Thanksgiving Day in America has come and passed as well as Christmas, with Hannukah sliding into home base on December 30, and then New Year”s Eve comes the day afterwards. New Year”s Day is closing in fast.
I do not have a crystal ball to predict what the future holds for any of us, but I would bet the bank that many of you are making resolutions that with a new year, there is going to be a new you. I can predict that despite all the personal resolutions to drop weight, to be thinner, fitter and healthier, a large percentage of you will have failed and returned to your old unhealthy habits by March. There will be some who will sputter along in their attempts at being a new person until May, and then by Memorial Day weekend here in America, these good folks will throw in the towel in order to enjoy all the summer festivities with family and friends.
Most people in America think of the holiday season of over-indulgence as beginning in October with Halloween, but the reality is it actually begins with Memorial Day weekend, and in the spring with Iftar celebration meals during Ramadan for our Muslim readers. So, I would ask you, is there even an actual end to special occasions of over-indulgence for there to even be a beginning?
Face it, we have become a society where over-indulgence and gluttony coupled with sedentary, lazy lifestyles has become the societal norm. We can see the evidence of this everywhere. In public, maybe even within the privacy of our own homes, every direction we might cast a glance, we will see one or many with a weight problem as a direct result of over-indulgence and sedentary lifestyles with not a care in the world about how this kind of life is affecting their health and well-being. That is, until their health begins to cause them issues and hard-earned money for medical treatments.
If you want to begin the new year on a track towards developing a healthy and fit body here are a few tips to consider:
- First thing, especially if you are not already in good physical condition is visit your doctor and get cleared before beginning any new physical fitness regimen.
- You want to ensure your heart is up to the task.
- You might need to have a few limitations to consider in the early weeks and months in order to avoid injury from weak muscles and connective tissues.
- You do not want to aggravate any existing conditions you might already know about. For instance, your knees may not be capable of withstanding a brisk 30-minute walk for three to four times per week. If this would be the case, you might find yourself better served by performing your exercises in a pool where there is very little to no impact on your joints.
- If you have COPD, make sure your doctor knows if you intend to perform exercises that raise your heart rate which will make breathing more difficult, possibly dangerous for you.
- Pick an exercise you think you will actually enjoy or at least be open minded to see if you will enjoy an activity before becoming too invested into it.
- If you do not enjoy an exercise, it is not realistic to believe you will have any kind of longevity with it.
- Meaningful exercise that is truly beneficial to your body can turn into hard work, which means you need to like what you are doing even more so when the workout gets tough.
- Be open to trying new things, but do not invest in expensive memberships, fitness trackers or specialty clothing until you are sure that you will enjoy that which you are spending your hard-earned money on. Every year, commercial gyms increase their memberships in January and those gyms which are super crowded through early March are usually ghost towns by early April. If you want to join a gym, see if you can find one with a month to month, or drop-in fee instead of getting rooked into a contract that you will not be able to get out of once you have signed on the dotted line.
- Treadmills and other home fitness equipment can be great to have, and expensive as well. Before you invest $1000 into a new treadmill or elliptical, see if you can find a used one online for less than half the cost of new. Many people will buy fitness equipment with the best of intentions in January, and by April, they will be using that new treadmill as a place to hang laundry over being something where they can walk, or jog or run even when the outside weather does not permit.
- If you have never been one to exercise, you should consider finding an established program that will help you in becoming proficient at your endeavor of choice.
- If you are interested in running, you should check out the Couch to 5K app which will have you begin with an easy walk and slowly build you up to a 5K (3 mile) jog or run. If you go at it hard with zero experience, you are likely to become sidelined from injury such as shin splints or foot problems, or you might just find yourself too burned out from pushing your body too hard before it is ready.
- If you have decided that you want to begin resistance training with weights, I will tell you that you will be doing yourself a disservice if you just jump into it with little to no knowledge. You do not know what it is that you do not know when it comes to strength training if you have never been involved. There is much more to strength training than just picking up weights and setting them down. You must know techniques and proper lifting forms to avoid injury. You must learn how to breath during a lift. You must learn how to valsalva in order to keep a tight core for most lifts. You need to get on an established training program that is tried and true if you want to find success. If you are a newbie to strength training, you do not know proper programming. Proper programming is of extreme importance as it ensures that you do not end up with injuries or a disproportional body from strength and muscle imbalances. A good program will include working the entire body. A good program will incorporate a pulling movement to mirror every pushing movement. It is mandatory to have your medical doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program.
Everyone has their own unique reason to want to lose weight, and the first and foremost way to get to a healthy body fat percentage is through good nutritional habits. You cannot out exercise a poor diet. Even if you do manage to get away with it for a short time, you will soon find the bad nutrition catching up to you and the pounds will be quickly returning to your body. Never forget the truth in that 6 pack abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. This is not new information. The people who advertise exercise equipment would have you think differently, however.
- Make a true commitment to yourself that you are going to clean up your nutritional habits, and then, stick to it no matter who or what circumstance in your life attempts to derail you.
- Your family and friends will attempt to derail you with all types of sweet treats and other poor food choices during special occasions. Most of these people are usually well meaning, but seriously, if you are carb addicted, you cannot give in and make exceptions. Every time you do, it becomes easier and easier until you find that you have regained all the weight you might have already lost. You have to be prepared to stick to your guns. One way you can do this is to bake one or two of our sugar free dessert recipes for a gathering of loved ones. This way you can still have a treat with them, and possibly get them on board with healthier eating too.
- Understand that if you are carb addicted, this addiction is no different than alcohol or drug addiction. It is something that you will carry with you the rest of your life. You can have the most willpower in the world, but if you find yourself feeding the addiction, you are bound to find yourself going off the rails. Finding yourself with cravings for foods that are high in simple carbs and added sugar has nothing to do with will power. It is truly a chemical biological response in your body that you have little control over. The only control you have is the same as an alcoholic has over alcohol, you cannot take that first drink or bite.
- Life can throw bad circumstances our way which can knock us clean off of our health initiative, but only “IF” we “ALLOW” it to. I have had people just assume that since I carry very little body fat, it must be easy for me. To lay this thought to rest, I have had a weight problem in the past. I know from personal experience what you are going through if you are overweight or obese. I have fought that demon and still do along with others each and every day of the week. I am retired from the military and suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This alone can be enough to derail me, but only “IF” I “ALLOW” it. I had to have my precious and loving Basset Hound, Abbie, euthanized at 14 years old. She was suffering from kidney failure. I cried before and afterwards and while a slice of sugary chocolate cake or cookies might have made me feel good in the moment, I did not give in to temptations as this would have left me with the same regret should I have given in to having an alcoholic drink. On top of this, I was a caregiver for my life-long friend, who was also my brother-in-law that was suffering from liver cancer, Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver while also being morbidly obese. We have our tough moments in life, but never-the-less, it serves no one any good to deviate from healthy eating. Actually, Howard had lost well over 100 pounds since moving in with me and despite his illness, his quality of life had vastly improved with healthy eating and weight loss. To add insult to injury, my dear wife of almost 34 years was diagnosed with breast cancer. All of these events unfolded in a very short period of time. Is my life easy or charmed? You decide what you might think, but no matter what life throws my way, I am fully committed to my own health initiative and will not deviate from my healthy eating practices
- Forget all the fad diets and gimmicks that promise quick weight loss. Forget programs that take your money, while telling you that you can eat anything you want as long as your track it.
- Fads and gimmicks will help you to lose weight, but you will regain it just about as soon as you leave the program, and possibly as quickly as you lost it. Fads and gimmicks do not work.
- Programs that take your money while telling you that you can still eat anything you want will work for some people and greatly fail others, while still keeping them on as a perpetual income stream. They will make great promises as long as you keep paying your dues. Never underestimate how devious some of these corporations can be, no matter who the smiling face might be that represents them. One major weight loss program has an individual as the face of their plan who is still over-weight or obese. That should tell you something about them. Remember these large businesses have people who work research and development, and it would be very naive to think they do not know what they are doing when they present a plan that is vague enough to help some while keeping half of their membership struggling to lose or keep their weight off.
- At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we have, and always will pledge to keep all of our articles and website free to our readers. We will never charge you a penny to access all of our articles and recipes in order to help you to achieve a healthier and more fit body. Again, we will never charge you for access, we have other means of revenue and more in the works which will also never make it difficult to navigate our articles such as what you might find on other sites. Our mission is to help you, this is a labor of love to help our fellow humankind.
- Commit yourself to following our plan at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. At David’s Way, we take a holistic, whole-body approach to weight loss and management. David and Brenda are both AFPA certified Nutritional/Wellness Consultants who emphasize living a healthy, nutritionally sound and sustainable lifestyle. Since it’s a lifestyle and not a diet, there is no endpoint. We promote healthy eating and exercise for a healthy body and sound mind. David’s Way is a healthy nutrition and active lifestyle based on years of personal experience and scientific research. Our methodology involves the consumption of a high protein, low carbohydrate, nutritionally sound and diabetic friendly diet. Our numerous dessert recipes are all sugar free and can be enjoyed by anyone without having the concerns of blood sugar or insulin spikes. Nor will our desserts cause you any cravings such as you would get from treats made with sugar. At David’s Way, we don’t tell you what to eat so much as we tell you what not to eat. This is no weight loss gimmick, this simple plan is how our mothers, grandmothers and generations past used to feed us. It is simply a matter of using portion control when consuming healthy, whole foods, while avoiding foods that are not nutritionally sound. In other words, do not consume anything that does not provide you a nutritional benefit.
Make a true commitment to your well-being and then stick to it through thick and thin, you will never regret skipping a slice of cake with family or friends, but you will regret every day of life when you find you have made enough exceptions to regain any or all of the weight you might have lost already. Stand strong and have courage in your convictions. People have no respect for weak people, but they do respect strengths. This is just human nature. You can go weak and wobbly and never help yourself or others in being healthy and fit. Or you can stand strong in your resolve and actually influence and help others in achieving what you have. When life gets tough, as it will for all of us, refer to the Serenity Prayer. The principles of this prayer are a truth for anyone of any religion, and even for those without. I live my life by this principle which is: