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A New Year’s Pep Talk. 

pep talk2Recently I was thinking about a time when my mentor and baseball coach sat me down in a hotel room in Canada.  And no, it was not a warm and fuzzy conversation. I can remember like yesterday he said, “Tom, sit down, we need to talk. When I put you in the game as my pitcher I will never settle for anything less than your absolute best.  Is that understood? I chose you to go into the game because I see that you’ve got what it takes.  As a result, I expect every single pitch you throw to be the best you’ve got. Don’t pace yourself.  Throw every pitch like it’s your last.  Now do I make myself clear?”  My response was, “Yes sir, Coach, I hear you loud and clear.”  And from that moment on I gave my absolute best.

Sometimes we need to hear the truth. Don’t we?  (By the way, this pep talk is for me as much as it is for you as we begin this New Year.) 

So here goes: I want to personally challenge you to sit down long enough to think about the person you are now. Concerning your health and fitness goals, what do you really want to achieve? What is it that you’d like to see happen?

Maybe you would like to lose 15-20 pounds and be able to keep it off. Or perhaps you’d like to be able to have more endurance throughout the day on the job and be able to return home from work with plenty of energy for your family. Maybe you have beautiful clothes hanging in your closet that you can’t fit into anymore. Maybe you have that monumental class reunion coming up and would like to watch their jaws drop when you walk in the room.

Whatever your motivation there is no better time to embrace a healthy lifestyle than now.  Only one person is accountable for making the necessary changes, and that someone is you!

Have you ever wondered why change is so hard? It’s because if we are really honest we don’t like change when it affects us! All too often we can become set in our ways refusing to make the changes that would make for a better life.

NEWSFLASH! It is time for a change.  And it is time to quit making excuses!

We are the master of excuses.  We whine, “After all, it’s not my fault.” Then before we know it we begin to play the role of the victim.  As long as this is our mode of thinking, then positive change will not come.

Change begins with accepting responsibility. We hold the power in our own hands. Stop making excuses and convincing yourself that you are genetically predisposed to being overweight.  This is just an excuse. Though in some rare instances obesity can be a genetic situation, most of the time it is a matter of poor daily habits. Instead of a genetic problem, it’s a generation of poor choices. This is the time for taking control of our lives and accepting responsibility for our shortcomings, instead of making lame excuses.

Slow down. Think about your situation for a moment. Take responsibility. Stop blaming.     Aren’t we the ones making the choices that have gotten us where we are? The cold hard truth is that we determine our success or failure. Not our parents, not our friends, not our co-workers.

We have to learn to help ourselves.  The truth is can choose to be our own best friend or we can be our own worst enemy.

Bottom line.  Most of us are just one quality decision from seeing great things happen in our lives. The question is: Are we going to take action to make something happen, or are we simply going to exist as we have for the last how many years? The choice is up to us.

Remember, the power of the mind is an amazing thing.  You can do it!  Make the decision that now is the time to change the course of your life.  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

The time has come to commit ourselves to taking care of this body that God has given us.  We will only receive one body in the span of our life, and it’s up to us to make wise decisions to take care of it. We have a custom made gift to oversee and to maintain for a lifetime.  So let’s do it!

Now is your time to act! Go ahead and realize that it’s time to exercise your right to change some things that are long overdue.

With God’s help you can do anything you set your mind to do! There is nothing in the world like setting short term goals, working hard, giving it all that you’ve got, and then seeing success take place! In the words of my mentor: You’ve got what it takes. It’s time for your absolute best.  Every single day give it the best you’ve got. Don’t you dare pace yourself.  Get out there and live each day like it’s your last!

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Overcoming Obstacles in the New Year

Fit forever curls
On my quest to becoming fit forever I have discovered that we all have the potential to accomplish much more than we give ourselves credit. That’s right, regardless of our age, genetics, or body type; we have what it takes to succeed. All we need is a passion and desire to drive us to our goals.

Too many times we let obstacles discourage us from attaining our goals. What I’ve learned on my journey is that obstacles are just a part of the landscape. How we react to those obstacles is a key to achieving success with our health and wellness.

What do I know about obstacles? In the next few paragraphs I’m going to be transparent and share some challenges that I wake up with each day that could keep me from attaining my fitness goals.

When I was in my 20’s I noticed a 2 inch increase in my neck size. Little did I know that there was a large fast growing tumor fused to my thyroid gland. This was causing a whirlwind of symptoms: elevated heart rate, uncontrollable sweats, fatigue, and massive weight fluctuation. Not something the average person wants to deal with in the midst of life and stressful work demands.

I experienced these symptoms for months. The doctors had difficulty trying to detect what was causing these problems. By the time that the condition was diagnosed my thyroid gland was damaged to the point of needing to be removed. Radiation treatment was required to remove the tumor and my thyroid.

Without a thyroid gland, I would need to be on replacement medication for the rest of my life, and was told by my doctor that weight control would be a constant struggle. His words were, “Those without a thyroid are destined to struggle with weight the rest of their lives.  Really?  From that moment on it was my goal to prove this Houston doctor wrong!

I made a decision that with God’s help and the proper balance of nutrition and exercise, I would get in the best condition of my life and stay that way. I would be FIT FOREVER! (That title sounds somewhat familiar).  Now, more than 30 years after that doctor’s prognosis, I am still proving him wrong! Every day I have the chance to set the course for my destiny the rest of my life.

This situation is not easily dealt with, as pounds will pile on if I choose not to stay active and exercise. But guess what?  Everyone has obstacles of some kind to deal with.  It’s time for me to stop the excuses and to get my tail in to Colorado Athletic Club and do the work!

Now is the time to hit our obstacles head on.  No more excuses!  If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?  Today is a brand new day of a fresh New Year. Get started on the path to health, strength, and happiness.

 

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See Your Dreams Come to Life Pt. 2

 

Imagine Believe and Achieve - Copy

In our last blog we stated that goal setting is a powerful process for taking baby steps to our dreams.  Goals are key to shaping our ideal future, and for motivating ourselves to turn our vision of the future into reality.  This applies to every area of life, especially to our health and fitness goals.

Let’s look at why goal setting is so important when it comes to our health.  The process of setting goals helps us choose where we want to go in life. By knowing precisely what we want to complete, we know where we have to concentrate our efforts. We are also able to quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise lure us from our course.

By setting sharp, clearly defined objectives, we can take pride in the achievement of our health goals. We can see progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. Also by setting goals, we also raise our self-confidence, as we knock out our goals one by one.

We must remember that our body is a gift given to us by God to manage for a lifetime.  We get one shot, so let’s make it count! 

IMAGINE…Think about your health and fitness goals. What would you like to see happen? Go ahead – dream big! Let your mind take you to places it hasn’t been before. What kind of activities would you like to do that you are unable to do right now? What waist size or dress size would you like to be six months from now?

Notice I didn’t say next week! Becoming healthy and fit doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time. Set some goals that are measurable, realistic and attainable. Program your mind to believe that a long term healthy lifestyle is the optimum goal, not just temporary weight loss!

 

Next, BELIEVE… in your heart that snap shot etched in your mind is going to take place.  Create the big picture of what we want, and decide that nothing will stop you to see it take place. Then we break these down into smaller targets that we must hit so that we reach our long-term goals.

And finally, ACHIEVE… Now get rid of the excuses and get started!  Am I saying that you actually have to apply yourself 100% to your goals?  That’s exactly what I am saying!  Take action now to see your dreams come to life.

Take out a sheet of paper and write the following at the top:  My long term health and fitness goals (one year goals).  Take some quality time to write down your your top five things and put them in order of importance.

Now, in order to accomplish what you have down on paper, you must devise some realistic, attainable short-term goals. Start with six-week goals. Take time to write them down:  Six-week goals that will lead me to my long-term goals.

Remember to be very specific. If a long-term goal is to lose 5 inches off of our waist, then a short-term six-week goal may be to take half an inch off your waistline. In order to do this you must break down each goal and ask the question, “What is going to be my plan to achieve this goal?”

These health goals are your future! Each long-term goal must have short-term goals devoted to making them happen, along with specific steps to achieve those goals. Having a plan is half the battle – working the plan is the other half.

This is the perfect time for a healthier, happier, and more energetic YOU in the year to come. Go ahead:  IMAGINE, BELIEVE, AND ACHIEVE!

 

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Think positive!

positive-thinking-b

NEWSFLASH! It’s time to THINK POSITIVE!

Change begins with thinking in a different way. We hold the power in our own mind to make the changes that need to happen.

We must begin to think positive, and to trust that great things are in our future. Next, we must erase the negative thoughts that plague our minds. You know the kinds of thoughts that I’m talking about; the ones that play all too often:

“Here we go again, you remember what happened the last time you tried a new workout plan?”

“Why even bother? You know that you won’t be able to stick with it.”

“Go ahead, quit, you know you don’t have what it takes.”

“I just can’t help being overweight, my metabolism is messed up!”

“I’ll never be able to look like I want to look, so why even try”

We need to replace those negative thoughts with positive thinking and stop being our own worst enemy. Let’s make the mindful decision to focus forward on a new beginning.

Whatever happened to:

“You can do it.”

“You have what it takes.”

“You are a winner!”

“Keep keeping on.”

“You’ve got this!”

Aren’t you ready to embrace an active lifestyle of health and strength? Then get started and embrace it and consider it yours.  The truth is we all have within us the power to change. We have the potential to accomplish much more than we give ourselves credit. That’s right, regardless of our age, genetics, or body type; we have what it takes to succeed! But we must believe it before we achieve it.

 

 

 

 

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Your body tells the story…

miraculous body“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.”  –Frank Gillette Burgess
Have you ever thought about the fact that our bodies tell a piece of our life story? We must realize that we get but one body in life to manage for a lifetime. The choices we make every day concerning our bodies shape and sculpt that “work of art” into the image that we have created.

In order to change our body, the first thing we must change is our minds. The mind is a very powerful thing! It controls all the cravings, and the choices, either good or bad that have gotten us to the point that we are right now.

Many of us have daily habits that enslave us and do little more than suck the life out of us. We want to change, but deep down we are holding onto these habits because that’s all we know. We need to see the big picture of how life could be different.

Think about your situation for a moment. Take responsibility. Stop blaming. Aren’t we the ones making the choices that have gotten us where we are? We determine our success or failure. Not our parents, not our friends, not our co-workers. We can choose to be our own best friend or we can be our own worst enemy.

Realize that there is no better time to embrace a healthy lifestyle than now. Remember that we are the only ones who can choose to change the old ways. Often the main difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is simply the decision to make a change and the ability to follow through.

Bottom line: Only one person is accountable for making the necessary changes, and that someone is you!  You can embrace a mindset that will change your total outlook on life, or you can always do what you’ve always done and always get what you’ve always gotten!  Let’s manage our body in a way  that tells a happier, healthier story.

 

 

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What keeps me up at night…

unhealthySome time ago a pastor asked me some questions relating to passion and making a difference in this world.  It invigorated me when  he asked the following:  “What drives you to do what you do? What is your “inward discontent” that keeps you up at night?  Better yet, what are you doing every day to make a difference in that area?”

Well, here is my “inward discontent:”  The sobering fact is that the majority of Americans are at a great health risk because they are overweight (dangerously so). That troubles me for sure.  But what keeps me even more troubled is that  Christians, and in particular pastors, have higher obesity rates and poorer health than the average American.                                         

Studies say that the average pastor’s health is significantly worse than others on the planet.  At a recent annual leadership meeting of ministers in a mainline denomination free health screenings were administered. Of those screened more than 73 percent were found to be overweight or obese. If you are keeping track, that is a much higher percentage than those outside the church.  On average, a pastor’s health risk is more than a 10% higher than the average person.

What really pains me is that I have had to help bury way too many of my colleagues who died an early death due to not taking care of themselves and poor health habits.  The tragedy?  Most of these were 100 per cent preventable.

There is something wrong about that. So I know that I have to take my share of responsibility for setting the right example.  I need to show people that God can help us in every aspect of life, including our health.  If I refuse to take care of my body, I set a poor example as a leader of God’s church.

As pastors and leaders this means that you have a responsibility to help train your family and your church to take care of their bodies. Let’s be a good example!

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4

You can be an example that food is given to us by God to be enjoyed–not to be abused.  As Christians we can’t be telling people on one hand that we are all about the glory of God, and then kill ourselves with the food we are stuffing in our body.

Maybe it would be a good idea to re-think our prayers before our meals asking for God’s wisdom and discipline to manage what we eat, as opposed to just blessing what we are about to eat.  In our gratefulness we should thank God for providing the food and then remind ourselves to enjoy our food, not to worship it.

Bottom line is we need to take care of ourselves!  According to Leadership Journal, a pastor works on average 55-60 hours a week and is so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that they often neglect their own, especially their health.  Nationwide, an estimated 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month because of poor health and ministry-related stress.

Chances are very high that your effectiveness in ministry will be limited if you are unhealthy and overweight. You will not be able to maximize your ability to shepherd, study, teach, preach and care as you should.

This is the way that I see it: If you are a minister then you are leader. That means God daily gives you the opportunity to set the example that God cares about every aspect of our life, including and especially our health.  Not only that, you have an incredible opportunity to show your people the way to balance mind, body and spirit in a healthy way.  With God’s help you can do it!

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Ephesians 6:10  NIV

Back to the first part of this blog that asked, “What is your “inward discontent and what are you doing every day to make a difference in that area?” My goal is to partner with pastors to give them the tools and resources to take care of themselves, their families, and their churches.  I am committed to do what I can to help turn the tide.  I have lost too many friends to heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Through this healthy FIT FOREVER blog, my workshops, and a new book called “FIT (Not Fat) FOREVER” coming out I am determined to make a difference to help as many people as I can.  Feel free to “Follow” this blog for up to date blogs and daily motivations.

The time has come to commit ourselves to taking care of this body that God has given us. We must remember that we will only receive one body in the span of our life, and it’s up to us to do all that we can to take care of it.  Here are some healthy tips to get us started: http://wp.me/pGpee-2W

 

 

 

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Healthy Tips for Kids

“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.  Like putting gas in a car, it gives you fuel.  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 important 

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 different kinds of food

Every day, you need to eat all different kinds of foods – 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 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 as 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. Fat isn’t good

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. Don’t forget your teeth

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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