Wednesday, January 11, 2012

4 Basic Guidlines to Keep in Mind for a Healthier Life

 Hello everyone.  Tonight I have a very special guest for you.  This is Tom from Your Fitness Quest.  Tom is a certified personal trainer and enjoys a healthy lifestyle and helping others get into shape as well. 

After Tom was married, he took a sedentary job and experienced deconditioning and weight gain over the course of several years. In 2000, he made a commitment to get back into shape. He worked hard and got great results. He was so excited about the changes he had achieved that he decided to help other people do the same thing, so he decided to become a personal trainer...and he recently completed his second marathon.  Pretty cool, huh?

You can read more at  Tom writes a fantastic blog that I am sure you will enjoy too.  Well, that's enough from me for tonight, have a read of what Tom has to say about how we can achieve our health and fitness goals.  Take it away Tom!

It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're trying to do everything right, especially at the first of the year when people are trying to improve their habits and resolving to do better. Fitness doesn't have to be complicated. I think we should keep it simple. Here are 4 basic guidelines to keep in mind as you are trying to live a healthier life.

1) Don't stress out over the latest studies you hear about on the news. In the past I would get confused and frustrated with all the conflicting information out there. It seemed that even the "experts" couldn't agree with each other on many health and fitness topics. I try not to have a knee-jerk reaction anymore when I hear about the most recent findings from the latest scientific study. Remember the guy on the twinkie diet last year who lost weight? The media loves reporting stuff like that, even though it is not beneficial to anyone. Some people will change their plans each time they hear about a new finding. Instead of always trying to adapt to the most recent news or trends, just use some common sense and be consistent with your efforts.

2) There is no single exercise program or diet that is the best for everyone. There are many disciplines and philosophies when it comes to exercise and nutrition. Even though many of us might love something and believe that it is the "one supreme program to rule them all", this may not be the case. Each of these unique systems have helped people get results and they all have their poster child who swears by it. When your life has been changed by a particular eating philosophy or workout routine it's hard not to be excited and want to tell everyone else that is what they need to be doing, but what works for one person may not work for someone else. This means you really need to customize your program according to YOUR goals, preferences, and abilities if you are going to stick with it and be successful.

3) Eat more whole foods in their natural state. Avoid highly processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, preservatives, and calories. I'm not a vegetarian, but I am moving closer in that direction with time. I believe the masses would be much healthier if they just ate more fruits and vegetable and consumed less processed foods. A quick way to tell if you are eating processed foods is by looking at the ingredients. A food is highly processed if 1) there are more than 10 ingredients, 2) you can't pronounce half of them, 3) it sounds like you are reading a chemistry book rather than reading a food label.

When it comes to nutrition, I love reminding people of the words: balance, variety, and moderation. Applying these principles not only to your diet but also in your life can help you avoid extremes and keep you grounded.

4) Increase your physical activity. Exercise provides so many benefits and helps you feel great, but many people are missing out on this, since we live in such a sedentary society. Look for ways to use your body and keep it active. Exercise should be fun, not a punishment. Find something you love doing in order to stay active.

These four guidelines might sound vague or too simple, but little things can make a big difference over time, and they can also keep you from feeling overwhelmed. My hat is off to those who are willing to invest time and effort into improving their health. Have a healthy 2012!