This Year I Am Going To Do It!

How many times have we told ourselves that?  I am going to join a gym and/or lose weight or pretty much change any behavior we know we shouldn’t be doing, but can’t seem to stop ourselves.  So we join a gym and we go for about a month tops. Or we go on a starvation diet and lose enough wait to make us happy with ourselves again then get right back on the bad food train because we really don’t know any better.  We never learned how to be healthy.

Aristotle is correct we are what we repeatedly do.  But what are we excellent at?  How many days have you looked in the mirror and thought?  I gotta make a change!  How many times have you made a change only to go back to your old habits and return to your previous state of being?  So if we repeatedly eat the wrong food, or drink too much, or  remain inactive we become excellent at those behaviors (habits).

Breaking a habit might be one of the toughest things we do in our lives.  Sometimes we don’t even realize these things are habits.  It is just the way we live our lives.

So how do you change a habit?  First you have to identify it as such.  Then and only then can you begin to address it.

Le’s look at an example of an unconscious habit the vast majority of people do.  If asked the following question the overwhelming majority of people would answer yes!  Ready?  “Do you want some fries with that?”  Instinctively and through repetition we say yes!

The HuffPo ran an article about the healthiest fast food french fry. And oxymoron for sure!  But the lowest calorie and fat content was in McDonald’s order of small fries. Which is 71 grams of food and contains 229 calories.  Do you know anyone besides in a kids meal that orders the small fries?   The large has almost 500 calories.  Some of you may remember the Documentary Supersize Me by Morgan Spurlock.   Here is the synopsis from Google of that film.

Director Morgan Spurlock’s social experiment in fast-food gastronomy sees him attempting to subsist uniquely on food from the McDonald’s menu for an entire month. In the process his weight balloons, his energy level plummets and he experiences all sorts of unexpected — and terrifying — side effects. He also examines the corporate giant’s growing role in the lives of American consumers and explores its methods of indoctrinating young people and its contribution to America’s obesity epidemic.

Here is the problem with this premise.  It isn’t McDonald’s fault that we over eat their product.  And to lay blame on the company for wanting to sell their product is taking the focus off ourselves and our culpability in our bad eating habits.

Do we as a society find it so hard to say “no” to a slick advertising campaign that they become solely responsible for our health issues? Or do we look ourselves in the mirror in the morning and tell ourselves we need to take control of our lives for us and our families.

And families are key here.  How many times have we eaten unhealthy foods at a fast food restaurant because we are taking the kids!  That is not to say that once in a great while a McDonald’s order can’t be on the agenda, but making it a habit is not healthy as Spurlock has shown.  By the way, McDonald’s never claimed to be a health food store.

Folks we learn negative habits from day one and teach them to our kids!  And the only way to overcome bad habits is to learn new and better habits and that is a tough thing to do!

You will need a plan and a coach.

Let’s get the world healthy!



Happy New Year and That Resolution is Back

Happy New Year readers and how many of you did it again?  You made  New Year resolutions.  It is a nice tradition isn’t it?  But how many of us really mean it, hey you know what, forget meaning it since we really do want to do those things.  Let’s talk about being able to follow through.  Have you ever uttered the words “then life got in the way?”  Since we have become Health Coaches we can’t count the times folks have said that to us.  Life or habits do get n our way.

When we make those resolutions we are full of fire and motivation.  This year we are going to do it!  This year will be different.  But until you change you and your habits. Noting will actually change in the long term.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Will Durant

And Durant has a point.  We have many habits in life and what we eat is a big one.  Most of our eating is subconscious.  Oh so now your saying to yourself, how can that be when it requires action on my part?   The answer is simple.  Your body demands certain things.  when your body is used to them it automatically tells you to eat something that has that “comfort factor”.  This is where the term comfort food comes in, it is not just comforting for the soul it is appeasing the bodies demand for that nutrient.  Good or bad your body wants it and your mind acts on that impulse.  If you doubt this take a drive by some spot that is making food.  Pay attention to your bodies reaction when you smell that cooking.  Heck this can work in your own home.  Your wife or you for that matter,  could be making something to take to to work and it smells so good you just have to try it.   So let’s look at what another great man had to say about habits.

It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them. Benjamin Franklin

Franklin was surely a wise man.  We can make a resolution to fix something in our lives but unless we address the underlying habits we will never achieve long term success.  You see Franklin and Durant are saying the same thing just from different angles.  Durant wants you to understand that by developing good habits, good things happen.  Franklin is showing us that bad habits will prevent us from developing good ones.

So that is why you need a support team and some instructions.  Sort of like a coach in football and a playbook.  And for you non-sports fans out there, a guide and a map. A coach can show you where the pitfalls are and a playbook can show you what habits you need to develop to break the old bad habits, the same goes for a guide and a map.

So if you made a resolution to get healthy or lose weight maybe going it alone isn’t the best idea.  Find a bunch of people who are going in that direction too and join them.  Get  on the team with a coach.  It can be an awesome feeling to take control of your life.


The Question is how long and how happy will you really be?

I can’t tell you how I cringe when I here these four letters uttered as a word.  YOLO!  While it is true that we really do only live once, the premise behind this phrase is “SO WHAT, DO WHAT YOU WANT”.   The problem with making this philosophy a universal way of life is that the rate of obesity in the country is well over thirty five percent in adults.

We certainly only live once and we live a much shorter life if we let obesity be part of our daily habits.  The CDC lists a range of issues caused by obesity.  Here is a list from their page on consequences.


People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:5,6,7

  • All-causes of death (mortality)

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)

  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Coronary heart disease

  • Stroke

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)

  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems

  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)

  • Low quality of life

  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders8,9

  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning10

None of that sounds like fun to me.  Getting obesity under control, then maintaining a healthy caloric intake and output, is key to a happier healthy life.

People used to use the words.  “Diet and exercise.”  The problem with that is the word diet had now become synonymous with binge dieting.  Which oddly is also a child of the YOLO mentality.  The idea “I want it now!”  So we starve ourselves go to the gym 5 days a week and totally destroy our lean muscle mass.  Then when real life gets in the way again, we stop going to the gym. Reward ourselves for having lost 20 pounds by allowing the cravings we have been having for the last 2 months to drive our eating habits. The weight comes right back, but this time not as muscle but as fat.  Now go back up and read the list from the CDC again.

So here is a good formula for success.  Begin by taking the excess weight off with a nutritionally balanced meal plan.  Learn what habits you are doing every day to prevent weight control and decrease your good health.  Once your weight is under control begin a healthy exercise program (one that can fit in your lifestyle). Be part of a community that is going in that same direction. And have a coach!



Joan and Mike Madden, Health Coaches

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