
“I want to lose weight.” Notice the sensations in your body.
Clear that thought and then say to yourself,
“I want to release weight.”
Again, notice what that feels like. Open your eyes.

What did you notice? Many people feel a sense of lightness with “release” and some tension with “lose.” What did you experience?

9. Start a success journal.

Keep a notebook by your bed. Before going to sleep, write your answers to this question:

“What steps did I take today to care for my mind, body and spirit?

For example:

“I parked away from the store entrance to walk farther.”
“I didn’t beat myself up for overeating at lunch.”
“I took ‘Me’ time to read an inspirational book.”

Writing in your success journal trains your mind and brain to scan your experiences and find the healthy choices you’re making. Your attention shifts away from looking only at what’s “not working” to notice what’s going well. Your memory becomes imprinted with images of taking good care of yourself, inspiring you to keep moving forward.

10. Affirm good health.

Within your body and soul you already possess perfect health, unwavering strength, and profound wisdom. Affirmations help you to believe this on a deep level. Repeat these affirmations daily to call forth what’s already there:

“I am healthy. I am strong. I am wise.”

11. Embrace what feels hard.

Sometimes the most important thing to do feels like the hardest thing to do, especially when releasing weight. For example:

When you’re upset with yourself for overeating, speak to yourself with compassion.
When you feel demoralized about the time it’s taking to release weight, be patient.
When you feel shame toward your body, send it love.

Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It starts with a willingness to do what feels hard until it becomes easy.

12. Make it easy.

If you’ve learned to “reward” yourself for “good behavior,” or give yourself a treat for doing something challenging, this may feel counter-intuitive, but…

Start to take your accomplishments in stride. For example, after eating healthfully for a few days or exercising after work, respond as if this were a common occurrence. Say to yourself, “that felt so good” or “that was easy.” In this way you’re creating an inner vision of new habits being something you do naturally and easily rather some extra-special feat. Over time this outlook helps you weave new behaviors into your life as the normal course of events.

13. Ask your body what it needs.

Take some time today—every day—to get quiet, go within and ask your body what it needs from you. For example, close your eyes and draw your attention inward. Take a few breaths to settle yourself. Then, ask your body:

“What do you need today so you will feel loved and well-cared for?”

Listen and follow through with what you hear. Take that relaxing bath. Get up and go for that walk. Guidance that emerges from your body wisdom is more important than any information you’ll find elsewhere.

14. Think into the future.

Ask yourself:  “How do I want to feel one hour (or one day) from now?”

This powerful question helps you anticipate the results of your choices, guiding you to choose wisely. For example, before entering a food-challenging situation, imagine how you want to feel as you drive home. Taking a moment to close your eyes and visualize your desired result, and the feeling attached to that result, energetically aligns your mind and body to help you make choices that move you in that direction.

So, no matter how you feel right now and no matter what happened with your weight over the holidays, use one or all of these mind-power tips to recommit to your weight-loss journey. What is important is this present moment and the choices you make today. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Here’s to creating a healthier you in 2014!

Healthy Sandwich Guide!

sprout-sandwich[1]Yes, sandwiches are fast, easy and convenient – but they can also be secret calorie bombs. Today, I’m going to help you build a better lunch with my healthy sandwich guide.

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that healthy sandwiches start at home. By preparing your sandwich at home, you’ll know exactly what goes into it (and, equally important, what’s not going into it). And, it will save you money!

BREAD

Building a healthy sandwich starts with a proper foundation. While white bread or baguettes can be tempting, the later could add as many as 500 calories to your lunch. White bread will also spike your blood sugar and wreck havoc on your energy levels.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Whole wheat bread. Be careful to read the label and look for the word “whole” before wheat. If it doesn’t have it, it’s really just white bread in disguise. For example, I was surprised to learn that Subway’s wheat bread actually contains no whole grains. It’s not a smart choice for a health-conscious individual like you.
  • Whole grains. There are plenty of other whole grain options beyond wheat. Spelt is another great choice.
  • Whole wheat pita. Cut open a whole wheat pita and fill it with your favorite toppings.

PROTEIN

Our bodies use proteins for many important functions, including to repair and rebuild our muscles – which is especially important for active or gym-going individuals. But protein also helps us feel full longer. As such, protein consumption is also important for people looking to lose weight.

Smart protein choices:

  • Eggs. While high in dietary cholesterol, eggs don’t spike blood cholesterol levels – and they’re packed with tons of important nutrients.
  • Chicken or turkey.
  • Hummus. No meat? No problem. Beans are rich in protein. And since hummus is made from a base of chickpeas, it’s a smart, high-protein option.
  • Fish including tuna, salmon and mackerel.

TOPPINGS

This is where it gets fun! Load your sandwich with colorful and nourishing toppings like:

  • Sliced red, yellow and green peppers.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Onions.
  • Arugula.
  • Micro greens - which are loaded with an average of 4x the nutrients of full-grown greens.
  • Spinach.
  • And so much more. Get creative!

FATS

Guess what? You don’t need to put fats like butter or mayonnaise on a sandwich. I promise that your sandwich will still taste great! And that’s especially true if you replace unhealthy fats with alternatives like mashed avocado, mustard or even just plain tomatoes. Try adding herbs and seasoning to increase flavor without the fat.

By putting these tips to use, your lunchtime meal with help support your health and fitness goals. If you have any additional tips to share, please do so in the comments below!

9 Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life.

281685_10151307342800742_1934251453_nPutting a good tip into practice can go a long way in transforming your life.

Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite exercise and nutrition tips. They’ve worked for me and I know they can work for you, too.

  1. Don’t drink your calories. Most beverages are calorie bombs and often devoid of nutritional value. Save your calories for real food that nourishes your body with the nutrients it needs.
  2. Instead of focusing on long workouts, focus on quality workouts. Unless you’re training for the Olympics, no one needs to spend two or three hours at the gym each day. Use strategies like high intensity interval training and supersets to make the most of your gym time. Be efficient at the gym; it’s quality and not quantity.
  3. Eat carbs. Carbs get a bad rap but the truth is our bodies need them. Instead of eliminating carbs, focus on eating mostly complex carbs like those found in brown rice or whole wheat. Opt for products that list “whole wheat” in their ingredients.
  4. Be consistent. The secret to transforming your body is to consistently combine exercise and nutrition. It’s the little steps – day after day – that add up into a huge change. Think of each workout as a single stone block that you’re using to build a pyramid.
  5. Replace excuses with reasons. All of us can think of excuses to skip the gym or to avoid exercise (i.e., it’s too expensive, too busy, injuries, etc.). Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure; they prevent us from achieving the results we want. Rather than sabotage your life with excuses, shift from a mindset of can’t to a mindset of can by thinking about the reasons to live a healthier lifestyle.
  6. Buy healthy food. It’s really as simple as that. If you don’t stock your pantry with toxic, unhealthy foods, then they won’t be an option to eat. Out of sight, out of mind.
  7. Make exercise fun. Think outside the weight or cardio room by taking class, going rock climbing or engaging in a sport. A healthy and active lifestyle is so much more than the elliptical or free weights – and if you enjoy it, you’re much more likely to keep with it.
  8. Pay attention to ingredients – not packaging. Product packaging is strictly marketing – and words like “fat free” or “reduced calories” or even “multigrain” are extremely misleading. Pay attention to the nutrition information and especially the ingredients. In particular, stay away from foods with added sugar (or sugar in disguise).
  9. Don’t just make goals, evaluate your progress against them. Having a specific goal is great, but routinely measuring your progress against it is even better. If you’re not making headway, change your approach.

What’s your favorite fitness tip? Share it with us in the comments below!

5 Tricks for Sticking to Your Diet.

Hit a home run for your diet by following these 5 tricks.

There are as many diets out there as stars in the sky. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – but there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) from which to pick. If you select a diet that is restrictive, then it’s going to be difficult to sustain – and it may result in nutritional deficiencies over time. Therefore, the first (and most important) step is finding a finding balanced diet that works with your lifestyle.

Trick #1: Set a goal

Goals are a great way to both get motivated and stay focused. SMART goals – that is, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely – are the most effective. Instead of saying that you want to drop some extra weight, a SMART goal would be that you “want to lose 5 inches from your waist by next summer.” See the difference? Tracking your progress against this goal will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

Trick #2: Focus on one change at a time

It’s no secret that habits are developed slowly over time. In a 2009 study, researchers found that forming habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to focus on only one or two changes at a time – so that you don’t become too overwhelmed. Introduce the changes that you need to make slowly, and over time. After all, you’re in this for the long run.

Trick #3: Plan ahead

Planning plays an important role in sticking to your diet. If you plan, then you are less likely to face problems. If, for example, you go on vacation without doing some preliminary research, you might find that your hotel doesn’t have fitness facilities – and that there are no gyms nearby. Plan your days, weeks and months around your fitness and weight release goals. This means scheduling gym time, planning meals, researching restaurant menus for healthy options, etc. A little planning can help you stay in control of your diet.

Trick #4: Do it with a friend or partner

If you are working on sticking to a new diet, ask a partner or friend to do it with you. It makes it more fun, is an added source of motivation, provides support and increases the level of accountability.

Trick #5: Follow the 80/20 rule

If you don’t occasionally eat the unhealthy foods that you crave and enjoy, you’re going to crave them even more. Eventually, you may break down and binge – and then feel guilty for having indulged. You may even end up binging even more to pacify the guilt. It can be an endless downward spiral that breaks dieters. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time. With the other 20%, allow yourself to enjoy the less healthy foods that you really enjoy. It creates balance.

Do you have any other dieting tips or tricks? Please share them in the comments below!

7 Best Tips & Tricks for Runners!

Lycra shorts and pants aren't just sexy - they're functional, too! They can help prevent chaffing for avid runners.

No trip the gym feels complete without a good run (and subsequent sweat) on the treadmill. I’ve been running for more than a decade – in fact, I first started running for my high school’s indoor track team – and I’ve learned a few tips from coaches and experts along the way.

Here are 7 of my absolute favorite running tips and tricks:

  1. Reduce stiffness. Feelings of tightness are common for runners, but a simple warmup strategy can help reduce stiffness. I jog for 3 minutes before my run; the jog heats up my muscles. Muscles stretch best when they’re warmed up – so immediately following my jog, I engage in some stretching. Then, I’m ready for my run!
  2. Eliminate blisters. Blisters are likely the result of loose shoes or bad socks. Ensure that your sneakers fit tightly and that the laces go through every eyelet. If your heel is moving inside the sneaker, then the sneaker is too loose. Moreover, make use of a running-specific sock. My favorite is Lululemon’s Ultimate Running Sock. They are anatomically constructed, moisture-wicking and don’t bunch up or slip while running.
  3. Boosting motivation. Experts often recommend creating a public goal to help boost your motivation and increase your accountability. If you announce to friends and family on Facebook, for example, that you’ll be running a 5k in 2-months, then it may help get you moving a little more often. Take it a step further and invite other people to join you at the 5k. Shorter term, a good playlist or workout buddy can help, too.
  4. Prevent joint pain. Many things can contribute to joint paint – but the easiest way to reduce your risk is to replace your running sneakers regularly. Running sneakers typically last 400 – 500 miles (use this formula to calculate how long your sneakers will last). When you buy a new pair of sneakers, use a magic marker to write the anticipated expiration date on the inside of the shoe.
  5. Stop chaffing. Many runners experience chaffing of the inner thighs due to the friction of skin-on-skin contact. To reduce chaffing, you can make use of any number of creams or powders. Even using petroleum jelly can help. If the problem persists, it may be worthwhile to invest in a pair of lycra or spandex shorts or pants to wear under your running clothes.
  6. Breathe properly. Most experts recommend a breathing rhythm of 3:2 wherein the runner inhales for three footstrikes and exhales for two. An easy way to remember this technique is to breathe along the five-syllable mantra, “I’m get-ting strong-er.”
  7. Catch your breath. Speaking of breath, if you’re having trouble breathing or catching your breath, simply slow down. You’re going too fast. Slower and steady wins the race; it’s never a good idea to start a longer run with an unsustainable sprint. Over time, you’ll build up your endurance and speed.

Those are my 7 best and favorite tips for runners – but please share your own in the comments below!

    4 Ways to Get Motivated to Lose Weight!

    Dear Davey,

    I’m 14, and bassically obese. What can I do to inspire myself to lose weight?

    From,
    Todd

    Todd,

    Thank you for the email.

    I, too, was overweight growing up – and so I understand what it takes to transform one’s body and one’s life.

    First things first, it’s great that you recognize the importance of self-motivation. While many dieters look for external motivation, I firmly believe that the best kick-in-the-butt comes from within. So here are four ways to get yourself fired up!

    1. The “So That” Strategy

    Why do you want to lose weight? Get a piece of paper. At the top of the sheet, write the following:

    I want to lose weight SO THAT…

    Now fill the sheet will all of the many reasons why you want to lose weight. You might want to lose weight so that you’re able to live longer. Or so that you can go hiking or climb a mountain. You might want to lose weight so that you’re able to experience life with improved health. Spend several minutes thinking about all the “so thats” you might have – and record all of them on the piece of paper. The more, the better!

    I recommend keeping the paper somewhere visible – like on the fridge or the pantry door.

    2. Educate Yourself

    A lack of education or understanding often prevents people from embarking on a weight loss journey. There can be an overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start. Moreover, much of the weight loss information seems to be contradictory.

    Turns out, a very basic understanding of exercise and nutrition will help demystify weight loss. And in all actuality, the fundamentals are fairly simple – and supported through decades of research.

    When it comes to releasing weight, ignorance is not bliss. My “Weight Loss 1o1” article is a great place to start.

    3. Play The “If I Do” Game

    Find another sheet of paper. Ask yourself the following the question:

    What will happen in the next week, month, 6 months, year and 10 years IF I DO take action now to release my extra weight?

    Starting with one week, fill the paper with your answers. Indeed, the short and longer-term transformations to both your body and life will be massive – and you could fill many pages with answers. For example, if you do take action to lose weight right now, you may be 10 pounds lighter in another month. You may have lost 5 inches off of your waist in six months. Or you may have overcome diabetes in another year. The list is endless – but make it your own.

    Again, keep this list in a visible spot so that you are reminded of it often. This list will help drive you forward and get you back on track.

    4. Talk To Your Future Self

    In a way, talking to your future self is visualizing the reality you want to create. And while some people might be leery of talking to oneself, it can be a very powerful – and motivating – exercise.

    Find a quiet space and give yourself five minutes of quiet time. Close your eyes and imagine your future self in a year or five years – or whatever time frame works best for you.

    Ask your future self what he or she did to release the weight. Your future self might say that the transformation came from exercising and focusing on the things that s/he could eat rather than the foods to avoid. Maybe your future self will tell you that s/he fell of the bandwagon many times in trying to lose weight – but that each time it was very important to get back on.

    Ask your future self how life is now different. Many of the answers from your “so that” and “if I do” sheets may come up. Through the answers that you receive, let your future self serve as a guide.

    So, those are 4 very powerful ways to motivate yourself to lose weight. If you have any other tips or strategies, feel free to share in the comments below!

    7 Ways to Freshen Your Workout!

    I just joined a new gym and I can’t believe the effect it has had on my workout. It’s different equipment, different machines, different people and different classes – and quite frankly, it has all been a breath of fresh air.

    We human beings are creatures of habit, but our workouts crave change. Our muscles and bodies adjust to the same old – and more of the same always produces more of the same. Here are a few tips for breathing new life into your old and stale workout:

    1. Fresh environment. Changing gyms can make a HUGE difference. I think I was getting a bit too comfortable at my old gym; much of my workout was spent chatting it up with familiar faces. I don’t yet have friends at my new gym, and it keeps me to the task at hand. You can also freshen up the environment by taking your workout outside. Outdoor cardio is very challenging, and you can get a good strength training workout using your body weight as resistance. Bike. Hike. Or play sports with your family and friends.
    2. Fresh tunes. Did you know that numerous studies have concluded people burn more calories during exercise while listening to music? I’ll be honest – I think my iPod is more of a hassle than it’s worth (with all the wires, batteries and cords with which to deal). But many people love exercising to music – and what better way to breathe new life into your workout than creating a new playlist? Our brains become bored with the same old music, and that can create negative energy energy that translates to our routines. Get some new beats!
    3. Fresh exercises. Our bodies adjust to, and become comfortable with, the exercises that we perform. If you normally do the pec fly machine, for example, try dumbbell pec flies instead. Just switching up a few exercises makes a big difference that you’ll really feel.
    4. Fresh kicks. Running sneakers should be replaced every 400 – 500 miles. Wearing sneakers beyond their life expectancy increases the risk of injury. Consider investing in a new pair – it will feel great, and give you some extra “umph” at the gym. Calculate how long your shoes will last and write the expiration date inside the sneaker.
    5. Fresh order. This is the simplest thing you can do! Reverse the order of the exercises for each muscle group. If you normally do dead lifts, squats, calf raises and lunges, try doing lunges, calf raises, squats and then dead lifts. Your body will thank you.
    6. Fresh classes. My new gym has a slew of classes that I’ve never taken, like “yogalates” and kickboxing. While trying a new class can be intimidating, it’s a great way to work your muscles in new ways – and to learn new exercises. And if you’ve already taken everything that your gym has to offer, expand your horizons. Sign up at a rock-climbing gym, take karate – or, if you’re feeling ambitious, download my yoga program.
    7. Fresh foods. If local produce is in season, treat your body to some delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Going to a farmer’s market is much more fun than a giant supermarket, and it’s good to support the growers in your community. While eating fresh foods isn’t part of your workout per se, it does help support a healthy and balanced diet which will make you feel great!

    Try these tips to add new life to your old routine – and if you have any additional ideas, please share them in the comments below.