Category Archives: weight loss

5 Ways to Make Diet Resolutions Doable Any Time of Year

Every once in a while someone approaches me with a great idea for an interview or a guest post. This one spoke to me and I hope it speaks to you, too.  Merilee Kern spoke with HealthyWage.com co-founder Jimmy Fleming about keeping those resolutions all year long.  It’s a good read.

5 Ways to Make Diet Resolutions Doable Any Time of Year

 By Merilee Kern

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While even the most well-intended health-seekers strategize their diet and fitness approach at the top of a New Year, far too many revert back to their bad habits and poor choices that sabotage their weight-loss endeavor and undermine their overall well-being. However, one need not wait until the next shiny New Year rolls around for a renewed resolve to shed those unwanted pounds, as there’s no better time than right now to make healthful, life-altering adjustments to the daily routine. No matter the time of year, even just a few simple, but key, considerations can make all the difference between a successful—and even profitable—weight-loss endeavor and a wellness pursuit that falls far short.

In seeking professional advice I connected with diet and fitness industry insider Jimmy Fleming who is the co-founder of HealthyWage—the industry-leading purveyor of corporate and team-based weight loss challenges and financially-induced diet contests for individuals. He offered these insights and perspectives on 5 critical elements needed for the best chance of success with a weight-loss initiative:

  1. Map out specific goals & timeframes. You are far more likely to achieve your diet resolution if you spend a few minutes thinking it through. Sit down at your desk and dedicate even just ten minutes of your life to strategizing your resolution.  Put pen to paper or, better yet, send an email to a friend or family member and make a list of the things you’re going to do to change your weight.  Simply stating that “I’m going to lose weight” is not nearly specific enough, but it makes a good headline at the top.  Write down a date when you will achieve your first goal.  This date should be in the near future–one month is a good bet.

    Now, make a specific, realistic goal.  Most experts agree that you’re most likely to succeed if you don’t starve yourself, and plan on losing one to two pounds per week.  In fact, setting a modest goal — say, one pound per week — can spare you a lot of hunger and stress.  You might even forget you’re on a diet!  Suppose you choose 1.5 pounds per week and a one month goal date:  your goal will be about six pounds.  Piece of cake (so to speak)! Put your goal and goal date on your calendar (e.g., “Weigh 150 pounds” as an entry for January 30).

    Go back to your piece of paper, or email.  Under your goal and goal date, write down the word “food.”  Ask yourself:  what exactly is your eating plan?  Are you going to follow a particular diet?  If so, when are you going to start?  Your answer should be “right now.”  Don’t be afraid.  This is going to be great!  If your diet requires that you purchase something or register on a certain website, go do that right now! What about exercise?  What specific days and times will you commit to exercising?  Who will you exercise with?  If possible, call a friend now and set something up.

Review your resolution plan frequently as you work your way toward your goal.  When your goal date comes, call a friend to either brag about your achievement or confess that you didn’t achieve it and tell them what’s going to be different for the next goal date.  Now, sit down again (pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard) and set a new goal date and goal.  Keep going!

2. Set up financial incentives.  After you’ve written out your specific goals and dates, your best bet is to build a little structure into them.  Enter:  prizes and rewards.  A significant amount of academic research shows that you are much more likely to achieve your resolution if you include a double financial incentive — i.e., money to lose if you fail and money to win if you succeed!  The reason money works better than the natural motivators of vanity and health is that money can be tied to specific, measurable goals and deadlines.  In other words, financial incentives help prevent procrastination by establishing a firm start date, and help prevent quitting by establishing a firm goal date.  Financial incentives also make weight loss a lot more fun and exciting by transforming the process into a game.

There are fantastic tools and resources available online for setting up financial incentives.  For example, my own company, HealthyWage, allows participants to make various kinds of personal weight loss “bets” and win payouts up to $10,000.  The double financial incentive is an incredible motivator and source of structure that most winners say is indispensable.

3. Do one thing at a time.  Trying to stick to more than one resolution creates a willpower diffusion that is almost always a recipe for failure.  Your weight loss resolution requires time, planning and lots of action items.  The winding road from plump to sexy is made of many cobblestones that you have to lay down one at a time with lots of small, frequent decisions (e.g., “this morning, I am going to skip that second donut”).  With all the good judgment and will power those little decisions require, you simply won’t have the time and energy for your other resolutions, too.  You’re booked solid!  If you think your weight loss resolution isn’t that big of a deal, you might be off track.

4. Tell everyone. Or, at least tell a few friends or family members about your endeavor.  If you’re not willing to tell someone about your diet resolution, you might not be committed enough to succeed.  When you tell other people about your plans, a magical thing happens.  You know that your supporters are waiting to hear news of your success, and you don’t want to let them down.  Some researchers believe that the social element is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Plus, it’s important to have support — i.e., people to brag to when you succeed; people to talk to when you feel like overeating.  Talking is a great antidote to a desire to binge or eat things that could get in the way of your success. If you’re really determined to achieve your resolution, you should consider taking the social element even farther.  Try writing a blog about your progress.  Not only will your readers help keep you seriously accountable, but you may discover that being a great teacher is one of the best ways to learn and improve your own success.

5. Seek fellowship.  When you tell people about your diet resolution, be on the look-out for a dieting partner (or group of partners).  When you work on your diet resolution with a buddy or group of friends or family members, you are even more likely to accomplish your goals.  You get all the benefits of accountability plus the comfort and fun of knowing there’s someone waiting for you to exercise, compare food and restaurant experiences, and share the ups and downs of dieting.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Enlisting family and friends in the effort may help.”  One study shows that participants who do a weight loss program with friends are more than twice as likely to keep their weight off than those that try to do it on their own.

Statistics from Fleming’s company’s own financially-induced weight loss programs apparently substantiate the results of such studies. He explained, “we track the extent to which participants communicate with friends and teammates on their HealthyWage dashboards and there is a direct correlation between the extent of a participant’s social messaging and the participant’s success. Our company’s metrics have also proven that socially-oriented weight loss is much more likely to be successful.”

Does Money Motivate Weight-Loss?
With more than 200,000 HealthyWage.com participants across America collectively losing over 10 million pounds and gaining over $2.5 million in cash prizes for their pound shedding success—and with many participants losing 100 or more pounds with the program—it’s clear this company’s weight wagering methodology is extremely powerful. Indeed, dieting for dollars has come of age to the extent that large-scale corporate wellness programs and entire school districts and municipalities have embraced this proven effective approach. In fact, in addition to helping individuals get paid for getting healthy, HealthyWage has formally created competitive, cash-fueled diet programs for more than 90 Fortune 500 and other companies, hospitals, health systems, insurers, school systems, municipal governments and other organizations throughout the U.S., and their program has been informally run at over 3,000 companies and organizations across America.

It’s no surprise HealthyWage’s money-driven competitions have surged in popularity, given that multiple highly credible studies have underscored the value of employing financial incentives and peer support to positively influence weight loss.

“Our cash-driven individual and team-based weight loss programs are helping people get fit and healthy using a unique and proven effective motivation paradigm that boosts bank accounts in kind,” Fleming said.

Getting paid for shedding pounds and getting healthy makes dollars and sense to me.

Freelance writer and two-time fitness champion, Merilee Kern, is a wellness industry veteran, consumer health advocate and influential media voice. Her ground-breaking, award-winning “Kids Making Healthy Choices” Smartphone APP for children, parents/caregivers and educators (iTunes) is based on her award-winning, illustrated fictional children’s book, “Making Healthy Choices – A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids” (Amazon). Merilee may be reached online at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.


***Some or all of the experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or arranged to accommodate this report, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

 

Social dieting – do you participate?

Do you share your fitness journey on social media?  I do.  I share the good and bad, and have found a tribe of like-minded folks who support and share as well.  My feed is full of people at all stages of the fitness journey and it helps me keep motivated and focused. Note:   I compete with myself and see other’s journeys as theirs alone.  My progress is mine and where I am is directly related to me and former versions of me. 

Support and challenge groups are not new, but a new type of challenge is on the rise.  If you follow fitness accounts on social media, you’re sure to run across calls for challenges or bets that award prizes to the biggest loser.  Some challenges call for pledges of  $5, $10, $25 or more and the winners get to split the pot at challenge end.  I haven’t participated in this sort of challenge, but they are many.  Studies show that incentive-based challenges may increase motivation and success.  A Mayo Clinic study on “Individual- Versus Group-Based Financial Incentives for Weight Loss” not only found that “sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives” and that “financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence,” but lead author, Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., also cited the advantages of social dynamics for employers offering such awards to help control health care costs while also improving the health of employees, noting, “We found that these incentives were substantially more powerful when delivered in groups…” The study concluded that “A group-based financial incentive was more effective than an individual incentive.”  A Brown University suggests that shedding pounds can have a “contagious” ripple effect and concluded that social networks and teamwork play a significant role in enhancing weight loss outcomes in weight loss interventions.

If you want to start or join a cash prize challenge to kick off 2016 with a bang, consider signing up with HealthyWageHealthyWage provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.  How does a $10,000 top prize sound to you?  One top winner, Kristin Westerfield of Indianapolis, IN lost 114 pounds and won $4,000.

Are you a social dieter?  Which platform do you use?  Does it keep you motivated?

 

Sources: 

N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 357(4): 370-79 (July 2007)
Teamwork Makes Weight Loss More Fun & Successful

Leahey, T.M., Kumar, R., Weinberg, B., Wing, R.R., “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-based Weight Loss Competition,” Obesity, 20 7, 1413-18 (2012)

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1671710

Review: Forever Flex Exercise Ball

I received the Forever Flex Exercise Ball for free to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it.

I love lifting weights, but lifting doesn’t always love me.  During the times when my bones and joints are particularly sensitive, Pilates and yoga are my jams.  When I need to get off the floor for lifting or ab work, I get on a ball.  Well, I used to until the dogs made a chew toy out of my last one.  It’s my fault for leaving a partially deflated ball within their lines of sight.  I loved that thing.  I’d sit on it when working at my desk or reading in addition to using it in place of a weight bench.  And it was purple, too! Sigh.

I was on the market for a new one when a review opportunity brought one to me.  Live Infinitely’s Forever Flex Exercise Ball is perfect!  It’s available in several sizes, two colors, affordably priced, strong, and comes with a pump, extra valve plug, plug remover, and training plan.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, I had mine in my hands two days after placing the order.  I went with the dark gray instead of purple this time.  Hopefully the pups won’t mistake it for one of their toys.

exercise ball ball 2
Have you used an exercise ball?  If not, you need to make sure you get the right size for your needs.  Since I’m not the tallest person, I selected the 55 cm size (for those of us under 5′ 6″).  Live Infinitely has them available for people in the 5′ 6″ to 5′ 11′ range (65 cm), 6′ to 6′ 4″ (75 cm) and taller than 6′ 4″ (85 cm).   Using one that’s too small or large will throw you out of proper alignment.

Oops, looks like the man and boy will need their own since mine is too small for them. 

Once I inflated this baby, I decided to get some ab work in.  This industrial PVC ball is strong!  It holds up to 2200 pounds (way over my weight) and anti-burst tested.   I finished my workout and was beginning to regret but not regret how hard I went.  I sat on the ball for a while before making a recovery drink.

The Forever Flex Exercise Ball is  easy to clean and has non-slip ridges that came in handy on the hardwood floor.  It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and fantastic customer service.  Would I buy this?  Yes, and I will buy a bigger one for the man and boy if they request it.  I might make that one purple.  You know, so we can tell them apart at a quick glance.

So, do you use an exercise ball?  Tell me about it.

 

Book review: Rachel Pires’ Diet Enlightenment


I received a free copy of this book to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it. 

There are certain times of year when the diet season kicks into full gear.  You know, pre-beach season, pre-holiday party season, ‘New Year, new you’ promotions, and so on.  Many, me included, look for the magic button that makes weight loss easy and helps the healthy living mentality stick.  I don’t know about you, but the struggle is especially hard when my body rebels in some way (thanks Fibro and spinal arthritis). It’s not always about the popular method used for weight loss, but the right method that makes it work and stick.  Rachel L. Piers has been there and came out on the other side.  She found the magic button and it made all the difference.  In Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss, Pires shares her story and hopes to help the rest of us find it, too.

Rachel Pires is a wife and new mother, dancer, scuba diver, and second degree black belt in Taekwondo.   She writes for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is a weight loss advisor and blogger on Livestrong.com.  What does an education writer know about dieting?  Quite a bit, actually.  She’s traveled down the weight loss road a few times and did not achieve the success she sought until she found the right one.

Like many experts say, almost any plan can help one lose weight at first, but plans that involve removing certain food groups don’t always work long-term.  Pires wrote Diet Enlightenment with the voice of one who’s been through it. She focuses on calorie counting as the basis for diet success and explains how to calculate what you need and how to stick to the plan.  While she isn’t a nutritionist or dietician, she does seem to have a handle on the diet industry (Chapter Two), calorie counting (Chapters Six and Seven), successfully sticking to a plan while eating out (Chapter 10), and listening to one’s body (Chapter 9).  She also explains how healthy eating isn’t always the road to Thintown (Chapter 3).  Pires’ writing style is friendly and encouraging.  She explains that it can be easy and simple to lose weight and keep it off with the right mindset.

I nodded my head or agreed aloud as I read this one, which amused my dogs.  Chapter Three is my truth – I either gained or maintained while focusing on healthy foods without thinking of calories. I also gained weight after my initial loss on Atkins.  Since my diagnoses, listening to my body is required and I can see how listening when it comes to hunger and satiety is equally important.  While I’m not a strict calorie-counter these days (thanks to the 21 Day Fix eating plan), I can appreciate the information in this one.  A book like this one might have saved me from a few missteps in my weight loss attempts. The chapter on listening to your body makes this one a great read.

Diet Enlightenment was released last April. Pick up a paperback ($12.99 suggested retail) or PDF copy ($10.99 suggested) directly from Tate Publishing or find it at your favorite bookseller. Connect with Pires on Facebook or Twitter to ask questions or let her know what you think of the  book.   Have you read it?  Let me know your thoughts.

See ya, January! Happy February!

I’m glad to see January 2015 go. It was a craptacular month and I don’t think I could easily handle a second month of it. An annoying reason I hated the month is the setback. Grr, the setback. But, January is over and February is here. I’m ready for it.

I tried to post this yesterday, but the January Kick Ass continued for an extra day. My saved pots disappeared three times.  I was not amused.

My goals this month are to get my eating back on track and learn more about what ails me. Research might drive some people crazy, but it helps me feel like I have more control. The Fibromyalgia quirks and tummy issues don’t bother me as much since I have an idea what to expect. I hope that makes sense. I wonder sometimes if it does. If it doesn’t, I blame Fibro Brain. :-)

And speaking of research, I picked up this goodie a few days ago. candida

Ricki Heller‘s blog is one of my favorite stops and I know the advice in this book in my hands will make a huge difference.  I’ll share more about the book and recipes here and in my Examiner column.  If you need sugar-free, gut-healing whole food recipes, take a look.

I was advised to consider the possibility of candida overgrowth a little over a year ago.  I took the assessment and scored in the top range before I completed the whole thing.  Oy.  Overachiever, I am.  These recipes work with my eating plan.  I just have to tweak things here and there.

For fitness, I’m starting another round of 21 Day Fix starting on February 8.  21 Day Fix Extreme drops today, but I am not ready for that one.  Both 21DF and 21DFX are designed to get you on track with 30 minute workouts (yes), an easy clean eating plan, and quick results.  All moves include a modifier front and center and only minimum equipment is required.  I’ll use resistance bands and my favorite exercise mat.  If you’d like more information on either program, give me a shout or visit my store.

21 day fix dvd
30 minutes a day, clean eats, and modified moves that even I can do. Love it!

 

Do you have specific plans or goals for February? If you need or want support and encouragement, give me a shout.  If you’re following a different program, it’s all good. This is all about support for whatever your goals are. Swing by Facebook and say hi.

Until next time, be good to yourself.  Remember that you are not alone and that you are your competition.

Peace!

 

Throwback Thursday

How do you get your fitness on? If you’re like me and not a big fan of traditional workouts, get more active in general. Play a team sport, dance, actively play with the kids and dogs, or get out and do more. Hubs and I are spending our free time on weekends going around and playing tourist. Sometimes it involves longer car rides, but we make up for the time seated with time walking around the sites. The sheer number of historic sites in Charleston makes it easy to find something to see.

We visited the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial

tuskeege

Drayton Hall

drayton tree

drayton house

Charles Pinkney Site

pinckney cypress

and looked at the water for a while

water view

dragonfly 2

We also went in search of a 4,000 year old Shell Ring, but it was getting a little late to hit this trail.

trail

I don’t care that hubs had a flashlight. Besides, the mosquitoes were pretty fierce and hungry. We’ll go back another day.

How do you do non-traditional fitness?

Until next time, peace.

All of the pictures are mine.  If you want to use them, give me photo credit and send me a link.  Don’t be the guy who steals pictures. 

Happy Sunday!

What’s going on with you?   Football,  fitness,  family, and meal prep here.  It’s going to be a busy week, so a head start is a good thing.

Sorry, I was distracted by the Falcons’s awesome OT win against the Saints.  Raiders, it was close, but you know next week will be better.  Here’s to an awesome NFL season and killer week!

Oh, and check on me tomorrow,  please.  I took on PiYo Define: Upper Body and 10 minutes of TurboFire Low HIIT 20 this afternoon.  Eep!

 

 

Review: Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale with BMI and Weight Differential Detection

I try to avoid the scale. I know, weight is a measure of health (so they say), and there’s a scale hop required at every doc’s visit and one at the physical therapist’s office.  We always had a scale growing up and for some reason were expected to have one.  I didn’t have one during my single days and didn’t care, but for some reason just had to have one once the life with hubs, kids, and dogs started.  For some reason I felt like we needed one.

I hate the scale in general.  It mocks me when I think I look smaller and feel lighter.  It jumps out from under the bed and kicks me in the toe.  It calls to me when I ignore it for too long, taunting me.  Yes, I’m aware it may not happen that way, but it feels like it.

I had the opportunity to move on up to a prettier, less bossy scale and jumped at the chance. The timing was perfect because physical therapy was in full swing and so was my tweaked eating plan.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to add something else new
to the mix, even if it was as intimidating as a scale. The Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale with BMI and Weight Differential Detection has a long name, sleek look,  and nice features.

See, I told you it was attractive.
See, I told you it was attractive.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package is how attractive the scale is. This baby is a nice-looking slab of
tempered glass with non-slip pads that are gentle on my hardwood floor.  It came with batteries (nice) and clear instructions on
setting up separate profiles for multiple users.  The Weight Differential Detection tracks changes from your last weigh in,
and averages of the last three and seven weigh-ins.  How cool is that?  I like this feature because I can accurately track my
results alone.  Granted I had to teach the family to switch between profiles, but that was no biggie – when they paid attention.

The WeightMaster accepts weight up to 400 pounds.  I don’t want to need that weight limit, but it’s nice to have that option.  It also measures Body Mass Index (BMI), but honestly I try to ignore BMI measures myself because it doesn’t paint a clear picture of health.
I do love the Color Alert Technology which displays a green light for a loss and red light for gain.  If I wanted to gain weight, I might find this annoying.  But I’m all about gains in health and losses in fat and pants size.

I almost bought a different scale, but am glad the Ozeri WeightMaster fell into my lap.  Not only is it accurate (compared to the doc’s scale) and attractive, it’s engineered and manufactured in the USA.  More companies need to stay here instead of trying to move out of the country (I’m  looking at you, Burger King). Ozeri stands behind their products with a 100% Hassle-Free Satisfaction Guarantee. Pick up the WeightMaster in (black or white) or check out Ozeri’s other scales.  I won’t get on the scale more often, but when I do, it will be the WeightMaster.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Review: Yacon Syrup is delicious!

Hello.   I’m Sherrie and I issues with sugar.  By issues I mean a deep love of it. Too much of it at times.  According to my mom, I went after sugary goodness with a vengeance as a baby. Before I was two, I snagged my Easter basket and took out the chocolate bunny when I was supposedly napping. She said I was working on the jelly beans when I was caught.

See, I told you I had a problem.

I’m on the lookout for low-glycemic alternative sweeteners that will hold up in baking and have minimal aftertaste no matter how it’s used.  I like stevia, but hubs and the kids don’t care for it.  Right on time, I was offered a bottle of V3 Life & Food Pure Premium Raw Organic Yacon Root Syrup.  While hubs was skeptical after hearing the reported benefits, I was happy to give it a shot.

yacon syrupHave you tried Yacon Syrup?

It’s making the rounds as a fantastic metabolism-boosting weight loss wonder.  It’s another new-to-us food from Peru that’s reported to have amazing benefits.

V3 Life & Food Pure Premium Raw Organic Yacon Root Syrup is certified organic, non gmo, soy and gluten-free, and a delicious low-glycemic sweetener.  It contains prebiotics and probiotics that support healthy digestion, has only 13 calories per teaspoon, and reportedly boosts the metabolism.   Other reported benefits include increased fiber intake, lower blood sugar, and  weight loss.  The Dr. Oz Show aired a feature on yacon syrup in November 2013 after looking into the hype and conducting a 28 day experiment.   Of the 40 participants who completed the challenge, 73% lost weight and 68% recommended it as a weight loss tool.   I wasn’t interested in the syrup as a weight loss aid and only tried it as a low-glycemic sweetener.

v3 yacon syrup nutrition label

It tastes like a cross between honey and molasses and adds a richness that honey doesn’t have.  I enjoyed it in hot tea, unsweetened soy milk (hot, cold, and blended with cocoa powder), drizzled on homemade soy yogurt and berries, coffee with a little coconut milk creamer, and in my morning acv and lemon juice drink.  I don’t know if it had an effect on my metabolism, but I do know that the flavor definitely had an effect on me.  I will keep it on hand for use in recipes calling for agave nectar or honey without hesitation.  I have a few muffin recipes calling my name now.  Pumpkin spice muffins are good any time of year.

Get your bottle of Life & Food Organic Yacon Root Syrup directly from Life & Food’s shop or Amazon.  No matter where you get it, give it a try and let me know what you think.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Endless pool + migraine = bad idea

Happy Migraine Wednesday.

I’m two days in and not feeling fine.  I went to my regularly scheduled aquatic therapy session this morning and kept it at 45 minutes.  It felt pretty good even though my head was spinning.

This is part of my old habit of not listening to the inner voice that tells me to stop.  Ignoring it is rarely a good idea. 

Fast forward to 6:15 pm and I’m about done.  We’d planned a short workout at our potential new gym, but I don’t think I can make it. Yeah, it’s an early bedtime for Sherrie tonight.

Hope your Wednesday is better.