Why Getting Fit Should Be a Long Term Goal

What is your fitness goal? With the new year coming, maybe it is losing a few of those extra pounds so you can look good when it’s ok again to go to the beach. That could be a great short-term goal, and definitely one you would want to attain, but what is your end-state fitness-wise in the long term and how are you going to get there?

Regardless of your goal, you need a path to the other end – an action plan that takes you from where you are now to your goal – written down on paper and posted where you can see it. Remember, goals have to be both realistic and attainable. Losing 50 pounds before summer is not either, however losing 10 pounds by the same time is both realistic and attainable.

Also, goals have to be specific if you expect to achieve success. A goal of losing weight isn’t specific enough; losing 50 pounds by Labor Day is better because it has a specified amount of weight to lose and an ending date.

However, losing 1 ½ pounds per week for a total of 50 pounds by Labor Day is better yet as it also includes a short-term goal along the way to keep you on track. And 1 ½ pounds per week is not as daunting as 50 pounds. Short-term goals keep you focused; without them in our example, you could find yourself needing to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time towards the end to reach your goal.

Also, achieving several short term goals along the way provides the motivation to continue. Each week’s 1 ½ pound loss is a building block for the next week. The time and commitment invested to reach each week’s goal, further seats your investment of time and energy to achieving the end-state.

And achieving a short-term goal of a 1 ½ pound loss each week sets you up for the longer goal of keeping that weight off. For example, it takes about 30 days to establish a habit (or break an old one). If your method to weight loss was eating healthy, by the time you get to your goal your new style of eating is an established part of your new healthy lifestyle. Once it becomes a habit, it is much harder to break and go back to your old way of eating.

And that is the real benefit of the long-term goal of getting fit – it becoming part of a larger goal of achieving a healthy lifestyle. Once you attain this goal, your next one for example may be doing a 5KM marathon. Each long-term goal supports the overall goal – living a healthy lifestyle.

Simple Lifestyle Tweaks to Help You Drop Some Weight

Sometimes the simplest changes in lifestyle can make a big difference. Here are a few easy lifestyle tweaks that make a big difference individually, but have synergistic effects when paired together.

Keep a food journal

Many times being overweight is a case of not realizing how much (or what) a person eats in a day. Writing down everything puts it in perspective. According to a recent study, people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who did not – on average 13 pounds in 6 months.

Eat healthy food

Not only does eating junk or unhealthy food pack on the calories, but it is also high in saturated and trans fat – both of which are bad for your health and lead to some serious health issues. Instead, opt for more fresh vegetables, whole grain, and lean meats. Not only will it reduce the number of calories consumed, but reduce the bad fats. If at all possible, refrain from eating processed fast food and opt for a healthy bag lunch that you prepare at home.

Get more exercise

It’s so easy to do without adding hardly any more time to your day. For example, instead of parking close to the store, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in the rest of the way. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before your normal stop, and walk to your destination. Once inside the building, take the stairs (at least partway up) instead of the elevator. During your lunch break, take a walk, returning with enough time left to eat your healthy bag lunch.

Another way to sneak in exercise is to only watch your favorite Netflix series while you are exercising. It will prevent you from binge-watching and possibly avoiding lounging in bed or your couch for an entire day. This is great for short episodes (30 min long episodes) – you get your work out in while you indulge yourself getting caught up in your favorite show. Another way is to listen to your favorite podcast or an audiobook while you are working out or walking/running. You burn some calories while you get absorbed in your favorite podcast or audiobook.

Wear a fitness tracker

Counting the number of steps taken during the day raises your exercise awareness. When you have that information at hand, you’ll find yourself comparing how many steps you have taken to your daily goal and put in the extra effort to reach your goal. In a recent study, people who walked only 2,500 steps more per day than the control group, burnt off the equivalent of 10 pounds over a the one-year study.

Get enough sleep

In another study, participants were asked to sleep 10 hours a night for two nights, followed by five nights of less sleep and four nights of recovery. The results? After 11 days, the study group had gained almost 3 pounds each compared to the well-rested control group.

All of these lifestyle tweaks are easy to implement. Once they have established habits, and you start to see weight loss results, you’ll wonder why you had not started doing them sooner.

5 Habits of Fit and Healthy People

If you look at fit and healthy people in awe and wonder how they do it, their secret comes down to two words: healthy lifestyle. They live a healthy life and everything they do centers around that concept. If you want to be more like them, here are five things you will have to start doing:

Eat breakfast

Listen to your mother when she tells you breakfast is the most important meal of the day because she is right. After fasting all night, get your body going by having a good healthy, and nutritious breakfast. Make sure it includes lean protein, healthy fat, and good complex carbohydrates. It gives your metabolism a kick in the butt that can last for hours, making sure that you are burning the maximum number of calories possible each day.

Always be on the move

If you are sitting still, you are burning fewer calories than if you were up and moving. Fit and healthy people are always on the go. They park at the far end of the parking lot, or they get off a stop or two before the closest stop to work, and then walk in the rest of the way. They take the stairs instead of the elevator. They ride their stationary bike, elliptical trainer, or treadmill at night while watching TV, instead of just sitting on the couch. In doing so, they burn many more calories than people who do not do these things.

Start your day with exercise

Exercising first thing in the morning not only gets your body going but also your mind. People who exercise early in the day tend to have a more positive outlook on life, which transcends to the choices they make, like choosing what they eat and how they burn calories throughout the day.

Cook and eat at home

As strange as it may sound, fit and healthy people only eat when their body tells them it is hungry. And when they do eat, it is generally at home (for breakfast and dinner) and a light healthy lunch most likely brought from home. If they do have to eat out, they make smart choices as far as portions and type of food – fresh vegetables and lean meats.

Along with making smart eating choices, the beverage of their choice is water. They know that not only does it hydrate them better than any other drink, but water contains no calories, which in many other drinks comes from added sugar.

Don’t obsess over your body

If you are a scale watcher, you can learn a lot from fit and healthy people. They don’t even have to look at a scale, because they know their healthy lifestyle and habits will keep them around the same weight. They typically consume and burn off around the same number of calories each day, thus keeping them at the same weight … within a few pounds. Most healthy and fit people monitor their fitness level by how tight (or loose) their clothes feel.

Doing these five things routinely will put you in the healthy and fit category. If losing weight, ensure you burn around 500 calories more per day than you eat. Once at goal, then add in 500 more calories to maintain your current weight. Once you choose a healthy lifestyle, you will never have to worry about dieting again.

What Causes of Excess Belly Fat

Most of us have belly fat to some extent or another. However, when it gets excessive, it can begin to cause health issues; some can be serious or even deadly. So to keep from getting too much belly fat, you have to know what causes it. Here are three main causes of excess belly fat:

Bad Genes

I listed genetics first because it is the hardest to control. If you are predisposed to accumulate belly fat based on your DNA structure, all you can do is try to control it the best you can through healthy eating and exercising. It will mean that you will have to work a little harder than other people to see the same results, but it can be done through diligence and dedication.

Poor Diet

Today, most people do not eat properly by choice. We rely too heavily on processed and fast food, both of which are not good for us.

Instead, we should focus on a high protein/low carb diet by mainly eating these foods:

  • fresh fruits like berries, apples, melons, and peaches
  • fresh vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, cucumbers, and broccoli
  • whole grains – whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and quinoa
  • lean protein – chicken, turkey, tuna, fish, eggs, and lean cuts of meat

The type of food we eat is not the only reason we get fat; how much we eat (i.e. portion control) is also important. One trick many people use is to put food on a smaller plate. It tricks your mind into thinking you ate more than you did. Remember these four simple rules of thumb when it comes to portion control size:

  • 3-4 ounces of lean meat = 1 palm
  • 1 serving of carbs = 1 cupped hand
  • 1 cup of vegetables = a fist

Lack of Exercise

Not only is a poor diet the cause of us gaining excess belly fat; a sedentary lifestyle is a major contributor also. When combined with a diet that relies heavily on processed and fast food – both high in saturated fat and calories – your body will store the extra calories it does not need as fat. In many people, that fat gets stored as belly fat – the worst kind of fat.

Fortunately, belly fat is one of the first fats to burn off once you start exercising. Just 30 minutes a day of vigorous activity, such as walking, running, or swimming (and eating healthy) will start burning off excess belly fat. Done diligently, you should start to see results in two weeks.

Because excess belly fat is so dangerous, it is imperative that you start eating healthy and exercising. As in other types of weight loss, it comes down to burning more calories than you take in over a period of time; burn 3,500 more calories per week than you eat, you will lose a pound. Eventually, healthy eating and exercising will become part of your lifestyle and you won’t think twice about it.

Why Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain

Is there really a connection between lack of sleep and weight gain? Are we talking about getting up during the middle of the night to eat and thereby losing out on sleep? If not, so what is the connection between the two?

Actually, lack of sleep can cause many health-related issues of which weight gain is just one. And there are two main reasons for it: sleep deprivation and bad food choices because of the alteration of appetite due to a shift in hormones.

Sleep deprivation

When sleep deprived, the body’s metabolism system doesn’t work right, so it is not burning calories as efficiently as it could. Research has shown the issue seems to come from a change in glucose tolerance or the body’s ability to turn food into glucose and get it to the cells where it can be used for energy. Being sleep deprived, glucose tolerance can diminish as much as 40%. If calories are not being processed, they are stored as fat, leading to weight gain.

Bad food choices

The other part is the bad food choices we make when sleep deprived. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which controls our appetite and a decrease in leptin, which tells us when we are full.

Sleepily we grab a cup of coffee or two … or three, along with a donut for some quick energy. That sugar rush caused by the sugar in the donut and in your coffee, if you added some, soon wears off and before long you are back looking for more food.

The issue is you are not looking for carrots or even apple slices with peanut butter – something that would be good for you – no, you are back for another donut or something that will give you the sugar rush again, has a lot of calories, and absolutely no nutritional value. The long-term result of this eating behavior is weight gain, even to the point of obesity. Typically, those that are sleep-deprived eat about 300 calories per day more than when they are rested. In a week, that is a pound of weight gain just from not getting enough sleep. Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two pounds!

And it wouldn’t be as bad … but still not good, if you hit the gym sometime during the day to burn off as many of those calories as you could, but being sleep deprived, you are too tired to exercise, so the weight just keep piling on.

A typical adult needs at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night to avoid sleep deprivation and the change in hormones. Between the combination of taking in more calories and the body’s ability to efficiently burn them altered (coupled with a lack of exercise due to tiredness) the end result is weight gain – and in some cases, a lot of it.

Set Yourself Up For Success – How To Stick To Your Ideal Weight Goals

Setting goals to meet your ideal weight is great, but the hard part is sticking to the plan and reaching your final goal. Today I want to share 5 tips with you that will set you up for success. Ready to learn how to stick to your weight loss goals? Here we go.

Use Visualization

Visualization is a powerful tool. Close your eyes and picture yourself at your ideal weight. How do you look? How does it feel? How will you feel being able to run around the park with the kids or climbing up those stairs without running out of breath? Paint a clear picture in your mind of the lean you. Make it a habit to visualize this slim and healthy version of yourself daily.

Create Accountability

Sometimes it’s just a little too easy to make bad choices. That chocolate cookie won’t hurt, and it’s not that big of a deal to skip a workout. Before you know it the whole plate of cookies is gone and you haven’t been out to walk for over a week. Accountability will help you keep on track. Find someone to whom you can be accountable. If this sounds a little too intimidating or just isn’t your thing, consider keeping a journal. Just knowing that you’ll have to write down that piece of cheesecake is enough motivation to pick an apple instead.

Make It Attainable

You want to push yourself, but you also want to make sure they are actually reachable. Setting a huge goal like losing 30 pounds can seem almost insurmountable. Instead, start with a smaller goal like losing 10 pounds over the next 3 months. Then set another 10-pound goal and repeat until you reach your weight goal.

Take Breaks

If you have attainable goals and some accountability in place, it’s ok to take a little break every once in a while. Take a break from your workout. In fact, except for low impact exercise like going for a walk, you don’t want to overdo it. 3 to 5 days doing your workout of choice is plenty. And it’s ok to have a piece of birthday cake on occasion. Just make sure you work on getting exercise and eating healthy 90% of the time.

Create Good Habits

Which brings us to another great tip. Use this time to work on creating healthy habits. Make going for that daily walk part of your new lifestyle. Make eating three healthy meals a family habit. It set you up for success now. Healthy habits will also help you stay at your ideal weight long after you’ve reached your goal.


Hitting your ideal weight is hard work. Don’t forget to celebrate each success. If you made it out for a 30-minute walk each day this week, celebrate with a mini-movie marathon. Did you lose your first 5 pounds? Take yourself out to get your nails done or treat yourself to a cute new top. Reward yourself for each success and milestone reached.

Listen to your body

Listen to your body …This is the picture that made me cry 10 years ago… the moment that realty struck and it felt like I needed to do something about my health. For most of my photos back then, I would always crop my body out and just leave my upper body. I would always be hiding behind someone or had something in front of me to cover my dreaded truth. Pictures don’t lie and yes … the TRUTH hurts.

Truth: Having a conversation about your health is difficult for most people. It’s something that you most likely would not like to get into (even if it’s a conversation with yourself). Why is that? Maybe because more often than not, we are in denial about how our health and fitness condition is during the present time. Like … I don’t know if you know my story . But, years ago, when my children were younger, my FOCUS was them … I hardly took a moment to think about me. Because of this, even if I knew I was unhealthy – I was in denial. I was tired most of the time. I felt unhappy. My knees and hips hurt. I was not in a good place. Although my “life” looked happy … I was aching inside (physically and emotionally). 10 years ago … it was the holidays (I can remember clearly) – I was going through holiday family photos and it was right there in front of me (silently screaming) – I was HUGE, I was a mess! I couldn’t believe that I let myself go. I asked my hubby why he never told me I was BIG. He just smiled at me politely and reminded me that he kept on asking me when I was going to start exercising. That was his gentle way of telling me that I needed to work on myself.

Staring at the holiday photo made me cry … like really cry. I was disappointed because I just stopped taking care of my body. That was my turning point.If you think that it only happens to some people – perhaps you are in denial too. Stop now, take a picture of yourself and really look. Pay attention. LISTEN to your body. Have you gained a few pounds and inches (especially around the mid section)? Do your knees /hips hurt? It can still hurt even if you did not gain weight. Do you feel tired all the time? If you have been telling yourself that it’s all because you are getting old … think again. A lot of how you are feeling is because perhaps, you too have neglected to take care of yourself. It’s OK. Now that you recognize it, it’s time to work on “YOU”.

Perhaps your knees and hips hurt cause you gained some weight. Perhaps your body aches because the foods you eat make your joints hurt. Perhaps, you need to work on your nutrition and you probably need to move your body a little bit more. Perhaps you feel tired all day cause you don’t get enough sleep. Perhaps it’s time to work on yourself … if you take care of your family …. how can you take care of them if you are feeling “blah” yourself?

It is overwhelming – especially when you don’t know where to begin. My hope for you is that you take a step to better your health. If you are not comfortable talking to me or anyone else – the least you can do is educate yourself – do some research. If you feel like you can relate to me – reach out to me. If you need some guidance or hand holding – I am here to listen, I am here to help. It took me a while to lose the weight …. It’s a long journey but you know what … it’s doable. You just need to take the first step – let me know when you are ready.

What is the BEST workout and DIET?

What is the BEST workout to help someone lose weight?What is the BEST diet to help someone lose some inches?

These are a couple of questions that people ask all the time.My answer is …. there is NO BEST workout or diet. Everyone has their own preference of ways to move and exercise and everyone has their own preference in foods that they like to eat. What matters the most is this … which workout or exercise are you willing to do CONSISTENTLY? What foods are you willing to eat/not eat CONSISTENTLY?CONSISTENCY is the key.

You can try all the workouts (specially trendy ones) out there … but if you are only going to do it once, or twice – it really is not a WIN. Same goes for diets – you can try PALEO, KETO, LOW CARB … but if it makes you want to cheat after one or two days – that’s no bueno. Find something that you like that you can stick with – then you can see results.

Do you eat clean?

Clean eating focuses on natural, mostly unprocessed foods. The focus with clean eating is on fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains in their most natural, unprocessed form.Instead of eating pizza, pasta, bread and fried chicken, a clean diet consists of meals like steamed broccoli and grilled chicken, omelets, homemade chili or steak, baked potato and a side salad. In essence, it’s going back to how we used to eat before there was a fast food restaurant at every corner and grocery stores packed with processed foods and meals ready to heat and serve.

The idea behind clean eating is to get back to consuming fresh, mainly unprocessed foods that contain their full nutritional value. As an added bonus they aren’t stuffed full of preservatives, additives and flavor enhancers. The main reason for choosing to stick to a clean eating is to eat healthier.How “clean” you eat is up to you. Some proponents of this way of eating insist that you should only consume completely unprocessed foods. Others are comfortable enjoying things like butter, cheese, cured meats and cultivated vegetables like Sauerkraut.

How far you take it is up to you. Even cleaning up your current eating habit just a little by cutting out fast food burgers and creating freezer meals will help.Fill up your plate with plenty of raw or cooked vegetables. Cook up some rice or bake a potato and round it all up with a little fruit and cheese for dessert. Find a couple of go-to meals you like and build your weekly meals around those dishes.It’s hard to find healthy snacks that fit clean eating while you’re out and about. Keep some fresh and dried fruit along with some seeds and nuts handy for emergency snacking.

When it comes to drinks, water and herbal teas are your best friend. Black coffee is another good choice. Just be careful about adding sweeteners and creamers.It may take you a little while to get used to the “real” taste of food after eating foods that are laden with sugar, salt and flavor enhancers. Once your taste buds adjust, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how delicious real food is. And your body will thank you for the change to clean eating as well.

Assess your current fitness level

The first step to creating a realistic fitness plan is to assess your current fitness level. Whether you’re “off the couch” or have been exercising for some time, this is an important step to take. One way to assess your current fitness level is to take body measurements. I know what you are thinking – perhaps you don’t want to know the numbers but believe me – once you see the numbers, you may be motivated to work hard on your fitness goals. This is a good way to track both weight loss and muscle growth and development. Measure your waist circumference and record it. You can also measure your thighs, chest, arms, and rear end. Weigh yourself and if you are up to it, calculate your body mass index as well.

Again, these numbers aren’t something to feel bad about. They’re your starting point. It’s how you will measure success. Be Honest and Aware of Any Health Conditions.

Another aspect of evaluating your fitness and your starting point is to be honest and aware of your current health. If you have any health conditions or challenges, those need to be considered when creating your fitness plan. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor to get a thumbs-up from them, as well as guidance regarding any health challenges you may be dealing with.