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6 Goals I Will Achieve Before New Year’s Eve (And You Should Too)

Only 95 days until New Year’s Day 2018! While you’re depressed to think about snow, I’m excited to start on my New Year’s Resolutions. Why not start now? It takes time to rewrite processes, retrain my body and mind, and make the appropriate environmental changes. While my life is wonderful (and very blessed), here is my early list of resolutions that I will achieve by the start of an epic new year.

Physical Goal: Train my left side to handle daily activity more comfortably and efficiently.

Ironically, I’m complaining about favoring my right side (ie hand and leg), and I’m a personal trainer. Your reply may be, “Why haven’t you fixed it already, Mr. Personal Trainer?” (which is a fair response). Like most people, though, even when you know what you need to do for yourself you don’t necessarily do it. I preach perfect posture and a symmetrical approach to life, but at times I still succumb to laziness while watching a movie on the couch or holding my newborn son in the same arm over, over, over, over, and over again. Yes, I’m extremely mindful of my physical approach, but I can’t help depending on the right side of my body (which I’ve done for the last 38 years). As a result, I'm unable to efficiently handle daily movements with my left side, such as brushing my teeth (try it and poke your eye out) and eating with a fork (if the food reaches my mouth 50% of the time that’s success).

No more!!! The right side of my body needs a break! I’m determined to train the left side of my body to be more functional and will consider it as a first option for various movements!

Physical Goal: Perform 30 consecutive pullups.

Pullups are one of the best (and toughest) exercises for the upper body. You utilize your lats, traps, shoulders, bis, tris, abs, and more! While I consistently perform 15-20 reps, I’ve never pushed for more…until now!

Nutrition Goal: Make 85% of my diet based on plant-based foods (limiting dairy, grains, meat, processed foods, etc.).

At one time I said, “I will become vegan when I turn 50 to reduce the risk of injury and disease and to protect my health for the last 50 years of my life :).” Why not start now, though? If you’re like me, you grew up on meat, potatoes, pasta, and donuts (or something similar). Although you’ve gotten away with it until now, careless eating will catch up to you. I don’t want to wait around to see what the wheel of disease will serve me in a decade. While my diet is already far better than the general public (and personal trainers), it doesn’t mean it’s the perfect combination for me. An anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet is surely the best way to keep me lean and fit while describing my college years to my grandchildren. Of course, this approach requires a great modification of grain, dairy, alcohol, meat, refined sugar, and processed food intake…which I’m willing to do 85% of the way. My wife and I love to eat at restaurants and want to allow some flexibility for indulgences. I’ve already tested a number of plant combinations and found this is easier (and cheaper) than it sounds. Time for a bigger step!

Schedule Goal: Limit my administrative work to the weekdays.

For the last 5 years, I completely stopped training and working on administrative tasks over the weekend. It’s amazing what a difference a 2 day mental break makes! Luckily, I look forward to my job every day. So, it’s not easy to stop working. I would still work over the weekend if given the opportunity. Knowing myself, though, I realize how easy it is to burn out if I don’t pull myself away. Instead, I work 55-60 hours during the week and don’t think twice about it.

Now that my son, Preston, has been born it’s time to rethink my approach. I realize that the perfect, efficient system that I created nearly 5 years ago doesn’t apply as well when I add a new time commitment (aka parenting). Recently, work has been spilling into my weekends, and I still approach Monday with a short list. With this new focus, I will analyze my time commitment to every facet of life including my client schedule, workouts, morning routine, laundry, and every task that requires my attention. I will reshuffle these pieces to efficiently approach everything during the week (not on the weekend). What can I multitask? What isn’t a priority? What can I outsource? All questions that will certainly place me closer to another effective schedule solution.

Lifestyle Goal: Arrive 3 minutes early.

To maximize my time, I normally fit 3 million tasks into a minute. With this being said, I usually hate to arrive early and waste any time waiting. The consequence: I’m always tiptoeing the line of being on time, and my stress levels increase tenfold while in a rush. The underlying goal in every line item above is related to the reduction of stress, and it’s no different here. If you’re constantly cutting it close, you’re most likely constantly pushing the boundaries of safety and stress to arrive on time (i.e., speeding, cutting off people, running through stop signs, etc.).

Since the root of this behavior for me is the fear of wasting time, I will now keep a running task list of things I can achieve from my phone. Basically, I will always have access to fun-filled business activities no matter where I go or how early I arrive. No time wasted anymore!

Lifestyle Goal: Don’t check my phone while driving.

While I have minimized the amount of time on my phone while driving, I still find myself fooling around with the GPS. Of course, when checking the GPS, I can often be distracted by a new text message, too. Ultimately, this behavior is risky and places myself as well as everyone else on the road in danger (even if I only glance for 1 second). I will set the GPS and check my messages before I put the car in “Drive” or pullover if absolutely necessary.

What habits do you want to change? What goals will you achieve by New Year’s Eve?

Photo Credit:
The Balance .com–Should we wait until December 31st to start our celebration?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
6 Goals I Will Achieve Before New Year’s Eve (And You Should Too)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

3 Reasons Why What You’re Eating is NOT Healthy (Even Though You Think So)

You think what you’re eating is healthy…but is that really true? Here are 3 reasons why you may be eating a fictitious life at a restaurant or home.

1. It has rice…and probably a lot of it!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Recently, I was trying to trick my father into veganism. It didn’t take long before he commented, “I don’t think there’s meat on this menu, buddy” at Native Foods Café. Not surprisingly, he ordered the Southwestern Burger…which, admittedly, was full of flavor even though it didn’t contain an ounce of animal. Determined to order something more plant-based (or forward if you’re trendy), I scoured the menu for awhile. To my disappointment, I was left with few options. While looking around, I could see the glee on people’s faces while they enjoyed what they thought was a health-conscious choice. I also saw many dishes packed with rice and very little vegetables. Yes, these dishes are healthier options compared to a Big Mac, I will argue that they are from healthy though. In fact, this menu (if you’re not mindful) could still send you into the land of diabetes just as easily as your typical junk food. Let’s be honest; rice is a refined, simple carb that spikes your blood sugar levels and effects your weight loss. Even if you choose wild rice (a whole grain option) you still shouldn’t exceed more than 25% of your plate (for some of the same reasons). Be realistic about this choice and enjoy it for it is…still an indulgence of sorts. Otherwise, cut out the simple carb blast for more veggies.

2. It has yogurt…Mama needs her protein and probiotics!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Dairy is delicious. Okay,…now that we’ve gotten passed that let’s talk what it really is-An inflammatory punch of growth hormone liquid from a local animal that you don’t even know (shame on you…at least learn his or her name!). I apologize for the sensationalism. Let’s be realistic though. If you’re choosing the most nutrient-dense foods, aren’t there less caloric and processed foods that provide protein and calcium, too? Of course, there is! Dark leafy greens, etc., etc. “But, I need probiotics!!!!” You sure do! Yogurt is basically fermented milk, and you can enjoy a lot of the same benefits by eating other fermented products like kimchi.

3. It has oil….just like the Mediterranean Diet!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I consider oil a silent weight loss killer. It can undermine all of your efforts to eat healthy with a plant-based focus. Most restaurants drown their veggie offerings with oil to offer the rich taste you and I enjoy. Don’t forget that oil is highly processed and strips down any nutritional benefits that you hope to gain (think phytonutrients and the “good” fat). Since most of the calories in oil come from fat, you may also be eating a dish fattier than the ribeye you’re giving up too. Any oil (including your “heart healthy” extra virgin olive oil) basically transforms a 100 calorie dish into a 300-400 punch. Is it worth it when you would rather save those calories for an Old Fashioned cocktail or dessert? That’s up to you. Just because it’s a veggie dish, though, don’t always think it’s healthy.

Photo Credit:
Eat This Much.com–Is this plate really healthy?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
3 Reasons Why What You’re Eating is NOT Healthy (Even Though You Think So)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

Amazing Weight Loss Feat in 100 Days...You Must Watch!

Whether you're trying to lose weight with a personal trainer or overcoming another personal or professional obstacle , it requires focus, emotional strength, and will. You must watch LaKeisha's story about how she lost weight and found love in herself. You might just be inspired to overcome your next fitness/weight loss challenge today!

Article Credit:
Finding Weight Loss Inspiration in Chicago
Watch how one young woman reaches her weight loss goals.

The Secret to Losing Weight

(excerpt from my self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness)

If you want change to stick, it needs to become a habit. Especially when it comes to weight loss.

Habits are highly ingrained, learned behaviors. They are your subconscious' autopilot reaction. In a Duke University study, researchers found that 40% of our daily actions are habits. Your brain loves to multitask and will do everything in its power to build an association (consciously or otherwise). It wants to run on autopilot so that it can do the million other things it needs to do.

More times than not, your subconscious puts your keys in the same place and help you drive your proverbial car in the constant rush of your life. Habits are essentially the underlying force of your routines and take very little effort to carryout. They maintain the order in your life!

What if they are destructive, though? What if you recognize these bad habits and try to change them, but repeatedly fail? What if you want to lose weight but still grab a snack before bed like you normally do?

I wish we could just start a new routine and call it quits on the bad habit. Since the brain depends on repeated occurrences—or the value of the routines and rewards—a process must take place before this change occurs. The brain needs to know that a new habit is equally or more important.

A habit is a mental sequence that must be triggered to start. The brain must recognize a cue—an environmental signal for action based on repeated occurrences. It doesn’t want to waste its time on routines that won’t lead to rewards. It builds an association between a cue and helps develop a routine in hopes of a predictable reward.

If carried out repeatedly, the strength of a bad habit is probably too powerful to be extinguished quickly. You may figure out the cue to this habit and still succumb to the same destructive habit. It takes practice and your brain must be taught a new connection between the cue, the routine, and the reward. The mind doesn’t want to lose its prized reward, and it will keep leading you back to what it knows best —your habit!

How do you change something so ingrained that it happens subconsciously, and that will try to undermine your individual efforts to alter it?

The answer lies in the cue and reward. Most people try to erase the whole formula and completely remove themselves from the habit (and not just the bad routine).

Unfortunately, the reward and cue are too ingrained in us to simply extinguish instantly. Even if we try to escape it, there may always be something in our environment that triggers our routine. After all, we want our reward!

In the book The Power of Habit, the author Charles Duhigg wonderfully illustrates our need to trick ourselves into new habits. Remember metacognition? We need to think about our thinking to keep ourselves in check. When we change our habits, we must become the Wizard of OZ and unnoticeably make minor modifications behind our unconscious “back."

We need to insert a new routine, keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward.

For example:

You lose your focus at work every day at 3 p.m. You usually have stared at your computer screen for the last two hours and the words are starting to look like alphabet soup.

At that point, you get up and walk to the office kitchen where you indulge in the morning’s leftover donuts (even though you’re not hungry). You’ve done this for two years, and now you’re ten pounds heavier. In the wake of New Year’s Eve, you are ready to shake off the weight. Despite your best efforts, your 3 p.m. walk to the kitchen doesn’t change.

In this example, you need to break down the formula for your donut-to-mouth habit:

3 p.m. + Go to the kitchen and grab the donut that will make you overweight = Break from work

(Cue) + (Routine) = (Reward)

Take notice that the real reward is the break from work, not stuffing yourself because you’re hungry (since you just ate lunch two hours ago).

In our example, we need to change the routine of going to the kitchen as our first step. You can decide to work through your 3 p.m. break, but you and I both know that you would stare at the clock for an hour thinking about that donut.

Keep your break. Instead of eating, though, visit a colleague and discuss the latest episode of your favorite show or that football game. Sit in another part of the office and read a magazine. Do whatever you want—besides eating—to give yourself the real reward: a break from your tedious work.

Repeat this sequence until you don’t notice anymore. At first, it will be a fight with your subconscious to go the kitchen. You must resist. Remind yourself that you’re not hungry and that you just want a break. Find something else to do.

Although the results may vary, don’t be discouraged. Your self-talk will override your old, bad habits eventually. As you unravel these habits, you will create new ones by introducing new approaches to life.

Reflection Section: Answer these questions to begin your journey!

1.) Awareness: Describe a habit you want to change. How does this habit affect you? What are the benefits of changing this habit? What are the obstacles to changing this habit?

2.) Acceptance: Can you accept that you’re not perfect and that it will take time, effort, and patience to change this habit?

3.) Adaptation: How will you change the present routine to achieve your goal? Break down your habit into the following parts (use the donut example as a reference).

· Cue:

· Routine:

· Reward:

******Check out my new self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon!!!!!!

Article Credit:
The Secret to Losing Weight
Habits and their connection to your weight loss.
Self Improvement book by author and personal trainer in Chicago, Michael Moody

Self Improvement book by author and personal trainer in Chicago, Michael Moody