By Roy Mercer, VFIS of Texas Director of Safety, Training & Education
The last article I wrote was the beginning stages of my Biggest Loser experience. “Three very important rules, even I have a problem maintaining are; stretching your body before you take on the activity, drinking 100 ounces of water a day or ½ your body weight in ounces of water a day, and taking small steps toward your goals.” In this article I will be focusing on setting those small goals. Setting goals are easy, staying on track is the hard part because life gets in the way. As many of you have already experienced through your emergency responses or even your classes, very similar to your ICS 300, setting goals need to be SMART.
What are SMART goals? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Specific goals are those that guide the user and/or the participant to desirable results. Remember, when developing the SMART goals, it is for you and the life you are living, keep focusing on yourself, what are the desired results of your goals. An example, I will drink at least half my weight in ounces of water per day within three months, this is the desired result. Measurable, half my weight per day of water. Attainable, don’t make it hard to reach because when we accomplish something we feel good about ourselves. Keep in mind that experts state it takes 66 days to form a habit, according to a new recent study, “founded by the 2010 UK study, led by University College London research psychologist Pippa Lally”. Meaning, if your desire is to keep this goal ongoing, then set it up for 66 days to be attainable. You may want to start drinking 16 ounces a day at the beginning and by the end of the 66th day you have met your goal of half your weight in ounces of water per day. If you forget and don’t achieve a certain day, the 66 days start over. Remember, it is your life so make it attainable to your life style. If the goal was to create a habit of drinking half your weight of water a day, after you reach half your weight of water from that day forward you start counting the 66 days. Realistic, can it be accomplished? You need to stop and ask yourself, if I drink this much water when can I drink and please don’t forget, the water goes somewhere, so can I also get rid of the water. These are two important rules for me, I travel and when I am on the road I need to take the opportunity to stop. Planning is very important, I have been held up in traffic before and the pain was so bad that I was willing to relieve myself right there, haven’t done this yet but I am sure it will happen if I do not plan correctly. Lastly, Timely, we mentioned this already, the 66 days, but a time frame is very important, it sets the bench marks of the goal. During this 66 days’ experience of creating a habit, set up achievable bench marks along the way to keep yourself on task for the overall goal timeline.
Stretching your muscles today is being questioned by some officials. Evidence has not proven that stretching helps reduce injuries during exercise. Additionally, there’s no evidence that stretching will harm you before and even after you exercise. The Biggest Loser’s group supports the idea of stretching the body before working out. By far I am not an expert in the subject but personally I like the idea of stretching. We were asked in the at the Biggest Loser campus to join the group at 6 am. I always enjoyed this hour of stretching, preparing you mentally and physically each day before your exercising experience. This year at the State Firefighters and Fire Marshals’ Association convention, a stretching class has scheduled each morning at 6 am. I will be facilitating the event with SWorkit App. This program will help you get started in your regular day. Through my travels across the state I have seen and heard new approaches to stretch your body before starting work. One department, don’t remember the name, has implemented stretching before the trucks get checked at the start of each shift, a pat-on-the-back for those departments for implementing these processes. The SWorkit App will guide you through the process. In closing, come out June 25 – 28, 2016 in McAllen, Texas to start your days right.
WOW, family life, work life, food choices, stress, this fast-paced world and still thinking of ourselves as losers, we just can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Time, time, and more time is what the demand is today. In the 1920’s and 1930’s society was overworked so employees took action and the government reduced and made regulations to help give us personal and/or relaxation time. Today, we are reliving history by being connected to our work environment and the emergency response processes 24/7. Face it, let’s put it on the table, we are overweight, getting older, and exercise and proper eating becomes quite difficult as a worker and a community driven individual. It is TIME to take time for YOURSELF. However, can we even live up to our own expectations? The BIGGEST LOSER campus in Niagara Falls, NY last spring taught me how and I wish to share an experience that can benefit you.
The biggest and most important lesson was spend time with those whom matter most, YOU being first on the list, because without you there is no need to worry about the rest. Most expert suggest picking the time of day you can focus on you. For example, I start my day around 4 a.m. each morning, having a cup of coffee, no cream and sugar. Is it good for you if you enjoy it? Let’s face reality, most everything we consume is not good for us in one way or another. Those of you that have to have that morning soda, keep in mind the ingredients are full of bad stuff, visit “Hunger for Change” on the internet to learn more. If you have to have a soda do something to counter the reactions. For example, if you drink all the bad stuff, exercise.
Exercise comes in many forms and programs, again our focus was “giving us choices”. On the average BIGGEST LOSER made us workout 5 ½ hours a day for a week. While this is not realistic, they were giving us choices in our workout plans. One workout day at BIGGEST LOSER was equivalent to one workout week back at home. You need to do the type of exercise you enjoy involving some kind of cardio and muscle strengthening. I have been very confused with this because I like running. As I get older it becomes more difficult, but trying is the key. Please don’t listen to others as they try to discourage you from doing what you like, most likely they really wish they could do it and they could if they make it a priority. We are not telling you to run, the best form of exercise is doing some type of outdoor activity you enjoy, anything from working in the yard to riding a bike 150 miles. Three very important rules, even I have a problem maintaining are: stretching your body before you take on the activity, drinking 100 ounces of water a day or ½ your body weight in ounces of water a day, and take small steps toward your goals. Stretching, has been echoed from the experts throughout my life. Looking back at my injuries during my career in the emergency services, if I would have stretched in the morning it would have prevented most of those injuries. At the BIGGEST LOSER we had a choice to get up early or sleep in, we took an hour of stretching to soft music every morning, remember this is a form of exercise. A recommended app is SWorkit. This app shows you how to stretch and gives you choices on what to stretch and has a timer, with music to relax you. Small steps toward your goals can be rewarding because you see the results and before you know it you will be setting bigger goals. Listen to your body, if something is hurting or not feeling right during the exercise STOP. Take time to examine the problem. Don’t confuse this with regular workout pain, our body is aging and undergoing a change so there will be some discomfort.
At BIGGEST LOSER we ate healthy and felt full all day long and I still lost 10 pounds during that week. Throw away the scale, you are trying to loss body fat, not regular scale weight; this is the term I use. One goal was to lose 1 pound of body fat a month. Yes it becomes difficult but it is one that sticks in our mind. If we are exercising and eating right you could actually gain weight not lose it because you are building muscle mass. BIGGEST LOSER encourages you to eat 45 minutes after you wake up or 45 minutes after your morning exercise, I prefer after morning exercises. They also recommend no food consumption 2 hours before bedtime.
Knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) also helps you understand yourself. The BMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs to function when completely at rest, these calories are what you need to survive the day. Are you eating over this rate? If so, counter balance with more physical activity. Equally as important is if you become more active and exercising more during the day then your calorie intake may have to increase. BIGGEST LOSER recommends you should consume half of your BMR for the day after you have eaten lunch. People will approach you and ask what type of diet you are on. If you are on a diet you could be depriving the body of nutrients to help your physical condition. Eat small portions, about five times a day. Another app I would suggest is Fooducate. This app recommends alternative healthy products to what you may already like.
Lastly, BIGGEST LOSER was the best medical treatment I have ever received. The experience will never be forgotten, relaxing, peaceful, and getting to know yourself. I will return. Take the TIME and go, call them first and they will be glad to help you through the process. Become that loser of weight, gain time for yourself, and maintain a happy life style.
By Roy Mercer, VFIS of Texas Director of Safety, Training & Education
ESO WC GROUP
VFIS of Texas