The key factor in achieving a healthier lifestyle is that you have to be ready for change. If you're aren't ready, you'll need to work up that mindset. That's just what the employees at The Onebane Firm are doing in preparation for the Corporate Challenge. Led by team captain Jane Guidry, the firm has been spreading the word to its 73 employees and by Friday, Jan. 4, Guidry hopes to have a final count on the number of employees who will be participating. "I personally think it's easier to make an exercise commitment by making it a fun, team effort," she says.
Onebane is planning a kickoff breakfast for its participants on Feb. 29 at which time it will be handing out T-shirts that read, "Onebane: Firm in Training." (By the end of this week, the Corporate Challenge training guide will be posted at www.indevents.com, which includes a wealth of information about the program and how you can get involved).
Finding a partner or teaming up is your first step. Most health experts say that if you know someone is counting on you ' or waiting for you at the gym ' you're more inclined to keep the commitment. Once your new fitness program is under way, you may be more comfortable going solo. And the second step, by virtue of the "requirements" of the Corporate Cup, is that you will be asked to make a public commitment to your health ' well, at the very least you're making a commitment to your company. (And who wants to let the boss down?)
Set realistic goals and write them down. Want to drop 10 pounds this year? Schedule how you're going to accomplish it, and be patient with your results.
The next step ' yes, it's the one you always hear about ' is to start every day with breakfast, whether it's a boiled egg, yogurt, fresh fruit or a combination of all of these. The Corporate Challenge's event producer, longtime triathlete Gerd Wuestemann, prefers to exercise before eating breakfast. Don't eat late at night and your body will be calorie-deprived from the hours you've spent sleeping, which means you will tend to burn calories faster. And because Wuestemann's metabolic rate is up after a workout, he burns even more calories when he eats. He suggests trying to eat protein within 20 minutes of your workout for maximum benefit.
Walk, walk, walk. Walk everywhere. Take the stairs. Don't ride around looking for the closest spot in the parking lot. Power walking is best, but don't get discouraged by the lack of immediate results from walking; the benefits of power walking sometimes take a while to show up. If you can, eventually work up to a slow jog after a few months of steady walking. You'll be pleasantly surprised how easy running can be if you start very slowly, and you'll be amazed at the results. If you feel good, pick up the pace.
Buy an inexpensive, manual stepper. It's compact and easy to store, and if you spend any time in front of the television, you have absolutely no excuse for not exercising. Do the stepper while you watch; 30 minutes is a good start.
Keep a few hand weights handy, too. Work your arms and use them for other resistance exercises while you're in front of the TV. (If you have access to a gym, always try to get a little weight training in. Your body will continue to burn calories for hours after you've put the weights down.)
Eliminate soft drinks and other sugary drinks. One Coke a week might not hurt you, but it certainly won't help you. These sugary carbonated beverages are about the worst thing you can put in your body; the diet versions are no better. Drink water instead.
Steer clear of processed foods. If it comes in a box, can, bag or carton, it's likely processed. The World Health Organization says processed foods are to blame for the sharp rise in obesity and chronic diseases seen around the world. Eat fresh foods whenever possible.
And keep healthy snacks handy. Don't let yourself get famished or you'll risk overeating. If you're hungry during the day, your best bet is to snack on fresh fruits or nuts (limit your intake by measuring out small amounts in Ziploc bags that you can keep in your car or at your desk). Nuts, a unique combination of fats, carbohydrates, proteins and fiber ' along with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals ' help suppress your appetite by making you feel full. Pistachios are the lowest in fat and calories.
Mix up your exercise program. Don't get in the habit of doing the same thing over and over again or you risk burnout. If you're walking regularly, try substituting one or two days on the Stairmaster or another machine that will work different muscles and prevent you from getting bored.
If you do nothing else this year, stop saying you don't have time. A 15 or 20 minute workout is way better than nothing at all. And if it requires that you say no to certain commitments, do it.
If you fall off the wagon, get back on. Don't be discouraged by a day or two of overeating or missed workouts. Everyone has setbacks.
To succeed at your goals, you'll need to keep score by monitoring your success with a charting system. Lafayette insurance agent Gene Fortier, who also has committed to the Corporate Challenge, has his own way of keeping tabs on his health and weight. "I weigh in every day," he says. "I have a chart at the gym with the date, number of miles I walk, my weight." If you stop weighing in, weight can easily creep up and set you back to square one before you realize what's happened. Says Fortier, "My choke point is 200 [pounds.] Once I hit 200, I put the brakes on."
Finally, don't go overboard and don't try to do too much too soon. If you over-eat one day, cut back the next. If you feel great and can run three miles on Monday, it's OK to skip exercise on Tuesday. "For me exercise is a wonderful thing if I can balance it with a pretty normal lifestyle," says Wuestemann. "I like to eat; I love wine. I train a lot, but I balance it with a completely normal schedule."
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Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
Sheer lace perfection
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.