Saturday, December 31, 2011

Did you fall off the nutrition + exercise wagon during the 2011 holiday season? If not, congratulations - well done! If you did, you probably have plenty of company: vacations and holidays, for many, are official breaks from regular schedules.

When I find myself a bit unseated from my fitness / health routine, my first question is, “What am I going to do about it now?” I try to start by not beating myself up for worshipping at the altar of peppermint bark (only Williams-Sonoma’s, of course). Next, I take stock. What habits have slipped? How am I feeling physically? How are my clothes fitting now?

Once I know where I am, I first change the things that are easy to fix - and that will make a positive difference. Increase water intake. Return to regular use of the supplements that helped. Spend a few minutes stretching when I get out of bed. Those are the things that are simple for me to commit to and implement.

As I get back on my regular schedule, I’ll start tackling the harder stuff, which starts off on a hand-written list. I add goals to my routine one thing at a time, allowing each one to take hold before I seriously commit to another.

I like to feel successful in my efforts, and for me baby steps are key. Going for broke with an all-or-nothing, aggressive, fix-me-now approach doesn’t work for me.

Since we are infinitely unique as individuals, there are infinite ways for you to reach your goals - mine is the one that is tailor-made to work for me. Yours should be the one that is tailor-made to work for you. Know yourself. Know what will work for you.

Whether you start small, start big, or somewhere in between, the important stuff is to start with a plan that you know is going to make a long-term difference for you. I’m not in it just to shed a few holiday pounds. I’m in it to live a healthier life.

Please have a safe and fun New Year’s celebration!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 3 Pieces of Advice to Live the Best Life Ever

In keeping up with articles, blogs, bulletin boards, and the like in the dance and the fitness industries, I am confronted over and over again with generalizations, prognostications, and panaceas, and they are frequently at odds with each other.

Source A says one thing; source B refutes it. I see it amongst scientists, dance coaches, personal trainers, doctors...everyone has a study to support seemingly contradicting conclusions. What they have in common is the tendency to apply their conclusions to us as peoples instead of us as individuals.

Read all you want. Then find yourself a professional (doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, life coach, whatever). Plan to consult with that professional for their expertise and guidance, but do your homework first. Go in educated. About what? All the stuff you're expecting to learn from them? Of course not. Go in educated about the one thing you know more about than anyone else on this planet: YOU.

Get help. But before you do, do the top three things that will help any professional guide you to positive results. In fact, if you've done them, you've probably found some areas of your life that are working fine without professional guidance.

What are those top three things we should all do to guide us through the maze of health/medical/wellness knowledge circulating today?

Simple:

1. Know thyself.
2. Know thyself.
3. Know thyself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stand Up for Your Health

I won't bore you with all the details that fascinate me, but I was just reading an article citing research that gives us this great little nugget:

if you find yourself at a desk for long periods of time (hello, corporate America)...just the act of standing up periodically can improve your overall health and might even help slim your waistline.

The suggested dose of "periodically" was every half-hour. It doesn't say you have to stand up and walk two flights of stairs. Just stand up.

Myself, I would add a little stretch. Ward off carpal tunnel syndrome, you know. Stand up and gently shake out your fingers and wrists. Or extend your arm and gently pull your fingers back toward your body. Do this on each hand just to keep balanced. Either way, count to 10-Mississippi while you do it. Then get back to work.

Repeat every 30 minutes and let me know how you feel at the end of the week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Motivates Healthy Choices?

Greetings. Forgive my absence. Or don't. ;)
Either way, I have a question for you: if you already have a healthy lifestyle routine, what motivates you to stay on it? and if you don't, what would motivate you to stick with one?
I talk to a lot of people who share with me that they would like to lose weight. I get the feeling from many of them that what they are sharing is not a new thought. It's probably something they have tried and left and come back to time and again. It can seem like an endless battle.
And if you agree, I would suggest that therein lies the first hurdle to motivating someone to stick with any fitness program. If making health, weight management, general fitness, and overall well-being choices is treated as a battle, chore, nightmare, requirement, job, "to-do," burden, drudgery, "have to," etc. - can anyone really be motivated to do it long enough to feel it make a difference? If you're one of those rarities who just "sucks it up" and gets it done, this may not concern you right now. But for some of us, a little reprogramming might be beneficial.
Instead of telling ourselves "I really should get off of this couch," let's try thinking, "It feels good to get up and stretch!" Instead of "Gotta go to the gym," try "I can't wait to get movin' around!" Instead of "(Groan) I'll have to do like a million crunches to make up for that brownie," - which doesn't work by the way - try thinking "That dessert really satisfied my sweet tooth - I'm going to skip that 2:30 candy bar."
Choices. Health and well-being = moment-by-moment choices. Think positively about being healthy, and it's easier to make healthy choices.
But just in case I'm wrong, don't quote me on that! ;)