Building Your Micro-Environment of Support

Whether it’s a friend, co-worker, family members, or a larger, more organized group, working with others can make all the difference. When two or more people share similar goals and values, people create synergy. So, along with encouraging each other, you’ll have someone to walk with, dine with, and build healthy habits with.

Friends, family, or informal group settings. Not only is sharing the Habits of Health with family and friends socially satisfying, it increases accountability and creates an entire environment of health. And wouldn’t you rather help change your friends’ habits than have to think about changing your friends?

Formal settings. Evidence suggests that group meetings can be a more effective way to lose weight than doing it on your own. Some medical facilities offer clinically based behavioral groups that spur weight loss and health maintenance by combining group dynamics with a professional counselor.

Commercial programs also offer opportunities to attend group meetings for support, discussion, and even assignments such as food diaries. However, studies show that the drop-out rate for these types of groups is high due to busy schedules and travel considerations. If you do choose a group and stay with it, though, you may well benefit from the extra accountability you’ll have through e-mail, phone, and face-to-face contact with others.

Online. Internet-based programs have advanced tremendously. Today’s sites are generally highly interactive, and the privacy and convenience they offer may make them more attractive than ongoing sessions with a counselor.

In fact, one leading researcher, Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, has concluded that, contrary to her findings as recently as 2002, a Web site with dynamic, socially supportive, interactive features is just as effective as behavioral counseling.*


Evaluating Your Heart Rate

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. As you increase your physical activity, your heart will be working a bit harder, just like your other muscles. That’s why monitoring your heart rate is so important.

If you have a heart rate monitor: Just strap it on and read the results! If you’re measuring your heart rate by hand: Sit down in a quiet space and measure your heart rate by counting your pulse for one minute (alternatively, count your pulse for ten seconds and multiply by six, though this measurement may be slightly less accurate). To take your pulse, place your index finger and third finger on your radial artery (located on the inside of the wrist below your thumb).

Three Important Heart Rate Measures

  1. Resting Heart Rate (RHR). The number of times your heart contracts per minute, measured when you’re at rest.

  2. Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). The highest number of times your heart can contract per minute during maximum physical exertion. MHR is most accurately determined with a cardiac stress test, but for our purposes we’ll use the following formula: MHR = 220 – your age

    For example, the MHR of someone fifty years old is 170 beats per minute (220–50).

  3. Target Heart Rate (THR). Between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. As we increase your movement using non-planned exercise activities, we’ll check your THR to make sure we’re not raising your heart rate too quickly. Once you’re on pace and adding activity to your day, we’ll also use your target heart rate to maximize your cardiovascular fitness level.

How many calories are you burning?

Your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) is determined by adding three figures: 1) Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), 2) Your physical activity level (PAL), and 3) The thermic effect of the food you eat (TEF)

Together, these show us how quickly your body is burning the fuel you’re taking in, day in and day out. Let’s begin by looking separately at those three components.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy you use for your basic bodily needs. Even when your body’s at rest, it’s using fuel to breathe, grow, circulate your blood, adjust your hormone levels, repair cells, and perform other functions. Typically, BMR is the largest portion of the TEE energy equation. Because the energy required by these basic functions remains fairly consistent, this number doesn’t tend to change much.

Physical Activity Level (PAL) is the energy you use when you move—playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog. You have control of this number, and can change it quite a bit depending on the frequency, duration, and intensity of your activities.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the energy your body uses to process your food. Digesting, absorbing, transporting, and storing food all take energy— about 10 percent of the calories you use each day. For the most part, this number stays steady.

BMR is the largest energy user, accounting for 60–75 percent of your daily expenditure. PAL ranges from 25–30 percent, and TEF takes up 10–15 percent. To find out your TEE using the easy method, use the following formula: Your current weight (in pounds) × 11 calories = TEE (daily caloric need)

This formula is based on a sedentary individual, so you’ll need to adjust it as you step up your exercising, as follows:

Multiply your TEE by:

  • 1.2 (for light exercise daily)

  • 1.5 (for moderate exercise daily)

  • 1.7 (for heavy exercise daily)

For example: 162 lbs × 11 kcal/lb = 1,782 kcal × 1.2 = 2,138 kcal/day (TEE)


Quit Playing the Blame Game

BlamethrowerI don't know if you've ever blamed anyone or something other than you for your current health status, habits or struggles with health but I know I have.

My genetics, bone structure, friends, family and co-workers have all been victims of my blame.

Blaming others, the taste of foods, or any other thing will not lead us to a better life. We can't blame our way into a better future. All blame does is enable us to smuggle our issues into our future. Blame sets us up for another failure.

Live-above-the-lineThere's no shame in accepting the blame for our own current circumstances and situation with our health and life even if others or something else is at fault. It's the grown up thing to do and once we realize it is our responsibility to accept our circumstances and deal with them by learning more, becoming more and achieving more; our lives change forever!

Our relationships with others, food, exercise, sleep, etc. all improve when we improve. If you're life is mess will you blame others for causing the mess or will you accept your part in causing the mess and start cleaning it up? Will you live above the line?

Our next round of the 28-Day Health Games Challenge starts on the 1st so if you're interested in eating healthier, being active, gaining energy and achieving you goal, see and contact us for more details.

Gym Stereotypes Video

Are you someone who likes exercising at a gym? I think you'll enjoy this comical video (see below) on the different stereotypical people who occupy the gym/fitness center. Regardless of whether you like to go to the gym, do your "thang" at home or other creative exercise strategy, cardiovascular exercise and strength training are a habit of health and if you don't have a plan to do them, you're likely to fail in achieving/maintaing your goal weight and/or optimal health.

Connect with your health coach today and refine your healthy action plan to increase your activity level and incorporate more cardiovasular/strength training training exercises to achieve optimal health.

Healthy Holiday Plan

TurkeyChristmas is almost here and the season of holiday get togethers, candy at the office, more lunches and dinners out, more traveling for some and vacations and of course, more stress than normal and this typically leads to weight gain. But you can succeed in getting healthy over the holidays. As a matter of fact they call them "holi-days" not "holi-weeks" so there's only a few days where your healthy holiday action plan will be challenged.

Here's a few important things to add to your healthy holiday plan…

1. Don’t skip a meal (slows your metabolism and increase hunger/cravings)

2. Go for a "Mocktail" instead of a "Cocktail". Alchohol leads to more empty calories and weight gain so swap it for a healthier option like Club Soda with a lime or other non-caloric beverage.

3. Skip the peanut butter and cheeses. They are full of fat calories!

4. Lay off the unhealthy snacks. They're likely full of simple carbohydrates, fat and/or sugar.

Now let’s go over a few strategies that will help you get through this tempting time....

1. Seek Support!  Have healthy conversations with your family and friends. Be accountable to others and challenge them to join you in having a healthier holiday season.  People do what people do!

2. If there is a special holiday food that you will feel deprived of if you don’t have…then take one or two bites-just a taste and you will be surprised how satisfying it is.

3. Eat more of the salads and green veggies at a dinner party and make the meat a “side dish”

4. Don’t serve family meals family-style.  Keep pots and dishes away from the table where it’s all too easy to go for seconds!

5. Learn to “eyeball” the proper serving size that is right for you and stick to them when dining out or dishing up meals.

6. Eat healthy fast foods (i.e. protein based meal replacements and other healthy snacks)! Don’t leave home without them!

7. Physical activity is a good way to burn calories and it makes you feel great before going to a party, and remember to drink a shake on your way out the door!

8. Have fun and focus on the fellowship and not the food.  

9. Have a Plan in writing!

My Daily Holiday Plan

____________ Wake up

____________ Breakfast  ____________________

____________Mid Morning ____________________

____________Lunch  ____________________

____________Mid Afternoon ____________________

____________Dinner  ____________________

____________Evening  ____________________

Snacks ______________________________________

Type of exercise today___________________________

I exercised for how long? _______________

Today I feel…__________________________________

My Challenges were_____________________________

What did learn? _________________________________

My Plan for tomorrow_____________________________

SMART Goal Setting for 2014

GoalsA lot of people take time off over the holidays. If you do, secure at least a few of those precious days off to devote to yourself and your well-being. A few moments spent assessing where you are—and where you want to be—can make a big difference when the new year arrives.
It helps to remember the “SMART” rule for setting the bar for things you can achieve in the year ahead. Your goals should be…

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Attainable
R: Realistic
T: Time sensitive 
Say, for instance, you want better fitness for yourself—the kind that comes from regular exercise. Perhaps you’ve never been active before, but you want to make this essential habit of health part of your life. So you start SMART! Here are some examples
S: Specific
Instead of “I’m going to get in shape,” maybe you could say, “I am going to be able to walk a mile in 15 minutes by February 1, 2014.”
M: Measurable
Instead of “I’m going to walk regularly,” try something like “I am going to walk for 20 minutes, at least three days a week.”
A: Attainable 
Can you really smoke 500 calories on the stair machine your first day in the gym? Maybe, but if you tire out (or worse—hurt yourself) it’s all too easy to decide exercising is too hard. Start with baby steps, and build on them. (Example: I am going to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, 3 days a week.)
R: Realistic
You can tell yourself, “I’m not going to miss a workout. Ever.” But get real: Kids gets sick, bosses call emergency meetings, and tires go flat. Instead, make yourself a promise you can keep, like: “Beginning January 2, 2013, I will go on the elliptical for 30 minutes, 5 days or more per week at my local gym. I will allow up to 2 days of rest per week.”
T: Time sensitive
“Someday” is not a word for health goals. Set a date, and write it on your calendar. Schedule those workouts, and honor your commitment to your body. (Example: On January 2, 2014, I will sign up to join my local neighborhood fitness center)
Why shouldn’t 2014 be the year that you start seriously transforming your health, your attitude, and your financial security? Your new life starts when YOU say it does. Picture in your mind what your ideal life would look like. Jot down some visions for yourself in a new diary : How would you spend a typical day when your life is truly your own? Collect pictures from magazines that represent what you want for yourself, your family, and your future.
These exercises are more than just wishful thinking. They bring you joy and purpose, motivate your hard work, and help you make your dreams into plans.