Big Benefits of Cinnamon

Because good health can taste great!




Beloved by foodies from the beginning of time, cinnamon has an illustrious history few spices can match. Used for thousands of years to flavor foods, treat various conditions, and even embalm the dead, it has now been relegated to a position alongside salt and pepper shakers. But there’s something special about cinnamon. Something that may give you the healthy life you seek.

While it’s not a good idea to down a tablespoon of cinnamon at once (Google “Cinnamon Challenge” for proof), a regular dab or cinnamon may help you deal with an array of potential health issues. While research continues and some is inconclusive, here are a few of the ways cinnamon has been used to improve the lives of people just like you.

Sugar Levels Lowered

Unless you live a lonely life, you probably know someone living with diabetes. Or maybe you have the condition yourself. Well, there’s good news! Because while other perks of cinnamon intake have not been as rigorously tested, diabetes management has become substantially easier thanks to cinnamon.

The way it works is simple. Ingest a little bit of cinnamon each day, and allow the cinnamon to do its work of managing insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and transporting glucose. In one study, researchers found regular cinnamon intake to mimic the effects of diabetes medication. So if you prefer cinnamon to swallowing pills, this could be your ticket to freedom!

Cholesterol in Check

One of the most serious threats to your health, high cholesterol levels put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. But just a little bit of cinnamon—between half a teaspoon and three teaspoons—was found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. In other words, lowering your cholesterol levels doesn’t requiring eating foods that taste like cardboard.

Better Blood Pressure

Though research has only taken place among dogs and guinea pigs, there is some indication that cinnamon could provide a substantial improvement in blood pressure. Researchers are unsure why it happened, but the creatures studied had significant drops in blood pressure when given regular dosages of cinnamon. Could you eventually trade in your blood pressure medication for a sprinkling of cinnamon? Possibly. In the meantime, there’s no reason to not add some cinnamon to your diet.

Dementia Deterrent

For years, we’ve known and touted the antioxidant properties of blueberries, red wine, and to the world’s delight, dark chocolate. But you may not know that cinnamon is also among this illustrious group of foods. Thanks to the beloved antioxidant epicatechin, cinnamon helps protect your body against the negative effects of free radicals. In addition to protecting against cancer and heart disease, antioxidants like epicatechin are known to fend off dementia. That means if you toss a little bit of cinnamon on top of your oatmeal or mix it into your next batch of muffins, you may be helping your brain stay sharp for years to come as a result.

Which Cinnamon?

If you’re thinking of upping your cinnamon intake, you should know the cinnamon in your house is likely not the most beneficial. Cassia cinnamon, commonly produced in China and Indonesia, has a strong flavor and is most commonly found in households. For best results, you’ll need Sri Lankan cinnamon, known as Ceylon cinnamon. While more expensive, this sweeter, milder cinnamon is your best bet for cinnamon-enhanced health. And before giving up medication of any sort for cinnamon, consult your physician to ensure your good health.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wonder why you’re gaining weight? It may be an underlying medical condition.

Is a medical conditioning the reason behind your slow fat loss?

You’re eating the same and getting your normal amount of exercise, but you just keep gaining weight. Any weight gain is frustrating, but it’s especially annoying when you’re eating healthy and staying active. Just like unexplained weight loss, unexplained weight gain may be attributed to a medical problem. Treat the condition and you’ll likely stop gaining or losing weight.

If the scale is going up for no apparent reason, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible, because one of these health conditions may be to blame.

Gainer 1: Hypothyroidism

Unintentional weight gain is often traced back to a hormone imbalance. One hormone that affects weight is your thyroid hormone.
When your thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones, you may feel cold, tired, and weak and notice dry skin, thinning hair, and painful joints.

Because your thyroid hormone helps regulate your metabolism, a decrease in thyroid hormone may lead to a slowed metabolism and weight gain. An underactive thyroid is called hypothyroidism, a condition older women are most at risk for experiencing. Hormone replacement therapy can help treat hypothyroidism and reverse the weight gain.

Gainer 2: Cushing’s Syndrome

Extreme, prolonged stress may develop into Cushing’s syndrome, a condition that exposes your body to high amounts of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to weight gain. Cushing’s syndrome can also be caused by overactive adrenal glands that produce too much cortisol, a tumor, or from long-term steroid treatment. Weight gain from cortisol is found most often around the neck, face, waist, and chest.

Gainer 3: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Women may be able to blame unexplained weight gain on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). When the ovaries fail to keep hormones balanced, women may experience weight gain, irregular periods, acne, and excess hair growth. 
PCOS increases resistance to insulin. As you gain weight, you produce more insulin. This insulin increase leads to more weight gain, particularly round the belly. This cycle is difficult to overcome, but regular exercise, diet, and medication can help restore balance.

Gainer 4: Insomnia

Have trouble sleeping at night? Then you shouldn’t be surprised if you begin gaining weight. As with some other causes of weight gain, your hormones are to blame here. That’s because the amount of sleep you get has a direct effect on the hormones that regulate appetite. Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy food cravings, impulsive food choices, increased appetite, and a slowed metabolism. Getting just one less hour each night can contribute to weight gain, even if you’re eating the same amount of calories.

Gainer 5: Perimenopause and Menopause

As many women know, the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause can lead to weight gain. Typically beginning in a woman’s 40s, estrogen levels rise and fall. These fluctuations cause weight gain, irregular periods, mood swings, and hot flashes. Combined with the normal affects of aging (increased body fat and a loss of muscle mass), hormonal changes can pile on the pounds. Continue to stay active and talk with your doctor about possible treatments.

Gainer 6: Medications

A medical condition may not be directly causing your weight gain, but the medication you take to treat a medical condition may be to blame. While helping you deal with other medical conditions, many over-the-counter and prescription medications come with the possible side effect of weight gain.

Common weight-gaining culprits include anti-depressants, psychiatric medications to treat bipolar disorder, beta blocker drugs that treat high blood pressure, insulin and other drugs used to manage diabetes, seizure medications, drugs used to relieve migraines, allergy medications, and steroids that help control inflammation in conditions such as lupus, asthma, and arthritis.


© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 

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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Snoring is more than annoying loud breathing. It can be a sign of a more serious health condition.

It’s estimated that nearly half of all adults snore at some point during the night. You may have been told that you snore or maybe you live with someone who snores. Some snoring is just heavy, loud breathing, while other snoring sounds like a train coming down the hall. Snoring not only prevents family members from getting a good night’s rest, but it interferes with your quality of sleep as well. Depending on the severity of snoring, it may even signal an underlying health problem.

Keep reading to learn the dangers of snoring and what can be done about it.

Air Flow Obstruction

So why do you snore? Normal, quiet breathing means air is flowing in and out of your nose and mouth unobstructed. When you snore, airflow is partially blocked. For some people, this only happens when they have a cold or allergies. Others have large tonsils, a long uvula or soft palate, or weak throat and tongue muscles that relax during sleep and block airflow. Any of these can cause regular snoring.

Because a narrower airway restricts breathing, snoring is more common in overweight people with excessive fatty tissue around the throat. When airflow is restricted, snoring becomes louder and louder.

More than a Nuisance

Three out of four people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With this condition, breathing ceases for short periods during sleep. This serious health problem puts you at an increased risk for heart disease. Not everyone who snores has OSA, but make an appointment to see your doctor if you snore and have any the typical symptoms of OSA.

Signs of OSA include pauses of breathing while sleeping, waking in the night gasping or choking, a headache or sore throat when you wake in the morning, sleepiness during the day, irritability, trouble concentrating, fitful sleep, chest pain, or high blood pressure. Children with OSA may have behavioral issues or problems focusing during school.

To diagnose OSA, your doctor may order imaging tests to scan for structural abnormalities in your nose and throat or have you undergo a sleep study.

Find the Right Treatment

You and your family can sleep in peace and quiet again with the right treatment. Mild or occasional snoring that’s not caused by sleep apnea can often be treated with lifestyle changes and home remedies. A good first step is to lose weight. This will reduce the amount of fat around your throat and subsequently reduce your snoring. It’s also a good idea to not drink alcohol before bed and to stop smoking. For better protection against snoring, plan to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night (teens and kids need even more). If you deal with chronic nasal congestion due to allergies or frequent colds, medications to treat congestion and a hot shower before bed can help limit your snoring.

If the problem is in your nose, nasal strips or nasal dilators can help open up airways to improve breathing. And while you may prefer sleeping on your back, you’re more likely to snore and snore loudly in that position. While on your back, your tongue relaxes back in your throat and obstructs airflow. Sleep on your side and you may find you snore less.

When home remedies aren’t enough, the most common, effective treatment for snoring and sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. With a CPAP, a continuous flow of air helps keep your throat open and reduces apnea and snoring symptoms. In rare cases, some people may need surgery to open narrow airways.

Wash Up

Allergies can contribute to snoring. If your congestion is worse at night, you may be suffering from an allergy to dust mites found in your bedding, mattress, or pillow. Cover your mattress and pillow in dust mite-proof encasements and regularly wash your bedding in hot water.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

The colors that surround you have an impact on your mood

The colors that surround you have an impact on your mood. Here’s how.

What’s your favorite color? With blue being the most popular favorite color and yellow people’s least favorite color, the others fall somewhere in between. Maybe you chose your favorite color because it’s the color of your favorite sports team or because it’s most attractive to you. Perhaps, you subconsciously chose it based on how it makes you feel when you see it.

Colors have an effect on your mood, behavior, and feelings. Interior decorators know this and apply this principle when designing spaces. Debating about what color to repaint a room in your home? Maybe this article will help you decide.

Neutrals

White, beige, brown, tan, gray, cream, and black are all neutral colors. These create an impersonal, cold space that’s conservative, safe, and lacks passion. The darker the neutral, the heavier or more oppressive a space may feel. Lighter neutrals brighten a space, making it feel calm and friendly. Middle-ground neutrals may give an earthy, natural feel to a room. Neutrals are popular decorating colors these days, providing a clean, simple slate for accessorizing with other shades of neutral or splashes of color.

Blue

Wonder why blue is the most popular favorite color? Maybe because it’s the color of a beautiful, clear sky, deep ocean waters on a sunny day, or a sapphire gem. Blue is a cool color and is associated with feelings of calmness, peace, trustworthiness, and loyalty. For this reason, it’s often used in bedrooms. However, for some people, blue is a depressing or cold color. If this is you, keep it off your home’s walls.

Red

Red elicits opposite emotions from blue. At the other end of the color spectrum, red is a warm color that’s stimulating and exciting. Being around red can speed your pulse and breathing rate. Anything red in a space gets noticed and attracts attention. It’s a symbol of strength, passion, romance, love, or aggression. Red is often used in restaurants because it stimulates the appetite.

Green

The color of the grass, plants, and trees, green is a symbol of nature. Compared to other colors, green is easiest on your eyes, making it another very popular color. It’s also associated with creativity and productivity, making it an ideal color for offices or studios. Green has a calming, relaxing effect on people. When you see green, you may think of wealth or good luck.

Yellow

It’s bright and sunny, but it’s not a popular decorating color unless used in a kitchen. Because yellow is on the warm end of the color spectrum, it’s known to stimulate the appetite and is good to have in an eating space. And while yellow gets your attention, it’s not the easiest color to look at. Studies show people lose their temper more often in yellow rooms and babies cry more. If you have yellow walls in a home you want to sell, you’d do yourself a favor by repainting the walls a neutral or other non-yellow choice.

Purple

The color of royalty, purple is a symbol of wealth, luxury, and romance. Lighter shades of purple like violet are associated with sophistication. At the end of the rainbow, purple is a cool color that’s calming, restful, passive, and soothing.

Orange

Like red and yellow, orange grabs your attention. Full of energy, bright, energetic, warm, and cheery, orange can also seem a bit overwhelming. You either love or hate the color orange. It may make you think of sunsets, citrus fruit, autumn, pumpkins, or Halloween. Depending on your perspective, this can be good or bad.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

The Risk-Reward of the Keto Diet

The Risk-Reward of the Keto Diet :Say goodbye to sugar with these helpful tips.

It’s a diet with a high success rate for weight loss and improved health. A ketogenic, or keto, diet as it’s called, is similar to the Atkins diet and other low-carb, high-fat diet plans. Contrary to diets of the past, the keto diet requires you to consume high-fat foods and eat as few carbs as possible on the road to weight loss. Sound intriguing?

If you’re wondering how keto diets work, if they’re they safe, and whether they cause any negative side effects or come with any health risks, you’re reading the right article.

Ketosis Defined

Carbohydrates are used by the body for energy. But what happens when you don’t eat carbs, only consume small amounts of protein, and eat a lot of fat instead? The liver turns fat into ketones, molecules that provide energy for the body and brain. In the process, your body goes into ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body begins burning fat stores for energy. (The body will also enter a state of ketosis if you don’t eat any food, but you’d be starving yourself to lose weight.)

A diet like this can be highly beneficial for people with diabetes, as it causes a significant decrease in insulin and blood sugar levels. When insulin levels are low, you can burn a lot more fat stores while keeping your muscle.

What to Eat

Unlike diets that restrict calories, a ketogenic diet allows you to eat plenty of high-fat foods for energy and satiety. The goal is to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day. After three to four days, you should reach ketosis.

Remember: the fewer the carbs, the better. On the keto diet, you’ll fill up on foods such as fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, cheese, olive oil, and butter. Sugar, starch, fruit, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, beer, and sodas are off limits.

Possible Risks

While studies show the benefits many people experience on a keto diet (weight loss; diabetes control; and a lowered risk for heart disease, certain cancers, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and metabolic syndrome), there are possible risks and negative side effects associated with the diet plan you should know about before going full keto.

The first common issue is known as the “keto flu.” When adhering to the keto diet, as many as one in four people experience fatigue, nausea, and gastrointestinal problems during the first days of reaching ketosis.

Diarrhea is another big complaint among keto dieters. This is the result of increasing the amount of fat in your diet, which causes your gallbladder to work overtime to produce the bile necessary to break down fat. You’ll also be eating fewer whole grains and possibly more dairy or artificial sweeteners, all which can cause diarrhea.

Like so many other such restrictive diets, it’s not easy to live on a keto diet for months or years. Because it’s so restrictive, it can’t be sustained forever. While you’re on the diet you’ll lose weight, but when you return to a normal way of eating, the pounds will pile back on.

While a low-carb, high-fat diet may help you lose weight and improve certain areas of your health, many of the foods people eat on a keto diet aren’t healthy.

Processed meats, high-sodium foods, and foods high in saturated fat are associated with cancer, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Overindulging in these can be a recipe for disaster

A keto diet is particularly risky for nursing mothers. Because ketosis increases your risk of dehydration, breastfeeding women ought to reconsider whether to follow a keto diet.

While most risk factors of a keto diet aren’t too severe, one of them is especially dangerous. The greatest risk of following a ketogenic diet is known as ketoacidosis. This dangerous condition occurs when ketones build up, turning the blood acidic. Untreated, ketoacidosis can damage the liver, kidneys, or brain and can ultimately be fatal. Diabetics on a keto diet are at the greatest risk for ketoacidosis and should therefore keep a close watch on their glucose and ketone levels throughout the day.

Call us at 979-575-7871 to find out which program best fits you!

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.


A few reasons why you feel hungry all the time.

Eating a few times a day is necessary to provide your body with the energy needed to do the things you need it to do. For some people, however, it seems the hunger pangs never stop, even after eating a full meal.

If this sounds like you, your waistline and overall health are at risk. Since you put a lot of effort into maintaining both, it’s time to find out what’s making you feel hungry all day every day.

Not Eating Enough

The reason you keep eating is because you think you need more calories. In rare cases, this is correct. People who make dramatic increases in their physical fitness efforts may need to increase their calorie intake at the same time. But be careful! Unless you’re burning a crazy amount of calories in the gym or are trying to pack on pounds, eating more can do more damage than good. Talk with your trainer to find out if you’re eating enough and how to adjust your caloric intake to meet your health goals.The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. – Mother Teresa

Eating the Wrong Stuff

While some people work out so hard and so often that their body needs more calories, others are simply not eating the right foods to maintain feelings of fullness. For the normal person, this is a much more common dilemma. Thankfully, it can be easily overcome by changing what you pick up at the grocery store. To stop feeling hungry all the time, you’re going to need to skip empty carbohydrates and instead look for foods that are packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Each of these ingredients works to fill you up and keep you feeling full for prolonged periods. So eat right and watch the snack machine lose its allure.

You’re Bored

There are a variety of reasons people eat, and boredom is near the top of the list. Leaving the house in 30 minutes and don’t have anything to do until then? Waiting in the carpool lane to pick up your children from school and spy a fruit snack in the back seat? Your stomach calls. If boredom puts you into hunger mode, find something useful to do. Open a book, call a friend, or clean the house. Recognizing boredom-induced hunger will give you a great advantage against unwanted and unexplained weight gain.

The Stress Is Piling On

Along with all the other reasons hunger creeps at your door at all hours, stress can’t be ignored. For many people, stress results in an immediate hunger response. Somehow, the brain suspects that eating will make the stress more bearable, but in reality, eating does nothing to limit stress. And when stress isn’t dealt with properly, you don’t sleep well either, which can also increase your feelings of hunger. So hit the gym and talk to friends to get rid of stress, and ignore your phantom hunger pangs.

You’re Dehydrated

In case you didn’t realize this, you’re probably dehydrated. Sure, you may not be so thirsty that you’re knocking on death’s door, but the vast majority of the world’s population is at least partially dehydrated. One of the indicators of dehydration is that you mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger. As a result, you think you’re hungry all the time, when in reality all your body needs is some fluid. So when you think you’re feeling hungry, go grab a glass of water. Then another. In many cases, this will curb your hunger, all without ingesting a single calorie.

Underlying Illness

In the event you’re not facing one of the previous causes of frequent hunger, there may be an underlying health condition causing your problem. From hyperthyroidism to Graves disease to diabetes, an array of health problems can cause hunger. Check with your physician if you fear something sinister is causing your never-ending hunger.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Help prevent cancer by including these foods in your diet.

Help prevent cancer by including these foods in your diet.

You know that the foods you eat have a direct impact on your health. When you fill your body with added sugars, artificial ingredients, and saturated fat, you shouldn’t be surprised if you wind up dealing with obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even certain types of cancer.

Nourish your body with a variety of whole foods, on the other hand, and you can expect to reduce your risk of these same diseases and many others.

Disease—cancer included—doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of your future. Eat right, stay healthy, and take advantage of the right foods and ingredients and you can increase your ability to prevent cancer. As you grocery shop each week, pay attention to the foods you put in your cart, and when eating out, think twice before placing your order. Nobody wants cancer, so include the following foods in your diet to fight off this dreaded disease.

Fighting Food 1: Fruits

Filled with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber, fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet. Some fruits, however, are more powerful at combating cancers. Be sure to include berries of all kinds (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, acai, and raspberries), red or purple grapes, pears, pomegranates, melons, papayas, and oranges and other citrus fruits. Eating fresh, whole fruit with the skin is the healthiest way to eat fruit. Drinking fruit juice has some benefit, but when turned into juice, much of the fruit’s fiber is eliminated. Juice is also very high in sugar.

Fighting Food 2: Vegetables

Most people eat far fewer vegetables than they should for good health. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, eating more vegetables is a great option. Fill your plate with colorful vegetables including kale (and other leafy greens), sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and tomatoes. They’ll increase your overall health and help fortify you against cancers of all sorts.

Fighting Food 3: Protein

Want to further enhance your cancer protection? Think protein. But limit the amount of red meat you consume and avoid processed meats. Instead, go with healthier sources of protein, which include lean turkey or chicken, salmon, tofu, eggs, and beans (black, pinto, red, or garbanzo).

Fighting Food 3: Whole Grains

Another food group that plays an important role in cancer prevention is whole grains. This includes breads, cereals, chips, crackers, and pastas—but not just any type of bread, cereal, chips, cracker, or pasta. Be very picky about what kinds you eat. Look for those made with 100-percent whole grains. Instead of white rice, choose brown rice or wild rice. Only whole grain options contain the fiber and nutrients necessary for good health, lasting fullness, and disease prevention.

Fighting Food 4: Snacks

To maintain your defense against cancer, keep cookies, chips, cakes, and other highly processed snack foods out of the house. Instead, when you’re craving a snack, choose nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or peanuts), air-popped popcorn, whole grain crackers or veggie sticks dipped in hummus, fruits, vegetables, or Greek yogurt. They taste great and have great power against cancer.

Fighting Beverages

It’s a common misconception that sugar makes cancer cells grow or spread. However, like all cells, cancer cells use sugars for energy. While avoiding sugar won’t cure someone of cancer, a diet high in sugar does contribute to weight gain, excess amounts of body fat, and type 2 diabetes, all of which may increase your risk for various cancers. Build healthy cells and fend off cancer with sugar-free beverages. Skip the sweet tea, soda, energy drinks, and fruit punch and choose water or green or white tea to satisfy your thirst.

With these foods and drinks, you aren’t guaranteed a cancer-free life, but cancer will have to work a lot harder to attack you. So eat and drink smartly and take heart knowing you’re taking steps to fend off cancer!

Sulfo-What?

Broccoli is especially high in sulforaphane, a plant compound that increases the body’s protective enzymes and removes chemicals that cause cancer. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are known to help fight cancers of the lung, liver, breast, prostate, stomach, skin, and bladder, so eat up!

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

9 Shortcuts to a Better Mindset

One of the things I love most about the brotherhood of coaches is how open most of us are to sharing ideas and learning from one another.

Below is an article written by one of my fellow Todd Durkin Mastermind brothers, Josh Phelan, who is doing great work up in Costa Mesa California at http://outofboundstraining.com/. Josh is a husband, father, and fellow fitness business owner.

Enjoy!

9 Shortcuts to a Better Mindset by Josh Phelan

Plan Your Top 3 Priorities the Night Before. 

Did you know that the word “priorities” didn’t really exist until about 1940?

Why on earth does this matter? 

For starters, people only used the word priority.

Meaning there is one thing of utmost importance given the context. 

Now though, we oftentimes have too many priorities.


This is why I want you to focus on your top 3 for the day. 

When you try to do too many things, unfortunately most are not done to the best of our ability.

And oftentimes we procrastinate on the harder tasks, by doing the easier ones first. 

How does this help your mindset? 

Try implementing this practice daily, and watch your level of clarity and productivity reach new levels.

Most people aren’t really lazy, they just lack clarity. 

Surround Yourself with Those On the Next Level

This can sometimes be hard to do, but hear me out. 

Imagine you’ve just recovered from some major injuries. 

You’ve completed physical rehab and now you’ve got 2 new workout friends you made while in rehab.

Both of which were former professional athletes. 

What would happen if the three of you continued to workout together? 

Chances are, you would likely rise to a higher level in your physical abilities. 

And not because you’re all of the sudden a professional athlete, but because you had them there each day to help you, motivate you and push you. 

In fact, studies have found that when you have overweight friends, you’re more likely to become overweight. 

And when your friends had bad spending habits with their money, you’ll likely pick up on that as well. 

So be very careful on who you spend your time with in pursuit of your goals. 

Trash In = Trash Out

As my dad always said to us kids growing up, “Trash in equals trash out.” 

He was referring to the music or tv we’d listen or watch. 

Thankfully my parents guarded it very carefully. 

But there’s a lot of truth behind this simple statement. 

What you consistently put into your mind will ultimately come out. 

Try it. 

Chances are if you’re watching tv that is mostly violent, makes you feel afraid, and anxious, then you’re probably going to go about your day carrying those emotions with you. 

On the other hand, if you’re seeking out positivity, inspirational stories, and shows or stations that make you laugh, you’ll feel completely different. 

Start Your Morning Talking to Yourself

This is probably the weirdest advice you’ll hear all week, but don’t knock it until you try it. 

Most people have heard of affirmations – where you speak positively about yourself. 

I thought these were good until I learned about incantations. 

These take affirmations to the next level. 

Essentially you not only make positive statements about yourself. 

You also say them with as much energy and emotion as you can muster. 

Ever see those videos of the parent having their kid say great things about themselves in the bathroom mirror at the top of their lungs? 

Yea, those are incantations. 

You’re going to feel silly doing them, but they are one of the most powerful “exercises” I’ve come across as far as putting yourself into a better state of mind. 

Bonus points if you do it in the mirror. 

End the Day with Reflection

How often do you really stop and reflect on the day? 

Ever consider what was great about the day? Or where you could’ve improved? 

There is actually a tremendous amount to be learned from each day that goes by. 

Unfortunately, many people are just trying to get “through” the day instead of trying get “from” the day. 

Take the time before winding down for bed to consider the special moments, celebrate the small wins, and learn from your missteps. 

There’s tremendous untapped power from simply reflecting. 

Protect Your Sleep

I don’t know if sleep makes everything easier. 


But I do know without it, everything becomes harder. 

Don’t have a bedtime for yourself? 

Set one and stick to it. 

Aim to always get adequate sleep each night. 

Consider when you must wake-up in the morning and go to bed at an appropriate hour for you. 

Not everyone is the same and I do know a few outliers that somehow seem to run well on just 5 hours of sleep. 

But they’re the exception, not typically ideal for the rest of us. 

When you’re well rested, chances are you’re naturally going to be in a better mood than compared to going weeks being sleep deprived. 

Practice Gratitude

In a day and age like now, this seems perhaps more important than ever. 

There’s negativity everywhere. 

People say terrible things to each other on social media, in politics, on the news, at the office and so forth. 

Often times we hear stories of what’s wrong with the world and how bad things are getting. 

And yes, there are unfortunate events taking place all over. 

I’m not naïve nor am I asking you to be. 

But if that’s all we’re constantly intaking, it gets more challenging to stop and consider the good things we do have in life. 

Here’s a mind-blowing truth about how our minds work: 

If you focus on what you’re grateful for, you mind is unable to think about what it is fearful of at the exact same moment. 

Go ahead give it a try. 

Your mind will literally have to go back and forth between the two thoughts.


So when we’re thankful, it quite literally replaces our fear, worries & doubts. 

Reach Out More Often

You know those difficult times in life when you’re just going through some really challenging seasons? 

All too often we tend to close ourselves in rather than reach out. 

When in fact, these are the times we need to reach out and ask others for help. 

Even it’s just for them to listen.

There’s no shame in asking for help.

For some reason as we grow up, we tend to make ourselves feel silly for asking. 

Consider the worst case scenario in most instances: people say, “No.”

Okay, so what? 

Move on. 

Most people are happy and willing to help you. 

And we’re able to push through those difficult times in our life faster with others than if we were to do it alone. 

Accountability

Be held accountable to someone. 

 Throughout my 10+ years in the fitness industry and being a life coach since 2015, I think accountability is crucial for most of us when it comes to reaching our goals. 

When you’re held accountable, you don’t slack off. 

You have someone who is not only cheering you on, but also putting your feet to the fire to ensure you do what you said you were going to do. 

It helps you to become a better human being. 

Accountability helps you to have and hold a higher standard. 

And with a higher standard comes better results. 

As far as finding the right person to hold you accountable, some of us are blessed with great friends who are truly gifted at this. 

But for most of us, it usually means we have to hire someone. 

This ins’t negative, if anything, now we have more skin in the game because we are financially invested. 

So whether you’re doing it with a spouse, family member, co-worker or coach, I want to encourage you to get someone to hold you accountable to your goals. 

This means there are rewards if you complete them and there are consequences if you do not. 

In summary: 

  1. Plan your top 3 the night before. 
  2. Surround yourself with those who are on the next level
  3. Remember, trash in = trash out
  4. Practice your incantations 
  5. End your day with reflection (bonus points for writing them down)
  6. Protect your sleep
  7. Count your blessings
  8. Reach out for help when you need it
  9. Protect your sleep

Thanks for reading! This post was written by Josh Phelan from OutofBoundsTraining.com

The weekend isn’t just about getting away from work and rejuvenating your mood and energy levels. It’s also about your diet

The weekend isn’t just about getting away from work and rejuvenating your mood and energy levels. It’s also about your diet.

For many, the weekend is a time to celebrate. You’re off of work, the big game is on, and there’s nothing keeping you from that tub of ice cream that’s calling your name. But what if your weekend could be about something better? What if you look back over the week, take a hard look at where you failed and succeeded, and took the weekend as an opportunity to prepare for success in the coming week?

That’s where the weekend diet comes into play. Yes, it takes some work, but it’s well worth it. Because in a few months, instead of putting on a few pounds due to your no-dietary-restriction weekend, you’ll be slimmer and feel better than you have in years.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Evaluate the Week

Some people don’t struggle with maintaining their diet, Monday through Friday. These people can get by with a little indulgence over the weekend. Whether this is a thin sliver of cake or a beloved cup of overly indulgent coffee, these breaks in an otherwise healthy routine do wonders to keep the healthy routine in tact.

If, however, you find yourself indulging in small or large ways Monday through Friday, a weekend diet plan could very well set you on a healthier course for the week to come. Think your week’s routine could handle a steroid shot? Keep reading.

2. Adopt the Right Mindset

Yes, you could easily see a weekend diet as a horrendous way to spend a weekend. Or if you have an eye on the future, you could view it as a positive step in the direction you want to head. So before you begin the weekend diet, you’ll need to ask yourself what health goals you want to reach and if you’re willing to use your weekends to meet these goals.

Everyone who is willing to put up a fight during the weekend should move on to the next point. For those whose weekend is more important than their health goals, it may be time to work with your trainer to reevaluate those goals.

3. Go Full Throttle

Want your weekend to jumpstart a week of healthy eating? Then you’ll need to make every bite count. It’s recommended that those considering the weekend diet choose to eat 1,200 calories a day on the weekend. If your normal diet is higher than this, this can be a difficult task. But talk it over with your trainer and dietitian. If they feel it is safe, you’re good to go. You’ll just need some will power.

To make sure those calories get you through the weekend without causing a mental breakdown, drink plenty of water and choose the proper foods. Go with those that are high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. This will help you get full and stay that way until Monday arrives and you return to your regularly scheduled diet routine. With this reset in your dietary ways, Monday may be a relief. As a result, you may find that sticking to your diet Monday through Friday is easier than you ever imagined.

Do it for a few weeks or months in a row and you may find such success throughout the week that you can turn your weekend into a more relaxed dietary affair. Just be careful! Get too slothful over the break and your previous weekday habits may sneak back up on you, causing you to lose the gains you work so hard to reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be craving these foods, but you’re better off without them

You may be craving these foods, but you’re better off without them.

What are your favorite foods? Most likely a few of them are foods your diet plan restricts. Maybe the food is especially high in empty calories, refined white flour, added sugar, empty carbs, sodium, or unhealthy fat. Regardless, sacrifices usually have to be made in order to reach your weight-loss goals. After all, the foods you crave may not be the foods your body needs for health.

Keep reading to learn a few of the foods you’re better off without, despite what your mind and taste buds may tell you. Learn to choose healthier options to satisfy your cravings and stay on the track to better health.

White Bread

Toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and garlic bread with dinner—all made with white bread. Unfortunately, most white breads are made with refined wheat flour that’s been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. When you eat white bread, you’re eating empty calories and simple carbs. The bread may fill you up for a short time and give you a short burst of energy, but it causes your blood sugar to spike and provides little nutrition. Put the white away and choose breads made with 100-percent whole grain.

French Fries

There aren’t many foods tastier than French fries with your hamburger or chicken fingers, but French fries are one of those foods that should be avoided or eaten only on rare occasions. While fries are made from potatoes, and potatoes are healthy on their own, fries are extremely high in calories and sodium. When a food is fried in oil at high temperatures, acrylamide compounds (substances are known to cause cancer) form, so it’s not just your waistline at risk. It’s your life.

Sweetened Drinks

Sugar-sweetened drinks should top your no-no list. This includes sodas, sweet tea, energy drinks, fruit punches, and many coffee drinks. Because drinks don’t fill your stomach like food does, it’s easy to overdo it on extra calories. People who regularly drink sugary beverages are at a much greater risk of being obese and of developing fatty liver disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Make the switch to water, carbonated water, coffee, or unsweetened tea to give your health a liquid boost.

Gluten-Free Processed Foods

Millions have made the switch to gluten-free in hopes of improving their health. Whether they truly have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or they’re trying to relieve unwanted inflammation, lose weight, or treat digestive problems, going gluten-free is gaining popularity. But many people mistakenly think that every food labeled “gluten-free” is healthy. You should know that junk foods like cookies, cakes, brownies, pancake mixes, pizza, and snack bars can be made without gluten, while still containing added sugars, simple carbs, unhealthy fats, and lots of calories.

Low-Fat Yogurt

The protein, calcium, and probiotics found in yogurt make it a healthy addition to your diet, but it has to be the right kind of yogurt. Many people seek out low-fat yogurt varieties in their quest to eat fewer calories. The bad news is that yogurt made without natural dairy fats tastes unpleasant and to improve the taste, manufacturers add sugar. As a result, most yogurts found in the refrigerator aisle are loaded with added sugars. When buying yogurt, look for regular, full-fat Greek yogurt that contains active probiotics.

Processed Meat

Meat may be your go-to main dish, and unprocessed beef, pork, poultry, and fish provide iron, protein, and valuable nutrients. However, processed meats come with health risks. You may love the taste of bacon, deli meat, hot dogs, and sausage, but you’d be better off not eating them on a regular basis. Frequent consumption of processed meats is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.