Another year and another opportunity to make a new year’s resolution only to let yourself down again…..or not! Every year we make resolutions to improve our lives somehow but in all reality the high majority of us will fail by the middle of January; about 92% of us, yes, you read that right, 92%! Now why is that? Well as we hear with many things, it’s ALL in your head! I have outlined 7 things you can do to help you gain your health back this New Year and the first one will help you in your life in general!
CLEAR YOUR MIND!
So you have decided to make a change towards a heathier, brighter future; GREAT! But where do you start? I always suggest, before anything else, to take part in a clearing exercise. When you make a big change to your life, your mindset is one of the most important things to consider. The second you start to doubt yourself, you have lost. You need to remove all negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones!
The first step towards this is to make a list of all the negatives in your life. This can be ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING; it could be something that you don’t like about yourself (e.g. your love handles), those feelings and thoughts that you wouldn’t dare to tell anyone, or worries about your future. Any worries you have or negative thoughts that you encounter, write them down; no one is judging you for this and neither should you!
Next, create a second list made up entirely of positive thoughts. Write down your positive attributes, dreams and aspirations! I know you have them because you are reading this book right now! It may be weight that you want to lose or to simply look better in your birthday suit. You may want to gain more confidence to impress the new object of your desires. It may be career based or something to do with your family. Whatever it is, no matter how crazy, if it’s positive, WRITE IT DOWN. You now have the two lists sitting in front of you and it is time to choose your new path to positivity.
This next step is fun and incredibly satisfying; it is time to get rid of those negative thoughts. Pick up the piece of paper with your negative thoughts and rip it, shred it, or maybe even BURN it! I don’t care how you do it, just GET RID OF IT! Remove it from your life; remove all the negativity that has been weighing you down.
Didn’t that feel good!? How easy it was to get rid of all of those negative thoughts and feelings. Now that they are gone you are in control of your life. It is time to focus on the future and the person that you WANT to be. Keep the positive list and look at it regularly. Whenever you feel bad and find yourself in a funk take out your positive sheet of goals; look at it and remember why you have decided to make a better life for yourself. Make sure you keep sight of your goals at all times because it is easy to lose them in this busy world in which we live. We are only on this planet once so live out your dreams!
TALK IS CHEAP, START NOW!
It is so easy to postpone taking action; how many times have you said ‘oh, I’m going to start next week’ or ‘I’m starting on Monday’. WHY WAIT? START NOW! What is so special about Monday anyway? ‘Joey I’m going to start eating healthier in a few weeks, but until then I will eat whatever I want!’ Why make things harder on yourself!? As mentioned above the most popular example of this is the start of the New Year; it can be fantastic to set yourself a goal for the year ahead, but in reality 92% of resolutions fail by January 15th. It is great that you changed your life for two weeks, but what if you could change your life forever? I believe that new year’s resolutions set us up for failure because they are not well planned and are typically abandoned very quickly; besides you won’t feel so bad about giving up since its what’s ‘supposed’ to happen! Realistically, if you are putting off your goal, saying you’ll start in two weeks rather than today, it may be because you don’t really have the focus or true intention to achieve it. Talk is cheap, and you should give yourself more credit. If you really want to change your life, there is no better time than NOW to take action!
Abs are made in the Kitchen, so you must SAY NO TO DRUGS!
What?! I’m talking about refined sugar and processed carbohydrates. Refined sugar is rapidly digested by our systems as opposed to complex carbohydrates. For the most part the more processing involved in producing a carb, the faster it digests and turns into sugar. Foods like bagels, dinner rolls, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, fat-free muffins (lots of fat free foods add sugar), candy (obviously), cold cereals, rice cakes and fruit juices require one or more processing steps to manufacture; creating an environment for the carbohydrate to hit the bloodstream quicker than slow-digesting carbs. This causes an insulin spike (blood sugar goes up) creating an environment that is undesirable for most individuals resulting in a high potential for fat gain and can lead to metabolic problems such as insulin resistance and diabetes. There is one exception where you may want to have these foods…..really Joey when?….see below….
If you are going to “Cheat” cheat at the right time!
If you are lifting weights, doing sprints, high intensity exercise, and/or doing resistance training, carbs need to be taken in to help aid the recovery of your muscle, joints, and tissues. This is the ONE time (IF YOU ARE GOING TO) when you can consume a HIGH CARB and high glycemic food, nice! A great option is a potassium rich food like a banana, coconut water, or white potato coupled with a protein shake (see previous hack). These are great because your potassium reserves will inevitably be shot from an intense workout session. Potassium, among other nutrients like calcium and sodium are key minerals which play a role in muscular energy. You may also opt for some white rice with some protein powder mixed in it (add water or cashew milk) to create a delicious rice protein pudding. You can even have some white bread with a protein shake or a sandwich with lean protein. One thing you do NOT want to do though is have a lot of fiber or fat post weight training as this will limit the insulin spike; which we WANT after a weight training session to help deliver nutrients into the muscle. An insulin spike is NOT necessary post weight training but it will be helpful for you muscle recovery, growth, and repair.
Now if you are really looking to indulge (NOT RECOMMENDED) this is the BEST TIME to do so! I tell people to get a good percentage of their daily carbs post resistance training; about 30% so they can replenish their muscles and avoid fat gain. *Do NOT do this post cardio session as you don’t want to spike your insulin level as this will halt any fat burning effort by your body.
‘We can sleep when we are dead’ is the saying; right? WRONG! Too many people these days miss out on vital sleeping hours and seem to forget just how important sleep can be. Sleep is just as important as any other part of your life and possibly the MOST important thing you can do for your health! Both the quantity and the quality of sleep play a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing.
Sleep is the only time that your body gets to fully relax and re-energize. There is a reason why you wake up feeling tired when you haven’t had enough quality sleep; your body hasn’t had enough time to recuperate and get ready for the next day!
Sleep allows you to achieve a process called ‘consolidation’. Your body may be relaxed while you are asleep, but your mind is surprisingly active; and this can help when you are learning something new. For example, if you are learning a new topic at school or you are learning a new language, sleep will help to cement everything you have learned (when awake) into your brain!
Sleep can actually help you live longer! It is thought that people who cut short their sleeping hours may also be shortening their lives. Interestingly, this can also happen to people who sleep too much, crazy right? It’s all about balance; 7-9 hours of sleep per day is the perfect amount for the average adult who wants to stay healthy!
Sleep also reduces the risk of some health problems! C-reactive protein is normally associated with heart attack risk and the levels of this tend to be higher in people that get less than SIX HOURS of sleep. Achieving the recommended amount of sleep is also said to decrease inflammation; inflammation can ultimately cause arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. If you thought that sleep wasn’t important before, I hope you are starting to now think otherwise!
Finally, a little known fact about the human body is that sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain! As a direct result, those that get a healthy amount of sleep find it significantly easier to lose weight. When we are tired our hormones go up in our blood, the same hormones that drive our appetite!
JUST SAY NO TO BULLIES!
-According to a study by Cornell University over the holiday season from October-January the average American gains 1.3 pounds. Now that may not seem like a lot for most people but when you consider the average weight gain in a year is 1.1-2.2 pounds (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23638485)!
You need to get used to saying the word ‘no’! Say it now! Say it aloud, shout it if you want to; three times! NO, NO, NO! Now, this isn’t necessarily just about saying no to unhealthy foods, this is about saying no to people who are trying to get you to eat unhealthily. Of course, we should try to remove all negativity from our lives but even the positive people may still try and get us to go against our diet; but we are NOT having it! Who would’ve thought when we became adults (at least in age) that we would still run into bullies! People want to get us to be like them and try to bully us into eating bad! Instead of saying I want that but I can’t eat it, change your mindset and say I CAN HAVE THAT, but I DON’T WANT IT! Maybe a family member is trying to get you to have a second slice of dessert or more than one glass of wine, tell them ‘no’ and then move on. Once you let them know that you are strong and you will not be folding, they will soon back down and no longer ask. Just say NO!
TUSHY SQUEEZE for a great booty!
. Get that booty in shape with the “tushy squeeze” only 30 seconds a day! Do the squeeze before your cardio and weight training sessions (examples as needed).
We are living in a time where everyone (well, mostly everyone) wants to have a nice thick booty. But (pun intended) we have an epidemic of people with weak glutes. If your butt is not firing (activating) while working out (or even walking for that matter) this can be the root of your back pain. Your glutes need to work correctly to take the load off of your lower back. Fix that by squeezing your butt 30 seconds a day! Doing this can get your glutes to fire properly, take away pain from your lower back, and get your butt ready for a leg intensive work out!
✓ Here’s how: simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart, feet turned out slightly. Now squeeze your butt like you are trying to hold a quarter between your cheeks. At the same time squeeze your abs and tighten your fists as hard as you can. Squeezing all of these simultaneously will give a better muscular contraction known as muscular irradiation. Hold the squeeze for 30 seconds (believe me this is hard), remember to breathe, and after all is said and done you will have a higher neuromuscular capacity, limit injury to your spine, and quite possibly have a better tushy!
For more tips like this and to get your New Life off to the right start pick up my book on Amazon, Ibooks and Kindle here for 28% off:
For my WGN Segment talking about a few of these points:
To YOUR life, to YOUR health,
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