Self talk for a healthy lifestyle change

Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

It’s a common saying, “Losing weight is easy…keeping it off is the hard part”. Well, ladies, I come to tell you that I strongly disagree with this statement. In my opinion, losing weight is hard and keeping it off is even harder!! Permanent weight loss requires a lot of physical and mental change. We have to get out of our comfort level. And if you are like me, change can be very difficult, mentally and physically. For permanent weight loss, not only do you have to change what you eat, but you also have to change how much you eat. Your activity and exercise habits also have to change. That can be a lot for a lifetime!

Although we have to make several physical changes to be successful at weight loss, the most important change is how you think. Ladies, if our mindset is not changed, there is an awful good chance you won’t change your body. If you do make body changes without mindset changes, they will only be temporary and certainly not long term.

If you want to be a successful “loser”, listed below are some great attitude and mindset tips that we, as women, can follow:

I’m telling my mind that I can do “that”: I am responsible for my goals and in control of them. I have made the commitment to reach them. I have great confidence that I can clearly attain my vision on how I want to live my life…healthy and vibrant. Regular exercise and healthy eating are not conveniences but rather a lifestyle. I will do them no matter what obstacles come up.

I will plan rather than react to a situation: Every day, I will plan my meal and workout plan for the upcoming day. I will pack my gym bag and place it in the car the morning of so that I can go straight to the gym after work. When I anticipate a crazy work day, I will pack a healthy lunch and snacks from home so that I’m not eating unhealthy on the go. I will always have a “plan B” so that I can stay on track in case the unexpected happens.

I will bounce back: I may fall down and stumble with my fitness regimen, but I will get back up again. When life throws curve balls, I’ll reevaluate and figure out a creative way to move on. I recognize that television and food won’t solve my problems. I will certainly deal with reality but will work extremely hard toward overcoming adversity.

I will tell family and friends my plans and fitness goals: I recognize that my family and friends celebrate special occasions with foods that can be unhealthy. I will make them aware that I am taking good care of my health and offer no apology when I stand up for myself. I don’t mind asking the gang to choose a restaurant rather than a buffet for our monthly birthday celebrations. I am not embarrassed or apologetic for speaking up. I know that I can go to my supporters when I am feeling vulnerable and weak.

Mind over matter is definitely a requirement in order to sustain a weight loss goal. Ladies, to be successful, you have to look in the mirror and suddenly see a brand new “YOU”. In order to have permanent success it is REQUIRED that you “fake it til you make it”. Start thinking “thin” even before you get there. I know that change can be very hard. But hang in there ladies until a healthy lifestyle becomes part of your identity.

How to use a stability ball safely

— In some cases working out on the floor is not an option for certain Divas in certain circumstances; but never fear…the STABILITY ball is here. If you desire to change up your abdominal workout or even your push up workout, make the stability ball a part of your regular workout. No matter the exercise, working on a stability ball consistently challenges your core and back muscles to strengthen and stabilize those particular muscle groups. . In addition to improving your posture, flexibility, strength and balance, it’s also takes a lot of strain off your back, than abdominal exercises done on the floor. Lets take a look at how to optimize your exercise results. Here are a few safety tips to use when working your abdomen on a stability ball.

Sit on a stability ball with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor.

Walk your feet slowly forward, allowing the ball to roll over your buttocks and up toward your back. Stop walking forward when your tailbone and lower back rest on the ball.

Pull your navel in as if you’re trying to bring it closer to your spine. This will engage your core and help stabilize your body.

Double-check that your knees are directly above your feet, that your chin is off your chest, and that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Place your fingertips on the sides of your head behind your ears, pointing your elbows out the entire time. Avoid bringing your elbows together; flare them out the entire time so you feel a good stretch in your chest. This is your starting point.

Use your abdominals to slowly raise your upper body off the ball. Imagine crunching your rib cage closer toward your pelvis. Keep your head aligned with your spine the entire time. Avoid lowering your chin on your chest and pulling on your neck. Face forward during the range of motion, and exhale at the top of the crunch. Count to three during the ascent to ensure you’re not moving too fast.

Lower your upper back slowly to the ball using the strength of your abdominals. Count to three during the descent, and inhale when you’re back to the starting point.

Complete eight to 12 crunches one the stability ball, and gradually work your way up to finishing two or three sets.

Use these stability ball tips along with other exercises for abs, helping to get rid of fat and tone the muscles of your stomach. However, if at any point, you feel the stability ball slipping, re-adjust the ball immediately to prevent possible injury.