Where you become the best 'YOU'

As a former professional basketball player turned ACE Certified NIKE Master Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, I possess all the necessary tools to help you to begin, maintain and progress your healthy lifestyle.

"Accountability and Success"

I recently read two studies on accountability and success rates of people who stick to a plan in becoming healthier. The first study states that a person is 3x more successful if they exercise or diet with a partner suggesting accountability to the partner. The second study recently published states a person is more successful sticking to a plan if they do it alone citing that the positive reaction that people receive when they talk about their plan will make them feel they already accomplished something and they may be a long way from their goal---giving them a false sense of accomplishment. This study suggests that the accountability should be to the individual. These are two studies with very different outcomes. I think they are as different as each one of us.

In my search for the definition of accountability, I find the word “answerable” over and over again. Answerable is giving or offering an answer for our actions. If accountability and success go hand and hand then who should we be accountable to? In deciding this you must first determine why you want to become healthier. Some of my clients share stories like “I am going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in May, I want to be healthy to walk and travel the land”, “I have a destination wedding and I want to look my best”, “the doctor told me I need to lose some weight” and “just because it is my time to do something for myself” as reasons why they want to get in shape. I think everyone should take the time to make an affirmation concerning why you want to become healthier. Keep in somewhere close and refer to it often.

There are so many options available to help you stay on track and remain accountable. There are “apps” for your telephone or computer (some are free) that will help you keep track of your daily, weekly and monthly food intake and exercises. There are also support groups that are available for you to attend or if you prefer anonymity there are support groups on-line. Personal trainers are also a very good option. They are considered to be a part of the health care continuum. These professionals can help you identify goals, develop a plan to help you achieve your goals and motivate you along the way. Personal trainers are also available in person or on-line. Friends and family definitely play a role in your commitment; they can be your biggest supporters.

There is no “one” plan that is perfect for everyone. You have to decide which option or combination of options is best for you and your needs. Some people are very successful sharing their experiences with others and being accountable to others, while others are equally successful keeping it a secret and being accountable to themselves. Others use combinations of options to help them succeed with their goals. Explore the different options available to determine what is right for you. I think the most important thing to realize is that you are equipped with everything that is needed to be successful in becoming healthier!

"Heart Disease"

February is the American Heart Month. It is so fitting for the romantics who celebrate Valentine’s Day. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the #1 killer of women. In fact more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. It is estimated that every minute in the United States a woman dies from heart disease, stroke or other form of cardiovascular disease. This woman is someone’s wife, mother, daughter, sister or aunt. More than one in three women, including almost half of African American women and about 34% of white women have been diagnosed with Heart Disease.

Some cardiologists agree that 99% of all heart disease can be prevented. Risk factors for heart disease that can be changed or prevented is tobacco smoke, physical activity, obesity and being overweight. It is recommended to eliminate all tobacco products and exposure to secondhand smoke.  Recommendations for physical activity include 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week or a combination of the two. For additional health benefits moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity should be performed 2 or more days per week. A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight cardiovascular disease. This is obtained by eating appropriate servings of grain products, fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean meats, poultry or seafood. Also by limiting fats and oils and reducing saturated and trans fats. You should also limit added sugars and follow the recommended daily amounts of sodium. How an individual responds to stress may also be a contributing factor to heart disease. It is important to find ways to relax and de-stress from your daily activities. This may include meditation, yoga or a warm cup of tea. If you drink to relax the recommendation to reduce your risk factor for heart disease is one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Knowing your risk factors is vital to help eliminate heart disease. It is important to discuss your risk factors, diet and physical activity with your physician. The world is a better place with wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts---women. Take time to take care of yourself.