12 Weeks to a Healthier Life
Welcome to changing your life and becoming healthier in just 12 weeks. Below you will find information on what steps to take and the changes to make that will help you feel better and get healthy. By making the changes from Week 1 and adding on to your progress from week to week, you will put your life down a healthy path that leads to a healthy lifestyle.
Tips to be successful.
1. Only focus on 1 week at a time.
2. Continuing the habits you learned from the previous week incorporate the new week's focus.
3. Don't skip ahead.
Week 1: Water
It’s no big secret that water has many benefits, but have you ever thought of what those benefits are? Here are just a few.
- Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Did you know that your body is composed of about 60% of water, that’s over half! Water plays a major part in many bodily functions such as: digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients, and helps maintain body temperature.
- Did you know that water can help control calories? By drinking water or consuming foods with higher water content it keeps you fuller and in result your calorie intake may be lower.
- Water helps muscles stay energized. If your cells don’t maintain their balance in fluids and electrolytes it can result in muscle fatigue. If your muscles don’t have adequate fluids, functionality and performance can suffer. Water is very important when it comes to exercise. Because you will be exerting yourself which means sweating during exercise, it is recommended to start drinking fluids approximately 17 ounces two hours before exercise and continue to hydrate at regular intervals during the duration of your workout.
- Water helps your skin stay beautiful. Because the skin contains plenty of water and functions as a protective barrier and to prevent excess fluid loss, regular hydration is important to maintain its functionality.
- Water helps keep your bowel movement functioning normal. The right amount of hydration keeps your bowels functioning appropriately and prevents constipation. If you don’t get enough water, the colon will pull water from stools to maintain hydration which results in constipation.
Here are a few tips to drink more water.
- Always carry a bottle of water with you – so you never get too thirsty.
- Drink a glass of water with every snack and meal.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables with a higher water content.
- Download a Water app on your phone and set an alarm to remind you to drink up.
- Have a daily water goal and mark it down.
Week 2: Clean Eating
If you’re like most, hearing the words “Clean Eating” makes you think “Diet”. However, clean eating is a way of a healthy lifestyle. Clean eating doesn’t have to be bland, boring or all consuming. It can be completely the opposite. When you eat clean, healthy foods your body can function better which will make you happier and able to accomplish your goals.
Here are some guidelines to clean eating:
- Eat 5-6 times a day. 3 meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner along with 2 snacks between the meals.
- Make sure to include a good source of protein, plenty of vegetables and fruits along with complex carbohydrate with each meal. (If you need specifics I do offer such programs).
- Choose organic clean foods whenever possible.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water daily and avoid processed and refined foods.
- Portion control is also important.
- Educate yourself about the bad and ugly. Examples include: trans-fat, anything fried and anything high in sugar.
- Consume healthy fats.
- Never rush through a meal.
- Prepare your meals and take them with you.
11 reasons to Eat Clean:
- You will become more mindful of what is going into your body.
- You will live longer.
- You will save money.
- You will have better relationships.
- You will have more energy.
- You will sleep better along with having better sex.
- You will take better care of yourself.
- You will be smarter.
- You will be stronger.
- You will help our planet survive.
- You will be happier.
Week 3: Cardio
Cardio, oh the word just scares people and makes them run the other way in fear they have to be bored running on a treadmill. Yes, that may be true in some cases, but let’s look at why cardio is important and good for you. Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise. Cardio exercise is simply a person doing a rhythmic activity that helps raise the heart rate into specific zones to burn calories and fat. There are many benefits to cardio, here are just a few:
- It allows you to burn calories and fat to lose weight.
- It is good for your heart making it stronger so it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
- It increases your lung capacity.
- It helps reduce your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
- It helps you sleep better.
- It helps reduce your stress levels.
- It improves your sex life.
- It makes you feel better.
Choosing what cardio you partake in is completely up to you. Here are some guidelines when choosing your cardio exercise.
- Will you be training at home (outside) or in a gym?
- What do you enjoy doing such as running, swimming, biking circuit style exercise.
- How much time do you have?
- What intensity will you be exercising at? Should it all be the same or each one different?
- Make it fun. Something you can see yourself participating at least 3 times a week.
So what type of cardio should you do?
Goal: Health >> Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity 5x a week
Goal: Maintain Weight >> Aim for 150-250 minutes a week moderate cardio
Goal: Lose Weight >> Aim for 200-300 minutes a week of moderate to high intensity cardio
Week 4: Strength Training
Strength training my favorite – just ask anyone that knows me. Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializes in using resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds strength, anaerobic endurance, and the size of skeletal muscles. When performed correctly, strength training provides a significant functional benefits and improves ones overall health and state of well-being. Here are a few benefits that are a result of strength training.
- Increased bone, muscle, tendon, ligament strength and toughness.
- Increased bone density.
- Increased metabolism.
- Improved joint function.
- Reduced risk of injury.
- Increased fitness.
- Improved cardiac function.
Why people turn to strength training.
- Increased physical attractiveness
- Increased general physical health
- Increased sports performance
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Pleasure in the activity
With strength training there are different training goals. Here they are:
Week 5: Accountability
Okay, it has been 5 weeks and we are almost half way through the program! This is a good time to check how well you are holding yourself accountable for reaching your goals. If you are struggling then we need to re-evaluate your goals you have set for yourself. If you feel that you are not doing as well as you had hoped, my advice is to start FRESH TODAY! Many people give up before the hard work even begins. If you have made it this far, you’re already doing a great job. Congratulate yourself on sticking with it, whether it’s the Water, Food, Cardio, or Strength Training or anything else that is a part of your Goal! It deserves to be recognized. Celebrate YOU!
Tips to staying ACCOUNTABLE:
- Make a to-do list for each day before you go to bed the night before
- Meal Prep
- Always have a bottle of water with you
- Always have your workout bag in your car
- Find an accountability partner (i.e. – ME/your coach)
- Journal Daily – This is very important
- Reward yourself weekly for sticking to the plan
- Always give yourself the benefit of the doubt
- Positive Self-Talk
- Smile – You are worth sticking to the plan
Week 6: Nutrition
Many people get confused about Nutrition, what to eat and what to avoid. Let’s break it down. There are 4 different classes of nutrients. They are:
- Lipids (Fats)
- Other Nutrients
Compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen held together by energy-containing bonds. They are produced by photosynthesis and are essential for energy and digestive processes. Carbohydrates can be broken down further into categories that include: sugars, starch, glycogen and fiber. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. There are many sources of healthy vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in carbohydrates.
Compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that is soluble in organic solvents and insoluble in water. Lipids are compact energy storage in the body; energy dense. Fats add tenderness and aroma to foods and contribute to satiety. There are different terms that are used with lipids which include: triglycerides, phospholipids, sterols and lipoproteins.
Compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged as strands of amino acids that are linked by peptide bonds. Proteins are classified as dipeptides (2 amino acids), tripeptides (3 amino acids), and polypeptides (many amino acids). Protein is essential for body growth and repair, production of enzymes, hormones and chemical messengers. Proteins also contribute to immunity and help regulate fluid/electrolyte balance and pH in the body. Proteins also serve s an energy source in the absence of carbohydrates and lipids.
Vitamins: They are organic and non-caloric. They are essential to life and body functioning. There are two classifications. Fat-Soluble (Vitamins A, D, E and K) and Water-Soluble (Vitamins C and B).
Minerals: Examples of minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and sodium. They are naturally occurring, inorganic chemical elements and are necessary in small quantities to support body structure and function.
Water: Water acts as a solvent and provides a transport medium, lubrication, and shock protection. Water participates in chemical reactions and aids in body temperature regulation. It is a major component of blood and cells.
Bioactive Compounds: They are compounds that occur naturally in plant foods. They help delay cellular damage and are associated with lower disease and cancer risk.
Week 7: Sleep
Did you know that sleep plays an important role in your overall health? Getting the right quality of sleep helps protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and your safety. How you may ask? Simple, sleep is the time in which the Brain can get to work for the next day. While you are sleeping your Brain and your body are doing very important jobs. Your brain is preparing pathways so that you can learn and remember important information, while your body is healing and repairing itself so it can function optimally the next day. Here are a few things that happen if you don’t get enough sleep.
- Impaired judgement
- Raised blood pressure
- Increases the risk of obesity
- Alters activity in some parts of the brain
- Mood disorders
- Affects your hormone secretion and how your body responds to blood sugar, insulin etc.
- Not getting enough sleep can affect your attitude towards others
- Put your safety at risk (lack of sleep may result in microsleep, and you may be unaware.)
- Increased accidents
*Microsleep: refers to brief moments of sleep that occur while you are normally awake.
The best example of Microsleep is when you have driven somewhere and don’t remember parts of the drive… What a scary thought and I bet it has happened to you!
Week 8: Balance
Finding Balance is one of the most difficult things to do in Life.However, it is one of the most essential things to have to be healthy. In this day and age, we want it all, but can we truly have it all? I honestly believe we can. Finding balance in your life is about your energy and where you put it. If you put your energy into your career, more than likely your career is where most of your time is spent. However, too much work and not enough play creates an imbalance in your life. Finding balance with work, family and yourself is one of the most difficult things to do. Scheduling your life or making lists may be ways you can create balance. Learning to say No to the things you really don’t want to put energy into is also a way to find more time for the things you love and less of the things that are not important to you.
- Examine your life and where it is at this very moment
- What would you like to add and delete from your life?
Steps to Take
- Set Goals – Make a list or vision board of your Goals so you can see them DAILY
- Make a Plan – List out the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals
- Take Action – Take a step so you can take another
Week 9: Treat Yourself
With anything that you have to stick with – rewards are necessary. Well at least I think so! Treat yourself this week. Don’t overdo it, but you deserve it. It’s been 2 months of really focusing on you, so it’s time to do something for YOU! Take yourself to a movie, go spoil yourself in a healthy way, maybe treat yourself to a meal out with a friend or go buy yourself something that you’ve wanted for a while. Whatever it might be; treat yourself. Sticking to something that is all about you, is a hard thing to do, especially when you feel you are being selfish (which by the way you’re not).
Tips for this Topic – JUST DO IT!
Have fun and enjoy it – oh ya and don’t feel guilty about it either.
Week 10: Time Management
Ultimately, if you want to be successful, your ability to manage your time will determine your success. The better use of your time will equal how much you can accomplish.
Time is the one thing that once it’s gone, it’s gone! It’s also the thing that if you don’t have control over can cause you stress, anxiety and even depression. So, how do you use your time to maximize your health? The best advice on Time Management comes from the book Time Management by: Brian Tracy
Here are a few tips:
The 4 D’s
- Desire: You must have a desire to get your time under control
- Decisiveness: You must make the clear decision to practice good time management
- Determination: You must be willing to persist against all temptations
- Discipline: You must discipline yourself to make time management a lifelong practice
By practicing the 4 D’s for time management – you will see that the 4 D’s will roll over into the other areas of your life.
The areas that are important to reaching your Goal that obviously involve time are:
Clean Eating – Meal Prepping and making the time to do it and do it right. Clean Eating doesn’t have to be hard, you just have to make it a priority where you have time for it and yourself. Your health relies on it.
Strength Training – Whether it’s an hour or 30 minutes, it takes time. Scheduling it not your day can help decrease the chances of you missing out on your workout.
Cardio – See Strength Training
Sleep – Making sure you set a “bedtime” for yourself will help manage how much sleep you get. Turning the TV off after dinner, putting the phone away at 7 pm can help stop distractions and allow your brain to shut down and for you to go to bed at your set bedtime.
I can go on and on in areas of your life, but you have the hands of the clock in your life. So how are you going to manage your time in order to be most effective in reaching your goals?
Week 11: Napping
Remember as a kid we had to take NAPS, and just the word made us upset? Well guess what NAPS are amazing. As an adult it is ok to take a NAP! I know that in week 6, the topic was Sleep and Napping is obviously sleep, but it’s so important that it needs to be brought up again.
In the United States, people are becoming more and more sleep deprived which impacts quality of life. There’s that balance thing again. Even though Naps do not make up for the sleep deprivation that occurs it does have many benefits. A short nap (20-30 minutes) can help improve mood, alertness and performance.
Did you know there are 3 different types of Naps?
- Planned Napping – taking a nap before you get sleepy. This usually happens if the person knows they have a late evening ahead of them and need extra energy.
- Emergency Napping – happens when you are suddenly tired and can’t stay awake. This type of napping can help combat drowsiness or fatigue.
- Habitual Napping – practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day. Young children in the early afternoon, and adults after lunch time.
If you have 20-30 minutes that you can close your eyes and take a nap, then do so. Your body and mind will thank you.
- Only nap for 20-30 minutes
- Make sure the environment is relaxing and quiet
Week 12: Making It All Count
Congratulations! It’s Week 12!!! Making it Count is all up to you. Through this journey my hope is that you actually put yourself FIRST! Made decisions based on your goals and not your emotions and didn’t beat yourself up along the way. With anything in life there are going to be ups and downs. You are going to fall along the way, but that is okay as long as you get back up and dust the dirt off. Focusing on the positive is very important and will determine your attitude towards not only yourself but your goal and how you decide to take it on.
Along the way I bet you used the following statements more than once:
I don’t think
I don’t have the time
I don’t believe
That is okay, but from here on out I want you to change those statements to the ones below:
I will make the time
If you haven’t figured it out already, putting yourself is the most important piece of the puzzle and staying positive is the second. There are always going to be distractions, temptations and above all challenges, but as long as you persevere and stay positive nothing will stop you.
Keep up the good work and congratulations once again! You did it!
Don’t stop here…. Keep going and you will succeed!