My journey from the sofa to the gym

Exercise was not something I enjoyed.

Instead of standing up to file papers, I’d scoot over to the file cabinet in my rolling office chair. After work, I flopped on my sofa where I sat contentedly until bedtime. I was living a sedentary lifestyle to the max and loving every minute of it.

As Newton’s Law of Motion explains, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Even though my office building had a gym – and I had a free membership – I just kept finding reasons to not work out: I was too busy to work out on my lunch break; too tired to work out early in the morning; too stressed out at the end of the day to stick around. Then my boss started a four-week fitness challenge. He offered cash prizes to the team with the most exercise hours logged. The coworkers in my department insisted on participating, and they really wanted me to join in. And, well, I can’t pass up an opportunity to win cash.

I didn’t look forward to working out, especially at work. All I could envision was getting sweaty in the middle of the day or looking foolish in front of my coworkers. When I walked into the employee fitness center, though, I couldn’t believe how clean and fresh it smelled, and how welcoming everyone was. I decided I’d try to keep an open mind, although I wasn’t optimistic that I could stick with any exercise program.

The challenge begins

On the first day of the challenge, we met in the gym during our lunch break. Thankfully, we started out easy. I warmed up with five minutes on the treadmill before hitting the elliptical for 15 minutes. My legs were killing me, but I didn’t want to let my team down.

Showering after working out is important to me, and I thought we wouldn’t have time to shower before returning to work. I was wrong. With the quick workout, I had plenty of time to shower. I even had time to eat the salad I had packed for lunch!

Every day, we kept up the same routine. After a week of regular workouts, I noticed I didn’t feel as sore afterwards. Each week, I felt my body progressively growing stronger as I tried out different machines. I actually started looking forward to our daily workouts.

Not so bad, after all

A few weeks into the fitness challenge, I noticed I felt a lot less stressed out. I was sleeping better, waking up refreshed in the morning and looking forward to work. I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t work out, because I actually wanted to go to the gym! And I started rewarding myself when I achieved a goal, which helped me stay motivated.

Because I felt so much better physically and emotionally, I made working out a priority, even after the fitness challenge ended. And just to make sure I don’t fall back into my old bad habits, I bought a few pieces of exercise equipment so I can work out, even when I don’t really feel like leaving the house.

I can’t believe how important daily workouts have become to my life.

Just making myself show up that first day of the fitness challenge was the hardest part. After that, working out became a habit.

It’s easier than you think to get off the sofa and into the gym, and the physical and psychological benefits are amazing. Take that first step; you’ll be glad you did.

About the author: Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. She’s following her own advice and sticking to a regular exercise routine this holiday season. She’s happy about that and feels the best she has in years.

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What’s the Best Diet out of 600 Diets?

Can you imagine a car company advertisement: “Never use another drop of gasoline again, and drive as far as you want”? What would happen to an investment firm that guaranteed to “double your money overnight with no risk”? Or how about mortgage companies that tout, “no money down, no interest, own your own home, whether or not you can pay for it.”

Oh, wait. The last statement did happen – and we are still dealing with the results. So why can so many in the weight loss industry make equally blatant false claims and still remain in business? More importantly, why do normally rational, intelligent people ignore what they know and put their faith in untested, poorly documented, heavily hyped diets listed on dubious web pages or shouted at us during 30-minute infomercials?

Like the coal fire in Pennsylvania that’s been burning for 50 years; no matter what we try, we cannot make the yearly onslaught of false claims and unreliable statistics that permeate the media at the beginning of each year go away.

If the results weren’t so dangerous (gambling with our health), some of the claims would be laughable: “Lose 20 pounds in one week!” “Don’t exercise or change what you eat — while dropping weight overnight!” Of course, there are always my favorites, the conspiratorial, secretive, clandestine ones: “The weight loss program the diet industry doesn’t want you to know about!”

I found a web page dedicated to reviewing virtually any diet it could find.

world cloud of 600 dietsListed there were 610 titles (yes, I counted) with an incredibly wide range of names. Some touted main ingredients including everything from cabbage, to cookies, to chocolate. Others tried to break through the noise by name dropping, authored or endorsed by doctors, celebrities, and chefs. The founding location of the diet was heralded many times, listing countries in every continent except Antarctica (but I’m sure that will change over time). They couldn’t agree on how long it takes to develop that new “super calm sexy slim bod;” figures ran the gamut from three hours to a longer-term approach of 120 years. Some whose names stood out to were the “World Peace Diet” and “Big Fat Boyfriend Diet.” I must admit the “Promiscuous Diet” and the “Martini Diet” did create interesting mental images. As an FYI, aside from words specifically referencing calories, diet or eating, the three most popular words in the titles were (in order): “Raw,” “Detox,” and “Life.” One could therefore logically assume that the “Celebrity doctor, St. Tropez, raw, detox, low-calorie, three-hour, world-peace, chocolate cookie, chef-designed diet that even-your-fat-boyfriend would like, diet” would be a huge hit.

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Top Diets for the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; ‘tis is the time for end-of-year lists.

Soon we shall (whether we want to or not) know the Top Songs/Movies/Books/News Stories of the Year. TV hosts will interview the “Most Influential Celebrities.” In the past, publications have gone so far as to post a compilation of lists ranging from “Top Happiest Endings of the Decade” to “Worst Predictions” (which includes “A particle accelerator will end the world”). Therefore, in honor of the list spirit, I shall now bound confidently on to the bandwagon and provide — in no particular order — a compilation of some the most bizarre diets upon which I have the misfortune to stumble. (Yes, they are all real.)

Let us commence with the COOKIE DIET.

One eats one meal per day that must consist of six ounces of protein, as well as at least six of a unique type of cookie each day, for a grand total of 800 calories; about one-third the required intake to maintain a healthful body. Lose your weight and get rid of that pesky hale and hearty glow – all at once! But, mmm-mmm-mmm, sure tastes great! This proves that eating cookies to lose weight makes about as much sense as getting stabbed in the eye to forget about your earache.

After a long week, I plead guilty that a part of me welcomes the SLEEPING BEAUTY DIET.

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