It’s here! The Dietitian on a Diet/i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness giveaway challenge begins today! To participate for the chance to win a beautiful goal-tracking planner/journal from The Simple Elephant, planner stickers, and a set of Papermate Inkjoy pens, follow Dietitian on a Diet on Instagram or like Dietitian on a Diet on Facebook, and follow the instructions on my giveaway post
Today’s challenge: DREAM BIG! Choose an area of your life (could be wellness, career, family – anything!) you’d like to work on, and dream big for your future! Take some time and be detailed! Don’t let your past fears or failures get in the way today. Imagine if you had absolutely no barriers and could achieve anything you wanted, what would this area of your life look like? As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf once said, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
For me, I’m dreaming big about the future of my blog and business. I would love to help more people live the healthy lives they dream of! One of the specific ways I want to do that in 2018 is to fill my readers’ requests for a Dietitian on a Diet/i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness cookbook! My dream big: I would have a fun, user-friendly cookbook with a variety of at least 100 healthful recipes that is available as a physical book or e-book. The cookbook will also help readers learn the thought processes behind eating well – that way they can build the confidence to play with healthful food in their kitchen beyond the recipes in the book itself! If I’m really dreaming big, the cookbook is a hit and (side bonus) becomes a steady source of passive income for my family.
Your turn: pick an area of your life, dream big about your future in that area, and post/comment away! Remember you can double your chances of winning by making two separate goals: one on Facebook and one on Instagram!
Join me for a 2018 goal-setting challenge on Facebook and Instagram – play on both and you’ll DOUBLE your chance of winning! The challenge starts 12/26 and will run until 12/31. I’ll post some goal-setting tips, you’ll set a goal, and someone will win this beautiful goal-tracking planner/journal by The Simple Elephant and a set of Papermate Inkjoy pens!
Like Dietitian on a Diet on Facebook and follow Dietitian on a Diet on Instagram for all the details!
The kids are back in school, the weather is cooling down, and all the stay-at-home parents let out a big sigh – some time! All to yourself! What to do with it?
The start of school is a great time to start a new plan to improve your health. Create a new routine early on, and you’ll be on the straight and narrow to the healthy life you want. Here are 5 simple steps to help you get started.
1. Dream a little. If your life was exactly the way you imagine it to be – if you could be anything, feel any way, and do whatever you dreamed of, what would your life look like? Spend part of this time focusing specifically on your health and fitness. It doesn’t matter how unrealistic your dream may seem, you can address details later. This is time to think BIG.
2. Be honest. Now take some time to honestly and realistically assess the current state of affairs. What do your life, health, and fitness look like now? How much time do you devote to your health? Do you worry about your health or does your health limit the things you want to do? Take note of where things are at now. Compare your big dreams to your current reality. What’s different? Ask yourself what would need to change in order to gradually head you in the direction of your dream. Don’t anticipate that you will achieve the dream in weeks or months – the goal is to always be moving toward the dream.
3. Select your long-term goals. Choose some realistic goals (1-2 is usually a good number) to achieve in the next 3 months. Make sure these are designed to head you toward your dream. Give yourself a deadline to complete them! Note: If one of your goals is to lose weight, 1-2 pounds per week is a safe and realistic amount of weight to lose. Losing faster than that can cause some major long-term negative effects on your metabolism, and can cause you to lose muscle.
Examples of long-term goals:
Lose 20 lbs by December 15, 2017.
Play outside with my grandkids for 30 minutes without feeling fatigued by November 15, 2017.
Run 6 miles without stopping by January 1, 2018.
Lower morning blood sugars to less than 120 mg/dL 5 days out of 7 by December 31, 2017.
4. Break it down farther. Time to break the long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals (2-4 is a good number). These are the things that you will do on a daily or weekly basis that will inch you each day a step closer to your dream. Be very specific – instead of making a goal to “eat healthy,” say “eat 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day.” That specificity makes it easy to track and gives you a very clear target. Another key piece? Choose things that won’t make you miserable!
Examples of short-term goals:
Use a calorie tracker to eat 1600-1800 calories per day, 5 out of 7 days per week.
Begin walking 10 minutes per day, 3 days per week. Increase by 5 minutes per week to goal of 30 minutes per day.
Complete a Couch to 5K training plan.
Focus on limiting carbohydrate intake to 30-45 grams per meal.
5. Now go get your dream! Be diligent and faithful to complete your short-term goals. Share your goals with a couple of people close to you (or your 500 closest Facebook friends!) to help hold you accountable. If you need extra support, knowledge, or resources to create or meet your goals, find a Registered Dietitian, exercise physiologist, or personal trainer to assist you.
Once you’ve done these five things, lather, rinse, and repeat! The key is to continually create new goals – keep dreaming, keep setting goals, and keep smashing them. If you miss one, make a new one or try again. This is your one and only life and body – don’t give up on them!
Since my husband and I have met our wellness goals, we are not ready to watch our bodies creep back to where they were, but rather to maintain the progress we’ve made and go even further. How do we avoid becoming another statistic for weight regain or resume our couch-potatoing, Christmas cookie-eating ways? The vital keys to long-term success lie before and after the hard work of reaching your goals.
Key #1: Before you change anything
Decide carefully how you will achieve your goals. For many years, scientists have been studying methods for weight loss to find the “best” way to get pounds off. The surprising result of a lot of this research is that so many methods work. A lot of nutritionists have taken to saying, “diets don’t work.” It might be semantics but in general, if the goal is to lose weight – most fad diets do work. Whether it’s low carb, low fat, low calorie, or portion control – weight typically comes off.1-5 If they didn’t work at all for losing weight, word would get around pretty quickly and they would never become popular.
Here’s the kicker (besides that many fad diets aren’t safe): the statistics for maintaining weight loss after a diet are horrendous. Long-term studies show that five years after short-term diets the result is an average regain to anywhere from a net loss of only 6 lbs to a gain of 10-21% of pre-diet weight.2,6 Yikes!
Many fad diets can be extreme, overly restrictive, or just plain miserable (or option d, all of the above). Most people beginning a diet program are willing to commit to short-term pain for long-term gain. Unfortunately, the reality is that long-term dieting is generally not sustainable, and weight loss from short-term dieting is temporary.
But fear not – all hope is not lost! The National Weight Control Registry is comprised of people who have successfully lost at least 30 lbs and kept it off for at least a year, though most participants have lost an average of 72.6 lbs and kept it off for more than 5 years.7 Their participants report that ongoing, long-term participation in sustainablehabit changes has been key to their success, as opposed to radical, short-term dieting. You can read more about their habit changes at the National Weight Control Registry website.
All these studies show that a pivotal ingredient for long-term success with wellness, weight loss, muscle gain, or any habit change is sustainability. One of my favorite quotes sums up the wisdom behind this:
“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon
Some may wonder what the last phrase has to do with wellness, and personally I believe it is vitally important (and apparently so did Spurgeon since he tacked it on there), so I included it. Regardless of how you feel about God, however, the sentiment is to not even begin a habit change that you can’t commit to long-term. Find changes that work with your lifestyle, not against it.
Recognize that temporary habit changes create temporary results. You can tweak them, change them, or adjust to the fluidity of life as needed, but if your habit changes disappear completely, so will the fruits of your labors.
Key #2: After you’ve met your goals
You’ve done it, congratulations! You’ve met your goal! You’ve placed a new brick in the healthy foundation upon which you can continue building the life you want. Guess what? You’re not done! If you want to continue to enjoy the benefits of your progress, you must grab hold of the second key to long-term success:
Always have a goal and a sustainable plan to achieve it.
Achieving a goal merits celebration, and also the exciting task of deciding what your next goal will be. It doesn’t have to be intense – your goal could be maintenance and your plan might be walking – but you need to have both or you’ll watch all your hard work and health benefits slip away. Living a healthy life is swimming upstream in our culture – you can not coast into good health.
So what’s next for Charlie and me?
My new goal: Maintain cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Gain strength and muscular endurance (I want to be able to do 10 pull-ups or rock climb for an hour without getting pooped).
My new plan: Mindful, intuitive eating along with 30-40 minutes of cardio twice weekly, strength training 4 times weekly, and 10-20 minutes of yoga 5 days per week.
Charlie’s new goal: Maintain cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Gain strength (he wants to be able to save people from burning buildings and stuff).
Charlie’s new plan: My Fitness Pal (with his calorie and macronutrient needs adjusted since he’s building muscle now), 30-40 minutes of cardio twice weekly, strength training 4 days per week, and 10-15 minutes of yoga before each workout as well as a longer practice twice weekly.
Have a goal of your own but need help finding a sustainable plan that fits your lifestyle? Contact me or schedule an appointment to start building a healthy foundation for the life you want!
You lucky readers! Today’s post is a guest post by my charming husband Charlie! He’ll be giving you the background on how he set his goals. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
Charlie’s Assessment Results:
Body Mass Index
Body fat %
Muscular endurance (push-up)
Muscular endurance (curl-up)
Well, I’m was somewhat surprised by the results of the assessment. While I knew I’d been carrying around an excess of weight, I never think of myself as physically fit or in good cardiovascular shape. I do work out on a regular basis but it’s more of a sporadic schedule – I have not had a specific focus in some time, so I’ve basically just been sampling from the buffet table of exercise – and from the actual buffet table, it seems, based on my numbers. I’m at least 15 lbs overweight at the moment and my flexibility has suffered. My cardio is actually pretty good – but I tend to train that more often than I do anything else.
Charlie’s Story: About 5 years ago, I realized my health might actually be important! I was a truck
driver at the time – working 12+ hours a day, eating terribly, sleeping little and being quite inactive when I was not working. I started having back and knee issues – mostly due to sitting so often and being overweight. So I started working out – slowly at first, building endurance and strength, and increasing as I could. Eventually, I started using the P90x program and watching my food intake, which helped a lot! Once I completed that, I started weight training – heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, etc. – compound exercises, mostly. This fixed all my health issues!
Fast forward a few years – during which I began/achieved my quests to become a Firefighter/EMT and a husband – and my diligence in keeping my physical fitness at top level has dwindled. I still work out several times a week, but not with the intensity I used to. Added to that is the fact that I haven’t been regulating my diet in any way for a couple of years. Poor habit + poor habit = poor results. So, time to fix it!
Charlie’s Other Concerns: I have a history of knee surgeries and issues that I don’t want to exacerbate by ignoring my health. As stated above, I’ve had more issues/pain in my knees as my weight goes up, historically, than when I’m lighter or more active, so I need to keep my weight in check.
While my health is clearly important, equally so is my fitness for my career – and the folks I serve. I have a responsibility to the public to be capable of getting someone out of a burning building! Also, ever tried dragging a charged fire hose through a house? No picnic, that. And, while that, admittedly, is not a particularly frequent event, it’s a possibility. More often, though, I’m helping someone who has fallen and needs assistance or lifting gurneys with sick folks – and that takes strength, flexibility and conditioning, too.
And my pants are more snug than they used to be. That’s annoying. I like my pants. I don’t want to buy new ones.
Charlie’s End Game: My end game will essentially have me back in “fighting shape” – lighter on my feet, more flexible and with more practical strength than just weightlifting strength. I’ll be able to button my pants without thinking about shopping for a bigger size. And it involves me having more energy, because I’ve taken care of my body and am proactive about nutrition and fitness.
Charlie’s Goals: Of course, as a man, I want to absolutely crush my goals. And I instinctively want to set pretty high standards. So I’m going to do that. Here they are:
Lose 20 lbs (bringing me down to about 180 or so)
Increase my cardiovascular fitness from Excellent to Superior.
Improve my flexibility by doing more yoga!
Fit back into my wedding pants (they are too tight, now)
That covers my main goals. I’ll share my plan when it’s done! Thanks!