“F” Words

 

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“I’m talking about pursuiting it in your heart! Like believe in it! Having faith! 100%! That whatever it is you set out to do, that you can do it!” – Eric Thomas

“If you don’t trust, you will die physically if not emotionally.  To do anything in life, you must have faith” -Tony Robbins

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” -Steve Jobs


I recently read a book that totally changed by perspectives and priorities. “The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck” is a highly acclaimed New York Times Bestseller by Mark Manson. Don’t let the vulgar title fool you. this book is chalk full of real advice and a fresh perspective. For the most part, Mark explains that most peoples cares and priorities are out of alignment. H suggests that society teaches us the wrong things to care about. These lessons include but are not limited to being liked all the time, following all the rules, having a ton of things, and making a boat load of money. He stresses that putting too much emphasis on these things will ultimately leave people empty and hating their lives. After reading this book, i came up with my own “F” words to live by.

Faith– Having a belief bigger than myself provides me with a strong positive outlook despite challenges. I believe things will turn out well no matter the circumstances.

Focus: Life becomes what we focus on. We have unlimited choices, options, people, etc. to define our lives. Our mood and out look will even change depending on what we focus on. We can choose to focus on the positive aspects and be optimistic even in the most dire of circumstances.  It may just be harder to find sometimes.

Family: Love them or hate them, your family will always be around. They are there when we are born and most of the time stick around until the end. We all have a unique connection with our family from day one and should celebrate that fact.

Friends: Our friends are basically an extension of our family. They fill in the gaps that your family cannot. They understand and empathize your situations and can be trusted to always have your best interest at heart. The best of friends pick you up and love you when you are at your lowest.

Food: Most people do not realize that food fuels your body. It is like gasoline for a car. Foods provide so much of what our bodies need each day- water, energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals just to name a few. If you want to feel better and look better, prioritize choosing quality and natural foods in your day.

Fluids: Our body is made up of 60% water. Let me say that again, we are made up of 60% water!! So then, why is it that we do not drink enough h20?? Simply put, most people do not prioritize water for one reason or another. Maybe they think it tastes bland. oO, they don’t “feel” thirsty. The fact is, we are really bad at identifying thirst. We are usually dehydrated by the time we feel thirsty. Or, we confuse thirst for hunger and eat excess calories.  Do yourreelf a favor and drink more water and low calorie drinks.

Fitness: Our bodies are meant to move. They are designed to move in all directions and ways. Why then do we stay at rest in front of our tv or at our desk? Because it’s easy of course! Well, lack of motion is detrimental to your body and mind. When we exercise, we improve our physical body. Exercise even improves our mood and clears our thinking. Go out and move!

Society has become a world of unlimited options. We have so much at our fingertips and can access virtually anything we please. But its important to focus on the important facets of a healthy individual. Prioritize these “F: words and see how your life changes! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!!

Rise Up

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The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise. -Miguel C Cervantes

The greatest glory in living lies not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall” -Nelson Mandella

We never lose our demons, [Mordo]. We only learn to live above them. -The Ancient One, Dr. Strange

You will, at some point in your life, be confronted with some kind of adversity.  It’s more often than not a universal given.  Some people would disagree with that statement.  But, life was not meant to be easy.  Obstacles and difficult decisions present themselves when we set goals and go after them.  The bitter truth is that we all fall.  What matters most is that we pick ourselves up again.

This concept can be applied to health goals.  Say you are looking to lose weight.  Along your journey, you find yourself in this situation.   Dessert was way too tempting at the restaurant. You decided to treat yourself since you are out with your friends.  The next day rolls around.  Because you had dessert yesterday, today wouldn’t hurt right?  A snowball effect occurs. The discipline and food choices haven’t been easy. Now, the discipline has fallen away and bad habit takes over. You have fallen off the proverbial “wagon”. So, you revert to your old habits.  In this case, you have two choices: keep falling behind, OR rise above your obstacles.

Consider sticking to a workout routine.  You begin with high expectations.  You have energy and motivation to get started. You are loving your workouts.  They are fun and exhilarating.  But, at some point, you plateau.  The workouts aren’t as fun anymore.  Your energy isn’t there.  You’re not seeing progress as fast.  Your’e discouraged.  What do you do?  Stop going or rise above?  I’ll give you a clue: it’s the latter.  Decide to rise above the negative feelings and doubts in your mind.  Once you do, you will enter the next level of progress.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

Get in the Zone

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“If people are conscious of what puts them in flow, they’ll have a clearer idea of what they should devote the time and dedication to master.” -Dan Pink, “Drive”

“Our job is to get out of the way of ourselves and let the art flow through us. We need to stop trying, stop doing, start allowing. We have no clue what we can be when you stop forcing and start being”  -Kyle Cease

“A touch of the jitters sharpens the mind, gets the adrenaline flowing and helps you to focus.” -Richard Branson

I’m sure you have been on a team once in your lifetime.  Or, you have seen movies or videos portraying teams before a big game in the locker room.  What do these teams do as they prepare for their game?  THEY LISTEN TO PUMP UP MUSIC.  Teams consciously play music that gets them psyched up and focused on the game at hand.  They know that if they stay focused, determined, and positive, they have a better chance of winning the game.  This type of focus has been given several names: drive, flow, in the zone, juices flowing, motivated.

Whatever you call it, this feeling of being at your best and focused can be attainable by anyone. It can be defined as being “fully aware in the moment, in utter control that the sense of time, place, and even self melt away.  The feeling of complete autonomy and engagement are attained”. Most people may argue that this state self motivation and focus is hard to come by.  That it is only available to the most elite people.  Self motivation is a natural skill or tribute reserved for the best among us.  That may be partly true. It is obvious that our lives have become so distracted that we find it difficult to become fully engaged in a single task.  However, I would argue that it is available to ANYONE who looks to tap into their own unique motivation.The secret is finding how you can get into the zone!  For me, listening to positive music or reading a motivational quote can help me focus.  Consider these other examples:

-watch a motivational video
-listen to upbeat music
-meditate and try to clear your mind
-do warm up exercises
-focus on breathing deeply for several minutes
-write down anything that comes into your mind down
-repeat positive quotes/ sayings to yourself

-watch a motivational video

Most importantly, find something that can help you focus on the task at hand- whether it be making better food choices, exercising, or staying motivated.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t come at first.  Focus is another skill that needs to be practiced and developed.  Continue to work and persist on it until you find yourself in that elusive state.  Once you find what works, continue to practice until it becomes natural.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

Tap Into Your Team

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“The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish’.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
― Michael Jordan


“The best advice I can give to anyone going through a rough patch is to never be afraid to ask for help.”
― Demi Lovato, Stay Strong


“If you need help bark like a dog.” – Gendry.

“That’s stupid. If I need help I’ll shout help.” – Arya”
― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

Like most people, I set goals for this new year.  I set goals I knew would help me reach new heights and improve myself and the people around me.  This year, I went one step further.  Knowing that it is easy to slip up and forget these goals, I sent them to some of the people I trust the most.  That’s right, I sent my goals out to my closest friends and family. I know they will support me and hold me to my word when I I have a difficult time pushing on.


Too often people set goals or start out on a journey ALONE.  They want to make changes.  They want to achieve new goals for their lives.  However, they feel like they have to do it all by themselves.  For some reason, people do not reach out for help.  Maybe, they are embarrassed, or too proud to reach out.  Maybe they want to prove it to themselves or others that it can be done without any help.


Let me ask you this: if you achieve your goals alone or with the aid of others, does the goal carry less meaning to you?  Probably not.  You still met or exceeded your goals.  You still achieved the results you wanted.  But, if you recruit a team, a few things will occur.  For one, your journey will be more fulfilling because you shared the events with others. Also, you will gain encouragement from your team when you feel discouraged or “stuck”.  Through these exchanges you create a deeper connection with the people you put n your team.  They experience you in a more intimate part of your life and therefore become closer to you.  Finally, you show true strength when asking for help.  Most people think the opposite.  They feel they are weak to ask for help. However, opening up and being vulnerable is true strength in action.


So, who to pick?  This is tougher than it seems.  The immediate answer will be those people in your social circle.  Your best friends, siblings, etc.  However, be careful of who you pick.  Some people close to you may not understand your needs or journey. If you want to lose weight, would yu enlist a friend who consistently tries, but never gains any progress?  Or, would you choose an acquaintance you met at the gym who dropped a bunch of weight and managed to keep it off?  I’ll let you answer.  Consider these qualities when recruiting your team:
 
-someone who is honest and trustworthy
-someone who is a positive person
-someone who will push you
-someone who will empower you
-someone who will check on you
-someone who has made changes themselves

Go ahead.  Set your goals.  Tell others about them.  Convince those you choose to be on your team to help you along.  You won’t regret it one bit.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

KISS it

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” -Confucius
 
“Complexity is your enemy.  Any fool can make something complicated.  It is hard to keep things simple” -Richard Branson
 
A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
 
Ever hear the “KISS” principle?  Most of the time, this term is used in sales meaning “Keep it Super Simple”.  Salesman do not want to overcomplicate the sale or confuse the customer (at least the good ones).  They know that more information and more complexity slows down decisions and makes things more difficult.  Therefore, they focus on what is most important to the customer and communicate their messages in a clear and concise way.
 
I got to thinking one day, “can I apply this principle in other aspects of my life?”  And, I heard a reverberating YES YOU CAN!  I have realized that people make things more complicated than they really are.  They add more information by tirelessly doing more research than needed.  They consult a handful of diet books and multiple professionals.  People over think their diet and exercise plan.  We label foods as good or bad or even forbidden.  Complicating things will lead to confusion, frustration, and ultimately failure.
 
So what are you to do?  I know.  The internet is filled to the brim on different diet plans and exercise plans to choose from.  We have preconceived notions on different foods.  For example, people label foods with gluten as “bad”.  In reality,gluten is only a binding protein that SOME people can’t digest.  Also, people dodge red meat because it is said to cause cancer.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  OVERCONSUMPTION of overcooked red meat can lead to health problems.A lean steak every now and again will not hurt your health.   My favorite that I hear all the time is that “fruit will make me gain weight because it has sugar.”  Sure, fruit has natural sugar.  But, it also has fiber, water, and nutrients your body needs.  The amount of sugar in fruit will not contribute to weight gain if you eat it in moderation.   Therefore, aim for simplicity when making changes:
 
-eat in moderation- cut your portions down to half
-switch out sugary drinks for water
-exercise for 15 minutes than you usually do
-Eat 2 more servings of fruit and vegetables
-Take a walk instead of watching TV after dinner
 
There are more ways to simplify a lifestyle change.  Reflect on your weak points.  Make a simple goal.  Decide to commit to it for awhile.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Weather the Storms

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“You’re either headed to a storm, in a storm, or going out of one” -Eric Thomas
 
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning how to dance in the rain” -Vivian Greene
 
“Its stormy now but the sun’s gonna shine again
Even the worst storms gotta end
We’re better if we weather it all “
 -Storms by Hedley
 
One lesson I have learned in the past year is that everyone has challenges.  Obstacles in every shape and form develop as we try to achieve our goals.  However, these challenges are not there to scare us away or stop us.  They are there to strengthen our resolve.  How we handle these challenges is what matters most.  Our decisions will move us toward or away our goal.  Therefore, it is important to consider and determine the steps we take in the face of challenges.
 
For example, I received a call a few weeks ago from a larger account that my team and I call on.  Without warning, they had decided to stop any representative activity in their clinics.  That includes major opportunities to help their staff and patients with samples, education, and resources.  I could have easily grown angry and threw my hands up in frustration.  However, I see this as an obstacle to overcome.  At this point, my team and I are planing to find other ways we can regain access or influence our customs in other ways.  Since then, we have found out that we can still help them in some ways.  Therefore, the obstacles are not as bad as we thought they would be!
 
When it comes to nutrition, fitness, and behavior change, obstacles occur all the time,  Remember, they are not there to scare you away. These challenges strengthen you and prepare you for more challenges down the road.  Consider you are looking to exercise consistently by running outside.  What happens if it rains on the day you have a run planned?  Most people would wait for a better day.  What if it rains four days straight?  Then, the rain becomes an excuse for not exercising.  Instead, understand that the rain is an obstacle and look for another way to get your exercise in.  You can choose to go to a gym or do a workout at home.  OR, consider that you have young children and all they want is unhealthy food.  Some parents may give in and cook unhealthy foods for the whole family.  Instead, it is important to stick to your guns and cook what you know will be healthy for everyone.  The children will grow to know how to eat well despite not getting what they want all the time.
 
In conclusion, storms happen in life.  I have outlined some insignificant storms that can occur.  There are many other worse challenging situations people find themselves in.  Whatever challenge you find yourself against, remember that there are there to make you better, not bitter. It is critical to face challenges head on with enthusiasm and confidence.  You will be glad you did!  As Always, Eat Move, and Improve!  

Slow and Steady

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“Success is steady progress towards one’s personal goals” -Jim Rohn

“Pause and remember- slow and steady will get you where you want to go.  If you put too much pressure on yourself for results, you will give up quickly” -Jennifer Young

“When you try to do something bigger and grandiose,a lot of times it’s more apt to fall apart.  It’s a lot easier to lay down a bunch of singles than get a home run” – Jim Lee

Remember the story of the Tortoise and Hare? I’m sure you do.  I guarantee every child has heard the story growing up.  In the story, the Hare challenges the Tortoise to a race.  The Tortoise joyfully accepts.  Being naturally faster, the Hare thought this race would be a joke.  He already had the win in the bag.  At the start, the Hare sped ahead of the Tortoise at breakneck speed.  The Tortoise moved slowly and deliberately.  After awhile, the Hare ran out of steam.  Te character got so tired that he could not finish the race.  With slow determination, the Tortoise passed the finish line and won!

As adults, we lose sight of the core moral of this story.  It is important to work toward your goals at a slow, determined, and deliberate pace.  When we want to make a change, we want the results NOW!  We want to lose 10 pounds in a week  We want to be beach ready in 2 months.  We want to double our bench press in 2 weeks.  Quick and instantaneous always seems more attractive than slow and steady.

Consider this, what if, everything we desired happened all quick and instantaneous? For example, does true love ever come out of a one night stand? Or, does it come from a consistent relationship with another over time?  OR, consider building a home with quality tools, qualified workers, and time tested techniques.  Would a house built in 2 weeks be sturdier than the same house built in 2 months?  Probably not.  Finally, look at the game football.  What if every single play was a hail Mary to the end zone? Wouldn’t the games get old quickly?  Football games are more exciting when there are long, steady drives that have ups and downs along the way.

When we aim for quick results, we lose quality.  Corners get cut.  Details get missed. More specifically, the weight that is lost is not sustainable.  Most of the time, people get burned out when trying to lose too much weight too fast.  A steady weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy and realistic way to go  I know that it is not sexy or an appealing number.  However, with consistent, deliberate efforts, pounds lost do add up over time!  The same goes for workout progress.  You cannot expect to run a marathon right after you get off the couch.  You cannot add 25 pounds to your bench press maximum the next day.  Slow progress is still progress.  Know that all your effort does mean something. Staying positive during the long journey ahead creates a stronger mental attitude and increases your confidence.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!