Meron speaks about how exercising has improved her life and how all the hard work, sore muscles, and the pain is worth the results. Meron shares with us her personal story about her weight loss and the changes she has made in her life that have helped her to accomplish her weight loss goals. She has made drastic changes in her diet and in turn her diet and her exercise habits have increased her energy and given her the ability to lead a more active life.
Weight loss is like a destination. You need directions to get there. Usually on the first assessment and goal setting meeting with new members, I ask them if they remember the first time they traveled by road. Then I ask if they remember how they got to their destination.
I get many answers:
My friend drove
I got directions from my friend
I followed the road and stopped at gas stations to ask the way
I used a map
I turned on my GPS
I got there safely (This is the one that I like the most)
The reality is that no one can get to their destination without knowing where they are going and how to get there.
Everyone needs some type of assistance: GPS, a map, a friend who knows the route. Some people used to take directions from the stars when they were traveling. We all need guidance. If people don’t follow directions, they can end up far, far away from the real destination. They can be going in circles in the same area like I did when I got lost for 5 hours driving in Mexico City. They can even take a different road that leads to a different destination.
The rules for weight loss are the same as for that road trip. You need to know where you are going and how to get there to achieve your goal. You need a map (instructions) to lose the pounds you want to lose. People can get distracted or go slowly or take the wrong turn when they’re not following their directions when driving. Therefore, it might take longer for them to reach their destination. Same thing happens when you don’t follow and constantly refer to your weight loss goals.
The steps to get to your destination (weight loss goal) are:
Determine your destination (how much fat you want to lose, why, and by when)
Split it into monthly goals. When you’re on a road trip, it helps to know you’ve passed or are close to a city, town or state line. That helps you psychologically. It gives you a sense that you are closer and motivates you to continue.
Make specific goals that will lead to the monthly goals. To start your road trip, you need to plan it and know the directions you are going to use. Planification requires knowing the things you will do as you travel, such as eating, stopping and getting gas, using the bathroom, resting, maybe enjoying the view, stretching, and fixing problems like flat tires.
Not planning or specifying your goal can leave you with consequences you probably were not prepared for. If you want to go to Florida to get away from the winter and start driving without destination, you may end up in New York.
Or if you did not plan and check your car before driving, you may come back home in a tow truck.
Goal setting is very important. I do it with all CBF’s members. As a matter of fact, one of our members has lost 25 pounds in 3 months and passed the goal setting — or “tips,” as he calls them — along to his brother, and he lost 20 pounds in 3 months.
Get real results by taking into consideration a tool that has helped many people achieve their destination — goal setting.
Recently I assessed a new Custom Body Fitness member who had lost 13 lbs in 15 weeks. It reminded me of another member four months ago who had lost 15 lbs. in the same amount of time. Both of these members were overweight, and most heavy people lose between 2 to 4 lbs a month. Therefore, I was surprised to see people lose more than 10 pounds in the first 5 week assessment. Another sort of member Custom Body Fitness have are those who fall into the “fit” scale. They were active before they walked in the door. This people can put into an “athlete” category. Fit people generally cannot lose 10 lbs in four months, because they are already in the most healthy weight level. However, they also impress me when they lose 2 lbs or lower their fat levels by 1 percent, since few do that. This raises a question: Why do some people, in the same “fat level category” lose a significant amount of fat and others don’t? After assessing hundreds of Custom Body Fitness members, I have found a pattern: Different sorts of habits and behaviors get us different results.
- People who get results are usually open to change. They listen to my suggestions, learn about healthy eating and exercise, and then they put this new knowledge into practice.
- They find a balance between work, family, exercise, and other activities in their lives.
- They change their eating habits by cooking at home, cutting meat intake, adding more vegetables and fruits, eating organic, substituting added beverage for water, and eat five times a day.
- They have an active lifestyle; they come to Custom Body Fitness 3 to 4 times a week, and hike, walk, run, or bike on their own.
- They find support by seeking out active people like themselves who are striving for the same goals.
- They take time to analyze their life—they meditate.
- They figure out their goals, write them down specifying each one, and work towards them.
Some people come to CBF with some knowledge of healthy ways already and just need to be reminded; others simply don’t know how to start they journey to health and weight loss. My hope for all members is that they learn to find a balance in their life in order to accomplish their desires. I want them to feel less frustrated about losing weight and concentrate on their habit changes, not on the weight they are trying lose. So if you want to lose weight in a healthy and fun atmosphere that fits your lifestyle, think about the suggestions above. These pointers have been proven to work, so why not let them help you.
In life we find people who succeed in their goals and others who will only try, but fail. To be more specific, less than 8% of people will succeed in their weight loss goals. There are people who have all the possibilities to succeed in their weight loss goals than others and fail. Then there are others who have less possibility to achieve their goals and succeed. What differs between these two types of people? The consequences obviously are not a factor. Sidike Conde is a great example, with no legs he could achieve more than people with legs. The way people perceive life is the biggest reason why people succeed or fail. I was talking to my landlord the other day and she was telling me how some tenants are full of excuses. Even though they have all the possibilities to leave everything under good circumstances, they prefer to leave everything to the last minute and come up with all types of excuses. Interesting enough we are all full of excuses. We blame anyone and/or everything, but we don’t take responsibility of our own life decisions.
Here let me illustrate, two different people same event: one is doing her best to lift weights and get out of her comfort zone. Every time she is squatting she thinks, “The burn and the pain will help me get my legs and butt toned and lose fat. I can do this: no problem. I have done it before. I like this feeling of accomplishment.” When she is running, she tells herself, “Running is only for the strong and I’m strong. I can run 20 miles. My body was made to run”. When she chooses to eat the right foods, inner thoughts are, “My life is healthier with these foods. Healthy foods are the best energy I can consume for my body.” While the second person, when she is squatting says, “Oh no, this is very difficult. My legs are killing me. I can’t do this. I will never get what I want. I should stop now.” She comments to herself while running, “It seems too long. My body can’t handle the running. I better walk because running does not feel comfortable.” When she chooses what to eat she says, “I will only eat processed foods once. Why should I cook when there is food that is already made? Processed foods are the easiest thing to eat and I don’t care about my health anyway, because I will still someday die.”
Can you feel the joy of one of them and the pain of the other? If you picture these two people, I would hope that you would want to be the first example. I could be wrong. Maybe you would want to be example number two and continue making excuses? I know you are smarter than that ;). Anyway, did you notice that both these people in the same event were affected differently by how they perceived the same event? The reality is that you create your reality. You are the one who decides if it is painful or enjoyable. How do you perceive events?
Last week I assessed one of my clients. He had lost 12 pounds in 2 months. He said that he recommends me to his group of friends. He enjoys our sessions, feels healthier, has more energy, is stronger, and — the most important reason he talks about CBF to his friends — he’s happier. When he refers me to his friends and shows them my website, some of them expect to see a picture of a bodybuilder.
He was telling me that he knows a couple of guys who are huge; they use drugs to increase muscle mass. Some other guys he knows use supplements. Since I advocate “natural fitness,” he assumes I don’t take any drugs or supplements.
While it is true that 6 years ago I used protein shakes and creatine, I now know that these products don’t really help me perform any better or add value to my health. Also, they are likely to do more harm than good. In my experience, acne and lack of oxygen at night were only two side effects of these products, which is why I stopped taking them. When it comes to drugs everyone seems to have a different opinion about them. My opinion is that drugs simply don’t contribute to health even though they may increase muscle mass, endurance or some other facet of human performance.
Even though it sounds sad, many professionals nowadays don’t distinguish between fitness and health; but being fit does not mean being healthy. Someone taking drugs or using supplements may be able to run fast, have tremendous lean muscle mass or lift incredible weights and can be classified as fit. However, this person may not be healthy. Such a person may suffer or develop side effects such as sex impotency, osteoporosis, high blood pleasure, cancer and others.
However, fitness is a factor that contributes to health just like eating nutritious foods and controlling thoughts and emotions. But many people put their health in jeopardy to be fit.
Weight loss has also taken the same path. Many people have heard from their doctors that they need to lose weight because of their high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, knee problems, etc. Many look for the easy exit, taking pills, using hormone therapies, taking supplements or undergoing surgery.
Even though weight loss is the goal, the purpose can get lost while trying to attain the goal. The purpose of weight loss is to be healthy. While some people are looking to lose weight for a better appearance (and there’s nothing wrong with losing weight to be physically attractive), they, also, miss the real purpose. Losing weight in an unhealthy manner won’t help an individual become more attractive.
Getting to know the difference between fit and healthy helps us a lot with the habits we need to practice. It helps us be aware of our health while we get fit and to remember that we get fit to contribute to our health. Weight loss is not about being fit only. It is about being healthy by incorporating fitness in our lives.
Sometimes when I assess members, they start the conversation with, “This week was a horrible week. I ate pretty badly.” Usually what they’re thinking is that the food they eat will affect their fat gain right away, and it will show in their results. While it’s true that eating the wrong foods will affect the body right away, it’s also true that the body takes times to store food and convert it into fat. What you eat this week won’t affect your fat levels until next week.
When I changed my ways to a better life, I remember going through some of the residuals of my past. This means that even though I was doing the right things, I would still have negative effects from the past negative actions I took.
One of my friends had a pretty unhappy life because of the decisions he had made. One day he decided to start taking the right actions, but after he started, he would still have negative effects from his past negative actions. He complained that even though he was doing the right things, his results were not changing, and life still brought him misery. I told him that of course he still needed to deal with the residuals from his past decisions.
The residuals of our actions usually come a while after we take them.
For example, all the damage we did to the earth in the ’80s and ’90s by mistreating it with waste and pollution we are suffering from now.
Your body responds the same way. Many people say they can eat anything and never get fat or suffer from disease or have any physical problems. However, years later, it catches up with them.
I called it the residual effect. It will take time to see the results of actions taken now. But there will be results. This is why so many people don’t change their ways even though their brain is telling them that they are not making the best choices. Or when they are making the best choices, they usually aren’t satisfied because they are not seeing the results fast enough.
This is how recession, depression or environment degradation starts: Everything begins by slowly neglecting the system.
History can teach us a lot of what happened and how it happened. Many times we expect the inevitable so we ignore it. We continue taking the wrong actions thinking that everything will be okay because something magical will compensate for our wrong decisions.
We can avoid these disasters by making the right decisions now. It’s common sense, right? If you don’t want to gain any undesired fat, then don’t eat the wrong foods and do your exercise. Don’t just hope that fat magically will just “melt down” or that taking a pill will take care of it.
We want the best place to live, and we want our descendants to inhabit it, but we have not stopped to think about how our decisions are affecting this earth and that they may need to suffer to fix our mistakes. We want to be healthy, have a nice body, be young, strong, happy, disease free. But we have not stopped to think about how drinking, eating junk food, drinking energy drinks, doing drugs and not exercising is going to affect us in the future. We mean to do well, but many times when we make decisions we think about how we are going to benefit short term without thinking about the future.
I understand it’s difficult to live a perfect life. I have made many wrong decisions in my life, and I still make them. However, I do my best to make conscious decisions thinking about how I can improve my life and this planet to enjoy all the results of the residuals of my decisions in the future.
Something that makes me happy is thinking that together we can change this world and make it better not only for ourselves but for all future generations. Remember that it’s ingrained in human biology that thinking about others makes us happy. In addition, when we think about our decisions and how beneficial they are in general, we are not only thinking about others, we are thinking about our own life, and this is in turn how others benefit. In the end, the real beneficiary is oneself.
Either thinking about your weight loss, the planet, your financials or the way to treat people around you, there is always residuals from your decision. Start thinking about the future consequences of your decisions and you don’t have to worry about fixing anything in the future.
I have learned that the first thing people need before starting a weight loss program is to unleash their desire to lose weight. This could be a doctor’s call, a divorce, a true look at the mirror or the inability to perform physically.
After the wakeup call, action is required to lose weight. Some people take imperfect action, and others hire a professional to help them. But what matters most is that action is taken.
While many people get distracted, discouraged or busy in life and drop their program, others continue perfecting their actions.
For those who drop their weight loss program, nothing changes, they just go back to their precontemplation stage. In contrast, for those who continue, something magical happens. After a while, the body starts changing. As they continue getting results, they notice that they need to modify their program according to their needs, and they do.
A walking-and-small-eating-habit program can be effective for you if you need to lose 100 pounds: Walking every day and cutting out some junk food may lead you to lose pounds of fat monthly. However, results can come faster if a professional designs a program for you.
If you are only 20 pounds overweight, the same approach may not work. It will help, but you need to work deeply on your exercise and eating habits. For example, you may need to find a more intense exercise than walking and work on your eating schedule and start getting into a cleaner diet.
Now, if you don’t need to see a difference in the scale, but you want to tone your arms, get rid of the muffin top or inner thigh fat, lose inches on the hips and get a flat stomach, you need the deepest and most advanced exercise program. This will help you get rid of the fat by getting muscle instead. You may not lose pounds, but your fat levels are decreasing. Walking, running or eating on time won’t do it for you. At this stage you need a periodization weight lifting program.
This means that you need an exercise program that is constantly challenging you. You may need to have clean eating habits. This doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to eat the foods that you like. This means that you need to understand that there are things that are not made to be digested. This may get you into weighing the short-term pleasure of eating the wrong foods versus the damage they cause to your body.
In whatever phase you are make sure you continue taking action and improving your actions to get the body that you deserve. Yes, it’s true. Not many people have the desire to pay the price (time, effort and what the program requires) to be in their best shape. Be honest with yourself and find out how far you want to go. But don’t defeat yourself by thinking that it’s impossible.
Remember that the key is to continue taking action to get the body you want. And when you get there all you need to do is maintenance.
I love writing and sharing my knowledge with others. You probably know that because you receive my newsletters once or twice a week. I also write an article in the Post Independent the second Tuesday of the month. Plus, I wrote a book that has been published and I am working in my second one.
Another thing that I enjoy is public speaking. I often do seminars. I have been invited to do seminars at local high schools, health and wellness symposiums and community events. People read my newsletters and articles and find out about me, and they ask me to teach their employees, students or clients about nutrition, exercise, motivation and so on.
I just enjoy teaching and helping others to be healthier, reach their goals and by the end find real happiness.
Last week I was invited to do a speech at Literacy Outreach. The topic was nutrition. I honestly have no trouble talking about nutrition or eating habits. However, I think the hardest part of a speech is making people interested in the information and helping them change their life.
So what I often do is remind people why they were born. Many of us forget why we’re here. But the real reason we are born is to be happy. Many forget because they are too busy searching for happiness. So when people understand how important their health is in achieving true happiness, they are interested in the topic.
Here I’m suggesting that you take a moment and think about why you do what you do. The reality is that you do everything you do because you think it will contribute to your happiness. Sometimes you will make the wrong decision and adopt bad habits, thinking that they will contribute to your real happiness. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. All humans do the same thing. However, the more you know about the truth, the more aware you are about the choices you make.
Let me tell you about my experience. I had made many wrong decisions in my past by adopting bad habits that I thought would make me happy. I used to smoke, drink, party, etc. However, I had a hole in my heart that I couldn’t mend no matter how much I practiced these negative habits. I thought I was happy because I rationalized and justified my acts. Sometimes I thought “Everyone does it,” “It feels good,” “Life is short,” and so on. Until one day, my life changed. I asked the right quality question, and quality questions lead to quality answers, and quality answers lead to quality actions, and quality actions lead to quality results, and quality results lead to a high quality life.
Well, I found that the human being needs to go through a series of zones to be happy. Here is where exercise and eating healthily makes sense. Otherwise, it is difficult for people to adopt these behaviors. For many, the effort that they need to put into exercise is perceived as pain. Remember that we do things searching for happiness, and many people keep happiness separate from pain.
Anyway, here I’m sharing with you what I realized people such as Abraham Maslow, Tony Robbins, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan and others have being following to find true happiness. So far these zones have worked for me. I hope it makes sense to you:
Body Zone: Here we need to take care of the body by exercising and feeding it the right foods. This zone is the base we need to be able to perform better in the next 7 zones. According to psychologists people can get stuck at this level with vices like greed, laziness, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Any physical problems force us to devote priority attention to this zone.
Emotional Zone: Once the body is healthy and happy, we need to feel at peace, without fear, anger or fright. In the emotional area we seek to attain the fundamental spiritual balance.
Approving Zone: With the body and mind in peace, we begin to think about being accepted, admired and loved by others. We all need a level of approval, and here is where we share similar habits with our peers.
Material Zone: Once we’ve found a minimum level of approval, we start our search for goods, safety and economic stability. Philosophers says that many people get trapped in this area. Greed and desire for power become a vice.
Learning Zone: Here we understand that we must grow and mature each day. We enjoy reading, listening, speaking, researching, studying and drawing conclusions.
Creative Zone: We enter this superior zone when we’re writing, painting, composing music, building models, weaving, designing, etc.
Service Zone: Love is experienced in this zone. We venture into this area when we choose to put ourselves second and put the needs of others first. When we think of the needs of others, we extend a hand to the helpless, listen to the lonely, comfort the afflicted, teach for free, take care of our loved ones and create happiness in others.
Mission Zone: This peak in life implies the awareness of having been created with a special purpose. People living in this area are capable of transcending and leave a trail of love and service wherever they go.
I can explain each zone deeply, but I’ll be writing a book. My point is that eating healthily is part of our happiness, and sometimes we put this positive behavior on the side and give priority to other negative behaviors.
Start eating healthy and exercising and your body and mind will thank you and you will find more joy in life.
Having difficulties losing that extra fat and toning your body? Getting in shape is not easy as it may seem. Either in my experience, I have noticed that losing weight and getting fit takes more than exercise and eating healthy. The problem is more formidable than people think although of course it is highly attainable. Signing up in a weight loss program is a first, easy step, though keeping up with the program is harder.
Stress is one of the factors that can affect one’s intentions to work at a weight loss program. One’s working schedule as well as health problems are some form of stress. Work and health issues sometimes are out of our control and, therefore, it mess up with our weight loss program. But a balance always can be found. If we don’t find it, we will never get to our desired body weight.
Other factors that can disrupt a weight loss or fitness program are bad habits. I read that a human being can never erase a bad habit. It needs to replace by a positive habit. Sometime, due to lack of knowledge, people don’t even know that their habits are putting their health at risk. Of course, others simple don’t want to give up bad habits because of their prompt relief. Instant gratification is reinforcing, but we can learn to think more long term and, with steady work begin to morph our day to day practices and diet. Good habits result in slow but lifelong rewards which a bad habit does not do.
Another factor in determining whether or not people will change their lifestyle can be the existence of past traumas. The other day, on my walk, I ran into a young man I know who confided in me that he was afraid to try a real career because he’d been raised to feel he would be a failure no matter what he tried. He was a bright person but had pretty much stopped trying at all! We chatted for a while, and I tried to make him see that without some failures we can’t learn to succeed. And it’s true. People who are successful needed to make many mistakes to get to where they are. For the many arrows that missed the target, one of them will hit it. Some people who have been traumatized by their past don’t give their best or make the commitment to succeed, whether it’s losing weight or sticking to a workout routine. They say “Why try? I’m not going to succeed,” So they are ready failures before they start. My feeling is that, as scary as it sounds, we need to enjoy our failures as much as our success. Life is a journey.
One more factor that sometimes prevents people from beginning physical training is past injuries to the body. People are afraid of pain and want to avoid reinjuring their bodies. For them, if they feel any pain while they exercise, it’s a warning sign to them, and they stop exercising. That’s where a Fitness Professional comes in! We can help a person differentiate “good” pain from “bad” pain. There are pains which show us that we are getting in shape: one overloads the muscles a little each time, and this helps us get to our goals. Once we know what pain is “good,” we can train our minds not to panic if we feel a twinge or two while or after a workout. On all levels of life, pain is part of it, and is needed to succeed in most aspects of life. It is important to talk to a professional dedicated to your wellbeing to understand the difference between pains.
Sometimes we wonder why we can’t lose weight and change our lives. These factors most likely are unconscious. Thus many factors contribute to our weight loss or fitness problems, including psychological, physical, and environment dynamics. Nonetheless, we have control over our lives, and we can do whatever we want if we really want it from the bottom of our heart. The power of changing is with you and only you.
There are different exercise tips that need to be fulfilled in an exercise session to reach your fitness goals. Attending an exercises session is the first step; however, it is not all it takes. You could compare this to attending a lecture class and not paying attention to the teacher. Nothing good will come of just showing up. There should be a sense of concentration, taking notes, reading, participating, actively asking questions, etc. The same goes with exercise, engaging our muscles and our minds. Here are six exercise tips that you should follow if you want to see results:
- Be in discomfort: Any well designed program made to give results should not keep you in a conform zone. You should feel some sense of challenge all the time. If you don’t feel any challenge, the body is accustomed and will not change to meet the demand. Therefore, you will not see results.
- Don’t go backwards: Many people think because they pushed last week, they don’t need to push in the present. Remember that the body becomes accustomed to the resistance given. In other words, if instead of increasing your weight lifting from 15s pounder dumbbells to 20s and go down to 12s, or if you run less or slower than most times, the body will get used to the new resistance. This means that either you get more toned and lose weight by increasing your weight lifting or running distance, or you get gain fat and lose muscle by decreasing your weight lifting or running distance.
- Have a “progression” mentality: Think “what can I do better today?” Some examples could be, increase your weight lifting, increase your intensity of the exercise, try to do your entire program in less time, add other exercises and so on.
- Live the moment: Concentrate in your exercise and forget about everything else. This is your time to get in shape. Everything else will have its own time.
- Find people who are more motivated than you: People who do what it takes to get results usually motivate us, both by personal encouragement and by inspiring us. These people will help you get to your goal.
- Enjoy the exercise: Exercise should be challenging, but you must have in your mind that you love it. If you think the opposite of it, you will drain all your energy and you will not get results.
Take these six exercise tips into consideration and get results. My goal is to give you tools to continue your fitness journal. Exercise is a need to stay and live healthy. I think we all want to do it right, enjoy it and get the most out of it. Don’t waste your time and start this week!
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