If you have been relying on inspiration and will power in order to stay motivated, you’ve set yourself up for failure because inspiration fades and will power eventually gives out.
So, how do you stay motivated to move forward in your personal life, your professional life, and your spiritual life? You stay motivated by having a purpose, and that purpose motivates you when the purpose is bigger than you. To create a purpose that is bigger than you means that you will need to be of service to others. So, the question to ask yourself is who are you serving.
If you have been considering starting a running routine, there is no better time to start than now. The changing of seasons from Summer to Fall bring about cooler weather that makes this the ideal time to start running. I love running in the fall and winter because I don’t become overheated and I feel as though I have more energy in the cooler temps. The other reason is because running gives me the discipline and reason to go outside during a period when I may normally stay indoors.
The Benefits of Starting a Routine NOW
Allow me to offer a little nudge as to why you should start your routine now.
• Physical Health: This is the obvious reason for starting and staying with any exercise routine. If you want to address issues with how to manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or a host of health maladies related to a modern sedentary lifestyle, you need to create some movement. • Mental Health: This area of health is finally getting its due for a major reason why you should exercise. Research consistently shows that exercise does an amazing job in relieving stress and anxiety, providing you with better focus, calm, and clarity. Just last week I posted a video about how a walk for as little as two minutes can help relieve stress and return a clarity to your mind. • Mental Wellbeing: Not to be confused with Mental Health, Mental Wellbeing is focused on your outlook on life. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, making us feel better and more optimistic. This better wellbeing allows us to better handle the stressors that come up during any given day.
If you have further doubts about whether you are ready to start a routine now because of your age, current health, or because you have never had an exercise routine, I’ll alleviate those concerns now.
You can start running at any age and there are countless articles of people discovering or re-discovering running well into their senior years. So don’t let age be the thing that stops you. If you worry about how running will impact your knees or other joints, you shouldn’t. Researchers have found that running actually strengthens your joints as well as the bones. As with any exercise routine, consult with your doctor first and shar with him/her what you want to do. Your doctor may be able to provide you some very specific exercise information that exactly fits your health needs. And if you are unable to run, that is ok! Start by walking and then build up into a running routine. Just start moving and start today!!
See your doctor: This is especially important if you have not regularly exercised. Tel the doctor that you want to start a running routine and ensure that you physically ready. The doctor can also recommend routines that fit your specific health needs.
If you have a retailer dedicated to runners, visit them for a fitting. Properly fit shoes will prevent injuries, and in general make your periods of exercise more comfortable. Being cheap on shoes is not the best plan as not all feet fit the same, and thus you want shoes that specifically fit the differences of your feet. Here is an example; Me, being the Wide-Body, carry around more muscle weight than the average guy who runs track. Thus I need shoes that are designed for “Clydesdales” (Men who weigh more than 205lbs). Certain shoes styles and certain manufactures will not work for me, but by working with a good retailer, I can find the shoes that meet the needs of my feet. If you don’t have access to a quality retailer, then check out this article for what to consider when buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857
Don’t over do it in the beginning: You will likely feel a little stiff or sore after your first few times out. That is normal and should be welcomed. This tell you that muscles are being used in a good way. Nonetheless, the goal is not to have you run a marathon tomorrow. The goal for now is to start exercising and to create a consistent pattern of exercise. Over doing exercise when you start will leave you hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and likely injured. Set a goal to improve with each week in manageable increments.
Employ the interval method: One way to prevent “over doing it” is to use the interval method of running for one minute, then walking for one minute, then running again for a one, etc. You eventually build up to longer periods of running until you are strong enough that all you do is run. There are several run/walk routines you can find on the internet, here is one that I think is pretty good: https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/how-to-start-running
Enjoy!: Have fun with your exercise. Look around as you run and you may be surprised at the things you see that you never notice while driving. Listen to podcasts and expand your knowledge. Use this time to meditate by clearing your mind. But whatever you do, enjoy the time you are putting into yourself and enjoy the results of that dedication and discipline.
In upcoming articles, I’ll do a few features on proper form and equipment to consider before your next run.
YUM!! This meal “just works” on so many levels; 1. I doesn’t take a lot of time to make this meal, 2. It is healthy, 3. The colors pop! The flavors pop! The textures are amazing, 4. My local grocer has sirloin steak on sale!
This recipe will definitely be turned into a video for The Wide-Body
Are you waiting to have everything “just right”, to have it “perfect” before you start exercising, opening a business, talking to your children, or to begin enjoying the life that you deserve?
Stop letting “perfect” be the enemy of “good enough”. Nothing will ever be perfect because nothing is perfect. If you don’t start today, you will be in this same position a week from today, a month from today, a year from today.
Start exercising, now. Start your new business, now. Talk to your children, now. Enjoy the life you deserve, now.
I’ve had several conversations with folks about exercise, and many times the conversation goes something like, “Yes, I know I need to get started” I used to think that the “pain” of not exercising was less than the “pain” of foregoing some other activity. I realize now that there is a segment of people who truly want to start, but they are unsure of how to start exercising. So, instead of lacing up their shoes and going for a walk, they instead stay, work late, or watch television. They maintain a sedentary lifestyle because are doing what they know.
To those folks, I want to say, “Please don’t overthink exercise. Just go out and move. Shoot for 30 minutes of movement each day, whether that is walking, gardening, riding a bicycling, yoga, dancing, or tai chi/qi gong and other meditative exercises. The goal is to create movement, and once you feel comfortable with 30 minutes, then exercise for 45 minutes, and then an hour.
The link I feature below is to an article I really like because it comprehensively reviews how to start an exercise routine and how to stay motivated. It features topics on the mental blocks that are stopping you from exercising, how much exercise you need, how to start, how to stay motivated, and a list of exercises you may enjoy.
This is part 2 of a two- part article focused on sugar addiction. In this article, I will discuss the historical sugar consumption in the US, how the level of consumption in the US compares to other countries, how to recognize hidden sugars, the ways you can break a sugar addiction, and a plan for moving forward.
Historical Sugar Consumption in the US
I think historical context is important as it will give a context as to how much our sugar consumption has grown through the years.
You can see that our appetite for sugar has grown steadily for nearly 200 years. Interestingly, the period from the 1920’s through 1960’s, the consumption of sugar was relatively flat. Then in the ‘60s, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) hit the market, creating a boom in processed foods, and a resulting increase in sugar consumption.
How does the consumption of sugar in the US stand up to consumption in other countries? Historical perspectives are difficult to obtain, but here is a view of the DAILY consumption.
Average Daily Sugar Consumption Per Person (grams)
Clearly, the US leads in consumption. Those daily numbers equate into approximately 130lbs of sugar consumed by every American, each year. 126grams equates to a little more than 25 teaspoons. The USDA recommendation for sugar consumption is that it should not exceed 10% of the individual’s daily calorie intake. For a standard 2000 calorie diet, 10% equates to 13 teaspoons, or 65grams. That means, on a daily basis, Americans are consuming 2X the amount of sugar that is recommended.
I do find it interesting that other Western nations fill out the Top 10 spots. Since the US is a country of immigrants and initially founded by folks of the West, I wonder if our collective immigrant experience has influenced our sugar consumption. Maybe a food historian can run with that idea and see if there is a story to be had.
Where Is All the Sugar Going?
I’m surprised at all the places where you can find sugar. A really good place to better understand where sugar is hidden is at sugarstacks.com. On the site, they pictorially point out how much sugar in the foods many Americans regularly consume. They use sugar cubes to represent 4 gram increments of sugar (1 teaspoon is equal to 5 grams)
So, check out these surprises
I think these pictures are enlightening. If so, you are probably now asking, “How do I kick this sugar habit?” Let’s take that on next.
How to Break A Sugar Addiction
The advice below is based upon recommendations from the psychologist and the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic has a 10 Day Sugar Detox program and I refence that program in the links below.
Steps you can take to break a sugar addiction
Recognize the issue : I shared my story in part 1 of this story. For me, it was the realization that I had a craving to eat, and yet, I wasn’t hungry. The body was craving the dopamine hit.
Look for triggers: Do you binge eat when you are stressed; when you are tired or go through an extended period of little sleep; After consuming alcohol, you just have to have something to eat, you consistently binge at the same time of the day. Recognize these triggers and you can be mentally prepared to say to yourself, “I am not hungry, and I will not allow sugar to rule my life”
Remove temptation: Remove all the sweet and starchy food from your home. If you are craving the food bad enough, you will drive to the store. 9 times out of 10, the craving will go away before you arrive at the store.
Drink more water: 1oz water for every 2lbs of weight. A 100lbs person should drink 50oz of water each day.
Have a plan for when you have a craving: Keep healthy snacks nearby. Eat some lean protein and something high in unsaturated fats, e.g. nuts and avocado.
Track your results: If you slip, fine. Don’t beat yourself up. Look at how many days you did not slip and how well you are doing
Get help: If you find this process to be overwhelming or too difficult, get help from a trained psychologist.
A few thoughts on going “Cold Turkey” vs a Moderation approach. Some folks advocate for a moderation approach with the belief that you can wean yourself off of sugar. Their theory goes that it is too difficult to get away from sugar because it is in so much food, so we should slowly wean people off sugar and show them a way to live with lower consumptions of sugar. This theory is one used by folks who wean themselves off of nicotine.
My belief is that moderation does not work for sugar addictions, and that is because nicotine addiction is different and reacts differently in the brain. Sugar addiction is more like an opioid, and going cold turkey has shown to work best in these types of addictions.
What Can You Expect to Happen When You Quit Sugar?
Nearly 40 percent of Americans are considered obese. By eliminating sugar, not only will you lose weight, you will also lower your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke due to high blood pressure. Cutting out sugar could also help you eliminate acid reflux, migraines, joint pain, rashes, anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome. And although we associate sugar as a quick energy boost, eating less of it could improve your energy levels overall.
Here are some simple steps that could have a profound impact on you health.
Be conscious of what you eat: Remember what you saw in the Sugar Stacks example? Sugar is hidden in many products
Read the labels: Since sugar is hidden, read the labels on the food you purchase. Look for the added sugar and eliminate those foods from your diet
Consume More Complex Carbohydrates: Leafy green vegetables are a very good example. Look for vegetable high in fiber
Consumer More Lean Protein and Foods high in unsaturated fats: Fish, poultry, nuts and avocados have the protein and fats to make you feel full, and lessen the likely hood that you will be hungry and trigger a craving.
Remember, you only need 13 grams, or less, of sugar a day. That is only 3 sugar cubes.
Best of luck to you. Please comment below if you have fought through sugar addiction and won, or if you are now recognizing that something isn’t right with you, and you are beginning your fight.
This article is about sugar addiction, the medical research behind sugar addiction, how we should be defining “sugar”, and how sugar acts in the body. In a second article, I will discuss the historical sugar consumption in the US, how the level of consumption in the US compares to other countries, how to recognize hidden sugars, the ways you can break a sugar addiction, and a plan for moving forward. Before we start, I’ll share my personal view into what sugar addiction looks like. Maybe you’ve had something similar happen to you.
I took notice that something wasn’t quite right when I was consistently hungry at 10pm each evening. There was this gnawing desire, a craving for something to eat. What finally clued me in that something was wrong was when I realized that I wasn’t really hungry, but I still wanted something to eat. The pantry was nearly empty, but there were leftovers from the evening’s meal in the refrigerator. But I didn’t want the food in the frig. I wanted chips, or cookies, or bread! If I were hungry, I would have willingly accepted the finely cooked chicken, but my craving was saying “NO, ONLY EAT BREAD”. And that is when I woke up to a realization that maybe I had a problem.
Fortunately, I had a visit already scheduled with my doctor, and I asked him “Is sugar addiction really a ‘thing’?” And that is when he showed me this pic.
The picture startled me, and I knew I needed to do more research on the topic of sugar addiction.
What do Medical Researchers say?
When the first research papers came out and drew conclusions that sugar could be an addictive substance, the research was widely ignored as sugar is a substance that has been with us for a millennium or more. In a part 2 to this paper, I’ll show how it is the amount of sugar that we ingest each day for being the culprit of triggering sugar addictions today. Nevertheless, more research continues to be published and a growing body of evidence is now showing a direct connection between sugar consumption and addiction. Here are some noted researchers and what they have found.
Eric Stice, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, used fMRI scans to find that sugar triggers the same brain regions that are triggered when a person uses drugs like cocaine. Dr. Stice also found that heavy users of sugar develop tolerance, i.e. needing more and more to feel the same effect, which is a symptom of addiction.
Nora Volkow, M.D., a psychiatrist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, completed similar research using imaging techniques of the brain and found similarities between the brains of people who are obese and people who abuse drugs and alcohol.
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., a psychologist at Princeton University, was even able to induce sugar dependency in rats.
And yet, there are still critics to this research. An article in the European Journal of Nutrition (EJN) reviewed some of the science and concluded that sugar addiction is not real. The EJN states that binging on so-called junk foods only occurs in the context of food deprivation and that obesity can be controlled by eating in moderation—even allowing for the consumption of junk food every now and then.
Before drawing a conclusion on the veracity of sugar addiction claims, let’s observe what is happening in the body when someone consumes food.
Sugar in the Body The processing of carbohydrates into glucose is how the body creates energy for itself to use. Dopamine, the chemical in the brain that is released to make us feel good, is released we digest food and begin to turn food into glucose. The dopamine makes us feel good, and the more sugar we consume, the more dopamine is released. The spike in glucose gives us energy, making us also feel good
Simple carbs (starches) and table sugar (sucrose) quickly turn into glucose once consumed, and thus quickly triggers a flood of dopamine. The instant flood of glucose is too much for the body to manage, thus there is a secondary trigger, one that causes a spike in insulin. The insulin kicks the liver into gear to capture the excess glucose and turn it into fat which is stored around the belly. This fat is the evolutionary way of storing energy for those days when ancient man didn’t have a consistent food source. Now when the insulin spikes, the source of energy is pulled from the body, put into fat storage, and “crash”. This crash feels as if we ran out of energy, and essentially, we did, and so we begin to feel terrible. The body says, “I know how to feel good! Give me some more sugar, the dopamine will kick in, and we’ll feel great!” And this is how the cycle of addiction starts. Throw in the fact that the fat that is being stored in the body is not being burned off, you’ve created additional health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and the onset of diabetes.
This is a good time to put some definitions around “What is Sugar?”
When we say “sugar”, what should be concerned about? What is “sugar”:
White flour used to make breads, cookie, cakes, and other baked goods
Starches found in some vegetables and fruits: Potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, plantains
Starches found in processed grains: white rice, rolled oats, farina,
Natural Sugars: Honey and Agave Syrup
Should we be concerned about fruit (fructose)? Fructose is tied up in fiber when it is consumed as fresh whole fruit, and thus takes longer to release into the body. This prevents the spikes in glucose and the impending crash. YOU MUST AVOID fruit juices (the fructose is no longer bunched in the fiber) and canned fruit that canned in light of heavy syrup (sucrose).
What is the definition of an addiction?
To define what is an addiction, we have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is a guidebook widely used by mental health professionals to diagnose many mental health conditions. This is the fifth edition of the book. The food does not specifically call out “sugar addiction”, but it does recognize “Binge Eating Disorder”, which is essentially what we are discussing regarding sugar addiction. The symptoms of binge eating disorder are:
Eating much more rapidly than normal.
Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
Based upon what we’ve read here, I think it is evidently clear that Yes, sugar can be addictive and sugar addiction is a very real issue.
In part 2, I will discuss the historical sugar consumption in the US, how the level of consumption in the US compares to other countries, how to recognize hidden sugars, the ways you can break a sugar addiction, and a plan for moving forward. Stay tuned.
Just by taking action, you can inspire people. You don’t need to stand on a platform and evangelize in order to inspire. The old saying is still true today; action speaks louder than words.
Go be a positive influence in you community TODAY. Lace up your walking shoes and go for a walk. You will feel better and someone in your family or community may be inspired too also walk. And that person’s actions may inspire others, and still others. Your simple act of walking could inspire a movement of people who rediscover the joy of exercise, of clearing their head of all the stress that builds up during the day, and eventually a community of healthier people.