Most people think that getting healthy means doing exhausting exercise routines, and restricting calories. As a result, many dread the thought of physical activity and eating healthy. This erroneous mindset has become so ingrained in modern society, that most individuals are not willing to commit to making healthy lifestyle choices. If you are one of the millions of people for whom this is true, there is good news.
Healthy choices do not have to be difficulty choices. In fact, they shouldn’t be difficult at all. Who doesn’t want to feel good, look good, get sick less often, be less stressed, and have more energy? The problem is that many don’t know how to make these positive changes in a way that is enjoyable. If this scenario describes you, here are some easy ways to make your life better without the dread of diet and exercise.
Tuck yourself in early or sleep a little late – We all like to lay in bed a little longer. Adults need eight hours of sleep each night. It is best to be asleep by 10 PM as this is when your body’s recovery signals are in full gear. So send the kids to bed early and cuddle up under a blanky.
Get your game on or get jiggy with it – Who says exercise has to be done in a gym? As long as you get your heart pumping 2-3 times each week, you will reap health benefits. Walk a round of golf, go dancing, or just get out and go for a hike.
Hang out with positive people and do fun things – Stress encourages fat storage and entertainment is the antidote for stress. Being happy causes the release of health enhancing chemicals throughout your body. Not only will you feel better, but you will tend to store less fat while having fun.
Eat real food - It is okay to eat hamburgers or pizza sometimes as long as it is real and not a processed, chemical laden food substitute. Invest in quality, nutrient packed meals and diverse cuisine. Of course, you should know how many calories you need each day and how many you are consuming, but there no need to restrict your calories or skip meals. The free My Fitness Pal app is a great way to keep tabs on your fuel gauge.
Take time out for yourself – This strategy is one of the most often overlooked, yet key ingredients in a healthy regimen. Without daily relaxation, the body becomes increasingly unable perform well. You may find yourself craving sugars or other starchy foods and experiencing chronic fatigue, and frequent illness. So, take a few minutes each day to play music, sing, dance, meditate, get a massage, or just relax. Your body will pay you back 10-fold.
Improving your health doesn’t have to be difficult. These easy and fun steps can help even the most reluctant couch potato to take a few steps toward a better lifestyle. Life was meant to be lived and enjoyed. So, gather some friends and encourage one another to get with it! : )
Arthritis is a collective term referring to diseases that primarily affect the body’s skin and musculoskeletal joints. The most common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms often manifest as joint stiffness and pain with movement around those joints. For many years, patients were advised to limit physical activity and exercise in an effort to avoid pain and manage symptoms. In recent years, however, scientists have discovered that exercise, when done properly, is beneficial in managing the symptoms of arthritis. Research has shown that arthritis patients who engage in regular exercise experience reduced pain, increased energy, and improved function during daily activities. As a bonus, regular exercise prevents stiffness, strengthens supporting muscles around joints, and improves overall fitness.
These new studies provide renewed hope for improved quality of life for individuals suffering from this condition. However, caution should be observed when deciding what type of exercise program to engage in. It is essential to get clearance from your doctor and seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional. Arthritis exercise program design requires a depth of knowledge beyond the basics of many fitness level certifications. Well qualified trainers should have an understanding of what types of exercises are beneficial for arthritis sufferers as well as how to safely progress those exercises. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) are two of the best health and fitness certifying bodies in the industry when it comes to health improvement and general fitness. You can refer to their websites to locate certified health fitness specialists and exercise physiologists in your area. According to ACSM, a properly designed arthritis exercise plan should include the four types of exercise shown below.
- Aerobic exercise helps improve overall fitness and involves non-impact or low impact activities such as walking, water aerobics, swimming, or biking. Depending on your existing level of fitness, start slowly and gradually increase pace, intensity, and/or time.
- Resistance training can increase the strength of muscles that support joints. When using weighted exercises, begin with relatively low resistance (about 10% of you maximum effort) and progress at no more than 5-10% per week.
- Flexibility exercises can lengthen stiff muscles and connective tissues at and around joints leading to increased pain free range of motion. Flexibility exercises should be performed daily and can consist of static stretching, yoga or active assisted stretching.
- Balance exercises can improve posture, coordination, and joint function. Examples of this less often recognized form of exercise are tai chi, qui gong, and certain forms of yoga.
For years, individuals with arthritis were advised to avoid many forms of exercise. However, new scientific studies show that properly designed exercise programs should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to manage symptoms and improve function. Highly qualified fitness experts can design safe and effective exercise programs that help decrease pain and stiffness and improve quality of life.
Each of us struggles with making healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis. Too often, the road to fitness and health seems overwhelming. Work, family and life stressors steal our time and limit our ability to eat right and exercise.
From the time many of us wake, we feel the avalanche of responsibilities and “must do today” items that flood into our minds. As a result, any efforts toward proper eating and increased physical activity can seem too small to make a noticeable difference in our lives. Regardless of this feeling, we must remember that this not the case.
Even a single choice to drink water instead of coke or to take the stairs instead of the elevator does make a difference. These small steps add up over time and will positively impact our future choices and health. Even the smallest effort matters. Just keep moving forward.
What a great time of year it is! As the New Year gets underway, I am sure many of us are taking this opportunity to look at our lives, assess our accomplishments, or setbacks, and set new or recommit to existing goals. Whether our New Year’s resolution involves, health, happiness, family, or financial advancement, follow this simple formula for success.
First, understand that is okay to set a goal you have previously tried to attain before. Past failures are not indicative of future success. As a matter of fact, having failed before, you may be able to more easily identify what factors impeded your progress the first time. These could be negative habits, lifestyle choices, situations, or even individuals in your life that may need addressing. Do your best to remove as many hindrances as are within your control. For those you can’t address by yourself, seek expert advice. You must realize that your happiness and health are worth investing in. Just in case no one has affirmed this to you recently, I will. You are worth it. Get that massage, hire a personal trainer, or just take the some time off for yourself.
Second, realize that you are not superhuman. Appropriately, you have made a New Year’s resolution. But, this does not mean that you have to go to the gym every day for two hours, eat a strict diet, and take care of everything at home or on the job perfectly. As a matter of fact, trying to do so will quickly lead to burnout. Unfortunately, life is messy and people are messy. As a result, unforeseen situations pop up almost daily. So, it is important to clear your schedule and make a plan that leaves room for the expected, unexpected responsibilities. This means setting reasonable goals for making changes. Perhaps plan for no more than 30 minutes at the gym or for a walk three or four times a week rather than a demanding six or seven day a week exercise routine. Choose easy but healthy dinner methods and options. Crock pots are great for this. Spend a little extra money on healthy, organic pizza or meals you can cook in the oven while you do other chores. For those of you with school-age children, it okay to let your children do homework without your undivided attention. As a professional educator, I can tell you that it is better for them. In short, give yourself the rest, time, and energy you need to be successful. Ultimately, your loved ones will be benefit from your improvements as well.
Finally, believe in yourself. This may be difficult for those that who have failed to reach a difficult goal before. In the fitness industry, this is called self-efficacy, the belief in one’s own ability to successfully engage in health related lifestyle behaviors. Self-efficacy is huge! No matter what goals you set in life, it is your belief in achieving those goals that impact whether or not you will take the actions and make the choices required to be successful. You will need inspiration and will need support. You must surround yourself with individuals that give you positive encouragement. A group commitment to positive change is a great way to increase the chances of success. Workout with a partner or plan healthy menus together. It is also important to recognize and praise your own successes no matter how small they may seem. While it is nice to receive positive feedback from others, you must begin to believe in yourself. Finally, seek expert advice. If your goal is health or fitness related, hire a well-qualified exercise professional to help you design a healthy eating and exercise plan. Don’t forget to connect with your trainer at least once a month to make updates to the program and provide ongoing support.
Good luck and remember, you are not meant to be unhealthy or unhappy and you don’t have to be any longer. Use past failures to overcome new obstacles, invest in yourself, and surround yourself with the support you need to make this year one of the best years of your life.
Many of you may have heard the story of the little boy that snuck up on stage to play "Chopsticks" on a concert piano while his parents were preoccupied in the audience. Many in the crowd were annoyed with the little boy. But, rushing to the stage when he heard the commotion, the Maestro placed his hands on the keyboard beside the little boy's and played a countermelody. As the Maestro played, he kept whispering in the boy's ear, "Don't stop, keep going, don't quit." Each day, we have endless opportunities to influence others. And conversely, those we encounter will influence us. Through their words, actions, and attitudes, they will either fan the flame of inspiration in us or attempt to extinguish them. Whether your goals include weight loss, general wellness, or excelling at a sport, remember to surround yourself with only those who will serve to support you toward success.
One of the most common mistakes new or returning exercisers make is:
- Attempting to do too much, too soon
- Performing the wrong type of exercise to meet health and fitness goals
This often results in injury or frustration. An inability to attain desired results may lead some to believe that poor health and weight gain just go hand in hand with aging. But, this is not the case. Research has proven that, no matter what age you are you can remain healthy, fit, and energetic.
However, the transformation to a healthy, fit body will not occur automatically with the addition of exercise and dieting. It is proper exercise and a healthy diet that leads to improved overall health and make it possible to remain active and independent throughout life.
If your exercise goals include attaining a healthy weight, recovering from an illness/injury or disease prevention, the exercise guidelines that follow will help ensure positive and safe results.
Key Guidelines for Adults
- Any physical activity is better than none and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. However, for substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 – 300 minutes week of moderate-intensity or 75 - 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the two spread throughout the week.
- Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week (1 - 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps). This will only be about 6 – 8 exercises the initially.
Key Guidelines for Older Adults
In addition to the the Key Guidelines for Adults, the following guidelines apply for older adults:
- If older adults are unable to do150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (40 – 60% MHR) a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
- Strength training should initially consist of 1 – 3 sets of 15–20 reps progressing to 8 – 12 reps after the first 2 – 4 weeks.
- Older adults should include balance exercises if they are at risk of falling.
- Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
Key Guidelines for Weight Loss
- Healthy individuals should get at least 30 to 60 minutes of low impact aerobic exercise on 5 – 6 days each week. It may be necessary to begin with short, intermittent bouts lasting 10 minutes each.
- Intensity should be low to moderate (40–50% MHR initially) emphasizing longer duration to increase caloric expenditure.
- Overweight adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity (1 - 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps) and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. (This will only be about 6 – 8 exercises the initially.)
- An important note: Always begin with the lower set range. Do not try to do three sets on the first day. It is a good way to injure yourself or become so sore you never want to come back.
Key Guidelines for Women During Pregnancy and Postpartum Periods
- Healthy women who are not already highly active or doing vigorous-intensity activity should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preferably, this activity should be spread throughout the week.
- Pregnant women who already engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or who are highly active can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their health-care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.
- Key guidelines for healthy adults apply to the pregnancy and postpartum periods. In addition, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Gradually reduce exercise frequency, intensity and duration during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters based on comfort
- Avoid the Valsalva maneuver (holding your breath while exercising)
- Include Kegel exercises
- Be mindful of joint laxity
- Avoid supine (on your back) exercises lasting longer than 5 min after the 1st trimester
- Avoid exercising in heat and high humidity
- Replace calories expended during exercise, as this is not a time for weight loss
Trying to Avoid Christmas Holiday Weight Gain?
It is the season of year to enjoy holiday celebrations and the foods that come with it. As a result, it is not uncommon to gain one or two pounds this time of year. Unfortunately, these extra pounds tend to stick around and are not usually lost in the post-holiday period.
Choosing healthy recipes for your Christmas festivities along with daily exercise can help prevent this undesired side effect of the joyous Christmas season. The catch is that most people find it difficult during this busy time to engage in healthy lifestyle activities. The good news is that, done correctly, short bouts of exercise can help prevent the addition of those extra unwanted pounds.
Exercise science studies have shown that brief intervals of high intensity exercise can burn more calories over time than longer, sustained aerobic exercise sessions. Add full body exercises to the mix and you get an even greater metabolic boost. It gets even better. This this state of increased metabolism can last for up to 48 hours after exercise. In addition, this type of exercise can cause increased production of fat burning and lean muscle sustaining hormones. This is good news for individuals who have difficulty fitting exercise into their day.
If you are willing to commit about 25 minutes a day to an exercise routine, you are a healthy individual, and can walk for at least 30 minutes, try this Holiday Fitness Routine designed to keep your metabolism burning those extra yummy calories before they can turn to unwanted body fat. I have successfully used this routine for group training classes during previous holiday seasons with good results. I encourage you to invite a couple of friends to do this along with you to add to the fun.
What you will need:
- A piece of cardio equipment or place to speed walk, jog, run, or sprint
- The ability to do body weight exercises
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: High Intensity Interval Metabolic Circuit
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays: 30 minutes of easy to moderate aerobic activity of your choice (This should be RELAXING and/or FUN! Dancing, yoga, walking, jogging, riding, hiking, walking the dog, or any sustained activity that gets your heart rate up a little is perfect.)
The Routine has three parts:
- Movement Prep (2-3 Min.)
- Hybrid Full Body Metabolic Strength and High Intensity Interval Circuit (18-24 Min.)
- Passive Stretch (2-3 Min.)
Movement Prep: Do these dynamic movements at the beginning your workout each day just before the cardio warm-up. You should complete 5 controlled repetitions of each exercise and hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Body Weight Squats:
- Step 1 (Starting Position): Your feet should be positioned shoulder width apart with toes facing forward or turned out slightly.
- Step 2 (Downward Phase): Gently lean into the sitting position as you bend your knees, shift your weight into your heels and begin to lower the body. Place your hands on the front of your thighs. Do not move the feet. Keep your knees lined up with your 2nd toe. Continue to lower yourself until challenged or until your thighs align parallel to the floor. Hold this position briefly and return to the starting position.
- Step 3 (Upward Phase): Exhale and slowly push your body up away from the floor. Extend your hips to bring them back underneath your body. Continue pushing upward, returning to your starting position.
- Standing Triangle Straddle Bends
- Step 1 (Starting Position): Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Your left foot is pointing forward and your right foot pointed to the right. Arms are by your sides. Line up the heel of your left foot, with your right heel. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the back to arch. Hold your chest up and tilt your chin up slightly.
- Step 2: Reach your left arm straight into the air. Your arm is close to your head and your palm is tuned toward you. Keep your shoulders down, letting only the arm lift. Place your right hand lightly on your right leg.
- Step 3: Slowly drop your right shoulder letting your right hand move closer to your right foot. Continue reaching up and over with your left arm as you move into a side bend. Keep the abdominals braced and your head in line with your spine. Your weight should be distributed evenly through both legs. Keep the chest open and your right arm in line with your ear. Do not allow the shoulders to roll toward the floor.
- Step 4: Hold the stretch for 1-2 seconds. Repeat for a total of 5 repetitions. Move into the stretch a litter deeper with each repetition. Repeat on the opposite side. When sliding your hand down your leg, make sure you do not allow your hand to rest directly on your knee. Place it above or below depending on your flexibility. Your hand should rest lightly on the leg, not support your body weight. Do not compromise form in order to reach your hand closer to the ground.
- Standing Calf Stretch
- Step 1(Starting Position): Stand facing a wall, arm’s length away with your feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward. Place your hands on the wall slightly higher than your shoulders. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back without arching your low back. Step back with your RIGHT leg into a split-stance position keeping both feet flat on the floor and toes pointing forward. Keep your head in line with your spine.
- Step 2: Begin slowly moving your body towards the wall. Allow the elbows and the LEFT (front) knee to bend. Do not bend at the hips. Keep your spine lengthening out of your pelvis. Do not arch the back. Continue to bend the LEFT (front) knee while keeping the back leg straight. Push the RIGHT (back) heel into the floor with toes pointed forward. Support your body weight with your arms as you shift your weight forward. Increase the stretch by leaning your body more deeply into to the wall and increasing the bend in your left knee. Continue to press your heel into the ground.
- Step 3: Hold the stretch position 1-2 seconds. Repeat for a total of 5 repetitions. Try to move into the stretch more deeply with each repetition, but be sure to keep your body in alignment and heels in contact with the floor. Complete all repetitions on one leg before changing sides.
- Step 4 (Exercise Variation): To increase the stretch in the soleus muscle, slightly bend the back knee while pressing the heel into the floor.
- Standing Chest Stretch
- Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward and arms by your sides. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow your low back to arch.
- Step 2: Action: Exhale. Lift your chest up and out as you rotate the shoulders, turning them out. Pull your shoulder blades toward one another.
Hybrid Full Body Metabolic Strength and High Intensity Interval Circuit
Choose a piece of cardiovascular equipment or aerobic activity you allows you to work at different intensity levels. A cross-trainer, treadmill, bike, or rowing machine are excellent choices. After you have done your movement prep routine, use your cardio machine to warm-up for two minutes. You will then increase your speed or intensity to your maximum effort for the work intervals shown below. Follow each work interval with the stated recovery interval. For example, during week 1 you might warm up for two minutes on a recumbent bike; do 30 seconds at maximum effort followed by 90 seconds of light to moderate peddling. Dismount the bike and do one set of each full body strength exercise shown below completing the number of repetitions shown in the table below. You will then return to the bike and repeat this entire process for a total of four times before your 2 minute cool-down. Rest only when you must. Keep moving if you can. You should be out of breath during the high intensity (30 second) work intervals. Again, the four full body strength exercises you will do are shown below. You may modify these exercises by performing the push-ups and planks with your knees supporting your body if you wish.
- Push-up or modified push-ups
- Walking Lunges
- Supine Bridge
- Prone Plank
Passive Stretch Exercises Follow each exercise session with this stretch routine. Don’s skip this. You will feel better and get more from your exercise session if you stretch properly.
- Standing Side Stretch
- Wide Feet Hamstring Stretch
- Quadriceps Stretch
- Standing Calf Stretch
- Chest Stretch
- Overhead Triceps Stretch
- Gluteal Stretch
- Child’s Pose
The entire routine is summarized in the table below.
Holiday Metabolic Strength Circuit/HIIT Routine
Cardio Warm Up
Work Interval (Max Intensity)
Recovery Interval (60-70% MHR)
Metabolic/ Strength Circuit
Cardio Cool Down
Total Workout Time
Push-Ups: Max Reps
Walking Lunges: 12-15
Prone Plank: 10-30 seconds
Bridge: 10-30 Seconds
Push-Ups: Max Reps
Walking Lunges: 12-15
Prone Plank: 10-30 seconds
Bridge: 10-30 Seconds
Push-Ups: Max Reps
Walking Lunges: 12-15
Prone Plank: 10-30 seconds
Bridge: 10-30 Seconds
Push-Ups: Max Reps
Walking Lunges: 12-15
Prone Plank: 10-30 seconds
Bridge: 10-30 Seconds
It seems as though everywhere I go, I encounter people who want to lose weight or "get into shape". They may have tried many times to lose weight and keep it off. If they have failed to do so, it is likely that at some point they will turn to someone for advice or help. If this is you, pay close attention.
Anyone can put on a t-shirt and call themselves a "personal trainer" as at present, there are no licensing requirements. While I have no doubt that these individuals mean well and may sincerely want to help people, there are certain credentials you should look for before agreeing to allow someone to "instruct" you in exercise or nutrition.
There are three main issues. The first is your safety. There are professionally agreed upon researched based methods for exercise prescription. A well-planned and appropriate exercise routine generally includes a warm-up, a cardiovascular and or strength training segment, and a cool-down. Each of these components should be addressed using methods that are tailored to your current fitness level, goals, and health needs. Non-certified trainers often do not have a thorough background in all of these areas. I see it at least three times a week. New exercisers doing too much, too soon, or exercising in a way that will not meet their goals. The result is often non-adherance or injury.
This brings us to the second issue, your current health status. The number one reason people hire a trainer is to lose weight. The catch is that being overweight is often accompanied by other health conditions. Some of the common conditions often associated with being overweight include diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, back pain, and joint pain. Individuals with these conditions should undergo a proper pre-exercise evaluation. This might include a brief medical history along with cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility assessments. To safely work with these individuals, a trainer should generally hold a degree in an exercise science related field and hold an advanced personal training certification such as the ACSM HFS or the ACE AHFS credential.
The third issue is one of success. As I mentioned above and if you have not figured it out by now, exercise prescription and nutrition should be tailored to meet your individual goals. Simply exercising will not help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or make you healthier. As a matter of fact, beginning an exercise routine at too high an intensity for your health status may cause more harm than good. Your exercise program should be based on a safe, individualized plan that is designed to meet your specific goals, goals that have been determined by properly conducted fitness assessments and by your desires.
If you find yourself in need of a fitness expert, there are several NCCA accredited credentialing organizations to choose from. Do your research on these. Each has a special area of expertise. I have listed what I believe to be the top four below.
· The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
· The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
· The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
· The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Don't be afraid to ask about a prospective trainer’s background and education level. You are hiring them. Hire only the best, most qualified employee to meet your needs. Don't assume that because their shirt says "trainer" or because they work at a gym that they are a qualified fitness professional.
Weight Loss, Sleep, Exercise, and Nutrition:
Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Pizza, and Cokes Are Okay
But there is a catch. You knew there had to be one. Here are the rules:
- Use only all natural, humanely raised, grass fed, antibiotic and steroid free beef. Your beef will be leaner, healthier, and free of cancer causing agents.
- Eat only wild caught, low lead content fish. It will be lower in fat and have greater heart healthy, omega 3 levels.
- Chicken should be free range, antibiotic and steroid free. The nutrient content will be higher and the fat level lower. And, the taste is so much better!
- Use only whole grain or sprouted grain bread. This will keep sugar and insulin levels lower hence minimizing the body’s tendency to store fat.
- Know how many calories you are eating. MyFitnessPal.com is an excellent way to keep track of your daily calorie needs. One of the first things you should do before attempting to lose weight (other than getting a physical from your doctor) is to determine how many calories to take in each day. Keeping a food log such as MyFitnessPal will be essential in achieving your weight loss goals.
- Know what is in your food. Preservatives, chemicals, and additives can not only inhibit weight loss, but may cause water retention and increase your body’s toxic load. Your liver plays an important role in secreting fat burning enzymes and toxins that must be cleared by the liver make weight loss difficult.
- Drink plenty of water. When you want something else, try to drink only clear, stevia sweetened, sodas, or tea. Green tea is excellent for weight loss.
- White sugar, white flour, and white rice are bad for you! They are sugar and sugar inhibits weight loss unless you consume it after a period of fasting or after a session of high intensity interval training. (At these times, it turns to glycogen (a form of energy stored in the liver and muscles.)
- If you are trying to lose weight, use anaerobic interval training, don’t exercise longer than one hour at a time, and do some form of exercise to rebuild fast twitch muscle. As we age, we tend to lose these types of muscle fibers. These are essential to the maintaining the body’s metabolism.
- Go to bed on time and get 7-8 hours of sleep. It is during rest that your body reaps the benefits of exercise and turns on youthful hormones.
With so many weight loss programs to choose from, one might wonder why people have such a hard time losing weight and keeping it off. They have a vision in their head of how they want to look. But, after so many failed attempts, they find themselves thinking that the task is impossible. They have lost hope. In the fitness industry, the technical term for hope is self-efficacy. It means one's belief (or faith) in themselves to accomplish a certain task. But, why is hope so important for successful weight loss?
Perhaps it is because people with hope have a certain excitement in their eyes and a positive outlook in the midst of their present circumstances. They have a vision of success for themselves and a plan to reach their goals. Hope energizes the body and provides endurance for the road ahead.
Contrast this state of mind with hopelessness, or lack of self-efficacy. People without hope are downcast and tend to have a negative view of their situation. And, while they may have a vision of how they want to look, they feel powerless and saddened by the fact that they have no idea about how to reach that vision. As a result, they may experience a lack of motivation, which may prevent them from enjoying life.
In short, they have lost faith in themselves to accomplish their weight loss goals. The Bible gives a very good explanation of why faith is so important in maintaining hope in order to achieve goals. Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Hope provides motivation to begin again and faith in themselves provides the endurance to continue in the process until success is reached. Perhaps the most important thing a trainer can do for a client is restore this hope. What clients need to know is this:
- They are not overweight because they are lazy.
- It is not their fault.
- They do not have to skip meals, starve themselves or give up pizza, hamburgers, and hotdogs (nor should they).
- Their genetics will not prevent them from losing weight.
- They do not have to do any type of exercise they do not enjoy.
- Most importantly, it CAN BE EASY!
Weight loss is just like opening the doors at the local convenient store. No matter how hard you try to push open the right side door, it will not open unless you read the "how to" sign that says "pull". Then it is quite easy to get open. Opening the door to permanent weight loss is just as easy. There is hope; you just need the proper instructions.