Category Archives: wellness journey

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.***

 

Make your own non-dairy milk

Note: I received the Victoos Nut Milk Bag free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Anything I say is not influenced by the product. My views are my own and I will not recommend anything I don’t believe in.

I used to just kind of like milk. I had it over cereal and used it in recipes, but as far as drinking it straight, I wasn’t a fan. I found out later in life that milk did not like me. At all. It smiled in my face and kicked me in the back. Hard. Milk gave me gas, made me bloated, and gave me headaches. Any milk or milk product had the safe effect. As much as I loved my yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, dairy had to go. While that made me a little sad, it sent me on a mission to find delicious non-dairy alternatives that like me as much as I like them.

Non-dairy milk was first on my list. While I can find soy, nut, rice, hemp, flax, and coconut milks on store shelves, my budget does not always appreciate the hit when they’re not on sale or when I go on a baking binge. Learning to make my own was not difficult at all. For quick soymilk or cream, I add water and to a package of silken tofu and whip it until I get the consistency I want. Sometimes I want to mix it up. When I want nut, seed, or grain-based milk, I blend the item with water and go. while I get a smooth consistency, the milk usually isn’t as smooth as a store-bought product. This is where a nut milk bag comes in.

The Victoos Nut Milk Bag is a lightweight nylon bag designed for straining.  Just blend your nut, seed, or grain milk, pour into the bag, and strain.  Squeezing the bag will strain out all of the liquid and leave pulp I use in smoothies, oats, or in baking.  I haven’t tried drying the pulp out to use as flour yet, but that’s on the list of things to try later.

Cleaning the bag is a breeze.  I give it a good rinse if I need it again right away and toss it in the wash with kitchen towels if I don’t.  By the way, a nut bag is excellent for people who want to juice but don’t have a juicer.  Just blend the juice ingredients and strain through the bag.  If you want a Victoos Nut Milk Bag, snag one on Amazon while it’s a great price – just $8.95.

What non-dairy milk will I make next?  I’m thinking a coconut-flax milk might be lovely.  Why that blend?  Because I’m obsessed with making tofu mousse and yogurt and saving my silken tofu for those uses.

This goodie is inspired by an older recipe from Happy Herbivore.  I added blueberries to the ‘yogurt’ recipe to snack on as-is or on top of fruit salad for breakfast.  Want some?

Which non-dairy goodies are your favorites?

Sunday Funday

Howdy, y’all.  It’s a little busier than my typical Sunday today and I thought I’d share a bit.

Of course, it started with coffee, water, and breakfast.  I went smoothie this morning, with frozen blueberries, water, Vitamineral Green, and Sun Warrior Classic Vanilla.  And extra ice because it’s freaking hot.  

I’m feeling extra stiff today, so I spent a little time with yoga.  I went from memory and combined poses from Ten Minute Trainer and 21-Day Fix.  Modified, of course.  No fitness program or training works if you hurt yourself.  Take your time and go at your own pace.  My usual day includes some kind of flexibility training as soon as my joints wake up.  If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d move as well as I do now.

I turned on a little tv while planning this week’s menu.  Yes, I drag out a few cookbooks for inspiration.  I keep the ingredients on hand in mind as I go to help keep the budget in check.

 

While planning was in full swing, hubs decided to fire up the grill.  I wasn’t sure he’s get to when darker clouds rolled in, but he went for it anyway.  He uses the carport as the back up plan on rainy days.  It gave us another chance to use the handy Veesap Lifestyle Grill Brush.  This baby did the job nicely and I know I don’t want to go back to a brick.  It came with a storage bag to keep it clean between uses and Veesap included a recipe e-book that hubs likes a lot,

 

We made a run to Harris Teeter for a quick trip and made it out without grabbing anything we didn’t go in for.  That is a big win!   I have potato salad, slaw, and cucumber salad on this week’s menu and need to get started as soon as hubs is finished with his grilling prep.

Once the grilling is over, I’ll get back to the usual Sunday evening stuff. Sundays usually end with a little tv or a movie.  In summer, Falling Skies is a must.  Don’t tell hubs, but I might make him some peanut butter cups.  If he behaves himself.  And doesn’t leave the post-grilling cleanup to me.

What does your Sunday usually look like?

Happy Friday, all! What’s shaking?

So, what’s shaking?  The same old thing here, but with a little more happy.

If it seems like I’m extra happy right now it’s because I am.  I went to physical therapy as usual on Wednesday and was released as a pt client.  That means I’ve improved enough that I can start the work on my own.  While I plan to stay on as a wellness client (to use that fab Endless Pool), I’m also going to slowly get back to my old activity level.  Part of my ramped up activity includes more low impact bodywork, including PiYo.

piyo 3 day

I’m sure you’ve heard of PiYo by now because it’s the newest Beachbody release from Chalene Johnson – love her!  It’s a home version of the PiYo classes offered in clubs all over the place.  I need low impact workouts like Pilates and yoga so that I don’t hurt myself or slow my recovery.    As much as I love 21-Day Fix, even the modified movements are too much for me right now.  I’ll go back to it when I get the all-clear to do so.

There’s no shame in admitting that you need a change and moving on.  Never feel ashamed or let anyone tell you that you’re lazy because you recognize your limits and are working around them .  Do not ignore them for the sake of proving you’re not lazy.  It’s better to work harder and smarter than to go all out when you’re body is unable.   Trust me, I fell into that trap and did much more harm than good.  

Now back to my regularly scheduled message. 

PiYo has a six days on, one off weekly schedule.  Because I’m going to listen to my body, my plan is to start with three days of PiYo with one day of aquatic therapy each week.  I’ll train for a day and take the following day off.  On my rest days, I’ll still get in my usual five to ten minutes of gentle yoga and walking.   My eating plan will stay about the same for now with one exception.   Gluten has to go, doc’s orders.

So that’s what I’m up to.  If you want to know more about PiYo, my eating plan (regular and cheat day), or how I modify fitness and eating plans to suit my needs, give me a shout.   I’m on Facebook and all over social media.  Just look for Sherrie Thompson or WAHMinSC.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

What are you reading?

My name is Sherrie and I have a book problem.  Am I the only one?  I can’t be.

Worthy Evans is a College of Charleston alum and brilliant writer.
Worthy Evans is a College of Charleston alum and brilliant writer.

My problem started years ago and only became worse after a few months of library work followed by bookstore work.  I loved every second of shelving and discovering new titles and topics.  I love it when I get lost in a story or can almost taste the recipe by reading the ingredients.   When I drop by the library I can’t seem to help myself.  I walk in to return the stack I spent a month pouring through and leave with more.

Taking time for myself is a necessity.   Reading for pleasure reduces stress and helps me relax.  Even if the story has me wound up and jumping at the slightest sound, I’m more relaxed than if I’m working all day.  Do you take time to read?  What are you reading now?

Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules!
Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules!
This is perfect reading when I need a laugh.
This is perfect reading when I need a laugh.

I’ll catch you later.   It’s time to curl up with a good book.