Joel Peterson, Personal Trainer

Keep It Simple

Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club

Hello and Happy New Year! January 2015 is the time to make some decisions to change your lifestyle from unhealthy to heathy. Don’t you agree? What better time to start fresh with determination and dedication towards a better you? One huge mistake we all seem to make is attempting a total overhaul instead of mastering one thing at a time. We fail because we set ourselves up to fail. Too many resolutions attempted at one time overwhelm us and so we give up on them all, until next year of course, when we start it all over again. So, what can we do to succeed where before we failed?

Creating goals that improve your mind, body and soul can be empowering. The key is to set attainable goals so you don’t set yourself up for failure and end up beating yourself up if you don’t achieve them. Small changes done successfully over time can produce more significant positive change than starting something big and not being able to keep it up or maintain it over time. Think in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want.

I would recommend making just a few changes in your lifestyle to enhance and improve your wellbeing. Pick changes that are not difficult to follow. Now it’s up to you what to choose. They say we should “pick our battles” and that is solid advice. Every January I ask my clients to give me a list of their “New Year Resolutions”. Here’s a typical list:

  • Exercise more
  • Eat better
  • Lower my blood pressure
  • Have a more positive outlook
  • Watch less TV and stay off of Facebook

There are others but you get the drift. All good goals. Noble. Undoable. What? Undoable? That’s right, undoable. Look at that list again. What does any of it mean? Where’s the plan? What are the specifics? How are you going to do it? First, it’s too much at one time to tackle, is it not? If you are backed up in chores with shopping, cleaning, laundry, yard work and such all needing to be done, do you attempt to do them all at one time? Or three, or two at a time. No, you prioritize them and take them on one at a time, otherwise nothing may get done. You get too overwhelmed and just go back to bed. So why not take our new resolutions one at a time and not stress over the rest of them.

Keep it simple 2015

Usually with my clients I take the “eat better” goal first. Why? Eating healthier usually lends itself to more energy, which helps naturally in all the other areas. So, what does “eat better” even mean? We need to define our terms to have a clear focus on what it is exactly we are going to do to “eat better”. So, what if I said to my clients: “you need to eat eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day, eat fatty fish twice a week, eat no bread, stay out of restaurants, eat only organic non GMO foods, don’t drink soda, don’t eat red meat more than once a week, don’t eat food that comes in a can or a box and don’t eat anything you enjoy unless it meets my criteria of approved foods”?

Come on, we all know what will happen, right? Total and absolute failure within two weeks, guaranteed. So, what would be doable and increase their health factor? First, it would be on an individual basis. I’ll take a real example – for example. I have a client who is addicted to fast food, mostly McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and Maverick pastries. I mean daily and sometimes twice. What would happen if he was able to “cut down” his fast food to three or four times a week and replace those four or five meals with healthier food prepared at home? He would cut about 2000 calories of junk per week which by itself equates to 2.3 pounds per month weight loss, along with fueling his body with the nourishment it needs for health and sustained energy. That’s just one small change and is very doable without a lot of “withdrawals”. He still can eat his fast food, just not as much. Now, I’m not recommending fast food in the least, but if we set his goal at zero fast food I guarantee his would not make two days before he failed, considering himself a failure and giving up on everything in the process.

We would also reinforce his desire to cut down by filling his mind with the negative consequences of consuming too much junk food or fast food. For example:

Junk Food Facts

  • Junk foods are known for the high amount of sugar present in them.
  • A single cola can contain a staggering 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Junk foods contain few minerals and vitamins foods, while they are loaded with calories.
  • The body converts unused sugars into fats and thus, people who consume junk foods regularly are at a risk of gaining more weight than others.
  • The colors and flavors present in junk foods are responsible for causing rashes, asthma hyperactivity, and other problems.
  • Food items such as most fast food items, chips, cookies, candy bars, muffins, fried foods, etc., contain high amounts of hydrogenated oils and fats.
  • The trans fats or hydrogenated oils present in these foods do not serve any purpose in nourishing the body.
  • The excessive amount of salts present in junk food items cause the sodium percentage to rise in the body. Sodium, if present in high amounts, leads to the increase in blood pressure levels.
  • The intake of junk foods is responsible for health problems like tooth decay, different types of cancers and many other diseases, including heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.
  • The fats present in junk foods results into the brain demanding more food. The effect of such fats on the brain might remain for a long time.
  • The excessive amount of sugar that is present in junk foods causes the insulin levels to remain high and thereby, metabolic problems occur.
  • Cholesterol in fast food meats is very dangerous for the health. Meat contains cholesterol and hence leads to the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol molecules can accumulate in the arteries and lead to clogging or thickening of the arteries.
  • Trans fat, which is infamous as the worst type of fat, is found abundantly in various fast foods. Trans fat is considered as the most harmful type of fat because it not only increases the ‘bad cholesterol’ (low density lipoprotein) levels but also reduces the ‘good cholesterol’ (High density lipoprotein) levels.

The dangerous junk food facts mentioned above would make my client aware of their harmful effects on the human body. It becomes less attractive when taking that first bite brings the aforementioned information back to the brain.

So, let’s keep our resolutions simple, clear and doable. Take one step at a time until all those steps together become miles.

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