Monday, March 5, 2012

Adversity Boot Camp

Everyone will face challenges and adversity at some point in their life, and although it is important to get through it, taking something beneficial from the situation, learning from it, and moving forward is what we should all strive to do. While reading different articles on the Internet, I came across an article that wrote about some of the adversity a new recruit faces during basic training. The article was written specifically about the different situations in basic training, but these situations provided great life lessons that can be applied to anyone in everyday/civilian life with a little modification.

1. If You Can’t Carry It, Wear It, or Shoot It, Leave It Behind
During basic training, the men were given an objective that required packing only necessary supplies. Some of the men complained about not being able to take equipment that they thought was necessary for a successful mission, but towards the end those same men were glad that they did not have the extra gear to carry, and the mission was completed successfully. They were quickly taught to be successful with only the necessary tools. In everyday life, this lesson may not mean literally carrying around extra gear, but having a cluttered life that gets in the way of your priorities. Is getting the newest gadget necessary for living a happy life? Taking on too many tasks can also make our life cluttered. When overloaded with things to do, prioritize the most important, time sensitive tasks to be done first. By prioritizing what needs to be done, you will be able to get done what needs to be done and can get to the less important tasks at a later time.

2. Run, Shoot, Communicate
Everyday, the men practiced three skills that their commanding officer felt was essential for every soldier to possess in order to be effective. First, they went through physical training because if all else failed, they could run to their mission. After they exercised, they went to the shooting range because in a real firefight using their weapons had to be like a reflex. Finally, they worked on different communication skills because the men needed to be in sync and could not have success with any miscommunication. The type of person you want to be can be simplified to a few essential characteristics that, when done successfully, lead you to success. First decide what those essential characteristics need to be and what skill they will require you to have. These skills need to be worked on and practiced everyday. If you want to be a successful spouse, parent, friend, etc., decide what will lead you to success as a couple and work on it. One important characteristic to start working on for success is to always do what you say you are going to do. This skill will benefit you personally and professionally.

3. Practice Mindfulness
One of the men explained that he was much less accurate while shooting when he was preoccupied with everything else he had going on. He noticed that when he was totally focused on the range, he was much more accurate and faster. Have you ever noticed that when you are thinking about everything you need to do for the day, that it is much easier to make careless mistakes with whatever you doing at that time? It is so important to stay focused on the task at hand, be present in the moment. How can you do your best at something when you aren’t focused on what you’re doing? No matter how small the task may be, do it with 100 percent effort and move on. When you’re at work, be totally focused on your job, when you’re at home, be totally focused on your family, and when you are doing something for yourself, be totally focused on that. Make solid lines that distinguish what you want your focus to be on in order to get the most out of ever moment.

4. Outranking Someone Doesn’t Equal Control of Them
During basic training, the men talked about different drill sergeants. Some of the men talked about how much they respected one of their drill sergeants and would love to go into battle with him, but hated that they had to listen to another sergeant because of how he treated them. Being the boss might mean that you outrank somebody at work, and they might have to listen to you, but it doesn’t mean that person respects you. When I think about this principle, the America Indian Proverb, “When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us,” comes to mind. When having a leadership role over others it is important to lead them in a way that they will want to do their best because you are all in it together.

Life is filled with challenges, relationship challenges, family challenges, professional challenges, etc., but the best things in life never come easy. We should always be striving to better our situations and ourselves.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Too Much Food, Not Enough Nutrients

When you think of somebody that is malnourished, chances are a starving child in a desolate third world country comes to mind. It can easily be assumed that because somebody is obese, they are getting more than enough nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, that is often not the case. Easy access to processed, calorie-dense yet nutrient-deficient foods has resulted in children gaining weight while missing vital nutrients in their diet.

For the first time, the number of people that are obese has surpassed the number of hungry, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross’ Word Disaster Report. Obesity now affects one in five children in the United States. Not only does the excess weight cause health problems, the nutrient deficiencies that are associated with poor food choices are contributing to sickness and disease as well. Diseases that were once associated with the elderly are now being diagnosed in children, diseases such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, and arthritis. Obesity is a rapidly growing issue in the United States. According to the CDC, one third of adults and approximately 17 percent of all children and adolescents 2-19 years old are obese. No state has met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. We are a country of excess, but this excess consumption of processed foods is leaving us starving for nutrients and lacking in health.

We need to remember that food is fuel for our body. In order to keep our bodies working the way they were designed to, we need to be putting in more of the things it needs and less of the things it doesn’t need; more of the foods made by God and less of the foods made by man.

So what are you going to do, contribute to the problem or become part of the solution? Teaching our children healthy eating habits has to be a priority. Children learn their eating habits from their parents, whose parents learned their eating habits from their parents. If bad eating habits are being passed down, the cycle needs to be broken! We need to be good role models and provide healthy meal and snack options for our children.

Try taking small steps to change the way your family is eating. Small changes each day will add up to a lifetime of health and happiness. Make it a priority to work on Essential #3 with your family.


Low vitamin D levels may contribute to development of Type 2 diabetes. The Endocrine Society (2011, December 5). ScienceDaily.

Health consequences of obesity in youth: childhood predictors of adult disease. Dietz WH. Pediatrics. 1998 Mar;101(3 Pt 2):518-25.

Obese Children and Adolescents: A Risk Group for Low Vitamin B12 Concentration Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, MD; Noa Doron-Panush, RD; et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:933-936.

Vitamin status in morbidly obese patients. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 87, No. 2, 362-369, February 2008

Blood vitamin and lipid levels in overweight and obese women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition [1992, 46(11):803-8]

B vitamins, vitamin C and hematological measurements in overweight and ovese Thais in Bangkok. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. [2002, 85(1):17-25]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Can eating veggies make you look more beautiful?

We all eat well to provide the proper nutrients our body needs to function properly and exercise in order to provide oxygen to our tissues and increase our lean muscle mass right?? Not exactly. Vanity is unfortunately more of a motivating factor to people than achieving health. Most people eat well and exercise in order to lose weight and look better, not feel better. But even if health isn't the main goal of eating well and exercising, you should realize that looking good is a great side effect of being healthy!! A new study published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior found that eating fruits, leafy greens and other vegetables gave people a healthy glow, better than suntan, due to the carotenoids present in the food. Scientists asked study participants to look at 51 different Caucasian faces and adjust the skin tones to the hues ranging from those typical of a day in the sun to the glow from a carotenoid-rich diet. "We found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color," Dr. Ian Stephen, the study's lead researcher, now of the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. So even if you don't eat well to build a stronger-immune system, take in cancer-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber, and allow your body to function at 100%, then maybe looking healthier is a good motivating factor to get you started on the road to achieving health.

From left: suntanned, neutral, with carotenoid coloring
According to the new study, the students found yellower faces more attractive and healthy looking. Want the glow? Try upping your intake of carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, spinach and kale.

The latest weight loss fad isn't going to make you look healthy nor will it achieve lasting results. Diet pills and calorie restrictive diets are unhealthy and don't work long term. In order to look your best, eating well and exercising regularly need to be a lifestyle change. Remember 3 easy rules to follow in regards to food, increase the amount of good fats in your diet while decreasing the bad fats, make sure the protein in your diet comes from grass fed/organic sources, and cut out the sugar by incorporating whole grains and reducing the amount of processed, refined foods. Here's the link to a great book which can guide you through these 3 rules:

Nutrition Book

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Start Eating for Three

Have you ever heard the expression “Eating for two?” Immediately that expression makes most people think of a pregnant woman eating for herself and for her unborn child. So naturally, the expression eating for three would mean that the woman is carrying twins right?! Think again..

About a year ago, I heard the expression "eating for three" and it has always been something I try to keep in mind when I am about to cook dinner or order something from a restaurant. Eating for three means that you are eating for yourself, for your family, and for God. Eating for three is a simple idea that really makes a lot a sense if you think about it.

Eating for yourself is probably the most natural concept because, well, you should want to eat to be healthy, have more energy, and look good! Eating for your family is important because when YOU eat healthier you set a good example for your family. It is also a safe bet that eating healthier will give you a better quality of life and create more time for you to spend with family. Many times parents get so caught up in sacrificing everything for their children that they stop taking care of themselves. When you neglect your own health in order to take care of your children, you are actually doing them a disservice. If you are unhealthy and develop disease in your body, what will happen to your children, to your spouse? Will they be forced to watch you suffer through life, visit you in the hospital, or worst of all go through life without out you? Although you may have never thought about it in this way, being healthy and active is the most important thing you could do for your family. Take time to take care of yourself and in turn you will be doing something amazing for your family! Eating for God may seem a bit out there to you, or it might make total sense, I guess it just depends on where you are spiritually. I’m going to say that for the purposes of this post, you do believe that God created us. With that being said, our body is not for us to destroy or do whatever we want with. In fact, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” We have to understand that our bodies are just “on loan” during our time on Earth and we need to take care of what God gave us.

You need to eat every meal for yourself, for your family, and for God. You need to respect your body by making sure that the majority of food you eat is food that is natural, created by God. The further a food product is from its natural state, the more processed it is and the more unrecognizable it is by your body. Food is meant to provide energy and nutrients which keep your body healthy and active. Everything that goes in your mouth is processed and is either beneficial or destructive to your body. Think about this when trying to decide between taking the time for a home cooked meal or grabbing McDonalds on the way home! Always remember to eat for 3.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Setting and Achieving Goals

We first wanted to apologize for the enormous span since our last blog. We have been extremely busy over the past few months and finally got some time to post a new entry.

With New Year’s day being only two weeks ago, I’m sure keeping the New Year’s resolution hasn’t been extremely difficult. In fact, a recent statistic says that 63% of people keep their resolution for up to two months. However, 25% of people give up right around two weeks according to a recent survey. For some people a resolution might include getting a new promotion or finishing a 5k race, and it would be understandable for them to maybe “resolve” this issue earlier in the year. What about the people that want to really change their lives or health by eating better or exercising more. Those resolutions are not something that will be accomplished in a matter of months. They are goals that would hopefully last a lifetime!

So how do you keep those resolutions for changing your lifestyle. A few different articles that I found have some great tips to help ensure successfully reaching your goals. If you haven’t thought about something you would like to resolve this year, maybe these tips will give you inspiration towards a few ideas. :

Be realistic: This is an extremely important factor when trying to set goals for yourself. It might not be realistic to lose 120 pounds with a one year span. The most surefire way to fall short of your goal is to make one that is unattainable. It might be better to break large goals into several small goals.

Plan ahead: Creating a plan of actions is a great way to ensure success. If I decided to run a marathon three weeks prior to the race, I might not have the best results. A New Year’s resolution, or any goal, is the same way. Try to determine what you really want to accomplish in your life and create a plan for success.

Outline your plan: The plan for success does not have to be all positive. In fact, it is highly advised to decide how you will deal with failures along the way. Knowing what you will do when you don’t feel like working out or need to have one more cigarette is an important way to stay focused on your goals. If working through these issues means having a friend or family member to hold you accountable, do it. If it means doing daily affirmations and envisioning your life after you goal has been reached, do it.

Talk about it: Goals are not like wishes. In fact, the more people you tell about your goal, the more people you will have to lean on for support. Even if you can’t get support from everybody you talk about your goal with, your odds for support can only go up with a greater number of people. Also, the more you talk about it the harder it is to forget about.

Reward yourself:
If your goal is to begin working out consistently or eating a health diet, this doesn't mean that you can miss an entire week at the gym or eat an entire bag of Oreos. Instead, reward your progress by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. For example, if you have been sticking to your plan to workout consistently, maybe plan a fun outdoor activity with friends for a future workout instead of making a trip to the gym.

Track your progress: Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing an enormous amount of weight, focus on losing that first five. Keeping a food diary may help you stay on track.

Don't beat yourself up:
If you have a donut one morning, don’t let it ruin the entire day. Many people will ruin an entire day of healthy eating because the messed up early on in the day. If you miss a workout during the week, forget about it and try not to miss any more that week. The University of Maryland Medical Center used the analogy of sailing to discuss this point. “You almost never go directly from point A to point B. You set a course and periodically take readings of your position then make adjustments as you go along.” Obsessing over the occasional slip won't help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take each day one at a time.

Stick to it: Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. So for those people that give up after 2 weeks, their goal never really had a chance. It does take persistence, but your new healthful habits will become second-nature over time.

Keep trying: If by mid-February, you have completely given up on your resolution, don’t beat yourself up over it. Start over again, but go at it at a different angle! There's no reason you can't make a "New Year's resolution" any time of year.

Hopefully this year brings a lot of great success to everybody, but wishing and hoping for something to change in your life may not be the most reliable plan. Having a goal in mind that motivates you, creating a plan of action, and staying focused and positive are a much more plausible path toward success.

University of Maryland Medical Center: New Year's Resolutions Medical Guide (April 18, 2007)
University of Maryland Medical Center: Expert Advice on Maintaining Resolutions (April 18, 2007)
Lifehacker: Ten commandments of goal-setting (December 28, 2005)
Psychology Today: The Goals That Guide Us (July 22, 2003)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Barefoot Running

The saying goes “If you want to run, all you need are a pair of shoes.” But what if you don’t even need the shoes, how about we change the saying to “If you want to run, all you need are a pair of feet!” Humans have evolved to run barefoot over the past 2 million years. When the terrain in Africa shifted from forest and woodlands to desert plains with low brush, many new food sources became available. How all of this affected the evolution of running is really interesting. Humans run at a speed that makes most animals they chase gallop. When a quadruped gallops they are unable to pant, forcing them to become overheated and exhausted in about 10-15 minutes. Although humans cannot run fast enough to catch the animal, they are able to maintain a speed that ensures the heat exhausted animal will be their next meal. So how did humans go from barefoot running to wearing shoes named “The Beast” (a motion control shoe with EXTREME support and cushioning)? Although there is a need for foot protection since barefoot running can be painful with gravel and broken glass to worry about, but why do we need all of the cushion? Modern running shoes are a fairly new concept, being about only 40 years old, but they have changed the landscape of running and the people who run. With all of the cushioning and support in modern running shoes, the human foot gets weak. This causes problems not only in the foot, but all of the lower extremities. Barefoot running can increase foot strength and a Harvard study reported that increasing foot strength by just 2% can decrease injury by 50%. The study also reported that injuries from landing on the heel while running are less likely to occur with barefoot running since there is a shift from running heal-to-toe to running on the balls of your feet. This increases efficiency because landing on your heel while running causes the forward motion of the leg comes to a standstill and the momentum must then be recreated (causing you to use more energy and run less efficiently). Shoe companies know this and are beginning to design shoes with more flexibility, less cushion and support, and more freedom. Nike has the “Free” and Vibram makes a wide variety of “Five Fingers.” If you have never tried running barefoot, I would suggest you give it a try. There is no investment needed to start, all you need are your two feet. Start slow by running a few laps around the back yard, it will take a little adjusting but the benefits of preventing injury and improving performance will pay off.

  1. Practice proper form- You should aim to land to the ball of your foot and gently bring your heel down. The landing should feel springy without tightness or pain (these can indicate improper form.)
  2. Alternate between sneakers and bare feet- You need to work yourself into barefoot running slowly, start by running 500 feet barefoot after your normal run with shoes on. Work your way up to a few sets of running 500 feet and gradually up to half-mile barefoot runs and more.
  3. Choose your surfaces carefully- The ideal surface is a flat grass area free of rocks, such as a soccer or football field. You will eventually build up thicker skin on the balls of your feet and will be able to run on harder surfaces.
  4. Consider minimalist shoes- The Nike "Free" or Vibram "5 Fingers" are a great way to work into barefoot running.
  5. Try a barefoot walk- You can strengthen the muscles of the foot and ankle more when walking barefoot than walking with sneakers. When walking you do not need to worry about staying on the balls of your feet, a normal heel strike is suitable.

Harvard Study- Videos of Forefoot strike vs Heel strike

The Barefoot Professor

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Deepest Fear- By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.