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“The real secret of success is Enthusiasm.” -Walter Chrysler

Wow! What a difference enthusiasm makes. Don’t you just love being around people with that kind of positive energy?  By its definition, enthusiasm signifies a whole-hearted devotion to a cause, and an all out excitement to carry it out.

Enthusiasm is one of the greatest assets in the world. It is more important than money and power and influence.

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object.”    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about yourself for a moment.  Are you someone who people would describe as enthusiastic?

If so, then continue on your path to success.  If not, then take inventory on how you can be more active, energetic, positive and faithful to your cause.

Remember that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!

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The Healthy Drug

 

“The longer I live the less confidence I have in drugs and greater is my confidence in the regulation and administration of diet and regimen.”                   -John Redman Coxe  (written in 1800)

I can’t think of a more true statement that fits our 21st century than what Mr. Coxe penned over 200 years ago. He’s not saying that prescription medications are not necessary at times.  He’s merely reminding us that prescription drugs are reactive – designed to treat sickness after the body is in an unhealthy state.

On the other hand, making a decision to live a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising is PROactive and will keep us well. This will help prevent sickness, enhance wellness, youthfulness, and bolster the immune system.  Who wouldn’t want to get strong, lose body fat, boost confidence and reduce the risk of injuries?

Keep in mind we will never find health in the form of a pill.  However, getting proper sleep, adequate exercise, and eating a balance of proteins, fruits and veggies is the “healthy drug” that we need.  Here’s to being well, living well, and staying well!

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Do You Sleep Much?

Millions of people across the world suffer from lack of sleep, never knowing how it affects their health on a daily basis. Most people have no idea how important sleep is to healthy living.

Neil Stanley, of the Research Unit at Surrey University says: “We know good sleep is central to good health. It is wrong to perceive sleep as a passive state of unconsciousness.  The body is doing an awful lot while we sleep.”

The circadian rhythm, otherwise known as the “body clock,” coordinates our daily wake/sleep cycle. When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body becomes stressed, causing loss of muscle tone and weight gain. Sleep is not “down time,” but rather an active and vital part of your daily life.

There are at least five stages of sleep. Each stage is essential for rest and hormonal releases that help build muscle and strengthen the immune system. The refreshing sleep you need requires a consistent pattern of sleep and wake times. By not maintaining a consistent sleep routine, you are robbing yourself of your body’s natural healing abilities.

Many proudly proclaim that they can exist on five to six hours a night and catch up on sleep later on.  The fact is, not one really ever catches up on sleep that is lost. Sleep that is lost is never regained.

When you don’t get enough sleep it is impossible for your body to perform as it was intended to. Your mind has a tendency to be dull, easily distracted, and struggles to concentrate on task.  While sleep deprived you are less patient, more irritable and less productive.

The good news is, there are a number of things you can do during the day to improve your night’s sleep! Assuming there are no underlying causes like a sleep disorder.  (Man, can I tell you about that…Check out my NS Reds Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder.)

Here is my top ten list for sleeping better at night:
1. Keep it relatively quiet while you sleep. If you need to drown out noise use a fan or a white noise device that generates calming sounds. These devices help drown out disruptive noises. Phone ringers should be turned off completely until morning.
2. Take a long warm bath or shower.  These can help you de-stress and increase your chances of sleeping well. Relaxed muscles mean relaxing sleep.  Also, many people find that reading for a short time helps them get to sleep.

3. Develop a regular bedtime routine allowing 8 hours of sleep. Maintain your sleep schedule on your working and non-working days. You will feel better if you don’t completely change your sleep times. Alter your sleep and wake time by only a couple of hours on your days off. Your body clock is negatively affected when you change up your sleep patterns.

4. Sleep in a dark room. Darkness tells your body that it is time to sleep. Don’t go to sleep with the television on, as this interrupts deeper sleep cycles. Even dim lights can rob your ability to sleep. In the morning slightly open blinds to let natural light enter the room. This will help signal the body that it is time to wake. Sit in front of a large window for half an hour or so during breakfast. The sunlight signals your circadian cycle into the wake phase, increasing metabolic activity and alertness.

5. Exercise more, as it reduces anxiety and aids in sleep.  A number of recent reports suggest that even moderate exercise can improve insomnia.  Aerobic exercise like walking during the day helps to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Being active helps maintain circadian rhythm and encourages deeper sleep.

6. Don’t eat a big meal right before bed.
Many sleep experts believe that eating a big meal before bed can cause insomnia. Larger meals should be consumed earlier in the day. Ideally, a light snack of less than 150 calories of an evening is best.

7. Cut Caffeine later in the day.
Caffeine intake of an evening can lead to difficulty sleeping. Limit coffee to one to two cups early in the day.  During the evening, instead of caffeinated sodas have a warm, relaxing decaf herbal tea.

8. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. According to James Maas, author of Power Sleep, staying hydrated helps the body heal and recover more quickly. This is yet another reason to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeinated beverages, such as cola, which can not only keep you awake, but dehydrate you at the same time.

9. Try wearing ear plugs. Earplugs block noise from entering your ears, and can allow you to relax your breathing patterns.  Most earplugs are an inexpensive remedy and help a lot of people get to sleep faster.  I swear by them!

10. Don’t rely on sleep aids. While sleep aids could work for a time, they are at best a short term fix.  Insomnia is often a part of a larger lifestyle picture that can be addressed and fixed once and for all.  Experts say that reducing stress and late night calories, and increasing physical activity may be the best long term solutions to restful sleep.

So go ahead and give these a try. You have nothing to lose and much rest to gain! They are proven to give you the rejuvenating sleep your body needs for a healthier and happier you.

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Walk More, Live Longer

“Being healthy allows you to feel that now is the best time of your life.”

-Tom Hopkins

Living more healthy can be as simple as just taking more steps in the course of your day. About every 30 steps you take is one calorie burned.  That is great news, as most of us are looking to burn as many calories as we can on a daily basis.

Think of ways you can take more steps: walk around during phone calls, while you’re reading, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the store, window shop at the mall, leave your desk and visit your co-workers instead of sending them an email, walk as you text your spouse or friends.  The opportunities are there if you will look for them.

The American Counsel of Exercise performed an eight-year study with over 13,000 people who walked 30 minutes daily.  Results showed that they had a significantly reduced chance of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised.

So walk more and live longer, enjoy more energy and feel younger!  Here’s to a healthier YOU!

If you want to know more, check out USA Today.

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HealthyTips for the Next Generation

“The early years of life can lead kids toward or away from
good health.”

10 HEALTHY TIPS FOR KIDS

Following these ten tips will help kids stay healthy and happy.

1. Food is Fun… Enjoy your food

Eating is a good thing.  It gives you fuel like putting gas in a car.  Food gives you the fuel and energy you need to go!  If you don’t eat your mind and body can’t go fast like they were intended to.

2. Breakfast is a very important meal

Our bodies always need energy; and after a night’s sleep, energy levels are low. So, when you are off to school, if you don’t eat your body will stay sleepy and tired.  Start the day with breakfast. Plenty of carbohydrates is just the ticket.  Try cereal with skimmed milk, oatmeal, fruit or yogurt, toast or bread.

3. Eat lots of different kinds of foods every day, not just candy and sweets.

You need over 40 different kinds of vitamins and minerals every day for good health. Since there is no single food that contains them all, it is important to balance your daily choices.  You do not need to miss out on the foods you enjoy. The best way to make sure you get the right balance is to eat a wide variety of foods each day.

4. Don’t forget your daily  vitamins

Vitamins are important if our body is to be healthy and strong. They are absolutely necessary for our growth.  Make sure to take a daily vitamin in the morning with your breakfast.

5. Eat fruits and vegetables with your meals and as tasty snacks!

Fruits and vegetables are among the most important foods for giving us enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. We should all try to eat 5 servings a day. For example, a glass of fruit juice at breakfast, perhaps an apple and banana as snacks and two vegetables at meal times.

6. Too much fat is not good for your health

Eating too many of those tasty, fatty foods (such as butter, spreads, fried meats and sausages, pies and pastries) might not always be so good for your body. Although we need some fats to get all the nutrients we need, it is better for our health if we don’t eat too much of these foods and get knocked off-balance.

7. Snack Smart! Eat regularly and choose healthy snacks

Even if you eat regular meals during the day, there will still be times in between that you feel hungry, especially if you have been very active. Snacks can fill the gap, but should not be eaten in place of meals, only as an extra. There are lots of different snacks available. Your choice may be nuts, raisins, fresh or dried fruits, yogurt, or sticks of vegetables like carrots and celery.

8. Quench your thirst. Drink plenty of water.

Did you know that more than half of your weight is just water? So as well as giving your body all the food it needs each day to keep healthy, you need at least 5 glasses of water a day. Plain tap water, bottled water, fruit juices, Crystal Light, and low-fat milk are all acceptable.

9. Care for those teeth! Brush your teeth at least twice a day

Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Eating foods high in sugar or starches too often during the day can play a part in tooth decay. So don’t nibble foods and sip drinks all day long! However, the best way to keep a nice smile is to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Also, after brushing your teeth at bedtime, don’t eat any food, or drink anything but water!

10. Get moving! Be active every day

Just like a bike may become rusty if it is not used for some time, our muscles and bones need to be kept moving too.  Activity is needed to keep your heart healthy and your bones strong. It can also be good fun. Try to include some form of activity every day: it may be just playing outside, walking around the neighborhood and running up the stairs. Outdoor games like  kickball, football at break times are good for giving the body a workout.

Parents, make sure to limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle which increases risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease.  Encourage physical activities that children really enjoy. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. Focus on the positive instead of the negative. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.

Help them set specific goals and limits, such as one hour of physical activity a day or two desserts per week. It’s true that when goals are too vague the chance for success decreases.  Rewarding children with candy and unhealthy snacks encourage bad habits. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.

Let’s make a difference in the lives of our kids. Teaching tomorrow’s generation to live a healthy life is the key to helping change our world.

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Healthy Kids Make for a Healthier America

Considering one-third of the children in America is considered overweight or obese most of us would agree that something needs to change.  But where do we start?

First, we must put our finger on the pulse of America’s health. Due to our fast food lifestyles more than twenty-five million children are showing signs of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

That’s more than ever before. A recent study by the Ontario Medical Association found that three-quarters of obese kids will likely grow up to be obese adults and face heart trouble, diabetes, and other related medical conditions.

The U.S. spends $150 billion a year dealing with the issues of obesity that I have already mentioned.  Health-care premiums have risen more than three times faster than wages, largely because of the unhealthy choices of today’s society. We are one of the most intelligent civilizations ever, and yet we are blowing it when it comes to our health.

Unfortunately these problems won’t fix themselves.  They will continue to plague us until we find a way to change the patterns of “fast food” America.  These toxic habits and lifestyles will only continue to follow on to future generations if something is not done soon.

I agree with Dr. Sasson Moulavi, of Smart For Life Weight Management Centers. He said: “My worry is some parents will sit back and wait for the government to come up with a magic plan. It is not going to happen. Parents need to realize they must take the initiative now. They have to stop waiting for a solution to fall from the sky. That’s just magical thinking.”

He could not be more right.  It’s up to America’s families to “pass the torch” of health to the next generation. Bottom line: it’s time for someone to take the responsibility to make a difference.

Parents and Community Leaders, let’s get started!

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The Oprah Show Was Awesome!

We all have things in life that we have to overcome.  Some of us have challenges that have plagued us for years.  Mine landed me on stage at the Oprah Show.

Since the age of 4, I have had a sleep related eating disorder known as NS-RED, Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder.  That’s right, while the majority of you are sleeping and dreaming at night, I am eating in my sleep. And I’m totally unaware that I’m doing it. Two to three nights a week I consume as much as 1000 calories, eating all the stuff that I try so hard to stay away from during the day.

Talk about frustrating!  In the night I eat pizza, ice cream, cakes, and Twinkies; and afterward I don’t even remember how good it tastes.  Bummer!  Once I even ate half of a pie that my wife had baked for a women’s group the next day. Not good for marital bliss…

How funny is that?  I’m a health conscious fitness consultant who eats all kinds of sweets in his sleep? Welcome to my world!  Believe me; I can pack on mega pounds if I don’t make adjustments with what I eat and how much I exercise. On a positive note, at least I know how much cardio it’s going to take to burn off the Little Debbies that I ate last night.

This is what the experts from Mayo Clinic say about those of us with NS-RED:

“These people are not conscious during episodes of NS-RED. They are not aware that they are eating in their sleep. They have no memories of having done so when they wake. Episodes seem to occur in a state somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. Food consumed during NS-RED episodes tends to be high-fat, high-sugar comfort food that people deny themselves while awake.”

Oprah’s show focused on the topic of sleep eating, something many people have never even heard of. She invited me to be a guest on that show since I was one of the few men in America with the disorder. Lucky me, right?

The Oprah show gave me a chance to know more about the disorder and learn that there are others who share the same struggles that I do. On the show I, along with three ladies with NS-RED, met with some physicians who were experts on sleep disorders. They didn’t cure me of my sleep eating disorder, but helped me to learn how to better manage my situation. Oprah told us that with all of her weight issues that she is thankful that she doesn’t have a sleep eating disorder to deal with.

Just for the record, Oprah was awesome! The show was tastefully done and a great experience. My wife and I had an amazing getaway at Chicago’s Omni Hotel, complete with fine dining and limo service. All I had to do was tell my biggest secret ever in front of 100 million viewers!

The truth is we all have challenges and obstacles that could keep us from reaching our goals. Some things we can change, some things we can’t. But whatever our given situation, we need to stop making excuses and get started taking positive steps toward being fit forever.  If I can do it with all of my quirks, then so can you!

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