fitness | judy torel
New Year’s resolutions
How to do It right this year
When using elliptical machines with arms, the arms can actually slow down the pace of your legs. Stabilize your hands on the center holder and you can get a higher calorie burn by not using the arms.
On January 1st, the number one New Year’s resolution for yet another year is to lose weight and get fit. In fact, about a third of New Year’s resolvers make weight loss their primary goal, and about 15% aim to begin an exercise program, suggests a small study of John C. Norcross, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The unfortunate truth is that this same resolution is often repeated year after year and statistically, most of the people who make it have abandoned it before the arrival of February. In my analysis, there is one main reason why this happens. This article is about how to tackle this resolution in a way that will lead to long-term adherence and success.
Outcome v. Process Goals
When people express a weight loss or fitness resolution, I often hear statements such as “I am going to lose 20 pounds by the end of January”; or “I am going to eat healthy and give up junk foods”; or “I am going to get fit in 2015.”
All are examples of what are called outcome goals. Basically, a goal that is a statement about what you want to achieve is an outcome goal. Outcome goals are great to provide direction for what you want to achieve or set a measurable barometer of whether you are successful at achieving what you put your mind to. But what outcome goals are NOT good at is giving you a path to follow to achieve the goal!
Most New Year’s resolutions about weight loss or fitness are phrased as an outcome goal. This is what leads to failure— no path to follow, only a desire. And we all know what a goal without a plan is—right? A dream. And most likely a fantasy dream at that!
Process goals are more specific. They are actual steps that will provide structure to the steps that will result in the outcome goal. Setting a resolution to lose weight for 2015 is a fantastic resolution, but to succeed, this outcome goal needs to be backed with a series of process goals that you can check off as you go.
How to Set Process Goals
Using weight loss as an outcome goal: First, quantify the outcome. Instead of a generic, “I want to lose weight,” nail it down to “I resolve to lose 20 pounds by June 1st.” Put an end date to the quantification because it will provide a deadline and a sense of timing.
Next, think about what behavioral changes you need to make that will result in a decrease of body weight. To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you are burning. So a process goal might be to set a week to use a calorie tracking app, record what you eat on an average day, and see the amount of calories you tend to average. Once you do this, check off process goal number one: Track daily calorie intake….check!
Then set a second process goal for week two of your New Year’s resolution: Eat 500 calories less per day than what I tracked in week one. Each day you focus on achieving a 500-calorie deficit. This may mean omitting soda or it may mean substituting mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes, but the point is to have something tangible to DO—the very definition of a process goal.
Another process goal for weight loss is to increase the energy you burn on an average day. For example, for week three, wear that Fitbit that you got for the holidays and see how many calories you are burning on an average day. Then for week four, set a process goal of increasing your activity level by 300 calories more than your average. Behaviorally, that could be adding one 15-minute walk at lunch and one 20-minute indoor bike while watching TV at night. When it comes to weight loss, the process goal is to increase calories burned so it doesn’t have to be done as one hour-long workout. You can spread out 3 x 10 minutes and be successful with your process goal of increasing daily calorie burn.
To be successful at long-term New Year resolutions, it will be necessary to set process goals that are basically small, achievable, effective steps that you resolve to follow and lead to your bigger outcome goal of losing weight and increasing your fitness. This year, set process goals to finally be able to check weight loss off your list for next year!
Judy Torel is a USAT certified coach, has a Master’s degree as a psychotherapist/life coach, is a certified metabolic nutrition coach, 200 RYT yoga instructor, and ACSM certified fitness specialist. She’s an ultra-distance runner and 6 time Ironman competitor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and her office is located at 116 Everett Road, Albany.
financial | dennis & christopher fagan
Welcome to the new year
Failing to plan is planning to fail
As we shed the party hats from the holiday season and look forward to a productive, profitable 2015, we have made a list (and checked it twice) of some strategies for dealing with what will most likely be an increased level of volatility in the equity and fixed income markets this year.
You either have faith in the benefits of investing or you do not. Changes in the value of your portfolio should not alter that faith. It is not ironic that market downturns challenge this assumption. The news media jumps on stories of lost wealth and investors tend to get caught up in those stories. However, keep in mind that despite the horrific bear market experienced during 2008, the stock market is within 10% of its all-time high. You either believe in the fairness and longer-term opportunities of investing or you do not. If you think the playing field is stacked against you, get out now as stocks have doubled over the past three years, rather than during a period of crisis.
Going about our daily business of financial planning and managing money, quite often we are asked the question, “How often should I review my account?” To that, we respond, “How often should you shovel your driveway in the winter or water your lawn during the summer?” More specifically, the answer is whenever it needs it. When you have a change in your life—be it marriage, a new baby, a change in jobs, retirement or the death of a spouse—review your financial situation. When the stock market is volatile, has lost more than 10% or, for that matter, gained more than 10%, review your financial situation.
Investing is not a static environment. You shouldn’t review your portfolio merely on a quarterly basis. The stock market does not experience volatility merely because it is the end of a quarter. Review your portfolio as the values change or, as noted above, as you experience changes in your life.
Have a plan to deal with the potential for a negative short-term outcome in a specific investment you have made or perhaps a downdraft in the overall stock market. By nature, people are optimistic. We like to think good things will happen to all of our investments. However, as you know, that is not always the case. So have a plan for dealing with a negative outcome. Panic is not a strategy. Assess your situation and develop a sell discipline.
Don’t fight the last battle or the ghosts of 2008. Investors have a tendency to miss opportunities because they remain afraid of a similar bear market like the one a few years ago. Allocate your investments according to your objectives and then, as noted above, closely monitor that allocation. That is your best chance of success. Otherwise, you’ll be getting 0% to 1% in the bank which also puts your retirement plan and/or retirement income at risk.
There is no problem in holding some cash. If you are a bit skittish, a bit conservative, or need a level of comfort, keep 10 – 25% of your investment portfolio (this excludes your vacation, rainy day, short-term money) in cash. You’ll sleep better at night and, who knows, you might be able to put this cash to work at lower market levels.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Establish a well-designed financial and investment plan. Then, monitor, evaluate and, as necessary, make changes to that plan along the way. This seems logical and simple. However, when fear of monetary loss and emotions get in the way, watch out. That is a certain recipe for buying high and selling low! Avoid this by sticking to your plan and being disciplined.
Please note that all data is for general information purposes only and not meant as specific recommendations. The opinions of the authors are not a recommendation to buy or sell the stock, bond market or any security contained therein. Securities contain risks, and fluctuations in principal will occur. Please research any investment thoroughly prior to committing money or consult with your financial advisor. Please note that Fagan Associates, Inc., or related persons buy or sell for itself securities that it also recommends to clients. Consult with your financial advisor prior to making any changes to your portfolio. To contact Fagan Associates, please call 279.1044.
To contact Fagan Associates, please call 279.1044.
parenting | randy cale, ph.d
Healthy, wealthy and wise habits for parents
As we look to a new year, resolutions abound everywhere we turn, but, ultimately, results will be few. The gym clothes will still be lost with sale tags attached. Many will intend to connect more with their kids, but fill their down time with computer, texting, or TV. Others will intend to slow down the pace, and yet spring will arrive with the same hectic schedule and no time to just relax. Others will find themselves overreacting or repeating without results—and without a game plan.
“Ah, Dr. Cale, you are being a pessimist.” Nope. Not at all. This is just a simple reality, as over 95% of those good intentions will fail to become realized.
But let’s learn from this, rather than despair about it—shall we? Because we do not want to enter the year with another sense of false hope that never produces a results!
Family habits shape each member’s destiny
In many ways, your beliefs, ideals and good intentions will not be the most predictable influence on your child’s future. It will be the habits you nurture at home, both positive and negative.
Certainly, many of us have overcome unhealthy habits we learned growing up. For most, however, these unhealthy habits become lifelong challenges that haunt us forever. The same will be true for your children if you ignore those bad habits.
Some of those fast-food habits will land your child in the ER with a heart attack at 40. A quick-fix habit for stress will teach them that alcohol or Xanax is the answer to anxiety, rather than investing in exercise, yoga or meditation. The reactive-get-angry-yell habit will teach them to always blame others for their anger, and to find excuses that justify their emotional tirades. The bad habit of complaining and finding fault crushes gratitude and optimism, and promotes a future of sadness and depressing emotions. Let’s decide to do this differently.
The healthy, wealthy and wise habits for parents
1. Follow Ben Franklin’s advice: Today, go to bed earlier, and get up earlier. It makes life easier.
2. Add at least one activity you do regularly as a family.
3. Wherever you can, eliminate the need for willpower or decision making to do the right thing, e.g., replace all unhealthy foods with good ones, in every crevice of your home.
4. Teach your children about compound interest early in life. Set up a simple account for this magic to evolve.
5. Model fiscal responsibility by shopping from a pre-determined plan, not from impulse. This eliminates the constant “wanting-getting” syndrome—and we find we want what we have.
6. Habitually comment or ask questions about what you love, enjoy and find interesting, and stop seeking to find the drama, the pain and complaints.
7. Lead your kids to enjoyment by smiling more, laughing more, and noticing what you enjoy.
8. Trust what you can see and inspect, with homework, electronics and friends. To trust what you are told is putting your head in the sand, and will come with a price and disappointment.
9. Don’t try to control your kids. Adopt my “Work, then Play” formula, and focus on controlling what they care. This is your leverage to get cooperation and to stop nagging or yelling.
10. Live the habit that you always do more than is expected of you. This immediately separates your family from the herd and produces an abundant life.
For 2015, focus on the doing part, as this is the foundation of habit. Healthy, wealthy and wise habits will be about what you actually DO repeatedly—not what you discuss or intend to do. So please, consider adopting a few of these habits, and if you do, start right now!
Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit www.TerrificParenting.com.
nutrition | sarah daubman, rd
Healthy family food resolutions
Are you looking to improve your health this New Year but tired of making resolutions that might not last? For 2015, why not take a new approach and focus on goals as a family? Making resolutions together can provide motivation to stick with your goals all year long; plus, it allows time for bonding. Get started with these suggestions for resolutions to improve your family’s health:
1. Experiment with produce
Make a family trip to your local ShopRite and explore the produce department. Make a plan each week to choose and prepare a fruit or vegetable that your family has never tried before. For kid-friendly fruits and vegetable ideas, try purple cauliflower, star fruit, avocados, sugar snap peas, mini sweet peppers, kiwi and blackberries.
2. Make ingredient swaps together
Make a “swap plan” for the New Year to trade less healthy products for healthier versions. For example, switch to whole-grain bread, 1% or skim milk, seltzer or calorie-free flavored waters. Start out slow and just make one swap each week. Here are some more ideas:
• Try quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice
• Serve plain oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit and nuts instead of pre-sweetened oatmeal
• Prepare whole-grain pasta instead of white pasta
• Enjoy low-fat frozen yogurt instead of full-fat ice cream
• Snack on 94% fat-free popcorn instead of full-fat versions or other fried snacks
3. Start a family recipe challenge
Challenge your family members to create their own healthy meal ideas. Each week, have one family member (kids included) choose a healthy meal of their choice, then shop for the ingredients and prepare the meal together. When everyone is involved, they’re more likely to eat and try new foods; plus, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a family meal together.
4. Reduce screen time and fit in fun
Screen time is considered time spent in front of the computer, television or video games. Dedicate one hour a day to screen-free time. Use this time to get active as a family and focus on fitness—and fun! Try things like yoga, bike riding, skating, or even dancing. Choose something your family loves and do it together.
5. Pack, go and save
Cut calories and save money by making a goal to pack lunches for school and work. Planning ahead and packing your own meals allow you to stick to your healthy intentions, and it’s easier on your budget. One idea is to take advantage of dinner leftovers by packing them the night before in your lunch bag. For additional variety, try some of these savvy sandwich ideas:
• Prepare low-fat salmon salad using canned salmon, light mayonnaise, chopped celery, onions and pepper to taste. Top salad with lettuce and tomato and serve on ShopRite whole-wheat sandwich thins.
• Fill a whole-wheat pita pocket with shredded white meat chicken, sliced cucumbers, matchstick carrots and pepper strips. Top with ShopRite hummus.
• Spread 2 tablespoons of ShopRite peanut butter on a 100% whole-wheat bagel thin. Top with sliced Granny Smith apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
6. Plan healthy snacks
Snacking ruins your appetite—right? Not necessarily! The truth is that snacks can fit into a healthy meal plan when they are well planned. Feel energized all day long with these healthy snack ideas:
• A piece of fruit with nut butter
• Hardboiled egg with whole-wheat crackers
• ShopRite low-fat cottage cheese with fruit and nuts
• ShopRite hummus and veggie sticks
7. Make over your cooking methods
Meals that are healthy and delicious really do exist, and they don’t have to be much different from what you are already preparing.
• Retain nutrients in vegetables by steaming.
• Bake, broil, grill, poach, stir fry or roast lean meats instead of frying or sautéing.
• To intensify veggie flavors, try roasting them with 1-2 teaspoon of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Try this with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, string beans, cauliflower, zucchini and wedges of cabbage.
• If you need a “crunchy” texture, try oven “frying” or pan frying instead of deep frying and opt for healthy oil such as canola or olive oil.
Did you know your local ShopRite stores offer complimentary nutrition services from registered dietitians? For recipe ideas, free nutrition counseling, or other health and wellness information, contact your ShopRite dietitian today!
ShopRite of Niskayuna: Sarah Ender MS, RD, 491.0050
ShopRite of Albany: Adrian Allen RD, 708.3445
ShopRite of Colonie: Amy Imler RD, 598.4970
ShopRite of Slingerlands: Kristin Caponera MS, RD, CDN, 708.7815