Thursday, January 01, 2015

Why You Need a Big "Why"

2015 is almost here. Have you taken a look back to see what went right or wrong for you in 2014? Have you set some new goals for the New Year?

While you can set goals anytime, it's kind of nice to get a fresh start as the year rolls over. So let's get to it. What's the biggest  thing you want to accomplish? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to give up to make it happen?

In the end, it really comes down to your total commitment to your goal. There's a reason why they call them New Year Resolutions. You've got to be resolute. You are resolved to do it, whatever it takes.

Here's where a lot of people fall short. They "kind of" wanted it, were "kind of" committed, and "kind of" hope they'll do it. But that's not a recipe for success. Anything you "kind of" want will just fall by the wayside when other "more pressing" issues come along. Trust me, they'll come along. 

That means you need a big reason, or what a life coach might call your "Why." Your "Why" determines your commitment to the task. Your "Why" has to be bigger than any potential obstacle. And your "Why" is what keeps you going toward your goal. 

According to noted author, Max Lucado, "Until your "Why" is big enough, you'll never stick with the what." Put another way, if you don't want it bad enough, you won't do what needs to be done.

One example might be someone who's thought about stopping smoking and losing weight for years. But then after some problems, the doctor says "Quit smoking and lose 40 pounds, or you're going to die!" That's a big "Why." It's extreme but you get the idea. You'll probably find a way. 

Big goals take big action, and they usually have a big "Why" behind them. So what is your New Year's goal, and perhaps more importantly, what's your "Why"?

Some people who have figured out the "Why" are our Biggest Losers. Crystal Kirby finished first, losing 2.3 lbs and 1.0% of her body weight. Amber Baldwin came in second, losing 1.8 lbs, and Sandy Sherer was third, losing 1.0 lb. 

In a holiday season, with lots of distractions and pitfalls, these three not only maintained, but lost weight. Great job. 

May you all have a blessed and productive New Year! Why not?

A New Year, A New You in 2015

Two weeks ago, we talked about how to start the New Year off right, if your goal was to lose weight and get in shape. The first part was using a phone app to help you track your calories. If you don't know how much you're eating, you're just guessing, and guessing makes you fat. 

Controlling your intake is really important, possibly even more than the exercise. After all, you can undo an entire exercise session in just a few bites. You can't out-exercise stupid.

Before you get mad at me, know that I'm preaching to myself and my inner Cookie Monster too. If you want to trip me up, just give me a plate of cookies. You'll find me lying in a hallway somewhere with a trail of broken crumbs and a "Will Work for Cookies"sign. 

The other half of your "A New Year, A New You" program, is increasing the amount of exercise you get each day. It's really hard to lose weight on diet alone. 

If you haven't been active, just getting started will make a big difference. It can be as simple as adding a 20-30 minute walk to your schedule every day. If you have more time, stretch it to 45 minutes or an hour. 

For better results, add some weight training three days a week, say on M, W, F. Start with a full body machine circuit one time through, with a light weight you can lift 10-15 times. When you can do it 15 times easily, add a little more weight. 

At some point, you'll want to transition to using dumbbells and exercise balls. They'll give you a better workout because you'll have to use more of your core and accessory muscles. Start with light dumbbells that you can move easily. Get some instruction to make sure you're doing things correctly. 

If you need a little push, try a boot camp class. Don't be afraid; you can always modify things to your own fitness level. You'll likely do more than you would have done on your own. There's a lot of power in suffering with others! 

Finally, for even better results, increase it to two workouts a day, by adding an easy one first thing in the morning to get you going. The people that do this always seem to lose more weight. 

Every Morning:
20 minutes of light Cardio (walk)

Afternoons or Evenings:
M, W, F -- Weights
T, TH, SA -- Cardio

Stay within your limits, but keep trying to push those limits a little bit. You can usually do more than you think you can do. 

Stay with it, and don't quit. Make a commitment to yourself and stick to it. Murphy will try to mess you up, but don't let him. This is your year to turn things around and win. 

Watch what you eat, and get moving, and you'll make "A New Year, A New You" come true. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Local Leaders Making A Difference

We all know people in our community that always seem to get involved and stay involved. Some are in a lot of different things and organizations. Others pick one or two things a year to really grab hold of. But they're all serving and really making a difference.

So I wanted to take a moment and recognize three people and their achievements that have really stood out to me this past year. They're by no means the only people doing big things, and these certainly aren't the only big things that they've done.

Randy Peterson has been active in the Republican Party for years, and is the new Chairman. While he's in lots of organizations and amazingly busy, Randy also did something very cool recently. He helped orchestrate the moving and placing of the magnificent Christmas Tree on the courthouse lawn this season.

I know there were others involved, and it was definitely a team effort, but Randy got it done. You've seen the result. It's been enjoyed by people of all faiths, regardless of political party.

It singlehandedly brought people together for a remarkable celebration. Now the county board is looking for a way to place a permanent tree there so we can make this a tradition every year. Awesome.

Carolyn Brown Hodge stands on the other side of the aisle politically. But like Randy, she's always had a big heart for this community, and has been involved in many things over the years that made a difference.

Carolyn caught the vision of the new Splash Park that opened this summer, and ran with it. She was instrumental in getting donors on board, and seeing it go from a neat idea to a real project with real funding.

Many of you have seen the result. I've watched my four year old laugh and splash as he enjoyed it many times this summer, free to the community. Wow.

Finally, you may have read about some funding recently made possible by Tom Hebermehl, for the STEM project at the new Paris Cooperative High School. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and is really the future.

According to Dave Meister, Principal, the new STEM labs are going to be the most advanced labs anywhere around. As usual, when Tom heard about the need, he stepped up so they could get it done.

This isn't the first time he's done this. Several years ago, he spearheaded an amazing campaign to build and deliver state of the art PVC wheelchairs to third world recipients.

There are so many more examples, I could do columns for weeks. Like all the fine work by Warren Sperry and all the community leaders on the Edgar County Community Foundation. And all the people with Cause for Paws, Toys for Tots, Shriners, and so on.

There are lots of other people making a difference too, many anonymously. A lot of people volunteer at their church and for other organizations, but most people don't know about it. Every little thing makes a difference, and all those little things add up to really big things!

And we shouldn't forget all the people that work in jobs, but that make a difference with people everyday. In just the last week alone, I've watched police officers keep people safe, received great care for my son out at the clinic, seen my dad well cared for at assisted living, and watched awesome teachers pour themselves into our kids.

Even the people that work to provide us goods and services are making a difference. Without all of them, our lives wouldn't be nearly as comfortable. It's nice knowing I can quickly get a package shipped, or get a few items last minute. Well done everyone.

So as we move into the New Year, I want to thank all of you for your service. Whatever it is that you do, whether it's for a living, as a offering, or service to our community, thank you. From all of us, to all of you, thank you, and God Bless.

5 Ways Your Child Will Benefit From Martial Arts

These days, martial art programs for kids are more important than ever. While organized sports are beneficial too, not every child will have the interest or talent to succeed and thrive in them. 

Martial arts give them an alternative that can take them a long way in life. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Lots of Activity. 

Now more than ever, iPads, and game boxes have taken over their free time. If they're not in organized sports, kids might not be getting any activity at all. Our county has one of the highest rates of obesity in Illinois, but we don't have to accept this for our kids. Martial arts classes have them doing lots of kicking and punching, calisthenics, sparring and grappling, and more. That's a lot of activity

2. Courtesy and Respect.

Good manners are hard to find sometimes, but not at a Karate school. We teach and expect the kids to say "yes Ma'am" and "yes Sir." They bow, shake hands, and have to use self control. We want them to do this everywhere. Even if you teach these things at home, it's nice to have someone else reinforce them.

3. Setting and Achieving Goals.

Our attention spans are shorter than ever these days. It's easy to quit things too. But if a kid can learn to stick it out, they'll also learn that continued effort plus time equals success. Martial art belt ranking systems teach kids how to work step by step to achieve their black belts and become leaders. These are kids who'll know how to work toward a goal, in school, college, and a career.

4. Confidence and Self Esteem.

As the kids move up through each colored belt, they show their competency with the new material. This leads to promotion and a new belt color. There is also a lot of ceremony attached to their success on promotion and nights. Knowing and showing what they can do builds their confidence, and each success strengthens their self esteem.

5. Learn They Can Take It. 

In everyone's life, there comes a point when you have to just lean in and fight for something. Nobody ever wants to be knocked down, but life is full of hard knocks. In any martial arts class, everyone takes a hit from time to time. The goal is to strike with control, but even with padding, and protective gear, it can be a shock. When kids learn that they can take it, and stand in there and keep swinging, that can take them a long way in life.

There are two programs for children in Paris. Black Lotus Ju Jitsu is offered at the Paris REC Center, and taught by Sensei Randy Turner, 3rd Degree Black Belt. Karate for Kids is offered at Tom's Fitness, featuring Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, taught by Ms. Heather Warren and myself. Give them a try!

(Tom Dolan has an M.A. in Education, specializing in Exercise Physiology and Sport Biomechanics. He is also a 6th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor with over 30 years experience, and the owner of Tom's Fitness and Martial Arts in Paris, IL.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Making Weight Loss Predictable

With the New Year on its way, many will be wanting to lose a few pounds come January. So here's how to do it. Are you ready? You have to watch what you eat, and be active every day.

I know, you were expecting a more sophisticated plan. But in the end, it's not rocket science. The math is actually pretty simple.

If you eat more than you need, the excess is stored as fat and you gain weight. But if you burn more than you've consumed, you'll have a "calorie deficit." This is a good thing. The extra energy you need will come from fat, and you'll start to lose weight.

A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you can add some exercise and burn an extra 500 calories a day, in 7 days, you'll have burned off one pound.

This is assuming you're not still overeating. If that's the case, you're just slowing down the rate at which you're getting fat. We need to do a little better than that!

Most people have no idea how much they're eating. They either guess high or guess low, but either way, they're guessing. But guess what? Guessing makes you fat!

You need to know how MUCH you're eating. When it comes to losing weight, it's really more important than what you're actually eating! At least when you get started.

So how do you know how much you're eating, and how much you SHOULD be eating? If you have a smart phone, you can download lots of different free apps that will help you do this.

One app that's been very popular with lots of our Biggest Losers is called MyFitnessPal. You simply plug in your age, gender, height, weight, and goal (weight loss), and it tells you what your target is. Another popular app comes from Calorie King.

You simply download the app, set it up for you, add foods as you go, and it keeps track for you. It will track a lot of other things like protein, carbs, and fats, but that's not really necessary. You just want to track your calories.

Be careful though. Some apps give you credit for your exercise, telling you that you can eat MORE calories. Obviously, if the goal is weight loss, you don't want to do this.

It takes less than five minutes to download the app on your phone and set it up. It'll take a few more minutes to start entering food in after each meal. But we tend to eat the same types of things over and over, so it won't be long before you have a nice little data base that you can just click on.

If you do nothing else, you need to track your calories, at least for awhile. It educates you about what you're doing to yourself. It also helps keep you somewhat accountable. When you know you're going to have to write it down, you might not eat it. Or you might pull it back a little bit.

Remember, most women don't eat enough, and most men tend to overeat. The American College of Sports Medicine says women should never go below 1,200 calories per day. For men, it's 1,800 calories.

Over the years, and in 23 Biggest Loser groups, I've found that most women do well around 1,500-1,650 calories/day. Most men do well at around 2,400 calories/day. Doing well means they lose weight but still feel satisfied or full.

There you have it. Let's get tracking! Next week, I'll tell you how to track your exercise and activities! When you put the two things together, weight loss becomes predictable.

The 4 D's of Success

I've watched a lot of people over the years. Part of my job description has always involved observing others. Some have had some wild successes, but others have struggled and failed. I've done both myself a few times. 

Last week, I talked about how looking back can help you get ahead. The idea was that if you can figure out what went wrong, you can make some adjustments and maybe still get there. 

Ship captains and airline pilots know that even the tiniest course correction can make a huge difference in reaching your destination. It can also help you avoid disaster. I think it's true in our lives too. 

We may want to make some course corrections of our own, as we move into the New Year. So what do we need, to ensure we succeed? What are the qualities that successful people have in common? 

After a lot of years of looking, here are some of the most important character traits I've observed. I call them "The 4 D's." There may be a little overlap in them, but I think they're critical to our success. 

1. Desire. You have to really want it. Otherwise you won't have the staying power. There are lots of other things you can do. The winds of life will blow you right off course if you're not careful. 

2. Determination. You have to make up your mind that you're all in with this thing. Especially when it gets difficult. Really tough undertakings often require a take-no-prisoners attitude. 

3. Dedication. What are you willing to give up to see this done? Time, resources, money, reputation, or even other goals? It's the people who never give up, who always keep trying, whatever it takes, who get what they want in the end. 

4. Discipline. It's a thousand little things. You have to win the battle today. Right now. Then you win another small battle tomorrow. Put enough days together, and you can win a week. Win four weeks and you're winning this month. Twelve of those and you win this year. Get the idea?

I was listening to Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo after their win the other day. They had a good lead, but then let the other team get 24 unanswered points, before pulling it out in the end. When they asked him how he handled the pressure, he said "You've got to live in the present." 

He went on to say that meant that they focused on every play as if it were the most important. And then the next one. They didn't worry about the last play. They only thought about what they had to do right now. He took it one thing at a time, with great effort and great intensity, and they won!

Some other winners include our Week Two Biggest Losers. Heather Curry took 1st place by losing 3.0 lbs and 1.7% of her body weight. Michelle Hall took 2nd, losing 2.4 lbs and 1.6%. Crystal Kirby and Avoree Gore tied for 3rd, both losing 1.2%, and 2.9 and 2.4 lbs respectively.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Gift of Life

The Christmas season always gets me thinking about babies. You know, Baby Jesus and "Away in the Manger." We've also been looking at baby pictures with my son Michael. He's far from perfect, but he did play Baby Jesus four years ago! Both were precious, and in their own ways, amazing too.

I've been pretty pro-life for years. But there's one more thing that cinched it for me. I was a baby too. Not just a baby, but an adopted one, from birth. You see, my natural mother was in trouble when she found out she was pregnant, over fifty years ago. 

Back then, there was such a stigma against it that teenagers just didn't have babies at home. Many of them had their pregnancies ended. Even her own mother was pushing for this.

But something deep inside her couldn't do it, so they sent her off to the Chicago Foundlings Home. It was there where she would live until she'd delivered the baby and given it up for adoption. 

I can't imagine how that must have been for her, but I know she was pretty spunky. She was bound and determined to have me, but she also knew she wasn't ready to take care of me. Giving me up was her best alternative. 

Adopting a child was pretty difficult back then. Couples were screened and interviewed at length, for years. Even if you made it through the process, the chances were still less than one in four that you'd get a baby. 

My parents couldn't have children, but they really wanted kids, so they went through the lengthy process to adopt my sister. It took them another four years to get me. I hope I was worth the wait. 

Meanwhile, my natural Mother was giving birth up in Chicago. She was born in Lerna, IL, and her family then moved to Loves Park, so Chicago was a good choice. It was close enough to get there, but far enough away, if you know what I mean. 

When the girls gave birth, the procedure was to just take the baby away, right after delivery. They did this to try and avoid further emotional distress. But my birth mother asked them if she could just hold me for awhile. She softly spoke to me, held me, and then she let me go.

Forty-seven years went by. Every year on my birthday, she wondered where I was and how I was doing. Even after getting married, and having a child of her own, she says she was always sad on that one day, every year.  

When my adopted Mom died from a sudden stroke in 2004, my wife Kathy started feeling that it was time to try to find my birth mother. I figured it might give her some comfort, at least knowing where I was, and that I was doing fine. 

So in 2008, Kathy began a search. It took a year, and several different approaches, because they don't just give you that information. They always try to protect the mothers at all costs. 

It was frustrating at times, but she kept at it until she finally got a strong lead. She then got the help of a person who does this kind of work for a living. With that new lead, in just a few weeks, they found a woman living down in the Atlanta area.

Contact was made by our intermediary in 2009. My birth mother verified the facts and confirmed that I was the one she'd delivered and given up for adoption back in 1962.

Soon after, a phone call was arranged, and I spoke to my birth mother for the first time. For her, it was the second time. The first was all those years ago when she'd told me hello, and then goodbye. 

I have to say, I was surprised at how much it's meant to me. Originally, I was doing it for her. Over the years, I've come to realize it's been for me too. 

Now we talk regularly, and a year ago, Kathy and I drove down there to meet and spend some time with her and her family. She's pretty amazing, and still quite spunky. 

She could have taken the easy way out. Many did back then. They still do. Instead, Beth choose to do two difficult things. She gave birth to me, and then gave me up. 

I'd always been grateful that I'd been given the chance to live, but I kind of always thought I'd been unwanted, too. After all these years, it was great to learn that wasn't it at all. 

There are a couple of other interesting things. Mom was born and raised in Northern Illinois. But she met and married a man from downstate Illinois, after both had moved down to Atlanta. 

He went down there to attend the Music Business Institute. She took a job down there as a travel agent. It turns out that he was from right here in Paris, IL, where I live and raise my own family. Small world. 

There's more. Around that time, I was a cop on patrol. One night, I'd stopped a car that was going very slowly and riding the outer line on the highway. There was a chance they might be driving under the influence (driving below the speed limit is often a clue, as is continually dipping below the line).

It turned out to be a nice older couple on the way home, and the driver was just having a little trouble trying to find his turn. After making sure everything was O.K., I said "good night, be careful" and we all went on our way. 

When we were talking, Mom told me her husband's parents had apparently already met me. You see, they'd called and told them about this nice officer who stopped them to make sure they were alright! They decided not to drive at night after that, and had even remembered my name. Small world indeed. 

"Away in a manger, no room for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lays down His sweet head....". Thank God for mothers, and babies too.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Look Back To Get Ahead in 2015

As the New Year approaches, it's always good to take a few minutes and review the current one, before moving forward. You can learn a lot by looking back. While we shouldn't cling to the past, there's something to be said for trying to figure out where you are and how you got there. 

So how did you do this year? Did you start 2014 with some specific goals? Maybe you had some that continued over from the previous years? Did you stick with them, or did you fall short somewhere?

If you didn't make it, it doesn't automatically mean you set the bar too high. Maybe you just need to take more incremental steps to get there. It's fine to shoot for the moon, but you might have to reach orbit first. 

I was looking at a picture of an Apollo rocket in my son's picture book. There was a lift-off rocket to clear the launch pad. Then a secondary booster rocket to reach and escape Earth orbit. Finally, there was a third stage for the trip to the moon, complete with orbiter and landing craft. They had a plan for each part of the journey. 

Will all that, they still couldn't anticipate the problems they faced with Apollo 13. But even when it looked grim, they somehow found a way to think out of the box, and brought them back home. 

Even so, we're going to have failures once in awhile. Sometimes big ones. With the Challenger and Columbia tragedies, our space program has pretty much gone off the rails. It doesn't mean we should keep trying, though. 

Because nobody wins all the time. A great average in baseball means you still don't hit, 7 out of 10 times. Many successful people only got there after learning from their failures. For sometimes, it can go either way. 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower had written an apology letter in which he took full responsibility for the failure of the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. As we all know, many soldiers gave their lives that day, but the mission was ultimately a big success. 

Sometimes our idea is right, but our timing is wrong. Moses felt called to lead the children of Israel out of slavery. He saw an injustice but acted prematurely. I can identify with that. He then got chased out into the desert where he lived forty years before encountering the great "I Am."

By then, he didn't want any part of it. But he went back to Egypt and became a tremendous leader. Even though it still took forty more years of desert wandering, he finally got to see the Promised Land. 

For one last example, look how old the Colonel was, before he founded KFC. The point is, you shouldn't necessarily give up on your dreams, just because you've had some setbacks or failures. You just might need to have the right timing, or a better plan. 

If you know what you did wrong, that's good because now you don't have to repeat it. You might be able to make a few simple adjustments that could make all the difference next time. 

If you know what you did right, that's important too, because you can keep repeating that behavior. Being intentional about these things will help ensure that you'll have continued success. 

So if it's important to you, keep on trying. Keep moving forward. Keep looking for a way to see it through, even when the way leads through adversity. Very few worthwhile things come without a struggle. 

Some people who keep on trying include our Week One Biggest Losers. First place went to Sara McCrocklin, who lost 6.2 lbs and 2.7% of her body weight. Sandy Sherer was second, losing 4.4 lbs and 2.2%. Crystal Kirby finished third, losing 5.2 lbs and 2.1%. Brian Bradley placed fourth, losing 5.0 lbs and 2.0%, and Amber Baldwin was fifth, losing 4.0 lbs and 1.2%. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Biggest Loser "22" (Final Results)

After 7 Weeks of hard work, we just wrapped up Biggest Loser "22." The remaining participants finished with a final weigh-in and also a follow up fitness test, identical to the one they took on Day One. 

I had several goals for this shorter 7-week Biggest Loser. One was to jump start their weight loss with an overall more intense program. I also wanted to give them more opportunities for group workouts. Finally, I was hoping we could increase the completion rate of the participants. 

About half the group regularly participated in the extra boot camp and kickboxing classes, which was pretty good. In the past, most Biggest Losers tended to avoid boot camp. 

Our completion rate improved too. While we've had lots of people finish 12 week programs, the completion rate was always around 50%. This was for a variety of reasons. We ended this particular group with right at an 80% completion rate, meaning 80% of the group were still working out regularly, including the last week. 

Now, two of the finishers had some trouble getting there for the last couple weigh-ins, but I included them because they were still staying in touch and had both lost significant weight. One had a trip to Arkansas, and the other kept having conflicts due to meetings.

If I take them both out of the math, we're still at 67% which is still up quite a bit from 50%. But their success and continued effort merited inclusion. Usually, when someone stops, they stop everything. So I counted em. 

But what about the actual weight loss numbers? How did they stack up? It's hard to compare. One way to look at it was to compare the winner's 7 week numbers, to what she did a year ago in the longer 12 week program. 

Tracy Whitaker won 1st place overall, and has participated in two Biggest Losers. She lost a little more than 30 lbs in her first 12 week program, only to find out she was expecting. Surprise! That's an average of 2.5 lbs per week. 

After delivering her baby, and joining us a year later, she just won Biggest Loser "22" by losing 23.2 lbs in 7 weeks. That's an increase to an average of 3.3 lbs a week. It was also 15.6% of her body weight. 

We'll never know if she would've averaged more in those last two weeks a year ago, had her circumstances been different. But even if she had, it couldn't have been much higher than her current 3.3 lbs per week. So for her, 7 weeks was just as effective, if not more. 

Betsy Higginbotham finished in 2nd place overall, losing 13.2 lbs and 7.2% of her body weight over the 7 weeks. She was a particularly hard worker, always taking the extra classes. She'd also lost about 30 lbs prior to starting the 7 weeks, which makes it an even bigger accomplishment. It's always harder to lose, the further along you get. 

There were also two people who lost a little more weight (Christy Henry, 20.2 lbs and Mark Clark, 14.0 lbs), but they didn't make the final weigh-in, so it wasn't "official." Still, that was pretty good. 

Trent and Alyssa Horner interestingly tied for 3rd place, both losing 6.5% of their body weight and 13.4 lbs and 9.4 lbs respectively. Since they're a married couple, it was likely a happy ending for both of them. 

The other participants lost an average of 10.8 lbs a week over the 7 weeks, if I include the two that missed the final weigh-in. This is right at 1.5 lbs a week, which is pretty good, and about what we normally see, I think. 

In the end, the main difference was that more people were able to commit to and finish the shorter 7 week program, even though it was more intense. This should hopefully set them up for more success as they set new goals!

Next week, I'll tell you about the new group that started the same night, and some words of advice the recent winners had for them. The goal for this next group is to get them through the holidays. Off we go!

12 Tips For Success

As we move through the holidays, many people start thinking about New Year goals and resolutions. But just having a goal won't get you there. 

Noted author John Maxwell has had lots of things to say about this. I thought it would be nice to look at a few of them. The headings are mine, but these great quotes are his, from a variety of publications. 

What's it Gonna Take? "Improvement is impossible without change." "We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are."

Do The Right Things. "If your habits don't line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream."

Do Them Daily. "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to success is found in your daily routine."

Just Get Started. "The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it." "If you start today to do the right thing, you are already a success even if it doesn't show yet."

Don't Quit. "The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying." "Ninety percent of all those who fail aren't defeated. They simply quit."

Who Said It Had To Be Easy? "People don't really know if they are committed to something until they face adversity."

On Finding Your Motivation. "The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it."

Quit Trying Shortcuts. "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."

Look for the Little Victories. "Success is achieved in inches, not miles."

There you have it. I couldn't have said it better myself. Actually, I couldn't have said it better! Now, let's get planning that New Year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Biggest Loser "22" Week Six

We just finished Week Six of Biggest Loser "22" and have just one week to go. It's a tough time of year for many, with travel, holiday meals, and various other time demands. But that's just another reason to keep pushing forward. 

Even though you might get pulled off your game a little bit, it doesn't have to be game over. If you stay determined, you can still make some progress, or at least stay even. Worst case, you might slip and fall a little bit, but with the right focus and dedication, you can get back on track quickly. 

We just had a family of three do this. They had a not-so-good week, just a week ago, and all three gained a little weight. But they buckled down and not only made up for the weight they'd gained, but even lost a little more to boot. That's how you do it. 

One of the guys did the last Biggest Loser, after losing over 50 pounds to win the last one. Work has taken him to Arkansas, but before he left, he'd lost another 14 pounds in the first four weeks!

Another participant has had some major obstacles getting here the last two weeks, due to other activities, but she's still been able to lose 6.8 lbs at home. Now that's the way to stay with it. She's lost 21.8 lbs during the six weeks. 

Perhaps the most impressive thing is when I catch someone doing one of the Biggest Loser workouts later on their own. Or even better, making up their own workouts from things they've learned. That will take them a long way. 

So we've got one more week to go with this group. Next week, we'll have the final results for the seven weeks and they'll retake the fitness test that they took on the first night. I think they'll be surprised how much easier it's going to be. 

We're also going to do something new next week. For the first time ever, we're going to start the next group of Biggest Losers at the very same time as we finish this one. This will give the new ones a chance to hear directly from those who are finishing this one. I'm sure they'll have some good tips for them about how to be successful. 

We're also going to run the new group right through the holiday season. Lots of people gain five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Our goal is to prevent that, and trim some more pounds to boot. Anyone interested should sign up right away, because Biggest Loser "23" starts Monday night at 7:00 pm

Our Biggest Losers for Week Six were Tracy Whitaker and Rebecca Fehrmann, who tied for first place, losing 2.0 and 2.4 lbs respectively. Both lost 1.3% of their body weight. Doris Frisse placed third, losing 1.1 lbs and 0.7%.

How to lose or maintain your weight during the holidays

The holiday season is finally here and my four year old keeps asking me "Is it Christmas yet?" He can't wait until they turn on the "park lights" so we can "see Santa."

While the holidays are usually a time for reflection and joy, I know they can be a sad time for some. If this is the case for you, I'm truly sorry, and pray God will grant you some peace. 

One of the best things you can do is try not to go it alone. Try and find someone to share some time with. Look for ways to get involved with others. Nothing seems to help our spirits more than to help someone else. It's hard sometimes, but if you can take that first step, it can get better, I promise you. 

Another problem we face this time of year, is that it's so easy to eat too much. I've read the average person gains five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. 

If you're like me, you've probably already had at least one meal that could really have been two, or even three. We had our Thanksgiving potluck at church last week. We've got another one coming up, plus a couple of big holiday meals at home. 

Over the years, I've tried to help people at least maintain their weight over the holidays. Then one year, I worked with a couple that actually lost weight while on vacation, on a cruise ship! This is what they did. 

They worked out every day in the ship's fitness center. They also walked lots of laps around the outer deck. But the main thing they did was eat only when they would normally have eaten at home. And they took small portions when eating at those big buffets. 

If they could do it in that environment, we can do it too. We just need to employ the same strategies. Go to the gym every day. Walk a few miles on top of that. Only eat at the regular times, and take small portions. If you can keep to this strategy, you can maintain your weight. 

Don't miss your workouts. If your workout usually burns 500 calories, missing one day won't kill you. But do it seven days in a row and you'll gain a pound of fat if you don't cut back your intake, too. Do it a few weeks in a row and ta-da, there are your five pounds, just look down! 

But what really gets us is missing workouts AND eating more. That combination will double your weight gain. So definitely don't do that. 

That said, here are a couple strategies that have worked well for many of our Biggest Losers. I use them too. 

If you know you're going to a potluck, or out to a buffet, skip the meal beforehand. I know some say that just makes you hungry so you'll overeat when you get there. But I've observed most of us eat a lot in those situations, regardless of how hungry we are. 

If you save some calories before, it will give you some wiggle room. You may be over for that meal, but you don't have to be over for the DAY. That's when you gain weight. So end the day even and you'll stay even, regardless of the potluck or buffet. 

Now that you have a little room to work with, take small portions, and don't fill your whole plate up. Cut yourself off while you're still in line. If it's on your plate, you'll probably eat it.

I mean really. If you can't even see your plate under that heaping mound of food, you're going to get fat. I don't care how much you work out. You can't outwork stupid.

Furthermore, don't go back for seconds. You don't need em. You already had em. Maybe even thirds. To help make up for it, later in the day, skip your snacks, too. Eat a lighter meal than usual. All these things can help you stay even. 

Finally, I know I mentioned this earlier, but THIS is not the day to skip your workout. Ideally, you'll hit it before the meal so you'll just burn most of it off. In a perfect world, you'll hit it again later, with at least some light cardio. 

For our Biggest Losers, we shoot for two workouts a day anyway, because that's how you lose the most weight. People who do a second workout lose twice as much weight as those who don't. 

Know that you're going to face these challenges. If you ignore them, you're going to gain weight. But if you pay attention and have a strategy, you can win the battle of the belly this year. 

To help you do it, our next Biggest Loser "23" starts Monday, December 1st at 7:00 pm. We're going to work hard to help you stay focused for the next seven weeks, and get you through the holidays. 

Like last time, we're including all the daily workouts, and the bootcamp and kickboxing classes too. Let me know if you'd like to participate.