Every year, it seems November comes out of nowhere and before we know it, the holidays are here! As fun and exciting as the holiday season is, it can also be a very hectic, stressful, and anxiety-filled time of year. If you’ve been working hard to keep to a fitness routine and a healthy nutrition plan, you may be feeling anxious about all the disruptions and temptations that are sure to come your way over the next couple of months. You may even be thinking that this year will be different. This year, you will stick to your good habits and not get too far off track.
Stick to our good habits. Why does this task seem so daunting? Why are some people able to stick to them while others really struggle? Through our experience with working in this industry, we have learned that it comes down to three main things: knowing in which ways you are motivated, having the tools you need to stay on track, and the belief that you will succeed.
Motivation is classically defined as the desire to do something. People are motivated in primarily four different ways: intrinsic, extrinsic, positive, and negative. If you are intrinsically motivated it means that you find enjoyment out of doing something; therefore it is something you want to do. Extrinsically motivated people are moved to do something because someone else is pushing them, or they are doing something for an external reward, rather than for their own enjoyment.
Positive and negative motivations actually act as subcategories of intrinsic and external motivations. They refer to the underlying reasons why we do what we do. Positive motivation is moving toward a goal or a positive outcome. Negative motivation is moving away from something you wish to avoid.
Examples of these types of motivations as they pertain to health and fitness are as follows:
Intrinsic motivation – You decide one day that you will wake up early and go for a run because you know it is good for you.
Extrinsic motivation – You don’t really want to wake up early, but you have made a commitment to your Fitness Coach and/or workout partner and you don’t want to let him/her down.
Positive motivation – You exercise and eat well because you know having a fit and healthy body will help you live the more energetic and fulfilling life you desire.
Negative motivation – You exercise and eat well because you know that having a fit and healthy body will help prevent life-threatening diseases such as: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, etc.
Knowing in which ways you are motivated will help you learn more about what really drives you forward. Therefore, you can make it a point to set yourself up for success by have the necessary tools in place to keep you motivated throughout the holidays.
Tools for success
Some say that the intrinsically motivated people who have a positive outlook on their goals are the ones who are the most successful. This, in fact, may be the answer to why some people are able to stick-to-it and keep their healthy habits throughout the holiday season and some are not. The people who are able to stay on track have something we like to call “stick-to-it-tive-ness.” While for some, it is almost intuitive to keep moving forward; they know no other way. For others, “stick-to-it-tive-ness” may be more of a learned skill.
Here are some tools for success that may help you learn this skill:
Whether you are motivated intrinsically, extrinsically, or by positve or negative outcomes, it is important that you set goals for yourself going into the holiday season so that you will stick to your healthy habits. In order to achieve goals, you must create action steps toward your goals. As you create these action steps, keep in mind your motivation style and what is going to keep you moving forward toward your goals.
Support your motivation style
If you know you are more extrinsically motivated, then make sure you have all those appointments made with your Fitness Coach or your workout partner. Do your best to continue exercising as you have been by rescheduling sessions if your hectic holiday schedule seems to crowd out your workout times. If you are motivated by positive and/or negative outcomes, then take a moment to visualize yourself on January 1, 2012 when you are about to write those New Year’s Resolutions. Make a list of how you see yourself in your vision (positive and/or negative) post holiday season and use this list to keep you motivated over the next couple of months.
It is important to know yourself and how you are during the holidays. Put away the lofty visions of losing 20 pounds and set realistic goals for the time being. Often times, we encourage our clients to simply maintain their weight during this time of year.
Ask for support and/or accountability.
This year we’ve talked a lot about how we are better together. Goals are more likely to be achieved if a good, solid support system is in place keeping the goal-seeker accountable.
Give yourself a break.
After all, it is the holiday season. Try not to be too hard on yourself. There are going to be temptations left and right and you are not going to want to miss out on certain holiday traditions that help make this time of year special in your heart. Remember the 80/20 rule – if you are doing things right 80% of the time, you can allow yourself room to “fudge” a little (and literally, if you will) the other 20%. If you slip up and fall off course one day, do not give up! All is not lost! Just take one day at a time, remember your goals and your motivation style, and do what is necessary to get back on track.
Do it together!
This season, Body Basics is dedicated to helping you learn the skill of “stick-to-it-tive-ness.” We want to support at a minimum your goal to maintain your weight during the holiday season. We will be sending out daily fitness-related tips beginning the week before Thanksgiving and ending January 2nd, 2012. Our hope is that we can provide you another layer of motivation to insulate you from the temptations that are bound to compete with your own will power.
We will also be providing an extremely motivational presentation by one of our talented clients, Pamela Hale, who has recently published a book called Flying Lessons: An Inspirational Manual for Leading, Living, and Loving. Her book can be found at www.throughadifferentlens.com along with a wonderful video introduction of the book by Pam herself. Stay tuned for a date and time for this presentation.
Believe in yourself
Those who stay with a program are motivated to succeed because they believe that they WILL succeed. There is no other option for them. Those who struggle to stay motivated may be faced with feelings that they will not succeed; therefore, why continue to try? Many of us go into situations feeling like we are going to fail. We may not even realize we have this frame of mind, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we would find that deep down, we do not believe we can really do it. This self-defeating attitude must change if we are to find success with sticking to our healthy habits this holiday season.
During the following months, you may notice the word “Believe” all around you in stores, on television ads, in movies, on the Internet, etc. Use this as a reminder to believe in yourself and that you will succeed. We are all able to succeed in most everything we set out to do. Especially if we know our own motivation style, utilize tools for success, and finally, if we truly believe.
You can always identify the newest nutrition craze by observing what products take up prime location on your grocery store’s shelves. Coconut milk and coconut water have seemed to multiply over the past year, taking up more real estate than they ever have in the past.
It was not long ago that coconuts were deemed one of the fattiest “fruits”* chock-full of saturated fats, something we are all told to avoid for good health. Once known mainly as an ingredient in tropical drinks or special sweet treats, coconut may now be considered a healthy addition to our diets. In fact, coconut water is now being marketed as a superior hydrating beverage, loaded with electrolytes, which makes plain old water pale in comparison to this exotic, refreshing drink.
Are these claims about coconuts all they’re cracked up to be? This article explores the two components of coconuts that have been getting a lot of attention lately: coconut oil and coconut water.
The fat in coconut is found in the oils in the meat of the fruit. Over 90% of this fat is saturated. We all know saturated fat is not good for us and should be avoided. However, the saturated fat found in coconuts are primarily medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and are shorter than the long-chain triglycerides (LCT) found in other fats and oils. These MCTs are digested more easily by the body and may also act differently on the heart. In fact, MCTs are used in infant formulas and supplements provided to nourish some hospital patients. While the LCTs are known to raise cholesterol, studies show that MCTs may raise only the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), resulting in an improved cholesterol ratio of good to bad.
Long-term affects are still to be determined and it is not clear at this time whether the saturated fat in coconuts may be less of a risk factor in heart disease or stroke than other saturated fats. However, long-term proof may lie in the fact that the populations with the highest consumption of coconuts, Pacific Islanders and Asians, have low rates of heart disease. Then again, these populations also consume diets that are primarily plant-based, which are naturally lower in saturated fats. Therefore, further study is needed to determine the true health benefits of coconut oil.
The recommendation of nutritionists is basically the same for most foods that are higher in fat – to consume in moderation. In other words, fat is fat. While certain fats are healthier than others, it is still a good idea to keep overall fat intake to a minimum in our diets (about 30% of our overall caloric intake). So, feel free to indulge with the occasional coconut treat, but we suggest not going out of your way to make it a part of your daily diet. Also, when choosing coconut oil, make sure you select organic or hand-pressed or extra virgin. Other coconut oils are refined and are not as healthy. In addition, beware of packaged partially hydrogenated coconut oils that contain trans fats.
Coconut water is distinctly different than coconut milk. Coconut milk is made by blending the meat with hot water. The coconut water is contained in the middle of the coconut and can be extracted by piercing a hole in the coconut and letting the water drain out (or by simply sticking a straw in the hole and sipping it up). It is tasty and refreshing and boasts high amounts of electrolytes, making it “nature’s sports drink.”
Does this mean coconut water is better than the leading sports drinks on the market, like Gatorade? Not necessarily. When compared side-by-side, the calories and sugar content are similar, but coconut water has significantly more potassium (about 61 mg per serving to Gatorade’s 3.75 mg), while Gatorade has more sodium (about 13.75 mg per serving to coconut water’s 5.45 mg). Sports Nutritionist, Nancy Clark, advises athletes to not be too quick to switch to coconut water. If you are a heavy sweater, sodium is more what your body needs, so it does not make sense to drink coconut water over Gatorade.
Also, be aware that coconut is more expensive that the average sports drink. Much of this is due to the fact that it is a fairly “new” product and, in short, a marketer’s dream. Most average exercisers will hydrate just fine with plain, simple water. In other words, choose coconut water because you enjoy it.
Coconuts are fun and exotic! Because they were once thought of as contraband in a healthy diet and are now claiming to be good for us, this is exciting news! Coconuts are proving to be the newest trend in nutrition that has come and will likely soon go. While coconuts certainly have health benefits, it is uncertain whether they can be considered “healthy.” Until more research is done, it is best to use coconuts – the meat, the milk, and even the water, in moderation. While the water itself has health benefits, it may be no healthier than sprinkling a bit of salt into your post-workout beverage along with eating a banana!
*A coconut is technically called a drupe. Its characteristics are close to that of a fruit, so we will be referring to coconuts as fruits in this article.
From Better Homes and Gardens
This is a delicious soup and perfect for Fall! Enjoy the rich, flavorful coconut milk that makes for a perfect addition to this dish!
- 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (preferably light coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha) sauce or crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 Thai Gremolata (see recipe below)
- In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker stir together squash, broth, coconut milk, onion, brown sugar, fish sauce, and Asian chili sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
- Use an immersion blender to carefully blend soup until completely smooth. (Or, transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor or blender; or use a potato masher to mash mixture nearly smooth.) Stir in lime juice. Ladle into bowls and top with Thai Gremolata. If desired, serve with lime wedges.
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 tablespoon finely shredded lime peel
- In a small bowl stir together basil or cilantro, peanuts, and shredded lime peel.
Nutrition facts (Butternut Squash Soup with Thai Gremolata)
Servings Per Recipe 4 Calories189, Protein(gm)5, Carbohydrate(gm)24, Fat, total(gm)10, Cholesterol(mg)1, Saturated fat(gm)3, Monosaturated fat(gm)3, Polyunsaturated fat(gm)2, Dietary Fiber, total(gm)4, Sugar, total(gm)6, Vitamin A(IU)133, Vitamin C(mg)30, Thiamin(mg)0, Riboflavin(mg)0, Niacin(mg)4, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6)(mg)0, Folate(µg)56, Sodium(mg)581, Potassium(mg)567, Calcium(DV %)81, Iron(DV %)2, Percent
Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Denise is very commited to working out in the group classes three times a week. she never misses a class, realizing how important consistency is to health and fitness. She is working very hard to change her lifestyle and lose weight. She even comes in on days in between classes to do more cardiovascular exercise. Denise has lost over twenty pounds to date. We applaud her dedication!
Judy has been working with her trainer Nick since they met at a BodyBasics open house last March. She came seeking direction to improve her bone density and body awareness. As a newbie to exercise, Judy also valued an environment where she could learn how to weight train safely. Judy has definitely become more body aware and in pursuit of her bone building goal, has increased her lean muscle mass by five pounds. After working one on one with Nick twice a week for several weeks, she felt compelled to bring her friend Jan along.
Jan had been diagnosed with a low back condition that had sidelined her for several years. She accepted Jan’s invitation and has been training with Nick too. Jan has increased her core strength enough to start traveling again. She is off the sideline and the two of them continue to improve their posture and their overall knowledge of exercise.
Vicki is the winner of our October Referral Reward Challenge. She referred her friend, Mary, for a free session at BodyBasics and Vicki won the grand prize drawing for a weekend at Ventana Canyon. Mary has stayed on to train with Mike Haas so it was a real win-win situation for all. Thank you to all of our clients who showed great confidence in us by referring your friends and loved ones!
It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce this will be my final issue as Editor in Chief of The Pulse. I have truly enjoyed the last seven years of bringing you, the family and friends of BodyBasics, articles on the latest fitness and nutrition trends. I remember writing the very first issue, November/December 2004, which announced the opening of the brand-new BodyBasics studio at our Oracle and Ina location! Back then, we called the newsletter The BodyBasics Gazette at the suggestion of our beloved French co-worker, Cecile. The three of us had a great time getting BodyBasics off to its start, only dreaming of what it could be in the future. It is apparent that Chris’s dream continues to unfold in ways even he never imagined! These are such exciting times for everyone involved with BodyBasics!
When I moved from Arizona to Texas in 2008, I kept my position as the editor of The Pulse and brought you four more years of up-to-date articles on health and fitness. Now, as BodyBasics continues to make positive and exciting changes, and I get ready to move with my family once again (summer of 2012 – destination unknown at this time), we have come to the mutual agreement to part ways. The Pulse promises to live up to the legacy we have all built together by bringing you current, informative, and applicable articles to take with you as you work toward your health and fitness goals. I leave it in good hands and I am honored to have served you for the past seven years.
Thank you Chris, and the rest of the BodyBasics family, for allowing me to be a part of your journey.
Editor in Chief, The Pulse
The BodyBasics Team: Mike Haas, Maureen Raine, Nick McKim, Amelia Olson, Chris Litten, Mike Donelan