Consistent inputs are truly the key to success. With them, momentum builds and life changing outcomes start to occur.

The goal is to get 1% better each day or 1/10th of 1% or whatever incremental improvement makes sense for you. This is how the process works and as much as we might want to skip a step this cannot be done.

The reality is that you have to lose the first pound if you want to lose 50 pounds, and you have to first get second faster if you want to get one minute faster in a mile run. Each step in the process is important as you move towards your goal.

So do what needs to be done to improve each and every day, and then over time you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. The key word here is consistent, which I think may be just the word that separates the pros from the amateurs.

Even when you don’t want to do it, you get it done and postpone rewards until later. The plan will work if you work it.

Maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight without positive results, but it’s never too late to get in shape. Unfortunately, most of the advice on the internet promising quick and easy results can be unhelpful and even misleading. So, if you are unsure of where to start, listen to your gut.

The collection of bacteria living in your gastrointestinal tract has a lot to say about the food you are eating and its effects in your body. We know now there are clear connections between the foods we eat and the growth of specific bacterial species in the G.I. tract.

For example, when you eat the food preferred by the healthy bacteria in your gut, you end up with a diverse gut microbiome that helps prevent obesity and other health conditions. But the opposite could spur chronic inflammation and irritate your gut, making it harder to lose weight.

In a study published in April 2021 in BMJ Journals, scientists found that certain foods in the Western diet (large amounts of meat, processed foods, sugar and alcohol) are more likely to promote harmful gut bacteria and increase inflammation.

But those who ate more fish and plant-based products in line with a Mediterranean diet appeared to be less likely to experience elevated levels of inflammation.

And last but not least, good news for coffee lovers! They are more likely to have a type of bacterium that has anti-inflammatory properties. Cheers!

When you sleep less, you are more likely to eat more the next day, as you have probably experienced. This relationship has been consistently shown in previous research.

But up until recently, no study had examined the effects of training individuals to sleep more on changes in food intake and body weight.

A recent study* published in JAMA last month did just that and the findings are quite intriguing.
The participants, who all reported getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night, were randomized to receive sleep hygiene recommendations or to a control condition.

After 2 weeks, the participants in the intervention group reported sleeping 1.5 extra hours each night. These participants also reported eating approximately 270 fewer calories per day and losing about 1 pound of body weight.

If this reduction was maintained over time, a relatively large weight loss could occur just from sleeping a bit more. In addition, the participants who slept more reported having more energy during the day, feeling more alert and being in a better mood.
So, it seems a little extra Zs can pay huge dividends.

All it takes sometimes is a small lifestyle change to set you on the path of weight loss and greater well-being.

*JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 7, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.8098

Every time we eat, our digestive and metabolic systems communicate with our brain when to stop eating. This mechanism, called satiety, is critical for our survival: without it, we could eat until our stomach bursts.

In contrast to this homeostatic system, our hedonic system allows us to consume large amounts of food just because they are available and taste great. This also makes evolutionary sense: if our ancestors ever encountered calorie-dense foods, even if not hungry, the body would not want us to pass up this opportunity to stock up on nutrients. Thus, consuming more than was needed for satiety could represent a hedge against times of scarcity.

This strategy may have been effective for our ancestors but in today’s day and age, we are surrounded by good tasting, high calorie foods and not likely to experience scarcity.

So how can we turn the tables?
First, we need to recognize that foods high in sugar and fat could hijack our appetites and undermine our body’s better judgment. These hyperpalatable foods, which are typically high in sugar and fat, such as donuts, cakes, cookies, seem to have the ability to override our homeostatic system and allows our hedonic drive to be in full control.

To keep our temptation levels down, it’s good to consume nutrients that promote high levels of satiety, such as protein, fat, and fiber at each meal. Regular movement throughout the day coupled with good quality sleep can also keep our levels of temptation down.

Have you seen people at the gym who are very strong but also very stiff? Although most of us want to become stronger, the potential for weight training to make us stiff and less mobile could discourage us from lifting.

While post workout stiffness cannot be fully blamed on lifting (it is also associated with lack of adequate nutrition and proper recovery), it’s still a very common experience. If the muscles are not properly stretched before or after a weight training session, there is potential for them to become constricted and tighter.

Fortunately, there is a way to become stronger while still maintaining or even enhancing our mobility. Pre-workout dynamic movements, such as hip opening exercises and active stretches, are great ways to warm up our muscles before training, helping us have a greater range of movement.

Additionally, focusing on a full range of movement during training sessions is also an important key to maintaining or improving mobility.

With better mobility, you will feel less stiff, and will be able to move better while lifting.In short, think of lifting as having four important variables: mobility, stretching, strength and stability. Ultimately, to get the maximum benefits from lifting weights, we need to give attention to all.

Sometimes we all need to evaluate what we’ve been doing to determine we need to do to get better. This involves viewing your current lifestyle choices from an objective standpoint and asking yourself the questions of did they produce the desired results or not?

If the answer is no, it’s really important to not beat yourself up about this. The reality is that most plans do not typically work the first time around, but they do always provide information or feedback to guide future plans.

If you can detach from having to achieve a specific outcome or meeting some predetermined standard, and then evaluate your progress in the way in which you would a friend, you are much more likely to make adjustments that will help you in the long run.
Yes having a good plan is important, but so is the ability to modify it when needed.

By being objective in evaluating your results, rather than letting your ego affect your evaluation, you can make modifications that can help move you towards your goals.

Wellness is not just one thing, but rather is influenced by your “wellness level” across multiple areas.

So, if we want to improve our overall wellness, it is a good idea to evaluate where we stand in each one of these areas.
If you are happy with your level of wellness in a particular area, then continue doing just that. As a rule, it’s a good ideal not to mess with success… too much!

On the other hand, if there are areas where you think your “wellness level” could be improved, I would recommend coming up with one action (yes, just one!) that you could consistently do to improve your “wellness level” in each of these areas.

So, identify, improve, repeat! And enjoy the increased levels of wellness this simple but powerful action plan creates.

I’ve found that focusing on one change at a time has been key to making sustainable changes in my life, and I hope that you experience similar benefits.

You may have heard the expression, you are what you repeatedly do. I think there is much truth to this and it’s worth exploring this statement as it relates to our habits.

Whenever we get in the habit of engaging in any behavior repeatedly, at some point the habit takes over and you start becoming the habit. In other words, if you get in the habit of watching TV late at night and sleeping in, this is what starts to feel comfortable or normal to you. And if you do this often enough, it will feel odd to do something different.

The same goes for engaging in a healthier habit, such as exercising at a particular time of day. If you consistently exercise at the same time every day for a period of at least 30 days, you will be amazed at how your mind and body expect to exercise and are physiologically prepared to do so at this time.
At some point, it will feel odd to not engage in this behavior pattern, as it has become a part of who you are. In my own journey, I’ve found this to be the case, as it would now feel odd for me to not meditate, write in cursive, and exercise in the fasted state in the morning.

For this reason, it’s really important to develop habits that serve you and are aligned with your goals. Remember, first, you create the habits, then they create you!

What at first seems hard will over time start to seem a bit easier and easier, through consistent practice. Through repeated engagement, the effects of the daily activities compound to lead to the development of something special. This is one of the many reasons I recommend to do the daily activities and see what happens to your mental and physical health. You also build momentum, and that is a major force behind all great accomplishments. Of course, in order to build momentum, one has to overcome some level of resistance.
One does not always know the path to success, but it is often just behind whatever you resist. So find the resistance and smile at it as it is the force that does not want you to change. Once this force is overcome, the rest will be easier.

For me, my morning routine, which consists of meditation, cursive writing with both hands, and also some sort of movement really helps get me ready to take on the day. I first meditate, then consume coffee while writing and then do some sort of movement before going into the office.