Martial Arts for Life

On A Quest To Be The Best!

You Just Made The List!

This week I’m going to share a concept with you called “the list strategy.” This method is most valuable when you are trying to make changes to your diet for the purpose of eating healthier. However, it can also be a useful part of a weight loss plan as the two often go hand in hand.

We all consume things as part of our diet out of habit, or sometimes simply because they are made available. An example might be having a soda with lunch each day or mindlessly snacking on a bowl of chips at a party. It is estimated that up to ninety-five percent of our behavior is habitual – meaning that we are on auto-pilot for a lot of our daily tasks including eating and drinking.

The goal of this strategy is to raise your level of awareness when it comes to what you are eating and drinking. Then you can make better decisions about what you want to continue to have as part of your diet and what you can cut back on or eliminate completely.

Here are four action steps to implement this strategy:

Step #1: Goal Setting

The first step is to decide what your goals are. Are you looking to reduce sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet? Do you want to avoid processed foods? Is your goal to consume less empty calories each day? Having a specific goal is important for success. A goal such as “eating healthier” is a bit too vague and can make it challenging to complete this exercise.

Step #2: Tracking

The next step in this process is to keep track of what you are eating for at least a week. Two weeks would be better, but most people get sick of tracking by the end of week one. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything you eat in your head, so get a pad and pen and write down everything you consume for a week. If it passes your lips it goes on the list.

Step #3: Analyzing

After you track what you’ve been eating for a week (or two) it’s time to take a look at your diet objectively. The goal is to examine what you are eating on a regular basis and make a list of the things you must eat less often or eliminate in order to accomplish your goals from Step #1. Remember, items to be eliminated could also be condiments like sour cream, mayonnaise, etc.

Step #4: Experimenting

The goal in Step #4 is to start with just one item from your list and do without it for two weeks. If you find that you really didn’t miss it, perhaps you can eliminate that food or brverage completely. If you find that it is something you really enjoy having in your diet, choose to consume it less frequently (for example, no more than once per week). Repeat this practice until you complete it with all the items on your list.

Naturally, any kind of change, even when it is an improvement, can be uncomfortable. This causes many people to revert back to their old behaviors and fall short of their goals. Choosing what to focus on and using the concept of substitution are two methods that can help “soften the blow” when making improvements to your diet.

Consider choosing what to eat based on how you feel afterwards, rather than how you feel during the meal. For example, you might really enjoy eating a double cheeseburger, fries and a large soda for lunch, but how do you feel afterwards? Are you energized and ready to for the second half of your day or do you feel tired and sluggish with indigestion? Concentrating on how you feel after a meal or a snack is a great way to view healthy eating in a proper perspective – focusing on what you are gaining (health & vitality) rather than what you may be losing (enjoyment from eating certain foods).

Another useful tool is the concept of substitution. For example, if your goal is to cut back on dairy products such as milk, perhaps you can try soy milk or almond milk as an alternative. You might find that you enjoy one of those products just as much as regular milk. It is much easier to replace a habit, rather than totally eliminate it.

Remember, the main objective of this strategy is to raise your level of awareness when it comes to what you are consuming on a regular basis and identify opportunities to improve your nutritional habits. The objective is not to completely eliminate all unhealthy foods and beverages that you enjoy, but rather to find a healthy balance between eating for pleasure and the benefits of a proper diet.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

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October 16, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arm Workout with Resistance Bands

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle: Part 2

Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle: Part Two

“Get Rid of Junk Food”

Welcome back to “Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle” a short series dedicated to providing tips for sensible adults who are looking to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Part One of this series dealt with the concept of “eating for nourishment versus eating for pleasure.” In Part Two we will be focusing on avoiding the temptation of junk food by keeping it out of reach.

Listen, when you’re in the process of cleaning up your diet and losing weight, there are certain things that are going to be outside of your control. For example, a co-worker brings in doughnuts, a friend bakes you a cake for your birthday, etc. What you can control, however, is what you place in your shopping cart and your cupboards.

Trust me, if it’s in your home you will find a reason and a way to eat it. Think about the Halloween candy you purchase. If you’re like me, passing by the bowl of mini candy bars is temptation enough to eat one (or two!) and I don’t particularly like candy bars. The point is, if there’s a bag of Oreo cookies in your house or a gallon of ice cream in your freezer 99% of people WILL justify eating it at some point. You know the reasons:  you’ve had a rough day, you’ve been sticking to eating healthy and deserve a reward, having just one cookie won’t hurt, or maybe you’re hungry and there’s no better options. Whatever the reason is, you (and everybody else) will eat that junk food.

But it’s for the kids!

I know, I know, the cookies, ice cream and candy are for the kids! Here’s some food for thought (pardon the pun): A study published in the Health Education & Behavior journal looked at six middle schools over a two year period. In three of these schools the snacks offered did not change, but did so in the other three schools in Connecticut. Snacks that did not meet the nutrition standards set were removed and replaced with water, 100 percent fruit juice, baked chips, pretzels, granola bars and canned fruits.

The train of thought was that when these junk food items disappeared from the schools, the kids would naturally miss them and then go home and eat more. However, the result was actually the reverse — the study showed that when pop and fatty snacks were taken out of schools, the kids did not make up for them at home. Instead, they ate no worse at home and even better at school.

When healthier options are presented, everyone wins. Just as junk food is not good for kids, it is not good for adults. Removing junk food from your home benefits your whole family. Our bodies were not designed to live off unhealthy food. You do not need ANY junk food. Junk food makes you fat, destroys your health, and simply makes you feel bad. Trust me… you don’t need it.

What is “Junk Food”?

Just to clarify, for the purposes of this article I’m  talking about the cookies, sugary drinks, cakes, ice cream, frozen pizzas, and other highly processed foods that most people have in their homes. I’m not talking about a white flour free, dairy free, vegan, organic, “sticks & dirt” type diet. At this time, we’re speaking strictly about getting the empty calories that have virtually  no nutritional benefit out of your home.

Healthier Alternatives: Substitution is the plan

Guess what? It’s a bad idea to cut out unhealthy snacks and replace them by starving yourself. Our goal is to substitute healthier alternatives for chips, candy, cookies, etc. FYI, the less junk food in your diet, the less you will crave it!

Protein Bars: When you’re craving something sweet, a protein bar is good alternative. Most major grocery stores and even places like Target and Wal-Mart sell boxes of all-natural bars (Cliff bars, Zone Perfect, Pure Protein, etc.) These bars are always a better choice than cookies to satiate your appetite.

Fruits & Vegetables: You really can’t beat fruits and vegetables for a healthy snack. Nearly all major grocery chains sell containers of fresh cut fruit that’s perfect for a snack. In the past there has been some debate about the sugar content of some fruits, but trust me that no one has ever gotten fat from eating too much fruit. :0)

Flavored Seltzer or Water with Lemon: As a much healthier  (and zero calorie) alternative to sugary soft drinks, try flavored seltzer or water with lemon (or lime).

Yogurt with fruits & nuts on top: Ice cream can be replaced by non-frozen yogurt. It is highly likely your body is just craving something cold and sweet–so make it extra-refreshing with some generous chunks of real fruit.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For additional ideas you could Google a phrase like, “Junk Food Alternatives” or “Healthy Snacks.” As a a reminder, any kind of “Low Fat” or “Reduced Fat” cracker or cookie is still probably high in sugar and highly processed – skip these.

As always, Fit or fat? The choice is yours.

This article was written by Rich Brugger. He holds a Strength Conditioning and Weight Training Certification from ISMA and is Black Belt Master Instructor. He co-owns and operates Martial Arts for Life in New Providence, NJ with his wife Michelle (a certified personal fitness trainer, a certified nutritional consultant and Black Belt Instructor).

Martial Arts for Life

Making our community healthier & safer, one family at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

Martial Arts New Providence, NJ

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January 1, 2012 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment