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3 Keys to Fitness/Health Success
April 16, 2016, by Rebecca Jackson
"If it were easy….everyone would be in the best shape of their lives" – Rebecca Jackson

Change is HARD; which is why for most people, it is a challenge. Think about any changes you have gone through in life, whether that is moving away from home, starting a new job, getting married or moving in with someone… Change is never easy. Fitness, nutrition and weight loss change can be especially hard because a lot of times it involves breaking habits and starting new ones. However, what I love about health, fitness level and weight is that it is a change that involves us taking charge. We become the masters of our destiny.

We just need three things…

  1. Dedication: Are you dedicated to making some serious changes to your schedule to fit in healthy eating and exercise?
  2. Motivation: Are you motivated enough to make these changes to take charge of your health? And maybe even win a fitness challenge??
  3. Effort: Are you willing to put in the effort to make these changes last?
So, do you have what it takes?

It is so important that we focus a lot of attention on food for these goals. As much as we would like to believe we can workout and be able to eat whatever we want, our bodies disagree. It is imperative that we fill our bodies with healthy food.

Our food is our fuel. Today, I want you to start imagining your body as a car. To get the best energy out of our car and help the engine run, which works better….gasoline or soda pop??

Now let's flip that back over to our bodies. Which will give us the most energy….an apple with some healthy nuts on the side or a bowl of ice cream? Hopefully, you leaned toward the apple. We may want to believe that ice cream gives us energy, but what I hope you will learn through logging your food, is that the ice cream tends to make us tired and worst of all, lazy. Ice cream and other junk foods (ie: cake, chips, donuts, french fries, fast food) are just that…JUNK foods. They make our bodies junk. We don't want to be junk. We want to work to our best abilities. We want to put the best fuel in our bodies so we can work at optimal energy level.

Our bodies like the healthy stuff. When our body says, "I'm hungry," it is looking for vitamins, minerals, water, protein and healthy fat. This is why we can still feel hungry after responding to that hunger request with junk food.

MyFitnessPal is a took that can help us put fuel in our gas tanks. It gives us a daily caloric limit and in order for it to work, it requires we enter anything we put in our bodies into the app. That means anything that goes into our mouths, including the bite or two we took of the remaining mac n' cheese from our kids' plates, needs to go into the app. Remember, I mentioned this would be hard work. However, it is hard work with huge rewards. It will work, if you use the app as it is intended.

I hear all kinds of excuses for not using the app correctly. The biggest is the time constraint of typing in everything, especially for people who cook at home, or eat out. Let me remind you, MyFitnessPal is an app, which means it works on a computer and stores data. If you enter something into MyFitnessPal, it will not only remember that you ate it (which shortens the time it takes you to locate that same food again), but it will also remember what other foods you typically eat with that food.

For instance, if you ate a taco salad and had to enter separately:

  • ground beef
  • tomato
  • kale
  • avocado
  • black beans
  • salsa
  • corn

Then the next time you start typing "gro…," it will prompt you if it was ground beef. If it was ground beef, it will then suggest that maybe you also ate tomato, kale, avocado, and the rest. So, while initially MyFitnessPal involves a lot of typing, once you get your regular meals in the app, all you have to do is swipe yes or no.

A key question when entering an item into MyFitnessPal is "how much?" This is very important. The how much of what you eat makes a big difference. Here are a few ways to see how much of an item you ate….

Unless you are actually using either a scale, or measuring cups to measure something every time you eat, ALWAYS assume you are eating more when logging the food. Measuring out our food can sometimes be a huge wake up call for some of us.

MyFitnessPal will give a minimum caloric limit…do not EVER go under that.

Not eating DOES NOT equal weight loss.

Our bodies need fuel. If we do not give it fuel frequently, it will store fat.

You must eat to lose weight.

Try to keep healthy snacks on you at all times. For those of us on the go, eating out, and just busy bodies, the last thing we want to do is to stop our bodies from getting fuel. Remember, you must eat to lose weight. That, however, does not mean all food all at once. Give your body some fuel in the morning (not just coffee…but fuel!), have something mid-morning, again at lunch and then definitely something for dinner. Dinner should never be the only meal. Our bodies can only digest and use so much fuel at once. Just like our gas tanks, if you put too much in the car, it will overflow. In contrast, we do not overflow. Too much food in your body at once will cause your body to digest and use what it can, and then store the rest as fat.

Remember, this is going to be hard, but with dedication, motivation and effort, you can do this. You can take charge of your health. Let's start today.

Have fun & Be Active!
Rebecca from Build it for Life

Written by:

Rebecca Jackson
Rebecca is the Founder of Build It For Life.

Rebecca Jackson is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor. She is a working mom who believes that exercise should be part of everyday living. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington.