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Steffy wrote:

Sean,

I’ve been reading your blog for some time.  I like it, but you haven’t answered any health questions lately.  Did you give up?  What tips do you have for those of us wanting to get more in shape?

Steffy

No I didn’t give up Steffy, I just made my efforts part of my daily life.  I eat healthier, I work out, I balance my meals, and I don’t even think about it.  Here are a few rules I live by:

1.  Don’t diet, change how you eat permanently.  Swearing off carbs for a week or not drinking coffee from Starbucks for a week may temporarily change the way you look, but it’ll all come back long term.  It’s also believed that when people “diet”, when the diet ends, they go back to bad habits with a vengeance.  Instead, try making small changes to HOW and WHAT you eat, like cutting High Fructose Corn Syrup out of your diet for good, or eating more brown or jasmine rice.

2.  Take control of your portions.  Yes, the three pound pizza in front of you looks delicious, but you don’t have to eat the whole thing in one sitting.  Balance your portions, watch your fat and caloric intake, and for God’s sake eat some fruits and vegetables.  I love meat as much as the next person but I don’t want ten pounds of it inside me at one time.  Everything in moderation.

3.  Develop a workout routine.  I prefer a circuit training type of workout with weight training (yes..women NEED weight training for long term fat burning..) and I work on push machines some days then alternate to pull machines on other days.  After every 5 minutes of cardio, I do two (3 sets of 16 repetitions each) of different weight training exercises.  I do full body workouts every single day I work out.  Spot toning does not work long term.  Develop your routine and stick with it.  Mental discipline is just as important as physical.

4.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Everyone is different, especially in Hollywood.  until you have millions to spend on a gourmet chef and a trainer, just be comfortable with eating fresh and natural foods, a good workout three to four times a week, and the knowledge you’re getting healthier. You don’t need to drop six dress sizes in a month.

5.  Involve the family.  Healthy families are happier families.  Go for a jog with the kids by using a jogging stroller or having them bike along with you.  Play your significant other in some tennis.  Have sex.  Yes, sex.  It may be hard when you’re not feeling sexy, but it’s good for your heart.

6.  Keep a diary.  There are so many smartphones out there nowadays that you don’t really need to worry about looking like an idiot carrying around a tablet and writing down everything you eat.  There are even programs that help you track and graph caloric intake, fat content, and weight loss goals.  Don’t have a smartphone?  Google and yahoo both offer a free online widget to help you do it at your computer.  Tracking what you eat helps you determine roadblocks to your progress.  Eliminate those roadblocks and watch your goals come easier!

7.  Drink water, but not too much.  The recommendation (there is no standard for everyone) is 8 eight-ounce glasses per day.  Drinking a gallon or more can lead to water retention and other health issues.  You essentially want to replace lost fluids, flush your system, and still have some to sweat out.  A checkup at the doctor can give you a more exact amount of water you should personally drink per day.

8.  Sleep it off.  Your body NEEDS sleep to regulate weight.  Without enough sleep, your body’s levels of Leptin (a hormone produced inside the body that helps regulate digestion and the feeling of fullness) drop, which causes your body to trigger an overfeeding reaction.  You need about 7-8 hours of sleep per night to produce the proper levels of leptin for your body, so make sure to allow enough time for a good night’s sleep!

9.  HFCFS=BAD.  I am sure the producers of High Fructose Corn Syrup would disagree, but their days are numbered.  Pepsi is producing more colas with natural sugar, food companies are removing it from foods and drinks, and it’s all because consumers are reading the research showing that HFCS causes all sorts of issues ranging from obesity to kidney damage.  HFCS manufacturers are working to change the name to corn syrup (almost like renaming cigarettes “smoky treats” to make a better image), so be on the lookout for that too.

10.  Take a day off.  Not only from work (stress is bad for the metabolism), but also from your workout.  Overdoing the muscle groups is almost as bad as underworking them.  Let your body’s muscle groups repair themselves and you’ll see better results.

There you have it.  It’s what I live by.  I hope it works for you.

Sean

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