Creating a Goal Worth Sticking With.

We’ve all experienced it. At some point in our lives we’ve created a goal that we’re so giddy about. That initial phase is like Christmas day; there’s excitement, along with progress and a natural momentum with each breathe of confidence … then something happens. It could be the loss of a job, a vacation, or a crazy-busy season of life. This eventually results in a slowdown of those momentum wheels, maybe this slow down results in a plateau (this is actually success believe it or not), or perhaps a total loss of progress.

Was it you, or your goal?

The first step to creating change is identifying a proper goal. Begin with a specific action that you wish to change. This action should be measurable, easy to calculate whether you’ve achieved it or not, achievable, literally, is this goal within your capabilities (or perhaps start a bit smaller) and include an end date (you will follow this goal for a definitive amount of time). Remember SMART goals from grade school, yes, there’s a reason we learned how to do them?!

Since I’m a dietitian, the example goal we’ll use is going to be food related. My goal; to consume a total of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day for the next two months. There’s action (eating, easy enough), measure (nine total servings of fruits and veggies), and a timeline (daily for the next two months).

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.” – Brian Tracy

What I love about a goal like the above is that instead of depriving you of something, it comes from a place of positivity and kindness, (something health related goals rarely do). By this I mean that you are encouraged to eat more of what makes you feel good, not less of something. Goals shouldn’t be punishment.

Now that we’ve identified a written goal, assess progress toward your goal daily. Fast forward two months and now you’re getting in the groove of eating nine servings of fruits and veggies daily, and you’ve gained confidence. When you’ve achieved your goal, create another one while the momentum is still hot! This is the definition of steppingstone, or mini goals.

Steppingstone goals are beneficial because they are short enough to stay motivated and see the light at the end of the tunnel, yet they still offer a big boost in confidence with each successful completion! With confidence you can create your next steppingstone goal and make it just a little bigger. Each time you reach a goal you gain confidence and become a little closer to the person you wish to become.

“Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.” - Mark Twain

Linear Progression

Over time our bodies adapt to whatever stress we may put on it. Whether it is running, biking and, yes, lifting. When our bodies adapt, some may think that that’s where progress stops. Linear progression is the increase of weight being used over time. What does this do for our bodies you may ask? It puts stress on the muscles forcing them to work harder and adapt.

When linear progression is implemented into a strength training routine, it will result in strength and muscle growth. You don’t have to switch things up every week to notice results. By keeping things simple and slowly increase weight week by week, you’ll be able to push past that plateau you may think you’re in.

Celery Juice - yay or nay?

Green drinks and juicing have been a nutrition guru’s go-to for years now. If you read nutrition blogs or browse Instagram posts then you may have seen something about celery juicing. According to the Medical Medium, “Celery is truly the savior when it comes to chronic illness.” Which is a far contrast to what most people think of as a measly veggie that provides a bit of crunch in their ranch dip. Despite that, this health kick is sweeping the nation. I can’t believe the number of patients and friends that have asked me about this newfangled-fix-all! Who is behind this celery juice that is taking over the world, what does it taste like and most importantly, does it really work?!

First let’s talk about the man behind the green glass of goodness. He calls himself the Medical Medium. The following is what his bio looks like, “Meet Anthony William, #1 New York Times best-selling author... was born with the unique ability to converse with Spirit of Compassion who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s often far ahead of its time.” That’s pretty much it…a man whose advice millions are following with absolutely zero health, nutrition, science, anatomy or physiology background. Now mind you, eating a stalk of celery everyday isn’t bad advice, but is it going to cure all your ailments?

Let’s start with how the juice is supposed to be consumed. To really reap the benefits of celery juice, the stalks should be juiced (no pulp), consumed by itself (nothing added to it at all, not even ice), and a full 16 ounces are drank on an empty stomach first thing in the morning at least 30 minutes before breakfast.

The amount of celery to use is an entire stalk (not just a single rib) which is about 8 cups, roughly chopped. Nutrition information for 8 cups of celery (pre-juiced) is 113 calories, 5.6 grams protein, 1 gram of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of fiber (40% Daily Value, DV), 2101 mg potassium (105% DV), 25 mg Vitamin C (42% DV), 0.46 mg Riboflavin (27% DV), 0.6 mg Vitamin B6 (30% DV), 178 mcg RAE of Vitamin A (~20% DV), 237 mcg Vitamin K (nearly 300% DV) and various other vitamins and minerals. The nutrition profile is for those chewing the entire 8 or so cups of celery. Whenever you juice anything you remove most, if not all, of the fiber. Listen… can you hear your gut microbes crying? ☹

In addition to the quantifiable nutrition facts, celery also contains antioxidants that help protect against oxidative damage to our cells and tissues (think vibrancy and youth). They also contain phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) which have antioxidant like properties and other beneficial effects in the human body. Both, antioxidants and phytochemicals are found in all plant foods in varying amounts.

Celery Juice photo 800x554

Before writing about this topic I had to try the trend out for myself. First, let’s talk about what the juice tastes like? Honestly, it’s not the worst thing I’ve tasted, it’s much like what you’d expect celery juice to taste like; a cold, grassy juice. The vibrant green drink is beautiful too, so that adds to its’ appeal. However, I didn’t like the laborious, wasteful process. During my short stint of celery juicing I started the process the night before (as to not wake my kiddos with the hum of our blender); each night I’d wash and roughly chop my organic celery and begin to blend, then I had to remove the pulp. I didn’t like that the pulp had to be sieved through mesh and tossed out (not an issue if you have a juicer, but in either case it’s wasteful). I searched for recipes to use the pulp but found nothing appealing, so I fed it to our chickens. Lastly, and most importantly, I missed my warm cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong I drink a fair amount of water first thing in the morning, but I want to quickly follow that with my morning coffee. For me, it just wasn’t a good fit.

Even if the process seemed too time consuming, would I be willing to do it if science suggested? Well…the research behind the craze is sparse. I searched PubMed and Medscape and looked for other reliable resources and didn’t find much. However, I did learn that celery has been used for thousands of years as a homemade remedy for various ailments such as hangovers and digestive issues, like bloating.

Whether the science backs this trend, or not, perhaps part of the benefit of celery juicing is that the follower is consuming nearly 8 cups of veggies and 16 ounces of water before they wipe the sleep out of their eyes; the average person only eats two to three servings of veggies their entire day! In addition, this amount of celery is an excellent source (greater than 20% DV) of fiber and potassium (two nutrients that are inadequately consumed in the American population).

Does celery juicing work for you? I’ve heard believers of celery juice say their skin improved, they had more consistent bowel movements and they felt less bloated. If celery juicing makes me you feel better, then keep it up! If you feel better, do you need further reassurance than that?

Get Happy About Hobbies!

I have a LOT of hobbies. Now, I am not saying I am good at any of them, but I enjoy them all! Having hobbies is an important part of your overall wellness. They give you the opportunity to expand your interests and expertise.

First and foremost, hobbies should be enjoyable to you. Only you have to enjoy your hobby, so find something that fits you - even if that means thinking outside the box. One of my hobbies is Cross Country Skiing. I hear so many times, “that is too hard!” Well, I enjoy it and that is all that counts.

A hobby should be also be accessible. If it takes too long to get ready to do your hobby or it’s too far away, chances are you will not do it. In the past I’ve taught Stress Management. There was a chapter on “making a house a home” which met setting it up so you can do the things you enjoy very easily.

For those you who think hobbies are a waste of time, consider this; there is research that suggests that participating in hobbies enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills.

One last suggestion, try new hobbies when you can! You never know what you are going to enjoy until you try.

Let 'em fly!

Are you looking for a new sport to get into? Tired of the expensive price tags on sports equipment? Disc golf may be the sport for you then! Disc golf is played on a course like regular golf, the exception is that instead of the hole, there is a pole with a basket on it. Instead of different clubs, in disc golf there are different discs that are thrown at different distances, A driver, a mid range, and a putter. Most golf clubs are in the hundreds of dollars, while disc golf, you can get a complete set for fifty dollars! Disc golf can be played alone or with any number of friends making it flexible to play. Disc golf is a great way to get outside and get some exercise while you walk the course, while being low stress on your body. If any of this interests you then disc golf may be the next summer sport for you!