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The Bullhorn, Issue #010 -- Monthly Motivator for January 2007
January 15, 2007

Just the right push to succeed!

Fat-free is NOT Free!

The other day I was in a small convenience store when I overheard two young girls comparing nutritional labels on snacks foods. They were looking for snacks with the lowest fat content to meet their “New Years Resolutions”. And while I didn’t have the guts to barge in on their conversation, it did make me think about the false logic that exists when it comes to eating right and losing weight.

What’s the outcome if we change our afternoon snack from a 200-calorie candy bar to a 200-calorie bag of pretzels? While the two snacks are by no means equal, we’re not going to lose fat by simply cutting fat out of our diets. If we want to lose weight, we need to look beyond the grams of fat and look at what we’re actually eating and what we’re actually burning each day. If we’re eating more than we’re burning, all of the extra calories will be converted to fat even if they originated from healthy foods!

If you want to see what you’re eating and burning, look up the nutritional values of the foods that you eat and compare that with your metabolic rate and calories burned from exercise. You’ll lose a pound of fat for every 3,500-calorie deficit and gain a pound for every 3,500-calorie surplus. That’s it…no magic…no elaborate nutritional equation. Calories count!

And while it IS a good idea to cut down on our fat intake, it’s also worth the time to see what foods pack the most satisfaction for the least calories. Foods that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index can help satisfy your hunger for awhile without having to loosen your belt! Lowering fat in your diet can reduce your cholesterol and be a healthier choice overall, but it won’t help you lose any existing fat, in and of itself. So if you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you look at the whole label before you choose a good snack, because fat-free is far from free!

Snooze you Lose

I’ll be the first to admit that getting up to run is not near as appealing than my warm pillow and covers, but it does get easier when you’re a mile or two down the road! If you set out to start a running or exercise routine in 2007, don’t let a couple of missed weeks get you down…it’s not too late. We’ve got 50 weeks to go and there are plenty of miles to run, crunches to do, and calories to be burned!

The hardest part of achieving a goal is usually the first step, so if you’ve hit the snooze bar a few times, you’re in good company ;-). Mornings can be really tough, but it’s the one time of day we own and control. Not many people have commitments before sunrise…it’s our time! The healthy dividends of a 30-minute morning workout far exceed the comfort and benefits that a 30-minutes snooze-bar break provides!

If you’re having trouble getting up, here are a few tips to help you out get out of bed:

  • Alarm clock placement
    One of the best ways to get out of bed and stay out of bed is to put your alarm clock across the room. If it’s within arm’s reach, it only takes a split-second decision to stay in your cozy bed and avoid your would-be workout.
  • Lay out your clothes
    If my running clothes are at the foot of my bed, it’s one less mental excuse for staying under the covers…especially if I have to trip over them when I bound out of bed to turn off the alarm ;-). If you lay out your work-out clothes the night before, you’ve already mentally prepared yourself for the workout and you’ll be more likely to carry out that which you’ve planned and prepared for.
  • Meet others
    Positive Peer Pressure is a great way to stay motivated. If you are meeting someone to go for a walk or jog, you’ll be there….or else you’ll have to deal with the discomfort of facing them later. Somehow this discomfort usually trumps the discomfort of getting out of bed! There are so many people that want to lose weight by walking or running. Chances are good that you’ll find someone with similar goals if you reach out to find them.
  • Pre-shower calisthenics
    If you only have 5 extra minutes in the morning, all is not lost! Do 3 or 4 sets of basic exercises before you get your morning shower. If your mornings are too hectic, you can still fit a few sets of push-ups and crunches in just a few minutes. It’s well worth the time and it’s a great long-term habit to start.

Mornings can be tough, but sometimes you have to listen to that sneaker slogan…and “Just Do It”! It feels great starting your day knowing that you’ve already accomplished something, whether it was a walk, run, or just a quick set of exercises. See you out there!

Exercise of the Month:
Take the Stairs!

Do you take the elevator or escalator on a daily basis? Do you pile things at the bottom of your steps to “save” yourself the trip? If so, than the stairs may be an easy and convenient calorie-burner addition to your daily routine. You can burn 100-150 calories for every 10 minutes of stair-climbing that you do. By walking up stairs for only 10 minutes a day, you’ll be burning 10-15 pounds of fat per year! Look at your daily habits and see where you can fit some extra stair-climbing in through your day. Take the longer path to your office…walk up and down a few sets of stairs at lunch….take one pile of laundry up the stairs at a time (instead of 3 baskets ;-)….think about your day, and I’m sure that you’ll be able to find lots of ways to add some stairs. Taking the stairs may seem like a small and insignificant task, but the benefits of this exercise really add up over time and could be a real difference-maker in your life.

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck!

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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