Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

The five R's of Motivation

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Nov 06, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

Getting Motivated to Change

If you are struggling to follow your weight management program, it may be because you are having difficulty maintaining motivation and commitment to weight control. Understanding the process required to increase your motivation may help you put your knowledge into action.

Motivation is more complex than simply wanting to do something. Your motivation to pursue a particular behavior is a reflection of your biological programming and psychological factors, such as your value system and the price you attach to success.

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The Five Rs of Motivation help you determine how motivated you are to lose weight. Ask yourself:

  1. Relevant – How is weight management relevant in my life?
  2. Risks – What are the risks in my life if I do not manage my weight?
  3. Rewards – What are the rewards if my life if I manage my weight?
  4. Roadblocks – What are the roadblocks to weight management in my life?
  5. Remove – How can I remove the roadblocks in order to manage my weight?

It’s important to acknowledge the cost of making a change so that it does not subconsciously undermine your motivation to change. It’s even more important, however, to focus on the value of the change in terms of your overall lifestyle. Motivation needs to be combined with readiness to change in order to stimulate action. Change rarely occurs in a straight line, and you may move back and forth through stages of readiness to change before you commit to making a lifestyle change. There are five stages of readiness for weight control – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. These stages of readiness can be helpful to long-term weight management and lapses.

Lapses are a normal and common part of changing behavior. The important thing is not to give up simply because you’ve had a setback. Every step, even a step backward, is informative if you analyze and learn from it, using it to help you move toward the point where you can maintain your commitment to weight control.

*from the OPTIFAST Lifestyle Education Series™ 'Motivation to Change'

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Happy Halloween Everyone!

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 @ 01:00 PM

Happy Halloween from all of us at Step Ahead! Below you will find 10 living healthy naturally tricks and treats for a healthy Halloween. Enjoy! 

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Healthy Halloween Tricks

1. Create a sugar budget.
We have talked about the importance of budgeting sugar in past articles, but this is extremely important at Halloween. Sugar weakens the immune system, making us all more vulnerable to colds and other viral infections. (1) Children and adults should keep total sugar under 6 teaspoons per day, or 40 grams. Remember that is the amount of sugar in half a can of coke or in a quarter of a cupcake.

In the days leading up to Halloween, help your children decide where their sugar budget will be spent. We use the concept of "sugar dollars" to help maintain our sugar budget. After trick or treating, put candy away and limit amount consumed per day. Creative ideas include trading candy in for money, giving candy away to those less fortunate and creating a neighborhood "candy bank" that can be used for specific gatherings.

2. Eat before trick-or-treating or parties.
Attending the festivities on a full stomach can prevent overindulgence during trick or treating or holiday festivities. Getting plenty of protein, water and fiber before leaving the house will help control cravings for high sugar foods.

3. Walk throughout the neighborhood.
Make Halloween an active holiday, by walking throughout your neighborhood. Exercise helps to metabolize sugar and activate digestive enzymes. Daily exercise through the holiday season, will prevent excessive weight gain, while boosting immune function. (2) This is true for children and adults.

4. Buy treats other than candy.
Giving out a variety of treats, including toys, crayons, gift certificates and candy will help to minimize everyone's exposure to sugar. Try to pick candy with fewer dyes or artificial sweeteners, since some children may have reactions.

5. Create a neighborhood Halloween / holiday action committee.
Working together in the neighborhood to minimize sugar exposure may also help prevent your children from a candy coma. Maybe only two houses give out candy, while the others give out other treats.

6. Start your cold-and-flu prevention strategy now.
There are many natural herbs and supplements that build immunity and decrease our chances of catching viral infections. My favorite is astragalus, a Chinese herb,that acts as an antiviral and antibacterial. I recommend taking this every day, but increasing to three times per day at the onset of cold symptoms. The average starting dose is 500 milligrams for adults and 250 milligrams for children. Increasing vitamin D3 supplementation may also help. Most adults benefit from daily supplementation between October and March with 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, while children should be supplemented with 1,000 IU per day.

7. Begin juicing.
Juicing is another great trick-and treat to boost immunity and energy. Juicing increases the concentration of antioxidants in the body, resulting in a higher oxygen state. When juicing, I often advise my patients to have fun: mix colors and different types of fruits and vegetables, but always pair any bitter with a sweet fruit or vegetable. My favorites are apple, pineapple and honey or apple, carrot and ginger. I recommend juicing at least four times per week.

8. Prepare your spice cabinet for cold-and-flu season.
So many great herbs and spices keep our immune system balanced and have antiviral properties. Garlic and onions are powerful antivirals, found also in a homeopathic remedy, allium cepa. Soups with garlic and onions often seem to help colds by increasing antiviral activity. Turmeric and cayenne pepper are anti inflammatories and can help thin nasal secretions. Keep these stocked in your kitchen and add in your favorite recipes.

9. Create a stress-management plan.
With holidays, stress often increases and many of us will neglect our self care rituals. Finding 15 minutes per day to "zone out" or relax can help boost immune function. Regular acupuncture, massage and yoga provide immune support by lowering cortisol, our stress hormone.

10. Sleep.
Sleep, finally, is the ultimate protector of the immune system. Both children and adults should maintain consistent sleep schedules through the holidays. Most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep, while most children need 10 hours. "Sleeping in" does not compensate for an irregular sleep cycle through the week.

This Halloween, begin treating yourself to a proactive healthy regimen using these living healthy naturally tricks. Starting now, as we prepare for Halloween, guarantees a healthy winter.

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