Sometimes exercising isn’t the hard part, it’s more about getting motivated! We’re all guilty of forming excuses to avoid the gym on a regular basis. To kick off this Spring, learn ways to get and stay motivated, making fitness part of your routine.
Research has shown that self-change is a staged process. We go through a process from not thinking about changing a behavior, to thinking about it, to planning to change and then testing out ways to do it, all before we actually start.
- Make exercise a priority. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work, move exercise to the top of your “to-do” list. Once it becomes a habit, getting it to the top of the list will be a piece of cake.
- Set goals. Setting short- and long-term goals are extremely important when beginning or continuing an exercise regimen. Carla suggests staring with a weekly, short-term goal. Try goals like exercising 150 collective minutes a week, or three days a week. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and consider Time. Also, have a reward in mind for meeting each goal. Tasks are almost always easier to accomplish when there is something to look forward to in the end.
- Make a specific plan. Get your calendar and start planning your exercise routine. Writing down certain days and times to work out helps you stay accountable and less forgettable. Follow this plan to reach your weekly, monthly or annual goals.
- Grab a friend. Two heads are almost always better than one. If you’re having trouble with motivation and accountability when it comes to exercise, working out with a friend can be a great solution. Whether it’s just carpooling to the gym or determining your plan and goals together, friends are great supports for exercise.
- Find a professional fitness trainer. These experts are there just for you. Just like your friends, they are your biggest motivators to get fit. Not only do they know what’s best for your body and routine, they can easily help you set goals and create plans.
Exercising usually isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the motivation to do it! With these motivation tips, you can take your fitness goals head on.
There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal I found very interesting. It was about “mixed-weight couples” where one partner is overweight and the other isn’t. Researchers from the University of Puget Sound and the University of Arizona studied 43 heterosexual couples and found those in the “mixed-weight” category experienced more relationship conflict, including resentfulness and anger, than so-called “same-weight” couples. The results were published in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Results also indicated that those couples with the most conflict involved a healthy-weight man and an overweight woman. When just the man was overweight it wasn’t much of an issue.
It’s not news that men and women are different. John Gray made that very clear in his famous book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex. Weight is a very touchy subject and when it comes to relationships, one should always tread lightly. However, while they certainly exist, “mixed-weight” couples are not the norm. We know that those in our “warm circle,” which obviously includes spouses, have a huge influence on our behaviors and habits, and ultimately our weight. A study in the July 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that if your spouse is obese then you are 37 percent more likely to be obese. It might be surprising to learn that if your friends are obese you are 171 percent more likely to be obese! As I often say, when if comes to your health, which includes your weight, you are NOT the Lone Ranger!
In the Cooper Wellness Program we don’t often see “mixed-weight” couples. Usually those that come with their spouse have similar Body Mass Indexes and their overall health is fairly comparable. What we do see quite often though is a spouse motivated to improve his or her health that comes through the program solo. Then, after they spend six days getting Cooperized they leave campus completely convinced they will return home and “motivate” their spouse to hop on the wellness bus and embrace a healthy lifestyle. “Whoa, slow down!” In cases like this you need to be careful.
The last lecture of the Wellness Week is called “Managing Expectations” and its placement is intentional. We know that if you are willing to invest a reasonable chunk of change and six days of your life to come through the Wellness Program you are most likely in a “stage of change” that vastly improves your odds of success. More simply, you are ready to change. Remember, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” But ONLY when the student is ready.
It’s human nature that once you participate in a positive experience you want to share it with those you love. The problem however is if your loved one isn’t ready to change then your unbridled enthusiasm will most likely not be received as you intend it. In fact, it might completely backfire which could then potentially extinguish your flame. I’m not saying this always happens…just don’t be surprised if it does.
Change is difficult and when a spouse or close friend decides to change, even if it’s a positive change, then it often is viewed as a threat to the one being “left behind.” “What’s wrong with the way we’ve been ____________(fill in the blank…living, eating, exercising, etc.) for all these years? Am I suddenly not good enough for you?” It can lead to some very difficult, but necessary, conversations.
Stanford’s Dr. BJ Fogg teaches that as humans we are lazy, social and creatures of habit. Overcoming the status quo is often very hard but relying on the experience of experts can dramatically improve your odds of success. Human “energy” can be phenomenally helpful but remember that we are all unique and when it comes to change, those we love don’t always move at the same speed.
If weight loss is on your to-do list and you are having a hard time getting started or keeping it going, consider how a registered dietitian can help you. Losing weight is accomplished most successfully for the long term when treating it as a lifestyle, not a diet.
A registered dietitian is the nutrition expert and can help you:
- Design a weight loss plan, including what to eat based on your personal preferences.
- Explain the philosophy of mindful eating and how you can develop better skills around your eating choices.
- Find innovative ways to incorporate healthy eating daily, both during the week and on the weekends.
- Provide quick, easy and creative meal and snack ideas for you to enjoy.
- Work with you to manage social and holiday events that can make losing weight more challenging, but doable!!
- Devise strategies for eating out and travel so you can take your healthy eating habits with you wherever you go.
- Provide you with accountability and support and celebrate with you all of your little and big successes along the way.
Cooper Clinic registered dietitians want to work with you on your journey. We want you to succeed and you will, with a strong commitment and a little bit of knowledge, skill and patience.
It is never too late to hop on the train to lose weight. Let us travel together. There may be a few bumps on the road and that is okay, just so long as you commit to a healthy lifestyle, you will become the healthier person you decide to be.
We are fortunate to have organization leaders who understand the importance of employee wellness and providing teammates with the tools and resources to meet their health goals. Our internal wellness program, called Cooper Fit, aims to Cooperize teammates through three key steps:
- Know your numbers.
- Be willing to act on the need for health improvement.
- Learn how to make the needed changes.
Each year Cooper Fit names a “Wellness Warrior” to honor teammates who have made a significant impact in their life, or the lives of others, in the field of health and wellness. After reading through multiple nominations and inspiring stories, three teammates were named our 2012 Cooper Fit Wellness Warriors.
Read more about each of their stories on how they began and are continuing a journey to good health.
Cathy’s journey began as she looked in her closet and realized she couldn’t fit into many of her clothes. Due to a knee surgery, her fitness plan was put on hold. As time passed, she decided that her knee was no longer an excuse. She had already developed a love for swimming, but knew she needed to do more to fit into those clothes!
She credits Cooper Fit to helping her on her journey. Cathy stayed motivated through monthly health challenges and by trying out group exercise classes with other teammates. One of her proudest feats was completing a half marathon with her sister, and having a blast doing it!
Cathy’s advice: ”Even if you can only walk for 15 minutes during lunch, it’s better than nothing! If possible, try to meet with a dietitian – our bodies are such machines and need the right fuel. Also, find a partner to go on this journey with you! Together, you can set goals and look forward to a long, fit life.”
Juli Doyal, Certification Program Manager, The Cooper Institute
Since March 2012, Juli has lost 35 pounds and five inches off her waist. Her lifestyle now consists of exercise and healthy eating, and she feels terrific! As she worked toward her health goals, Cooper Fit was a great resource, especially for information regarding the balance of healthy eating and physical activity. Over the past year she has learned that making small behavior modifications and tracking calories can contribute to weight loss success.
Not only do the small changes help, but she draws inspiration from her fellow Cooper teammates. Each day Juli aims to take extra steps during her work day, along with adding more water, fruits, veggies and nuts to her diet. She has also cut back on Dr. Pepper, sour cream and Corner Bakery – these are now considered treats that she enjoys in moderation.
Juli’s advice: “Don’t be afraid to spread the word and inspire change. Share information with your family and friends, so they can enjoy the benefits from eating right and exercising!”
Lorraine Rose, Administrative Representative, Cooper Clinic
Lorraine is like many people – she wanted to be healthy and fit, but always found a reason to not start or stick with a health plan. She had a wake up call at her last physical exam at Cooper Clinic. According to her doctor, she needed to make some major adjustments to her lifestyle.
In March 2012, Lorraine and her husband started Weight Watchers. The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department had been telling her for years, “Log what you eat!” She was encouraged by both Cooper Fit and Weight Watchers to eat more fruits and veggies, limit sweets and watch portions. She and her husband worked as a team to fix more meals at home, shop smart and hold one another accountable for both successes and mistakes.
It is not always easy for her to make nutritious choices, but when she sees the slow, steady changes in her weight and energy level, she knows her hard work is paying off in this “unbelievably eye-opening journey.”
Lorraine’s advice: “Having a doctor who cares and co-workers who encourage you is awesome. The best comment I heard during this whole process is, ‘It never tastes as good as skinny and healthy feels.’”
Congratulations to these three teammates on their great accomplishments!
Cooper Aerobics is excited to announce it has expanded its social media presence by joining Pinterest, a digital bulletin board-style photo sharing website. On Pinterest, Cooper Aerobics will share pins and boards to help inspire you to make good health a habit.
January is an especially exciting time for Cooper Aerobics to start pinning. As the New Year begins, many people develop goals and resolutions which focus on health – from increasing physical activity to reducing stress and eating more nutritious foods. At Cooper, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you Get Cooperized at any stage of your health journey.
To kick off our presence on Pinterest, we will have two boards: Inspirational Quotes and Exercise Moves.
- Inspirational Quotes: Each day will we add a new quote to inspire you to live better.
- Exercise Moves: These videos will feature a Cooper Fitness Center expert demonstrating and explaining a new exercise move that you can try.
Let us know the kinds of things you’d like to see on the Cooper Aerobics Pinterest account by leaving a comment below.
For more ways to connect with Cooper Aerobics, visit www.cooperaerobics.com/buzz.
Have you ever started your health journey for all the right reasons then got so focused on the number on the scale that it all fell apart? That’s what has happened to me recently. When I started blogging about my health journey it was for health, but along the way it became about weight. And about how I wanted to look in my swimsuit for my Hawaii vacation. And that I still couldn’t fit into my thinner clothes. And the number on the scale wasn’t decreasing as fast as I wanted. At some point I lost sight of what really mattered to me in the first place… to feel better. Knowing that if I was patient during the process, in time I’d also look better.
As a result of getting so focused on the exterior and less interested on the interior, I wasn’t succeeding at either. So it was time for an attitude adjustment. I talked to my ever faithful Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Meridan Zerner. It was a relief to share this information with someone who wouldn’t judge or preach, rather support and inspire. Now I’m back in full force with my sights on improving my cardio fitness, increasing my energy, getting better sleep and feeling less pain in my geriatric knees. Sporting my new knee brace, I’ve been taking Zumba and Jam Zone classes at Cooper Fitness Center, riding the stationary bike set to interval training and walked three miles with a colleague yesterday. I do think the nicer weather in Dallas has helped my new-found motivation!
This is a photo of a note Meridan left me the other week. It says, ”Health starts here,” with a smiley face, sitting underneath an apple. While the apple was devoured immediately, I still have the message posted in my office. It helps remind me to not just incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet, but also the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. As I eat my banana and plan my weight routine for after work, I realize I’m eating and exercising for health, not weight. And it feels great!
If you’ve attempted to live healthily, then you know it’s difficult to navigate the myriad of diets and nutrition claims on the market. How do you distinguish what’s fact and what’s fiction? Are you really on the right track to live a healthy life?
Cooper Clinic is hosting its 2012 Nutrition Seminar on Saturday, October 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. here at Cooper Aerobics Center. Our leading registered and licensed dietitians will clear up your confusion about nutrition, weight loss and health with practical tips and strategies to achieve real results.
The seminar will cover hot topics like:
- The truth about the latest fad diets including Paleo, Dukan and more.
- What’s new in fitness and health.
- “Wheataphobia” vs. needing a gluten-free diet.
- New strategies to begin a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.
The seminar is $40 and will include a live cooking demonstration by a Cooper Clinic culinary expert Kathy Duran-Thal, RD, LD, and a healthy breakfast.
Click here to register.
We can’t wait to see you there!
In this podcast, Chip Lavie, MD, joins Todd Whitthorne to discuss Qsymia (formerly dubbed Qnexa), a new weight loss medication approved by the FDA that should be available by the end of this year. Dr. Lavie is triple board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, and nuclear cardiology, and is a staff cardiologist at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans and is medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and preventive cardiology at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation. Dr. Lavie’s also an active researcher and is the author, or co-author of more than 600 medical publications.
As a society we need additional tools to help those who are struggling with weight. Seventy percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and the number of those who are morbidly obese continues to grow. The new weight loss medication, Qsymia, is a combination of the drugs phentermine and topiramate, and it’s estimated that weight loss will be 7- to 10 percent. For most individuals, this amount of weight loss can dramatically improve health values, although the person might well still not be at an ideal weight. Dr. Lavie and Todd discuss the potential impact this new medication may have on the obesity epidemic.
Listen to the complete podcast here.
I’m super excited to report today my first substantial progress. Drumroll please… I lost two pounds and one inch in my waist. What did I do? What I was told: keep to my calorie limit, eat lots of fruits and veggies and exercise. And it worked. I’m high-fiving myself as we speak!
My Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Meridan Zerner said it was her best progress report this week. After we danced in our chairs, Meridan asked me a very telling question: Am I a self-saboteur? Oh, you have no idea. And then I sheepishly admitted that when I weighed this week I wanted to celebrate my loss with pancakes and cookies. Um, not exactly what I should be thinking.
In my health journey I tend to take two steps forward and one step back. To keep the momentum going forward, Meridan gave me a great tip: Distraction. Yep, distract myself at the time of day when I would normally want to face-plant in pile of doughnuts. My self-sabotage typically happens at night. So instead of being at home around food or going out to eat where temptation lurks, I should do something completely different. For example, Meridan suggested I go to a local bookstore, order a nonfat latte and read. Just do something to break the cycle.
Some other things we’re going to do to help me stay on track is she’s going to call me on Wednesday to check in rather than wait a full week. A mid-week chat will help keep me motivated. She’s also going to review my food log to see if any modifications need to take place.
Another huge and freeing reminder she shared: “be healthfully selfish.” Isn’t it amazing how you finally get some traction and make some progress and then all of these people come out of the woodwork offering you warm apple pies? She encouraged me that if family or friends who unintentionally may put delicious roadblocks in my path it’s OK to “be healthfully selfish.” I’m writing this twice to let it sink in.
And a note about exercise because that was an important addition this past week. I could only go about 25 minutes on the elliptical and took a few exercise classes. But as I’m starting to exercise I know my body will respond and I’ll be able to lift more, go longer and feel better overall.
Now I just need to keep it up. I hope you’re maintaining your postitive momentum, too!