2012-04-19 / Community

The “A” list

“A” is for… We all know the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and research has shown this to really be true. Apples are crunchy, sweet, portable snacks that are full of nutrients and fiver. They help to keep your teeth clean, freshen your breath, and aid digestion. Apples are good for us!

Other “A” listers I’d like to mention here for health and wellness include Anchovies - they contain Omega-three fatty acids that are great for our health in so many ways. Almonds - are another goodfor us crunchy, portable, fiver filled snack. Avocados - contain fat, but it’s the good kind of fat and guacamole is delicious. Artichokes - are also very healthy and delicious in a dip or veggie lasagna.

Asparagus - it’s spring and the asparagus is fresh. Try rolling it up raw in reduced fat crescent dough with a slice of lean ham and bake for a quick healthy lunch, snack or side dish.

Pushing away from the table now, let’s talk about aerobics, and I don’t mean Jane Fonda in the 80s. Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) is any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping and makes you sweat. Aerobic/cardio exercises include walking, running, biking, swimming (you get the idea) and should be done for at least 30 minutes three times per week.

Recent research has shown that even if you don’t have time to do 30 minutes at one time, it’s ok to break it up into three 10 minute sessions and you’ll still get incredible health benefits.

Every little bit counts! Be sure to check with your doctor if you are just beginning an exercise program, or have not exercised for a long time.

The last item on today’s “A” list is action plan. An action plan is a written agreement with yourself to accomplish a goal or help make something become a permanent habit. Whether it’s eating more fruits and veggies, walking more, or finally getting your closets or garage cleaned out, an action plan is a gentle reminder and great motivational tool to push you in the right direction. Simply decide what it is that you would like to do for the week or month and write it down, along with the steps you’ll take to make it happen.

Include the amount of time you’ll spend on this each day. Start with small goals and be specific. The smaller your goal, the easier it will be to complete and when you are consistently successful in completing your small goals, it will be so much easier to realize your larger goals because you are working at them slowly and successfully.

You will feel a true sense of accomplishment each week. Try to avoid saying you’ll do something every day, because if you can’t make it, you’ll feel defeated. If you say you’ll do something three times per week, and then find that you actually did it five times that week, you’ll be so proud of yourself and actually want to do more.

By slowly building up to your larger goals, you’ll reach them in no time and it will seem almost painless. Make yourself accountable to someone else, a work-out buddy or someone else who will keep you in line and sign and witness each other’s action plans.

Be sure to have a plan B incase things don’t work the way you would like. You’ll also want to reward yourself for a job well done. Even if it’s just a pair of cushy new socks for walking, or money put into a jar each week to spend on something special at a later date, a reward is an incentive to finish what you started. Try making an action plan this week and I’m sure you’ll be seeing results in no time and that deserves an “A+”.

Example: This week I would like to walk six miles. I will do this by walking two miles on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If I am unable to walk two miles on these days, I will walk one mile each day for six days. I will walk after dinner with my friend (_____), who is my accountability buddy. If I achieve this goal, I will put $5 in my wardrobe savings jar to purchase new clothes when I reach my ultimate goal of losing 25 pounds and reaching a healthy body mass index number.

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