What I've Been Thinking About...
I have been thinking about different ways to improve my diet and came to the most obvious conclusion one could think of: if it is not in the house, you will not eat it. The inverse is also true. Easter Sunday was a great example of that as I wolfed down more cupcakes than I would like to admit! Then we brought the leftovers home which led me to wolfing down even more on Monday. Back to back days of cupcake destruction is not an ideal path for success. Lesson learned...I hope!
It is hard to turn down the temptations day in and day out when the stuff is right in front of you. I, myself, am an all or nothing kind of guy. If I am going in, I am going in. I don't do "just one bite" so I try to make up for that weakness with having strict discipline and saying "No". But, as you can see, it doesn't always work out and a moment of weakness turns into devouring a handful of cupcakes... or was it two handfuls?
So my advice is this, if you don't want to eat it, do not buy it. If you do not want your kids to eat it, do not buy it. If you do not want your other half to eat it, do not buy it. You see where I am going with this here? If you don't trust your ability to moderate your consumption of things than remove that part from the equation and do what Nancy Reagan wanted us all to do and "Just Say No!"
Fitness Tip of the Week
The value of using a wearable device like a Fitbit has been a total game changer for me. Personally, I use the device to track steps and for their "zone minutes" feature. I set a goal to average a certain number in each category by the end of the week and the device keeps me honest. The steps are self explanatory but let me describe how the zone minutes work. For my body type, zone minutes kick in when the heart rate exceeds 109 bpm. If you exceed 134, then you get double the minutes. That 109 mark often occurs on a brisk walk or doing work around the farm. The 134 number gets hit when I go out for a jog. Strength training doesn't always get me in either of these zones so I have to plan in cardiovascular training sessions in order to reach these numbers. This is something I was not doing before as I thought walking and strength training were enough. Turns out, I was wrong!
No matter your fitness level, a wearable device can be a great tool for increasing your activity levels and improving your overall health. It gives you a "Point A" which is where you are now, and by knowing this you can create a plan to get to "Point B". Say, for example, you want to walk more. That is a vague comment but when you use the device you get measurable data. You cannot make improvements to things that can't be measured. It is very easy to get lost on the path from A to B if you do not know where you are at the beginning.
One thing to remember: The better conditioned you get, the harder it becomes to hit these numbers. It will take more work for you to get your heart rate up because you are better conditioned. This is a good thing. Having the device allows you to monitor progress and encourages you to appropriately increase the workload to reach your numbers. More work equals a fitter you.
Building Strong Kids...
Marisa and I often discuss how we can encourage healthy eating habits in our daughter and not create an unhealthy relationship with certain types of foods or behaviors. An example of this would be using food as part of a reward system. We don't want to consistently say things like, "If you do X, we will let you eat Y". When you do that, X becomes a negative thing to them and Y becomes a reward. If you want X to be a part of their diet, you cannot put negative connotations around it.
The potential solution to this issue was presented to me while listening to a podcast last week. Katie Wells, aka Wellness Mama, said she encourages her six children to eat at least one bite of everything on their plate before letting them decide what they want to eat. By doing this, they introduce a variety of foods to their palate and the autonomy to control what they consume. They learn that if I eat healthy items, I feel good. If I eat unhealthy items, I feel like poop. If I eat too much, I may feel sick. If I eat too little, I will be hungry again soon after. These, like all lessons, are best learned when children explore them on their own.
Remember, if it is not in the house, it makes it hard for them to eat it.
What I've Been Reading
War is a Racket by Smedley Butler
This guy is one of those old school badasses whose toughness comes out in his writing. At the time of the writing in 1935, Butler was the most decorated soldier in American history as he was the recipient of two Medal of Honor awards. His entire life revolved around becoming a solder and in the end, came to the realization that the thing he loved so much was led by corrupt individuals who had no business being in the positions they were in. He breaks down his thoughts with three key points...
Quote of the Week
"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you" -- Gospel of Thomas