new years resolutions

The 1 Article that Will Make You Rethink Your Day-to-Day Approach

No commentary on life, living, and pursuing goals has influenced me more than what you’re about to read here (or see). Invest in this moment and read this post from start to finish…it will make you rethink your day-to-day approach and how you approach goals (especially since the speaker committed suicide 3 years after). I’ve included the full transcript to David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water” as well as the video below.

Transcription of the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address Written and Delivered by David Foster Wallace (May 21, 2005)


(If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story ["thing"] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. So let's talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about quote teaching you how to think. If you're like me as a student, you've never liked hearing this, and you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. But I'm going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we're supposed to get in a place like this isn't really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I'd ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.

Here's another didactic little story. There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. And the atheist says: "Look, it's not like I don't have actual reasons for not believing in God. It's not like I haven't ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn't see a thing, and it was fifty below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out 'Oh, God, if there is a God, I'm lost in this blizzard, and I'm gonna die if you don't help me.'" And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. "Well then you must believe now," he says, "After all, here you are, alive." The atheist just rolls his eyes. "No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp."

It's easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people's two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy's interpretation is true and the other guy's is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from INSIDE the two guys. As if a person's most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice. Plus, there's the whole matter of arrogance. The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They're probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. But religious dogmatists' problem is exactly the same as the story's unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn't even know he's locked up.

The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too.

Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realist, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

Please don't worry that I'm getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being "well-adjusted", which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

Given the triumphant academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets very tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education -- least in my own case -- is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.

As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.

By way of example, let's say it's an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home. You haven't had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be: very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. And the store is hideously lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it's pretty much the last place you want to be but you can't just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store's confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough check-out lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can't take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.

But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.

Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn't yet been part of you graduates' actual life routine, day after week after month after year.

But it will be. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides. But that is not the point. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it's going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way. And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.

Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious liberal arts form of my default setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic being disgusted about all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV's and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks, burning their wasteful, selfish, forty-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumperstickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest [responding here to loud applause] (this is an example of how NOT to think, though) most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers. And I can think about how our children's children will despise us for wasting all the future's fuel, and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and selfish and disgusting we all are, and how modern consumer society just sucks, and so forth and so on. You get the idea. If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn't have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It's the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's priorities.

The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive.

Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he's in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way. Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it's hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat out won't want to.

But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she's not usually like this. Maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the lowwage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible. It just depends what you what to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and [unintelligible -- sounds like "displayal"]. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don't just dismiss it as just some fingerwagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

"This is water."

"This is water."

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.

I wish you way more than luck.

Photo Credit:
https:// medium.com/reflective-stance/seeing-the-water-e31d8f12f5c3–Is this the greatest philosophical question of this century? Check out Debbie Donsky’s thoughts.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt outsourced from https://web.ics.purdue.edu/~drkelly/DFWKenyonAddress2005.pdf.
The 1 Article that Will Make You Rethink Your Day-to-Day Approach
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

82 Ways To Change Your Shape in the Mirror in 2018

It’s that time again!! Every year I compile a master list of the most valuable articles that have helped my personal training clients achieve optimal health and weight loss. It’s a comprehensive list of old and new that will help you cut out the guesswork.

Please share this list with anyone (friend, family member, colleague, client, etc.) who wants to change their life and finally see a difference in their health and lifestyle. Also, be sure to bookmark this page and return to it when you're frustrated with your results (which happens to everyone) or need a new idea.

Tip: Skim through this list and find the headlines that are most relevant to your current goals and interests (then spend 20 seconds skimming the article).

***************

Effective Weight Loss Tips and More!


-Your Business Plan to Lose Weight (or Achieve Optimal Health)
-37 Snack Ideas for Weight Loss (And You Won’t Be Bored)
-"14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day" Review

-"42 Ways to Beat Your Junk Food Cravings" Review
-How to Lose Weight Without Exercise
-"Here's Why Counting Calories Really Isn't Necessary for Weight Loss" Review

-"How to Design Your Kitchen for Weight-Loss Success" Review
-The Secret to Losing Nearly 27 lbs!
-“20 Easy Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day” Review

-“4 Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night” Review
-Science Confirms Two Ways to Lose Weight Fast
-4 Ways Your Brain Makes You Overeat—And How To Outsmart Yourself

-6 Things 'Successful Diets Have In Common
- “40 Things You’ll Gain When You Lose Weight” Review
-7 Ways to Lose Weight After 50

-Will Eating at Night Really Make You Gain Weight?
-"6 Things You Can Do Every Day to Prevent Weight Gain" Review
-5 Non-Diet Ways to Trick Yourself into Losing Weight

-"20 Easy Ways to Lose 5 Pounds at Work" Review
-"10 Secrets to Lose 25 Pounds Now" Review
-Do This Every Day, and You May Lose 20 Pounds in 6 Months

Why You're Not Losing Weight or Body Fat


-"Best and Worst Meals for Diabetes-Savvy Dining " Review
-"If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" Review
-"10 Mistakes You're Making Every Time You Think About Starting A Diet" Review

-"7 Reasons Your Weight Loss May Have Stalled" Review
-3 Reasons Why What You’re Eating is NOT Healthy (Even Though You Think So)
-“10 Trendy Health Foods That Can Threaten Your Waistline” Review

-“Why Stress Makes You Want to Eat Everything in Sight or Nothing at All” Review
-4 Weird Reasons Why You're Gaining Weight
-“5 Ways Your Breakfast is Sabotaging Your Weight Loss” Review

-“Just Say No to That Detox Diet or Juice Cleanse” Review
-The Underlying Influence on Your Weight Loss Failures
-6 Diet Tricks That Are Actually Making You Gain Weight

-"Don't Fall for These 10 Weight-Loss Gimmicks" Review
-"5 Bad Things about Detoxing You Don't Know" Review

Easy Recipes for Weight Loss


-The Best Fish Nachos for Weight Loss!
-Weight Loss Recipe: Chili Cajun Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables
-The Best Spinach Stuffed Salmon Weight Loss Recipe Ever!
-Weight Loss Quick Supper: Cajun Almond Crusted Chicken with Asparagus and White Beans

-Weight Loss Recipe: Almond Crusted Mahi with Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Garlic Potatoes
-Vera Cruz Fish and Brussels Sprouts Weight Loss Dinner
-15 Minute Weight Loss Dinner from Trader Joes

Why Salads May Not Help Your Weight Loss Goals


-Why Salad is So Overrated
-"25 Salads That Have More Calories Than a Big Mac" Review

Holiday Weight Loss Tips


-"10 Foods to Give Up for Lent—and How Many Calories You'll Save" Review
-9 Dishes Doctors Won't Eat at Thanksgiving

Best Sources of Protein for Weight Loss


-Save the Cow! Here is a List of Non-Animal Protein Sources
-"45 Vegetarian Protein Sources You Should Be Eating" Review
-36 Ways to Fulfill Your Protein Needs While Losing Weight

Foods You Want to Avoid....And Why!


-"50 Foods You Should Never Eat" Review
-"25 Awful Ingredients Everyone Still Uses—But Shouldn’t!" Review
-"The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Review

-11 Foods to Toss Out of Your Kitchen For Good
- “21 Foods that Sound Healthy, But Are Not!” Review

Why You Should Avoid These Drinks


-"20 Coffee Drinks with More Sugar Than a Can of Coke" Review
-How To Fit Alcohol in Your Diet without Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals
-"70 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are" Review
- “The Most Unhealthy Drink Orders at the Bar” Review

-"The Best and Worst Booze to Drink if You Want to Lose Weight" Review
-4 Ways To Beat Your Diet Soda Addiction In One Week
-How Caffeine Could Prevent You From Losing Belly Fat

How to Eat at Restaurants and Airports


-“23 Restaurant Foods with Crazy High Amounts of Sugar” Review
-How to Eat Healthy at the Airport

Fitness/Exercise Myths and More!


-4 Simple Ways to Flatten Your Stomach
-You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)
-12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die
-The 15 Most Common Mistakes Personal Trainers See in the Gym

-“7 Myths About How to Stay in Shape” Review
-“How Much Exercise It’ll Take to Undo 17 Popular Fast Food Items” Review
-“20 Ways to Ensure Workouts Happen Every Day” Review

-End Your Lower Back Pain Today
-"The 21 Worst Things You Can Do For Your Body" Review
-Personal Trainer Wisdom: 1 Fitness Myth Unraveled

The Keys to Improve Your Sleep and Reduce Fatigue


-49 Reasons You're Always Tired
-11 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight
-This simple addition to your bedtime routine could make a huge difference in your sleep

Resolutions, Goals, and Relationships


-”13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" Review
-”The Best All-In (Life Changing) Fitness Plan for 2017
-5 Morning Habits That Have Made Me More Successful (and Less Stressed)

-"9 Ways to Ensure Your Relationship Is Built to Last" Review
-99 Ways to Redefine Yourself Today
-Excerpt from the book Redefine Yourself: Define Your Purpose

Picture Credit: souprecipesforweightloss.com-Will this smoothie help you change your shape in the mirror?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
82 Ways To Change Your Shape in the Mirror in 2018
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

“Here's Why Counting Calories Really Isn't Necessary for Weight Loss" Review

This is a great top 5 list of why counting calories may be a huge waste of time while trying to lose weight (from the MSN article “Here's Why Counting Calories Really Isn't Necessary for Weight Loss”).

1. You likely have no idea how many calories you actually need.


In order to accurately count calories for weight loss, you’d need to know your basal metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns each day simply to stay alive and keep all your systems running. And unless you’ve done indirect calorimetry, which I can almost guarantee you haven’t—it involves lying with a mask on, hooked up to a very expensive piece of machinery for a prolonged period of time to measure your oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expulsion—you really are playing with arbitrary numbers. Although it’s the “gold standard” of figuring out how many calories you use per day, like anything else, indirect calorimetry can have flaws.

Yes, you can approximate the number of calories you use in a day via equations and apps, but that’s all you get: an approximation. If even the “gold standard” machine can be wrong, then why let some app or equation determine how much you should be eating?

Personal Trainer Wisdom: As I’ve mentioned before, we can’t necessarily rely on the caloric approximations provided by our favorite tech tools. They are what they are-estimated guesses based on typically less-than-personal factors.

2. You don’t know how many calories your body is absorbing from food.


Let’s say that by some miracle, you know exactly how many calories you need to eat per day for weight loss. That’s great, but you’re not out of the woods, thanks to the question of absorption.

We used to think that since 3,500 calories equal a pound, every time you eat 3,500 extra calories beyond what your body needs, you end up gaining that weight. Now we know better: Not all calories are equal like we thought.

Everything from how your food is processed to how much fiber it contains determines how many calories you’re absorbing from it. Even the bacteria in your gut may play a part in how you digest food and how many calories you derive from it.

For example, you’ll absorb more calories from cooked meat versus raw, and peanut butter versus whole peanuts. Due to size differences, one sweet potato varies in calories from another before you even take it off the shelf at the store. Calories absorbed is a complex business that’s light years beyond any calorie-counting app on the market.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Another reminder that not all calories are built the same. Do you really know how your body interacts with the foods that you eat? You most likely never studied the differences and now is the time.

3. Calorie counts on packages aren’t necessarily accurate.


But wait! Even if you know how many calories you need and how many you’re absorbing, you’re not done! In fact, the Food and Drug Administration allows up to 20 percent margin of error in the numbers on those nutrition labels you likely rely on to count many of your calories. Meaning, that 250-calorie snack you’re eating might actually have 200 calories—or 300.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you’re calorie counting, you’re most likely living on the edge of too much. I recommend a large buffer zone in case the calorie count on the packages are as inaccurate as this article claims.

4. Counting calories can encourage you to ignore your hunger cues.


Focusing entirely on calories, instead of the quality of the food you’re eating and how you actually feel before chowing down (hungry, bored, stressed, etc.), can wreak havoc on those precious hunger cues you’re born with. Whether you’re eating just because you “have calories left,” even though you’re not truly hungry, or you’re not eating because you’ve “gone over” your calorie allotment for the day, but you’re actually still hungry, you’re doing the same thing: ignoring what your body is trying to tell you.

Trust your body, because it knows what it needs a lot more than some random number or tracker.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Ultimately, your physical cues will determine the type of foods you should eat and how much. The more in tune with your body the more optimal you can operate it.

5. Calorie counting adds to the misconception you can “work off” the food you eat.


One of the things that angers me most about calorie-counting apps is the impression they give that you can exercise yourself “back into the green.” Going over your “calorie allowance” again and again because you think you can burn off the transgressions? Nope. Your body doesn’t burn off food calorie-for-calorie like that.

A 2014 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine emphasized that “it is where the calories come from that is crucial” in determining whether your body is tempted to store them as fat, use them for energy, or apply them to some other mechanism, the study authors explain.

Plus, if you do routinely overindulge then try to work it off in the gym, you’ll be exercising for a very long time, depending on the size of the junky meals you’ve eaten. This, in turn, may cause you to become hungrier…and eat more. Vicious cycle? Definitely.

The good news is that when you only overeat from time to time, your body can handle those extra calories without making you gain weight. It’s when you overeat on a more frequent basis that you can get into weight-gain territory.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The “calories in vs. out” theory has consistently failed my personal training clients for the last 12 years. Too many factors affect how the calories are consumed and expelled to deliver a convenient formula. Once again, err on the side of caution by choosing the most nutrient dense foods while remaining active every day. It doesn’t get more simple than this.

Photo Credit:
Self.com–Can we really get away without counting calories?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "Here's Why Counting Calories Really Isn't Necessary for Weight Loss" on MSN.com (Self).
"Here's Why Counting Calories Really Isn't Necessary for Weight Loss" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

"13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" Review

Are your New Year’s resolutions already setting you up for failure? Check out these rewrites to set you up for weight loss success (from the MSN article “13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make.”).

"I want to lose 20 pounds"


"Dropping 20 pounds is a great long-term goal, but dieters tend to fall off track when they have such a lofty resolution," says Amidor.

Revised resolution: Lose 1 pound per week
"Instead of taking on such a big task, focus on losing one pound a week by setting small diet and exercise goals," suggests Amidor. "For example, resolve to pick skim dairy over whole and pledge to work out 30 minutes, three times a week. You'll be surprised how small tweaks can result in major change."

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Big, drastic changes can be overwhelming and tiring. Test the effect of small changes 1 lb at a time. Also, don’t forget that losing 1-2 lbs per week is most sustainable. Not fast enough? It isn’t your biological choice. Time for acceptance. With this trend, do you really have 52-104 lbs to lose anyway? Most likely not. Be patient and do this right.

"I'm going to stop eating at restaurants"


“Nixing a night out with friends for the sake of your diet is no way to live,” says Amidor. “You'll only wind up frustrated and will be more likely to fall off the wagon.”

Revised resolution: Order smarter at restaurants
"Before dining out, have 10 almonds or an apple so you don't arrive ravenous, and then start with a small salad," suggests Amidor. In a 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Diet Association, Penn State researchers found that women who started a lunch with a salad consumed up to 12% fewer calories than those who skipped the first course. "Choose a light appetizer as your entree and have the bread basket removed," says Amidor.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I don’t completely agree with this suggestion. I’ve seen many people build a first-course habit at all costs (this time a salad next time fried calamari). To minimize starvation, eat a small balanced meal (10 almonds AND an apple) 1-2 hours before dinner instead and stick to a mindful entrée at the restaurant.

"I'm going to weigh myself every morning"


"Daily weigh-ins are not an accurate gauge of progress," says Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian based in New York City and founder of the F-Factor Diet. Water retention and hormones can mean as much as a two-pound swing in as little as a day. Plus, if your weight-loss plan involves strength training (and it should!), you may even gain weight from increased muscle weight while still losing fat and inches.

Revised resolution: Measure weight loss in inches, not pounds
“When you feel your pants getting looser as the weeks go by, you'll know you're slimming down,” says Zuckerbrot.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While checking the scale may give you an overall indication of your weight loss trend, the minor day-to-day fluctuations may be caused by a number of the aforementioned factors. Don’t sacrifice your sanity and save the scale for a monthly check-in.

"I'm going to eat 900 calories a day until I lose the weight"


Sure, severely restricting your calorie intake will spur weight loss, but you'll gain it all back as soon as you start eating normally again (not to mention that starving yourself is dangerous). "This is often the attitude of yo-yo dieters, who go from a size four to a 12 and back again, seemingly overnight," says Amidor.

Revised resolution: Develop a healthy eating plan with an RD
If you're unsure how to lose weight the healthy way, consider making an appointment with a dietitian. "Many RDs now take insurance, so don't be afraid to ask if yours is accepted," says Amidor. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a registered dietitian referral service that allows you to search a database of practitioners across the nation.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Repeat this mantra: “You don’t need to create a deficit to lose weight, you don’t need to create a deficit to lose weight, ….” Your body is an effective and efficient machine that operates optimally when fueled and repaired properly. Most commonly, the average (sedentary) person only needs 1300-1700 calories per day. Trust your body. When you live in line with your set metabolism for a given point, your body will lose the weight for you.

"I'm going to cut calories by skipping breakfast"


Research shows that foregoing a morning meal will put you on the fast track to weight gain, not a loss. In a study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, for example, participants who skipped breakfast were hungrier and more likely to indulge in fattening foods later in the day.

Revised resolution: Eat a protein-packed breakfast every morning
“Eating a filling breakfast lessens the chances of bingeing on junk later in the day,” says Zuckerbrot. "Pair lean proteins with high fiber, complex carbs….to keep hunger at bay and ward off craving all day long."

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Eat a protein-packed ________ is soooooooo 2005. You’re better than this! My revised resolution: Eat a nutrient-packed breakfast of vitamins, fiber, fat, and protein every morning.

"I'm going to get more exercise"


"This resolution isn't specific enough to be successful," says Jim White, a personal trainer and registered dietitian in Virginia Beach, Va.

Revised resolution: Commit to a set number of weekly workouts
Fitness newbies should start with one weekly workout that combines cardio and weight training, like a body sculpting class or a session with a trainer. After three weeks, build up to two weekly workouts, and over time aim for five workouts a week. Progressing slowly wards off injury and excessive soreness that may prevent or deter you from sticking to your exercise program.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The more general your approach the more general your results. Create a business plan for your fitness. What is your mission? What results do you expect? What do you need to do? What do you want to do? What progression is realistic for you?

"I'm going to the gym for two hours every day"


“Working out two hours a day is not only boring, but it can also cause injury in newbies who aren't used to being physically active,” warns White.

Revised resolution: Do efficient workouts
“Trade in long sweat sessions for high intensity, 30-minute interval workouts—you won't burn out as quickly and you'll actually torch more calories than doing long, drawn-out workouts," says White. Plus, researchers from the University of Western Australia found that interval training helps suppress post-workout appetite, further accelerating weight loss.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: In our society, we have latched on to the idea that everything should be scheduled for an hour. Have you ever wondered why? You might be surprised by what you achieve in half of the time (especially when you plan and move with intent).

Photo Credit:
MSN.com–Should adding this breakfast to your daily routine be part of your daily routine?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" on MSN.com.
"13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)

The new year is almost upon you, and it's time to refine your foundational movements. Here are 6 exercises you need to perfect (and how) before you reinvent your routine on January 1st:

Personal Trainer Exercise: Squat Over Bench or Chair


Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Knees in line with hips
-Knees in line with hips while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips while holding 10 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 10 lb dumbbells

Personal Trainer Exercise: Walking Lunge


Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, draw in the belly button, plant the front foot, screw in the foot, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), feet together
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Drop 1 inch
-Drop 2 inches
-Drop 3 inches
-Reassess

Personal Trainer Exercise: Step Up


Prompt: Screw in one foot on the step (heel under the knee), draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), bring opposite knee forward
Progression (15-20 reps):
-6-inch step
-9-inch step
-12-inch step
-15-inch step
-18-inch step
-Reassess

Personal Trainer Exercise: Stairclimber


Prompt: Draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (time):
-Increase your time by 30 seconds each week/1 minute higher level and then 1 minute lower level....alternate

Personal Trainer Exercise: Pulldown


Prompt: Feet straight with heels under knees, screw in the feet, shoulders above your hips, draw in the belly button, keep the bar straight across
Progression (15-20 reps):
-45 lbs
-52 lbs
-60 lbs
-Reassess

Personal Trainer Exercise: Dumbbell Curl (1 Arm at a Time)


Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hips under your shoulders, elbow tucked to your side
Progression (15-20 reps):
-8 lbs
-10 lbs
-12 lbs
-15 lbs
-Reassess

Photo Credit:
Livestrong.com–Are they properly performing a squat?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.