6 Tips for Staying Motivated

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January, the month of setting goals for positive change, is over. Now it is time to make those changes into part of your everyday life style. Hopefully you are making time to work out and eat better, now you just need to stay motivated to keep obtaining your goals. Here are six tips to help you stay motivated.
 

  1. Have your goals where you can see them. Last month you wrote them down, now put them where you will see them every day. Looking at them will remind you to stay on track.
  2. Schedule all your workouts in advance. Get out your calendar and find all the times that you will get your workouts in. Once it is written down, the time has been made - you have no excuse.
  3. Keep it fun. Do workouts that you enjoy. Go to group classes, they are a great way to stay motivated, you know there will always be someone there to push and encourage you to work harder.
  4. Use the buddy system. When you set up your weekly workouts try to schedule one or two with a friend. The two of you could benefit from a little healthy competition.
  5. Reward yourself. Start with small internal rewards. After each workout take some time to be proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Also have a large reward to look forward to, such as a new workout shirt or new workout music.
  6. Keep an exercise journal. After each workout log what you did, how it felt and how you feel afterwards. It is helpful to reflect on how the exercise is benefiting your life. Write down the positive changes you are experiencing.

5 Tips to Keep Your Goals From Slipping Away

In the last post, The Snowball Effect,  we discussed the best way to prepare yourself to complete your goals. Hopefully you made your list, and are tackling the most important changes first. You have a plan in place, and are slowly working on your quest to make yourself everything you know you can be. You want to lose weight, so you are eating breakfast everyday and hitting the gym at least 4 times a week…no? If you made your list ten days ago, now is the perfect time to really reflect on what you have accomplished so far. With a little dose of reality, now is the time to fine tune your goal list.

1) Give yourself an evaluation; are you making an honest effort at changing you bad habits? If not, don’t be hard on yourself, just get started now!

2) Look over your goals. Are there steps missing? Be sure you have all your bases covered, maybe you want to bring your lunch to work 4 times a week, but you’re not making time to go to the store. You want to quit smoking, yet you are still spending time with people that provoke this negative behavior.

3) Ask for help, talk to a friend about how they made positive changes in their life. Tell your trainer about your goals, they will hold you accountable, and help give you the tools you need to make changes.

4) Focus on positive thinking. Just as we said last week, concentrate on one goal at a time. Be proud of yourself every step of the way. You kicked your soda habit? Great, now it’s time to add more vegetables to your diet.

5) Be persistent.  Don't let anything get in your way.  Remember that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  It is challenging to start new healthy habits, but once you get going it will get much easier.

With a little bit of organization, and some focus you can achieve your goals! Take each day as it comes, if you slip up don’t get frustrated, just move on and start over.


The Snowball Effect

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2012 is here and as a New Year beckons us, so do resolutions. Those pesky resolutions that we had dutifully left behind a few weeks into 2011 are resurfacing.  Maybe you did better than most people and completed everything you set out to do. But for those who try and fail again and again, there may be a better way.

Sometimes we put too much on our plate or we might go the wrong way about creating success and instead get nowhere. If you haven’t been as successful as you would have wanted to be then maybe restructuring your plan will help.

So what is your goal? Write it down and then write down how you will accomplish your goal. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds did you write down go to the gym 5 times per week, eat six small meals, cut calories, reduce carbs, and stop eating junk food? Or something along those lines?

Those are all great goals but maybe that is trying to do too much at once and it can be overwhelming. It’s better to make one change at a time because studies have shown you have an 85% chance of success. However if you try to change two things at once, your chances of success drop to around 35%. Three things at once? Almost zero.

Now you are saying - but if I only do one thing I won’t be as successful. Actually, you will be successful because you are going to create a “snowball” effect. You will work on one goal at a time. Focusing your time and energy on that one thing so you will be successful. First, you need a plan so get out your pen and paper and start writing.

1) Write down the goals that would have the most impact on your life this year. If you wrote down more than five, reduce that to the most important things you want to do. You can get to the rest of your list once you complete your most important, life changing goals.

2) List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you're not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?

3) List these things from easiest to hardest.

4) "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.

5) Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.

6) One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.
For example: Maybe you drink soda pop. First goal might be to stop drinking all soda pop - diet or regular.

Second goal might be to eat breakfast every day and control portion sizes at each meal. (I know that’s two but they go hand in hand).

Third goal might be going to the gym as soon as you get up or right after work. In fact, you scheduled gym time in your calendar.

Fourth goal? Start packing a lunch for work 3 or 4 times a week...and so on.

In 10 weeks or so - you stopped drinking soda pop and you eat breakfast everyday (which is a key factor in fat loss) while controlling portion sizes at every meal. These goals would "snowball" into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.

Once you simplify the process it gets easier and easier to achieve all of your goals. As you start doing more of the things you want to do, you will be happier and more satisfied.

Baked Eggs with Kale & Crusty Bread

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By Amy Pennington

The holidays are typically a time of excess and staying on track and eating healthy can be challenging. Eating a well-rounded and nutritious breakfast will carry you through the morning and get the day started off on the right foot. I find that when I have a hearty morning meal that doesn’t weigh me down, I’m less tempted to grab a cookie or other quick nibble like crackers. This recipe is a great way to curb your appetite, nourish your body and help minimize over indulging during the holidays. It is also a fancy-looking crowd pleaser and an easy Christmas morning breakfast for family. (Although, I’ll be fighting my sisters creamy baked French toast for room at the table, no doubt!)

I love eggs served with a side of sautéed greens. If I can eat greens at every meal, I will, and sautéing chard, kale, or spinach with garlic alongside an egg is a culinary match made in heaven. This is a one-pot-only meal, perfect for a dinner when you have only eggs in the fridge for a “main” ingredient. The dish can be made with little fuss and attention. Serve a crusty piece of bread alongside, and it’s a meal that can be made at a moment’s notice and feed lots of mouths for cheap. The only thing needed from the grocery should be the greens, otherwise all of these ingredients are pantry staples.

Baked Eggs with Kale & Crusty Bread
(Makes 2 to 3 servings)

2 to 3 strips bacon (optional)
Olive oil
Half onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch kale, cut into ribbons, crosswise, starting
with the stem end
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt
3 eggs
Toasted baguette, rubbed with raw garlic clove

reheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the bacon in a large, deep-sided ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat, about 7 to 10 minutes
or until brown. Pour off the excess fat, remove the bacon, and set aside. Coat the bottom of the same
pan with olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, stirring until soft and slightly brown, about 10 minutes.
Working in batches, put the kale in the sauté pan and cook until wilted, turning continuously 5 to 7 minutes. Toss in the red pepper flakes and season with salt. Fill the sauté pan with an inch of water and
cover, bringing to a simmer. Cook until the kale is tender and drain off any residual liquid.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Make three “pockets” in the kale and crack an egg in each. Leave untouched for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the bottom of each egg to set. Cover and put the pan in the oven until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny, about 6 to 10 minutes. Garnish with crumbled bacon. Serve on a plate, alongside toast.

Pantry Note: You can easily substitute other greens for the kale in this recipe—chard or spinach work well.

Eating Well On the Run

By Kim Lerner

With a busy schedule it can be hard to eat healthy. When on the run you may find yourself eating dinner in your car, snacking on donuts at your desk or skipping breakfast to save a little time. With some planning ahead you can prepare yourself so you will make healthy eating choices. Here are some ideas to help you make time to eat healthy.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. I’ve said it before…breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You will make healthier choices if you have started your day off right. If you know you have a really busy day ahead, a filling breakfast will help fuel your day. It will also keep you from grabbing a donut first thing.
  • Have healthy snacks in your car. If you spend a lot of time driving, you know you will be getting hungry while running errands. Have low calorie protein bars, dried fruit and whole grain crackers for a quick snack.
  • Stay away from fast food. It can be cheap and filling but is rarely worth the fat and calories. When in a pinch opt for a sub sandwich chain and choose one from the low calorie menu.
  • Don’t forget to eat. It’s important to not miss any meals, it can slow your metabolism and lower your ability to make healthy choices. -Find your dinner at the super market. You will have healthier choices than you would at a restaurant. Look for Sushi, wraps, sandwiches (hold the mayo), yogurt, fresh fruit and salads.
  • Cook meals on Sunday. Plan ahead for your busy week by making big batches of your favorite healthy meals. Portion them into meal sizes and freeze to have on hand when you don’t have time to cook. If you know you’ll be at the office late, bring one with you.