Thursday, June 26, 2014

The 2 Things You Absolutely Must Have In Your (Fitness) Life

by Marc A.

Hey you, come closer, I want to talk to you. You want to get fit? You want to lose weight? You want to gain weight? 

You've been researching running plans? That's great! Ready to start changing the way you eat? Excellent! That is all great and you'll definitely need a great eating and exercise regimen to accomplish your fitness goals but there are two other things you MUST have that trumps even those.

What are those you might say? I'll tell you, DISCIPLINE AND CONSISTENCY.

Yes, my friend, you need discipline and consistency if you plan to reach your goals. Before we get into the whys let's define these two words (or let Webster define them).

Discipline: behavior that is judged by how well it follows a set of rules or orders.

Consistentshowing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom.

We'll talk about these one at a time. Let's proceed...

Discipline is what gets you moving no matter what. Your body knows you should do it. Even if your mind tried to talk to you out of it, you tell it shut up and do it anyway. That's discipline. Motivation is great when you have it but motivation is fleeting. Some days you are raring to go but other days all you want to to is sleep or eat that cookie or buy that burger. You know what I mean. So motivation isn't good to rely on because there is room to falter but discipline is automatic. Discipline is routine. Discipline is come hell or high water, I'm going to get this done. There's no time for your mind to come into play because your body has already begun reacting.

Is it foolproof? Is it 100%? No, nothing is 100%, but it's the closest thing. Your new activity becomes a routine. Your routine becomes a habit. Your habit becomes a discipline. When you have discipline, it's harder to go off track.

So now how does one get discipline? I'm glad you asked that as well.

This is where consistency comes in.

In order to go from new to discipline, you NEED consistency. It's not an option. In the beginning, motivation may guide you. Whenever you're starting a routine and you're excited about it, motivation is always there and that's good! Let it coast you the first couple of weeks because regardless of what got you there, you're already starting to get used to the activity because you've done it for two weeks. Your body knows that at 7AM every morning you're going to work out and it's getting used to that routine. You're starting to get used to reaching for an apple and almonds instead of some sugary candy bar during snack time. It's starting to come together. After 3 weeks of being consistent, you have a habit. Now this doesn't mean you're disciplined yet. This just means that it's a part of your daily make up. It's becoming a part of you. On average, it takes about six weeks for it to become a true discipline. By that point, your brain kinda shifts it into neutral and doing what you're supposed to do becomes automatic.


This is where so many people fall off. They get cocky then they lose focus and that discipline and consistency goes right out the window. You want to keep your mind from talking you out of your habit but you don't want to totally space out. That can sweep the rug out from under you without you even noticing. What needs to happen is you need to keep your brain on the goal and where you want to go. This can keep your motivation sparked but even if it doesn't, it keeps you cognizant of what the goal and that keeps the fires of discipline stoked.

While I used fitness as the example (I mean, this is a fitness blog and all), these principles can be applied to anything in your daily life. Any goals you set requires discipline and consistency especially if they're long term goals. You wake up with your goals in mind and you go chase your dreams. The difference between goals and dreams is action, i.e. discipline and consistency.

Are you ready to go get 'em?! I know you are...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Old-Fashioned Remedies for Sick Babies

Written by Ashley Hardway of

Many parents are shying away from excessive medications and looking for more natural approaches to caring for their sick child. While eschewing physician intervention for serious illness is inappropriate, there are some all-natural, time-proven remedies for common baby complaints. Next time you child has a sore throat, a deep cough, or a slight fever, consider these old-fashioned remedies.

Take a Shower to Decongest

Humidifiers are a common device used for children with a cough but a more effective remedy is to steam up the shower. By concentrating all the steam into a single room, children can get all the benefits of breathing in the steam to loosen the mucus in their chests without creating a mold concern in their bedrooms. 

Cut an Onion for a Clear Nose

The sulfur in onions is an all-natural way to draw mucus and fluids out of your child's nose. When your baby has a stuffy nose, rather than reaching for stinky methanol, simply cut an onion and wave it under your child's nose. This alternative doesn't stain children's clothes or create a long-lasting stench in their rooms.

Baking Soda for Bug Bites

Bug bites are a nasty side effect of long summer days outdoors and itching those annoying scratches can lead to lifelong scarring. Reduce the redness and itchiness by mixing baking powder with just enough water to make a paste and apply that paste directly to the bite. The alkaline properties of the baking soda will counteract the acidic properties of the bite, allowing kids to spend their day itch-free.

Tepid Baths Fight Fever

The fevers are an altogether common occurrence for small children but they can still be nerve-wracking for parents. For children with a slight fever, a tepid (neither hot nor cold) bath can help alleviate the fever naturally. Lay your child in the bath water then dry thoroughly. 

Cayenne Pepper to Stop Nose Bleeds

Next time your child has a nose bleed, try this old-fashioned remedy. Simply dab a Q-tip into cayenne pepper and ring the inside of your child's nose with the spice. The heat will vasoconstrict the exposed vein and staunch the bleeding. Surprisingly, the pepper won't even cause any discomfort or pain to your child. 

Calm Swelling with Cucumber

Cucumbers are more than just a spa treatment addition. Cucumbers are packed with fluid and can help reduce swelling. Next time your child has a bug bite or some slight facial swelling from a fall, place a cool cucumber over the swollen area. Replace the cucumber as it returns to room temperature. 

Treat with Salt Water

Salt water is a great way to reduce mucus build up and relieve sore throats. Prepare a salt water solution and use a bulb to flush the mucus out of your child's nose. For kids old enough to gargle, gargling salt water can ease the pain and discomfort of a sore throat. 

Lemon Compress for Sore Throats and Fever

Lemon is a great all-natural remedy for many illnesses. Lemon compresses can be used to cool a fever or ease a sore throat. Simply warm a small bowl of water with added lemon and wet a cloth. Apply the cloth to the forehead for a fever or the throat for a sore throat.

Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in the Houston, Texas office of Morningside Nannies, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.

Disclosure:  365daysofhealthandfitness and its contributors are not legally responsible for the content written herewith. For any questions or concerns with this entry, please contact the author.    

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Summer Get-Right Series Part 2: Diet

by Marc A.

Good afternoon everyone! I hope everyone's doing well this weekend and your June is off to a stellar start. Last week was the first of the two week Summer Get-Right series, highlighting ways to use the warmer months to your advantage in your weight loss and fitness journal. We talked about exercise and today we'll cover the areas of diet and nutrition.

We all know how the summer months. Less time spent cooking, more time spent eating out. Barbecues, parties, stress festivals, they all add up but those can still be enjoyed while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You just need to make some tweaks here and there. Gather around the fire, boys and girls, I'm going to give you some tips.

1. When drinking alcohol, cut out or reduce the frozen drinks. Your average pina colada can be as much as 500 calories and let's face it, who stops at one drink right? 3 or 4 of those and you've had your full day's calories in alcohol alone. Stick to light beer, wine or basic mixed drinks (gin and tonic, vodka and OJ). These have far less calories per drink and may even give you some nutrients (OJ in a screwdriver, wine) but don't get carried away. Alcohol is still alcohol. Keep it down to no more than 2 or 3 drinks.

2. Keep the meat high and the sides low. At most BBQs, while the meat is a-plenty, it's the sides that contribute most to your waistline. The potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, etc. when combined with the BBQ can add over 1000 calories in one plate of food. Stick to tossed salad or veggies if they are available and enjoy the meat. The protein will make you full faster and you'll likely end up consuming less calories. Slow down on the BBQ sauce and ketchup too if you're doing the pouring.

3. Fruit. While, fruit is great any time of year, spring and summer are fruit seasons. Take advantage! Prices are generally lower during this time of year too . Make smoothies, make juicesput them in your salad, make a fruit salad, pack some in your bag, Not only are they nutritious but also refreshing and they also can keep you from overeating and turning to fatty snacks.

4. Water. This goes without saying but water Water WATER! Drink a lot of it and often. You sweat more therefore need more. Also, this is yet another tool that can curb overeating. Drink a big glass of ice water before you have a meal and it will keep you from overindulging. 

5. Choose frozen yogurt over ice cream. By frozen yogurt, I don't mean the ice cream copycat that you used to get at your local TCBY. I mean literal frozen yogurt that you would get at Pinkberry, Red Mango, or any shops like that. It's a much healthier alternative provided you don't go too heavy on the toppings. Once again, this is where fruit comes in. Go heavy on the fruit toppings to give your froyo a nutritional punch.

6. Plan cheat meals. If you know when you're going to cheat before the times comes, then you can better plan the times around it. If you know you're going to eat bad at dinner, make sure your breakfast, lunch and snacks, are lighter than your normal so the damage of that cheat meal isn't as severe.

And finally...

7. Carry healthy snacks. More time spent outdoors means less accessible healthy food in many cases. The remedy to that is to bring your own healthy snacks. Make trail mix at home and keep it in baggies for quick grabbing. Once again, fruit. Pack a piece of fruit with you. Carry some nuts, granola. This doesn't even have to apply to snacks only. You can pack your meals too if you're going to an event where food isn't prepared. Carrying your own snacks can save you in a bind on many occasions.

I hope you found these tips to be useful. Do you have any that you use that you'd like to add? Place them in the comments below.

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