Thursday, March 7, 2013

The 6 Influences To Change Your Health!

In November I will be getting married to my amazing fiancée, and in preparation I started a workout regimen and began reeling in my dietary decisions. You know how they say the camera adds 10 pounds? In my wedding photos I want people to think that the camera has added 10 pounds… of muscle! Accomplishing this feat will require planning, action, and control of what Kerry Patterson (from the book “Change Anything”) coins the 6 Influences of Change.  This month’s article will teach you how to identify these influences so that you can use them for the positive instead of having them throw you off track. As Kerry mentions in his book, you need to study your own behaviour in these 6 areas to truly change. As an added benefit, you can help me trim up by reading this article and holding me accountable; I am enlisting you all as my friends!

  • 1.)    Personal Motivation: What do you want to achieve? How does being trimmer or losing weight affect the quality of your life? For me the idea of having more energy, reduced joint stress, looking/feeling better and reducing my chance of disease is extremely motivating. But, sometimes when an impulse item (such as a brownie) is in our path we forget our long term objectives. Using tactics such as a motivational phrase (like “nothing tastes as good as healthy and energetic feel”) or carefully placed photos to remember what your motivation is helps you stay on track in times of challenge.
  • 2.)    Personal Ability: What skills do you possess to help you with your goals? Do you have an innate fortitude or do you need to bolster your skills? My knowledge of nutrition and understanding of the body help me when I try to change my health habits, and yet I still sometimes need to find new recipes that taste amazing and not feel like I am depriving myself. Simply reading food labels often turns me off of my junk food cravings, and researching new methods of exercise that are enjoyable and different help keep me intrigued and motivated.
  • 3.)    Social Motivation: Who are the people who lead you into temptation? Who are the people who help you succeed? A lot of times one of the biggest reasons that we fail at long term change is that we have people in our lives (accomplices) that deviate us from our paths. It  is more difficult to eat right when friends are offering un-healthy foods, yet your friends can also help you stay on the right track by being your gym partners or cheering you on when you are feeling challenged. A lot of times you can turn your accomplices into cheerleaders by having a conversation about your goals and why they are important to you. Hopefully Ashley reads this article…lol (She tried to offer me a Turtle while I was writing it)!
  • 4.)     Social Ability: Can you recognize in advance what situations may cause you to deviate from your goals? Do you know what to do when your friends are offering you something that may send you off track? I recently had a birthday party that involved bowling and then dinner at a pub. If I had planned a little bit smarter we could have selected a healthier restaurant and saved me a few calories… We all are going to stumble occasionally so don’t let those stumbles become falls off the cliff, forgive yourself and move on.
  • 5.)    Structural Motivation: What incentives can you create for yourself to help you stay the course? What actions are you looking to incentivise to assist you in accomplishing your goals? The biggest determinant of your level of success and change is whether or not your habits are in line with the outcome you desire, and incentives are a great way to drive you to action. Most people create goals that incentivise the outcome; example - if I lose 20 lbs I will buy myself a new wardrobe. The problem with this form of incentive is that the outcome is too far in the future.  Alternatively, incentivising positive habits makes your goal easier to achieve because you will be motivated to do the actions necessary for the goals accomplishment. For instance take trying to lose weight - incentivise the exercise itself. For example, if I exercise 3 times this week then on Saturday I can go to the new movie I want to see. Incentives don’t need to be large, they just need to motivate you.
  • 6.)    Structural Ability: How are you at creating structure and order in your life? Everyone that I know that is successful in any area of life has organization around whatever they are successful at.  Set aside time in your day for exercise or pre-planning meals; if you have a dedicated time that is untouchable in your schedule you are more likely to do the action. 
If you are looking to change your health or to lose weight, take a look at how these 6 influences are affecting you. Are they supporting your goals? Are they taking away from your goals? Become a student of yourself and what drives you and you will likely see positive change occur in your life.


PS: If you are looking to learn more about how to lose weight join us at our metabolic weight loss talk ‘Spring Melt’ on Tuesday March 26 with Jeannie Kennedy.   Contact the office at (403) 247-4257 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is Your Heart Taking A Beating?

                                             Is Your Heart Taking A Beating?

The average heart beats 72 times a minute. That's 4,320 beats per hour which makes 103,680 beats in a single day.  The hearts function is to circulate nutrient and oxygen rich blood to every part of your body; without this you would die. The question I have for you is... how many times do you have to think about your heart in order for it to work?

As you know, you don't.  It just works. As humans we are blessed; I know that if I had to think about my heart to make it work (with my level of organization) the outlook would be bleak! I would argue that the reason we do not have to think about our heart is because we have been entrusted with a greater task - maintenance.

Every 7 minutes someone dies of a stroke in Canada. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, almost 30% of all deaths can be attributed to heart disease. Luckily, the CDC estimates that nearly 80% of heart disease is preventable.  So, how are we doing at maintaining the optimal function of our hearts?

 My belief is that a lack of knowledge, some bad habits, and a rising rate of obesity are creating what seems to be an epidemic. If we can educate people on how to identify harmful foods, as well as get people moving again, we can truly change these statistics. What I intend to help you with today is how to identify a few of the foods that negatively affect your heart health.

Tips on reading food labels: Two important things are identifying foods in your diet that either create inflammation or cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Excessive inflammation in the arteries damages the arterial walls and increases the likelihood of complicating blood flow. Elevated blood sugar levels increase the release of the hormone insulin which helps your body either utilize sugar for energy, or stores excess sugar as fat. Excessive insulin can create an inflammatory response. So how do you determine whether a food has the potential to cause inflammation or spike blood sugar levels?

 If you read the ingredients on a food label there are some key things you can look for to help make better decisions about what to eat.

 Rule 1: Anything ending with the suffix -ose is a sugar (ex: fructose is fruit sugar, lactose is milk sugar).  Some people may be thinking If it is sugar from fruit then how bad can it be?. Sugar on its own is not the problem. The problem occurs when our blood sugar levels exceed normal limits for prolonged periods of time. Fructose that has been removed from fruit does not have the natural fibers along with it, so when you consume fructose on its own your blood sugar levels elevate higher then they would naturally. The high spike in blood sugar causes your body to release insulin and the excess sugar is stored as fat.  If your blood sugar levels are elevated for too long, the receptors in your body that tell the pancreas to release insulin can get burned out (a condition known as type 2 diabetes). This can negatively affect your heart's health as well as send you on a quick path to obesity. So if you have the choice between a fresh piece of fruit or a bar filled with fructose or other hidden sugars such as a nutrigrain bar... pick the fruit.    

 Rule 2:  Trans fats.  Trans fats exist naturally in small amounts in beef and dairy products, but they are more frequently created in the processing of polyunsaturated fatty acids during food production. The consumption of trans fats increases the risk of heart disease by raising levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowering levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL). Cholesterol is used by your cells to create the membranes that surround them. When you have excess cholesterol in your diet it does not dissolve in the blood stream so what differentiates cholesterol from being either good or bad is its ability to pass through the blood stream. Bad LDL cholesterol has a tendency to build up on the arterial walls and with other substances and forms blockages which impede blood flow to the heart or brain. Good HDL cholesterol is considered good because of  its ability to move through the blood stream to the liver for excretion so it does not build up in the arteries.  The more trans fats you have in your body the more inflammation and potential build up you create, which as mentioned earlier increases the likelihood of heart disease.

 Once I started reading food labels I realized that there are a lot of added ingredients in our foods that affect the natural integrity of the foods themselves. Companies do this to make their foods more palatable or to increase shelf life. Reducing these foods in my diet not only helped me lose a significant amount of weight, but it also changed my blood pressure for the better.

 Hopefully you found these tips helpful,

 J.P. Bohemier

 PS: February 26, 2013 our office is hosting a complimentary presentation by Dr. Mylene Hopf and Ron Jarrett on this very topic.  If you are experiencing problems with the health of your heart or if youre looking to maximize your heart health then this presentation is for you! Ron Jarrett is from Mission Fitness in Calgary and together Dr. Hopf and Ron will give you tips to help get your heart in shape. Call 403-247-4257 to reserve your seat as space is limited. 






Friday, January 11, 2013

The 4 A's to a New You!

The 4 A’s to a New You!

By: Dr. Jean-Paul Bohemier

At the start of a new year the sense of change begins to arise in people. We start setting new goals, implementing new routines, and taking up new activities in an effort to make this year better than the last. There is no place where this sense of change occurs more intensely than in personal health. So why is it that after the first 3 weeks more than 90% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions?  Do people get pulled back into their old routines? Do they lose their original motivation? Is it just too hard?

 In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons people do not follow through with their New Year’s resolutions is because of the way they were generated in the first place. Most people’s resolutions are nothing more than stated preferences. They represent how people would like to be and feel, but with none of the leverage that would create lasting change.

 Key components necessary to create lasting change are what I term the 4 A’s:

1.)    An emotionally charged goal or outcome

2.)    Action plan for its accomplishment (figuring out what you need to do)

3.)    Action (do it!)

4.)    Accountability (review your results) 

Almost anyone who has ever achieved a goal has either knowingly or unknowingly used the 4 A’s. To illustrate this point I will give you an example from my own life where the 4 A’s were implemented unknowingly.

About 4 years ago I was at my (future) fiancée’s house excited to try out her new Nintendo Wii Fit. I was creating my profile when the Wii had the audacity to tell me that I was overweight. Much to my horror the Wii had calculated my weight to be 198 lbs… and it was not because I was packing extra lean muscle! A healthy person of my height should be 165-170 lbs depending on muscle mass. I had always told myself that I would never let myself get above 200 lbs, so after a brief moment of grieving, my total focus became: how do I lose weight and fast?! (An emotionally charged and specific goal.)

As I drove the 3 hours back to Edmonton I remembered the CD my dad had recently given me about a diet which had been helping many of his patients lose weight. I popped in the CD and listened to Dr. Pompa talk about how it feels to be the right weight. He explained the mechanics of how to go about implementing the diet, but what struck me most was the end result of energy, self-confidence, clarity of mind, and simply waking up and not feeling tired.  I listened to the CD 3 times in a row and burned the information into my brain.  (Action Plan.) 

When I got home I immediately threw out everything that did not fit the criteria he listed and then went to the grocery store to purchase the right food (Action  step 1). The next three days would be the hardest; all of my cravings would surface and make me feel miserable. The fast food signs would call me to come in and eat and I forced myself out of sheer will (the reason you need to be emotionally charged about your outcome) to follow the diet. (Action step 2). And then on the 4th day the weirdest thing happened; I woke up at 5 am with my eyes wide open! I thought to myself ‘What do people do with this much energy at 5 in the morning?’, and that previously dormant part of my brain spoke to me like an angel out of heaven and said… ‘Run, Genius!’

 So I began to run, and it was invigorating. I started dropping weight at such a rapid pace that people wanted to know what I was doing. Over the next 3 months I monitored my weight loss each week and I eventually lost over 30 pounds (Accountability, review results). I felt fantastic, and it completely changed my perception on how I should eat and live my life. I am happy to say that I have kept the weight off and can’t imagine ever getting back to that state.

 The lesson is that things can change. You can change temporarily, but true and lasting change only occurs when the right mechanics are in place. Anytime you have ever succeeded in attaining a goal you have implemented these steps whether you knew it or not - but by bringing them to your consciousness you can analyze and understand what you need to make it happen.

Good luck;


PS: Our office is hosting a seminar that is intended to give you the tools you need to make sustainable change. We will be joined by life coach Brian Baldwin to who will also share his secrets to help you make this year better than the last.  Our Seminar is on Tuesday Jan 29th 2013; it is free and you can reserve a seat by phoning 403-247-4257.