Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pray It Off 8/26/10 The 7 Most Effective Exercises

7 Most Effective Exercises*

Experts offer their favorite moves for making the most of your workout time.

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro

Experts say there is no magic to exercise: You get out of it what you put in. That doesn't mean you have to work out for hours each day. It just means you need to work smart.

That said, experts agree that not all exercises are created equal. Some are simply more efficient than others, whether they target multiple muscle groups, are suitable for a wide variety of fitness levels, or help you burn calories more effectively.
So what are the best exercises? We posed this question to four fitness experts and compiled a list of their favorites.

1. Walking

Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. And walking is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes.

It's not just for beginners, either: Even the very fit can get a good workout from walking.

"Doing a brisk walk can burn up to 500 calories per hour," says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Since it takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound, you could expect to lose a pound for every seven hours you walk, if you did nothing else.

Don't go from the sofa to walking an hour day, though. Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, says beginners should start by walking five to -10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes per session.

"Don't add more than five minutes at a time," he says. Another tip: It's better to lengthen your walks before boosting your speed or incline.

2. Interval training

Whether you're a beginner or an exercise veteran, a walker or an aerobic dancer, adding interval training to your cardiovascular workout will boost your fitness level and help you lose weight.

"Varying your pace throughout the exercise session stimulates the aerobic system to adapt," says Cotton. "The more power the aerobic system has, the more capacity you have to burn calories."

The way to do it is to push the intensity or pace for a minute or two, then back off for anywhere from two to -10 minutes (depending on how long your total workout will be, and how much time you need to recover). Continue doing this throughout the workout.

3. Squats

Strength training is essential, the experts say. "The more muscular fitness you have," says Cotton, "the greater the capacity you have to burn calories." And our experts tended to favor strength-training exercises that target multiple muscle groups. Squats, which work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals, are an excellent example.
"They give you the best bang for the buck because they use the most muscle groups at once," says Oldsmar, Fla., trainer David Petersen.
Form is key, though, warns Petersen.

"What makes an exercise functional is how you perform the exercise," he says. "If you have bad technique, it's no longer functional."

For perfect form, keep feet shoulder-width apart and back straight. Bend knees and lower your rear, says Cotton: "The knee should remain over the ankle as much as possible."

"Think of how you sit down in a chair, only the chair's not there," suggests Gotlin.
Physical therapist Adam Rufa, of Cicero, N.Y., says practicing with a real chair can help.

"Start by working on getting in and out of a real chair properly," he says. Once you've mastered that, try just tapping the chair with your bottom, then coming back up. Then do the same motion without the chair.

Gotlin sees lots of patients with knee pain, and says quadriceps weakness is the cause much of the time. If you feel pain going down stairs, he says, strengthening your quads with squats may very well help.

4. Lunges

Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body: gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

A lunge is a great exercise because it mimics life, it mimics walking," only exaggerated, says Petersen.

Lunges are a bit more advanced than squats, says Cotton, helping to improve your balance as well.

Here's how to do them right: Take a big step forward, keeping your spine in a neutral position. Bend your front knee to approximately 90 degrees, focusing on keeping weight on the back toes and dropping the knee of your back leg toward the floor.

Petersen suggests that you imagine sitting on your back foot. "The trailing leg is the one you need to sit down on," he says.

To make a lunge even more functional, says Rufa, try stepping not just forward, but back and out to each side.

"Life is not linear, it's multiplanar," says Rufa. And the better they prepare you for the various positions you'll move in during the course of a day, the more useful exercises are.

5. Push-ups

If done correctly, the push-up can strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and even the core trunk muscles, all at one time.

"I'm very much into planking exercises, almost yoga-type moves," says Petersen. "Anytime you have the pelvis and the core [abdominals and back] in a suspended position, you have to rely on your own adherent strength to stabilize you."

Push-ups can be done at any level of fitness, says Cotton: "For someone who is at a more beginning level, start by pushing from the kitchen-counter height. Then work your way to a desk, a chair, the floor with bent knees, and, finally, the floor on your toes."

Here's how to do a perfect push-up: From a face-down position, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your toes or knees on the floor, and try to create a perfect diagonal with your body, from the shoulders to the knees or feet. Keep the glutes [rear-end muscles] and abdominals engaged. Then lower and lift your body by bending and straightening your elbows, keeping your torso stable throughout.

There are always ways to make it harder, says Rufa. Once your form is perfect, try what he calls the "T-stabilization" push-up: Get into push-up position, then do your push-ups with one arm raised out to the side, balancing on the remaining three limbs without rotating your hips.

6. Abdominal Crunches

Who doesn't want firm, flat abs? Experts say that when done correctly, the familiar crunch (along with its variations) is a good choice to target them.

For a standard crunch, says Cotton, begin lying on your back with feet flat on the floor and fingertips supporting your head. Press your low back down and begin the exercise by contracting abdominals and peeling first your head (tucking your chin slightly), then your neck, shoulders, and upper back off the floor.

Be careful not to pull your neck forward by sticking the chin out; don't hold your breath, and keep elbows out of your line of vision to keep chest and shoulders open.
For his part, Petersen teaches his clients to do crunches with their feet off the floor and knees bent. He says that with feet kept on the floor, many people tend to arch the back and engage the hip flexors.

"Crunches can be excellent, but if they're not done correctly, with the back arching, they can actually weaken the abdominals," Petersen says.

To work the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your waist), says Cotton, take the standard crunch and rotate the spine toward one side as you curl off the floor.

"Twist before you come up," he says. "It's really important that the twist comes first because then it's the obliques that are actually getting you up."

But keep in mind that you won't get a flat stomach with crunches alone, says Cotton. Burning belly fat requires the well-known formula: using up more calories than you take in.
"Crunches work the ab muscles; [they're] not to be mistaken as exercise that burns the fat over the abdominals," he says. "That's the biggest myth in exercise going."

7. Bent-over Row

Talk about bang for the buck: This exercise works all the major muscles of the upper back, as well as the biceps.

Here's how to do it with good form. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then bend knees and flex forward at the hips. (If you have trouble doing this exercise standing up, support your weight by sitting on an incline bench, facing backward.) Tilt your pelvis slightly forward, engage the abdominals, and extend your upper spine to add support. Hold dumbbells or barbell beneath the shoulders with hands about shoulder-width apart. Flex your elbows, and lift both hands toward the sides of your body. Pause, then slowly lower hands to the starting position. (Beginners should perform the move without weights.)


These seven exercises are excellent, efficient choices, the experts say. But with just about any strength or resistance exercise, says Petersen, the question is not so much whether the exercise works as how well you execute.

"Done with good technique, all exercises do what they're supposed to do," says Petersen.
The trouble is that poor form can change the whole exercise, putting emphasis or even strain on different areas than intended. This can hurt, rather than help you.

So especially if you're a beginner, it's a good idea to seek the advice of a fitness trainer - whether it's a personal trainer or a trainer at your gym -- to be sure your form is safe and correct.

* http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/7-most-effective-exercises
Photos: Bryanking.net, exerciseabout.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pray it Off 8/26/10 State Fair Food - BEWARE

State Fair Food Hall of Shame*

Walking the midway of a fair or carnival is meant to be a fun family event, but nutritionally speaking, it's more of a haunted house. When the menu options include things like deep-fried candy bars, cheese-on-a-stick and cotton candy, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a day at the fair can quickly turn into a healthy eater's nightmare.

Unless you're the patron saint of balanced eating, it seems unlikely that you'll spend a day at the state fair and consume nary a corn dog. It's just what you do when you go to these types of events, right? Fine, enjoy a corn dog if you must (only 210 calories, according to FitSugar!).

Deep-fried candy bars. Here's the thing about fairs: They have a tendency to take something that's already too sweet, deep-fry it and add sugar to it. Does a Snickers bar with nearly 29 grams of sugar really need more sugar sprinkled on top? And that doesn't even address the whole "deep-fried" issue. According to The Consumerist, one of these has around 700 calories.

Giant turkey legs. I can already tell what you may be thinking: "Turkey is healthy! It's lean protein!" You're right on one count -- turkey is a healthy way to get your protein fix, but when it's deep-fried and served with skin in a humongous portion, it's not doing you any favors. In fact, just one is estimated to have more than 1,100 calories. That's five corn dogs!

Deep-fried butter. It's fat, dipped in dough and fried in fat. We told you about this one a couple of years ago, but we're still not over it. There's no official calorie count on this one, but keep in mind that before it's battered and deep fried, a stick of butter has about 800 calories and 88 grams of fat.

Chocolate-covered bacon. OK, I admit it. I'm intrigued by this creation from the Wisconsin State Fair. I like chocolate. I also like bacon. But together? Call me crazy, but I prefer my chocolate not filled with grease and processed meat. Bacon has about 60 calories a slice, while a tablespoon of chocolate has about 70 calories, so it's not the worst fair food you could eat, but stick to just one -- if you can stomach it.

Funnel cake. You thought deep-fried candy bars were bad? Funnel cake is even worse, with 760 calories. And that's before you add the jam, ice cream and whipped cream. Yikes.

Deep-fried macaroni and cheese. Mac 'n' cheese is a once-in-a-while treat as is. Fry it in fat? It becomes a once-in-a-lifetime-but-preferably-never kind of treat. With an estimated 610 calories, it's not the most fattening food on the list, but it is still one to avoid.

Spam curds. A hit at the Minnesota State Fair, Spam curds are basically Spam and cheese nuggets that are deep-fried. Oh, and they're topped off with ranch sauce. As if you needed it.

Deep-fried White Castle burger. Um, seriously? OK, a White Castle burger contains only 135 calories, but deep-frying it could triple that amount. Plus, it's served the classic American way -- with fries.

If Spam curds and chocolate-covered bacon sound too good to resist, it might be fine to treat yourself. After all, the state fair happens only once a year. Just be sure to share them with a friend -- it's an easy way to halve the calorie count.


Fat Festival? Calories in Food at the Fair*
The scary truth about foods found at fairs, festivals, and amusement parks.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

People go to festivals and fairs to enjoy the rides, games, animals, and bake-offs. But what really attracts the crowds is the food -- especially the fried food. And these days, the food at fairs, festivals, and amusement parks is scarier than the tilt-a-whirl or roller coaster! WebMD spoke to nutrition experts to get the truth about fat and calories in food at the fair.

Deep-Fried Diet Disasters

Food was no doubt served at festivals even before the nation's first state fair, held in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1841. But it was in 1904, at the St. Louis World's Fair, that fairgoers were introduced to the first real ''fast food'' -- hot dogs and ice cream cones that could be eaten as they walked, according to the statefairrecipes.com web site.

Since then, fair food has progressed way beyond caramel apples, corn on the cob, and nachos. There appears to be no end to what can be battered and deep fried -- cookies, candy bars, cheese curds, macaroni and cheese, pralines, chocolate-covered strawberries, even cola (the last made with a cola-sweetened batter that's deep fried and topped with cola syrup and powdered sugar). The Minnesota State fair, for one, boasts 54 varieties of food on a stick at this year's fair.

Most nutrition databases don't include fat and calorie values for such foods. But according to Lona Sandon, assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, you can count on these foods to have a shockingly high level of fat and calories.

''My educated guess is a serving of fried cola dough, whipped cream and Coke syrup on top is roughly 830 calories,'' says Sandon. ''The fried macaroni and cheese is approximately 610 calories; the fried cheesecake in the ballpark of 500 calories; a fried praline will come in around 350 calories; and a tortilla-wrapped hot dog and cheese from the fryer about 550 calories.''

Here are more frightening nutritional figures, from the Calorie King web site, about fat and calories in food at the fair or festival:

• Fried Snickers (5 oz.): 444 calories and 29 grams (g) fat
• Fried Twinkie (2 oz.): 420 calories/34 g fat
• Funnel cake (1): 760 calories/44 g fat
• Twinkie Dog Sundae: 500 calories/14 g fat
• Cotton candy: 171 calories/0 fat
• Fried cheesecake (6 oz.): 655 calories/47 g fat
• Foot-long hot dog and bun: 470 calories/26 g fat
• Giant turkey leg: 1,136 calories/54 g fat

"Eating at a fair or festival can wreak havoc on your waistline because it is so easy to consume thousands of calories," says Christine Palumbo, RD.

The Truth About Trans Fats

Common sense tells you to stay away from deep fried cheesecake. But in some states, like Indiana, they have decided to follow the lead of New York and KFC and try to make fried foods healthier by banning cooking oils containing trans fats.

Even without trans fats, however, fried foods are not exactly low in calories or fat.

"Using trans fat-free cooking oil is certainly better. But no matter how you look at it, that doughnut is still a doughnut and it is still fried, and anytime you fry foods you pump up the fat and calories," says Joan Salge-Blake, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Fair Food Choices

So just what can a health-conscious person find to eat and drink at fairs, festivals, and amusement parks?

"You can find healthier choices on the menus at the state fair. Cotton candy, also knows as spun sugar, is among the least offensive foods at the fair," says New-York based nutrition expert Bonnie Taub-Dix, MS, RD. "Look for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, pickles, corn on the cob (hold the butter) -- even caramel apples are better than most fried foods."

There are more options than there used to be, at least at Disney amusement parks, says Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"Fruit and water carts are all over the parks showcasing chilled, cut fresh fruit that kids and adults love, especially on hot days, along with cold water and sugar-free drinks," says Ayoob, who served as a nutrition consultant to Disney.
You can still get burgers and fries, but Disney is featuring healthier kids' meals, such as lean wraps paired with choices of fruit and veggies and water, juice, or low-fat milk.

Dietitians also offer these tips to help take the scare out of fair foods:

• Don't arrive hungry. Eat before you go so you can limit your food to a few treats instead of grazing on food all day long.
• Go early in the morning, when you may be less likely to be enticed by the aromas of food.
• Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when the weather is hot.
• Check out all the offerings first, then choose three items over the course of the day.
• Ask for an extra plate and share your food choices. This way, you can taste a variety of foods without doing too much damage, says Palumbo.

The real problem with fair and festival food, dietitians say, is mindless eating. That's what happens when you're walking and talking, and before you know it, that food on a stick has disappeared.

"It is better to find a place to sit down, enjoy the food, eat it slowly so you can recognize when you are full," says Palumbo.

But, you ask, what about all the miles you log as you walk all day at the fair or festival?

Unfortunately, it's most likely not enough to counteract the fried food calorie explosion, says Washington, D.C., weight loss expert Katherine Tallmadge, RD.

"One of my clients went to a theme park for a week with her kids, and despite logging 20,000 steps a day, she still gained 5 pounds!" she reports.

* http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/fat-festival-calories-food-fair
PHOTOS: tasteofaloha.com

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pray It Off 8/26/10 Why Do We Care What Others Think?

Why Do We Care What Others Think?
Our Addiction To The Opinions of Others Explained* by Tom Ferry

What stops an unhappy woman from leaving her husband or lover? What prevents someone who is miserable in his job from making a switch? To what extent are those decisions inhibited by worry about what other people might think?

Ultimately it comes down to us looking for approval, and in some cases making sure we don't receive disapproval from others. The need for approval has been conditioned in us from the day we were born. Approval from others gives us a sense of higher self-esteem. We're convinced that their recognition matters to our self worth and how deeply we value ourselves.

When I faced the difficult decision to leave my family business I thought, "If I leave, who will I be?" A great deal of my adult self-image had been fostered and developed there. I worried what my wife would think if the money suddenly disappeared and I could no longer provide for our family in the same way. I worried what my friends would think if I had to sell our vacation home. And yet, with all of those questions, it wasn't until I asked one very important one that I realized what I needed to do: "Why would I continue to stay in a situation that was making me increasingly miserable?"

I soon realized the only solution was to do what was right for me, no matter the outcome. When I was able to let go of caring about what other people thought and make my decisions free and clear of other people's opinions, I could easily and powerfully move forward on my own terms.

There are two types of decision makers in the world. The first are internal decision makers. These are the people who self-analyze every step, every option, every possible outcome and never talk it through with others. This doesn't mean they don't care about others opinions. In fact, my experience is that it is quite the opposite. They've been burned so many times, they choose to make their decisions on their own as a way of avoiding being rejected.

The second is an external decision maker. These people constantly seek the opinions of others, asking for their approval in ways such as, "Do you like this idea?," "Am I right?," "Does this dress look nice on me?," "Are we in the right place?," "Am I doing the right thing" and "Are we okay?" They're thought of as team players because they want to get everyone involved in their process. They simply can't move forward without the validation from others.

Have you ever come up with an idea that you thought was brilliant?

You said to yourself, "No one else has ever thought of this" and you're going to make millions of dollars on it, right?

You tell your wife, best friend, boss and they say, "That's a terrible idea! No one will ever buy that."

Wham! You've been stopped cold before you ever had the chance to get your idea off the ground. What happened to the dream? It died on the table. Someone else's opinion meant more to you than your dream. You placed a higher value on their opinion than your brilliant idea. Imagine if the founders of Apple, Facebook and Google gave up the first time someone told them "no" or said, "no one will ever spend that much time connecting with friends on a computer!"

The addiction to the opinion of others affects areas of your life you may not even be aware of. For example, your decision to live in a particular neighborhood, drive a certain car, send your kid to private school, wearing designer labels, the watch around your wrist, the vacations you go on, the clubs you belong to, all of these things are tied to what someone else thinks.

The addiction to what other people think has another significant impact; it represses us, which in turn keeps us in a sort of purgatory, afraid of the consequences of pursuing the life we really want. "If I do this, they will say ____________ ... " You won't be happy because you believe that people are judging you. It becomes easier to stay miserable so everyone else in the status quo will be fine.

Since we are the stories we tell ourselves, they impact the way we behave. When we release from an old story, we let go of our self-imposed conversations and traps that keep us stuck. In the process, we become more sure of ourselves, become more expressive and are more likely to make decisions that move our life forward because we're no longer living from that story that has been holding us back.

Still not convinced you suffer from this addiction? Try wearing a tutu to your office tomorrow or trading in your sports car for a bus pass. Stop going to the gym, getting Botox injections, coloring your hair or getting manicures. Go home and tell your spouse you aren't happy. Walk into your boss's office and tell him/her you quit!

The only way to have complete freedom from this addiction is not to care about the outcome. It takes practice and courage to not place any level of importance on someone else's opinion. Remember, an opinion is not fact. It may not even be the truth. It is merely someone else's view about an issue that is based solely on personal judgment and therefore should not have any impact on your choices!

6 Sure Signs You Suffer from the Addiction to the Opinions of Others

1. You are Concerned about What Others Are Saying or think About You.
2. You Have Good Ideas and Intentions but Find Yourself Afraid to Act on Them.
3. You Over Leveraged Yourself Financially in the Last Decade with Cars, Clothes, Homes, Jewelry and More.
4. You Are Constantly Seeking Other People's Approval or Avoiding Their Disapproval
5. You're Afraid to Speak in Public
6. You're Afraid to Speak Your Mind

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-ferry/self-help-why-do-we-care_b_615063.html

How to Not Take Things Personally. Forbidding the Opinions of Others to Affect Your Self Worth* by Siobhan Keely

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges along the path of achieving inner peace is truly believing in yourself and not taking the opinions of others personally.

When someone verbally diminishes your self worth or insults your being in some way, it is very difficult to let it go and not be hurt or offended. Humans are programmed to base their belief of who they are on what others say or feel about them.

Are You Really Stupid?

But imagine if someone called you stupid. Are you really stupid? Or is that just the speaker’s own anger, own opinion, based on nothing but his own assumptions and emotions at that particular moment? What if you could simply say, “I am not stupid” and walk away from the exchange of words unscathed? The person calling you stupid has his own issues that he is taking out on you, but in reality, it has nothing to do with you. There is nothing personal about the exchange. Don’t take it personally.

Believe in Yourself

If you have an idea for a business or book or invention and no one backs you up on it, does that mean you are dumb and lacking in talent? Not if you refuse to believe it. If children's writer J.K. Rowling believed the 12 book publishers who turned down the first Harry Potter book, she would not be not be the billionaire author that she is today. She refused to take the rejections personally and responded to the rejections by firmly believing Harry Potter was a fantastic book. Ms. Rowling continued to bring the manuscript to more publishers until someone agreed with her.

Taking it Personally Undermines Your Worth

In his inspiring book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz describes taking things personally as the “ultimate act of selfishness” because when you take things personally, you assume everything is about you. This is an interesting philosophy, one that deserves deep consideration.

In his bestselling book The Power of Intention, Dr. Wayne Dyer says that when you allow the opinions of others to be more important than your opinions of yourself, you lose self respect. This is a valid statement. You deserve to believe you are valuable and worthy. Believing otherwise is disrespectful to yourself.

You Are in Control of Your Response

Not taking things personally is a fairly simple concept to understand, but very difficult to follow through on. Not allowing yourself to be insulted or hurt by another’s words or actions requires an enormous amount of inner strength.

You can begin by reminding yourself that you are not in control of what others say or do, but you are 100 percent in control of how you respond. When someone treats you harshly, remind yourself that you can choose how to react, then choose to react in a way that leaves you with dignity and self respect. Do not take it personally, and refuse to believe what has just been said about you.

Don't Rely on Others to Tell You Self Worth

The concept of not taking things personally is important in all aspects of life, not just when someone is treating you unkindly. Basing your self worth on the positive opinions of others is not healthy either, for you will always be looking for someone other than yourself to tell you are fabulous or talented or special.

Don’t take anything personally. Not what your mother says about you, your teacher,

your partner, your best friend. People’s opinions are just that – opinions. There is only truth in them if you believe there is truth. Believe that whatever harsh words are being thrown at you have nothing to do with you. They are all about the speaker and his or her own issues. You can't control what others say or do, but you can control what you say or do in your response. Nothing has to be personal.

Photo: Numbers27.org

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pray It Off 8/19/10 The Top 10 Reasons You Don't Exercise, GREENS and Song

Top 10 Reasons You Don't Exercise. No More Excuses By Paige Waehner

Are you too busy to exercise? Or perhaps you find it too boring or confusing? If so, you're not alone. Studies show that 60% of American adults don't get the recommended amount of physical activity, and over 25% of adults are not active at all. These statistics reflect the fact that many of us simply don't exercise. What's your excuse?

10. You really hate to exercise.
Enjoying exercise may seem impossible, but it can be done. Almost any exercise may feel hard at first but, with some practice and consistency, your body gets stronger and you may even start to like it. Choose something that fits your personality and lifestyle, such as:

Group fitness - If you like social exercise, most gyms offer a variety with everything from spinning and kickboxing to circuit and strength training.
Play Games - Games like EA Sports Active for Wii or Wii Fit Plus are great for having fun while you exercise.
ExerciseTV - Many cable providers offer ExerciseTV, a station that offers workouts anytime you like.
Exercise videos - You can exercise any time with videos right in your own living room. Check out your local library or video rental store or visit Collage Video for videos you can order online.
Exercise at Home - Try these home workouts with your own equipment or use water bottles or milk jugs as weights. Work extra hard at chores like raking leaves, shoveling snow or sweeping to burn more calories.
Fitness Apps - If you have an iPhone or other smartphone, a variety of fitness apps can turn it into your very own personal trainer.

9. You've tried to exercise but you keep quitting.
People often quit working out for a variety of reasons:

Doing too much too soon - Going from no exercise to 7 days at the gym is bound to leave you exhausted and burned out.
Confusion - If you're not sure how to get started, you may choose random exercises, wondering if you're even getting a decent workout.
Boredom - The treadmill and other machines offer great workouts, but walking or pedaling to nowhere can get old fast. You may wonder: Do I really have to do this every day for the rest of my life?
Soreness - Soreness is normal when you're a beginner, but you should be able to function. If you can't lift your head off the pillow the next day, you may not be thrilled to workout again. If you're tempted to quit, that's a good sign you need to make some changes to your routine. Some ideas:
Work with a trainer - An experienced trainer can turn a lackluster workout into an effective, challenging routine.
Mix it up - Try different types of training to keep things interesting, such as circuit training, high intensity interval training or kettlebells.
Change Your Workouts - Regularly changing your strength and cardio workouts will keep things interesting and help you avoid plateaus.
Avoid skipping your workouts - Ask yourself a few important questions each time you're tempted to skip your workout.

8. You can't afford a gym membership
There's no reason you have to join a gym to exercise, but there are more affordable options such as the YMCA or local community centers. More ways to save money:

Walking or running - All you need is a good pair of shoes for a simple, accessible workout.
Buy multi-use equipment - An exercise ball can be used for core work, weight training and even cardio workouts. Dumbbells are often inexpensive and can be used for the entire body.
Workout at home - Use videos, make up your own routines or just put on some music and get moving.
Find free resources - The Internet is a great source for workouts and weight loss programs and your library is an excellent resource for trying workout videos or finding books about exercise.
Try no equipment workouts - You can get a great workout without any equipment, just by using your own body.

7. You're not seeing any changes in your body.
Not losing weight fast enough? Unfortunately, that's true for everyone. You don't put weight on overnight and it won't come off that quickly either. Once you start exercising, give your body time to react. It could take up to 12 weeks before you start seeing major changes, so make sure you've set realistic fitness goals and focus on the many benefits of exercise.

6. You don't know how to exercise. This is a popular excuse, but it won't fly what with the wealth of information at your fingertips.

5. You want to exercise but you have to take care of the kids and family.
You don't have to neglect your family to fit in exercise. Carving out workout time will not only give you the energy you need for a busy schedule, it shows your kids what it means to be healthy. Some ideas:

• Join a health club that has a daycare center.
• Do exercise videos while the kids nap or while you're waiting for dinner to cook.
• If they're old enough, have the kids participate in your routine by lifting very small weights, counting your repetitions, or take them with you on your daily walk.
• Find activities the kids will enjoy.

4. You can't seem to stay motivated to continue working out.
If you're tired or stressed, it's hard to keep going with your workouts. However, waiting to feel motivated to exercise can actually backfire. Motivation is something you have to work at every day:

• Learn about why you aren't motivated to exercise ways you can increase your motivation.
• Remember your goals - Set reasonable weight loss goals and remind yourself of them every day.
• Reward yourself - Each time you reach a goal, whether it's completing your workouts for the week, losing weight or having more energy, reward yourself with something you truly enjoy. A massage, a new exercise playlist, new running shoes or a quiet night reading your favorite book.
• Learn how others stay motivated.
• Make it a lifestyle change - Focusing on treating your body well with exercise and nutritious foods may keep you motivated, even if the weight loss is slow.

3. Exercise HURTS! You don't have to hurt yourself to reap the benefits of exercise. Some tips for making it more comfortable:

Ease into it - Start with a few days of moderate cardio (like walking) and a basic strength workout to build endurance and strength.
Stay in your target heart rate zone - You should be able to carry on a conversation if you're working at a moderate intensity.
Start light with your weights - When it comes to weight training, there should be effort involved since lean body tissue only grows when you challenge yourself. When you're just starting out, any weight you lift is a challenge, so focus more on good form and increase your weight once you've mastered the exercises.
Take extra rest days - If you're extra sore or exhausted, schedule extra rest days to allow your body the time it needs to repair and recover.

2. You can't make the commitment to stick to an exercise routine.
When you look at exercise in the long term (i.e., that you have to exercise on a daily basis forever), it can be overwhelming. However, you don't have to change your life overnight. Some tips for staying committed to your workouts:

Start with small goals - It's easier to stick with exercise when your goal is to walk an extra 10 minutes each day or get up early for a short yoga workout.
Plan ahead - Plan your workouts and prepare for them ahead of time so you're not tempted to skip them.
Make exercise a priority - Is exercise really important to you or do you just want it to be? Figuring out what you really want can help you set your priorities.
Forget weight loss - It may be easier to commit to exercise if you're not worried about getting results.

1. You don't have time! Physically inactive people have just as much free time as exercisers, so you can chuck this excuse. Here's how to get past a busy schedule:
• Schedule your exercise time.
• If you can't find a full 30 minutes during your day, break it up into 10 or 15 minute segments. Split workouts are just as effective as continuous workouts.
• Use every trick in the book to squeeze in exercise. Get up a few minutes early and take a brisk walk, use 15 minutes of your lunch hour to walk the stairs and walk the dog or lift weights after work.
• Keep a calendar of your workouts to you can track your progress and stay motivated.
• Remember that exercise generates energy. The more energy you have, the more you'll get done each day.

GREENS: A Nutritional Profile*

Leafy dark greens boast an impressive nutritional profile. Rich in vitamins A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C, they are also good sources of calcium and and magnesium, iron, and folic acid. Greens also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are believed to help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Here we'll cover some of the most nutrient rich, vitamin packed greens and the nutrition benefits derived from them.

Collard Greens

One of the milder of the sturdy greens, collards are an excellent source of folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Collards are especially high in calcium.

Bok Choy
Bok Choy is a Chinese variety of cabbages. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and iron, as well as a good source of folate, vitamin B6 and calcium. Avoid buying bok choy that has brown spots on it, because it indicates some flavor has been lost.

While sweet following a light frost, kale generally has a stronger flavor than collard greens and can be quite coarse and peppery when raw. To ensure a milder texture and flavor, choose smaller kale leaves and cook them until tender. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, kale is also a good source of iron, vitamin B6, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Mustard Greens
Mustard greens have an even stronger flavor than kale, but milder varieties are grown in Asia and are sometimes available in the United States. They taste best when they are six to 12-inches long and have no seeds.

Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin E, a nutrient that is usually only found in high-fat foods. It is also high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. To preserve its crispness and sweetness, be sure to keep it chilled.

Spinach is mild enough to be enjoyed both raw and cooked and contains carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Besides carotenoids, spinach is higher in folate than other greens. Cooking the spinach with a small amount of fat, such as olive oil, will enhance the availability of these nutrients. (See also: Cooking with Olive Oil)

Beat Greens
Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and calcium, beet greens are often more nutritious than beets (with one exception: Beets are higher in folate). They are best for eating when young and tender.

Turnip Greens
The leafy tops of turnips are one of the bitterest greens available, so they are not often eaten raw. Like beet greens, they are best for eating when they are quite young. Although both turnips and turnip greens are nutritious, the best source of vitamins and minerals is the greens, which are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pray It Off 8/19/10 Are YOU Addicted To Drama

Are You Addicted to Drama?* By Tom Ferry

We all know someone we'd call a Drama Queen... What is it with people who are always so damn dramatic? Everything is a crisis -- a bigger deal than it actually is. These people always find themselves in the middle of struggles and hardship.

Do you know someone like this? Are they happy? Does all this drama really work for them? Do they really enjoy all the extreme highs and lows? My experience tells me "no."

So the question is: Why are there so many drama queens (male and female)? They say drama is created by your reactions to something that happened in the past, present or projected in to the future. Yeah, I get that.

I once heard the saying, "Big stuff, you're born, big stuff, you die. Everything else is small stuff." Granted, death, divorce, being fired and suffering financial setbacks are all big moments in life that are completely understandable to get upset about. These can be traumatic experiences that have a real and usually significant impact on our lives that are all dependent on one thing: The story we attach to it and the meaning and emotion we associate with the event. The common mistake people make when dealing with dramatic events is to allow themselves to get stuck in them. Most people feel victimized by these experiences and then use them as an excuse to take time off, wallow in their misery, throw a pity party for their loss or worse, accept things as they are and continue to live by default.

When people come to me in hardship, I try to get them out of that mindset as quickly as possible by turning their thoughts toward creative, positive uses. When you feel good about things, you are free to create and express yourself. When you feel miserable, stuck in your addiction to drama, you're crippled with fear, panic, worry and a sense of worthlessness.

The bottom line is this: how you feel determines your attitude. Your attitude then determines your actions, which ultimately determines the outcome.

Why are most people comfortable in this place of conflict? There's a perceived benefit to being dramatic. We get attention. Our needs are being met because we are connecting with others. We get to be part of a clan because we can get everyone around us involved in our chaos too. While all of this emotion is stirring, our need for interpersonal connection is being met by the person who called to tell you some juicy gossip, by the person who brings up stories of the past or by an email from a best friend who can't stop complaining about her abusive or empty relationship.

An unmet expectation also creates drama. You expected "A" but got "B." Your stimulus response is what creates the crisis. How you respond to the unexpected result will dictate the impact it has on your life. Here are a couple of examples of unmet expectations:

• You're in line for a promotion and didn't get it.

• Your spouse planned a date night and the baby sitter cancels.

• You're leaving for vacation and you boss says they need you to say.

• You expected a bonus and got a fruit basket.

• You can see where I'm going here, right?

When you have an intention and it doesn't work out, instead of sitting around, getting upset, lashing out at someone or yourself, recognize feeling bad about it won't change the outcome or solve the problem. So instead of getting caught up in the drama, create a new plan and get into action. How we choose to respond to the unmet expectations and drama that is everywhere will dictate the response and outcome. So the next time you are met with an unexpected situation, stop, take a breath and remind yourself that everything has a way of working out.

I declared a long time ago that I am a drama-free zone. Oh, don't get me wrong, I get into arguments and disagreements with people, but I don't let them blow up into something bigger than they are. I talk it out, and put it to rest.

Over the years, I've slowly disassociated from people who brought constant drama into my life. Why? Because I want to surround myself with people who understand that living in drama impacts all areas of our lives. It's much easier to stay out of drama when you surround yourself with people who don't live in drama. They don't gossip, aren't always in the middle of a challenge or crisis, aren't glued to the evening news, find zero significance in other people's upsets and don't blow everything out of proportion. They recognize life's bumps as just that--a momentary hiccup.

The hardest part in letting go and releasing from the addiction to drama is that like any addiction, most people actually get some form of pleasure from these very things that are not good for them. The reality is that in life, drama will always be around. You can't escape it, but you can choose not to let it consume you. You can control the meaning you give it and that's when drama can actually become powerful and productive because sometimes an unmet expectation is exactly what you needed to happen to change your course for the better.

I have a good friend named Claude who is one of the happiest people I have ever met. He lives totally drama free because he chooses to live By Design. When I asked him how he stays out of the drama, he explained he sees life as a movie. If we can see each moment as nothing more than a scene, before you know it, the next scene will be up on the screen and that moment of drama will be in the past. I love that analogy because it's a simple way to see every moment, good or bad for what they are. A moment in time that will soon pass.

So, here's your assignment. I dare you to give up drama for the next 30 days. Stop making everything mean more than it is. See things as they really are. Try to create a better story around the events that happened in your life. When you let go of allowing your circumstances to dictate your outcome you will be in control of your destiny.

To your success!

6 Sure Signs You Suffer from the Addiction to Drama

1. You Love To Gossip.
2. You Are Always In The Middle of a Crisis.
3. You're Glued to the News, Magazines And Stories About X Y & Z.
4. You Have a Tendency Toward Over Reacting versus Rational Behavior
5. Everything is a Bigger Deal than it Actually is
6. You're a Pot Stirrer


Who Are the Drama Queens in Your Life and How Do You React to Their Acts? Are You Buying in or Moving by?* From Jaelin K. Reece

Do have people in your life that like to create dramas? Do they like to stir up energy and conflict, adding fuel to the fire and then reveling in it? Do they fit the term “Drama Queen”?

It can be a challenge to be around people who are addicted to drama.

When you've been working diligently to lessen drama in your life by creating peacefulness and calm, drama can be very noticeable. It becomes uncomfortable and it stands out to get your attention. You begin to notice the woman in line at the coffee shop who doesn’t get the right coffee and proceeds to get so loud that the entire shop notices, or the man at the convenience store who is rude and obnoxious to the clerk and proceeds to drag the other customers into the attack, or the mother-in-law that blows everything out of proportion so that she has some adventure in her life, even if the entire family is miserable. The list goes on and on.

If you are undertaking a healing journey to achieve more balance and peace within your life, drama comes up and tests you. The test is whether you chose to 'Buy into it' or 'Move right by it.' It is a choice, just like choosing happiness. You can make any choice on your path. If drama feels uncomfortable to you and you've decided it's not for you, then move right on by it, but it's easy to get sucked into the old pattern- especially if it is coming from family members. The test is to see whether or not you choose to see it for what it is: buying in or moving by?

Dramatic Family Patterns

Family patterns have more emotional charge attached to them. You grew up with this family. You lived with them day in and day out. You know them better than they know themselves. However, you also slip right into the family role playing dynamic when you are with them.

Unconscious Dramatics

Buying into the drama can happen so subvertly that you don’t even notice that you did it. Your unconscious habit slid into place and it just happened, without you realizing it. You may not even notice until well after the fact. Regardless of how long it takes to discover, you got caught. You bought into it! Now what?

Recognizing Drama Addiction

Awareness is the first step. Becoming conscious to your surroundings and relationship dynamics is the next step. You need to pay attention. Become an observer within your family. Watch how they relate to one another and to you, without getting too involved in the outcome. You are simply there to be a witness, not to participate. Think of it as gathering research or an investigation. You are collecting data that will help you to analyze upcoming interactions you may be involved in. You need to begin to recognize when drama addiction is happening.

Thrill Seeking

The addiction to drama is not much different than an addiction to gambling. When drama is happening in a relationship dynamic, excitement happens, your body produces adrenaline and there is a rush of energy. People addicted to drama are seeking that rush of adrenaline, or the thrill that the rush of energy brings them. For people that lead a very uninteresting or monotonous life, that rush of adrenaline helps them feel alive. It’s like a mother living her life through her children because her life has become mundane and flooded with boredom. Creating drama means stirring up the energy. Think of it as a thrill seeker trapped in a mundane life. Stirring up drama by creating family conflicts and blowing things out of proportion may be the only expression the thrill seeker has left.

Choosing Peace Over Conflict

Even if this is the case, it is still up to you to choose whether to play the game and ‘buy in’ or choose to see it for what it is and subsequently ‘moving by.’ It is a choice.

When you are looking to create peace and calm within your life, drama begins to take a back seat. The adrenaline is no longer as important. Meditation and the energy high that comes from knowing you are connected and one with the flow of the universe is more than enough to know that you are alive.

What path do you choose, buying in or moving by?


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pray It Off 8/19/10 The Four Addictions

The 4 Addictions That Destroy Your Dreams (They're Not What You Think)* by Tom Ferry

In the midst of the economic meltdown ... with chaos and hardship everywhere, my business is growing, I'm happily married 17 years and counting, I'm connected with my two boys, I have a terrific social life, I'm physically fit and most important ... I'm happy! Is it possible during these challenging times to be this way?

I say yes! Look, I have been to the lowest point in my life -- waking up in the gutter, wasted on drugs with no hope of ever changing my life. If I can turn my life around, so can you.

Today, as a success coach, I think of myself as a life strategist in a business world. I travel from city to city giving lectures and conducting seminars that help change people's lives. Guiding people toward greater success in their chosen field, while simultaneously enabling them to achieve a better balance across all the key areas of their lives -- that's what I do.

How is this type of turnaround possible? I simply decided a long time ago to stop living by default and start to live By Design!

Now, what if I told you I could help you achieve the same results in your own life --show you how to navigate the rough water we're all treading these days by creating a plan to not only survive but actually thrive in these difficult times?

As of July 2008, there were more than 123,000,000 Americans who were either struggling or suffering, in great part but not entirely due to the economic crisis. As things progressively get worse, that number continues to skyrocket, eclipsing the number of thriving Americans month after month.

Are you one of them? To fully understand what holds us back from living to our fullest potential, you have to recognize that most people live life by default. What I mean by this is they fail to decide how they want their lives to be or have an unwillingness to do whatever it takes to make that happen, and simply accept things as they are. They believe they have no say or power to affect their course. But the bottom line about living by default, in my view, is that it represents choosing to be a victim!

Most people are living in what I refer to as an active coma. They're alive, functioning, but appear to be plugged into an imaginary life support, hoping someday when they wake up everything will be okay. Think about it; they've become victims of the circumstances of the world and they're doing little to nothing about it! They're suffering with the economy, the housing crises, politics, their finances or lack thereof, their relationships, their health and their emotional well-being, just to name a few. And they're stuck, concerned, worried and afraid to act! They're afraid to change, afraid to try a new approach; they're in a coma!

Why is it that some people live their lives full of love, abundance and purpose, what I would call a rich and full life, while others live in a state of fear, lack and indecision? It is because most of the world sees themselves as victims. They're always suffering. Now more than ever, adversity is destined to be on your path. Are you worried about losing your job, home, marriage, health or money? The question isn't how did you get here, but what will you do now?

When you realize that you've been living your life by default, you will become consciously aware that you are responsible for your choices. With 20 years and nearly 30,000 hours of success coaching behind me, I have learned that most people get comfortable suffering and accept things as they are too quickly, rather than choosing to change or try something new!

Aristotle said the formula for happiness and success is to "first, have a definite, clear, practical idea, goal or objective. Second, attain it by whatever means available, whether wisdom, money, materials, or methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end."

All success is predicated on finding what you are passionate about and then becoming relentless in your pursuit of every possibility so you will achieve your dreams.
When I was making some difficult decisions to change things up in my own life several years ago, my mentor and friend Mike Vance asked me five thought-provoking and life-altering questions to help me envision and then plan out the path I should take.

1. Why are you here -- what's your purpose?
2. How do you want to show up for others -- what are your values?
3. What are your God-given talents?
4. Five years from now, how is the world experiencing you?
5. Who would you already be if you were already there?

None of these questions was easy to answer, but they all got me thinking ... hard. It was as if a door had been opened that I never even knew existed. If I could identify these answers, anything was possible. All I had to do was figure out my next step. If I could do that, I could stop living by default and would discover the keys to creating a life, By Design.

The people living By Design live by a different set of rules. They know an upset is just an upset, their problems are assets and the past is where it belongs -- somewhere behind them. They aren't victims; they're victors, heroes if you will, because they are willing to jump through hoops to live the life they dream of. I've met people who don't have two nickels to rub together, as well as extremely successful business people that fall into this category. Living By Design isn't about how much money you have. It's a frame of mind that positively impacts every core area of your life. It isn't easy, but living By Design is hugely rewarding, and that my friend, is our goal.

The Four Addictions

I've discovered four addictions we all have that destroy more dreams, more hopes and more lives than alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex combined. When I refer to addictions, I am not focused on any of these. To me, those are habitual symptoms or effects brought on by four much larger causes that are the root cause of those symptoms.

They are:

1) The Addiction to opinions of other people. As a society, we're addicted to what others think about us and how others' views of the world affect us.

2) The Addiction to drama. Some people are drawn to and consumed by any event or situation that occupies their thoughts and fills their mind with negativity, which often brings attention to them in unproductive ways.

3) The Addiction to the past. These people have an unhealthy attachment to events or situations that have occurred in the past. They're stuck in how things used to be.

4) The Addiction to worry. This addiction is comprised of all the negative and self-defeating thoughts that make us anxious, disturbed, upset and stressed, that hold us back in life.

Tom Ferry's Sure Signs of Four Addictions -- these are merely ideas to help you identify how each addiction could be showing up in your life. Do not reject the addiction if you don't relate to the six examples in each category. Think about situations in your life that might be more relevant to you.

The Addiction to the Opinions of Others

1. You Are Concerned About What Others Are Saying or Think About You.
2. You Have Good Ideas and Intentions But Find Yourself Afraid to Act on Them.
3. You Over Leveraged Yourself Financially in the Last Decade With Cars, Clothes, Homes, Jewelry and More.
4. You Are Constantly Seeking Other People's Approval or Avoiding Their Disapproval.
5. You're Afraid to Speak in Public.
6. You're Afraid to Speak Your Mind.

The Addiction to Drama

1. You Love To Gossip.
2. You Are Always In The Middle of a Crisis.
3. You're Glued to the News, Magazines and Stories About X Y & Z.
4. You Have a Tendency Toward Over Reacting Versus Rational Behavior.
5. Everything Is a Bigger Deal Than It Actually Is.
6. You're a Pot Stirrer.

The Addiction to the Past

1. You Constantly Talk About the Past and the Way Things Used to Be.
2. You Resist Change.
3. You Continually Fail to Plan for a Better Future.
4. You Argue for the Past That Things Used to be Better.
5. You've Allowed Relationships to Become Stale, Uninteresting and Without Passion.
6. You have Physically or Mentally Peaked.

The Addiction to Worry

1. You're Depressed, Concerned and Fearful about Everything.
2. You Spend Time with Other Worriers.
3. You Turn to TV and Movies as a Way to Escape the Thoughts in Your Head.
4. You Continuously Wake Up at Night from Your Mind Chatter.
5. You Continuously Go to the Worst-Case Scenario First.
6. You Use Food, Alcohol or Drugs to Control Your Moods and Feelings.

If you were to take away only one message from me, I want you to free yourself from the four addictions. Your life will become instantly and infinitely better.

I'm not a guru. I am a regular guy who has made it his life's mission to make a difference in other people's lives. I have been exposed to more and perhaps different models of excellence over the course of my career, which has helped me develop and brand my own model of excellence, one you can now benefit from and experience for yourself.

I am one of the fortunate guys in this world who wakes up every day eager, anxious, excited, fired up and ready to get to work. I love my wife and two sons. Against many obstacles, I have created an extraordinary life. Am I somehow luckier than you?


I simply learned to and choose to live my life By Design--not by default. So can you.

PHOTO: hechicerosden.wordpress.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pray It Off 8/12/10 Foods That Fight Hunger, Artichokes, Exercise When You Don't Want To and "I Can Only Imagine"

Foods that Fight And Feed Hunger by Nancy Stedman

A prominent weight loss doctor comes up with a research-backed plan for slimming down without starving.

In The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry, Louis J. Aronne, MD, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and his co-author Alisa Bowman tackle what to me has always been the central problem with dieting—when you eat less than you’re used to eating, you get hungry. Sure, some people can go through life tolerating an empty feeling in their stomachs. But many of us have enough hassles that we don’t want to add to the burden by being uncomfortable part of the day.

Aronne, a prominent weight-loss expert, talks about why some foods are filling, while others leave you starving just an hour or so after you've eaten. In the latter group, think of bagels: They’re largely made of carbohydrates, which quickly suppress a hormone called ghrelin so you feel full soon after you've started eating. But there's a rebound effect so that this hormone, which makes you hungry, returns to higher-than-normal levels within a few hours. Result? You're famished even though you didn't eat all that long ago.

On the other hand, if you consume a protein-filled breakfast dish, like an omelet, you might not feel full right after you were finished because protein doesn't affect ghrelin fast. But once the suppression of ghrelin kicks in, its hunger-suppressing effect lasts for several hours. In other words, eating protein doesn't make you feel satisfied fast, like a Krispy Kreme donut might, but it will ultimately keep you from wanting to nosh a few hours later on.

There are any number of intricate dances going on between what you eat and what happens to the myriad hormones that affect appetite. But it's easy to generalize about what foods are most satiating: those with protein (eggs, lowfat dairy, lean meats and poultry without the skin), lots of fiber (whole-grains, legumes), a viscous texture (soups and stews), high volume for the calories (vegetables and fruits, which fill up your stomach), slow foods (ones that take a long time to eat, like a bunch of shrimp, or my diet secret, artichokes), and spicy foods (hang onto that Thai takeout menu!).

The foods that don't keep you satisfied for long include those that are fatty, sugary, sweet, made of simple carbohydrates (such as most pasta, bread and crackers) and liquid (your body does not register calories well when they come in the form of, say, cola).

Aronne's big contribution is to take what is known about satiety and add a novel twist: He recommends eating filling foods before you eat less satiating (and generally more fattening) foods. "If you follow this one rule, you will automatically consume fewer fattening foods without really thinking about it," he writes.

And so for lunch you might have chicken salad with low-fat dressing first, followed with a roll. At a Japanese restaurant, you'd eat soup, then salad, then sashimi, and a little bit of rice at the end. If you were ordering Chinese, you'd start with fish and vegetables, then finish with a little rice.

Front-loading your entire day is equally important. Aronne quotes much-cited research that says successful dieters eat breakfast, and newer research showing that a protein-packed breakfast leads to more weight-loss than the typical carb-heavy kind.

The Skinny offers recipes, motivational tips and a forgettable exercise routine. What it doesn't provide is research showing that this diet plan really works. Still, the theory makes sense and is similar to programs that have been shown to yield results. And, on a totally unscientific note, I can attest that a friend of mine with really intractable weight problems has managed to lose 40 pounds (with another 40 to go) at Dr. Aronne's satellite program in Westchester County, just outside of New York City.

The Surprising Benefits of Artichokes

This Unusual Vegetable is Packed Full of Good Things! By K Jolin

Artichokes are funny looking vegetables that grow from seed into a large plant. The edible part of the plant is the flower base. An artichoke can look a little bit intimidating and the pokey leaves will make any consumer a little weary. Never fear, this vegetable is so good for you and packed full of flavor!

You can buy artichokes fresh from the produce section of your grocery store. You can also find them canned labeled as artichoke hearts, and also frozen. Fresh artichokes are obviously the best choice as any vegetable looses nutrient content as it is processed. If you don't want to buy them fresh, frozen is the next best choice. Some nutrients are lost during the freezing process, but there are many left in the vegetable. Canned artichoke may be the easiest to find and keep the best, but it will have the lowest level of nutrients when compared to the fresh or frozen artichoke.

If you buy a whole artichoke fresh from the produce aisle, you will only need to wash the artichoke well and then peel off the outer petals that are hard. You also want to cut off the stem and not eat that. As you peel off the outer petals of the artichoke you will eventually come to the artichoke heart. This is the most delicious part of the vegetable and packed full of nutrients.

Artichoke hearts are becoming very popular because of their great flavor and the increased awareness of their health benefits. Many people add them to pizza, casseroles, lasagna, pasta dishes and stir fry. You can also steam the vegetable alone. You can also boil the artichoke in some lightly salted water to cook it. If you like to use your microwave you can place the artichoke in a bowl with some water, salt and olive oil. The flavor will be so rich!

One artichoke contains approximately one fourth of an average sized adults fiber needs. The artichoke is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. An artichoke is naturally fat free and very low in calories.

Artichokes have also been proven in the past to lower cholesterol. If you suffer from high cholesterol, try adding artichokes to your diet. The fiber and nutrients can help clear the cholesterol from your bloodstream as well as improve your over all health.

Research has also shown that there is a chemical naturally contained in the artichoke that may help lower blood fat levels. They believe this chemical causes your liver to release more bile which minimizes fat in your blood. Any food that increases the bile that is released into your digestive tract will result in less fat being absorbed into your blood.

While the artichoke may look a little funny and leave you wondering how to prepare it, don't be afraid. Once you try this vegetable and find your favorite way to eat it, you'll be coming back to the produce section for another soon! If you are looking to improve your heart health, an artichoke is a great food for you to try!

How to Make Yourself Exercise When You Really Don't Want To* hubpages.com

Motivate Yourself

Promise yourself you will do some exercise everyday. You will establish a habit this way. On rest days, just go for a stroll or do a little light stretching.
Commit to ten minutes of whatever exercise you choose. Usually you will be energized enough to do a little more. If not, maybe you really are too tired to exercise, and that's OK too. Just try again tomorrow.
Find some fitness friends and make play dates with them. Go for walks or to the gym or a fitness class.
Get obsessed with numbers- not on the scale of course. Get a pedometer and challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps a day. Or do 1000 steps on your stepper as fast as you can and try to beat your score the next time. Or do five push ups one day, six the next. Or hold a yoga pose for three breaths one time and four the next...you get the idea.
Grab a calender and make an X on everyday you exercise. You will begin to see a streak forming and you won't want to break that streak.
Reward yourself. I like to treat myself to a glass of chocolate milk or a hot bath at the end of a tough workout. I feel like I have to earn it, though. Thinking about my treats make me workout longer and harder.

Get up and go

Studies show that people who wake up early to exercise before they start their day are more likely to stick with their program. Here are a few tips on how to get moving when you would rather just sleep in.

Set your internal alarm. If I need to get up early to exercise, I tell myself as I am falling asleep "I will wake up at 7 am to exercise." Usually I wake up at the right time. And, since I promised myself I would do it, I know the guilt will eat away at me all day if I don't. So I get up.
Plan ahead. Know what workout you want to do and have all of your equipment and workout clothes ready ahead to go the night before.
Tell your family you will be getting up early to exercise. Once you say the words out loud and others know your plan, it makes it much harder to back out. That guilt thing again.
Ignore the little voice in your head that says you are too tired or that the bed is too warm and cozy. Just nudge it aside and get up.
Think about how you will feel if you don't exercise- tired, sloth-like, guilty. Know that you will always feel better if you do something

Photos: www.quickstep.com, www.foodmatter.tv

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pray It Off 8/12/10 Reinventing Yourself, Your Work, Your Relationships & Your Life

Reinventing Yourself, Your Work, Your Relationships, & Your Life*
by Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D

There are certain rules and principles that seemed to make sense in the past, during a time when reason and logic ruled. But today, in a very chaotic and ever changing world, evolutionary extinction is a constant real threat. In order to facilitate desirable change, we need to think seriously about creating the right set of conditions that can provoke the emergence of higher order possibilities through revolutionary concepts. The purpose of this article is to try to show that certain rules and principles can apply to the fields of personal growth, human relationships, business, professional and individual life.

Rule No. 1:
Set UNreasonable Goals and Expectations

In my psychotherapy profession, I was told to set reasonable expectations and goals for my clients and myself. On the surface, that sounds wonderful. I'm glad that I did not follow those rules even though my professional organizations reinforced such ideas. I tried to follow those rules as best as I could and for all intents and purposes I complied very well. I tried to follow the dictum of safety first and do no harm. Now, that sounds wonderful, logical and even reasonable. But there was a catch. My greatest discoveries about myself, my life and my growth, came about through extremely expansive thinking and unlimited goals. I was too ignorant to believe that I had limitations. Therefore, I accomplished things beyond my wildest dreams. I did this because I did not accept any ceiling for that which was possible. I passionately embraced the principal that there were infinite possibilities and that my mind did not entertain or possess any limitations.

Rule No. 2
Accept Superstar Status and Don't Compromise

A superstar is someone who excels at some particular endeavor or a quality or trait. A superstar is one who rises to the top of a particular endeavor or realm of personal accomplishment. A superstar is a winner; one who masters a particular skill or quality. It does not matter what that activity, skill or trait may be. Through extensive effort, experimentation and practice, a superstar achieves a level of competence that far exceeds the general criteria for average performance. A superstar stands out and rises to the pinnacle of achievement and excellence.

It also stands to reason that the attainment of superstar status provides a person with enormous tangible and internal rewards. Thus, there is something great and gratifying to be attained by investing enormous effort into an activity or skill. It also does not matter what that activity or endeavor may be. It could be the attainment of the highest level in business, sports, the arts, a profession, vocation, relationships or something internal; like personal growth, spiritual attainment, emotional clarity, cognitive wisdom, parenthood, family life, marital bliss or even a very fulfilling and successful single life.

If you can focus and invest a large portion of your spiritual, physical, financial and emotional energies into accomplishing one particular skill or activity, you can achieve superstar status. The rest of the world may not even notice that you have achieved this superstar status. It may be that only you and those who are closest to you will recognize your superstar achievement.

If you are interested in what it takes to become a superstar, first you must accept the concept that there is such a thing as a superstar. Look at different people, in different fields and different walks of life, who have achieved an outstanding and unique position in some particular activity. What makes these people so different and successful? I believe that these superstars made a choice to fully be themselves and to pursue their truth with incredible passion, direction, resources and specific activities. I don't wish to mislead you into thinking that vast fame and recognition is the only kind of superstar status. You can become a superstar in your own right and circle of influence. A great spouse is a superstar. A great basketball player is a superstar. One who gets the most out of a deep therapeutic endeavor can become a superstar in life.

It is important that you recognize the possibility that you could become a superstar in one activity and a loser in another. Charlie Parker the great saxophone player, achieved superstar status with his music, but failed miserably in his personal life. I mention this because there is always the ever present possibility that one can be on the road to superstar status and have something happen in their life that creates an enormous downward spiral into depression, failure and despair. I have seen many people who seem to be well on their way to superstar status, only to have something happen in their lives that creates personal disaster. So, with a warning, I mention all of the wonderful possible rewards that you can receive by pursuing excellence in your endeavors. Nobody plans for disaster and failure. But if you study the successful attitudes and practices of certain superstars, you will internalize their character traits and passionate devotion to achieving excellent results.

I also recommend that you seek out the tutelage and mentorship of one who already knows and has achieved the superstar level that you seek. In my own field of psychotherapy, I have had the privilege and the opportunity to watch and participate in the growth of so many people who have worked so hard to master the emotional, spiritual, cognitive and interpersonal skills that psychotherapy has to offer. It has been very gratifying to me to be able to participate in a field where my efforts and skills have helped other people come from the lowest realms of despair, emotional pain and interpersonal failure to the heights of interpersonal, emotional, spiritual, professional, creative and personal bliss.

It is important to note, that the journey to superstar status, always begins at the bottom, where incompetence and lack of skill predominates. The road to absolute excellence proceeds through a series of fits and starts with many crags and obstacles along the way. However, each one of these hurdles has a lesson and a message to be learned and mastered along the path to superstardom. It is also important to realize that many of your attitudes and beliefs about achievement and excellence depend upon the inputs and attitudes of your parents. Your style for achieving stardom is usually a product of the combined styles of your parents. You will probably excel in those areas where you were initially encouraged by those who were charged with your care and upbringing. Their failures and successes will have to be dealt with and overcome by your motivation and desire to seek the ultimate for yourself.

Learn the Basic Fundamentals of Allocating Time, Energy, and Resources

Superstars invest and expend all of their energies, resources, intellect, soul and money into achieving their goals. Other people invest somewhat less of these things and achieve substantial outcomes. The average person invests a lot less and achieves an average outcome. There are also those who hold back and do not invest all of their energies, hard work, passion and financial resources. These people usually end up failing and wonder why success in some endeavor has never come their way. But the truth of the matter is, that they don't have the right stuff when it comes to putting everything into the fulfillment of a dream.

Winners put everything on the line and don't hold back anything when it comes to fulfilling their dreams and goals. They are usually willing to fail and pick themselves up and try again, in order to reach the pinnacle of their superstar ambitions. Nothing seems to stop these winners. Losers usually make excuses and unconsciously refuse to put in the extra effort and energy that it takes to achieve success. The superstar is willing to pay any price in order to reach the top of the mountain. Less successful people will only invest just so much and their accomplishments and failures reflect a certain level of drive, motivation and passion.

I know of one woman whom I refused to give treatment, because she didn't meet the entrance requirements to our program. She insisted that I treat her and she gave me very powerful arguments for admitting her into the program. I am very glad that I did. She not only worked very hard at the therapy, she remained persistent, assertive, indefatigable and determined to reach the top of her potential. She was willing to pay the price for a goal that she could dimly see, but firmly believe in. She became a superstar with all the benefits derived through great effort, belief and passion.

I also know of other people who did not wish to put in a superstar effort into their therapy and their outcome reflected their lack of hard work. The same holds true in all walks of life. If you are willing to work hard, putting in the time, passion, financial resources and effort, you can achieve things beyond your wildest dreams. There are infinite possibilities and you will only be thwarted by your lack of commitment, investment, effort, thinking and desire.

I like to use a sports metaphor for describing the superstar phenomenon. A well known basketball player, during the off-season, shoots 2000 baskets a day. This season his team has annihilated all opposition, while he took them to the championship. This superstar has been willing to work hard, go beyond the call of duty and invest an enormous amount of himself and his energies to achieving his superstar capabilities. You too can invest yourself to such an extent, in your own particular area of desire and achieve unique and marvelous results. You get only what you are willing to pay for....

Rule No. 3
Reality: All Relationships Have Difficulties and Problems

There are multiple realities and some realities seem more real than others. Your reality will be based on your perceptions and these perceptions are better served when you understand and accept certain ground rules and laws. Pay attention to this law: Every situation that involves human beings has difficulties and problems. If you get that, you won't fall into the idealism trap and find yourself wandering from one situation to another. Let's review this law. Every situation has crap in it. There is no such thing as an ideal situation. There are some situations that are better than others. But, there are no perfect situations. Without being pessimistic and cynical, sometimes you are better off picking your own poison and learning from it. If you accept and live with this perception, you can take any situation and shape it to your advantage. Wherever and whatever situation you find yourself in, make it work for you. Mold it so that you extract something positive from it.

You will come across people, including authorities, who do not know what they're doing and who may even be doing the wrong things. You, yourself, may think that you are doing the right thing and then realize that you did the wrong thing. Sometimes, with hindsight, you realize that you may have behaved badly or against your own interests and well-being. If you apply the wrong knowledge and questionable methods to a situation, they may backfire on you. It doesn't matter if your intentions were good or not. Nobody is interested in your intentions. It is your actions that count. Results are what people look at, not intentions.

Do you really know what you want and what you do not want out of life and other people? Do you know when it is time to tell someone to get lost? Did you choose the wrong person or the wrong place? Do you know how to choose the right person and the right place? The good news is that you can learn from your mistakes. But, please make sure that you do learn the right strategies from your mistakes. Keep going until you find the right answers and the right strategies for enriching your life.

Rule No. 4
Prepare Yourself: Nothing Stays the Same and Challenge Is a Given

When you were a child, you had no choice, where you lived, who would be your parents and what schools you would attend. Everybody else made those choices and decisions for you. The good news is, today, at this very moment, you do have a choice where you work and where you may want to live. Times and people change. At one point in your life, you may have been very happy working and living in a particular place. But, human beings are restless creatures and always looking for new territories and challenges. Our prehistoric ancestors wandered all over the globe, constantly looking for new places to live and new territories to hunt. You, probably live in a geographical area, where your ancestors settled, after migrating from another part of the world. You probably still have blood relatives who live in the old country who never got a chance or saw a reason to move to a new world and a new reality.

How many times have you thought about changing jobs or careers? How many times have you moved from one house and one neighborhood to another? By now, you have probably figured it out, that you are a migratory creature who periodically seeks out new environments and new occupational positions. Go over, in your mind, the reasons that you made such important decisions to change your situation, by moving and finding a newer, fresher environmental challenge. What were the influences that caused you to make such moves and changes? I'll bet that there was some sort of dissatisfaction with a particular situation that drove you to making significant changes. Some of these influences may have motivated you in a particular direction, because they were out of your control and you had to take a particular course of action.

Is it time for you to make major changes in your life and perhaps move on to new turf? If you are stuck in a job or a profession that doesn't fulfill your future aspirations, how would a major change impact your life and your situation? If you have thought about making a significant move, what will you have to give up or lose altogether? I say this with complete compassion and understanding that making a major decision will put you in conflict over the possible losses and gains. Can you afford to give up something in order to get something else? In order to get out of the wrong place and into the right place, there will be a trade off. Can you be strong enough to withstand the losses that you will incur when you make a big move? You do have your place in the sun and it may change from time to time, depending upon your inner feelings and external circumstances. Remember, that no great move can be accomplished successfully, without extensive research, personal on site experience and the development of a very effective strategy. You will also have to consider what effect such a move might have at any particular stage of your life on yourself and significant others. Nothing stays the same and you will have to devise new strategies for different circumstances and different periods of your life. Prepare yourself! Challenge is a given and everything changes.
PHOTO: www.neverwoodhigh.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pray It Off 8/12/10 5 Steps To Creating a Better YOU

Reinventing Yourself 5 Steps To Creating A Better You by Kim Seeling Smith

The average person reinvents themselves all the time. It is both natural and necessary in life and business for continued growth and extraordinary results. Every time we make a new decision or choose a different path, we reinvent ourselves. Sometimes we do this proactively, other times reinvention is thrust upon us.

Step 1: Create Your New Identity

Any reinvention starts by establishing a new identity: a compelling future if you will. Psychological research tells us that it is not enough to run away from something to create change. That may kick start us into action, but sustainable change is only achieved by moving towards something that gets you excited! You need something that keeps you moving and keeps you making those daily decisions to change the course of your life.

So think about this new identity: who are you going to become? This might be as simple as 'I am one dress size thinner', if you are reinventing your weight or your health, or it might be as complex as 'I am outgoing and meet people in my new location easily' - if you are reinventing yourself as someone who settles easily into a new community or culture.

What characteristics do the new you have? What does she do, think and feel? One of my own reinventions was to lose 22 kilos (50 lbs) and to keep it off for five years and counting. I literally visualized myself as thin every single day. I walked differently; I moved differently, I thought differently! And I got excited about eating right and exercising each day because I knew that that was who I really was and those behaviors supported that new identity.

But what if you do not know how to create a new identity? That's easy! Become an actor and model someone you know or admire who embodies the characteristics of whom you want to become. It can actually be quite fun!

Once you decide on a new identity, how do you actually create her? I like to use a concept from the burgeoning field of Human Needs Psychology called the 'Three Pillars of Sustainable Change'. These Pillars are the difference to making long-lasting, sustainable change in your life (like losing weight and keeping it off) as opposed to those short-lived decisions that inevitably end up in returning to old behaviors or patterns (like gaining and losing the same few pounds over and over again).

Step 2: Focus

The first of these Pillars is Focus. What are you focusing on day to day? Is it compelling, specific and within your control? Or are you fixated on fears and uncertainty? You will only move forward when you are focused on things you can control. Instead of thinking about the bad economy, focus on how many resumes you have sent out or phone calls you have made to set up appointments. Your focus needs to be specific as well. It helps to set goals for yourself. Finally, your focus needs to be compelling. It needs to excite you to keep you in action doing the things you know you need to do (even if you do not want to).

Step 3: Strategies

The second Pillar is Strategies. We have all been successful at something in life, right? Some of us are great at our jobs, others are great at sport and/or some are great at cooking. But everyone has been successful at something.

It turns out that you can actually use these strategies cross-contextually. So figure out what helps you to be successful in the thing or things you are good at and what is not helpful. Then do what works and do not do what does not. Sound simple? It actually is.

Step 4: Resolve Inner Conflicts

The third Pillar is a bit tricky, admittedly. It is the Pillar that stops a lot of us from succeeding, but it really does not have to be that difficult if you get clear on what you really, really want. The third Pillar is to Resolve Inner Conflicts. You know, when you are in two minds about something? That is an inner conflict. Part of you feels worthy but another part is sabotaging your success.

How do you resolve your inner conflicts? The easiest way is to get really clear on what you want and to recognize that those seemingly disparate parts of you actually want the same thing for you. Recognize your higher purpose and conflicts just disappear.

Step 5: Manage Your Psychology

The final step in the reinvention process is to manage your psychology. There is a famous quote from Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics: "IF YOU THINK YOU CAN, YOU'RE RIGHT. IF YOU THINK YOU CAN'T, YOU'RE RIGHT!" No truer words were ever spoken. You must believe that you will succeed. And in order to believe, you must manage your psychology.

The most important step in managing your psychology, believe it or not, is managing your physiology. What are you eating and drinking? How are you standing and breathing? If you want to change your attitude change your altitude: stand up, sit down, or just move!

Other great tips for managing your psychology are to:

1. Visualize success every day! See and talk to yourself as that new identity;

2. Create an 'I rock' file with notes, letters and emails from people telling you that you rock! Or maybe just memories you write down on a piece of paper. Look at your 'I rock' file before you go to bed and as you are planning your day in the morning;

3. Celebrate small wins. Reward yourself when you do something that leads you closer to your new identity; and

4. Write a nightly list of everything you feel grateful for. Gratitude manifests more great things that another night you will be grateful for.

Kim Seeling Smith is a Reinvention Guru having reinvented herself multiple times professionally and personally. She now helps others reinvent their careers, lives and/or businesses.