Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Motivated” To Make Healthy Changes: Part 3

Part 2 of this blog series focused on the importance of scheduling time to exercise and practice healthy eating. This scheduling involves setting aside time not only to exercise but also to prepare healthy meals. I also stressed how important it is to stick to the schedule as often as humanly possible.

But what do you do if you are simply dreading exercise? Or if you are dying to take a nap on Sunday afternoon instead of doing meal prep?

TIP: Write Out the Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking a Healthy Action

Contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of a decision is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique that serves as a great reminder of why you were motivated to make healthy changes in the first place. The following represents an advantage/disadvantage square. In my experience, people who fill these out often decide to make positive, healthy choices. And with practice, you can easily do these in your head!

motivation square.jpg

As you can see, the advantages of exercising before work far outweigh the disadvantages. Sometimes, simple reminders like this are all you need to feel a bit more motivated. And if you happen to have a day where your disadvantages are greater than the advantages, this is a sign that you may need to take the day off to focus on other things (which is okay…it happens to EVERYONE).

The Bottom Line

You have the power to influence your motivation levels, so don’t wait until you feel motivated to make a positive change.  

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Topics: motivation goal setting healthy choices healthy eating exercising

Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Motivated” to Make Healthy Changes: Part 2

ThinkstockPhotos-652753748.jpgIn part 1 of this blog series, I emphasized the following points:

  • It’s natural to feel unmotivated. Many of us are juggling complex family and work lives, making it even harder to find motivation to exercise and eat healthy.
  • Don’t berate yourself for not feeling motivated. This type of negative self-talk can be counterproductive; Saying you are “lazy” or “bad” can decrease motivation.
  • Don’t wait until you feel motivated to make healthy changes. You could be waiting for a very long time.

If lack of motivation is the most common barrier to healthy eating and exercising regularly, then lack of time is a very close second. My next blog emphasizes the importance of having a consistent schedule when it comes to making healthy choices about exercising and eating.

TIP: Make a Schedule That Makes Your Goals a Reality

Someone once told me, “The difference between success and failure is your schedule. You need a schedule that makes your goal a reality.” Orienting your goals around your schedule is key to achieving success, primarily because the more consistently you exercise and eat healthy, the more results you will see. And the more results you see, the easier it will be to stay motivated.

Here are some tips on how you can maximize your schedule.

  • Identify the time of day that you are most consistently able to schedule exercise. This might be 5am before work or during your lunch break. Or perhaps the only extra time you have is while you wait for your kids to finish soccer practice. Regardless of the time, make it a point to schedule exercise on those days and STICK TO IT. Even if you can only fit in 20 minutes of exercise, those 20 minutes are better than no exercise at all.
  • Make time to do meal prep. I think this is THE most important factor when it comes to weight loss. After all, weight loss is achieved in the kitchen, not through exercise. Set aside time to prepare your meals for the week. Pre-preparing meals allows you to control portion sizes and have options readily available for days when you can’t control your schedule (like when your child gets sick or when there is a work-related emergency). It also makes it less likely that you order takeout.
  • Figure out what you are willing to sacrifice. You may need to shuffle your priorities to find time in your schedule to exercise. For example, how much time do you spend watching TV or surfing the internet? According to a recent report by Nielsen, the average American spends 4.5 hours watching live TV (not DVR-recorded shows) per DAY. If you have time to watch TV or surf the internet, you have time to exercise or do meal prep.

The Bottom Line

Create a schedule that will promote your success and stick to it as often as possible.

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Topics: motivation goal setting healthy choices healthy eating exercising

Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Motivated” to Make Healthy Changes: Part 1

When I ask people what prevents them from exercising and practicing healthy eating, one of the most common responses is, “I just don’t feel motivated.”

I’m here to tell you that you will never see the results you want to see if you wait to “feel” motivation.

I’m not saying this to be cruel or insensitive. I’m saying this because—in my experience—this is the reality of living a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and exercising on a regular basis is HARD. It’s even harder when you factor in how much time and energy you already dedicate to your family, work, and other personal pursuits (like educational or volunteer efforts). If you wait to feel motivated to make these healthy changes, you’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

Are there people out there who naturally feel motivated to eat healthily and exercise? Of course, but I’d be willing to bet that most of them had to learn to motivate themselves. How do you teach yourself to feel motivated? In this blog series, I share my thoughts about the links between motivation and healthy lifestyle choices. I also share a few tips and tricks on how to teach yourself to feel more motivated. Here is my first tip:

TIP: Give Yourself Permission to Feel Unmotivated

ThinkstockPhotos-829414944.jpgThat’s right, it’s okay to feel unmotivated! After all, it’s a natural feeling that extends to many aspects of our lives. How many of us really feel motivated to fold that last load of laundry? Or make our beds in the morning? Or write that last report of the month? At some point, we all struggle with motivation.

Many of my clients have expressed guilt or shame because they don’t feel motivated to exercise or eat healthy. I can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t berate yourself for feeling this way. Most of us aren’t skipping gleefully up to the front doors of the gym, bursting with excitement at the opportunity to sweat and push ourselves to our physical limits for a 60-minute spin class. Most of us are thinking about how tired we are, how we’re going to get our kids to finish their homework without a fight, how the house is a mess, or any of the five million other things that need to be done in any given day.

The same can be said for eating healthy: Most of us aren’t drooling in anticipation when we order plain grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli, especially when there are other savory options like hamburgers and pizza and French fries.

The Bottom Line

It’s natural to feel unmotivated, but you are not “lazy” or “bad” for feeling that way. What matters is how you address that unmotivated feeling. Watch for part 2 for more tips on how a schedule can help you feel more motivated.

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Topics: motivation goal setting healthy choices healthy eating exercising

5 Plyos for Cinco de Mayo

ThinkstockPhotos-468435785.jpgWhat’s better than chips and guacamole? Tacos and guacamole? Fajitas and guacamole? Or guacamole and a serving of guacamole with a little dish of guacamole on the side? Point is guacamole is amazing and what better way to celebrate the awesomeness of guacamole than Cinco de Mayo. If you plan on indulging in as much guacamole as I do this Cinco de Mayo then maybe a plyometric workout beforehand will keep your conscience at bay when asking your waiter/waitress for that third serving of guac. Here are my 5 favorite plyometric exercises for Cinco de Mayo:

5 – Squat Jumps

5 – Power Push-Ups

5 – Split Lunge Jumps

5 – Heavy Med Ball Slams

5 – Burpees

*Repeat these 5 times through, if you aren’t sure of how to execute these exercises here is a rundown for you:

Squat Jumps – Start with feet shoulder width apart. Lower body into a squat by bending at hips with your back straight, pushing your glutes back while looking forward.  Allow your arms to naturally swing back and with a quick pause at the bottom, push through your feet into a jumping motion. Swing your arms to straight up in the air, fully extending over your head. When landing, squat back to the lowered position and repeat.

Power Push-Ups – Start in push-up position with arms shoulder width apart. Keeping body straight, perform a push-up. On the way up, in an explosive motion, push your body up so your hands come off the ground. Resistance can be decreased by having knees on the ground.

Split Lunge Jumps – Stand with one foot forward and other foot back with knees bent slightly. Dip body down by bending legs lowering yourself toward the ground. Immediately jump upward quickly switching legs and landing with feet in opposite positions. Keep torso upright and hips straight forward. Repeat sequence with opposite leg movement.

Heavy Med Ball Slams – Hold a medicine ball with both hands and stand with feet at shoulder width apart. Raise the ball above your head fully extending arms overhead. Reverse the motion, slamming the ball into the ground directly in front of you as hard as you can. Receive the ball with both hands on the bounce and repeat the movement.

Burpees – Start standing with feet hip width apart. Squat down placing hands shoulder width apart on the floor. Jump both feet back into a push-up position. Perform a push up and immediately jump feet back into the squat position. Jump up from the squat position extending arms straight up. Land back on the ground and repeat.  For an easier version, eliminate the push up, you can also step your feet out and back to eliminate the explosive movements.

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Topics: employee health exercise fitness healthy choices