Tag Archives: weight loss

Motivation: The Ultimate key to success

By “Big” Dan McCarthy aka “Coach Motivation”

My motivation for writing this blog today, on February 24, 2015, was an episode of “My 600lb life” on TLC. When I first started watching the episode, I was sitting down; I’ve seen the situation all too many times, a person continuously putting the wrong type of foods in their mouth causing them to gain weight. As a personal trainer, I began to look at the food and add up the calories, and then I took into account non-active lifestyle, coupled with adopted attitude of “I don’t care,” a phrase often thrown out to mask the person’s inability to admit the health risk of obesity. Those who are overweight, obese, use the “I don’t care, this is who I am” as a way to shun those who look at it from a purely vane aspect rather than a life threating danger. The fact is, being overweight can bring on a slew of health issues, from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes, heart disease just to name a few. So as I began to further watch the episode, I found myself standing, I had already solved the diet issue, obviously the exercise would be minimal as she was so large, anything more than some arm movements and walking from one side of the room to the other might not only discourage her already weak mindset, it may cause intense pain or even worse, a heart attack. However, let’s go! I’ve solved this! I can help this lady! Then as I was watching, she entered the grocery store, sat down and began to cry, her mother at her side, she began to talk about how hard it was for her to move, how it made her sad, how it made her scared, then after catching her breath, they proceeded in filling the grocery cart with chips, cakes, pies, and anything else that would contribute to pushing oneself further into the void. It was at this point I realized, she didn’t need a trainer, she needed a therapist. Someone who could help her find that motivation, to help her realize she hadn’t reached the point of no return. When you think about it, the point of no return means the person has come to the conclusion that the distance to return to a healthy state is much farther than it is to keep going and face what could be their ultimate fear: death.

So how can a personal trainer play the role of both a therapist and physical coach when approached by someone who is looking to make a change?

In the above question I said “looking” because looking and “wanting” are two completely different things. If I am looking at getting a new car, I haven’t bought in, but if I want a car, I am already sold and want to take it off the lot. So how can you have someone want to make a change rather than someone who is “forced” to make a change? Well, anyone can have you run on the treadmill, show you how to lift weights, make you do endless push-ups, until you want to turn right around and head back to that couch or that buffet that put you where you were, because that’s your comfort zone. The food is what you know, the buffet, or junk food aisle is where you have been comfortable at, and eating it is therapeutic and has made you happy. However, the food is also what has made you where you are, uncomfortable, at risk for disease, or even worse, increasing your chance of death.

A personal trainer must not look at an obese person from the outside only, they are not just body fat percentages, BMI charts, or measurements, they are people who are struggling with mental and emotional issues and are looking up this proverbial Mt. Everest of weight loss thinking, I’ll never get to the top!  As a personal trainer, you must find that person’s source of motivation. “Why are you here?” or “What has motivated you to make the change?” If they tell you, “The doctor sent me” you must realize that they are in front of you under doctor’s orders, not because they have the positive motivational factors to make a change. Ask them questions like, “Do you have kids, do you have grandkids, do you want them to see them grow, or stay active with them? Tell me what it means to you to see that happen.” Or “When you were at your healthiest, didn’t you feel great? Wouldn’t you want to feel that way again? If so, tell my why you want to feel that way.” These are all powerful questions that will help you find that source of motivation to ignite the spark, to get them to realize, not only do I HAVE to do this, I WANT to do this! The effort someone will give you when they want something or desperately need something is ten times the effort someone will give you when they have to do something. Once you find their source of motivation, you can now turn that spark, into a fire by letting them know you will be there with them every step of the way, they will climb Mt. Everest one step at a time, setting small goals along the way, and nailing every one of them. Yes, you will fall at times, but you will get back up and keep moving forward, that’s with anything in life, but the ability to get back up lies within the person who falls. The person who is helping them can only offer encouragement, guidance, and lay out the plan. In order to succeed, you must truly know the motivating factor in the person seeking help. Have them right down that they are committed to succeed followed by their main motivational factor and constantly remind them of why they are making these changes. They have to believe passionately in their motivational factor in order for them to seek change.

Changing the way someone looks at healthy eating and exercise is important, if they hate running and push-ups and that’s what you have them doing, they are more likely to fail. Finding something they can do that is fun for them and keeps them active is critical. Exercising and eating healthy should not be a punishment, but rather a valuable time in our day allowing us to relieve stress, improve our health, and extend our life. Once the negative views of the gym, exercise, and healthy foods are cleared and they are seen as things we get to do, to keep us out of the doctor’s office, out of the operating room, and out of the morgue, the motivation levels should continue to increase.

When you are talking with a person who has not sought help, but they have expressed unhappiness with their current lifestyle, you must find out their fears of change. What makes them so scared to take that first step? Is their main fear simply the fear of not knowing where to start? Perhaps it’s the fear of being judged, or just the impossibility of climbing that mountain? It is the personal trainer’s role to bring out those feelings, to get them talking about their fears and relate with them on the fear of change. Talk to them about your experience with exercise, how you first came about trying something new, the fears you had, and some of the things you used to get going. When I first started lifting, I wanted to be big like Hulk Hogan, I was a 160 lb cross country runner and my end goal was looking like Hulk Hogan, a 300 lb beast with “24 inch pythons.” I was afraid everyone was going to look at me in the weight room like, “what’s this skinny kid doing in here?” I soon realized everyone in the weight room was there simply to better themselves, not to sit around and judge who was skinny, fat, or weak.  I knew my goal wasn’t going to going to happen overnight, but after years of training, persistence, and commitment, I was able to get 21 inch arms, weigh 285 lbs, and bench press 525 lbs. People don’t believe me when I tell them, but when I let them know I have been down that road, even if my goals were completely different, they can relate to the struggle I had, and they can also see the mountain I had to climb.  For you, perhaps it was the accountability of friends, the desire to want to get back to a size you used to be, the desire to attempt to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol without medication. Developing a rapport with someone through relating or understanding will certainly help them achieve a level of comfort, and allow them to open up and eventually  commit to THEMSELVES that they want to make the change with their newfound motivation being the driving reason to change.

Had I not watched that episode today, I might not be as motivated to share my thoughts, opinions, and ideas to help inspire those who are currently training people, or those who have the opportunity to help someone make an impact on someone who needs to make lifestyle change. Regardless of the person’s age or weight, it’s never too late to start improving yourself, you just have to find the motivation to change, and never be afraid to ask for help! It’s not just a physical change you are making; it’s a mental change as well! Just as the saying goes, “Its 80% mental and 20% physical!”

Any questions? Feel free to e-mail me at danb.mccarthy@yahoo.com

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Dietary musts for children

by Dan McCarthy

One cannot enter a grocery store without being bombarded with the onslaught of temptations for sweets, chips, and sugary drinks. The advantage of being an adult is the ability to be educated on the contents of the often vibrantly packaged and clever marketing tactics of these food companies. By being educated, we can make healthy choices for our children to help the fight against childhood obesity. However, through clever marketing these food companies entice our children with  toys, celebrity endorsements, or a cute cartoon characters,  and often leave us the “bad guys” when saying no.  Instead of being the bearer of bad news, we can educate our children on the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of the nutrients fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and water, has on their growth and development. Below you will find some helpful “Do’s” and “Do not’s” to help you plan your child’s daily food menu.

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The Do’s

All children need the same food and nutrients as adults just in smaller amounts

When selecting food for your children you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary or special as they require the same nutrients as you, just in smaller amounts. These nutrients are all the same vitamins and minerals that you get from eating healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and dairy.

 A 2-3 year old will require about 1,000 – 1,400 calories a day, while boys that are 4-8 will require 1,200 to 2,000 based upon activity, and girls 4-8 will require 1,200 – 1,800 a day

 

Keep portions small

When you are preparing a meal for your children, you may want to consider using a smaller plate. This will help you regulate the serving size, prevent them from wasting as much food, and help you ensure they are getting the right amount to eat without overfilling their plate, and then encouraging them to “clean their plate”. Encouraging them to clean their plate can force them to eat too much. Instead, give them a smaller plate with smaller portions, they can always get more.

 

Healthy Snacks

Keep fruits and vegetables washed and ready to consume so they will be easy snacks for your children to grab. Explain to them the various vitamins and antioxidants each one contains to help encourage them to make healthy snacking decisions.  The occasional bag of chips or cookies is okay and its part of being a kid, but make sure you read the serving size on the back to help ensure you child doesn’t get too many bad calories.

 

The Do not’s

Avoid Breakfast Cereal

I’m sure we all remember the excitement of digging to the bottom of the cereal box in a mad frenzy to capture the toy that lay at the very bottom of the box. The thought of getting a “reward” for eating cereal was almost as thrilling as purchasing one you wanted from the toy aisle. Whether it’s John Cena encouraging your child to apart of “team fruity”, or a funny little leprechaun encouraging you to “follow the rainbow”, the cereal aisle is loaded with colorful boxes filled with sugar and toys. We are often hard pressed to believe that a box with cartoons on it could be unhealthy to our children, but the sugar content of ¾ of a cup of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal is 15 grams! To put that in perspective that’s 4 teaspoons of sugar!

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Drink’s that say “No added sugar” are not as healthy as you think

Sugar, whether added or natural, is sugar! With all the drinks marketed to children, and all of these loaded with sugar, it’s no wonder why were in the middle of an obesity epidemic! An 8 Oz serving of Sunny Delight is 130 calories and has 30 grams of sugar, that’s almost 8 teaspoons of sugar! A 12 ounce can of coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar; it is drinks like these that are contributing to the rapid weight gain among our youth!

 

Bake instead of fry

In an age of fried Twinkies and pretty much fried anything; it’s easy to get something quick and fried. While chicken tenders are my favorite food, it’s hard to deny they are certainly less healthy and provide extra calories and fat versus the much healthier baked option. Many recipes offer baked alternatives to our fried favorites that do not sacrifice the taste, but they exclude the calories.

 

Just remember to keep it simple with fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, fish, chicken, whole grains and dairy.  All of these items are found on the exterior of the grocery store while all the boxed items are located on the interior. Children can easily drink most of the caloric intake with sugary juices and soda pop so remember; “no added sugars” does not mean the drink is healthy; water is always the best form of hydration. If your kids think that water is too bland simply squeeze lemon or lime into the water or you can look how to infuse water with various fruits. Childhood obesity is an epidemic, and this is a simple way we can help the keep our children healthy, not a statistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

Why you should be drinking green tea

Why you should be drinking green tea

by Dan McCarthy

 

 

Green tea is said to be the healthiest drink on the planet. It’s the healthiest thing I can think of to drink,” says Christopher Ochner, PhD. He’s a research scientist in nutrition at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Green tea is beyond a super food.(1) Originating in China, it has spread all over the Asian continent and is now drank throughout the world by many people seeking to take advantage of its powerful anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties.

 

 

Anti-oxidative and Anti Carcinogenic properties

Green tea has very high amounts of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which all operate as anti-oxidants. The role of these anti-oxidants is to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause cell damage and are often the catalyst in the aging process and many other diseases. Green tea was studied and was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 22% in women! For men, the results were even better! Men who drank green tea regularly had a 48% less risk of getting prostate cancer, that’s almost reducing your risk by half! There was also a study done on 69,710 Chinese women and the green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. So to sum it up, drinking green tea may significantly reduce your risk of getting cancer and prevent cell damage related to aging.

 

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Improved Dental Health, Type II Diabetes, Cholesterol and Bacterial Killer

As I mentioned before, the polyphenols found in green tea may be a preventative measure, as well as a treatment for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia The polyphenols work to protect dopaminergic neurons from malfunctioning.(2)

The catechins in Green Tea have been proven to kill bacteria and even inhibit the growth of the influenza virus lowering your risk of infection. Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.  Green tea can also reduce bad breath!

Green tea can also help with Type II diabetes which affects over 300 million people worldwide it reduces insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels. One study found that you have a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes.

Green tea has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol level and prevents the LDL from oxidization; green tea drinks have a 31% lower chance of cardiovascular disease.

 

Weight Loss

People have shown to have lost weight while taking green tea extract. Like with anything else, you have to maintain a decent diet and exercise routine. Also, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In large doses of green tea extract liver damage can occur. It’s important to follow the recommendations on the bottle found at your local drug store.

 

The green tea verdict

Green tea is a must in your daily diet. It is loaded with all the health benefits and anti-oxidants you need to stay healthy and ward off diseases. It is the closest thing to a miracle herb there is! For dosing I recommend having two cups of caffeinated green tea and two cups of decaf green tea. The higher the quality of the tea, the more polyphenols it will contain, and the better the results. The local health food stores may sell green tea leaves which would be ideal for consumption. Also, keep the water of your tea about 160-180 degrees for maximum benefit and to not kill off all the polyphenols. You can also add lemon to your tea for added vitamin C!

See you at tea time!

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea(1)

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/(2)