Exercise results
I was recently talking with my mom, and she expressed some frustration at the fact that her upper body workouts seem to have plateaued, and she is no longer seeing improvements.

A new term used by fitness experts to describe people like my mom, or those who fail to see results from typical workout routines, is "exercise nonresponders."

Personally, I don't care much for this term. It sounds like they are blaming the person, rather than the workout, when in fact, there is a lot of new research that shows that the type of workout you do actually has a lot to do with your results (or lack of them).

If you've experienced the frustration of not achieving the results you want through your workouts, this might be the reason...


 
 
Yoga pose
Does your workout leave you gasping for breath? Do you curse at your TV while doing a workout DVD? Or maybe you even curse at your trainer, if you work out at the gym? (In that case, your trainer probably curses back, and tells you something like "there's no gain without pain," right?)

Well, guess what, real health isn't painful. And fitness is definitely an important part of health - but it shouldn't be one that causes pain. If it does, you really need to read today's post, and the article mentioned below as well.

I can tell you a bit about workouts that push you to the limit. And I can certainly tell you a lot about pain. But first, let me tell you why, this year, I gave up my favorite yoga workout - and why I don't feel bad about it...


 
 
1. Eat Whole FoodsStep 1...
It's no secret: Pretty much all of us could benefit from eating less and exercising more. Just look around you, and that's easy to see! However, unfortunately it doesn't seem that easy for most of us to do.... If it was, we wouldn't be the most obese nation in the world!

If you struggle with weight loss, but can't seem to stick to a diet (or workout plan) long enough to make a difference, you may be approaching the problem all wrong. Instead of trying to make a huge change and overhaul your entire life and diet so you can lose, say 30 lbs, try a smaller, more incremental approach.

In fact, rather than focusing on losing a certain amount of weight, instead, try making a few simple, gradual healthy changes to your overall lifestyle. Not only will you build a healthier body in the long run, but you will end up losing weight naturally - without even feeling like you're trying! For example, did you know that not getting enough sleep causes weight gain? In fact, you could lose a few pounds per year just by sleeping more - how awesome is that?!?

Here are 7 simple tips that you can begin incorporating into your life today, to help you achieve and maintain your desired weight, while building a healthier, stronger, more resilient body in the process.


 
 
Perfect health
Last week, we discussed the fact that your body's natural state is one of health and wholeness. In almost all cases, any deviation from this state is a result of the choices we make, and the behaviors we engage in.

As a follow up, we thought it important to address the underlying question - just what is health? What does it mean to be healthy, and what steps can we take to achieve that state (if we have lost it), and to maintain it (once we have it)?

While there are probably thousands of factors that affect our health, luckily we don't have to address all of these different factors individually.

In fact, there is really only ONE main area which determines whether or not we are healthy, and whether we stay that way. If you can keep this one facet of your bodily systems healthy, you will greatly decrease your odds of contracting any disease, and greatly increase your odds of living a long, healthy, and happy life.

Just what is this miracle "cure"?


 
 
Healthy eating
I've noticed something interesting about our weekly email updates that we send out to our subscribers. Whenever we send one that focuses on something like improving relationships, or financial balance, fewer people open the update than when we send one that directly addresses a specific physical health topic like healthy eating, or fighting disease.

From a marketing standpoint, you might say that in that case, it would be better not to focus on those topics. But this defeats the purpose of our main premise of holistic living - that is, that everything is connected!

While most people may think that being healthy simply means eating foods that are good for you, and getting enough exercise, in fact, we feel that True health goes much deeper than that.


 
 
Sitting at desk
No, I'm not talking about how much you hate your boss, or how much your job stresses you out. I'm also not talking about those who have obviously dangerous jobs and are exposed to large amounts of chemicals during a regular workday. What I'm talking about is something much more insidious, as it is only just beginning to be recognized as dangerous to your health.

I'm talking about sitting at a desk all day.

If you're anything like me, you are in front of a computer for 8+ hours on a regular work day. While a few offices have recently enacted standing or walking desks for their employees, they are by far the minority. And most people, after sitting at a desk all day, then come home and sit in front of the TV for several hours.

You may think the only harm this is doing to you is an aching back and a stiff neck, but researchers are finding this isn't the case. In fact, sitting for long periods of time - as so many of us do in today's modern world - is linked to all kinds of diseases and health problems. There's even a popular new term being used to describe this phenomenon; it's called "sitting disease."

If you're one of those people who has a desk job, you are at high risk for sitting disease. Read on to find out why this is so bad for your health, and what you can do about it....


 
 
New Year
Well, here we are in January already - the New Year has begun! What are your goals for this year? Do you set New Year's Resolutions, or go by some other formula to set out your annual plan?

Personally, I prefer goals to "resolutions" - perhaps because, as I was reading in an article earlier this week, resolutions usually seem rather vague, which is probably why so many fail to keep them. I find the more specific a goal is, the better chance I have of accomplishing it. So I've been hard at work over the past few weeks, designing plans for my 2015 - and will continue to do so for the next several weeks as I get things in order.

I thought I'd share a few of my goals with you in today's post, as well as some tips for successfully setting (and keeping) your own goals for the year....


 
 
I've had this book on my Amazon wishlist for quite a while, and finally got around to reading it last month. In the subtitle of his book, Dr. James Levine, MD, PhD, director of the NEAT Center at the Mayo Clinic, says you can "Use NEAT Science to: Burn 2,100 calories a week at the office, be smarter in as little as 3 hours, reduce fatigue by 65%, and extend your lifespan by 4 years."

These sound like lofty claims, and although his basic premise is simple, in practice Dr. Levine's concept is rather revolutionary.

Dr. Levine's general thesis is a fairly commonsense one. He posits that the human body is made and meant to move almost continually, and that our modern sedentary lifestyle, filled with conveniences which remove more and more movement from our lives, is killing us. This in itself may sound pretty obvious, but many of us would say, "well, I have a desk job, so there's nothing I can do about it." And here is where the twist comes in. In the second half of Move A Little, Lose A Lot, Dr. Levine shares an 8-week program for incorporating more and more movement into your daily life, no matter what kind of job you have, or how sedentary your lifestyle may have been up to this point.

Since I am not currently looking to lose weight, I didn't follow the 8-week program, but I did read through the entire thing, which is filled with interesting information, and various tips and hints to keep you motivated throughout the program, remind you why you are doing it, and give you the tools you need to succeed.

He claims that, at the end of the 8 weeks, you will not only be thinner and more fit, but also happier, more energetic, and more excited about your life.

 
 
Last week we talked about the first part of the weight-loss equation - the foods you eat to fuel your body. But that's only half of the story....

Another reason so many of us are overweight is that our daily living activities are no longer "activities" in the true sense - that is, we took the "active" out of activity! Our society no longer is a manual labor-driven society. We don't spend all day out in the fields growing our food.

In fact, most of us spend all day indoors, sitting down. Then we leave the office and go home, to sit down some more. Then we expect to spend an hour at the gym every couple of days, and lose weight.

This is a backwards approach to fitness. Our bodies were meant to move - all the time! Being confined to a chair for 8-10 hours a day, and of course sleeping 7-8 hours per night, doesn't leave much room to be active. Obviously for the majority of us with desk jobs, it might seem there is not much we can do about this....

 
 
As this is a health-related site, and obesity is one of the greatest health problems in our country today, you may be wondering why there isn't a "weight loss" page on our site. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which being, we are all about holistic health. That is, treating the body as a whole, and as a connected part of the environment and the world. Unlike mainstream medicine, we don't believe in treating a specific symptom, but rather nurturing and nourishing the body with the things it needs to be a healthy whole. Therefore, we try to approach health as a holistic system, and if you faithfully follow the suggestions throughout the site, weight loss will most likely naturally follow as a result.

Not to mention, there are about as many ways to lose weight as there are overweight people! The variety of techniques, strategies, and programs people use to lose weight are practically endless. And while one strategy may work well for one person, it may do nothing for another, depending on one's habits, lifestyle, and even genetics.

We are a species of instant gratification. We all want the magic pill, the little-known strategy that is going to fix all of our problems, the one simple technique that will always work - we want the secret! Whether it is flat abs, thin thighs, or a smaller behind, when it comes to weight loss, people buy the "miracle cures" hook line and sinker by the truckload. Sadly many are left disappointed. Some may lose a bit of weight, but it is a struggle and many often give up before achieving their goals. Many put back on all of the lost pounds and then some.

So what works? What is the secret?