Play Your Power Songs

This week, I want to do something different.  Instead of writing a long and in depth post, I want to expand on my latest post “Get in the Zone” https://eatm0veimpr0ve.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/get-in-the-zone/.

Most of the time, I listen to music that puts me into a motivated, high energy mood.  Music let’s me tap into my “zone” and stay focused.  Below are some songs that I listen to when I need an extra push!


“If You’re going Through Hell” by Rodney Atkins
“Drive it Like you Stole it” by Hudson Thames
“Turnin” by Young Rising Sons
“Happiness” by needtobreathe
“Heart of a champion” by Nelly
 
“Anything” by Hedley
“Impossible” by Hedley
“Made” by Hawk Nelson
“Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson
“Fight song” by Rachel platton
 
“Headphones” by Hedley

“Hall of Fame” by The Script


These 12 songs are only the tip of the iceberg and just the beginning for you and me.  There are literally thousands of songs out there that can empower and energize you.  I urge you to find and collect songs that put you into “flow”!  Which songs get you focused for you to tackle your day?  Share below!

As Always, Eat, Move, Improve!

 

 
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Indulge with Intention

 

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“I usually treat myself to one meal on Sundays when I can have whatever I want.  It’s usually pizza.  That’s my favorite indulgence” -Beyonce

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for people; it does for me” -Audrey Hepburn

“Live less out of habit and more out of intent” -Unknown

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.” -Mary Anne Radmacher

I have a weak spot for sweets.  If I can get my hands on sweets, I eat them aimlessly.  They are so easy to eat and taste so darn good.  I find myself wandering into the cookie or candy jar whenever I am bored and grab a few pieces.  This is definitely one aspect of my eating habits I win or lose with over time.  I know in my heart these mindless Indulgences don’t help my weight and where I want to go with my goals.

I know your struggle!  The best tasting foods are usually indulgent and taste amazing!  However, we must realize they move us away form becoming who we are meant to be.  Sweets, fast foods, sodas, fried foods, etc.  are high in calories, fat, and sugar and do not normally contribute to a healthy diet.  Therefore, why are they so rampant/ abundant in our lives??  The answer is that they are ADDICTIVE!  Sweets and other indulgent foods usually contain sugar, fat, and/ or salt which have an addictive effect on our brains.  When we have some, we want more.

So what are we to do?  If these indulgences have such a powerful addictive effect, how can we possibly overcome it?  I suggest that we INDULGE WITH INTENTION.  Indulging is OK as long as we do it in a mindful and strategic way.  These indulgences usually give us stress relief and a good feeling in the moment.  Breaking the mindless snacking on sweets and such is most important.  Instead of seeing sweets as a reward or normal part of your day, aim to change your perspective.  Reserve eating sweet foods at special times.  For example, eat a slice of cake at your friend’s wedding.  Eat a piece of pie on your favorite holiday.  And of course, eat your birthday cake!  These moments and times are meant for celebration.  And, these are the true opportunities when we can truly enjoy these indulgences.

I know what you’re thinking: “but, I can’t even think of giving up my daily candy bar.” Yes, from the surface, it looks difficult.  How can we break a habit that has been rooted in our daily routines for so long?  I’ve always found that building a habit in place of an old one is easier than breaking one by itself. When looking to limit your indulgent, mindless snacking, try these:

-call a friend
-take a walk
-do some exercise
-write in a journal
-pull out a book
-listen to your favorite music
-play a game or app on your phone
 

At the same time, remember to be realistic.  Don’t expect to break the habit right away.  Give yourself some wiggle room.  Aim to limit your bad habit to less than before.  As time goes on, limit it some more.  Before you know it, your mindless snacking habit will be for special occasions only!  As always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

You Owe You

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“You matter.  What you do and who you are matters.  Don’t ever go to that job thinking you’re insignificant or not important.  Don’t think you’re not valued or that your work is not valuable.” -Eric Thomas

“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.”   -Jen Sincero, “You are A Badass”

“You are loved. You are valuable. You are crafted with beauty and purpose. I treasure you and this world needs you. There is no one like you. You don’t need to look like the rest or talk like the rest or be like the rest. This world needs you as you are. There is no truth in the lie that you don’t matter. You are loved. You were put here for a reason. You were not an accident. You are not a mistake” -Curt Mega

“What’s most important is to always be yourself.  Unless you can be Batman.  Always be Batman” -Unknown

This is one of the toughest lessons I have had to learn in my life.  Growing up as a 4th child, my say didn’t matter most of the time.  I didn’t get many opportunities to voice my thoughts, ideas, or concerns.  All I could do was listen to my parents and siblings and go with the flow.  As I went through high school, I still didn’t realize that I am unique and have value. I tried to fit in with the popular crowd. I even tried to change myself into something I wasn’t. I even tolerated getting bullied just to be seen with the in crowd. Still, I was not happy.  I thought I would become more like those people and be their friends.  What I did not realize was I was letting them erode my value, and my own self worth.

We learn early in life that we are special and unique.  Our parents and family showers us with love, compliments, and encouragement.  People pay attention to us.  We make friends easily.  We dream, create, and imagine.  Unfortunately, the world teaches us otherwise.  It teaches that if you don’t look like a celebrity, you are ugly.  It shows us that if you don’t fit into a size two, you’re fat.  It shows that if you do not have money, you don’t deserve great things.  The media, strangers, and society have a skewed perception of who you should be.  Negative messages bog us down and kill our own self-perceptions.

I used to feel like a victim and a loser.  I used to believe no one wanted to hang out with me.  I used to stay quiet because I felt people wouldn’t listen.  These beliefs definitely hurt me mentally and spiritually.  I was not the joyful boy I used to be.  Until NOW. I have decided that I will respect myself enough to disallow the outside world to mold me.  I decided that if someone does not like me or make me a priority, I will not waste time and effort on them.  I decided to block myself from negative people and influences.  And, you can too!

Remember, you matter!  You are reading this because you want to make a change in your life.  You want things to get better and get results.  You have to realize you are special AND you have value.  With that being said, you do have a voice and opinion. You have the power to make decisions and communicate them to others.  Always remember, speak up if you notice something wrong.  Spend time with people who WANT to spend time with you. WALK away from anyone who does not recognize how special you are.  STAND up if you get tempted to do something that you know will hurt your results.  I promise, your confidence will skyrocket!  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!  

Count Serving Sizes Because Serving Sizes Count

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 “For many years, my formula has been to love yourself, move your body and to watch portion size. But the No. 1 thing is to love and value yourself, no matter what you’ve been through.” -Richard Simmons

“I lost about 60 pounds. I don’t really have a moment specifically that made me do it. I remember little things, like, when I was in Japan, I remember looking around at the portion sizes of a fast food restaurant and being like, ‘Well, this has something to do with it.’ Americans definitely eat too much.”- Patrick Stumph

“You Are What You Eat.  So, don’t be cheap, fast, easy, or fake” -Unknown

In the last few years, portion sizes have exploded at home and when eating out.  What used to be a large is now a medium.  What used to be a extra large is now a large.  Larger portion sizes have become the norm. And, no one is complaining.  We get more food and enjoy the tastes and comforts to our heart’s content.  Sometimes, prices do not change much year over year.  However, our waist lines tell a different story.  More people are overweight or obese than ever before.  The growth of serving sizes are part of the blame.

I remember when a medium drink at a fast food place was 20 ounces.  That was reasonable.  A medium was just enough refreshment without over doing it.  However, I have been surprised when a “medium” drink comes out looking like a big gulp!  Even so, drinks are not the only culprits.  In the food world, big is always better right?  Why order a single burger when you can order a double bacon cheeseburger instead?  Why order a value small fry when you can choose a large?  The temptation is there.  But, you’re smarter than that.  The best way to begin losing weight is to choose to focus on smaller portion sizes.

Instead of using the mantra “go big or go home”, focus on “eat small, be small.”  Food will always be available to us.  There is no need to think this is the last meal we will eat.  Choose small portions of tasty and nutritious foods.  Over time, the weight will begin to drop off like you envisioned.  Typically, here are some great serving size recommendations:

-Grains & Starchy vegetables= 3/4-1 cup of whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice, whole barley, potatoes, corn, squash, beans, etc.
-Fruit= 1 whole fruit or 1/2 cup: Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, melons, pears, etc.
-Dairy= 1 cup: Low fat milk, low fat yogurt, low fat cheese, soy milk
-Non starchy vegetables= 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw: Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, greens, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
-Protein= 3-4 ounces: lean beef, chicken, fish, pork, seafood, eggs, peanut butter, etc.

 Or, if you are more of a visual person than a numbers person, consider these: 

 -1 serving cheese= 4 dice
-1 serving of meat= a deck of cards or the palm of your hand
-1 serving of peanut butter= the tip of your thumb
-1 serving of uncooked greens= 1 baseball
-1 serving of whole grains/ starch= 1/2 baseball
-1 serving of whole grain bread= 1 CD disc
-1 serving of nuts= 1 handful

In order to accelerate and maintain weight loss, focus on smaller portions.  Even cutting down to half of normal will bring positive results over time.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Find Your Drive

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“You’ve gotta ask: what drives it? What guides it? What moves it? What’s the spirit behind it? What’s the reason behind it? What’s the purpose behind it? That’s just as critical, as the action itself.” -Eric Thomas

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” -Zig Ziglar

“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”  -Vince Lombardi Jr.

Ever wonder how certain people reach far higher and succeed more than others?  For example, how are professional athletes so energetic and skillful at their sport?  How are entrepreneurs and business people so good at making massive amount of money?  How do some people rise above challenges while others lay in the gutter?  The answer is a strong sense of drive and motivation.

I never understood motivation or drive until going to college. I was a good kid.  I did what I was told and followed direction.  I took little initiative in my own life.  I was a follower and listened to my teachers, friends, and family to a T.  Being the fourth child in a large family, I was not given much responsibility growing up.  My older siblings were able to take care of a lot of the chores and help around the house.  On trips and family events, I would just go with the flow and not involve myself in the planning or set up of the events.  Now, I know how essential it is to reach my goals.

There are 2 types of motivation: external and internal.  The definitions are pretty self explanatory.  External motivation comes from outside forces- rewards, consequences, prizes.  This works well for children: “pick up your toys and you can play your video game for  hour”.  External motivation can be effective when the tasks are easy and even to the promised reward.  Internal motivation is a little more tricky.  This kind of motivation comes from within.  It comes form something inside that drives you past anything in your way.  For this motivation to work, it has to be stronger than your obstacles.  Many famous people have reasons that drive them through tough times:

-Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson after his mother passed away

-Dr. Martin Luther King defeated segregation for his love of all people

– Tony Robbins is motivated to improve as many lives as possible through his efforts

-Steve Jobs was motivated to innovate the home computer industry

—Henry Ford was motivated to revolutionize the car industry and make a car for the common man

Do you see?  Having a driving force pushing you forward is critical in your success.  Your drive dictates if/ when you reach your personal goals. For example, I am motivated to get knowledge and tools to people that help them change their health.  Surely, you will meet obstacles and tough situations.  When you meet these challenges, your degree of drive will determine if you sink or swim. Therefore, consider what is most important to you.  Think about some of the most important things in your life.  List the reasons of why you do what you do.  Decide to let those reasons to keep you moving forward past your obstacles and past your goals! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

Cut the Crap

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“If you just cut the crap out of your diet, and if you spend an hour a day doing something physical that will make you sweat, six months will pass by, you will feel better mentally, physically, spiritually — it all is tied together.”   -Chris Pratt

“Make a commitment to yourself today. Vow to yourself today! That you will make whatever sacrifice! that you will pay whatever it takes! That you will do whatever you have to do! To be amazing.”  -Eric Thomas

“Your body’s like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never explode. You hit it once with a hammer, BANG!  Get serious, do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and a half of nonsense.” -Jason Statham

 
 Disclaimer: I am not perfect  Nor will I ever be.  No one is perfect.  Do not let anyone tell you that they are.  I make mistakes.  I slack off.  I choose the wrong foods.  BUT, not all the time.  Nutrition and exercise is not a perfect science.  It has so many factors that work together against you or for you.  Neither should you have to be perfect.

 

The hard truth is that you will have to make sacrifices to change your life.  Most people get to a less than desirable life because they make bad lifestyle decisions consistently.   They choose dessert every night.  They watch TV instead of exercising  They drink soda instead of water.  Over time, these negative choices add up to a high body weight and low self esteem.  In order to reverse this cycle, it is imperative to cut out the junk.  Making sacrifices over time will allow you to cut out unnecessary calories and make you feel better!

I am sure you are saying, “But, I just can’t give up my cookies.” Or, “I need by pop every day!”  I know.  it’s a tough concept to fathom.  Giving away some of your favorite foods that give you joy and comfort?  Never going to happen!  You know what though?  Your life is worth much more than sweets and junk foods.  A moment of satisfaction does not compare to a lifetime of feeling great and confident in yourself! Trust me, choosing healthy foods over junk has more positive side effects than a slimmer waist line.  Eventually, your body begins to crave healthy foods.  They become your favorites!  Conversely, your body begins to HATE junk foods.  I ate potato chips on July 4th one year for the first time in months.  An hour or so later, I felt sick to my stomach.  Lesson learned!

Sacrifice takes strength.  Giving up something you like is difficult to do.  However, you must focus on the end goal! Instead of totally giving something up, strive to make smart swaps.  Instead of eating ice cream for dessert, choose greek yogurt.  Instead of a candy bar at snack, eat a piece of fruit.  Instead of turning on the TV after dinner, take a walk.  Finally, instead of drinking sugary pops, drink flavored water!  Sacrifices to improve your life make a huge difference.  Give it a try, you won’t ever look back!  As always, eat, move, and improve!