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The Shrinking Family

The Shrinking Family

A good news story

Today’s title reminds me of one of those stupid Rick Moranis movies… “Honey, I shrunk the family”. Oh well.

As you may or may not know, I work on a television show here in Australia called 9AM on the Ten Network. It screens nationally every weekday morning from 9 – 11 am. I am the resident on-air fitness bloke and I do my best to cover a broad range of subject matter which will be of value and interest to as many people as possible. A few months ago my producer (the lovely Becky Zack) came up with the notion of doing a family fitness make-over, with the idea being that I would work with a family which was in need of a little shaping up. Or perhaps a lot of shaping up. I would spend time with them and create an overall strategy to change their diet, their lifestyle habits, their exercise habits, their thinking, their pantry contents and of course, their bodies. One of my trainers and I would also work with them in the gym, taking them through numerous workouts and I would give them unlimited access to my centre and facilities outside of their set training times.

The Bulte family wins…. me!

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    Well, it happened. Families were asked to write in to the show and state their case as to why they were the clan most in need of some Craig love, some body renovating and some lifestyle overhauling. We had letters and emails from hundreds of families from all over the country but the decision makers finally settled on the Bulte family from Victoria. And what a great bunch they are; Darryl and Kerry (the folks), Guy (17) Jenelle (15), Monique (14) and Makayla (11). While Guy and Makayla were fit and trim, the other four were in need of a little… modifying.

    I’ve done things similar to this concept before and I gotta say, it’s kind of a high-risk exercise from a credibility point of view. Especially on national television. What happens if I give them the education, the motivation, the support and all the resources but they simply don’t do it? What happens if we give the concept a whole heap of publicity and then they throw in the towel after two weeks? What if their attitude sucks? What if they leave the gym after each workout and head straight for the golden arches? Well fortunately for all of us, they didn’t. They have been perfect students and their report cards have been amazing.

    Considering surgery

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      Kerry, Darryl, Jenelle and Monique all needed to lose weight, with Jenelle needing to drop the most. At 109 kilos (240lbs), fifteen year-old Jenelle’s weight was a major health concern. So much so that the week before they entered the competition, she had attended an information evening on gastric bypass surgery. With the support of her concerned parents, she was seriously considering the surgical option, having tried unsuccessfully to lose weight many times before. Well, I’m sure glad she didn’t have that operation and now, so is she.

      In the ten weeks that I’ve been working with the Bulte family they have managed to completely turn their lives around. Different diet, different habits different mindset and different bodies.

      A peek at their progress so far:

      Darryl (bottom right) – minus 20 kgs (44 lbs)
      Kerry (bottom left) – minus 9 kgs (20 lbs)
      Jenelle (white shirt) – minus 16 kgs (35 lbs) – no surgery for this girl!
      Monique (top right) – minus 11 kgs (24 lbs)

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      Total weight loss: 56 kgs (123 lbs)

      How great is that? Every day I get asked about the secret to the Bulte family’s amazing transformation and when I say that they have simply done what I asked them to do (eat less, move more and be consistent), my response is often met with disappointment. No, it’s not an exciting strategy but it’s an effective one! It’s seems that the enquirer is usually hoping for some miracle, quick-fix secret to come from my lips. Sorry Dude, no magic here. Just some sweat, some hard work and some great attitudes.

      Change your psychology to change your physiology

      While the physical transformations have been great, what has impressed me the most is their collective mindset. These guys are in the zone. Get your head in shape and your body will follow. Even Jenelle who “just couldn’t lose weight” has it falling off her. Not because all of a sudden she has any more ability, but because her thinking and her attitude have totally changed. As I have said squillions of times, getting in shape and staying that way is more about our head than it is about our body.

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      The future

      We know that ten weeks ain’t a lifetime but our family is well on their way. While I’m very proud of them for what they’ve done in ten weeks, I’m much more interested in what they do over the next ten years. My official commitment with the family finishes in a couple of weeks but I have decided to continue working with young Jenelle indefinitely. I believe she could lose the best part of 45 kgs (100 lbs) and I’m going to help her get there. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

      Well done, Bulte family.

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      Last Updated on January 17, 2019

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

      Listen carefully:

      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

      1. Pray Daily

      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

      3. Smile Often

      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

      4. Organize Your Working Desk

      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

      How do you do that? This is my formula:

      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

      8. Go Exercise

      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

      The Bottom Line

      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

      More Resources About Mindfulness

      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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