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Habit #4 Review, Reset, Refocus

Review your plan and change your plan to meet your goals (if needed)

1-Review What Worked and What Didn’t

Are you feeling Happy and Healthy? Most of us have struggled to meet all of our get-fit goals. Review your measurements from HappyFitHabit # 1. Are there any positive changes in what matters most? I saw no change in my weight, although I’ve been eating a healthier diet. My husband lost 7 pounds, so I’m frustrated! However, I reviewed my measurements and found I’d lost 7cm. So I’m getting denser? 

Take a few minutes to review your plan and what got you off track. Be honest with yourself, no judgement, just look at your scheduled workouts or diet and what you ended up doing instead. Did you undereat day after day and end up tired and so hungry that you couldn’t help yourself but overeat with whatever came to hand? Did you plan to work out at a time that really doesn’t work for you? Or maybe your workouts were too intense, and you ended up injured. There are a million different ways to get off track and just as many ways to get back on track. Once you have a clear idea of why your plan didn’t work, you can reset it.

2-Reset your Plan

If your plan wasn’t working, reset it. This sounds much simpler than it is. My plan was a pretty simple one I’d workout for at least 30 minutes a day and follow my diet guidelines. I took rest days when life got in the way, which was about twice a week. I think my plan is working for me, even though I haven’t lost any weight. I’m going to be more intentional with planning my workouts. I’m going to lift weights in the gym twice a week, do cardio three times a week, and have a reformer workout day. 

Stack my Schedule

I will make this adjusted workout schedule easier to follow by planning my workouts to occur along with something I’m already committed to doing. Accountability helps people stay on track, and I’m going to add accountability by asking someone to join me in some of my workouts. 

3-Refocus

Refocusing is hard. We have to change the story we tell ourselves before actual change can occur. Most of us aren’t aware of why we keep getting in our way. Let me suggest a simple phrase to say that I got from my coach, Amy K, when you struggle and can’t figure out why.

Even though I….. (whatever it is that is holding you back)

I love and trust myself enough to …..(whatever it is that is you have planned)

Even though I’m not athletic

I love and trust myself enough to go to the gym for 30 minutes.

Try it; it’s surprising how effective it is.

Blog, Diet

Habit # 3 Follow a Diet

Diet is a four-letter word since we’re good or bad when following a diet. We think of different kinds of food as good or bad food. But I was hoping you could think about it differently. The word diet describes what you eat. Most of us think we know what healthy food is. So what do I mean when I say you to follow a diet? What are you supposed to eat? 

What should you eat? A diet should help you follow your goals. Once you know what the guidelines are for your diet, you’ll be able to follow them with confidence. The key to most people’s long term success is to keep it simple.

I will explore three different diet guidelines and how to use these guidelines to build a diet that works for you.  I’m going to explore diet guidelines for the Mediterranean diet, as it is the only diet proven to promote longevity. The Canadian food guide has the most straightforward dietary guidelines for healthy living. The third diet guideline I’m going to outline is a calorie deficit diet-this is the kind most people think of when they use the word diet. Please remember I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, and there are no magic solutions to nutrition, just daily choices. Once you’ve selected your diet guidelines, you’ll find healthy eating much easier to do.

Mediterranean diet

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/authors/intermountain-healthcare/

I follow this guideline for my diet as it is easy to understand, allowing me some flexibility. This diet might be a significant change for people who don’t cook or eat many pre-packaged food.

An Even Simpler Diet is the latest Canadian Food Guide

The Canadian Food Guide is the simplest guide designed for ease of use and effectiveness in disease prevention. However, you will need to come up with your meal plan without suggestions or portion recommendations. 

Canada's Food Guide

https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

This simple dietary guideline was designed to help you avoid many lifestyle-related illnesses. Make half of every meal fruits and vegetables, a quarter is a protein, and the remaining quarter is whole grains. Drink water instead of soda or juice, or alcohol. The food guide has many lifestyle tips to help someone who follows their dietary guidelines enjoy a healthier diet.

The Kind of Diet We Think of When We Think Diet is the Calorie Deficit Diet

Diets that focus on cutting calories cause so much harm to people’s psyches. It is the type of diet that promotes the idea of good and bad foods. All you need is willpower and discipline only to eat good foods. This belief is nonsense, but it is a belief that generates billions in sales every year. Yes, lots of people will be healthier if they lose weight. The best way to lose weight is in the kitchen. So you will need to create a calorie deficit in your diet to lose weight. 

3,500 calories a week equals 1 pound

The guideline for sustainable weight loss is to reduce your caloric intake by 3,500 calories a week or 500 calories a day. This reduction in calories should amount to roughly a pound a week. It is tempting to think it is this simple, and of course, it’s not. Many factors to consider, such as your metabolism, genetics, how long your body has been in a calorie deficit, medication, and the amount of movement and exercise you get in a day. Also, if you go from overeating to undereating you will run out of willpower. You should replace the quantity of food with better quality of food.

The simplest way to create a calorie deficit is to count your calories, and the simplest way to do that is through the app myfitnesspal. The app is super easy to use. You can plug in your current weight, your ideal weight, and how much weight you want to lose per week. It will give you your daily calorie count, and as long as you can stick to it, you should lose weight. I’ve seen this technique work wonders for some people, but most don’t keep it up and start a roller coaster of gaining and losing weight.

Most long term diets are the same

Once you’ve been using the app for a while, you will figure out that planning your meals to be half fruits and vegetables is your best choice for the quantity of food with the fewest calories. If you follow your myfitnesspal recommendations, your diet will quickly resemble the Canadian food guidelines as well as the Mediterranean diet. If you enjoy tracking your food or need to control your portions, myfitnesspal is an excellent awareness tool. It has an attractive option to show you how nutritious your food selections are.

Blog, Planner

Habit # 2 Schedule

Use What You Already Do

The best way to stick to a new routine is to build it into your already existing schedule.  Unfortunately, many people try to make their exercise routine more challenging than it should by not incorporating it into their existing routine. They plan to be at the gym unrealistically early or late, add a complicated workout routine into their stressful day, and force-feed themselves food they don’t enjoy. It is easiest to plan your new workout routine to complement your hectic schedule.

KISS Keep It Simple Sweetie

Change in your routine is hard to start and harder to stick to. I’m going to show you different simple ways to make your new routine easier to stick to. You don’t want to count on willpower for your success; you want to rely on routine. Routine is something you do daily without spending energy thinking about whether or not you should do it.

According to James Clear in his book Atomic Habits, the best way to establish a new habit is to do it frequently.  The frequency technique adds a small attainable change to something you do daily. His example was to add one minute of meditation to drinking your morning coffee. https://jamesclear.com/about

Most of us find small changes super doable. We can easily add a quick minute-long change to our day. How can we get back into fitness using the frequency habit?

Here’s the good news, the more often you work out, the less duration your workouts need to be. The easiest way to build a workout habit is to add your workout to something you already do daily. 

Schedule a Minimum of 150 Minutes of Exercise a Week

Starting a fitness routine and maintaining your fitness routine have the same amount of time requirements, 150 min per week. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

You can accomplish this recommended workout volume of 150 minutes a week in different ways. You could schedule to work out 30 minutes a day for five days a week or 60 minutes a day for three days a week. The habit will be easier to stick to if you do it more frequently.

I will show a few examples of how different people schedule the 30 min for five days.

Schedule on Google Calendar, 

Most of us use a planner to track our appointments and work schedule. I use google calendar, which has reminders built into it. After looking at different apps to track my workouts, I made a recurring reminder to work out for 30 minutes every day at 6 pm. It’s super easy to use, and I like crossing things off my calendar. 6 pm is the end of my workday, and I can get 30 minutes in every day at that time.

#1 Technique Make it the First Thing You Do in the Day

This is an excellent technique for people who have days that are interrupt-driven. Busy moms and entrepreneurs are similar in that their time is not always their own. They have a hard time squeezing workouts into their full days. Getting a workout in first thing is the best scheduling habit for them. Consequently, they get up early before their kids are awake (or emails start piling up) and put on their workout clothes.

https://www.everydayhealth.com/self-care/

Lunchtime Walks for professionals 

A 30 minute walk is one of the best ways to build a healthy habit that will stick. It provides so much more than an exercise break. I guarantee you won’t have the afternoon slump if you get fresh air in the middle of the day.  Most people stop and munch while sitting in front of a screen. The complete break and some fresh air will leave you invigorated.

https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/outdoor-exercise-benefits.aspx

Stack your Schedule

If you are having trouble finding a scheduling technique that works for you. Try stacking your activities together. You could stop in at the gym on your way to or from work or after dropping kids off at school. Another stacking technique is to do your exercise while doing something you will do anyway, like watching your favourite show while walking on your treadmill. The idea is to pair the workout with something you’re going to do every day. 

Blog, Health Measurements

Habit # 1

Where to Start?

There are many different ways to get fit, so it can be overwhelming to know where to start. I like to begin by considering the basics. The most fundamental questions I want to know before building a get fit plan for a client are who, what, where, when and how. You might know the answers to all these questions, but you’d be surprised how often people skip one of these steps when building their plan. 

Rethink What You Measure

Your weight isn’t a measurement of your fitness

Of course, what brought you to this blog is concern over your weight, and I get it. I will explore different diets and their effectiveness, but it really shouldn’t be your first concern.

Let’s start with answering the question: Who? You know who you are. But let’s take a second to consider your current fitness level and take some measurements. Most people only consider their weight when starting a fitness journey, but we can’t lose weight indefinitely. Sooner or later, we’ll have to maintain our weight or get sick. So rather than get on the rollercoaster of losing and gaining weight and thinking you are failing because you aren’t losing weight, here are best the measurements for you to care about. They will give you an accurate measure of your current fitness level. It doesn’t make sense to start a healthy journey without knowing where you are when you start

1-Waist to hip ratio: https://youtu.be/PVRC6H75IOY

Abdominal Obesity Measurement Guidelines

OrganizationMeasurement usedDefinition of abdominal obesity
American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (10)Waist circumferenceWomen: > 88 cm (35 inches), Men: > 102 cm (40 inches)
International Diabetes Federation (11)Waist circumferenceWomen: > 80 cm (31.5 inches), Men: > 90 cm (35.5 inches)Different cut-points for different ethnic groups
World Health Organization (12)Waist-to-hip ratioWomen: > 0.85, Men: > 0.9

2-Blood Pressure

Measure your Blood Pressure, this is a number most people don’t know and it is a really easy way to measure your overall health. Great news is that it responds really quickly to regular exercise.

Exercise is a fantastic way to lower your blood pressure but you need to know where it is before you start. Most pharmacies have free machines to measure your BP. Please see your doctor before you start any exercise program, especially if it’s elevated.

3 Cardiovascular Measurement. 

This is a super simple test to do if you have a watch that measures your activity but you can do this old school as well. You need to walk a mile (measured out). 

https://www.verywellfit.com/rockport-fitness-walking-test-calculator-3952696

 To perform the Rockport walking test:

  1. Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes with easy walking.
  2. Start your stopwatch and immediately start walking as fast as you can. Make every effort to push yourself, but avoid jogging.
  3. At the end of the 1 mile, stop your stopwatch and record your time in decimals. For example, 11 minutes plus (30 seconds ÷ 60 seconds) = 11.5 minutes.
  4. Take your heart rate immediately. If taking your own pulse, count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by four. For example, if there are 40 heartbeats in 15 seconds, your heart rate would be 160 beats per minute (bpm).

Calculating Your VO2 Max

Upon completion of the test, you will need to do some math to determine your VO2 max. In addition to your heart rate, you will also need to measure your weight in pounds. The formula is as follows:2

VO2 max = 132.853 – (0.0769 x your weight in pounds) – (0.3877 x your age) + (6.315 if you are male or 0 if you are female) – (3.2649 x your walking time) – (0.1565 x your heart rate at the end of the test)

For example, if you are a 33-year-old man who weighs 160 pounds and completed the test in 11 minutes, 30 seconds with a post-exercise heart rate of 160 bpm, you would calculate your VO2 max as follows:

  • 132.853 – (0.0769 x 160 pounds) = 120.549
  • 120.549 – (0.3877 x 33 years of age) = 107.7549
  • 107.7549 + (6.315 because you are male) = 114.0699
  • 114.0699 – (3.2649 x 11.5 minutes) = 76.52355
  • 76.52355 – (0.1565 x 160 bpm) = 51.48355

Rounding off to the first three digits, your VO2 max would be 51.5 ml/kg/min.

If you aren’t comfortable with long math, there are a number of online calculators you can use that allow you to plug in the individual values.

VO2 Max Norms for Women
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19Under 25.025.0-30.931.0-34.935.0-38.939.0-41.9Over 41.9
20-29Under 23.623.6-28.929.0-32.933.0-36.937.0-41.0Over 41.0
30-39Under 22.822.8-26.927.0-31.431.5-35.635.7-40.0Over 40.0
40-49Under 21.021.0-24.424.5-28.929.0-32.832.9-36.9Over 36.9
50-59Under 20.220.2-22.722.8-26.927.0-31.431.5-35.7Over 35.7
60+Under 17.517.5-20.120.2-24.424.5-30.230.3-31.4Over 31.4
VO2 Max Norms for Men
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19Under 35.035.0-38.338.4-45.145.2-50.951.0-55.9Over 55.9
20-29Under 33.033.0-36.436.5-42.442.5-46.446.5-52.4Over 52.4
30-39Under 31.531.5-35.435.5-40.941.0-44.945.0-49.4Over 49.4
40-49Under 30.230.2-33.533.6-38.939.0-43.743.8-48.0Over 48.0
50-59Under 26.126.1-30.931.0-35.735.8-40.941.0-45.3Over 45.3
60+Under 20.520.5-26.026.1-32.232.3-36.436.5-44.2Over 44.2