Corporate Wellness

Wellness Success – How to Maintain or Gain It

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Here at B.Komplete, we strive every day to make Wellness Success achievable. But what exactly is Wellness Success? Depending on your health goals, Wellness Success can mean different things to different individuals. We’ve created this guide for Maintaining – or Gaining -Your Wellness Success to help you achieve your vision of wellness, and to overcome barriers you may face along the way.

Wellness Defined

Wellness is the self-directed process in which one comes to realize his or her full potential in mental and physical well-being. Things that hold us back from achieving wellness success include stress, time constraints, hesitance of change, and fear of the unknown. For Wellness Success to be realized, we must overcome all that holds us back.

The Empowerment Zone

Think about the things in your life that you wish were different. Write them down. Determine which of those you can control. These things are in your Empowerment Zone. Develop a plan of action that includes changing these undesirable things that you have control over.

Make the Choice to Change

The only way to realize positive change in your life is by making choices. Life is full of choices! Unfortunately, we make some of these choices so often that they have become habits. Change sometimes seems scary because we are stuck in these habits. We have become accustomed to doing things a certain way, and we are scared to change. The first step to achieving and maintaining Wellness Success is to override these feelings of fear.

Dissect your Habits, and Gain Control

By gaining control over your habits, you move closer to the person you want to be. There is no shortcut to mastering your habits, but there is one secret to controlling them: habits are built upon consistency. New York Times business writer, Charles Duhigg, explains the habit-building process in more detail in this NPR interview. To initiate a new behavior and turn it into a habit, you must be consistent with this behavior.

Start Small

Motivation rises and falls. To achieve better success, make changes that don’t require much motivation. Rather than eliminating sugar all day, start by eliminating it from your coffee. Instead of completely replacing your whole milk with almond milk, start by mixing half of each. After that becomes routine, introduce the new habit in another area, in another way. You’ll know when a habit becomes a routine, because it will feel automatic. As Forbes.com explains, “The most successful people take small, smart steps toward their goal.”

Plan for Success

Planning is a crucial tool in your effort to achieve Wellness Success. Some days, we are Super Versions of ourselves, and our motivation runs rampant. On other days, we just don’t feel like it. How do we make good decisions every single day? When we don’t have the time or motivation to make good decisions, we end up choosing what’s easiest. If your vision of Wellness Success involves healthier eating, try using free meal plans that meet your food group targets. If your Wellness Success involves incorporating more workouts into your weekly routine, try a free fitness app like Daily Workouts and Sworkit. By not planning ahead, we set ourselves up for failure. 

Prioritize Your Goal

Ignore interruptions and anything that can take you off track. Follow your plan; treat your goal as a priority. Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritize your schedule. Schedule your efforts as if they are appointments, and commit to them like you would anything else. Don’t blow yourself off, just like you wouldn’t blow off a friend, coworker, dentist, or physician.

Have a Buddy!

A Stanford University Study found that simply receiving a phone call every two weeks to discuss exercise progress increased the amount of exercise done by participants by 78%. After a year and a half, the participants studied were still exercising at an increased level. Another study, by Indiana University, found that half of couples who worked out separately dropped out of their workout programs over the course of a year, while those who worked out together had only an eight percent dropout rate. The take home message: Find an exercise buddy and increase your chances of sticking to your workout routine.

Focus

To reach our wellness success, we need to become experts in directing our attention toward our goals. The ability to focus has been shown to predict happiness in school, work, and life. Methods for improving our focus include goal visualization and meditation. By visualizing our goals and defining what Wellness Success looks like, we can view completion and work towards that vision. Meditation can improve attention, reduce stress, and remove distraction as we continue on our path toward wellness.

Keep Track of Things

This simple but crucial step in behavior change is backed by research showing increased performance when behaviors are tracked. In 14 studies assessing tracking in school students, students who tracked their progress improved test scores by 32%. The most powerful results occurred when students were also able to see teachers’ expected scores as presented in the chart. This combination of seeing charted progress + preset goals and expectations has the biggest effect on enhancing performance. Regardless of the tracking method you choose, make sure to map out your goals along the way, so that you can view them as you chart your progress. Invest in a goal-oriented planner, like the Passion Planner, to track your habits and to create a road-map with expected achievements as you work towards your goals.

Getting Over the Hump

Everyone reaches a plateau. Whether a weight loss plateau or a motivational plateau, this is when it’s important to take a step back and review why you started in the first place. Think about why you chose to make these changes. What have you been working so hard over the last days, months, or year to achieve? Get back to your Empowerment Zone and realize that you have been making these changes because you have the choice to do so. You decided that it was important enough for you to choose change. Roadblocks are inevitable. To get past them, ask yourself: Are you bored? Do you need to tweak your workout? Do you need more variety in your meal planning? Are you stressed? Reassess your habits. If it’s diet variety that you need, think about varying your protein choices. Consider switching up your snacks. Try a new fruit, vegetable, or other produce item that you’ve seen but never tasted. Incorporating new things could be the best way to get over your temporary progress hump. Recognizing stress is also crucial to getting past this point. When we feel like our motivation has taken a vacation, stress is often to blame. We must learn to recognize stress in order to manage it. Look for physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional signs of stress. Then, overcome your stress with diet, exercise, and rest. 

Congratulations on taking the first step toward realizing your personal Wellness Success: having the desire to change. Using this B.Komplete guide for maintaining your Wellness Success, you will be well positioned to overcome any future hurdles that you may face in your path toward optimal wellness.

Exercise

Interview – Your Time is Now

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B.Komplete had the opportunity to speak with Dave, who is a professional in the food industry.  Dave is happily married with two children.  Like many of us, Dave started gaining weight in his 30’s, and found himself in a state he didn’t feel great about.  And, then Dave made a change.  Read on to learn what worked for him – which may also work for you.  

When you first decided to make changes in your life, what was the first thing you did?
  • I realized I was not in the shape that I wanted to be in. It was obvious I wasn’t active enough and I knew I probably wasn’t eating the best. I wanted to start by focusing on my eating habits. To do this, I just started to keep track of what I was eating each day.
How did you begin the physical process of changing your life?
  • At first, I thought about how I could keep track of what I was eating. I knew I could keep notes or create an excel spreadsheet. Then I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way to do this, especially with all of the new technology now a days. So, I started to look into different apps. I searched “weight loss” and found My Fitness Pal and Lose It.  My Fitness Pal  appeared to have a focus on exercise and that’s not what I wanted at this point. I chose to use Lose It because I could budget the amount of calories I was allotted each day in order to hit my goal weight.  
What goals did you set for yourself?
  • I knew I wanted to lose weight. At the beginning, I was at my heaviest of 255 lbs and I wanted to get down to a healthier weight. I set a goal to get down to 215 lbs. Lose It actually helped me to hit my end goal by giving me mini goals each week. By that I mean, each week I was allotted a set number of calories in order to lose 2 lbs per week.
Were there any obstacles you faced during the process of change? How did you manage to stay healthy at work?
  • One Thursday or Friday evening, I wanted to enjoy a glass of wine with my wife after work but I didn’t have enough calories left to do so. That’s when it hit me. If I did enough physical activity, I could burn off enough calories to be able to enjoy my wine. This became important to me to work out so I could enjoy things and still maintain my calorie goals. Also, it helped me to feel better about myself.
  • With a long commute to work each day and a busy schedule, it’s hard to find time to fit in exercise. It helped for me to schedule it into my day and make it a priority. I started to go to the gym before work in the morning. I remember one of the first mornings my alarm went off and I said “if I don’t get up now, I’m never going to do this.” So, I got up and have been doing it ever since. On the days I have an early meeting and can’t go to the gym beforehand, I have to defend my time, meaning even if I can’t do my usual hour or so workout and only have time for 20 minutes of cardio, I do it.
  • Food wise, at work I started to make substitutes in my lunches. By tracking what I ate, I saw what wasn’t good for me and what I could replace it with. For instance, I now eat baked Lays chips instead of regular potato chips. Also, I’m a big fan of soups. I used to eat jambalaya and seafood bisque’s which are high in fat and sodium. Now, I found one that is much healthier and still tastes great.  
 What resources did/do you use to help keep you going?
  • Like I said, the app Lose It  works well for me to track what I eat. I can also use it to track my exercises. There was one saying that my previous manager used to say that has stuck with me, that was: “what gets measured, gets done.” I think of that when I track what I eat and when I exercise. It helps you see or “measure” what you are doing and it keeps me accountable to “get it done” or meet my daily calorie allowance and fit in daily exercise.
  • You have to find something that works for you. When I started to get into exercising, I was never a fan of running but it is now something that I enjoy and helps me. I started running shorter distances, maybe a mile or two. Now, I have ran numerous races from 5K, 10K, to a half marathon.
Have your changes impacted your kids or family at all? if so, how?
  • My children are 5 & 2 so they are in their cute years. They actually helped to inspire me to want to change. I saw a picture of myself and one of my children and it didn’t look like me next to this cute kid.
  • Now that I’ve made my changes and stick to a healthy lifestyle, it sets a good example for them. They’ve come to my races and cheer me on from the sides. My older child even does “races” in the backyard where he just runs around for a little. It’s good for them to see the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. Hopefully, down the road they will understand that from watching me.
What advice would you give your kids in the future on the importance of health, physical activity, and eating healthy?
  • I would say you have to make it a priority. You need to stay consistent, even if you can’t fit in a full workout one day, do what you can. You are still doing something and staying active. Also, find something you enjoy and are comfortable with. If you enjoy it, it will be easier to make it a priority in your daily life. It helps to track everything. You see what you are doing right and what you can improve on.
What are you most proud of?
  • After I lost all the weight, I went back to the doctors and my doctor noticed right away that I lost weight. Also, my biometrics had all improved. It was nice to see that not only on the outside I had improved, but also on the inside.
Dave’s Weight change:
March 2014 – 255 pounds, November 2014 – 200 pounds.
Dave ran his first half marathon in November 2014.

 


B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

Nutrition and Food

Interview – Her Motivational Moment

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Dana is a young professional with a love for cooking and staying active. It didn’t start out that way – she didn’t always love to cook, or even know how to cook for that matter. Dana’s skills in the kitchen hovered just above knowing how to boil water. And her physical activity level was a far cry from a fitness enthusiast.

Back in 2012 Dana went to her Physician for her annual check-up. In her appointment she took a look at the height and weight chart that calculates your Body Mass Index (BMI). Dana calculated her BMI and was surprised that at her current weight she was considered overweight. She was surprised because “she didn’t feel that way,” but “couldn’t hide from the numbers.” Dana decided she had two choices, “live with it or make a change.” She decided to make changes and has successfully maintained a weight loss of 30 pounds for more than two years, gone from a size 8 to a size 2, lost 2 bra sizes and gained an entire new wardrobe! We asked Dana if she would share her experience with B.Komplete in an effort to help others in their quest for making healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes.

When you decided to make changes in your life what was the first thing you did?

The moment I decided that I wanted to make changes in my life I took some time to reflect on my choices. I didn’t begin making lifestyle changes right away. I took about a week or two to “check myself” by asking questions such as, was I living up to my ideal life. I allowed time for self-awareness and assessment. I did a mental inventory of my life.

How did you begin the physical process of changing your life?

I started running with my boyfriend. I wanted to spend more time doing activities together. In the beginning, I wasn’t able to keep up with his pace, “I was no speed demon.” But, wanting to spend time with him and being competitive helped to motivate me and work harder. My goal was to keep up with him on our runs. In the beginning it was difficult to keep up but I kept at it.

What type of goals did you set for yourself?

I didn’t set a big goal like “I’m going to lose this much weight by this date.” I set small goals along the way. If I ran for ten minutes without stopping one day I would shoot for fifteen minutes the next day. I set small achievable goals and made small incremental gains that resulted in larger gains over time.

What other changes did you make?

I did multiple things over a long period of time. I’m a “food nerd” so the thought of a restrictive diet was a worse case scenario for me. I began to learn how to cook. My weight was reflective of my lack of cooking skills. I learned a few simple things in the beginning to get started. I would choose recipes that were easier to make. Now, cooking has become a hobby for me. I have learned to cook many recipes from scratch. I view cooking as equally as important for sustaining my weight loss as I do the physical activity.

Was there anyone in particular who helped motivate you?

Beryl and I were room-mates for a year.  I witnessed that she practices what she preaches for nutrition consumption and portion control.  Beryl’s recipes are well-balanced, from a nutrition and a flavor standpoint.  Beryl is always active, and supported me in my pursuit by joining me at my level as a reliable work-out buddy. As I began to change so did my relationships and conversations with other people. My conversations became more about health. I would ask my family questions about cooking which lead to more conversations geared toward health.

Were your friends and family supportive of your efforts?

No one really noticed I was loosing weight until about a year after I began. Because I was making small changes over a long period of time I don’t think it was immediately noticeable. For the most part, people were supportive. But, sometimes they could make less than complimentary comments. I feel as though people sometimes feel a twinge of jealousy. It’s human nature to feel a bit jealous and have a lapse in support when someone else is accomplishing something you have not been successful in doing. It makes people look at themselves and reflect on their life and recognize their choices.

What resources do you use to help keep you going?

I have a never-ending supply of healthy recipes and workout plans. Having these tools eliminates the excuse of not knowing what to do or what to cook. I like Cooking Light for recipes and Fitness Blender for exercise routines. I like Fitness blender because the trainers doing the workouts are not “just in their sports bras with their hair down.” They’re saying “wow, I’m sweating” and I’m thinking yeah, me too, I’m glad to know they are feeling the same way I do when I work out!

Do you have a personal mantra or inspirational quote that you like?

I believe everyone needs one; mine is “yes you can.” On those days when I feel like my workout is to difficult I say to myself “yes you can.”

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my life. I never set out with the goal of just losing weight. I wanted to increase my activity level and share more time with my boyfriend. As my activity level increased I began to lose weight. I have always liked me but now I like me even better. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out on a similar quest?

Start with small challenges that are achievable. If you hit a plateau push yourself to get through it. Be kind to yourself. I think people give up because they are too hard on themselves. Glitches happen, go back to your “mental buzzer” when you’re doing something that won’t help you reach your goal. If you make one “mistake,” don’t make two. Also, my activities became my hobbies. I stick with things I like which makes it easier to do. Find things you like to do. You need to have balance between physical activity and eating healthy in order to be successful.