Better Off Well
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INSIGHTS

Jeff Before And After- His Tips!

Heading into the gym at 5:45 every morning is a great way to feel motivated for the day, for more than one reason. First, there's Bob. He works the front desk and it's so nice to see his smiling face. He jokes every time it's free bagel morning that he is saving one for me, and he lets me know what he put into the smoothie he made the weekend before.

And then there's Jeff.

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At 57, Jeff inspires me every day with his level of energy. He tells me of his latest treks through the White Mountains or his camping trip on the of peak of Mt. Washington in February. He cycles a few times every week and has participated in the Pan Mass Challenge for the past three years, raising nearly $18,000 for cancer research.

Just finished with Salt, Sugar, Fat, Jeff has started to delve into how our food is made and continues to be blown away by what he's learning. He shares that stuff with me every day, too.

"I checked the label on the salsa I've been using. It has tons of sugar!"

Jeff wasn't always like this. With a busy work schedule that requires lots of traveling and a penchant for french fries, it was easy for Jeff to start packing on the pounds.

Finally tipping the scales at over 250 pounds, Jeff knew he needed to make changes.

When his doctor looked him in the eye one day and gave him a stern warning, dipped in a little profanity and with a visual of a casket, that was enough for Jeff to get on the ball. Or the bike, in this case.

I asked Jeff how he went about making changes, and these are the tips he offered...

1) Start with just 10 minutes a day. Don't go all gung-ho into an activity or to the gym because you'll burn out fast. I told myself I'd ride 10 minutes each day the first week. Then 15 minutes the next. Etc.

2) When traveling, look to see if there's a gym. If not, make the stairs your gym and travel up and down between the floors for a few laps. Use the chairs in the room for tricep dips and purchase workout bands, which travel well.

3) I rarely step on a scale. Weight fluctuates too much from day to day and that can be a downer. And muscle weighs more than fat. I go by how I feel and how my clothes fit.

4) Reduce alcohol consumption. I used to drink a beer or two every night with dinner, but that was a source of empty calories. Now beer is reserved for weekends only.

5) Knowledge is power. Read books and watch documentaries to know what's happened to our food so your eyes will be opened and you'll be more motivated to make better choices.

6) Know your kryptonite. For me, it's french fries so I treat them like cigarettes and stay far away. Most restaurants will substitute vegetables so I always ask for that.

7) Make time for yourself. We deserve to take care of our bodies, and when we do, we'll have more energy. That makes us better partners, better parents, friends, etc.

8) Read your labels. I've been shocked by what I'm finding in the foods I always ate. The amount of sugar, the chemical flavors and colors. It's crazy.

9) Remember that this is a lifestyle, not a diet. We can make choices that aren't so healthy now and then. That's life. As long as most of the time, we're filling our bodies with foods that fuel, we can stray off the path occasionally.

Kudos to Jeff and thanks so much for taking the time to share these tips.

If you have your own wellness tips that have worked for you, please comment below!