The alarm clock goes off: You hit the snooze knowing you have to go to the gym and throw around weights and move your body in ways that makes you want to hit the snooze again. Now it’s raining out, cold and you’re nice and warm in your bed… so… you hit the snooze again. Before you know it your Personal Trainer is calling wondering where you are. Or you make it to the gym hoping that he/she doesn’t show up; however if you workout with me you know that’s a fat chance.
Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Being in the fitness industry for over 30 years, I’ve seen every excuse to not workout. Some excuses are good but most are bad. I especially love the honest one’s like: “I got hammered last night on Margarita’s and pizza and I feel like crap.” (I won’t mention your name you’re secret is safe with me)
At any rate, lets face it we’re all human beings, we have emotions, desire’s, likes, dislikes and more importantly a lifestyle. If I sat here and told you working out is a blast and I love eating good all the time I’d be a liar with a nose the size of New Jersey. The truth is that I also constantly struggle, and everyday I have challenges. Every time I walk into Starbucks I can swear that the French Toast Muffin calls out to me, but I ignore it like a telemarketer and move on.
So how does one stay motivated and still enjoy the finer things in life? It’s called balance and I’m not talking about the stability ball. Here are some helpful hints that help get me through.
For working out:
- I love working out so it’s not a problem for me. I can tell that many of you would rather have your toenails ripped out. To get over this tell yourself “You Like It”. If anyone remembers Freud from psychology class, we all know what a self fulfilling prophecy is. So make it a positive one and not negative by being excited to go to the gym and watch your body improve in regards to strength, coordination and endurance. Remember the old saying “Pain is weakness leaving the body”!
- Set clear attainable goals. Unrealistic goals like losing 4-5 pounds a week is not only crazy but unhealthy. Strive for 1-2 pounds a week at most, if you are under 30% body fat.
- Use visualization. Picture your body munching on all the fat cells while your working out. You can do this with your diet as well, whenever you eat good healthy food.
- Take a challenge from a co-worker who is harassing you about working out or eating better. No one wants to lose to the office loud mouth.
- Wear clothes that are not flattering to a body part you do not particularly care for. For example, if you hate your stomach wear tighter fitting shirts around your mid section while working out to remind yourself why you’re there. Who cares what other people think, they’re not you and honestly, are we all really that important to each other. Once that stomach shrinks down those same people will compliment you on your hard work and new appearance and that my friends is positive reinforcement!
For eating right:
- I always eat before I go out to dinner with friends, so I don’t go overboard on the pre meal snacks, like bread, garlic and olive oil.
- Out of site out of mind. I don’t even let them put the bread on the table. Once a week I reward myself with it though.
- Fill up on vegetables as much as you want you can, even put a little olive oil on them.
- There are 4 ways your body turns down the hunger signal.
1. Blood sugar rising is number one. So eat “slow burning” carbs chewed well. I.e. Any whole grain.
2. Warm foods- Heat things up.
3. Distention or expansion of the stomach wall. i.e. Fiber
4. Hormones- Ghrelin is a hormone the body secretes in response to mealtime or starvation. By eating smaller more frequent meals you can keep this hormone from going haywire. Another thing to keep it at bay is to eat protein with every meal and surprisingly, getting 8 hours of sleep.
- Don’t drink water or any fluids with meals. This dilutes digestive enzymes and can lead to malabsorption of nutrients; which in turn can cause nutrient imbalances leading to cravings, bloating and gas.
- Balance your intestinal flora. Certain bad bacteria can overcome our gut from antibiotics, alcohol and poor diet. These “Bad Bacteria” set up shop in our intestines and stomach and some of them can cause cravings such as sugar. So try to limit your alcohol consumption and bad eating habits. A good coarse of probiotics won’t hurt either, so talk to someone who is knowledgeable in supplements.
- Lastly, I always think health first whenever I am deciding what to eat. Too many times many of us do the opposite. We eat first, think about it after and get depressed. It’s a vicious cycle because after a while you feel defeated and the road ahead looks long, so we give up. What you need to realize is that if you are not seeing benefits in your body fast enough, there are significant changes going on inside that will help you live a longer healthier pain free life. One thing you must remember, weight gain not only can shorten your life it can also make the quality of it bad as well. Excess weight causes strain on the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. That can lead to arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and a whole list of itis’. So when I am looking at food, many times I say to myself, “Self- is that piece of cake worth the regret I’m going to feel not to mention what it’s going to do to my insides.”
So there you have it in a nutshell. Eat, live and be healthy all.