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How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Sweets and Treats

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Avoiding sweets is important in order to maintain a healthy diet, but is avoiding them entirely realistic in your everyday life? For some, maybe—but for lots of people, it doesn’t make sense to plan on completely avoiding treats as a lifestyle. With Valentine’s Day—the unofficial holiday dedicated to chocolate—around the corner, sweets and treats will be hard to avoid. If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with sweets, you’re not alone. Read on for tips on how to moderate, avoid temptation and stay motivated while making healthy happen.

Find Ways to Indulge without Getting Off Track

Unless you’ve got Olympian-level willpower (congrats to you if you do!!), chances are you will find yourself indulging from time to time—despite your best efforts to consistently make healthy happen. That’s okay! Figuring out how to indulge intelligently without ruining your healthy habits is the key to finding dietary balance. When you maintain a healthy relationship with sweets, remember that not all indulgences will be avoided. If there are certain occasions you’re anticipating, and you know you’ll be tempted—plan for it! Whether that means reserving calorie intake for the special occasion or adding in an extra workout during the week, proactively planning for deviations from your typical diet can help you stay on track.

Don’t get discouraged if you succumb to the sweet stuff. It’s going to happen! Just remember that each new day is a chance to build better habits and make healthy happen. Try and pinpoint your moments of sweets-related weakness to understand if there are common themes to help you avoid those pitfalls in the future. If walking past the breakroom at work leads to mindless snacking, take the extra steps and find a new route! Or maybe late-night snacking is your kryptonite. Try brushing your teeth after dinner and send a message to your internal snack monster that the kitchen is closed for the night.

Satisfy Cravings with Better-for-You Alternatives

We get it, sometimes you just want the real deal—but when you’re willing to go for the next-best-thing, there are plenty of swaps that will satisfy your cravings. You may be pleasantly surprised that the imposter desserts make for a deliciously sweet alternative.

–7 low-calorie desserts we love

–Healthy Chocolate Covered Strawberries

–Two-Ingredient Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

–Almond Date Truffles

–Raw Sandwich Cookies

Keep Your Goals in Mind

Are you trying to lose weight? Or maybe you want more energy in your day-to-day life. Whatever your goal is, use it to power through moments of temptation. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with sweets, stay centered with your goal in mind. Making healthy happen isn’t about hitting a number on a scale or fitting into a beloved pair of jeans, it’s about making healthy choices that enable you to get the most out of life.

Do you have a friend who is also striving to make healthy happen? Keep each other accountable and work together to stay on track! There’s power in numbers when it comes to making positive choices to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Focus on the Big Picture

Instead of getting bogged down in the details of your daily life, remember that creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t about one particular habit, it’s about making healthy happen in all areas of your life. The wonderful thing about positive choices is the halo effect they have on your life in total. When you make one healthy decision, the next becomes easier to make, as well. Look at the forest, not the trees when making healthy happen!

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Anytime Fitness

217 Pounds Down And Still Transforming!

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Transformation takes time—and perseverance. Joe Scarmack certainly understands this; he weighed close to 500 pounds about eight years ago. Joe lost his young brother surprisingly, who weighed about 600 pounds, and then his mother less than two years later to diabetes. While grieving both he decided he didn’t want to lose his own life to the same issues, and started making healthier choices. Joe started with weight lifting and soon added cardio; then he adjusted his diet. Pounds began to melt away, and Joe felt better and better. Now many years into his lifestyle shift, Joe worked out more than 200 times in 2015 and has set an even higher goal for this year.

Follow Joe’s journey as he takes over the Anytime Fitness corporate Instagram account April 15-21, 2016! 

Joe_BeforeAfterJoe Scarmack, 42

From Farrell, PA | Married to Amanda

Gym: Hermitage, PA

Anytime Fitness Member since 2008

Trainer: Breanna Griffin

Favorite motivational quote: You get out what you put in.


Get to Know Joe

Primary Wellness Goal: “I don’t ever want to go back to being diabetic and want to better cope with disabilities I currently face.”

Struggling with… “The thought of going back to my old ways of eating with no way of stopping myself, or quitting on everything.”

Striving to… “Handle the cards I’ve been dealt in life and show others life doesn’t have to stop when dealing with any disability, whether physical or mental.”

Secondary Goal: “Work out 500 times this year. So far I’m ahead of schedule.”

People describe me as… “Motivational, inspiring, no quit, gym freak, go-getter”

Favorite piece of equipment: “Chest press. Personal best: 600 lbs, 3 reps.”

Least favorite exercise: “Elliptical”

Nutrition tip that’s worked for me: “Read the labels! If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. Single digits and ingredients you can pronounce are good things.”

Joe S weight lifting

I’d like to add: “I’ve been doing this for my brother and mother. Not going to die young, weighing 600 lbs like him. I won’t let diabetes slowly kill me like it did her. 217 lbs lost. Diabetes is gone but unfortunately, the damage stays. Such a mental battle every day to get up in the morning and face the world, but I know at the gym I am the world. I’m thankful I have a great wife that has supported me through all the ups and downs the past 8 years. I think she is more upset I get to buy new clothes every six months because everything keeps getting too big on me. I don’t know where the rest of the journey is going to take me, but I know I’m not looking back at where I’ve been.”

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Exercise

Our Guide to Exercising Outside

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Heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, occur when your body can’t cool itself properly. In extreme cases, overheating can hurt the brain and other vital organs. Sweat normally keeps us cool, but in some cases, sweat just can’t keep up with your body.

Plan for the Heat

Schedule your outdoor exercise around the coolest part of the day: early in the morning or after nightfall. Take advantage of shaded paths. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing. Choose cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics that allow air to circulate without chafing. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sports-suitable sunscreen.

Stay Hydrated

We can’t say this enough: drink more water! In high heat and humid conditions, it’s easy to underestimate how much water you need to drink. The CDC directs you to drink 16-32 oz. of water each hour during heavy exercise in a hot environment. If you have a hard time keeping up with that amount, try using flavored water—add a wedge of lime to your water bottle or try a sports drink. If you aren’t on a salt-restricted diet, you can allow yourself a few more salty snacks (like pretzels and chips and salsa) to replenish the sodium lost through sweat.

Dress Appropriately

Exercising outside means you are waving goodbye to the comforts of your indoor gym. For many, that’s the allure—but dressing properly is important. If you plan to break a sweat in a wooded area, put a light jacket over your favorite tank top to make sure you are fully clothed. If you’re working out in a park or on a pathway with little to no shade, make sure to wear a hat and load up on the SPF.

Be Cautious of Overheating

Exercising raises your body temperature, and when the air is hotter than your body, heat can’t dissipate into the air. To make the situation worse, heat gets trapped in dark-colored asphalt and the sun reflects off water, sand and glass, bombarding you with heat from every direction. This environment is ripe for heat-related illness, but with some good sense, you can still enjoy your time outside, without having to pay for it later.

Pace Yourself

Focus on the experience when exercising outdoors and don’t expect to set personal records. To avoid over-working yourself, wear your heart rate monitor and know your target heart rate for your age and fitness level. The American Council on Exercise even provides a heart rate calculator!

Find an Exercise Buddy or Group

Working out is always way more fun when you do it with friends. It’s also safer—and when you’re exercising outside, safety is top of mind. There are lots of local exercise groups on Facebook and some Anytime Fitness clubs offer free outdoor workouts in the month of May to kick off a summer of fitness fun. Check with your local Anytime Fitness to see where you can find a class!

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4 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Workout

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We’re all tempted to cheat on our workout at times—whether you’re talking yourself out of doing that last set, debating if you really need to do cardio today, or convincing yourself to not do leg day so you can walk tomorrow, experiencing a lack of motivation in the gym can be just as detrimental as experiencing it before you get there.

We believe that the only workout hurdles that test us are the ones we jump over, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to stay invested during your entire workout. You’ve got this!

Make it a friendly competition.

Even if you don’t have a competitive nature, having to push your efforts in relation to someone else can be a major motivator. Whether it’s the stranger running on the treadmill next to you or a dedicated workout partner that’s a little bit closer to where you want to be, letting someone else’s motivation rub off on you will help you push yourself farther, keep going longer and stop you from being tempted to quit.

Make a bet.

From fitness accountability apps to friends who won’t let you off the hook, there are plenty of ways to hold yourself accountable—especially when there’s cash on the line. Make a bet with yourself, a friend or an online community about a goal of yours. Whether it’s frequency of workouts for the next two weeks, amount of progress made over the next three months or the amount you’re able to deadlift this time next year, putting your paycheck on the line will make you think twice about skipping that extra rep

Treat yourself.

Setting physical goals are great, but what powers you to achieve them? The satisfaction isn’t always enough incentive for you to see your goals through, so try giving yourself a tangible reward! A new pair of headphones or maybe a pair of jeans, even a dinner at your favorite restaurant are all awesome ways you an encourage yourself to stay motivated.

Consider a trainer.

Many people think that they don’t need a personal trainer if they know what they’re doing, but working with a trainer at any level can help kick your workout into overdrive. Having a professional there to remind you about form, technique, and following through on each rep will take you further, encourage you to work harder and keep you dedicated for the full duration of your workout.

Sometimes motivation is hard to come by…but with these tips, you’ll be ready to kill it at the gym for the entire time, every time!

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