Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Ultimate Motivator

Let's face it we all need a boost in motivation to push ahead sometimes and stick with the plan. The ultimate in motivation is progress! Look back to yesterday, last week....did you make better food choices? Did you stick with your workout plan? Give yourself a pat on the back, set goals for today and attack your plan with a renewed motivation to achieve those goals.
Progress can be measured in so many ways....do you find you need to tighten your belt another notch? Better yet are you in need of a shopping trip for a smaller size? And don't forget progress regarding your attitude, have you have a more positive spin on the obstacles that have gotten in your way? Do you have a healthier relationship with food? Do you still see exercise and healthy eating as another chore on your to-do list or have these become part of your identity? Living a healthy lifestyle needs to be part of you, not something you do.
While the changes in attitude are harder to objectify, let's take a look at some objective means of seeing physical progress towards your goal of living  a healthy lifestyle. A valuable tool is using your eyes...looking in the mirror each day or even better take pictures. The day to day changes are hard to see but compared side by side with a photo from last month? What an incredible boost of motivation for continued compliance with the plan. I never really realized the benefit of taking photos (seemed silly as you are also probably thinking right now) but I am a firm believer of their benefit after surprising myself with the progress I made over the Challenge when comparing my before and after photos. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop These changes the result after only 49 days!
SLIM GUIDE SKIN FOLD CALIPER REDBe wary of watching the scale to judge your progress. You may find it very frustrating to base progress solely on scale weight loss, particularly if you have included a weight training component to your program  and you should as strength training  is important in achieving a healthy lifestyle. Scale weight may not change very quickly, particularly if you are new to resistance training as you are adding lean muscle mass to your frame, this can  increase scale weight! This can lead to frustration, seemingly not seeing progress because the scale is not going down. Enter body composition analysis, sounds expensive and complicated, it can be, but it doesnt' have to be. Inexpensive body fat calipers can be purchased online, allowing self testing at home. Their accuracy may not be astounding but certainly sufficient to monitor progress when used consistently. During the Challenge my scale weight decreases plateaued but body fat testing revealed consistent progress! And the proof is in the pictures!
So, where do you stand? Are you making progress? With a critical eye, take a honest look at yourself, how far you have come, are you moving closer to achieving your goals?  Make new goals and adjust your plan! Look back and find motivation in your progress!

Try these home assessment tools:


Saturday, January 15, 2011

49 Day Body Transformation Challenge Complete!

Proud to say I have successfully completed the 49 Day Body Transformation Challenge, final pictures, stats and essay have been submitted. I am incredibly pleased with the physical changes I have witnessed over the last 49 days! I am stronger physically and mentally and pleased to announce I have conquered emotional eating and mindless snacking! At the start of the Challenge, I quit cold turkey with all sweets and snack foods, incredible test of will but I made it and what a difference! Energy levels higher and stabilized and the transformation began! I soon saw abs I have never seen. I must admit even I was amazed by the difference when viewing my after photos. I lost more than 7 pounds and almost 4% body fat and all that without the benefits of "newbie gains," the changes witnessed in other challengers new to weight training was impressive!  It was incredible to read the journals of other challengers, watching their transformations. As part of the final essay Tom Venuto posed the question of why you deserved to win and most challengers responded with comments about what they had already won in a better life and better health, few actually stating their case for winning the trip to Maui! A great group of people with incredible drive to better themselves while reaching out to support others.

What is most incredible is the difference in mindset and general outlook on life. I look at everything in a much more positive light and face challenges with a greater desire to conquer them rather than turn to the easy path.  Meeting the goals that I set for myself has been empowering, already achieving a physique I never imagined I could achieve.  I continue to push forward towards new goals with renewed motivation and enthusiasm. This was certainly not just a body transformation, as success in a transformation to a healthy lifestyle and resulting healthier physique requires a change in mindset and attitude towards food and exercise. I have a much healthier relationship with food, realizing the difference between physical and emotional hunger and eating what my body needs for fuel.  Being fit and eating healthy are not simply something I do but are part of my identity.

I am regular people, a mom, wife and work a full time job. I didn't let the excuses win, I chose to conquer the challenges and make a positive change and what a change! Don't put exercise on your to-do list as we all know that list is always long and growing, you must make your commitment to your health part of your day, be honest and look at the list, others things can wait until tomorrow. Believe me, I understand it is hard to find time and energy to make changes as they can be very intimidating but I can tell you first hand I am so much better for having pushed a little outside the comfort zone.

I share this transformation in the hopes to inspire you to make it a mission to improve your health. Sit down today and make a plan, set your goals and work towards achieving them...everyday. It takes consistent effort but remember those bad habits took time to become habits just as the new healthy habits will also take time. But the payoff....I can't explain it, you have to experience it! I came out of this challenge with a renewed motivation and a more positive outlook on life in general. I find myself drafting new goals from what used to be lofty dreams. Sure I am thrilled with my new physique but I have gained so much more than a 6 pack during this experience. Today is your Day 1, set your goals, commit to make healthy changes in your diet and exercise program and promise yourself to give it your all for 49 days! As for me, I'm setting new goals and looking forward to the Summer Challenge, maybe you'd like to join me?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Progress update...

Completed week 6 of the Transformation challenge, only 1 more week to go! No change in scale weight again this week but all other stats still moving in the right direction! Body Fat % down to 16.96%, goal achieved! Set out to get under 17%, ok, so it's just under 17 but this Challenge ain't over yet. Feeling good, energy levels high and kicked butt on cardio this morning! Lifting heavy things at the gym and seeing more muscular definition since the start of the Challenge. This was definitely the kick in the butt I needed. Working hard but having GREAT time! Stay tuned for final results post next week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Are YOU ready for Success?

You keep telling yourself you want to lose fat and get fit, live a healthy lifestyle!  Here's the secret* YOU have to WANT it BAD! You have to live it! Doesn't matter who tells you you have to do it or even if someone spells out how to do it...YOU have to WANT to do it.
The fat loss journey is a difficult one, we are surrounded by food in our daily lives, we have to learn to have a healthy relationship with food. To be successful in fat loss food needs to be considered fuel, not comfort or something that we turn to (unconsciously) when stress or boredom present themselves. We need to be aware at all times of what we put in our mouths, this requires at least a period of time (that may be eye opening and painful) where portions must be painstakingly measures and written down (as soon at it goes in the mouth, amazing what amnesia we develop about what we ate even a few hours later). Journaling is a fantastic tool to learn the truth about what we are consuming, not only the physical amount/quality of what we are eating but you will learn a tremendous amount about WHY you are eating when you have be accountable at the end of the day. You will then have to admit to yourself that it is in fact only you that can make your fat loss journey a success. NO ONE else decides what you eat. Is it hard? Absolutely! Is it worth it? Absolutely! Your mental and physical health depend on it!
Proud to say I have lead a relatively healthy lifestyle...for the past 3 years I have been training with weights regularly (yes, even found gyms while on vacation!) I drastically changed my diet for the better including swapping out for whole grains and lower fat foods, portioning, and always packing snacks so as to always be prepared with healthy options.  Admittedly, I have still learned a lot with joining this 49 day Transformation Challenge! Didn't really realize how, slowly, I had let little things lapse...portion distortion, a treat here and there. Joining the Challenge kicked my butt into gear, journaling food, changing food combinations etc and broke through a weight loss plateau that has been in place for a LONG time! I overall feel much better with more energy and a more positive attitude about everything!
The fat loss journey is not necessarily about eating less but about eating better! The first step is to take an honest look at the fuel you are feeding your system. Be honest and then decide that you are ready to be successful, no more excuses, no more starting tomorrow! Don't waste time getting prepared to start, just start and promise yourself to make each day healthier than the day before.  So, tell me...are YOU ready?

Some helpful tools:
The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscles, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight
BodyMinder Workout and Exercise Journal (A Fitness Diary)
Taylor Biggest Loser 6-1/2 Pound Kitchen Scale with Glass Platform