Posts tagged better food choices

Lessons from a crepe myrtle (weird, but worth the read)

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All fun and games until they are viciously attacking your sidewalk

It's been a life long dream of mine to write a fitness post crepe myrtles. Today that dream comes true.

 

There is a crepe myrtle in my backyard that has been plaguing me. It looks awesome, but it drops its petals on my sidewalk, they stick to the bottom of my shoe, and then I track them into my gym.

 

So I started off solving this problem by continually sweeping out my gym. Take that myrtle! As you can guess, that didn’t really solve the problem. I was sweeping those petals out every day.

 

So I really got smart and swept the sidewalk where the petals were sticking to shoes. Listen I didn’t graduate high school with a 2.3 GPA by being a dummy. But guess what? The petals just kept acomin down and that became my new daily sweeping chore.

 

But if I really wanted to solve the problem, I should the sweet spot where all this is coming from right? By trimming up the branches that hang over the sidewalk I could prevent all this from happening.

 

There is one caveat for that though. It is not my crepe myrtle. I can trim the ones that I can get to, but there are some that I can’t. I will just have to make it work.

 

I am a little slow in learning this stuff, but I see the same thing with people with their nutrition and exercise habits. People that try to exercise like crazy to overcome a poor diet.

 

Then they switch to strict nutrition habits, but then the exercise habit starts to fall off. It becomes too much to handle.

 

So how do you get to the sweet spot of exercise and nutrition? By changing your mindset.

 

Don’t try to outexercise a bad diet. That is impossible.

 

Don’t put yourself on some crazy, restrictive diet that makes you miserable. The sort term results you get are not worth it because it is not sustainable and you will gain all the weight back.

 

The sweet spot is found where you find some form of movement that you enjoy and you can stick to. Then you find a way of eating that nourishes your body, makes you feel good, and actually tastes good! When you add consistent, effective exercise to consistent, effective nutrition you start seeing tremendous results. And these are long term changes that will stick around.

 

Then there is the things that are out of your control, like rogue crepe myrtles, thyroid issues, or genetics. If you can’t control it and nothing you can do will change it, then it is time to let that go. You just do the best you can with what you got.

  Don’t get down on yourself and don’t use it as an excuse to quit. Just do your best and keep your focus on what you have the power to change.

How the sausage is made (weird motivation)

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If you want to become a vegetarian, I recommend you look into how sausage is made. You will probably become a vegetarian that day.

Nobody wants to think about the "behind the scenes" type of stuff that goes into making something. I went through a sausage making experience with my business this week.

I put out a video on Facebook this week called "Who we are and what we do" that explains kind of how boot camp works. This video was a little over one minute long. So that is how long it took me to put it up there right? Not even close.

That one minute video took me so many takes for so many different reasons. I stuttered, started talking nonsense (more than usual), I filmed half my face, and the list goes on and on. It took me 45 minutes to get one minute of content.

Then all you have to do is upload it right? Yep, that is if your internet is working. Anybody else have issues on Wednesday? Good times.

When I finally got my internet back and got the video uploaded, I worked on getting captions put on the video. Did you know that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched with the sound turned off? Now we both know and that is why I spent another 30 minutes figuring out how to put captions on the video.

What is the moral of this story? Other than hire someone who knows what they are doing.

The main point is this:

Even though it seems like it takes forever to see a tiny bit of progress, you are still moving forward! It is still working. You are doing something right, don't give up now.

Don't get discouraged because you "only" lost 4 pounds and it seemed like it took forever. 4 pounds of fat is about the size of a 2-Liter bottle. That is awesome progress!

 

Next time I do a video, I will be able to do it faster because I found out that a squat rack makes a great camera holder. And I will be more efficient at putting the captions on the video.

You keep at it too. I've seen it happen over and over for people. They are plugging away, plugging away, and then the weight and inches start coming off like crazy. That happens because they stayed the course, found out what exercises worked for them, what types of foods their body thrives on, and never gave up.

You can do it too, keep making sausage.

Skin in the game

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Are you familiar with the term “having skin in the game”? Most sources credit Warren Buffett for making it popular. He was talking about investing his own money into the first fund he started.

It basically means you are invested and committed to the process.  Because, let’s be honest, when something is free we do not place the same value on it as we do on the things that we pay for.

It is why I can’t go to buffets. Because I WILL get my money’s worth. No way would I eat that much if I went over to someone’s house for dinner.

That is why I put a price on the 28 Day Vegetable Challenge. Nothing crazy, just $15, but enough that the people participating in the challenge will take it seriously and really commit to it.

Committing to consistency is the main thing I am looking for. Consistently is the key whether you are eating vegetables, exercising, or any number of things you might want to improve.

28 days, 28 different vegetables and how to prepare them, why you should eat that particular one, how to prepare them, store them, and a daily recipe for each vegetable. The goal is to make it fun, add the accountability, and get you at least one new vegetable that you will eat on a consistent basis.

The challenge starts on Wednesday, June 28th. I would love for you to be a part of it. You can reserve your spot below:

 

28 Day Vegetable Challenge 

“Change your life in 8 minutes”

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Meal planning may seem monotonous (because it is), but the pay off is worth it. Think about what happens when you do not have anything planned a meal, time gets short, and you are hungry?

Fast food, pizza deliveries, microwave salt licks. (No Lean Cuisines are not good for you).

What if instead of spending 8 minutes a week looking into a fridge hoping healthy food would magically appear, you spent that time productively? Take some advice from dietitian Keri Glassman's article "Change Your Life in 8 Minutes".

Here is what she suggests doing with your 8 minutes:

-Write out your challenges for the week (birthday celebration, busy kid's schedule, girls' night out, etc.) and then write down a plan to overcome the challenges.

 

-Plan your dinners at home around your schedule for the week and then create a grocery list to go with them.

 

-Write a list for work snacks, and add them to your grocery list.

 

-Schedule exactly when you are going to go to the grocery store and then follow through.

 

I would add, you could spend your time ordering groceries on-line.

If you notice, not one of those is the actual food prep or cooking we all dread so much. This is formulating a food game plan for the week. It will save you time, money, and calories just by having some kind of plan.

If you do have time left in your 8 minutes, Glassman suggests you could:

  • Make a pitcher of iced lemon water to store in the fridge.

  • Chop the veggies you have around.

  • Mix a healthy salad dressing to keep in your fridge.

  • Portion out healthy snacks, like nuts, into little bags.

Nutrition is just like working out. When you have a game plan of what you are going to do, you get much quicker results without wasting your time. Make that plan today!

Overwhelmed and Discouraged

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In Monday’s post I talked about how discipline can equal freedom. Then I offered 4 tips on how to increase your self discipline.

 

Today I want to give you a little warning about what happens when you let your discipline begin to slip. This is something I have seen in my life as well as the lives of the people I work with.

 

Maybe you’ve been working really hard, so you decide to take a day off in your workout routine. Then you decide to take off a couple of more. Next thing you know, you have not exercised in a month and you feel awful.

The same thing can happen with healthy eating. You cut down on the shopping, prepping, and cooking food at home. That leads to more eating out and more fast food.

 

With both of these scenarios it gets harder to come back because you feel so far away from where you used to be. You dread starting over at your workouts and you can’t imagine fitting meal prep back into your busy schedule.

 

The best way to prevent this is to recognize when you first start to slip. Everyone needs rest days, so missing a workout here and there is no big deal. Eating out is not a problem and is a very enjoyable part of life. Just be cognizant of when the occasional deviation from the plan becomes a regular thing.

 

What about when you feel like you are so far away it’s not worth starting back? That is when you have to break things down into mini-goals. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.

 

A mini-goal could be exercising one day this week. Just one day! Maybe eating out one less time per week. One less day! You know you have found a great start back goal, when it seems so easy it is ridiculous. That is actually what you want!

 

It is all about creating mini-successes for yourself to build momentum and stay motivated. When you get to where you are consistently working out at least 1 day per week, add in another day. Eat out 2 fewer days per week, after 1 per week becomes an easy habit.

 

It’s never too late to get back in the game. There’s time, but why wait? Do something today, that your future self will thank you for.

Your spark can become your flame

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Sometimes all it takes is one little spark to ignite a flame. It's the same way with getting started on a healthy lifestyle. One action step at a time. Picking out a specific action and making it a habit. Think about what you would like to change the most. -Your weight? -Your endurance? -Your strength? -Your eating habits? -Your energy level? What is one thing you can do this week to ignite that fire and start conquering your struggles? Here are 20 examples of what that one thing could be:

1. Get the junk food out of your house 2. Set an alarm and stand up for 5 minutes every hour 3. Avoid fast food this week 4. Eat one healthy meal today 5. Take a 10-minute walk 6. Use a foam roller for 10 minutes 7. Floss (it adds 6 years to your life) 8. Stretch for 10 minutes 9. No liquid calories today (soft drinks, alcohol, coffees, etc…) 10. Commit to one workout

11. Turn the TV off and go to bed an hour earlier 12. Take 10 minutes of absolute quiet by yourself to de-stress 13. Find someone who will keep you accountable (friend, trainer, group) 14. Go buy some new workout clothes or shoes 15. Write down your goals where you will see them daily 16. Rather than creating excuses for not getting healthy, create a plan 17. Start a sleep routine you will do every night 18. Eat a vegetable you've never tried this week 19. Take a picture of yourself and do your measurements so you can track the amazing results you are about to achieve 20. Cut ties with a negative person (AKA energy vampire) in your life The list could be thousands of things, but I want you to think of one specific thing you will commit to TODAY to take action on. Pick something you know you can do, keep at it until it becomes a habit, and then target your next goal.

Let's get this fire started.

The dangers of that peanut butter life

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Most of these posts I write are lessons I am trying to teach myself and I think others could benefit from. Today’s post is no different.

I have two examples of how hidden calories can become a problem. The first one is one I did to myself, the second was one that I did to my wife.

Both of them involve... peanut butter.

Did that sound really dramatic? I hope so.

I noticed this week that I have a habit that could be dangerous if I was trying to cut down on my caloric intake. Every time I make my son a peanut butter sandwich I give myself a bite of peanut butter for the effort. That can add up considering that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is 200 calories.

I also make my wife protein shakes on a regular basis. She asked me how much peanut butter I used and I realized it was way more than she does when she makes her own.

Maybe an added 100-150 calories here and there does not sound like a big deal, but it can add up. Especially if you do it consistently over time. An extra 150 calories per day would lead to a 15.6 pound weight gain in a year.

Three things to learn from my mistakes.

First, is to watch out for the BLTs. The Bites, Licks, and Tastes that you put into your body. All the little bites you take when cooking, licking spoons, and other taste tests you do count.

Second, is that it matters who prepares your food. That is why it is crucial to prepare your food as often as you can. Restaurants do not have your waistline in mind when they prepare your food. Their main mission is taste, so calories can pile up pretty quick.

Third, is that small changes can work for you or against you. I mentioned above about how they can work against you. But those same pounds you put on, can be taken off by eliminating 150 calories/day. You could eat 150 calories less, burn 150 off, or a do a combo of the two.

PS- Peanut butter is still delicious, I regret nothing.

Are you making deposits or withdrawals?

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It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your life. Going to work, errands, social commitments, TV, etc... all take up time, energy, and focus. This leaves you with very little left in the tank to do something very important.

 

It is absolutely crucial to think about your future.

 

Will your future self thank you in 20 years for what you are doing now? That steady diet of fast food will probably get a now, while putting all that money into a 401k would get a yes.

 

Thinking long term also helps you avoid getting caught up in short term fad diets and fad workouts. Are you really going to NEVER have a piece of bread again? Is that crazy workout where you keep hurting yourself going to be part of your routine in 20 years?

This hits home for me because I keep getting hurt doing jiujitsu. Some little stuff like broken toes, up to bigger stuff like tearing a ligament in my knee a month ago. Well someone tore it for me, but I was there when it happened 🙂

 

My choice now is to quit or change the way I train at jiujitsu. The way I have been doing it is very physical, never wanting to tap out, and win at all costs mentality. Don’t think 60 year old me will be able to do that. I am choosing to train smarter, not harder.

 

The same thing applies to the way I treat my body overall. Performing more mobility/stretching, getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine. These are all things I am doing now that will pay off in later years.

 

A big goal for me is to be that spry old man that can run circles around the whippersnappers in the neighborhood. I want to be strong, fit, and pain free for as long as I possible can.

 

Look at the choices you are making as bank transactions. Are you making more deposits or withdrawals in your long term health account?

Self Delusion is good for you

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I was listening to author A.J. Jacobs talk about his creative process when he is writing. He is a really interesting guy and goes all in with his book projects. One of his books is his saga of trying to follow every rule in the Bible for a year and another one where he read all 33 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

 

You would think a guy like that would have no trouble with writer’s block, but it happens to him quite frequently. He has a simple, but effective technique he uses to combat writer’s block.

 

He just sits down and starts writing.

 

The writing could be complete nonsense, but the physical act of writing gets the creative juices flowing. The old fake it until you make it technique.

 

He based his actions on this quote by Habitat For Humanity Founder Millard Fuller:

 

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”

 

That is a great point! Your mind will eventually catch up to your actions, but you have to start first.

 

Science has proven that if you are upset, but if you can force your face into a smile it will trick your brain into becoming happier. Or if you are feeling insecure in a situation, ask yourself “What would a confident person do?” Then do whatever you come up with!

 

This all sounds crazy, but I have seen it come true over and over with exercise. It’s been proven both with myself and with my boot campers. I tell my clients, to just show up and the magic will happen. If you make it to the workout, you will make it happen.

 

Try asking yourself questions that are framed by your goals. Questions like “What would someone who loves to exercise do here?” or “What meals would a really fit person prepare today?”

 

It's only crazy if it doesn't work.

It’s that time of year…

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Did you know that now is when you see the most dramatic drop off in gym attendance every year? For whatever reason the third full week in February is when most resolutions are over.

If you have given up on the goals you have set for yourself, it’s not too late! There is plenty of 2017 to go, you just need to recalibrate.

Your first step is to find out what went wrong. Did you choose a goal that just sounded good, but not one you were committed to? Did you set too many goals? Did you have the right goal, but it turns out you hate working out?

It could be several different reasons why things did not work out. No pun intended.

Your second step is to figure out a new game plan. Don’t think about having to commit to the rest of the year. Set a goal for the next 4 weeks. As legendary SEAL Joe Maguire says, “Don’t look forward to the pain.” More on that in Friday’s e-mail.

Your third step is to figure out the most enjoyable way you could reach your goals. What types of exercise do you actually enjoy? Roller skating, yoga, swimming, hiking, lifting weights, shaking weights? Pick something you look forward to.

The fourth step is to do the same thing with food the next four weeks. Find some healthy foods that you like. They are out there I promise, you may have to do some experimenting. Or if you prefer you can start with the food first, then try the exercise in the fourth step.

Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to make you miserable. On the contrary it should make you feel energized and excited! You just have to find what works for you, even if it isn’t the typical “go to the gym, eat foods you hate but are super healthy, and look great but hate your life” tract that people get stuck on.

 
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