411Fit Member Blog: The Start of My Transformation

By: Denise Simpson

In August of 2010 I stepped on a scale and was blown away because it said I was 491 pounds. All I thought was, ‘I weigh almost 500 pounds.’ So I made up in my mind that it was time for me to do something about my weight.  I started “watching” what I ate. In my mind, I wanted to lose weight but little did I know that I was starting a journey called  “transformation.”

My name is Denise and I am 40 years old. I am a social worker and therefore, since I can remember, I have always been a “help” to others. When I got on that scale, I realized that I had to help myself.  I am happy to report that I currently weigh 382. As I reflect back on the transformation journey thus far, many thoughts come to mind.

First, it has not been easy.
Every day, I wake up and know that there are certain things that I cannot do and certain things that I must do. Eating right and exercising are two things that I must do. What I cannot do is get discouraged. My biggest struggle has been exercising. Growing up I played soccer, but then I switched to playing instruments. So exercising was not something that I made a point to do. However, today I can say that I look forward to my workouts. As recently as last week, I actually had to reframe my mind. Instead of being concerned with how long my workout is, I just work out. This reframing has helped me tremendously because I was consumed with making it to 45 minutes or 60 minutes of exercise. Ironically, now that I am focused on just working out and moving, I’m hitting those times more easily.

Second, who you have on your team of support is critical because let’s face it, we all need support.
Your team may start off small, but one person can be that lifeline that keeps you in the race. I have found that my team is not made up of the people I originally thought it would be.  Without my team to share and talk with, I don’t know what I would do. I stumbled upon the 411fit website literally by accident, but I know it was on purpose. I love it and I am still getting used to logging my day.  Being able to see what I have done and the progress I have made is very beneficial. I also enjoy blogging because it is a level of accountability. I like to encourage others who are also on this journey.

Third, a person has to realize their self-worth.
This has been very eye opening for me. I was clearly wearing a mask for years. After taking off my mask and looking at my issues, I am happy to report, my masks have all been thrown away.

I will be blogging weekly for 411Fit as I continue to use the site to help with my weight loss goals so that you may follow me on my transformation.  I welcome your support and feedback!

(411Fit Note: Denise is a tremendous motivation within the 411Fit community and we are glad she found us!  She interacts with members regularly through our member blogs and member forums as she continues her journey.)

Don’t Be A Fitness Casualty

Top 5 Secrets To Start and Maintain Your 2012 Exercise Plans

By: Briana Boehmer

The first two months of the year my health club is JAM PACKED (and I mean it!) with people exercising like it’s their job.  Then March hits…and all is back to normal.  Same regulars – no hustle and bustle.  The yearly question rears it’s head – why is it so hard to stick to our well-meaning goals?

My take on this never-ending phenomenon – we set ourselves up for “failure” before we even start.  When we peek into other aspects of our lives, take finances for example, we find that proper planning and paying attention to our personal circumstances is critical.  So why, oh why, would it not be the same when it comes to health and wellness goals?

If you’re sick of starting your fitness regime over and over again, follow these 5 key tips I tell all my clients to take very seriously.  If you do, you will find it VERY hard to quit!

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Be realistic with where you are at and what you should be changing.  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when setting up a new exercise routine is trying to “do it all”.  Not only is this dangerous, it is in most cases very counterproductive in relation to your end goals.  Please heed this advice; there is value in gradual change.  True habits are formed with careful consideration and dedication.  Taking goals in incremental steps ensures you actually learn a new habit that sticks.  Little changes turn into big successes.
  2. Create accountability.  Top on my list for successful behavior change!  When you are accountable in a MEANINGFUL way to someone or something you are more likely to feel a greater sense of responsibility toward what you are doing.  Find a friend, family member, group, coach or even on-line support that will help you stick to the goals you have set.  Tell your accountability source what your goals are and give them specifics on how you need help!
  3. Journal your activity and progress.  411Fit knows that when you journal your exercise and nutrition (meaning actually WRITE IT DOWN!) you are without question more likely to lose weight, gain fitness, and make behavior changes.  Knowing what you are doing helps you clearly see where you need to go.
  4. Make it fun.  Sure, seems obvious.  We don’t stick to things in life when they aren’t fun. When you enjoy what you do, change is easy.  Given the proper oomph, you can make anything fun…see our blog about fun ways to exercise … but more importantly take a look at what you enjoy!  Then decide how you can turn what you enjoy into a healthy habit.
  5. Enlist SMART resources!  Fitness software that is easy to use and easy to find!  Tools like 411Fit help provide a huge chunk of what I have laid out here.
    – Guidance on appropriate goals that aren’t too big to chew
    – The ability to create accountability with friends, a community, and experts
    – Journaling
    – Challenges, reports, a social network…so much fun to be had!

Believe me when I say change doesn’t have to be hard…we usually just make it harder than it has to be.  Set yourself up for success and be one of those gym regulars.  Come on! Prove me wrong come March!  We would love to hear from you and what you have done to stick to YOUR goals!

Goal Accomplished – Now What? Keep Up. Don’t Catch Up.

By: Katie Mattson

Photo c/o: B Rosen

So you feel like Rocky on top of the steps, pumping your fists into the air and jumping up and down. Goal accomplished. Cue the credits. Job well done! But as the glory fades, as you begin to descend those steps, sometimes you’re left with a huge question: ‘Now What?!?”

Who are you? How did you get here? Maybe you’ve just met your goal of 2 miles. Maybe a marathon. Maybe you’re at your goal weight. No matter what the scenario, your vision of where to go next is no longer clear. What happens now? You probably feel like you are beginning again, and in a way you are. But don’t discount what you’ve already accomplished. Keep a mental (or a tangible) timeline of what you’ve done. All of that was necessary for you to be here today. It’s just simply time to re-center and regroup. How do you go about setting a new goal?

First, check in with how you feel.

Be honest about how you feel with your accomplishments and create a clear perspective regarding the choices you have moving forward. Are you overwhelmed with decisions? Or are you staring at a blank slate? Are you excited, nervous, confident? Are you frustrated? Once you identify what it is you want to move past, it becomes your next goal. Only by understanding that you must maintain where you are and understand how you feel about it can you move forward.

Second, assess your options.

No one is without options. No one is without choice. We simply feel lost in the journey sometimes. One of the answers I hear most often from my clients is, “I don’t know.” Truth is, you do know. It just feels like too much work to dig up the answer. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed with decisions, or at a loss with where to go, write out all the possible directions you have available. A marathon? Yoga certification? Vegan diet? Even write down the ones that don’t interest you. There is valuable information to be drawn from your interests, so write down options even if they don’t seem feasible or feel unrealistic.

Third, exercise choice.

All too often we allow our decisions to be made through inaction. Remember that it’s still a choice to let the chips fall where they may, or to wait long enough for the opportunity to pass. Don’t let this happen to you. You’ve worked hard to meet your goal. Take advantage of the progress you made so you can keep up…not catch up. When you eliminate some choices it will clear your head about where to go next by creating space to focus only on possibility. Mark off any item on your list from above that you don’t feel pulled toward.

So, now you only have opportunity on your list. Which is progress from the uncertainty you began with. Create a new list containing only opportunity. Now, pick out those items that seem unrealistic, but oddly exciting. Why do they excite you? How would that direction create happiness? Keep this realization in mind because before now it was an unconscious desire. Now that it’s conscious, work with it, ask for it and expect it to show up moving forward.

Fourth, create a new script.

Action infers accomplishment. Accomplishment is only attainable when you know what you’re working toward. Otherwise, it’s just a blind stab in the dark. Think about the variables that need to occur to move you forward. What vision do you have for the future? How will you measure whether a path is acceptable for optimum growth and happiness? Once you are clear on the answers to these questions, you can begin to move forward with your opportunity list.

Arrange your opportunities in order of most attractive to least. Which ones attract you most? Who can you talk to for more information? What research is needed? What questions do you have? As you get answers, gauge whether it fits into your vision. If it doesn’t, mark it off and move on to your next opportunity.

Stepping forward will feel awkward at first. Beginning new is always a daunting task of unknowns. But you’ve already been there once. That is how you got where you stand today. Begin again. Shift your perspective back into a state of curiosity and feeling. Remain open to suggestions, outside help and gentle nudges. It doesn’t have to be a lonely path of discovery. You can ask for help. Your answers are closer than you think they are.

What is YOUR first step forward from here?

Momentum Coaching‘s mission is for each of us to energize the moment we’re in. As owner and professional coach, Katie Mattson energizes her clients to stretch their boundaries, deepen their awareness and indulge in life. She coaches individuals and small groups around topics such as: building confidence, career and life transitions, shifting perspective and stepping into new experiences.

Want to lose weight? Burn bad habits, not excess calories!

By Briana Boehmer

MYTH:  Burning an extra 100 calories a day, multiplied by 365 days in the year means you have an extra 36,500 calories burned if everything else you do stays the same. This means about 10.5 lbs. a year! People hear that cutting 100 calories here and there is the fastest way to lose fat. Wrong!

FACT: There are a decent number of scientific studies that suggest small caloric changes have very little long-term effect on weight. BUT there is good news! Small changes, like adding in an extra walk a day, cutting out a soda, increasing your fiber consumption, or watching less T.V. can create a snowball effect of sorts that eventually leads to long term behavior change.

What we do know is this:  whether the small extras definitively create weight loss or alter metabolism, they do have the potential to create lasting behavior change. Your extra walk turns into a run, your increased fiber consumption turns into cutting out large amounts of sugar.  The extra’s turn into a new lifestyle – and lifestyle change is what scientists and doctors (and 411Fit!) are after.

So, instead of five ways to burn 100 extra calories a day…how about 5 ways to instigate lasting behavior change for the long haul?  Give one a try and you may shed that extra 10 pounds after all!

  1. Fiber is the spice of life.  Fiber is actually a form of carbohydrate that is not absorbed by the body.  It will not just create a sensation of feeling full; it aids in digestion and has several meaningful health benefits including increased heart health.  SO, spice up your diet with a little fiber!
  2. Add power to each hour.  Get up and move on the hour, every hour, during your normal workday.  Just a few minutes will do.  Walk around and do some light active exercises like squats or push-ups.  The movement will help prevent chronic pain and open up tight muscles.
  3. Don’t starve yourself.  Numerous studies have shown us that the fewer calories you consume, the fewer calories your body burns.  Your body is wired on survival, plain and simple.  Research has suggested that eating for your metabolism at regular intervals throughout the day (5-6 small meals) can help create an uptick in your metabolism and avoid causing a slowdown.
  4. Eat REAL food.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, chances are it’s not real.  The body is wired to digest REAL FOOD. Give it what it knows!
  5. Journal!  We see it in research, and we see it on 411Fit.  When you journal your food and exercise you are more likely to lose weight!  Knowledge IS power!

Mental Cleansing – Nine Days to Results

By: Katie Mattson

Photo c/o: Tran's World Productions

Front and center these days are ways of cleansing your body of its impurities through a special detox or diet. I found myself needing another type of natural cleansing…a mental one. Life started feeling overwhelming with so many choices, decisions, deadlines and projects to deliver on. All while trying to juggle some sense of a normal personal life with friends and loved ones. I could constantly hear myself saying how much I needed to take the time to meditate each day, do more yoga, hike more, etc. Yet, I continued to find myself putting it off and never actually making the time. Sound familiar?

That all changed when I decided to take the actions of a dietary cleanse and apply them mentally. I loved the structure of repeating an intention for nine days and decided to use this foundation to create my own mental cleanse. I chose my action (meditation/quiet time) and my length of cleanse (9 days).

Feel free to mix up the ingredients however you see fit!

Recipe for a nine day mental cleanse

  • Create an intention for progress What do you really want right now? Be specific and ask for what you would like to be, do or have. Repeat your intention three times to yourself before bed followed by about five minutes of focused breathing. Use these moments of breathing to really absorb your intention before drifting off to sleep. Each breathe in fills you with the intention. Each breathe out releases any perceived hesitation, doubt or negativity.
  • Set aside 20 minutes of reflective meditation. If you can, try setting aside these 20 minutes at home in a quiet room. But even if this is just driving home from work, turn off the radio, turn off your phone and focus for 20 minutes on what you want your life to look like in June of this year. Or December.
  • Reactivate the activities you love Take time at least once a week to revisit the activities you love to do. For me, that was hiking, climbing or doing something physical. I began to take walks again in the morning, climbing a few times a week and it felt SO good! Whether it’s something outside, yoga or art classes, reinstate their priority in your life and make it happen! Put it in your calendar like a meeting and make a firm statement to yourself that taking that personal time to amp up your energy and passion is JUST as important as any meeting or work task. Because honestly…how effective are you when you’re totally swamped with work?

I chose to do my intentions each evening before bed, committed to 20 minutes of quiet time each day and sprinkled in some of my favorite activities for nine days straight. Choose the best and most feasible combination for you. While you are partaking in the aspects of your mental cleanse, don’t worry about the rest of life. Simply focus on your intention. Commit to it. It’ll be one of the best natural body cleanses you’ll do.

Try a commitment to nine days and see what happens. Keep a record of the changes that occur and the answers that present themselves. Don’t forget to send over your success stories!

Momentum Coaching‘s mission is for each of us to energize the moment we’re in. As owner and professional coach, Katie Mattson energizes her clients to stretch their boundaries, deepen their awareness and indulge in life. She coaches individuals and small groups around topics such as: building confidence, career and life transitions, shifting perspective and stepping into new experiences.

411Fit Soon to Release New Coaching Technology

Making a Deeper Connection + Real time feedback = Real time progress

As a company committed to helping individuals and corporations reach their health and wellness goals, we are constantly analyzing what works and what doesn’t in personal training software, online nutrition journals and corporate wellness. It is very hard for individuals to discern what is best when it comes to better health – especially with all of the medical, fitness and diet related information in the media today. That is where the health and wellness professional comes in. Whether advice is sought from a coach, personal trainer, nurse, or doctor, people are looking for someone to decipher the code.

411Fit has found the biggest obstacles in getting the information an individual needs to make the right decisions are:

  • Proper access to health professionals.
  • Proper feedback as it relates to their own personal issues.

This is where the 411Fit coaching dashboard comes in. For the health professional, finding better ways to connect to a client is always needed.  Clients craves feedback and professionals craves meaningful health data. For the first time, 411Fit has created a platform that facilitates both needs seamlessly.

411Fit has created an innovative blend of education, tracking, accountability and reporting that allows health professionals to monitor and provide real-time feedback to  facilitate behavior change and goal progress.

For the Professional:
Using the 411Fit Coaching Dashboard as personal training software, professionals can offer 24-7 personalized service at a fraction of the cost. How do you know how well your client/patient is progressing with their goals?  It is often a combination of many factors, isn’t it? Professionals often manage exercise, diet, disease factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and weight. This new tool allows you to set guidelines, prescribe goals, and run reports to analyze how clients are doing and where they need help.

  • Minimize the number of systems you use for each client by consolidating all of your data into one, comprehensive solution.
  • Motivate anytime, anywhere – The beauty of an integrated, on-line, real time system!
  • Set alerts that fire when a client or patient falls out of acceptable ranges.
  • Have daily and weekly summary reports sent directly to your email for review.
  • Share training tips, exercise plans and nutrition advice – to just one client or to all of your clients.
  • Set goals and track measurements – Be specific about what you want  your client to work on and run reports daily and weekly to monitor their progress. 411Fit’s robust reporting features allow for quick and easy data analysis.
  • Use 411Fit’s proprietary grading system to quickly and easily see when a client or patient is doing well or poorly.
  • Communicate with your clients and share information, awards and motivational notes all with a click of a button.
  • Expand your client base by being able to reach more individuals in less time.
  • Create a library of plans that you can utilize across multiple populations.
  • Build stronger relationships by providing your clients and patients a truly personalized experience.

The concept: Prescribe in real-time and give real-time feedback – a level of interaction only surpassed by one-on-one contact. Using 411Fit’s robust nutrition and exercise tracker, individuals are able to follow guidelines set by their health professional all while their health professional monitors and tracks their progress. Clients feel a sense of confidence knowing you are on top of their health!

The 411Fit Coaching Dashboard will be released January of 2012. Questions? Contact us!