_ I'm sure everyone has plenty of things on their "To Do" lists this weekend, but remember to take time for yourself, and planning your week AHEAD! Get to the store, stock up on healthy foods, make sure they are prepared and ready to go, schedule your workouts just like every other task through your week, and document or journal your progress. Fail to plan and plan to fail! If you treat your health like a priority equal to work, social events, your favorite TV shows etc. you'll see and feel the results.

Priorities People!!

So, when is the last time you said “its Tuesday night my show is on”, or “No sorry, I’m busy Sat I have plans with friends”, or “I work …….fill in blank”.

Now, when is the last time you heard yourself say “no thank you, I’ll pass on the pizza”, or “I’d love to stay, but I need to get to bed early so I’m energized for my morning bootcamp”,  or “I’ll record that show, and watch it later while doing some at home cardio”???

We structure our lives and spare time around friends, fun, eating out, drinking, movies, shows, events, and the list goes on and on, but we put our own health at the BOTTOM of the list. Why? There’s multiple reasons why, but I’m more concerned with how to change it, than going into the details of why. Sometimes, knowing WHY you do something, only makes it harder to break out of the habit of doing it because if feeds you more justifications and excuses.

The bottom line, is regardless of whether you want to lose weight, tone up, have more energy, or improve your health, you HAVE to make time for that. Most people just casually start on a “plan” that really isn’t a plan at all. They just decide they want to “eat better” or “workout more”, but vague goals produce vague results. Whens the last time you started a new job, and just decided you’d “try and wake up early enough for it” or thought “this task is bull#&)*, I give up I’m going home”?? Well, if you did say any of those things I’m betting you’re no longer employed at that venue!

The point is, we treat all these other things in our life as PRIORITIES, we schedule them, we block off time, and make them happen. Now, I’m fully aware that people have busy work, school, and family schedules, there is no denying that. What I’m addressing is the other endless hrs spent doing nothing beneficial for yourself and then claiming “I have NO time for health and fitness”.  This can also extend to money and finances. I am in no way personally attacking anyone and their financial circumstances, but women especially spend every last dollar they have on hair color, cuts and styles, the latest trends, manicures, pedicures, shopping etc. not to mention dining out and drinking. Sure, those things are great, but they won’t benefit you the same as investing some time and money into some therapeutic body work, a personal training session, or a nutrition program.

Overall, I want to convey the message that when you treat your body as something that HAS to be taken care of, you’ll make things happen. The other thing to take into consideration if you think you don’t have the time or money for yourself now is that eventually your body WILL demand that time and an excessive expense. Although, it will be in a much more cumbersome way in the form of disease, sickness, injuries, and even depression from a worn out and abused body.  Consider this when you feel like you have to give 100% of your time and energy to others. If you have nothing to give, which will eventually happen, who’s going to take care of everyone then? You can give so much more, and for longer, with a healthy and strong mind and body.

The last piece of this I’d like to mention is being influenced by other people. Again, with all your other priorities and agendas, you don’t let other people sway you from your obligations. I doubt you’ve had a friend try to encourage you to call in sick from work, hit a restaurant for happy hr and then try to find someone else to pick up your kids from school. That analogy alone probably makes you laugh and cringes, yet letting someone influence your diet choices, your workout schedule, or your stress relief is just as reckless. You are responsible for your wellness, and nobody else is. The sad truth is that people who aren’t taking care of themselves at a level they know they should be constantly try to bring others, who are trying, down to their level. You’ll experience this for the rest of your healthy life, so you might as well get used to it. Don’t worry about offending people, hurting people’s feelings, or looking strange because you’re the only one affected by your decisions. Those effects will be positive ones, and YOU get to enjoy them.

So, in closing, COMMIT yourself, stay on plan, don’t let others influence you, and watch the amazing things that happen. You can be exactly what you want to be and once you truly believe that, you’re on your way.

 
 
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Something you're eating may be killing you, and you probably don't even know it!





If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread--how could that be bad for you?

Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

What most people don't know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don't have full blown celiac disease.

In today's blog I want to reveal the truth about gluten, explain the dangers, and provide you with a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

The Dangers of Gluten

A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and "latent" celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i)

This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

This is ground-breaking research that proves you don't have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications--even death--from eating gluten.

Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don't even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else--not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.

And here's some more shocking news ...

Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period. (ii) If we saw a 400 percent increase in heart disease or cancer, this would be headline news. But we hear almost nothing about this. I will explain why I think that increase has occurred in a moment. First, let's explore the economic cost of this hidden epidemic.

Undiagnosed gluten problems cost the American healthcare system oodles of money. Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University studied all 10 million subscribers to CIGNA and found those who were correctly diagnosed with celiac disease used fewer medical services and reduced their healthcare costs by more than 30 percent. (iii) The problem is that only one percent of those with the problem were actually diagnosed. That means 99 percent are walking around suffering without knowing it, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars.

And it's not just a few who suffer, but millions. Far more people have gluten sensitivity than you think--especially those who are chronically ill. The most serious form of allergy to gluten, celiac disease, affects one in 100 people, or three million Americans, most of who don't know they have it. But milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population.

Why haven't you heard much about this?

Well, actually you have, but you just don't realize it. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as dozens and dozens of other diseases with different names.

Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 "diseases" that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different "diseases." To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause--which is often gluten sensitivity--not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn't mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone--but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.

By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this "staff of life," the staple of our diet?

There are many reasons ...

They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.

American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has "infected" nearly all wheat strains in America.

To find out if you are one of the millions of people suffering from an unidentified gluten sensitivity, just follow this simple procedure.

The Elimination/Reintegration Diet

While testing can help identify gluten sensitivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel. Get rid of the following foods:

• Gluten (barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale--see www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)

• Hidden sources (soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)

For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet--no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.

Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.

But if you are still interested in testing, here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease

There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:

• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies

• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies

• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies

• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)

• Total IgA antibodies

• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic susceptibility).

• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive--based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be "false positives." That means the test looks positive but really isn't significant.

We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

So now you see--that piece of bread may not be so wholesome after all! Follow the advice I've shared with you today to find out if gluten may be the hidden cause of your health problems. Simply eliminating this insidious substance from your diet, may help you achieve lifelong vibrant health.

That's all for today. Now I'd like to hear from you ...

Are you one of the millions that have been lead to believe gluten is perfectly safe to eat?

How do foods that contain gluten seem to affect you?

What tips can you share with others about eliminating gluten from your diet?

Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.


 
 
_ What are the Benefits of Using Positive Affirmation?

Positive affirmation or positive self-talk can benefit not only yourself but also other people that you interact with. Affirmation is the shifting of thoughts resulting from negative, dirty, and harsh experiences or ideas to a more positive note. It relies on the principle that you can only become successful if you tell yourself “I can do that” instead of saying “I can’t do that.”

If you think that positive affirmation affects only the subconscious mind then wait till you hear this. Studies have found out that people who constantly bombard themselves with positive words rather than entertaining negative thoughts and words have stronger muscles. Research claims that a person’s muscles become stronger and more active when the subconscious is filled with positive words.  The same report indicated that the human muscles tend to become weak when a person thinks and verbalizes that he is tired or that he hates the world or that he cannot do a particular thing.

Aside from muscle strength, positive affirmation also affects your energy level. A jolly person is usually a result of a positive mind programming. Positive affirmation does not only affect the physical but also the emotional well-being of a person. Because of this, experts have always advised people to start their day with good and positive thoughts and words. Starting the day right would extend the vibrant feeling throughout the day and would even act as a multiplier effect to all other positive aspects in your life.

Positive affirmation brings to life a person’s capabilities, strengths, talents, and skills. Constantly repeating the things that you are capable of doing and forgetting hesitant feelings that usually hinder you from pursuing a particular goal can help a lot in achieving a positive result. A light outlook, a smiling face, and a worry-free aura are usually the characteristics of very successful people. The principle of positive affirmation leans on the basic tenets that the mind is just so powerful and what it says is usually followed and miraculously attained by the body.

Others also believe that positive affirmation carries with it some mysterious effects that no intellectual being has ever successfully explained. Experts simply claim that these positive affirmations can easily penetrate a person’s subconscious, thus affecting his actions, behavior, and attitude.

Experts recommend some tips for you to keep in touch with yourself better. Knowing what you want, your goals, dreams, and ambitions is the first requirement when on the starting road to success. Affirmations must directly come from you and not from other people for it to become effective.

A person’s will is so powerful that it must be nurtured by constant repetition of positive self-talk. It serves as the engine for the human body to move and move faster. The lack of it would deprive you the chance to move forward from the first level of personal growth. Always remember that any form of development would require a clear affirmation of your goal and vision.

Positive affirmations are powerful statements that you can use during your self-talk. And to get the most benefit, you must use affirmations that are in the present tense. Follow these guidelines for developing good affirmation and you should do ok. A statement in the present tense is regarded by experts to be more effective than a statement in future tense because the element of time is an important factor that can affect your behavior.

Guidelines for Developing Good Affirmations Positive affirmation is a very powerful tool that can be used to change the mindset of a person. It can transform negative and destructive thoughts to positive and beneficial ones. But in order to affect the subconscious, positive affirmations should follow this guideline.

Present form
The first thing to remember is that the positive affirmation must be in the present form. As long as man desires a particular action and achieve a particular goal, then there will always be a need to influence the subconscious mind. And if you want to make your affirmation effective, there is no better time to start and start influencing the subconscious through your positive affirmation than “now”.


Belief that the desire is already a reality
Another tip to developing good affirmation is a belief that what you aim for and what you wish to do is something that has already been accomplished. Experts believe that people saying “I am becoming happy” is more effective as this conveys the message that you are already seeing the positive results of your affirmations.


Positive
The affirmation must be positive and veers away from any negative note. Creating an affirmation with the words “I am safe” is believed to be more effective than saying the words “I am not scared”. The presence of the negative word “not” may affect your attitude and behavior negatively. Thus, experts suggest that there is no better way to use a positive affirmation by staying positive all the time. It is also believed that the word “scared” may grab your attention more and make you think about the negative thought of not being safe often


Everyday language
It is best to come up with a positive affirmation that fits your language style. It means that you must draft an affirmation that uses common words or terms characteristic of the language that you normally use. One important element of positive affirmation is repetition. One cannot repeat a statement which is not common or easy to utter. Instead of including difficult words, it is best for you to keep your affirmation simple and brief so that it is easily absorbed by the subconscious. Difficult words may be pleasant and attractive to hear but the very purpose of a good affirmation is not to impress anyone but rather to help you easily utter it, remember it, and practice it everyday. An action is expected to be the end-point of a positive affirmation. A simple understanding and verbalization of the affirmation would lead to the desired action.


Avoid using too many words
The affirmation must consist of simple words and it must be phrased simply. A complicated phrasing of your positive affirmation would make it difficult for you to utter the affirmation repetitively. The principle of positive affirmation lies on the basic tenet that the subconscious mind must be exposed to the repeated affirmation so that this portion of the mind will be a venue from which the desire will come from.


Your positive affirmation must be specific and shows the exact action or reaction you are aiming to achieve. It may convey a particular feeling that you want to feel like a longing to feel happy, or to feel energetic, active, or feel in love. It may also be in the form of a specific action like your desire to pass an examination, find the right person, or it can even be as simple as reaching a certain destination safely.

 

 
 
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_  Soda, pop, coke, whatever you call it, it is literally poison in a bottle. Here are some compelling facts that will hopefully motivate you to kick the habit. Since most people who are health conscious and reading this are probably pretty aware of the harms of the high sugar content in regular sodas, I’m going to make this primarily about diet sodas, since most people turn to diet versions believing they are doing their body a favor.

A study presented at the American Diabetes Conference suggests diet soda is as bad for you as regular soda. It can make you overweight and put you at risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Thank goodness restaurants offer free refills of this stuff, right?

The statistics from this study are depressing. The researchers followed 474 diet soda drinkers for ten years and found that their belt size expanded 70% more than those who avoided diet soda. Even as little as two diet sodas a day caused the waistline of the soda drinkers to grow 5 times more than the non-drinkers in the study.

Here is some of their findings.

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.
For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
  • 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.
Some incredibly high numbers to look at!

Why do you gain weight when the drinks are calorie free? Sharon Fowler of the UT Health Science Center at San Diego shows that it involves artificial sweeteners and how they trigger your appetite. You crave a soda much like food, and drinking a diet soda makes you more hungry. Without the sugar, you don't get any satisfaction from the drink, and the chemicals stimulated your brain and other organs to get your stomach ready for calories, which weren’t there. This only makes you hungrier and prone to overeat later. Artificial sweeteners also interact with your brain and prevent you from feeling full. Alone or combined, these effects WILL cause you to eat more than you should, and that is the reason the diet drinkers are more at risk than the regular drinkers. (Note, the regular soda drinkers were still at a VERY high risk).

I realize most people don’t care to know all the details and science behind what causes this and that, and the outcome etc. That’s why it is so much easier to just say “EAT REAL WHOLE FOODS”. It’s a positive statement which doesn’t keep you guessing. I know, “whole foods” takes out all the ‘fun stuff’ you are craving, but here’s a little side note while we’re on the subject of processed (fake) foods, cravings and weight gain.

The REASON why you crave all those ‘fake foods’ and junk is that your body is UNDERNOURISHED. Really? YES. Your body CRAVES real nourishment so it won’t be hungry, thirsty, under-energized, or under nourished: it will MAKE you want more food, and the craving makes the person think that what the body needs is more [fake] food. So you eat more sodas, pizzas, Taco Bell, candy, etc etc, and your body feels (at the moment) it can get its needed nourishment. Instead, the cells get plagued with by-products, chemicals and excess fat and the outcome is dis-ease (‘disease’): diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, metabolic disorders, not to mention the obvious weight gain and obesity.

Metabolic disorders? That’s a fancy word for “the body cannot function in its normal manner of growth/energy/waste/burn-off”.

So, back to the point, where does diet soda fall into all of this and into your diet? Certainly not in the “better than regular soda realm. The answer should be, nowhere. Diet Soda is CHEMICALS with gas (CO2) and coloring (more chemicals). Please don’t ask what it does to your brain: phenylalanine (read the back) is converted to the amino acid tyrosine in the brain, which, in anyone who has any depression, mood issues or anxiety, can cause a list of negative effects. The artificial sweeteners alone, which are in virtually any diet product, I could go ON and on about. That will be another blog entirely, but there are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures.

The bottom line is, for all inclusive purposes, diet drinks should not be a staple of your diet, and certainly not as a means of losing weight. I’m not saying in your entire life you can never drink another diet soda, having one on occasion isn’t going to kill you. But, if the thought of not having a soda at every meal is daunting, there are plenty of healthier alternatives, including coloring, caffeine and aspartame free carbonated beverages. Kroger has a great drink called Zevia, which is sweetened with Stevia, a natural sweetener with NO harmful side effects whatsoever, and is also calorie free! Crystal Light, and even the Wal-Mart brand of flavored drink powders now have options sweetened with Stevia as well. Brewing fresh Herbal Teas and using Stevia or honey is another great option. Start making substitutions gradually, until water is your primary fluid intake, and your body will thank you!

 
 
_ 8 Tips for Getting through the Holidays, without losing site of your goals!

1.       Eat before you go to a party! Eat something light and healthy, so that you won’t arrive to a party starving, and eat everything in site. Have a few bites of the delicious party fare is ok, but if you show up starving you’ll doom yourself to overindulge.

2.       Take food with you! Sounds crazy, and you might get a few strange looks, but who cares? Do those people have to be accountable for YOUR body and YOUR goals? Didn’t think so! A bag of almonds, a lara bar, something small and satisfying will keep you going and enjoying yourself at events without feeling so deprived and hungry.

3.       Watch the booze. Of course the holidays aren’t just about eating, most people tend to drink more this time of year than they normally would as well. Not only does alcohol contain 7 calories per gram, its completely useless to your body so it automatically gets turned to sugar, and then to fat. Add to that a bunch of sugary juices and you’ve got calorie overload, not to mention the affect that it has on your judgment. After one too many drinks you’ll be drooling over the snack table and you very well might say “Ah screw it, I’ll start over tomorrow”.  Stick to the basics, vodka and soda, with a lime, and set yourself a limit prior to even leaving the house! When you say “I’ll have 3 drinks tonight”, do just that!

4.       Get your exercise in! Everyone knows it’s a busy time of year. So what? Its no excuse not to go to the gym, and definitely not to get in a home workout. Our 10 min HIIT workout will pump your metabolism up and help burn off all those little extras through the Holidays, and if you commit to doing some sort of activity, however short, each day, you’re guaranteed to feel more motivated to eat healthfully as well. Over indulge, don’t workout, feel like crap….leads to another day of just that. Start the day right with at MINIMUM our TEN min routine. Everyone has ten minutes.

5.       Plan your cheat meals. This one is huge, because if you don’t put a plan in action ahead of time, you’ll never get to your goal. Its like starting off on a road trip with no map, no directions, and just randomly choosing roads. The chances of you making it to your destination are slim to none. Pick a day, a meal, a party, something, and make that your time to indulge a little, but not go overboard.

6.       Ditch the leftovers. We’ve all been there, either we’ve hosted a meal or party, or gone to one with way to much food leftover, and before you know it you’ve got a fridge full of mac n cheese, pumpkin pie, and homemade cookies. DON”T DO IT! If the left overs are at your house, offer take home plates, and DITCH THE REST! Yes, it is a little wasteful, but throwing out 20 bucks worth of extra food is better than eating 2 lbs worth of calories the next day just because its there.

7.       Stop worrying about offending people. This is a big one, and one everyone has to get over. Stop worrying about people judging you for bringing your own snacks, being offended because you didn’t try their cake, or making you feel guilty because you didn’t take half of their leftover food home with you. Its YOUR body, and your goals aren’t anyone else’s business or concern but your own, so don’t let their thoughts or influences effect you. It’s true, people might be uncomfortable that you’re making healthy choices and their not, and they will often become defensive as to why their not doing the same, but just smile, be polite, and go about your business.  Don’t feel guilty for being awesome.

8.       Let everyone know your goals and desires. Ok, so this one may sound a little selfish, but I assure you, sometimes you just have to put yourself and your needs first. Let everyone close to you know what you’re trying to accomplish, and ask for their help and cooperation. If someone gets you a holiday cookie basket every year, ask for something that will help you reach your fitness goals, like a new stopwatch, lifting gloves etc!

 
 
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How do professional Olympic athletes do it, anyway? They exercise day after day, sometimes even two or three times a day. What drives them to keep trying? I assume you, like me, are not a professional or Olympic athlete, nor do you have the desire to be one. It is hard enough to keep on a fitness routine for good health. How can you stay on track with your fitness and achieve a lifetime of fitness success? Here are 10 mental strategies athletes use, and will help you to a life-long journey of fitness success.

1. Decide on your goal. If you're not sure what your goal is, ask yourself "Why do I want to take time to exercise?" Is it because you "have to" or because you "want to"? Find a personal reason that rings an emotional bell. If you can't pull your mind and emotions in line with your goal, it won't be achieved.

2. Find an inspiration. If you keep one eye on someone you admire it is much easier to stay on course. Keep picturing their success and follow their strategy. A successful person's way of achieving success may be your key to success as well.

3. Visualize your objective. See yourself exactly as you want your outcome to be. Olympic athletes picture themselves on the podium with a medal every time they practice their sport. If you want to lose weight, picture yourself at that ideal weight. If you want to run a marathon, picture yourself at the finish line.

4. Encourage yourself. Winners don't talk down to themselves, but build themselves up. If you want to be successful, give yourself the acknowledgment that your goal is not only possible, it's inevitable. Many say that they will try to succeed at something only if obstacles, such as time or money, won't get in their way. They've already given themselves a reason to fail. People who say they will succeed regardless of obstacles are the winners.

5. Don't quit. It is easy to quit, but success doesn't come to those who quit. Even if your fitness routine seems too routine, or maybe even too hard, adjust it. Time, place and activities can be changed, but once you quit, you lose your momentum, and it's only that much harder to begin again.

6. Overcome your fear. Define why you haven't been on a good fitness routine until now. Is fear one of those reasons? Is it fear of failing? Fear of uncertainty? Fitness is not something you can fail; unless you don't do it at all. Even a little effort means you've succeeded. Start with something you feel comfortable with, and progress from there. Even walking around the block can be viewed as a fitness success; you succeeded by making the choice to get into action and not bail.

7. Get some feedback. If you can measure your success, whether in pounds or in how you feel, you're more likely to continue. Journal your activities, and write how you feel both physically and mentally. You may want to include a weight every other week, or take your blood pressure now and then. Looking back in your journal will be an inspiration to keep with your routine. It's hard to see progress when you're knee-deep in the trenches, but if you remember where you came from, you'll be inspired by your own actions and results.

8. Have a support team. Cheerleader's purpose is to keep a team motivated, and can even make a big difference in a professional game. Why not have your own? Mention what you're doing to a few key people in your life. If they have a positive reaction to it, include them in your special group of cheerleaders. Report your progress to them, and if you feel discouraged talk to them about it. This special team of yours may be just what you need to work through frustration or boredom. While you're at it, why not be a cheerleader to someone else?

9. Maximize your opportunities. It may take some thinking outside of the box, but look for ways to stay fit in every day living situations. Walk or ride your bike whenever possible. Stretch while you're watching television, or buy a fitness ball to sit on at your desk. Look at your world as an opportunity to get stronger, and be creative. This will allow fitness to be a natural part of your day, and will no longer seem foreign and overwhelming.

10. Knowledge + Action = Achievement. If you want to achieve a lifetime of fitness, you only need two things: the clarity of mind to know you need to keep active and the get-up-and-go to "just do it". One without the other will get you nowhere. And if you're reading this article, you're not the kind that is content with status quo.
 
 
9 Great Reasons to Drink Water, and How to Form the Water Habit


We all know that water is good for us, but often the reasons are a little fuzzy. And even if we know why we should drink water, it's not a habit that many people form.

But there are some very powerful reasons to drink lots of water every day, and forming the habit isn't hard, with a little focus.

The thing about it is, we don't often focus on this habit. We end up drinking coffee, and lots of soda, and alcohol, not to mention fruit juices and teas and milk and a bunch of other possibilities. Or just as often, we don't drink enough fluids, and we become dehydrated -- and that isn't good for our health.




Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

    Weight loss
    Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, first of all because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn't have any calories. But it's also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar. Drink plenty to help your weight-loss regimen.

    Heart healthy
    Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

    Energy
    Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired -- even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated -- and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.

    Headache cure
    Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it's simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

    Healthy skin
    Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won't happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

    Digestive problems
    Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).

    Cleansing
    Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

    Cancer risk
    Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

    Better exercise
    Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.

How to form the water habit.
So you're convinced that water is healthier, but you'd like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

    How much water?
    This is a debatable question. What's clear is that the old recommendation of "eight 8-ounce glasses a day" isn't right, for several reasons: that amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages; it also ignores a person's body weight, which is an important factor in figuring the amount; it also varies if you are sick or exercise. It's also not good to just drink when you're thirsty -- you're already dehydrated by then. Best is to form a routine: drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, a glass in between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty. A gallon a day isn't as far fetched as it may initially sound.

    Carry a bottle
    A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. Keep a glass of water at your desk, and drink from it all day long. When it's empty, fill it up again, and keep drinking.

    Set a reminder
    Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don't forget to drink water. There are tons of apps on today's phones that make this super easy! Don't underestimate the power of small things, to get you in the habit!

    Substitute water
    If you would normally get a soda, or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

    Filter
    Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It'll make tap water taste like bottled, at a fraction of the price.

    Exercise
    Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It's not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you're going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.

    Track it
    It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it -- it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you're staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass of water you drink.
 
 
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