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Here are some ways to create a new you by Constance Ray

We’re now well into the new year, and how have your resolutions fared? Perfectly well, we’re sure. But in case you want to make 2018 the new year of you, here are some ways to make self-improvement a priority in your life. Just work on these few things, and you will feel like a new person in no time.

 

Join a gym — You know you need to exercise more, and you know a gym will help you do it. Start shopping around for a place to workout. Look for affordability, location and offerings. If you’re a person who likes group fitness classes, don’t join a gym with a weak offering. If you like weights, try to find one where bodybuilders and powerlifters workout. If you like having a personal trainer, check to see that the ones who work with that gym are certified. Most gyms will let you try it out first, so give it a whirl before you sign up. You should feel comfortable.

 

Upgrade your wardrobe — If you’ve been lounging around in jeans and sweatpants your whole adult life, it might be time to start looking like a grown professional. Just buy a couple of pieces every paycheck, and you won’t have to break the bank. Also, try to find pieces that can be mixed and matched with some stuff you already have, so you aren’t stuck with the same exact outfit over and over. Shop thrift shops and consignment sales, and you’re bound to find some great buys!

 

Kick that addiction — If you’ve struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol and are now working on getting clean, there are ways to enhance your chances of staying that way. Studies have shown that diet and exercise can be a great boost to staying free of addiction. Yoga and meditation can also help you become more centered.

 

Quit smoking — This is the year you’ll do it! You know you need to, and you know it won’t be easy. Talk to your doctor about the best way to quit. She knows the latest in smoking cessation methods and which ones are backed by studies. She might offer to prescribe medication to make quitting easier, or she might direct you to a local support program. There are so many ways to quit, that if one doesn’t work for you, you can always try another. Just imagine all the money you’ll save. Don’t give up on your lungs.

 

Take some personal time — If you’ve been neglecting yourself for the sake of others, try to make some time for yourself. Go to a spa, get a facial, a mani-pedi and get your hair done. You don’t have to do it all at once, but taking time for yourself is important. It will help you stay refreshed so you can go about your day, as well as help reduce stress.

 

Get creative — Take an art class, write a book, start coloring or work on a long-forgotten project. Using the creative part of your brain will help you focus better on your daily life and boost your overall happiness. It forces you to use a part of your brain that you may not use very often, which is always good for continuing development. Some studies show that art education can even benefit you physically.

 

When you set a goal to improve yourself, you are committing to a better life. And who doesn’t want that? Take each goal a little at a time, and you’ll start to notice your success as you go. The more you take care of yourself, you increase the odds of living longer and living better. Don’t give up on your dreams: You can make this your best year ever.

Constance Ray

Constance Ray

Constance Ray started Recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it. The goal is to share stories of hope from survivors who know that the fight against addiction is one worth having, because no matter how it affects you, life can get better.

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How Getting Active and Healthy Keeps You Strong in Addiction Recovery by Constance Ray

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a regular fitness routine does more than create visible results. Physical fitness transforms your body, inside and out, which means it’s also one of the best things you can do to facilitate addiction recovery. When you’re in recovery, creating a new life without substances involves caring for your body, mind, and soul. All of these parts of you are affected by addiction, so caring for your whole self is necessary to stay clean and sober.

How Does Being Active Help You Succeed in Recovery?

On a physical level, doing an aerobic activity that increases your heart rate changes your brain chemistry by releasing the natural feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Sometimes called a “runner’s high,” this physiological effect of exercise is an incredible mood boost. When someone is addicted, they depend on substances to get that feel-good effect, but in recovery, exercise gives your brain that same reward in a much healthier way. This may be one reason why developing a regular exercise routine helps many people in recovery manage cravings because the activity replaces the desire to use to a substance.

In addition to giving you a mood boost, physical fitness also reduces stress, making it a great coping skill for managing stressors and triggers when you’re in recovery. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise decreases tension, helps you sleep better, and builds self-esteem. Dealing with stress can zap your energy, but exercise gives you back the energy your body needs to make managing stress easier. Physical fitness also makes you feel good about yourself. Whether you’re just starting your first workout or you see yourself achieving your fitness goals, getting stronger is a huge accomplishment. Gaining this self-confidence builds your belief that you are capable of staying clean and sober by showing you that you have the ability to overcome challenges.

What Is the Best Type of Exercise for Recovery?

Any exercise will make you healthier, and the best exercise is something you enjoy and can commit to doing regularly. However, some types of exercise maximize the positive impacts that benefit recovery. Aerobic exercise like running gets your heart rate up to release those endorphins, and the repetitive nature of running is also meditative, which helps decrease stress and refocus your mind in a positive way. Swimming is another exercise that has the same meditative quality, and moving through water is also very relaxing. According to the Huffington Post, many people in recovery find that yoga helps them practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that builds awareness and self-reflection so you gain a better understanding of your habits and your choices.

How Do You Maintain a Healthy Routine for the Long Term?

The key to making both physical fitness and recovery stick long term is integrating an overall healthy lifestyle into your regular routine. You won’t get the same benefit from hitting the gym only once in a while. But when you schedule and commit to workouts as part of your daily life, it can help structure your day so that you aren’t as tempted to use drugs or alcohol. If you struggle with how to make this commitment, try different types of exercise to find something that is fulfilling for you and works with your schedule. Making good nutrition and self-care part of your wellness lifestyle will also support your fitness goals and make it easier to keep them. The great thing about starting these habits is that when you take better care of your body, you feel better about yourself, which motivates you to keep going.

The hardest part is getting started. Once you do, maintaining a healthy lifestyle gets easier as this positive cycle becomes a way of life. Creating this new way of life makes you stronger—physically, mentally, and even spiritually—for staying on the right track in recovery.

Photo credit: Pexels

Constance Ray

Constance Ray

Constance Ray started Recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it. The goal is to share stories of hope from survivors who know that the fight against addiction is one worth having, because no matter how it affects you, life can get better.

Visit Recoverywell.org

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Build healthy habits with Evernote

Nowadays, there is pretty much an app for everything you imagine.   Visit Google Play Store and then tell me if I´m wrong. But more doesn´t mean better, and a different app for tracking each one of our habits may result overwhelming or counterproductive.
Instead, using a single and versatile app, like Evernote to track your habits may be the right solution in many cases.
As you know (or should know), Evernote is a note-taking app. A digital diary, in a few words. You can use it as your journal, day planner, to keep things that inspire you (like articles, images and social media post) by using Web Clipper, as your to-do list or done list, to take class notes and help you with your homework, plan your travels or your wedding, write a novel, record meetings, save business cards and, as you have seen on this blog, record your workouts or keep your recipes collection.
Keeping everything organizing in the same place saves you lots o time and help you to be more productive. And when it comes to building a new habit the last thing you want is the need to get used to a new app because it doubles your work.
As each note is a blank canvas, you can create whatever you need. That´s why Evernote is great to build new healthy habits or get rid of unhealthy ones.
Let´s not forget that to make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
For instance, the healthy habit #1 is drinking more water. You can easily keep track of your daily water intake with Evernote. How?
1 – Create a new notebook (Click on File -> New notebook) and name it My water intake. Click OK.
2 – Click on your new notebook and create a New Note (Ctrl + N) and name it Water intake. You will use this note as a template and this will save you a lot of time.water intake 1
Let´s say you don´t drink any water at all and you plan to drink 6 glasses of water every day. That´s a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goal.
3 – Type numbers from 1 to 6 and then add a checkbox next to each number (Ctrl + Shift + C). Why would you put checkboxes? To mark them every time you drink a glass of water. This ensures you don’t miss a single one.water intake 2
4 – Duplicate this template as many times as you need (Right-click on the note -> Duplicate Note). water intake 3
I recommend you to rename each duplicated note with the date and keep the first one as your template. It will take you seconds to create and rename the notes you will use in a week.
water intake 4
Let´s go a step further and suppose you drink too many sodas or beers and you want to reduce the consumption of these drinks by replacing them with water.
Using the same notes, you can keep track of what you drink every day and be conscious if you´re going in the right direction.
Just repeat the step 3 for sodas and beers and voilá! You will be able to easily check the days you did right, the days you did wrong (and also write your comments/excuses why those days didn´t go well), and keep yourself accountable and focused on your goals.
water intake 5
Access your water intake notes on your mobile device by adding a shortcut. An icon will appear on the main screen of your device making your notes just a tap away.
With your note open on your phone or tablet, tap on the menu button (the column of three squares) and then select Create Shortcut.
water intake 6
Your shortcut will appear on the main screen of your mobile device.
water intake 7
You now have a completed and easily accessible habit tracker! Any updates made to a note are synced across all devices once saved.

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8% body fat loss in 3 weeks

Glenda won my last contest three weeks ago. Her biggest problem was that she ate too much fast food and industrial bakery. Nor did she drink too much water. So we focus on their eating habits and add a training circuit four times a week. She has already lost 8% body fat. This was Glenda:

And this is her progress, in numbers:

You´ll have to wait to see her new image until we finish, but you can see how she loses weight, the perimeter of his belly is reduced, she loses body fat, and she gains some lean muscle mass. Also, she wrote me an email last week that I´d like to share with you:

“David,
        I luckily have had the opportunity, as you know, to work with you online. I could NEVER have imagined how it would change so much of my daily routine in such a positive way!! I just wanted to thank you and tell you some things that have gone terrifically RIGHT!
 
      I was overwhelmed by the instant response to the questions you had concerning what goals I wanted to achieve and my physical state (WHICH HAS IMPROVED VASTLY!) my likes and dislikes and allergies to foods, etc.
 
    Overnight , you had figured out my dietary needs , my body fat% and exactly what plan for workouts I should do. Then days in, I had a little medical tweak and almost instantly you had a new plan that I could follow. I think you are an amazing, insightful, innovative trainer!!
 
     I know you did not intend to actually change my life style but IT IS WONDERFUL!! Before I started this online training and diet diary; I ate so much just bad stuff and drank probably 1000 calories a day in super sweetened coffee and my gin and tonics;-) and I woke up tired and stayed that way most of the day.
 
      Now that I keep that dietary diary; my water intake has gone to  8 glasses a day …my coffee is unsweetened and no more than 2 cups and the gin and tonics are 1 a day…my snack habits of candy and pure carbs has changed to apples and bananas.
  
       I wake up earlier and go straight to the gym after a light healthy breakfast. I have loads of energy and I’ve lost 7 pounds in nearly 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!
          
          My husband LOVES those new meals! For the first time in FOREVER, he actually wants to help pick out meals. It’ s more than checking off the box and his habits are changing, too!
 
      I have told my friends! I wish I could tell others that if they have an opportunity to work with you and they don’t take it that they are missing out on a truly beneficial experience!
 
      I love the chat information everyday..There’s so many remarkable things I want to say to you about you.
Mostly THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I am really grateful to work with Glenda, because she is super motivated, very funny (always have some funny anecdote to tell me), and does everything I suggest, apparently effortlessly!! 

The next one could be YOU

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Your scale, body composition, and weight fluctuations

The biggest problem with the scale is that it only shows a number. In terms of tissue type, the body may be analyzed into water (blood, lymph, urine), fat, muscle, bone, carbs (glycogen and glucose), nervous tissue (brain and nerves), hormones, connective tissue, contents of digestive tract (including intestinal gas), air in lungs, and epithelium. The scale shows your total body weight.
Obsessing over what the scale says without considering body composition is where the trouble begins. Your ratio of fat to muscle is known as body composition and it’s one of the ideal ways to judge your progress. Instead of obsessing over the reading on the scale, shift your focus to body composition.

Body composition

The percentage of fat varies from person to person, but even an obese person has more water than fat.
The adult human body averages 53% water. This varies by age, sex, and adiposity. In a large sample of adults of all ages and both sexes, the figure for water fraction by weight was found to be 48 ±6% for females and 58 ±8% water for males. Your body weight can fluctuate 2-4 pounds a day or more from shifts in water alone.
In a lean adult, the percentages of protein and water are comparable. It’s about 16%. Muscles, including the heart, contain a lot of muscle. Hair and fingernails are protein. Skin contains a large amount of protein, too. Muscle is the weight you want to keep. Fat is the weight you want to shed. Even if you’re not an athlete or bodybuilder, you should still set goals to develop and maintain muscle not only for how it looks but also for what it does for your metabolism, your strength, your health and even your confidence.
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle as glycogen and water are stored along with them. That’s why your weight can go up a few pounds when you eat more carbs. Add sodium (salt) and you may gain even more. Humans use glucose as an energy source, there isn’t that much of it free in the bloodstream at any given time. Sugar and other carbohydrates only account for about 1% of body mass.
Minerals account for about 6% of the body. They include salts and metals. Common minerals include sodium, chlorine, calcium, potassium, and iron.
The scale is not your enemy. It can be your friend if you know how to use the number as part of the feedback you need to progress and make course corrections. What matters the most is body composition, not just body weight.
Simply remember the difference between body weight, muscle weight, and fat weight. This knowledge will change the way you think about diet and exercise, changing the way you act. You’ll act smarter! You’ll start thinking about muscle!

Measure your body perimeters

To measure our body circumferences, all you need is a dressmaker tape. Place the tape around the body without pressing.
Antropometria Evernote.png
  • Neck: Relaxed, measure the circumference of your neck around your widest point.
  • Shoulders: Relaxed, arms at your sides, measure around the widest part of the perimeter.
  • Chest: Measure the circumference of your chest around your widest point.
  • Bíceps: With the arm relaxed and hanging beside the body, measure the horizontal circumference at the midpoint.
  • Abdomen: Relaxed, measure the horizontal circumference at navel level.
  • Forearm: Arm hanging beside the body and slightly separated from the trunk, measure the perimeter at the widest point.
  • Waist: Relax your abdomen, measure the narrow horizontal perimeter of the torso.
  • Hip/Glute: With both feet together, measure the maximum circumference of the hip.
  • Thigh: Standing with legs slightly apart, measure the maximum horizontal circumference just below the gluteal fold.
  • Calf: Standing with legs slightly apart, measure the maximum horizontal circumference between the knee and ankle.

With this measurements, calculate your body composition.

Weight fluctuations

Don’t worry if you get on the scale and find that your weight has gone up or down a few pounds from the day before. The amount of food you eat, how much water you drink, how much you exercise and how much you’ve gone to the bathroom can all temporarily influence your weight. Weight training can cause your muscles to retain water, and your body may also retain more water if you’ve eaten a lot of carbohydrates. Salty food intake, hormonal fluctuations, and constipation can also affect your weight, temporarily making you a few pounds heavier than usual.
Reasons why body weight fluctuates daily:
1) Sodium: Think of your body like a pendulum scale. If you eat more salt than usual one day, your body will react by trying to balance the scale by retaining more water. Eat less salt than usual, and you have the opposite effect. If you eat a lot of salty food, you retain fluid, causing you to feel bloated and potentially see a higher number on the scale.
If you´re trying to lose weight, avoid these salty foods:
  1. Pretzels: Naturally low in fat, and some are made with whole wheat. But you can get a lot of sodium from them, especially if you don’t stop at a 1-ounce serving.
  2. Pasta sauce: Many are very high in sodium, often with more than 600 milligrams of sodium per 1/2 cup serving.
  3. Instant noodles: Instant noodle soup cups or packages are easy, inexpensive, and taste pretty good. But one serving will deliver about 750-950 milligrams of sodium (depending on the brand and the flavor).
  4. Mixed nuts: Nuts are a smart snack, giving you “good” fats, fiber, and protein. Naturally, nuts have almost no sodium, but nut mixes often have added salt, so check the label.
  5. Spicy chicken tenders: One order (three pieces) of spicy chicken tenders from a fast-food chain or restaurant can add more than 2,100 milligrams of sodium.
  6. Tortilla chips: Most tortilla chips are dusted with salt, totaling at least 250 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving.
  7. Bottled Salad Dressing: Can have as much as 400 milligrams of sodium per 2-tablespoon serving, depending on the flavor and brand of the dressing.
  8. Lunch meats: Processed meats have salt and sodium for shelf life (or food preservation) and taste. Packaged lunch meats, even when they look like they have just been carved, contain about 560 milligrams of sodium or more per 2-ounce serving.
  9. French fries: Even the smallest size of fast-food french fries adds at least 250 milligrams of sodium.
  10. Fast Food burger or sandwich: One fast-food burger or sandwich alone can have more sodium than you should get in a whole day.
2) Alcohol: This diuretic causes dehydration in the body, which leads to water retention. The water retention is a result of your body wanting to make up for the difference in water levels drinking alcohol has caused. Also, alcohol stimulates your appetite and wrecks your self-control regarding the amount of food that you consume.
3) Carbohydrate intake: The body turns the majority of eaten carbs into glucose for immediate energy, storing them in the liver. Glucose that is not used for immediate energy, turns to glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscle tissue, which can lead to water retention. To save each gram of glycogen, we need three grams of water. This is why endurance athletes who carb-load tend to gain water weight in the days leading up to their races, and why people on low-carb diets lose weight so quickly at first. Aa low-carb diet often leads to rapid weight loss, but it is not fat you’re losing, it’s the body using up the stored glycogen for energy, which causes less water to be retained, leading to weight loss (not fat loss).
4) Strength training: Lifting weights or doing body weight exercises causes trauma to muscle tissue. The muscle rebuilds itself and grows, making you stronger and more toned. Part of the body’s response when repairing microscopic tears in muscle is fluid retention.
5) Dehydration: While bodybuilders and fitness models often intentionally cut down on water before competitions or photo shoots to show off more defined muscles, depleting your body of liquids can actually make you retain water. When we don’t drink enough fluids, our bodies hold on to whatever water we do have in us to maintain fluid balance. Then, our kidneys excrete fewer fluids via urine because they’re training to maintain that balance, and that can make the scale go up.
6) Restroom usage: 1-3 pounds a day of body weight change can be seen by using or not using the restroom.
7) Hormones: Most women are probably familiar with this one already. Experts believe that water is retained when hormones fluctuate, especially about one week prior to your period.
All of these can make your body weight go up or down without causing an increase or decrease in body fat. They are not necessarily areas you need to overly concern yourself with controlling, but hopefully now that you know a little more into how and why the number on the scale is not stable, you will relax a little when you step on the scale and it’s not necessarily what you were expecting.

Sustainable fat loss

The human body is always trying to maintain water balance for our overall health.
One to two pounds of weight loss is considered to be a healthy amount of weight to lose in a week.
Why is more weight not better? If you lose more than the 1-2 pounds in a week, it most likely not just body fat. It could also be muscle tissue, water weight, etc.
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50 reasons to exercise

First of all, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Second, I want to give you some reasons to think about why you should exercise next year. Among fifty reasons, you should find one that motivates you!?

50 reasons exercise is good for you

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