Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You Should Be Committed

Some would say I should have been committed long ago! Commitment is a word that I think too few pay attention to anymore. We jump from job to job, relationship to relationship, fad to fad etc. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes change is needed, but in this day and age, we go into things half-heartedly so often that the chances of success are fairly poor from the start. I am thinking on this concept today as I celebrate 20 years of marriage to a woman who probably should be committed for marrying me, and for putting up with me for the past 2 decades haha.

When it comes to our health, we have a habit of looking for the quick result with the least effort. When you think of commitment, the terms "quick result" and "least effort" don't go hand in and with that word, do they? Of course not. So often we look for health in a capsule, the fad diet, the 20 second ab workout, or the electrical stimulation unit that will gives us a 6 pack. I can see the attraction, and I understand the desire to find the "secret remedy" to optimum health, but it doesn't exist.

All things that are worthwhile take an investment of time, and to consistently invest your time requires commitment to a goal. The goal has to be so great as to keep us focused on it and running toward it, and this time of year is a great time to start looking at your 2011 goals.

Don't wait until 1/1/11 to start setting goals, start now. Start writing them down, reworking them as you get clearer about what you want. Set goals for yourself in multiple areas of your life including physical, mental, social, financial, and spiritual. Ask yourself, "What would I like my life to look like in those areas at the end of 2011?". Then create a plan that will get you there. It's easy to say I'd like to get to Alaska, but if you don't have a map, you may never get there. It's easy to set goals, but without a plan (map) we probably won't get there. Without a plan, goals are just pie in the sky wishes. Plan your work, and then work your plan.

To keep committed to your goals, have them written down where you can see them regularly. You might find that you need to have them in multiple places: on your laptop, in your PDA/phone, on a tablet in your bedroom by the bed, taped to your bathroom mirror (not your rear view mirror please!). Read your goals every day and see yourself achieving them, see what your life will be like when you achieve them, experience in your mind what it will feel like to be successful with each specific goal. I find that reading them on Sunday nights, before I start my week, causes me to make daily/weekly plans to get me closer to my goal, so maybe give that a try.

Anyway, to live a really wellness oriented lifestyle, it means more than watching one's weight. It encompasses being the best you can be, being what you were created for, pursuing your purpose in life. To do that, we have to stay committed!

I hope you find these ideas help you in your goals to live a wellness oriented life!

Until next time...BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Art Of Being Grateful

It's Thanksgiving, and a time when we are supposed to give thanks. But do we? Or do we look at this holiday only as a time to stuff our faces, sit around and watch football, and hang out with family? There's nothing wrong with that, and I'll probably do a little of each. But, are we thankful? Really Thankful?

You'd be surprised at the benefits of living a life of gratefulness. It changes your whole physiology (your insides). Studies have shown that practicing gratefulness has a whole myriad of health benefits. It can literally add years to your life, and life to your years.

There are several ways to start living this style of life. I teach my patients these when they are having issues with depression or with anxiety. One would be to buy a small notebook that you keep with you. You can use this as your gratefulness journal. You can either carry it with you and write in it as the day goes by about what your grateful for, or you can have a specific time every day that you sit down to use it. Every day, your task is to write down 5 things you are grateful for. Now, the goal is not just to create a list of things you are thankful for, but to experience exactly why you are thankful. How do we do that?

When you pick something you are thankful for, don't just write it down. Instead, write it down, then write a brief sentence or two as to WHY you are grateful. For instance, if I were to write down I am grateful for my wife, I'd might say the following: "I am grateful for my wife because she is beautiful inside and out, and I could not ask for a better mom for my kids. I enjoyed sitting with her by the fire pit and just shooting the breeze last night". That is a real example that I used recently.

You can do that once a day and list 5 things, or you can go through the day and write things down as they come to you or you experience them. Or you can do a combination of the two where you spend 5 minutes writing in your journal daily, but you also keep it with you so you can write down other things that you might experience throughout the day. If you're ever feeling down, stressed, depressed or frustrated, take it out and read through some of the entries.

Lastly, every night before you fall asleep, think on those things again. The bible tells us in Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." So every night review your day and focus on those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable etc and be thankful for them. It's a great way to drift off to sleep.

Until next time...BE WELL

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beating The "Holiday 5"

Yes the holidays are upon us. In just a few short weeks, turkey with stuffing, apple pie, pumpkin pie, candied yams and more will be available to us, along with many alcoholic libations. Tasty and enjoyable stuff for sure. I look forward to my first taste of pumpkin pie in almost a year.

However, when left unchecked, the holiday celebrations lead to the dreaded "Holiday 5", or in some cases the "Holiday 10". We are talking about the extra pounds put on because of the excess calories, and the poor quality of foods that we have available to us more commonly.

Over the last 2 years, I've worked hard on limiting the holiday poundage with some quality wins. Here's what I do now and recommend.

1. Understand that plenty of opportunities to splurge will occur. Accept that fact and be prepared for it.

2. Before going to a situation where you know you'll have sweet foods, alcohol, or high quantities of calories, have a snack. Yes, eat a snack. But, make it a healthy snack. Some pumpkin seed and a piece of fruit for example. Eat this about 30 minutes before the party so you don't arrive famished and ready to consume the first pretty looking food that appears (and most food looks much prettier when we're starving). Have your snack and 8oz of water.

3. Indulge in your favorite recipe. Don't completely ignore the pie or candy you love so much. You'll not enjoy yourself. But, limit the quantity. Eat it slowly and enjoy it. Plan ahead to only have "x" amount.

4. Don't fill your plate. This is a good rule all the time, but especially at holiday time. There's so much to choose from as you go down the line at Thanksgiving or Christmas. So put food on your plate, eat it and enjoy it, and then see how you feel. Again, take your time so you stomach starts to feel full.

5. If you know you want to taste everything, just take smaller quantities as you go through the line. Often we fill our plates with large servings and feel bad that we don't have room for something else we like, so we go back and get round two of the rest of everything.

6. Keep up with your exercise. Plan it out weekly so that you're getting the calorie burn you need. It's more vital than ever to do this now, especially since you know things will come up to get in the way of your exercise plan.

7. Finally, EVERY chance you get to eat healthy, DO IT! The next opportunity to indulge in sweets is just around the corner for you, so behave every second that you can!

Mainly, it's important to be prepared and to think about what you're doing. I want you to enjoy the holidays and the tasty foods, but not to the point of regretting it on January 2nd. I enjoy the challenge though. I weigh myself on Thanksgiving morning and monitor it all throughout the holidays, then have a final check on January 2. Last year it was only 1.5 pounds heavier, and I did enjoy my holiday. I hope you can find a way to enjoy and not regret it as well. Have a great holiday season!

Until next time...BE WELL!!
Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 Anti-Fitness Habits

The following 3 habits will result in weight gain faster than you can say ‘anti-fitness habits.’ Break these habits quickly.

1. Drinking Calories.
Soda pop, coffee drinks, smoothies and fruit juices are filled with calories. Since liquids won’t give you a ‘full’ feeling, these drinks slide by without notice of how many extra calories you’re getting. Stick with water to avoid extra calories. You have no benefit from eating these calories (empty calories) and you have all the bad stuff that goes along with it. It's a lose/lose arrangement.

2. Not Exercising.
Skipping the gym day after day, week after week, and month after month will lead to muscle loss and a reduced metabolism. Exercise 3-5 days per week to keep your muscles strong and metabolism high. It's amazing to me how much more coordinated my patients that are over 35 if they've been exercising regularly. It helps significantly with balance too which is very important as we age.

3. Eating a Heavy Dinner.
Eating a large heavy dinner sets you up for weight gain. Instead of eating the majority of your calories late in the day, spread it out over the entire day. Eat a large healthy breakfast, snack mid morning, a good sized lunch, a mid afternoon snack and a small dinner for optimum health. A small healthy snack can be had after dinner before bedtime if you eat light enough and early enough at dinner.

Until Next Time...BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

Thursday, October 7, 2010

If You Take Preventive Medication, Is That Wellness Care?

Nope. No Sir. No Way. Absolutely Not. Emphatically NO!!!!!

You are sick if you are taking drugs to stay well. WHAT?? Does that even make sense? It does if you think about it, or even if you don't.

It's really pretty simple. If you have been put on medications, there is apparently something amiss in your body that you and your health care provider have decided to treat by using chemicals. You are therefore being treated....for something. And, if you are being treated for something, you are sick, and thus not well.

Wellness comes from within, not from the outside. It is not created chemically. Chemicals may hide issues, but that doesn't make one well. Hey, if my check engine light comes on, maybe I should just cut the wires to it so that it goes off, that way my car would be "well" again. NOT! It's only a matter of time before your car blows up on you. We wouldn't do something that silly would we? Of course we would. We have the "for every ill there is a pill" mentality in our culture, and it causes plenty of blowups in our bodies.

Wellness comes from the inside of our bodies when we eat, move, think and rest in a wellness manner. Pretty much every condition that we get treated medically for can be controlled, diminished, or even eradicated by living a wellness lifestyle. It doesn't mean you won't ever get sick, or have a health challenge, but it does mean that if your body is in crisis, you have a much better chance of winning the battle when needed.

Remember, if you're on medications, you're sick.

Until next time...BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

7 Habits For Achieving Your Wellness Goals

1. Rethink your drink.
Lose the sugar and drop the weight. You can still get flavor in water/tea while skipping the sugar. Try adding citrus wedges, chopped mint, sliced cucumber or frozen berries to tea or water. My tea and my water almost always get a couple of slices of lemon in them. You'll also be getting the added health benefits of the fruit that you put in the drink.

2. Slow Down to Lose the Pounds
In a study in which female participants were instructed to wolf down their meal, they ate, on average 70 additional calories and felt less satisfied than the group that was instructed to eat slowly and enjoy their meal. It is important to eat slowly, take small bites, chew thoroughly and put your fork down between bites. Take your time and enjoy your food.

3. Know Your Serving Size.

The palm of your hand is approximately 3 oz. serving of meat. Your fist is a good measurement for ½ cup, which would be the serving of pasta. Thumb is about 1 ounce and the tip of the thumb measure about 1 teaspoon. Also, eating a small healthy snack (a 1/4 cup of almonds or walnuts for example) 30 minutes prior to your meal will help you feel fuller sooner and you'll back down on what you eat at the meal.

4. Aspire to Perspire.

When it comes to working out, there are more options than there are shades of green. When creating your workouts focus on transforming your body as well as tuning your mind. Try it all and find the activities you enjoy the most. Remember 45 minutes of cardiovascular activity most days of the week and 45 minutes of weight training at least 3 times per week is optimum.

5. Scale Down

As the number on the scale goes down so should the number of calories you are eating. To figure out your BMR – divide your current weight by 2.2 pounds then multiplying this number by 0.9 and then by 24. Now multiple your BMR by 1.2 and you have arrived at the number of calories your body burns per day when you factor in your physical activity. (300 – 500 calories per hour of intermediate exercise) Once you have your final number- shave off 500 calories to find how many calories you need to eat to lose a pound per week.

6. Mix It Up.

Have you been doing the same workout day in day out? If so, your body has more than likely become just familiar with the physiological conditions and this is no longer a challenge. To grow no more and to increase your body’s metabolism, you must change your workouts on a regular basis to continue the challenge. Increase your flexibility, strengthen your core, improve your agility and work on your speed. Constantly mixing it up will keep your body guessing, changing and improving.

7. Make a Promise. And keep it.

It is very difficult to blow off a commitment that you have made public to people that are important to you. Tell your family, your friends, your trainer and anyone else you think will be supportive of your new aspirations. A workout partner is always good for keeping you committed to your wellness goals.

Until Next Time...BE WELL!
Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Price Vs. The Prize

Really, this is what it all comes down to: The Prize vs. The Price. There it is, the secret of the universe. I could stop now and never write another thing (and some might be thankful for that) and you'd have all you need to make the lifestyle changes you know you need to make. The Prize vs. The Price. So simple. Who knew?

If we're not moving forward in our desire to be more healthy, then we're focused on the price. Sometimes the price can seem so overwhelming. I know, I have those moments, days, weeks or seasons. It seems the mountain is so high, and with my little steps it will take me so long to get to the top. What's the point? Gosh, I took 10 steps yesterday, and then I slid down the mountain on some loose shale, and ended up 15 steps back. And I skinned my knees and hands in the process and bruised up my backside. Now I feel achy, stiff, frustrated and don't know if it's worth it anymore.

Sound familiar? It probably should for most of us. It's those times where the price seems so huge, so monumental, so unconquerable, that it feels better to just give in, ie turn over and go back to bed instead of getting up to exercise, go to Wendys for a single combo with cheese instead of going to the store and making something fresh and healthy, ignore the need to de-stress and just keep plodding along, not take the time to truly rest, but rather stay out late partying regularly. It just seems so much easier to turn around, and walk DOWN the hill instead. Besides, that's what most people are doing, why not just go along with the crowd?

Here's why. Step back and look, REALLY look at the crowd. Do they have the life you really want? Most are over worked, over stressed, over weight, and over eating. Do you REALLY only want what the rest of the world has? Or do you want to be better than average?

Those who enjoy their lives, and live very balanced in their eating, moving, thinking and resting don't look at the price as much. They keep their eyes on the prize, even in the midst of the days where they're slipping down the slope and banging up their knees, elbows and backsides. And if they do start thinking about a price, it's the price they'll have to pay if they DON'T eat, move, think and rest well. They keep that in mind along with the prize of the life they want to live, the legacy they want to leave behind, and the memories they'll make of overcoming the challenges they've had to overcome.

I saw this on the face of many of the 1st time 5k runners at the recent 1st annual Lake Houston Area 10k/5k and Wellness Fest in our area. My wife was one of them. I was standing at the area where the 5k-ers turned in toward the finish line, and the look on her face as she could see the mountain top was priceless (get that? PRICE-less....think on that one). I remember high 5-ing some of the other 1st time runners as they finished up and seeing their proud looks. That was a perfect example to me of people focused on the prize.

That's what keeps me going personally. We all need to focus on the results, and overcoming challenges so that we can become the person we want to be. Get your reason, your prize, clearly in your mind and stay focused on it. And when you slip (and you will), don't look down, keep focused upward and get right back off your rusty dusty backsides and take that next step. Remember the prize, not the price!

Ok, cue the Rocky Theme Music now :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Started

One reader of another blog of mine was asking "How do you get committed to starting your day off with exercise?". It's not easy, especially the older we are because habits are more ingrained as we age. That means two things: 1. The older I am, the more commitment it will take to change and 2. It's easier to change NOW rather than later when I have more years of bad habit behind me!

But, as I've said before in this blog, nothing happens without a "why". The "why" has to be big enough to make someone change and to keep the new change in effect long enough for it to become a habit, because it is one of nature's laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.

So, what are your reasons? If they're big enough, nothing will stop you. If I tell you to run into a burning house to see if someone is in there, you might question my reasoning. If however, I told you your most cherished loved one was in there, the "why" just got big enough in most cases to create action.

In our office we teach an exercise on how to create the why, and how to use it to force change, and to make the new change become the new habit. Call us to schedule a time to learn how to create and use your own "why"!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


On this day, September 12, 2010, this blog was born. Stay tuned and follow for regularly updated wellness oriented information!

Until that time.......BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce