Category: Stress

The “Generational Curse”, What Is It?

The What?

I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea about what it was supposed to be. Turns out that there were people around me who believed that bad traits passed from one generation to another by some mystical means other than just genetics. True, there are some tendencies that are familial and some outright inherited maladies, but they are few and far between. Almost all of the negative health and life issues that we have are a direct result of the choices that we make, not genetics, and certainly not some mystical, spiritual curse. Believing this falsehood is simply an excuse to under achieve and fail at life. Believing this is an excuse to abandon all effort to be responsible for the health choices that you make. Mom became diabetic at age 40? If that’s the case, it’s Mom’s choices that caused it. Make different choices. I had an Aunt who died a terrible death from throat cancer. I loved her. She was my favorite Aunt. She smoked, a  lot, and never quit. Do her children have a similar risk? Possibly, they also smoke and the genetics are secondary compared to that decision.

Is It Learned?

There is a state of mind called “Learned Helplessness” that is believed to occur when someone is exposed to traumatic events that they cannot control. Over time, the individual “learns” that he cannot control events around himself and simply doesn’t try. Feeling that we can’t control traumatic events leads to loss of motivation to the extent that even when we are presented with the opportunity to change the course of our lives, we may not take advantage of the opportunity. This “loser” state of mind cripples the individual in decision making because he feels that his decisions won’t make a difference. Feeling helpless in the face of trauma and unable or unwilling to change the course of action by deciding to take control, leads to depression in most people with learned helplessness. This is a deadly personality trait when we are faced with decisions concerning our health.

                                                                               Is It A Decision?

In the original experiments on this topic, it was discovered that dogs who did not try to avoid negative stimuli had not, however, learned helplessness. They had not learned control. (1) The difference is profound. In order to “learn” helplessness, or the lack of control, we must first decide to take control and then be unable to do so. If an individual is afraid of failure simply because that’s all they have ever seen or been exposed to, then they have not made a decision to break that consecutive chain of failure, dysfunction and sickness that may have existed in their family for generations. They have not learned helplessness, they simply have not learned control. Therein is the problem.

Lovely Ladies

I remember when I actually believed that “skinny” girls were just genetically gifted. Never mind that my Mother, who was 5’7″ and about 110 pounds, ate very little and almost never sat down. For some strange reason, I ignored the obvious. Truth be known, it was easier to believe that she had great genes, that were somehow vastly different from mine, than to see the truth of the matter. While I would binge on brownies at every chance, she might eat one, maybe not even one. While I preferred the life of a sloth, she was a busy bee. I have mentioned “Janice” a few times. She was a lovely girl, close to my age in my 20’s who had a rock star body. While I struggled to fit into a size 12 or 14, Janice was a lithe size 5 or 7. Guess what. I finally ask her what she ate. She showed me a tray of freshly cut vegetables in her fridge and she told me that she ate those veggies all the time and seldom got hungry between meals. I was at her house for meals. They were healthy meals of grilled lean meats and veggies, fruit for dessert and no munchies at the parties unless you wanted the fresh veggies. She did not deviate and was not swayed by the negative comments of those around her concerning her diet.  She was in control. So was my Mom. Both Janice and my Mom had obese Mothers. They had made a conscious choice to take control, to do better than their upbringing. Genetics be damned.

Your Choice

What would your life be like if you decide, right now, to take control over the things that you have refused to exercise control over until this moment in time? Would you be different tomorrow? What about this time next year? Would you still eat the same things, smoke, drink alcohol and hang out with the same people? Remember, if someone doesn’t encourage you to be healthy, they are not your friend and do not have your best interest at heart. I challenge you. Exercise your ability to create your life and take control today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

(1) medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325355.php

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10 Ways To Have A Good Day

1-As soon as negative thoughts enter your mind, replace them with something good.

If the thoughts are about your failure on your fitness journey or eating plan, immediately analyze why it happened and do it right this time. Don’t wallow in it. Fix it.

2-Be proactive, not reactive.

That’s really the key to everything, the aforementioned regimen debacle or going to a difficult job or dealing with unpleasant people. Whatever the difficulty, we can let it control us or we can study and decide how to remedy the situation. I was recently approached with a very unpleasant fellow. Instead of allowing him to pull me into his world, I simply answered that I don’t argue with people and ended the conversation. Take control. It’s less tiring and you win.

3-Stay hydrated.

We are mostly water. Hydration is so important that staying well hydrated is even considered to help stave off dementia because the brain suffers in a dehydrated state. Drink your water.

4-Eat real food.

When we eat processed food our stomach has nothing to work with. Our stomach is an amazing organ that contains hydrochloric acid that can melt metal. It’s designed to break down food. Your stomach will empty faster if you eat processed food. It’s already broken down. When your stomach gets empty, you just might get “hangry”. This makes for a miserable day and usually over-eating. Eat the good stuff.

5-Walk it off, outside.

If it’s at all possible, include outside walking in your day. “Walking is the best restorative exercise” (David Yochim) You stretch your muscles, burn a few calories and walking underneath trees gives you a dose of phytochemicals that are good for your mind.

6-Sit down sometimes.

When I was growing up, I was conditioned to stand all the time. While we don’t want to be sedentary, you do need to sit sometimes. If you have a job that requires a lot of standing, on your breaks elevate your feet. You will get an instant sense of relief that will decrease your stress.

7-Flex those calf muscles.

Whether you’re walking on the job, outside or even as you elevate your feet, work those calf muscles well. They are considered your second heart because they return blood to the heart. It will decrease fatigue throughout your body. When you are sitting without your feet elevated, do calf raises. Just raise your feet up on your toes and flex, repeatedly. Keeping the blood from pooling in your legs will also help avoid the possibility of blood clots in your legs when you travel.

8-Stick to your workout schedule.

Sometimes when life gets hectic, our workout is the first thing to suffer. Don’t let that happen. You are in control of your time. Do it.

9-Make sure to eat enough.

As ludicrous as this sounds, sometimes when we are highly regimented concerning what we eat and we stay well nutritioned, we may get busy and skip a meal, especially if we don’t eat added sugar, because we don’t have cravings and seldom experience intense hunger. Your state of mind will suffer. You will get anxious and less able to control your emotions. Get your calories.

10-Keep moving.

When life throws us a curve ball and we don’t know how to cope, it’s easy to lose focus and drift. If we do that, we don’t eat right. We don’t work out right. We avoid confrontation and procrastinate. Keep going forward. Stay on your program. Your program will be your saving grace in difficult times. It will help you get through otherwise impossible situations. It will generate the neurotransmitters that stress depletes and you will emerge from the hard times a Victor, not a Victim.

At David’s Way we don’t do Victim. Play to win. Create your life.

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Go Hike For Stress Relief

I absolutely love getting out and hiking in the deep woods for not only great exercise, but also as a means to drastically reduce the stress in my life. At fifty five years old, I find myself feeling like a kid again when discovering new trails. It matters little whether the trail is easy with a well prepared walkway. Or a tough one as in today. I completed what turned into a grueling eleven mile hike on a completely natural trail that ranged anywhere from moderate to difficult skill levels to navigate.

A good portion of my hike today was on very rocky paths that took me up and down very steep hills. This picture does little justice at displaying how steep the trail was.

I chose this trail today for it’s level of difficulty. I embrace challenge. Over coming tough challenges helps us to grow as individuals. When we kick a challenge in the ass and find success, it bolsters our confidence to do even bigger and better things in life. Traversing this rocky trail without rolling an ankle was about as tough as some of my weight training sessions. Getting through obstacles such as steep hills with loose rocks and wet clay brings the same satisfaction as I receive in my weight room when I squat down with a heavy barbell on my back, and then manage to stand back up in order to complete another rep or two.

Creating challenges for ourselves to defeat helps us to also overcome other life challenges. We may have a tough job that is a daily grind physically, or mentally. Or we may have very difficult circumstances in our homes such as caring for critically ill family members. Being capable of overcoming great physical challenges might not make our jobs or home lives any simpler, but the confidence we earn through getting through overcoming goes a long way in keeping our stress levels down. When we are confident, we can face the day without fear. When we are confident in ourselves, we can keep chaos at bay. When we are confident in meeting the most difficult of challenges head on, we become capable of maintaining a cool demeanor when the proverbial shit is hitting the fan. My hike today was tough enough to make me realize that everything else I was going to face this weekend pales in comparison to ascending a twenty four percent grade hill on a path that was covered with loose rocks, or slicked up with wet clay. There were points on this hike, climbing the steep terrains, where my legs were beginning to spasm from the the exertion along with my electrolyte balance being a little off. The spasms were quite painful, yet comforting as I knew that nothing else in my day was going to challenge me as much as I had challenged myself.

Of course not every length of todays trail was difficult. I did have a few areas that were quite the respite from that which was kicking my ass. AS much as I embrace the challenge of difficult exercise, I also enjoy just being in the outdoors on an easy path where I can just take in the nature that surround me. I love these trails over the course of the year where you can watch as the trees and undergrowth all come back to life in the spring, the greenness of the summer months, followed by the beatiful colors of fall. Even the winter months bring joy and stress relief as with all the vegetaion going dormant for the cold weather, this time of year affords you more opportunity to see the wildlife what call these woods their home.

There is actually very good reason why being outdoors in the woods makes us more relaxed and happy people. The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku is a practice that celebrates the health improving qualities of the forest.

There have been studies conducted which have confirmed that spending time out in the woods or forest can reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms, and hostility. I believe this as I have never, not once, have I encountered anyone on a wooded trail that seemed to be anything other than content and happy. I’m not saying they do not have stressful difficulties in life, hell I have my difficulties along with Post Traumatic Stress too. Yet the woods are soothing to anyone who ventures out and set their minds free to enjoy nature in it’s grand splendor.

Studies have shown that a day in the woods can help you sleep better and make you feel more lively while you are out. A day in the woods has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and to lower your blood pressure and pulse rate.

Studies have shown that even just the smell of trees has positive health benefits. Chemicals secreted by trees, called phytoncides, have been linked to improved immune defense as well as a reduction in anxiety and an increase in pain tolerance.

Other studies have shown that children with ADHD who play in a green outodoor environment, rather than inside, have a decrease in thier symptoms. I’m not sure why this even requires a study to figure out as playing outside forces a child to learn to use their imagination to expand upon their natural creativity in order to have fun. Who can argue this point. Is their anything healthy or creative about allowing your child to sit on the duff, playing video games while snarfing down sugary sweet treats you likely bought for them. It is not rocket science to see the change in children over the last couple of decades where it is no longer unusual for a child to live an obese and sedentary lifestyle their parents have foolishly given them. If you want to do your children a huge favor in life, get rid of all the snacks, unplug their electronic devices and make them go outside to play. My God, we have children and adolescents living on psychotropic drugs in this modern world, when what they really need is to discover life as it is meant to be lived.

You can bet that kids who are allowed, and encouraged to be active outside are on fewer psychotropics than chldren who are allowed to vege our in front of their televisions. I can say with certainty that playing in the woods as a young boy helped me to develop my problem solving skills for life. Building tree houses and secret forts to hang out in with buddies, along with building temporary dams down at the creek in order to have a private swimming hole were the order of the day. We partook in all of these activites and grew into well adjusted adults.

Being outdoors in the woods means there is a fair degree of exercise taking place. Physical exercise is a proven solution for many ailments, including fatigue, depression, anxiety and of course obesity. Combining the benefits of movement in a wooded environment is a healthy method of overcoming many of your ailments in life. If you want to do one really healthy thing for yourself today, get your butt outside and go for a good walk around your neighborhood, or even better, go take a hike in the woods.

If you are interested in taking your hikes up a notch, read our article on the benefits of using trekking poles here.

Be the Boss of Your Life

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Today on first day of the week, you can plan to have a victorious seven days. Here’s a few tips that might help.

1-Decide what you really want.

Sometimes we think that we want something but it’s actually just a passing whim. Before you move Heaven and Earth to make a thing come to pass, be sure that you want it. There’s no need in going out and buying a thousand dollars worth of brand name workout clothes unless you are going to work out. The extra expense on your credit card will just stress you out and encourage binge eating.

2-Decide if you are willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

Wanting a thing and being willing to make the sacrifices and put in the hard work to make it happen are different. There is nothing that is worth having that comes easy. Just know that going in. Unless you are willing to work hard at something, you are just going to frustrate yourself and dig a deeper hole than you were in before you started.

3-Make a plan.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just research and get the knowledge that you need to create the objective that you have in mind. Base your plan on facts, not fantasy and pop “science”. I strongly encourage you to visit David’s Way daily for everything from recipes to encouragement. We post something most days. If we don’t, go to the search box and type in a word that is on your mind and find something to read. You can also leave comments or use the “Contact” button and we will get back to you, most likely both of us.

4-Take the first step.

Quite often the difference in failure and victory is just getting started! It seems like a “duh”, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who stop here. They’ve bought the outfit, paid the membership, bought special food and that’s it. They never begin to work the plan. If you work out for five minutes, you will most likely finish your workout.

5-Dig in.

Be realistic about your goals and the time frame that will be necessary to achieve them. In a perfect world with a perfect life, you could make much faster progress than you can with stress from work, home and the world at large. You will not be able to spend all of your time working on your goal so allow a realistic window to see progress. Dig in and be prepared to winter the storm. You will struggle and want to quit. It will be hard, very hard. Accept that now. You are not in this for the short term. This has to become your lifestyle to be truly successful. There is no rush. Your goal should be good health for the rest of your life.

6-Be ready to adjust.

After seeing progress and gains in muscle mass and/or overall fitness, it becomes necessary at some point to change some things. What you change will be dependent on your goals. I have a very specific goal that I’m working towards and I adjust my program a little all along to accommodate that goal. My program gets progressively harder, never easier. I made up my mind going in that I would not stop. This is the rest of my life. I want to see specific cuts and have overall robust strength. As I progress and see how my body responds to various foods and lifts, I adjust accordingly and I see continuing improvements towards my goals.

7-Shut out the negative feedback.

This is critical because change is never easy. We rebel against it with everything in us at times. The very last thing that we need are people around us who disagree with our goals. I simply don’t go around them. The old saying, “If you can’t say something good then don’t say anything at all.” is ingrained in my psyche. I rearranged my entire life on a grand scale to live this way. Now the only voices that I allow in my life are those who are supportive of my way of life. I’m a health freak. It’s not going to change. I will not listen to negative feedback about that for 30 seconds. Don’t answer their texts or calls. Be responsible. You are in control of the input into your life. Make it positive.

8-Be proud of your success.

When you see progress it’s okay to feel good about yourself and be proud. The progress didn’t come easily. You worked hard to get where you are. You will notice that your confidence will grow by leaps and bounds across the board when you get truly fit. That’s fine. You deserve it.

9-Accept that this is normal.

A common pitfall for many on their road to health is thinking that getting healthy is a temporary anomaly that will bring about a specific goal and then it’s done. Guess again. This is your new normal or it will be temporary. David says that “You don’t own your present level of fitness. You’re only paying rent.” That simply means that we have to keep it up. This is what life is like from now on so learn ways to make it fun. Try different foods and recipes that are here on the blog and find a fitness program that works for you that you can incorporate into your life on a daily basis.

10-Do it again.

When you fail at a lift or have a bad eating day, don’t quit. Just get up and do it again. There is no quitting if you really want to be healthy. What would you go back to, sickness and dysfunction? Healthy people do still get sick and have injuries and problems in our everyday life but I can promise you, it’s a whole lot less than we would have if we quit. Our lives aren’t perfect because we’re healthy but they sure are a whole lot easier to navigate.

Now, get up and charge into your week and show it who’s Boss. You are. Now work that thing. It’s up to you. You’re life is in your hands. Create.

Escape Anxiety and Meet Your Goals

Anxiety, Depression and Goals

Setting and working towards goals can reduce anxiety and depression and help you lead a happier life. (1) When we are constantly motivated to move towards a goal, we tend to organize our lives in that direction. We have less time for negative thoughts that weigh us down and hinder our progress. We make moments count to achieve those goals and simply don’t have the time or energy to dwell on the people, places and things that weigh us down. The next time you are having a bad day, instead of giving in to the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss of control that accompany anxiety and depression, get up and make progress towards a goal. Work out, write, prep your meals, pre-track those meals, go for a leisurely stroll or a difficult hike, whatever will contribute to your overall health and wellness, and I guarantee that you will feel better. None of this is supposed to be a cure for major depression. We are not doctors and cannot diagnose or treat any condition. These are tools that you can utilize to improve your quality of life and again, exercise only with your doctor’s permission.

Win/Win

When we work out we change our brain chemistry but there are other ways that exercise helps stabilize our mood. We are exercising control. We have made a choice. This gives us the accurate feeling that we are not helpless. While there are many tragedies that befall us, we still have control over a whole lot. Making the decision to do something that moves us towards our goal of ultimate health and longevity takes us out of the victim mentality. Suddenly we are in the drivers seat and while we may not be able to choose the ultimate destination in the worst case scenarios, we can certainly choose the route. By doing what is best for us by eating healthy, exercising, resting and avoiding negative input and influences, we have chosen the Interstate over the pot-holed, gully-washed back road that nobody travels because it tears up their car. Many times we can also choose the destination. That’s what goal setting does. When life-changing tragedies occur, some destination choices may be lost, but with the exception of tragedy, you can choose your path and also where it leads. Exercise this power in your life. By focusing on long term goals, you change your present mood and also take yourself one step closer to your goals.

Take Out the Trash

Part of what we teach is to “Make Your Life Small”. This is a huge part of controlling your mental state and reducing anxiety. There are always people who want to drag you down to their level. Sometimes these are “well-meaning” people who actually believe that making your life a living Hell will somehow help you. They constantly criticize. Nothing is ever good enough for them. They tend to criticize the very tools and people who help you reach your goals as if they resent others having input into your life. When you do make a mistake, they love the “I told you so.” Although they profess to be your friend or to love you, their actions do not show it. They make you miserable and produce anxiety, depression and chaos in your life. Quite often, you will be moving along at a good pace and somehow they manage to interject a hindrance that can derail you for months or even years. Do I really have to say this? Cut the dead wood out of your life. Think about the lost time and energy and all the bad feelings that come with that person. If they are a relative, the challenge can be greater but you can disconnect from them in many ways. Don’t answer their calls or texts. Bam! You just took control. If there is a true emergency, sooner or later, you will know. Allowing these negative people to ruin almost every day of your life is a bigger emergency. This kind of stress can raise your blood pressure, cause insomnia, affect job performance and other relationships. The question is, do you want that person inconvenienced or do you want to live with the constant negative input? Make the decision that is healthy for you. They are responsible for themselves. When we remove these people from our lives, we are better able to focus on what we need and reduce anxiety as we create our lives to nurture our souls, moving ever closer to our ultimate self.

Two Tools Identified

Co-author of a study on reducing anxiety, Michelle G. Newman, Phd. stated that the study was initiated to understand how to reduce rates of negative thought patterns and behaviors. Two tools were identified, (1) Goal Persistence, (“When I encounter problems, I don’t give up until I solve them.”) and (2) Positive Reappraisal, (I can find something positive in the worst situations.”) It is imperative that you set and work towards goals and allow only positive people inside your inner circle if you truly want to be healthy. Interestingly enough, self-mastery, the belief that you can do anything that you set your mind to do, did not help. It was working towards those goals with positive persistence that was the deciding factor in the participants state of mind. It’s the effort and focus applied to the goal, not the goal, that changes how we feel and think. Notice the bicycle logo on our Home page, “Life Is a Beautiful Journey, Enjoy The Ride.” Note something that we say often, “Create Your Life”. It’s the positive journey and the creating that gives us joy and alleviates negative thoughts and feelings. When we do achieve a goal, all the better. Set a new one.

S.M.A.R.T.
The S.M.A.R.T. model is a popular strategy for achieving goals and staying focused on them in the process.

S- Specific Goals are important.

M-Measurable David says “What Gets Measured, Gets Done.” Write down your workouts and your progress. Keep accurate records. Otherwise you will not progress.

A-Achievable Can you do what you need to do to achieve this goal?

R-Realistic Is this goal something that can happen?

T-Time-bound-Do you have or can you make time to achieve this goal?

You’re In Charge

So often we short change ourselves by simply not exercising authority in our lives. You are in charge of your life. Set goals and work towards them and soar right past many negative emotions that can destroy you.

“Create Your Life.”

(1) https://www.healthcentral.com/article/perseverence-toward-life-goals-reduces-mental-disorders

Sunday Tips for a Good Monday

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We have a tendency to “let our hair down” on the weekend and then have hell to pay on Monday morning. Incorporate these tips into your afternoon for a good start on the week.

1- Catch some ZZZ’s. Quite often we tend to try to cram too much into the weekend and we’re exhausted on Monday. Take advantage of having some down time and do just that. Lay down and get some sleep. Both athletic and cognitive performance are decreased when we’re sleep deprived. To have energy and clarity of thought we need rest. Adequate rest is one of the three components of good health. Read David’s  article, “Fitness Triad” for more understanding on these necessary elements of good health. Search the title in the search box below.

2-Avoid conflict. Don’t  entertain thoughts of conflict and avoid drama over the weekend to wake up with peace on Monday morning. Our activities on Sunday afternoon will be a part of Monday morning. Fill your soul with good things to enrich your life.

3-Eat well. If you don’t  want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, don’t. Create simple, healthy, economic meals at home with wholesome ingredients. Eating out all weekend causes Monday morning bloat and bloat will make you sluggish and depressed. Restaurant  food is full of sodium and added sugars, both of which will cause you to retain excess fluid. We tend to overeat at restaurants and that is just extra bulk to haul around in our gut. Eat simple, clean food and start Monday light on your feet. There are many recipes here on the blog for simple, clean, no added sugars, economic food and they’re  easy to prepare. Search any word from pizza to brownies to find what you want.

4- Take a walk. Walking outside increases the GABA in your brain. GABA is your calming neurotransmitter. If the weather is not ideal for walking outside, jump on a treadmill or lift weights or just put on some music and dance. All forms of exercise increase various neurotransmitters and fight mental fatigue and depression. Always get your doctor’s  permission  before attempting any activity.

5- Organize. Don’t  spend too much time doing this or your off day turns into a work day, but just a little organization on Sunday afternoon will make Monday much better. Plan your meals, maybe prep breakfast or pack a lunch. Plan your exercise for Monday, figuring out exactly  how you fit it in and then work that plan. Knowing what you will eat and how you will exercise will take a lot of anxiety out of Monday morning. You will be able to just get up and go, knowing that the important elements of your self care are already in place.

6- Spend time with someone who is good for you. Walk away from all negativity and delve deeply into conversation with a trusted friend. Having that connection with a like minded individual  who has your best interest at heart increases your serotonin levels in your brain. These close relationships cause a release of oxytocin that is involved in serotonin production. Most antidepressants boost serotonin because it is your feel good hormone. These chemicals also repress fear and anxiety.

7- Do what you love. Sometimes we feel bad simply because we’re  not doing anything we enjoy.  Read a book, watch a movie, climb a mountain, whatever gives you that feeling that you have escaped gravity for a moment. Your mind will be refreshed and your body will reap the benefits. When we truly relax, cortisol and adrenaline production are decreased. Cortisol is a cause of fat depositing around the waist. Relax already!

8- Do a little extra self care to feel ready to take on the world Monday morning. This includes you, Gentlemen. Give yourself a quick manicure or lay out your favorite outfit. Give yourself a really good, close shave and make plans to crash early to smooth your skin. You might put on a facial mask and relax for a few minutes. Being well groomed releases endorphins, the stuff involved in “Runner’s  High”.

We alone are responsible for our health both physical and mental. While there are contributing genetic factors, the bulk of our state of mind comes from what we do, or don’t do. The best life can be destroyed by poor choices and the seemingly worst life can become amazing with good choices. You have the power to create your entire life, now get going, Monday awaits.

 

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like It

Anyone who has determined to be healthy will have days when you just don’t feel like doing the things that you know that you need to do such as working out and planning your meals. Those are the days that your success is determined. There are not many days that most of us who have jobs and live in the real world get up just itching to squeeze in our workouts. If you are blessed to be a professional athlete then that is incredible, but even then, there are probably still many days when you had really rather just relax in front of the t.v. or simply do nothing.

When real life is overwhelming and you are pressed for time it seems easy to eat out and rush through the day without exercise but the truth is, as David has so often said, it really doesn’t take very long to prepare a simple, inexpensive, healthy meal at home. He has been known to prepare a full meal in 12 minutes. You will definitely almost always sit at the drive-thru longer than that. The key to a quick meal at home is to keep it simple. Save the complex recipes for a day that you’re off of work and have nothing planned. On a busy day, throw some protein into a non-stick skillet, brown it, turn it over, lower the heat on the stove and let it simmer til done. While it’s finishing, steam some veggies and throw a potato in your microwave. Done.

And then there are those days that it would seem almost justifiable to skip a workout. I mean those extra days. There are days that it makes sense to skip. We need rest days to let our bodies build muscle and recuperate but when we know that we’re just wanting a little extra time off, it’s time to be tough. Remember why you’re doing this and be realistic about what it’s going to take to meet your goals. I am more fit than I’ve ever been and I am not satisfied. To go any further with my fitness takes serious dedication and work. There’s no need in me lying to myself and slacking. Sometimes we try to pretend that we don’t know why we’re not progressing when we know all along. If it was easy to look like a Greek god or goddess then we all would. If it was easy to have the blood chemistry of a healthy sixteen year old as a mature adult, then we all would. It’s not easy. It takes work, hard work. Face that truth and embrace it. When I first discovered David’s Way, I was at my Weight Watchers goal and was pretty resigned to that being enough. When I realized that I needed to lose 20 pounds, thank you David…, I had to dig in. On days that it would be almost excusable to skip a workout, I remind myself that I will never be the person that I want to be by skipping, and I don’t. I work a high stress, full time job and have a little extra responsibility at home. Quite often I am working out in the wee hours of the morning but when I finish, I am content that I have done exactly what I need to do. I would not have rested well without fulfilling my commitment to myself.

It’s imperative to avoid people who negatively impact your commitment. They don’t have your best interest at heart. They may not understand your reasons and odds are, they don’t want to understand. They just want to control you. Don’t let it happen. In the first hours after my home was destroyed by a tornado, someone tried to take my Iron that I work out with to another house “for storage”, stating that I “wouldn’t be able to do that in a motel”. I said “No.” I did workout in a motel, for three weeks. I made significant progress during that time. Don’t ever let another person determine your workout schedule or decide what you will eat. You have to live, and die, in your body. You decide how that will happen.

On those days that you want to skip, just go through the motions, doing what you know that you need to do for about 15 minutes. Suddenly you will notice an enthusiasm that you didn’t know that you had that day. Feel good about it. Pat yourself on the back and strut, knowing that you’re making your dreams come true. Before you know it, your workout will be finished and you will have a healthy meal cooking and the sun will seem brighter.

If you feel less than inspired, read David’s Way! Interact with us. We will both answer. Post on the forum. Try one of our recipes. We do this because we want you to be healthy. We are constantly searching for new ways to inspire you to be your best. Being active on the blog will keep your mind turned towards health.

State of Mind

Everything that we do begins and ends with a thought. Some of us are genetically programmed to look on the bright side but a large number of people have tendencies to always look for the negative aspect of everything. This habit causes anxiety. If you are geared this way, you may be having a great day and think about one negative possibility and it shoots your whole day down. All of a sudden everything seems hopeless. There are ways to combat this tendency.

I have to say here that I am not attempting to remedy clinical depression. That is a serious issue that must be addressed with your physician. I cannot diagnose or treat any medical or psychiatric disorder. These are merely tools to help brighten a bad mood because our bodies follow our minds. Unless we learn how to control our thoughts, we will never be able to control our bodies. The desperation of the negative mindset will permeate our existence and we will forever be trying quick fixes to make the mental anguish subside. This takes our focus away from our health incentives and practically insures failure in our nutrition and fitness program.

As soon as you realize that you are having a negative thought, stop it, immediately. If you entertain that thought beyond your recognition of it being bad for you, it will take over your mind in that moment. It will then proceed to take over your day. How many days of the limited number that you have on Earth are you willing to give up to wallowing in misery? If you have to say “Stop it!” out loud, do it. You only have one life and this day will never come again.

With your doctor’s permission, get some exercise for Heaven’s sake! Sitting in a dark room perusing every wrong ever committed against you is not the road to health. It’s the road to the drive-thru fast food emporium, the liquor store and the doctor’s office. Get up!

Only associate with people who make you feel good. If you have to work with negative people, don’t join in the negative scuttlebutt. Tune out. Stay busy. Find ways to do your job better. Walk away and don’t gossip. If it’s family members who bring you down, limit their access to you any way possible. Run for your life. Negative people can make your life miserable. Ditch them first chance you get.

Decide who or what makes you feel good and talk to those people and do those things. My favorite dog and sunshine are a sure thing for lifting my mood. Sun is a known anti-depressant. It changes the chemistry of your brain. While I don’t condone tanning, it causes premature aging, about 15 minutes of sunlight can do wonders for your state of mind.

Work hard. Pay your bills. Avoid unnecessary conflict. Think your way through difficulties. Pursue joy with your whole heart, true joy that comes from a healthy life well lived and above all, never ever give up. You are worth the effort.