Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not So "Resolute"tions (7 Vital Considerations)

Happy New Year!!  The count down is on.  It is time to finalize those pesky New Year's Resolutions and set course for the best year ever.  I think that's why we like New Years so much, its out with the old and in with the new.  Our annual chance to think about all the possibilities, to dream big and to be resolute about it.  To be resolute is to be "admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering."   Like any new task we take on we are full of excitement and know that this year will be the year.  If losing weight, getting fit and/or getting healthy are on your list then here are some keys to actually beating the odds and turning your resolution into a reality.  This morning I was asked to be on a local morning TV show to discuss resolutions, here is a little of what I covered... 

1.  The only sustainable change happens by changing our behavior.
     Quick fixes don't work and have never worked, at least for long.  The ultimate key to success is to change our daily habits.  If you want to get healthy then each day you must increase your amount of activity and control what you eat.  The problem is that changing our behavior is incredibly difficult.

2.  There is no magic bullet, formula or concoction,  we must control our calorie intake and increase our activity levels.
     If we spent the time we spend looking for the magic formula moving we would be a lot better off.  Part of the problem we have in this "Information Age" is the rampant amount of pseudo information or outright wrong information.  "Wellness" has become a marketing term.  We are constantly bombarded by the next magical program that will transform us.  The sad part is that most will utilize some pieces of information to make them sound plausible and then are wrapped up in a slick sales pitch to get us to buy.  The 'snake oil' salesmen have been around forever and aren't going anywhere, they just keep reinventing the 'snake oil'.  If it sounds to good to be true then guess what, it is. 

3.  To avoid injury you need to develop a program from your current fitness level, with gradual progressive increases.  Going 0-60 as fast as possible is a great way to get hurt and lose motivation quickly.
     American's now act like Veruca Salt, from Willy Wonka, "I want it and I want it now!"  We have no patience and like the song says, "don't care how, I want it now!"  So, starting on January 2nd the gyms will fill up and everyone will take to the streets to make it happen.  Regardless, of the last time we actually did anything we will go full speed with visions of us as a model in our heads.  It doesn't matter that our bodies cannot adapt that quickly, we will force through it.  "No Pain-No Gain!!"  Becomes our mantra.  In reality, Pain=No Gain, if we really want to change our behavior and with it our health and weight causing ourselves pain is counter productive.  We are wired to avoid pain (Well most of us).  If our old habits don't cause us any discomfort then the thought of replacing them with painful ones won't go so well.  We will come up with any excuse possible to avoid the future painful situations. 

4.  Finding the right intensity of activity/exercise with either HR Zone or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale.

     How do you know you are at the right level of exercise for your body?  Listen to it!  As long as you are not on Heart or Blood Pressure Medication you can utilize your Heart Rate.  It's simple 220-age gives you your Max Heart Rate.  When just starting out stay in the 60-70% range.  If you don't want to deal with that then use the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale. 

6  No exertion at all
    Extremely light (7.5)
9  Very light
11  Light
13  Somewhat hard
15  Hard (heavy)
17  Very hard
19  Extremely hard
20  Maximal exertion. 

This is a scale that corresponds with heart rate and can be used by anyone even people on medications.  It has also been redone as a 0-10 scale but I like the original Borg Scale.  When starting out stay in the 11-13 range.  You win by consistently increasing your activity level, not by going all out a couple of times and then quitting. 

5.  Nutrition is vital, My Plate Concept 
     A new simple method of controlling nutrition.  50% of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, 25% grains (potato, rice, pasta) and the remaining 25% protein.  Without proper nutrition, your body doesn't have the correct fuel to continue to run.  It is almost impossible to workout enough to 'eat whatever you want'.  So without nutrition controls you cannot meet your goals.

6.  Hydration is also key to losing weight and getting healthy.
     We are chronically dehydrated!  We don't drink enough actual water and no the 64 ounce super big gulp of diet soda doesn't count.  The old 8x8 or to drink 8 glasses of water 8 times a day is actually not enough, it actually depends on, wait for it, your actual size.  The bigger you are the more you need.  Note, once again that one size doesn't fit all.  One other issue, if you drink anything like caffeine or alcohol then you need to drink even more to overcome the diuretic effects. 

7.  Don't forget your Mental and Spiritual Wellness.
     Take time to work on these other vital aspects of overall wellness.  Physical activity has been shown to help with Mental Wellness and performance but you need some down time to mentally recover.  In this age of distraction I think its vital to put away all the electronic devices and spend time in quiet.  Whether, it is prayer, meditation or simply just quiet time, give your mind some time each day to just be at peace without distraction. 

Good luck on your journey through the upcoming year.  I hope you will make your resolution's realities this year and meet your goals.  Having a vision for what you want to make happen is the vital first step, but planning for the journey and but unless you actually start nothing will ever happen.  It is not easy to change our habits but it can be done.  If it's been a while and you need a kick start then sign up for our TERRIO LiveWell Challenge starting in January.  It is a comprehensive program of nutrition and exercise.  Also, read "Life Pioneers:  The Edge of Possibility" and explore all the possibilities for your life. 

Life Pioneers: The Edge of Possibility! by Tim Terrio (Oct 18, 2013)    
Available on Amazon and at All TERRIO Physical Therapy-Fitness locations.  www.myTERRIO.com
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