Today I want to talk about something that can distract you from reaching your own health goals. It’s not food, it’s not drink, it’s not even about exercise, but it is something that will distract you and keep you from reaching your best potential. It’s something I am working on currently in my own house.
I’m cleaning up my act.
What I mean is I am letting go…of things! These things have been holding me back. You see, Ive held on to things from childhood. Things that I had forgotten about. That is, till I decided I needed to get rid of clutter everywhere, to clear my minds. For our sanity!!!
I’ve collected a lot of things I thought would be cool to have for decoration, things we bought for amusement because they were a buck or two, and things…just not willing to part with.
There are mementos and objects from my grandmothers, trinkets from childhood, remember those? I am now in my 60’s, trying to clean out, and live a little simpler.
I know I am not the only one with this dilemma. I think to some extent, we are all guilty of putting things out-of-sight to deal with at another time. We tell ourselves we will get to it, but then we don’t. We keep pushing it off. So why is this an issue?
Things are just things. Yet I find I can’t move forward without being able to let go of the past. Yup. Some things are healthy, but too much of anything can turn into mental and sometimes physical clutter. So you may be wondering, “what can I do to let go?” Well, I’ll tell you. Here are my tips.
7 Tips to Let Go of Clutter
- Take it a little bit at a time:
Don’t try and unload or go through all your stuff in one sitting. Try a couple of boxes a night, or space it out so it doesn’t become overwhelming. It can be hard to go through things if there are memories or sentimental feelings attached to them. Heck, sometimes you may want to weed through a box, and then do a second pass to get rid of more from that container. I do that. It helps me let go gradually.
- Try the “If I haven’t used it in a year, it goes” rule:
Honestly, if you aren’t using it and you don’t see yourself using it within a year, then it’s time to consider getting rid of it.
- * Ask yourself “Does this bring me joy?” (my favorite)
If the answer is “no,” it’s time for it to go.
- Know that things are just things.
That’s right. Things are just things. Things cannot replace people. They may remind us of them, but that’s what’s great about the digital age. We can keep endless photos of people, events, and things even.
Have a hard time giving it up? Maybe take a photo. Then donate or gift the item if it has value to someone who will appreciate it. I know some kids in our family that are going to love some of our collectibles. You have to realize there is no reason to feel guilty of getting rid of things you no longer need, even if it was a gift. This is hard for some. Knowing you are not throwing away the thoughtfulness of the gesture helps.
- Organize a neighborhood event.
My neighbor did this a number of years ago with the intent of getting rid of/trading clothes. It was a potluck, too! It became a great idea for a social gathering. Everyone brought what they were willing to get rid of. What was left over you could take back, or donate locally.
- Try consignment shops.
Do you have some really nifty goods? Wanna make a buck or two? Try consignment stores. I like this better than having a garage sale because you won’t be tempted to bring it back into your home.
You do the world a favor when you donate. Depending on what organization you prefer – Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, a local thrift store that takes donations, churches, or US Again. There is somewhere that is willing to take your stuff.
I hope this helps you! I think we all feel better when our home is free of clutter. It can be cathartic to let things go. Who knows? You might make space and restructure things for a little zen area for yourself.
To Your Health!
When you’re starting a weight loss journey for better health, one of the keys to success is properly measuring your progress. The usual method of checking progress is by looking at the scales. The problem is, the scales don’t show you the entire picture of your weight loss progress.
There are different ways to measure body fat percentage, with the two most common ways being measuring your actual weight and calculating your body mass index (BMI). It’s important to know how to properly track your weight when you’re on a weight loss program so you can make adjustments as needed and reward yourself accordingly.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is an assessment of your body weight to your height. It’s a little more complicated than that in terms of the formula that’s used to calculate it. While it’s the quickest way of showing you the ratio between your weight and height, it has limitations. If you have a lot of muscle mass, that can make you appear to have a higher BMI. In other words, it could make you look like you’re obese even if you’re not.
If you’re doing a lot of weight training, your BMI can actually increase as your body fat decreases. Unless you’re going through a massive body-building program, measuring your BMI is a good way to track your progress if you’re doing a general weight loss program.
When it comes to weight, the scales are not a perfect way of measuring your progress. That’s because you can also lose weight as you lose muscles and gain fat. Muscle is actually heavier than fat.
Know that just 10% reduction in your body weight is going to produce enormous benefits because of the fact that this fat, especially abdominal fat, is actively producing things that are affecting our metabolic health.
Tracking your progress by checking your weight or calculating your BMI are acceptable measures of progress if you have started with either of these and you are doing a general weight loss program with resistance training.
However, the gold standard is body fat %percentage and there are lots of different ways to measure it.
Tools to Measure Body Fat % Percentage
Calipers are tools that pinch on your skin to separate the fat tissue from the muscle. They measure the fold of your skin to help you estimate the percentage of body fat. They are used on seven different locations of your body:
- Subscapula or the lower tip of your shoulder blade
- Midaxiallary site or the area below your armpit on the fifth rib
- Suprailiac site or the front of your hips
You then get the average of two to three measurements to estimate the total body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is a valuable way of measuring progress because this is what we need to focus on. If we are able to reduce the level of fat, then we are also getting metabolic benefits.
- DEXA Scan.
DEXA scan or commonly known as bone density scanning is actually used for osteoporosis, but it can also be used to get your body fat percentage. What’s great about DEXA scan is it tells you how fat is distributed in your body in addition to telling you how much body fat you have.
- Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic weighing is based on Archimedes principle, which says that different densities will have a different buoyancy underwater. Fat may be more buoyant than muscle, so with hydrostatic weighing, they put you under water and weigh you under it.
When they weigh you under water, they can tell how much fat and how much muscle you have and from that they can tell the percentage of body fat you have. This is one of the most effective ways of measuring body fat, and it’s even more effective than DEXA scans.
- Bioelectrical Impedance
Bioelectrical impedance analysis uses scales to measure the rate through which electrical signals travel throughout your body. This rate is used to calculate your body fat percentage.
When using bioelectrical impedance, you need to do it at the same time every day because the results can be influenced by several factors like your food or drink intake.
Progress is Not Just About the Numbers
There are a lot of ways to measure progress, not just your weight or body fat percentage. Don’t forget to add how you feel about how your life is improving. Is the emotional aspect of your life better because you are having more control over some of the emotional decisions that you’re making when it comes to food? Are you learning more about your body, which can be counted as intellectual growth?
Here are other examples of ways to measure your weight loss progress that aren’t based on numbers:
- Pay attention to how you are feeling a week or two after getting off high glycemic foods that have been spiking your blood sugar a lot or quitting addictive foods like dairy and wheat. You can feel ill in the first two weeks, but then after that you will start getting a surge of energy. This is progress.
- If you are able to quit unhealthy food habits like eating junk foods when stressed, which you would normally succumb to prior to your weight loss program, then that is progress as well.
- Sometimes, when we’ve decided to embark on something that improves our lives in such a way that we feel connected to God more than we did before, that is an enormous improvement in our life and it can be another way of seeing progress.
Even if these don’t reflect in your BMI, your weight, or your body fat %, you can still count them as success. You can look at your progress from the different levels that I often talk about in my blogs: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social. The 5 levels of resistance when starting a health plan are actually the same levels that you can examine if you want to assess your weight loss progress.
When we start assessing our weight loss progress from all these different levels, we can see success in lots of different ways. Eventually, if you’re seeing success in those realms, it often duplicates itself into other parts of your life.
To Your Health!
Here are 5 stretches to reduce low back pain that can help bring back the excitement when Summer traveling comes around!
Purpose: To improve your hips mobility. The more flexible your hips are, the less strain you will have on your back.
- Lay on your back.Place your right ankle over your left thigh and let your right knee fall to the right in the shape of a figure.
- Grab your left thigh with both hands and pull it towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your right buttock.
4. Prayer Stretch
Purpose: To improve the flexibility of your quadratus lumborum and your latissimus dorsi.
1. Start with your knees on the ground.
2. While you reach forward with your hand’s, sit backwards as close to your feet as possible until you feel a stretch across your back.
How Long Should You Hold The Stretch?
Try doing these stretches 2 times a day, once in the morning and once at night. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Take the time to take care of yourself so you can enjoy the summer season pain free with the ones you love.
One of the biggest obstacles to managing your weight is “mindless” eating.
What I’m talking about is: You aren’t even hungry… but then you notice that bag of chips in the cabinet, or walk past a vending machine at work…
And the next thing you know, without thinking… you’re “mindless” helping yourself to a little snack.
The problem is, little “slips” like these add to your daily calorie intake… and make it harder to control your weight.
(Believe me, I struggle with those impulses, too.)
And willpower alone isn’t always enough, because your brain is receiving “eating” messages you aren’t even aware of.
There’s a nerve that connects your brain to your gut…constantly sending messages back and forth:
Your brain sees a snack, it alerts your gut, and your gut says “Feed me that bag of chips.”
Then, “mindless”…you obey.
So you have to find ways to resist or eliminate those powerful “mindless” destroying messages… by using cravings blockers, learning to choose healthy snacks, or just white-knuckling it on willpower alone.
ACTION TIP: A way to send yourself a automatically kick into action message…One that says DON’T eat. There is a way… and you won’t believe how easy it is:
Change the color of your plates!
I know, it sounds hard to believe. But researchers have discovered that colors can affect how much you eat.
Think how many fast-food logos are red and yellow. Well, that’s no accident…
But it turns out that the color blue is an appetite suppressant — and people eat less food when they use dark blue plates.2
Researchers aren’t sure why. It could be because blue has a calming effect and makes you feel like sleeping more than eating.
OR possibility since there are almost no blue foods in nature, blue doesn’t stimulate your hunger triggers the way other colors do.
Whatever the reason, blue helps turn down your appetite.
And there’s more…
It turns out when the color of food contrasts with the color of the plate, you tend to eat smaller portions… because you’re more aware of how much you put on your plate.
So when the food and plate colors are similar, you tend to put more on your plate — which means you’ll be eating larger servings of healthier foods like dark leafy veggies.
If you’re serving green vegetables and mashed potatoes on a dark blue or green plate, you’ll end up eating less of the starchy potatoes — and more of the healthy broccoli.
And it all happens “mindless” without you even thinking about!
Now, there’s no guarantee that changing plate colors will change your eating habits.
But every bad calorie avoided — and every extra helping of healthy food — puts you one step closer to achieving your weight-control goals.
So why not give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose — except a few “Lbs-EZ”. 🙂
To your health!