Monday, June 30, 2008

Health Improvement Comes Quickly

Being consistent with your exercise and healthy eating habits pays off quicker than you think. Your health can improve in as little as three weeks, according to research from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Researchers followed 31 overweight patients with high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance. What they found was that as the patients adhered to a low-fat diet and 45 to 60 minutes of moderate walking daily, all of them reduced their risk factors for many diseases in just three weeks.

In addition, they had a 25 percent drop in LDL (the "bad") cholesterol and a 50 percent improvement in insulin processing. The lesson learned here is that it's never too late to start making changes, as long as you are consistent with them. Don't give up because you assume you're not making progress.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Japan's Plan to Slim Down

Japan is trying a new approach to controlling the obesity epidemic - measuring the waists of people between the ages of 40 and 74. The new national law, which came into effect two months ago, is one of the most ambitious campaigns to slim people down.

The law requires companies and local governments to measure citizens' waists at their annual checkups. If men's waists measure more than 33.5 inches, or women's more than 35.4 inches, they will be given dieting guidance if they do not slim down within three months.

The country's overall goal is to decrease the overweight population by ten percent over the next four years, and 25 percent over the next seven years. Financial penalties will be imposed on companies and governments that fail to meet specific targets.

While I think it's great that Japan is concerned about the health of their citizens, I don't think it's their obligation to impose weight loss on the people who live there. Generally, people don't make changes because someone else tells them they need to. People make changes because they want to do it for themselves, for their own health.

I don't foresee this campaign being successful as far as losing weight and keeping it off. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pay for Performance (Commission) or Hourly?

It's important to note that hourly wages have really only been around since Henry Ford and the assembly line. Ford needed people to do very easy but boring, mindless tasks all day long and the best way to get them was to guarantee their paycheck.

As we have moved from a manufacturing society into knowledge society (and hourly jobs are being outsourced) many people are now paid for their performance.

The only way to guarantee your paycheck in this realm is to actually do the work instead of standing around the water cooler. What a neat concept!

Don't be afraid of commission work. Soon it will be tough to find an hourly or salaried job. Instead, embrace the concept, do the work and reap the benefits.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Woman Sues Over Nutrition Info in Restaurants

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry about some restaurant dishes that have more calories than reported. There is now a woman in Seattle who is suing major chain restaurants for false nutrition reports on their healthy menu items.

For three years Anne Paskett has been trying to lose weight without much luck. She has continued to eat out, but stuck to her fat and calorie intake plan by checking out food stats online beforehand. Each week that she would get weighed she would either gain weight, or simply not lose any.

She blames the restaurants for falsely reporting the nutrition information in her meals. While I agree that restaurants should be truthful about what they are cooking, I don't believe that the chef can replicate a dish every single time it is made, so that it has the exact same calories and fat that one would expect.

I eat out once or twice a week, and sometimes I order off the "healthier" section of menus and sometimes not. But I take responsibility to balance my calories in and calories out throughout the week so that it more or less evens out.

It seems as if someone who has been unsuccessfully trying to lose weight for 3 years would stop eating out so much if they are not losing weight. We need to take responsibility for our own actions, rather than putting the blame on others.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't limit yourself

If you own a small business, open your eyes up to things that you may not have thought of before.

Stay narrow in what you offer and who you offer it to, but consider doing things that may be out of your norm. You should always have something that you can invite your clients and everyone you meet to.

I host a radio show each week that I invite people to listen to. I also interview experts that line up with what I teach in our Tuesday Teleseminar Series. These events keep me in front of the people I'm trying to reach and help change their lives.

If doing the same old thing in your business hasn't caused your business to grow, consider new ways to not only reach, but also to help people. Do you have a resources page on your website? If you do, make sure that it is great content that people can really use. Update it often and add to it.

The more varied things you do, the faster your business will grow and thrive.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Water Dilema

It’s hot just about everywhere right now. One of the most important things you can do for your body and your health is to stay well-hydrated. Unfortunately, there have been a number of conflicting reports about just how much water each person should drink everyday. Some are saying not to drink too much, others are saying we need to drink more.

A good rule of thumb that I like to use is to drink the same number of ounces as your height in inches. So, for someone who is 5’7” (67 inches tall), they should drink 67 ounces of water each day.

Don’t despair if you think that much water is overwhelming. Many food items in your diet already contain some water that can count toward your daily total. For instance, strawberries and watermelon are 92% water, broccoli is 91% water, and cucumbers are 96% water. This is a great way to get your fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated!

And remember - don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink water. Once you get to that point, you’re already beginning to be dehydrated. Instead, continue sipping water throughout the entire day. When you do this, you may find that it’s easier to reach your target total than you thought.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I've been on hold for 1 hour

Boy, is this really apparent in almost every situation or what?

I consider myself a pretty savvy consumer although my wife just calls me cheap. Sometimes it's good to be cheap, but you have to know when to pay more for quality and service.

For instance, all of the printed materials we ordered in the past came from the same company. They were by far the most inexpensive of all the online printing companies.

I put up with jobs that were slightly misaligned and somewhat damaged. When I finally couldn't take it anymore I switched to another company. While this company charged slightly more than the original company, my 2,000 printed materials all had a light blue watermark on the bottom of each.

A quick call to customer service should fix it right?

When I called I was placed on hold as #16. 60 min, 48 sec later (yes, that's over an hour on hold) I'm told I'm next in line.

Paying more for good quality would have been good advice in this case and many others. For instance:

- Don't skimp in quality when you buy a parachute.
- Don't pay less for new brakes on your car because the mechanic is new.
- Don't pay less for an electrician (plumber, contractor, etc.) who doesn't have a license.

You may need to evaluate this in your business. Do people really value what you offer or do they only patronage you because your prices are the lowest?

Remember that you almost always get what you pay for.

The price may be higher sometimes, but the quality and service must make up for it.

Years ago we decided to be different and offer 6 months of unlimited financial coaching, something most of the other companies didn't offer. We were actually able to do this and only raise prices slightly. It's much easier to explain price once than to apologize for quality and service over and over.

The end of the story... I don't know. They hung up on me when I was caller #1. I called back and now am #2 again. Total time on hold so far: 1 hour, 33 minutes.

Go the Distance

Have you ever gone for a walk, run, or bike ride and wondered just how far you went? Most people tend to over estimate their distance, which has its implications. If you overestimate how much you exercise, you're likely to overestimate how much you should be eating.

I came across some great websites awhile ago that will help you figure out exactly how far you went when exercising, without having to wear a pedometer. Each website is essentially the same, but has a different name depending on your exercise:

They are simple to use; you begin by typing in your starting address and it brings up a map of the area. You click around the map and it tracks the distance as you click. And ta da! You know exactly how far you went.

Use these websites either before you exercise to help plan your route, or after you exercise to see how far you went.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is it possible to become a millionaire?

When the economy is failing, people are losing their jobs and their homes this sounds like an impossibility. The furthest that you need to look may just be to your neighbors home.

What kind of car are they driving? Do they have an elaborate home? If you think they are unassuming and don't have flashy things, they may very well be millionaires.

Dr. Thomas Stanley points out that most millionaires drive 2-year old or older paid for cars and owe very little on their mortgages.

I met with 2 couples last week that are almost millionaires on paper. Both families each had 2 cars. The value of cars in each family was less than $7,000 for both cars combined.

Maybe it's time to stop believing that these things happen once you become a millionaire and start doing these things with the intention of becoming a millionaire.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Restaurant Surprises

It's disappointing when you think you're eating something healthy, only to find out later that you're actually not. This story came out a few weeks ago where reporters ordered twenty so-called "healthier" items off the menus of well-known restaurants and had them tested in a lab for nutrition content.

What they found was quite surprising. Many of the dishes had way more fat and calories than the nutrition information indicated. For instance, all four items from Chili's Guiltless Grill menu contained more than twice the fat that they should have.

Macaroni Grill claimed that Pollo Magro was healthier, containing less than 6 grams of fat and 500 calories. When it was tested, they found it actually contained over 1,000 calories and just under 50 grams of fat. That is quite a difference.

There are a few things you can learn from this. First, never rely solely on the nutrition information on a restaurant's website. Unless the chef cooks it with the exact measurements and with the exact same method, it will never be right on. You have to use your best judgment.

Second, if a "healthy" dish looks unhealthy (i.e. it's swimming in oil), it probably is. Learn to order foods cooked in healthier ways, like grilled meats and steamed veggies. And always listen to your body - when you get full, stop eating.