with author Heather Frey
change challenge: phase 4
New here? The Change Challenge is designed to allow participants to jump in where they feel comfortable and to go back and re-do a phase, when necessary.
PHASE 4: Now that you’re eating better, it’s time to get moving! Work, kids, life, stress, always seem to get in the way, but the truth is, those things will always be there, so you have to move anyway. Exercise actually relieves stress, it doesn’t add to it.
No liquid calories
Add ground flax seed
Buy fresh foods and produce and skip processed
Bring your lunch to work or bring it with you when you're out
Prepare your food for several days and have it ready to reach
Commit! You're ready.
Sign up for the class, buy the DVD, join the gym, hire the trainer, but commit to a fitness and set your workout schedule. You have absolutely nothing to lose, only to gain. If something isn't what it seemed, or you get bored, you can switch up at any time. The point is to incorporate working out into your week.
Persistence, and PATIENCE are what will form your body. The push to make your outside stronger makes your INSIDE stronger, which translates into everything else from your business to your relationships.
No liquid calories: On top of soda, no sugar drinks. Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean the sugar and calories aren’t absorbed just the same as solid food. Liquid calories add up quickly and often leave your hunger unsatisfied so you end up eating on top of those calories. Some of those fancy coffees at Starbucks can have as much sugar and calories as a piece of cake. Even drinks that claim to improve health like energy drinks, vitamin drinks and even fruit juices can add too much sugar. Also watch alcohol consumption. Wine may have health benefits but again, too much will stand in the way of your goals.
Tips and Tricks: If you love the occasional coffee-break, go for regular coffee with skim milk, a fat free latte, or tea. Stick to real fruit rather than fruit juice. Your best bet - stick with water.
No white pasta: Choose whole grain options or no pasta at all. White pasta acts like sugar in your body which shoots up your blood sugar when too much glucose floods your system at once. You feel energized for little while but then sends you for a crash. White pasta is made from processed white flour which is the cause of much of the squishy parts of our bodies.
Tips and Tricks: If you love pasta, try whole grain pasta or quinoa pasta. But even better, make pasta a sometimes food and opt for brown rice, quinoa, couscous or another whole grain with your protein. These are slow digesting carbs that keep your blood sugar steady, your energy up, and keep you full longer.
Add flax seed to your day: Flax seed is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid and said to be one of the most powerful plant-based foods in the world. There is some evidence showing that it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and stroke. It’s also rich in lignans, a powerful antioxidant, and contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is good! Flax seed must be ground to be beneficial or it will pass right through you without being absorbed. You can buy it already ground but it’s best and most fresh when you grind it yourself. Because of the fiber effect, add one tablespoon to your day and work up to two tablespoons. You can add it to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, whatever you can blend it into. It has no real flavor and blends easily.
Tips and Tricks: Grind enough for a week and keep it in a container front and center in your pantry or cupboard with a tablespoon next to it. Or put it next to the food you want to add it to. Use a coffee grinder to grind the flax into a dust consistency, or use a food processor or blender.
Buy fresh foods and skip processed: Aim for eating only (mostly) whole and natural. Processed foods are generally any food that comes in a box, styrofoam or crinkly bag (other than produce). They are almost all filled with chemicals, preservatives and little health. And what health there is, is often un-healthed by too much sodium, sugar, or fat. Canned and frozen veggies are fine in a pinch (as long as there’s nothing added - check the label), but nothing beats fresh, and choose organic if possible. Important vitamins and minerals can often be lost in packaging and processing, so to ensure you get all the nutrition you need, shoot for as much whole and natural produce as you can. Start cleansing your kitchen of all (or most) of these frozen, packaged meals. These foods aren’t just bad for your outsides, they’re bad for your insides.
Tips and Tricks: Use fruit on oatmeal, other whole grains, or in Greek yogurt to sweeten it up naturally. Eat both fruits and veggies for snacks, as well as for side dish, or cooked in recipes. Do some delving into the internet to find new and fast recipes that will take you just as long to prepare as the packaged stuff.
Bring your lunch to work: No eating out or take-out for lunch (only once in awhile). You’ll have a hard time losing layers or getting fit eating out or having take-out every day (remember phase 1?). These food are filled with too much fat, calories and sodium. Even the *healthy* choices on a menu often aren’t, with loads of added sodium to keep it from being bland. Also, because restaurants tend to make portions big, you eat more. Take control of your food day and know what you’re going to eat and how much. Another plus: you’ll save a bundle in lunch money.
Tips and Trick: Buy a small cooler or insulated lunch bag to bring with you to work. Prepare food in advance, enough for several days, so you can throw it together a lunch quickly the night before. If you have lunch meetings, eat something before you go so you can make wise and healthy choices from the menu.
Prepare food in advance so it’s ready to reach: Prepare enough food to last several days.The key to your success is planning—without question. You’re busy running through your day so who has time to prepare every single meal? But as I said earlier, don’t leave your hunger to chance, or chances are you may reach for the wrong foods. The best way to do this, is to have healthy food ready to reach. Have veggies cut, fruit bowls filled, chicken cooked, and the fridge stocked with exactly the foods you need for your day. The more organized the better.
Tips and Tricks: Foods like chicken, vegetables, fruit salads, soups, stews can be prepared in abundance and in advance. Having food ready-on-the-grab means you’re more likely to grab the right thing than the wrong one. It also means you can pull together a quick meal, (like in a minute) for on the go or if you’re racing out the door. Having food ready will change your relationship with food which will transform your body.
Join a gym Gym’s are fitness' greatest toolbox. The bigger gyms are filled with all different kinds of equipment to suit all kinds of training styles. You may like a smaller more intimate gym or a larger one with more amenities. You may want to find a gym with a Kids Club and a pool, or one that offers different classes. Visit and investigate the ones in your area and see if they’ll give you a free week-long pass. Gyms are generally happy to hand these out if you’re willing to let them show you around.
Hire a Trainer There’s no faster way to your fitness than with a personal trainer. They take all the guess workout of what you should be doing and create a plan specifically for your needs and goals. You can hire one at your gym or find a trainer who will come to your home. One of the best things about a trainer - they keep you accountable! Paying for it and having to show up on a certain day, at a certain time, makes it harder to squirm out of your workout . If you can afford one, they’re worth every penny. If your budget is tight, many trainers are willing to work with you for a few sessions and get you set up with a plan. You may also be able to get group rates if you share your training time with a friend. But do your research, ask around, check references and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. They have your health in their hands.
Sign up for a group class Classes are one of the most fun and motivating ways to get your fitness on. The group atmosphere keeps energy and spirits high, and as part of a group, you don’t feel so singled out. Signing up and paying for the classes helps keep you accountable motivated. There are so many different kinds of classes not mentioned on the list (in Phase 2) since gyms and studios are always coming out with their own forms of fitness. Find out what the studios and gyms are offering and see if you can try a free class.
Set up a home gym Home gyms are economical and convenient! If you already have some knowledge about working out but don’t like the big gym setting or the cost, you can set up your own gym if you have the space. A bench and few sets of hand weights will give you a great start. Research workouts or hire a trainer to come to your home. If you don’t have room for a lot of equipment, some hand weights, bands, and a Swiss ball (the big workout balls) will get you well on your way to tightening your body.
Invest in workout DVDs This is like having an instructor right in your home, teaching and motivating you. They’re convenient and cost effective and come in a variety of types and levels of fitness. You can buy them or check some out at your local library so you can test drive before you buy.