Run For Your Life!

I frequently get questions along the lines of “what exercise burns the most calories” or “what exercise can I do to lose weight, or burn fat”, or what is the best exercise.

The next few posts will look at running as exercise and some pros and cons that go with running.

Before I dive too deeply into the benefits of running though, it’s important to remember diet is more important that exercise.   By that I’m referring to the food you eat and the approach you take to food and nutrition, not going on a diet!  A healthy diet is really all about eating healthy and nutritious foods as a part of a healthy lifestyle.  Remember, your body really does want you to eat right, and it might take a little time to recognize the signals it gives you, but your body is signaling you all the time about the foods you eat.

© Stressbooster | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock PhotosSo why do I recommend running?  Aside from the fact that I like to run and it’s one of my favorite fitness activities, one of the top reasons is that when people are ready to seriously confront fitness and to try to lose weight, you will be hard pressed to find any exercise that will give you as quick and dramatic result as running.  I highly recommend some moderation and common sense if you haven’t run before – don’t go out assuming you can run 5 miles on your first day!

But with the help of others, (and some good cheap or free training programs out there) you’ll find that running can quickly reward your weight loss efforts and that the pounds can start to drop off dramatically.

In some upcoming posts, we’ll look at how running can benefit you (not just losing weight), some suggestions on how to approach running (so that you won’t give up), and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it (and not sabotage your results).
Questions, comments – use the form below, I’d love to hear from you.

Don’t Give Up – Chart A New Course Instead!

A couple weeks into the New Year, and many people are either rethinking their New Year’s resolutions or are considering whether they should just give up altogether – they’ve already missed their goal so many times.

Adjust your resolutions if you need to; it’s more important to adjust and tweak your resolutions – even if you have to scale things

back – than to set such a high bar that you end up giving up all together.


Most people can identify things that they could add, subtract, or change in their life to be healthier.  The key to making lasting change is finding little changes to move you toward those goals; little changes that you can maintain that will consistently move you toward a healthier lifestyle.

If you made a big sweeping dietary resolution – consider scaling it back and making some small changes – and stage them; do them one at a time and build on your success.

If you made fitness or exercise resolutions, consider the same strategy; scale them back and build on your successes.  Instead of trying to hit the gym every day, start with three times a week. In the case of a specific activity (for example running) try going a shorter distance every other day – but do it consistently and build on your successes, and increase your frequency and/or distance over the course of the year.

Don’t abandon your resolutions, revise them to make them doable, and think about how much progress you will make and how it will feel at the end of the year if you take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle and build from there.

It’s a new year – now what?

Less than a week into the new year, many people are rethinking their New Year’s resolutions and thinking about whether they should give up on them already and considering how realistic they were in the first place.

Don’t give up!
Even if you’ve missed some days, you still have almost the entire year ahead of you.  I’d encourage you think about the positive Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photoscompounded changes you will be enjoying a year from now if you stick with it!  Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already broken your resolution – any positive movement forward you make moves you closer to your goal than you were last year.

You didn’t get to where you are today overnight, and you won’t reach your health goals overnight either.  The important thing is to keep moving forward and keep doing the good things that move you toward a healthier lifestyle.  You should also continue to review what other little steps you can take to move toward a healthy lifestyle.  Consistently keeping little changes will add up to big changes over time.

One of the best gifts

Each one of us has been given a marvelous body, and life itself.

One of  the best gifts you can give is the gift of health; taking care of your body and helping those that you love take care of theirs.
Do all that you can to make sure you can be around to enjoy your family and those you love by caring for your body and living a healthy lifestyle.   If you’re not there yet, there is no better day to start than today.  Choose one thing; one dietary habit, one lifestyle choice, one activity or exercise that can start you down the path to a healthier lifestyle today.loving couple in kitchen

If you are already there, come alongside a family member or loved one and help them make healthy choices today.  Don’t overwhelm them or guilt them into changing everything, but gently help them see that there the little things they can do to begin to move toward a healthier lifestyle – and they can take the first step by choosing one little thing today.

You want to be there for the ones you love, and you want the best for those you love; start today by taking a little step toward a healthier lifestyle (or helping a loved one).  You don’t have to change everything all at once, but you can move toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time.

Listen to your body – it wants you to avoid illness

Listen to your body – it sends you signals every day.

If you pay attention, it lets you know when you should stop eating, which foods agree with you or which foods cause you to not feel good, it lets you know when you should sleep, and when you should get up – and if you’re getting enough rest.  If you listen to the signals it gives you, it lets you when you’re exercising hard enough, and when you can push yourself a little harder.  It also sends you warning signals when you’re run down and when you are more susceptible to illness.

This time of year when people in the norther hemisphere spend more time indoors and there tends to be higher incidence of cold and flu, listening to the signals your body is sending (warning you) about impending illness is especially important.  Our bodies are amazing creations that not only provide defenses against potential illness, it also sends you warning signals when you are most vulnerable and potentially about to lose the fight to prevent illness.  There are two things you can do to benefit the most from these warning signals that your body sends out.Copyright (c) <a href=''>123RF Stock Photos</a>

1.  Learn to listen and pay attention to your bodies signals and the feedback it provides.  Many people have trained themselves to ignore the signals their body sends; this is true for many aspects of your body – including your immune system.  Unfortunately, many people have taught themselves to ignore the signals it sends – not just the scratchy throat, itchy eyes, and stuffy sinus, but even more subtle but important signals like slight chills, or strange headache, a general feeling of “not feeling well” or tummy that “doesn’t feel right.”
These are important signals that your body sends that you need to learn to notice if you want to avoid illness.  Kids are great at this – they will tell you when they “don’t feel well” or when they “don’t feel right”.  Many adults teach themselves to push these feelings off, and it might take a little time to learn to pay attention to these signals if you’re not attuned to listen to them any more.  This is a valuable first step in avoiding illness – but only if you take the next step.

2.  Stop and take immediate actions to avoid the impending illness.
These can be many and varied – as you learn to listen to your body, you also will learn the things that work best for you.  Often it’s just a matter of going home and getting in bed; don’t think you can just “push through the rest of the day and then get rest tonight” – think back – these are the times you wake up the next day sick, wishing you’d gone home to rest the day before.

While rest is probably the most important thing you can do so that your body is freed up to fight illness – there are many things you can do as well:  extra vitamin supplementation, extra chlorophyll or other detoxing agents, mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen peroxide in each ear for a few minutes, a hot bath to sweat out toxins (stay in there until you really sweat!), plenty of fluids, and positive thoughts.

Your body is talking to you all the time – most people just need to relearn to hear it, and then listen to what it’s saying.  This is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining and protecting your health.

Questions or comments?  I’d love to hear from you.

Want the secret to getting healthier?

Some people are on the constant hunt that one secret thing that will finally make everything right with their health.

There is one thing that will do that, but first I want to dispel a few myths.

There is no magical supplement, no secret diet, no hidden tropical food, no special dried berry, no forgotten African fruit, no secret workout routine, no fitness shortcut, no magic fatburner, no special supplement, no secret oil or any type of secret, hidden, forgotten, or new discovered secret that will unlock the path to great health.

Many people waste a lot of time and money trying one thing after another, hoping with each one that they will find the holy grail of health.  The secret (if there is one) is that there is no one thing that you need to eat, take or do that will unlock great health.

Copyright (c) <a href=''>123RF Stock Photos</a>There are many things you should avoid, some you should limit, and there are some foods and activities you should try to eat or do regularly.  The one key to unlocking your health is a healthy lifestyle.

There are several different good approaches you can use for good  as a part of your healthy lifestyle and many key components of a healthy lifestyle; nutrition and fitness are important parts of that, but not the only parts. In the next several posts we’ll take a look at some of the dietary plans you’ve asked about, and how they can work for you as a part of a healthy lifestyle.  Some of you have asked about specific diets (high carb, low carb, low fat, etc.)  – we will look at some of those specifically too. We’ll also look at how you can identify your goals to help find the dietary approach that works best for you.


Questions or comments?  Use the form below – I would love to hear from you.

I try being healthy but I always mess up – should I just give up?

I’ve met many people who have given up.  They tell me about how they have tried “being healthy” or tried to eat better or tried quitting junk food and messed up, so they gave up.  You probably know people who have planned big changes after a birthday, or as a New Years’ Resolution.  You might even be one of those people who started a new workout or fitness program that you gave up on a few weeks into the year.  It can be very discouraging when you want to be healthy but find yourself doing unhealthy things.

Chances are, either you’ve had this experience yourself or you know someone who has.  And if you have, it’s easy to feel doomed to an unhealthy.  My simple message to you:  Don’t give up!   Just because you got off track doesn’t mean your plans for a healthy lifestyle are totally derailed.

If you miss a day or two in your workout schedule or your new diet – don’t give up!  Don’t let a missed workout or two or a cheat meal or dessert keep you from continuing on toward your goal.  Taking one little step at a time toward a healthier lifestyle is much more important than taking no steps at all.
I like the phrase “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” as reminder that it’s more important to make some progress rather than none at all.  Stay focused on the good things you are doing rather than the mistakes you make along the way.

Questions or comments about this post?  Use the section below – I’d love to hear from you.

Start with your goals part three – what is really important to you?

This may be the most important part of what you need to do in order to begin to move toward a healthier lifestyle.  You have to decide what is really important to you – once you do this, you can begin to move toward it and eliminate the things that stand in your way.

You have to decide what is most important because that is will define what is not as important.  I know some people that can hardly ever pass a donut shop without stopping.  If donuts are your “thing” or you feel like you can never pass up chocolate cake, certain physical or fitness goals are probably out or reach.  If a certain level of physical health or athletic performance is your goal, it won’t seem like such a great sacrifice to give up some of the sugary treats and other things that you might otherwise eat.  To put it another way, think about whether the daily things you do from a dietary and fitness standpoint move you toward or away from a healthier lifestyle.   Did the dietary and exercise choices you made yesterday move you toward being healthier and feeling better, or was it just more of the same way you’ve done things for the last month, year or many years.

If your top priority is to wake up and feel healthy, strong and vital every day, to reduce illness and/or injury and to avoid the bad effects of the typical western diet, you begin the measure your meals and snacks and the things you do (or don’t do) against that goal.  I personally stay focused on how good I feel every day, and I don’t want anything to derail that or keep me from that.  In order to do this, I think it helps to keep this at the front of your mind with a simple phrase or reminder. 

If you’ve never felt that, or if you wake up not feeling good every day, I’d challenge you to consider changing your goals.  Don’t expect everything about your body and health to change overnight – because it won’t.  But you can begin today to make little changes that will move you toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time.  Remember that you didn’t get to where you are today overnight either.  Set your sights on a lifetime goal of healthy living and feeling good.


If you want to be healthier, start with your goals part2

Start with your goals part2, or why you need to ask yourself – what is “being healthy?”

The two most frequent questions I get when people talk to me about health and fitness are variations on:

  1. How can I lose weight?
  2. How can I get healthier?

It’s interesting to note that I don’t usually get questions about how to keep weight off or about what kind of healthy lifestyle will help you maintain a healthy weight.

(This is the root of yo-yo dieting; where people lose weight and then end up gaining back all the weight they lost – or sometimes even end up weighing more than they did at first.)  For this reason it’s very important to think about living at a healthy body weight rather than thinking about just losing a certain amount of weight or fat.

Body composition (muscle/fat) is also very important – it’s not just about losing weight.  This will be addressed in an upcoming post.

Also, I don’t usually get questions about maintaining a healthier lifestyle – the questions are usually about losing extra weight or losing fat and about getting “healthier” – not about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  This is the point of today’s post: you have to come up with a clear picture in your mind of what it means to have a healthier lifestyle.  This means you need to define what it means to be “healthier” thinking about it in terms of a lifestyle – something that you maintain.  This extends to all parts of your life:  diet, activity, fitness, stress, sleep, emotions, etc.

Once you can clearly picture what a healthy lifestyle looks like, you can begin reviewing your habits, diet, and different areas of your life and put a plan in place for a healthier lifestyle.  Make sure you read the upcoming posts for ways to clearly identify and define a healthy lifestyle and how to get there.

Questions or comments?  Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.


Start with your goals – part1

When you think about your health, diet, weight, fitness and overall lifestyle, the most important question you must ask yourself is  what are my goals The most common answers I get to this question are “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be healthy” or some variation of “I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”.

Most people want to be healthy, and for most Americans, losing weight would be a good thing; there are many secondary benefits to their health that would result from this.  Losing weight though – while a good thing – is not a destination.  The reason why diets don’t work is that while many people consider weight loss to be the goal or destination.  I think this is incorrect in the same way that if you are driving to New York to Florida, you need more of a goal than just getting to Florida – the vehicle, or the process of driving there or the highway that gets you there is not the end goal.   If you take this approach to weight loss as many people do with “diets” – you have the now what problem; what are you going to do once you get there?

This is true for weight loss as well.  It should be part of the process of reaching your goals for a healthier lifestyle – not THE end goal.    I think it is good to target certain milestones as a part of your overall plan – just don’t’ make the weight loss the end goal.  The unfortunate result of that for most people is that after they have lost the weight – they eventually go back to doing what they did before, eating they way they did before, and end up at their previous weight or even heavier.  Sound familiar – either in your own experience or in the life of someone you know?

One of the reasons this happens is that the motivation behind the goal is gone; you’ve lost the weight – you’ve “crossed the finish line” – you’ve reached your goal.  In my next post I’ll help you look at another important guideline that can help you combine weight loss goals to make lasting changes in your lifestyle.  Use the form below if you have any questions or comments – I’d love to hear from you!