Nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master on Bull Mountain

14 02 2018

Walking to Bull Mountain Trail Head

Like most fitness enthusiasts I’m always looking for a variety of exercise activities that’ll keep me motivated to walk daily – If I can find it outdoors all the better. After the Holidays and during the winter months there’s nothing better than a “Mid-Intensity fat burning walking activity,” especially on an uphill grade with multiple switchbacks and preferably in a wooded area. If such a place exists, you’ve just found nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master. Not only will an uphill walking effort challenge anyone’s cardio and muscular endurance… it requires more body fat fuel to power the exercise opposed to flat land walking.

Within the City of Tigard a public-use wooded trail system like this exists. I’m happy to share its location for those looking for a different type of mobility challenge and experience. If you want to burn even more calories and get in better shape, consider making it a habit to walk in places like it – even during inclement weather.

Those of you who served in the military with boots on the ground… recall, “If it’s not raining we’re not training.” It’s a fact, when it’s cold and rainy, the resistive forces on the mind-body just increased a notch. Anyone can use nature’s outdoor Stairmaster throughout the year to personally challenge themselves and increase fitness levels regardless of rain or shine.

Molly our Red Setter – Loves this site – She stakes her claim.

The well-designed dirt trail runs approximately half a mile with multiple switchbacks and is located on the West side hill of Bull Mountain Park where Kruger Creek cuts through its slopped base in a valley-like wooded environment. I’d estimate the trail grade varies from top-to-bottom, 4-8 degrees. There are seated areas along the switchback segment of the pathway to rest and reflect on all that matters. Molly our red Irish setter loves the rest area approximately 2/3 way up the switchback segment. And believe me she doesn’t slow down a bit once closing in on that spot.

That’s the look… she also likes the white stuff.

“Glancing back at me only momentarily with excited eyes and happy pant, she pulls with full gusto.” I sense she’s concerned if I’m keeping up with her. And in that moment “we lock eyes and both know, ‘It’s all good – onward and upward we go!” If you need motivation to walk with purpose an energetic dog will definitely do the trick. Once in this peaceful place the sights and sounds of nature do its thing… “In itself is worth the effort, simply for peace of mind.”

Rest area and observation site near top of switch back trail system

While observing the surroundings in this spot, anyone would be drawn to read the two small plaques posted next to the picnic table where Molly proudly poses for the picture. The first one reads, “Hiking Trail and Picnic Table, Eagle Scout Project of Nikolai Hanson, Troop 419, June 2013. The second one reads, “Stairway railing and rock wall, Eagle Scout Project of Benjamin Love, Troop 799, and September 2014.”

Recognition for volunteers who built the great trail system and rest stops along the way.

I’d like to personally thank those Eagle Scouts and community volunteers responsible for this trail system and rest stops along the way… And of course the newly developed park.

If you’ve not been to Bull Mountain Park, or walked the switch back trail segment here’s how to access them. Park and walk the Morningstar Greenway trailhead beginning at SW Greenfield Drive and Benchview Terrace to experience the uphill hike to the switchback trail segment – ending in Bull Mountain Park.

SHORT VIDEO: FROM TOP OF PARK TO FIRST SWITCH BACK AND PICKNICK TABLE

Or drive to the park – If you want to access the switchback trail segment from Woodshire lane once parked… continue walking straight ahead [Westerly] past the maintenance shed, outhouse and playground structure.

Previous property owners, “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D.

Walk just a little further forward and as the asphalt turns to bark chip, look for the ground level plaque on a rock to your left. The trailhead plaque reads “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D. ‘They loved this place and lived here from 1979 to 2008.” Walk down ~100’ to the first switchback and 100’ more to the picnic table, have lunch and enjoy nature.

Bull Mountain Park

The official ribbon cutting ceremony recognized all involved in raising the money necessary to develop Bull Mountain Park and its trail systems, 15 October 2017. “This 10-acre neighborhood park is comprised of woods, open space, and riparian areas. The park features accessible trails, a picnic shelter, a nature play structure, and interpretive elements.” Learn more about the park and how community came together to raise funds and develop it. http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/bull_mountain_park.php

Tigard parks development and recreational outdoor events hosted in them continue to grow popularity. Events and activities in parks are directly supported by city council’s 5-year recreation goal #2 – Expand outdoor events (movies, concerts, pop‐ups in the park; including programs and classes with outside providers; and partnership opportunities, etc., 2012-17). On March 7, 2017 the City Council updated those goals for the next two years – 2017-19. Learn more about them.
http://www.tigard-or.gov/document_center/Council/Council_Goals.pdf

Zip line down this wooded valley hillside… anything is possible.

I must say, “When city leadership and community recognize the value of the fit healthy benefits city parks and recreational events and activities provide within them… COOL things like Nature’s Best-In-Class Stairmaster come to life. What’s next, “a Zip-Line with tree tower, repealing base camp and Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses throughout the trail system area?

Recreational activities, partnership opportunities and possibilities are only limited by the imagination, recreation personnel and public support. Regardless of whether a Zip-line and Ninja Warrior-like obstacle challenge course becomes reality in Tigard, I know one thing for sure…

2017 Street Fair & Latino Feast – Rotary Plaza

“When parks and trail systems become accessible, useful and activated… ‘More people spend their leisurely and play time hours in and around them.”

When community plays together anything is possible – “Including realization of COOL activities that bring people together and fit healthy for all who physically participate and spectate within it.”

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

20 11 2017

Annual Tree Lighting Event at Liberty Park, Tigard OR

Updated, 20 November 2017

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you’ve had a hard time managing body weight.

I have an 8-Tip Meal Plan strategy that may help you avoid weight gain during the Holidays.  Yet allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

This 8-tip strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target during the Holiday season.  Admittedly – most didn’t lose weight during this time of year…  however they didn’t gain any either while applying the tips.

Back History on the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy – I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy.  One that allowed someone to eat favorite Holiday foods without derailing a weight loss goal.

Of course I told the client there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when overeating hyper-palatable foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to modify the current weight loss plan to enjoy Holiday foods with family; and without fear of weight gain.  Prior to this request avoidance of all Holiday and family event meals was the norm for this person.

After the client applied most of the tips throughout the Holiday season – there was no weight gain and weight loss target was sustained during the New Year.

For some, it’s almost as if we must harden the body for the rigors of war while trying to lose a little weight.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.  And without a good “hold the weight gain line” strategy, Holiday and special events foods often overwhelm our senses and will power to stay a healthy weight loss course.

The worse part of consuming too many calories as we age – our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing the excess.  Instead the metabolism gets very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true after a Holiday food binge, there is a tendency for some to continue the same eating pattern throughout the New Year.  With that said, these tips can help correct an unhealthy eating pattern after the Holidays should it continue.

Holidays are a special time of year for families to gather and be thankful for what they have.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success at melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution.

Congratulation to you!

For those struggling to hold the weight loss line during the Holidays, don’t throw in the towel just yet!  I’m sharing the same client tips that worked for some… I know can work for you.  And quite possibly habit forming enough to incorporate into a current weight loss program.

However remain mindful – these tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Especially if you are in poor health with a chronic condition; have a substance abuse problem, or obsessive compulsive eating disorder, or grossly obese, etc.  In any case, request a primary care referral to see a medical specialist for relative treatment.  Especially if body weight now presents a chronic health condition.

IMG_0186

Celebrating with Family should not include worry of weight gain.

I’m no different than anyone else during the Holidays.  “I’m tempted to eat more than I need.”

However if aware of a bad food choice, or habit known to cause weight gain… and having a hold the line food habit strategy – keeping the weight off during the Holidays is very doable.

These behaviors and food habit modifications in practice are also useful when the metabolism slows down in the evening and progressively every year after the age of 25.

It is well known as we age, the body doesn’t require the excess calories it once did during the developmental and active adult years.  Regardless, this does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods, even if some of them are considered unhealthy.

I would be remiss in mentioning – there’s some foods we’d all be better off leaving off the plate – E.g., highly processed foods and drink with too many preservatives, salt and sweeteners in them.

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, medical condition, genetics, environment, etc.,  I can’t predict, or provide a “one fix solution to hold the body weight line strategy” that’ll work for everyone.  Especially when I know the programmed tips below were designed for a few client types that wanted to indulge once and a while without weight gain guilt.

However I believe these tips are worth sharing because some of them will be useful for anyone.  Especially if your concerned about gaining weight during the Holiday season.

Some have asked, “Can this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy work long term?”  Yes.  “I believe certain habits and behavioral changes as listed below could work long term for a majority that apply them consistently throughout the year.”

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy without a Holiday Meal Strategy… My hats off to you!  You have will power most of us can only dream about.

For those that need some help in this area – Try the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy below.  It can  allow you to eat your favorite foods and keep weight off during the festive times of year.

Best Time Ever

Best time ever this time of year in the Great NW.

Tip#1Never!  Go to your mother, or mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American spirit and culture.  I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.  So, it stands to reason, you must eat something not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food after a meal, the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies with each one of us.

I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is… when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never,  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

Tasty Beer Cheer.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body prior to sitting down for for the meal?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor all wrapped into one.  This concept is easy to understand: eat and drink like Vikings… equates to inhibited calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day prior, during and after Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently and that means less calories stored as fat.  Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here.  I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving.  After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal.  “Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter.  And no piling food on the plate.   Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never eat dessert after you’ve eaten the main meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass blood sugar spike without consequence, especially if you’ve achieved satiety after eating the meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you ate.  If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  While eating dessert take your time to gage feeling of gut comfort. But if you begin to experience the feeling of near full, back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never,  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods addicts some to them with similar eating patterns for months.  In this case another 10 pounds can be added quickly.

Walk whereever you find yourselves during the Holidays.

Tip#8 – Start a daily  exercise program during the Holidays if you don’t already exercise.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel.  I highly recommend at a minimum… a daily walking program, or other aerobic activity at least 30 minutes a day.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods that don’t compromise the meal experience and add guilt.

And best of all, when applied with conviction you won’t gain any weight.  You may even surprise yourself and lose a little.

Marc Woodard wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If fortunate enough to get covered in the white stuff, walk around in it. It’s a fantastic exercise activity experience.

Have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss program prevent a great meal experience with loved ones.

Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays without fear of being around the foods you love to eat.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Walkable Cities Motivates Bodies to Move

19 04 2017

Weight loss resolutions represent the number one commitment people make each year.

Now more people than ever are attracted to walkable communities with recreational amenities to help melt away those pounds.

The National Center for Health Statistics show more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity (NCHS 2015).  Overweight conditions don’t just present a diabetes and heart disease risk for adults.  There is now what some consider a near epidemic of childhood obesity cases growing nationwide. “Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity (Center for Disease and Control 2017).” This should be very alarming to parents, educators and city leaders.

Of all resolutions people could commit to weight loss is the most challenging. Especially if now in a sedentary and obese state. The good news for those living in walkable communities like Tigard, OR, city leaders support Form Based urban city design and development that incorporates connected sidewalk pathways, trail systems and safe routes to school that motivate people to walk more than ever before.

Marc Woodard Walking Fanno Creek Regional Trail System

As a city councilor I fully support Tigard’s strong vision to become the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest where people of all ages and abilities enjoy healthy and interconnected lives. I understand how public walk ways draw people outdoors and onto trail systems and parks to play, spend leisurely time and exercise and enjoy family time.

Recently I published an article “Recreation Saves Lives and Cities.”  Within the article I show how walkable communities who invest in recreational facilities and other amenities are desired by residents.  And how these investments attract, retain and sustain affordable housing and city services .  Click on the link above and learn how recreation saves lives and cities.

Click on the duck and watch the video of my trail walk with them.

Although walking in nature and observing cute critters along the way is a motivating in itself to walk more…  It is also the connections to other neighborhoods and marketplaces, parks and plazas that motivate bodies to stay in motion.

A major study shows when city urban designers and architects work together to improve human life, “design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity” and “reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic (The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10034, p2207-2217, 28 May 2016).”  Like many others motivated to walk in similar environments, I find walkable city sidewalks and trail connections motivational enough to walk them everyday to stay fit healthy.

If you’ve not taken the opportunity with family or friends to walk, jog or ride a bike along Fanno Creek Regional Trail System in Tigard, Oregon, I highly recommend it.  This is a very relaxing way to get a little exercise while taking in nature’s beauty.

Marland Henderson and Marc Woodard in Bailey’s Burger Shop

Bailey’s Burger Shop DownTown Tigard

Along the way be sure to spend a little time walking Down Town Tigard, visit the local shops like Bailey’s organic burgers, fries and milkshake to fuel the metabolism to continue exploration of Fanno Creek trail system.

If you’d like to experience Tigard’s “Fanno Creek Regional Trail System” Prepare first by planning your walk or bike route using a printable Fanno Creek Regional Trail System Map.

Click on Fanno Creek Bird and watch it fly away.

Tigard has many neighborhood connections within Fanno Creek regional trail system.  Learn how to explore and make use of safe pedestrian friendly walk loops to other interesting places from your own back yard.  Also learn more about Tigard walk day events by visiting the city’s Tigard walks web page.  Here you can meet and participate in low aerobics walking exercise in the company of other Tigard residents.

If you’d like a more challenging walking exercise experience… MirrorAthlete is looking to begin a monthly and/or quarterly walk activity in Tigard.  Our walk loops will be no less than 5-8 miles.  We plan to host 5 -15 mile walk loops centered in and around Tigard.

MirrorAthlete has created an affiliate page on FaceBook named DaringToWalk.

If interested in participating in MirrorAthlete walk loop exercise activity, simply click on the DareToWalkDaily link above, “LIKE” us on that page.   We’ll send out the day, time, place to meet and other pertinent information on an event calendar.  I plan to schedule one walk a monthy or quarterly in Tigard.  We’ll see where interests go from there.  Learn more details about Walking Tigard Monthly with Marc Woodard.

Good Health to You and Your Family!

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Walk Tigard with Marc Woodard

19 04 2017

Bailey’s Burger Shop in Down Town Tigard

If you’d like a more challenging walking exercise experience… MirrorAthlete is looking to begin a monthly and/or quarterly walk activity in the City of Tigard.

Our walk loops will be no less than 5 miles.  If you want to participate more information will be provided at MirrorAthlete’s affiliate FB page named DaringToWalk .

If there is enough interest in a dedicated chat room at MirrorAthlete home site, we can provide that service for the group to share information and walking experience, etc.

Cooper Mountain Trail System beginning in Beaverton is the most challenging course to sustain 4.0 mph up and down the terrain.

We plan to walk 5 to 15 mile loops beginning in Tigard.  Some of our walks will go through and around Beaverton, Portland, Tualatin, Sherwood, WestLinn and Lake Oswego.

If interested in walking with Marc 1 day per month/quarterly, simply click on the DareToWalkDaily link above, “LIKE” us on that page and join the event once posted.

We’ll also be using the MapMyWalk app to track mileage and calories burnt.

Simply download the app to your smart phone and “LIKE” Marc Woodard on MapMyWalk app.  I can then create monthly walk challenges and invite members to compete against mileage walked on their own time.

You will be motivated to walk further distances as you lose the weight you want and get more fit healthy.  Participating in longer walk loop events will become a reality and you’ll make new friends that motivate you to put in more miles weekly.

We’ll send out the day, time, place to meet and other pertinent information for those who “LIKE” us on DareToWalkMore FB page.   Then we’ll Gage where the walking interests go from there.

Walk and Shop

Depending on interests will determine when we start, frequency of event and how challenging the walk loop distance and terrain will be.

For those that “LIKE”  DareToWalkDaily FB page, we’ll create a walking event calendar and you’ll be invited to walk with us.  The group will walk at an average set pace between 3.7 – 4.0 mph.

If not conditioned to walk at this pace and distance but would like to join the event, simply show up per start time and location posted with proper walking attire and water container.  You begin walking with the start group, then follow the designated walk loop map to walk part, or all of it at your pace.

Either way you have bragging rights within the group.  The goal thereafter is to walk a little further each day on your own.  Then you become more fit and aerobically conditioned.  Thereafter you’ll be physically able to walk with the group at the next event and throughout the entire course if you so choose.

Down Town Tigard

Walking event day of the month will likely be a Saturday.  Walk times will vary.  Most likely they’ll begin around 9-10am.  Start locations will likely begin and end at Tigard Main Street, Cook Park, Dirksen Nature Park, or Woodard Park.

To learn more about MirrorAthlete simply visit our home site at http://www.mirrorathlete.com and be sure to subscribe to our Free monthly Newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything fit healthy.

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

17 12 2016

Santa’s on his way

Updated, 17 December 2016 Marc Woodard

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have an 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan that may alleviate fears of eating your favorite traditional Holiday meals and without gaining weight.

These tips can help many resist the temptation to overeat during this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy.”  This strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target.  Admittedly most didn’t lose weight… however most didn’t gain any either.  And some even shed a few pounds by applying all 8 tips below.

Back History on the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan – I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy.  One that allowed someone to eat favorite foods during the Holidays without derailing a current weight loss plan.

Of course I told the young lady there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when overeating hyper-palatable foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to modify the current diet plan.  That is to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.  Prior to this request she had avoided all Holiday meals in fear of weight gain.  And now doesn’t want to avoid them any more.  After applying the 8 tip program she acknowledged the following results.  There was no weight gain and she continued to stay on weight loss target for the following Year.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the food temptations in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing the excess.  Instead the metabolism gets very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays most have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern the following Year.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’m sharing the same client tips I know can work for you.  And quite possibly may be habit changing enough to incorporate into your current weight loss program.

However the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Whereas ill-health conditions warrant medical doctor advisement prior to changing a daily routine.  The point being these food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, personality disorder, e.g., obsessive compulsive tendencies, etc., and/or carry excessive body weight and grossly obese.  Moving on…

IMG_0186

A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than anyone else with regard to foods during the Holidays.   I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food plan strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight during the Holiday season.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental and active adult years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirements are to follow the satiety suggestions below, reduce over processed food consumption and don’t eat or drink your calories after 8pm.  And participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise activity daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, health and medical condition, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the body weight line” solution that will work for everyone.  Especially when I know the program below was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.

However I do know these tips are worth sharing because they can be advantageous for you.  Especially if your the type of individual that has the will power to continue a healthy habit food course after partaking in an infrequent celebration or Holiday meal.

Can this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals commitment to a successful weight loss goal and plan is best accomplished through 1:1 consulting services where information sharing is a two-way street and the program is relative to individual needs and wants.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays my 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan may be of consequence.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

If you take this 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply parts of it or the whole, it can work short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American spirit and culture.  I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.  So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food after a meal, the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies with each one of us.

I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

Tasty Beer Cheer.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body prior to sitting for the meal?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain equates to much inhibited calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently and that means less calories stored as fat.  Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here.  I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving.  After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal.  “Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter.  And no piling food on the plate.   Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat dessert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass blood sugar spike without consequence, especially if you’ve achieved satiety after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you ate.  If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  While eating dessert take your time to gage feeling of gut comfort. But if you begin to experience the feeling of near full, back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods addicts some to a similar eating pattern for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds can be added quickly.

Walk where ever you find yourselves during the Holidays.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holidays.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel.  I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods that don’t compromise the meal experience or add guilt.  And best of all when applied with conviction you won’t gain weight.  You may be surprised and even lose a little.

Marc Woodard wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If fortunate enough to get covered in the white stuff, walk around in it. It’s a fantastic exercise activity experience.

Have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss plans prevent a great meal experience with loved ones.

Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays without fear of being around the foods you love to eat.  You’ll be glad you did.

MirrorAthlete wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Challenging Social Disability Expectation

17 05 2015
Managing Back Pain As Natural as Possible is the Only Way for Me

Author: Marc Woodard on a 15 mile rural walk within/outside of hometown city limits

Updated: 17 May 2015

I know many out there are hurting with disabling mental, spiritual and physical pain thinking there is nothing more that can be done to improve the situation.

I do understand the feelings associated with loss of finances, immobility, productivity, loneliness, worth and dignity.  I’ve personally experienced these things during my own physical adversary and mobility challenge from 2003 to 2008 after injury.  And one thing I know for certain, physical loss almost always leads to mental depression.  And if not prepared with a plan to beat it, the mind and body begin to experience more illness and pain.

However, if you are able to mobilize your body for longer periods of time throughout the day, especially outdoors when possible, nature has a way of inspiring, providing solutions and purpose, while allowing the mind and body to heal. The encompassing being when connected to God’s universe have healing energy. Read: What is Pranic Healing and does it Work

Regardless of whether you’re recovering from injury, addiction, illness or disease and feel broke, you can be made whole again through self-healing effort. Even when temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair, dependent on crutches or cane(s); or have loss of limb(s). You’re capable of finding new and exciting purpose while enjoying life to the fullest.

Walking desolate dried up Northern California lakes and river beds for exercise

When the mind and body are stimulated, energized and challenged by changing environmental surroundings and activity; the brains cerebrum thinks, perceives and processes everything within and around it. Through transport of mind and body the processing of sight, sound, smell, sense and touch stimulation of environmental and spiritual elements has therapeutic and healing benefits.

However, if the mind actually believes the body cannot receive such a benefit through mobility activities then a disabled social expectation may likely result.

All too often we tend to lock ourselves away when we become mentally and physically ill or hurt. “Then ponder on all the whys.” Why did this happen to me, why won’t the pain stop, why can’t I continue the same lifestyle habits, why should I continue on to self-improve or help others, why bother?

When instead the focus should be on “the” who, what, where and how. Who are my real friends and family, what environment do I need to surround myself in to heal and get healthy, where do I find the best treatment and support group, how do I need to reinvent myself, contribute to community and find new purpose while living life to the fullest?

What is a social disability expectation?  I coined this term back in 2004 when I understood my injury was permanent causing lifelong pain that must be managed daily.

I believed for a short period of time my new purpose in life was to live as a disability casualty, or learn to live the way I believed society and medical doctors viewed and classified me. Especially as I struggled to walk correctly with mobility aids for many years while battling pain depression. It became apparent post op recovery; psychologist, orthopedic specialists and physiatrists’ recommendations were to live life as comfortable as possible and not stress over the “whys” but to move forward the best I could, as comfortable as possible. But I was discouraged from challenging my physical body more due to possible re-injury and neurological pain complications radiating throughout my body.

Marc after Second Hip Surgery

Nothing easy about a post op and recovery scenario

At that time I didn’t understand how to reinvent myself within a less mobile and pain ridden circumstance. This was my physical adversity challenge for many years and is chronicled throughout the “soon to be released” MirrorAthlete book chapters. It is also one of the integrated client stories and lessons learned. To learn more about my personal adversity challenge visit MirrorAthlete home site. Then click on Book Project link and read the narratives. Release of our first MirrorAthlete book publication will occur 1st quarter of 2016.

Make no mistake, it makes no difference if depression begins within your mind’s eye, caused by bodily pain, substantiated medical diagnosis, public perception, etc. Severe and chronic depression is a serious medical condition and without proper treatment and support may spell disaster for a patient on the mend. Read, L-Tryptophan, The Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

In either case, the psychosomatic [brain and body] are connected through Neuro biochemical transmitter conduits [hormones, and feel good chemical pathways]. The point being, mental and physical illness, disorders and disease can all depress, stress and cause neurological pain through the same neuro transmitter conduits which can further sicken and disable the encompassing being.

I know many of you have woken up on certain days and felt bad, or under the weather and didn’t go to work. Imagine feeling that way every day. How would that affect your daily activities, mood, feelings and outlook on life? And what would you be willing to do to make yourself numb to those feeling? Begin a bad drug or drinking habit? Or fight your way back from the obis through self-healing activities.

When the mind is sickened and depressed then the body and spirit often follow suit. And when this goes on for too long mental fatigue transmits less of the healing feel good chemical energy (serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, etc.) and begins to put more stress on bodily functions and cellular health. Then as internal and external environmental stressors continue, increased oxidative stress damage to cells occur. Then increase risk of illness and disease and more pain depression follow.

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So many ways to mobilize the body and experience life to the fullest.

I know from personal, medical consultation, client and educational experiences there is a universal energy capable of healing all that ails us [1/3 encompassing being is “spirit”]. Reversing ill-health can be accomplished through lifestyle change that connects our physical being to nature’s spiritual surroundings and energy. My healthy spiritual connection is made through daily walking activity on suburban and rural trail systems as a city dweller. Read: Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and get fit.

To make sense of everything that proceeded to this point, let’s experience what it may be like to live the social disability expectation through another mind’s eye.

You now live a changed lifestyle due to injury or disease or mental disorder. You may/may not have limited mobility, take drugs of some form and receive disability checks monthly. People in general understand disability payments is a needed resource for those clinically diagnosed as disabled of the mind, or body, or both. What becomes bad about those payments are when recipients stop living life to the fullest when in fact capable of doing more.

For example, some believe their not capable of doing anything after disability rating and award of support. Other than living a sedentary lifestyle and stuck inside their home while partially or fully mobile. And others fear if they try to increase activity effort or become more productive, they may lose their disability finances. In either case this is wrong thinking.

Which life road will you choose? A path of adventure and purpose, or isolation.

One does not have to live a 100% disabled and sedentary lifestyle if on 100% disability benefits. There’s room to increase daily mobility activity and improve productivity, while managing pain without fear of losing financial support. Keep this in mind, once substantiated disabled by a medical doctor and awarded support, this will not stop unless you’re gaming the system [an entirely different scenario and discussion].

If you’re now suffering from a depressed state of mind, body and spirit, realize no matter the physical adversity challenge… you have greater purpose in life than meeting a 100% social disability expectation. For instance, does physical disability mean your brain or body is not capable to some capacity of increased productive function?

Does this not mean one can’t help others who now find themselves in the same situation and need a voice, guidance and advisement on how to move forward, heal and fine purpose in life?

Does this mean there’s no greater good one could aspire because of partial, or full immobility, disease, mental disorder and pain challenges?

Does this mean a broken body or mind can’t reason and mend itself out of depression and limited mobility with proper treatment and support resources?

To tell you the truth I could go on and on with reasons why someone should not meet a social disability expectation based on any other opinion than a medical doctor(s) and the knowledge gained once you’ve connected and participated within a relative self-healing treatment program. MirrorAthlete soon to be released book provides all these connections you need to know, get well and live life to the fullest.

The point is, everyone has purpose on planet earth.   Your decision to make… will you accept your disability as a lifelong sentence without hope of better circumstances? Or will you fight for happiness, purpose and quality of life experiences for the sake of self, family and community.

Family Needs You…

To fight and die for a cause is a noble endeavor. To lie down without a fight serves no purpose, especially when capable of doing more. In my mind, only total incapacitation [hospice care] should relieve one of further service and purpose to self, family and community. For that life purpose has been served and will be judged and rewarded not of this earth.

I know many broken bodies have given up on themselves because of injury(s) or chronic medical condition(s) and dependent on disability services making life more comfortable and secure. But in knowing you’re provided for there’s opportunity to help others when capable. Stay mindful, the spirit is strong and when connected to universal energy can overcome many types of physical and mental adversity challenges.

Even if your diagnosis and health condition is classified as stationary permanent (means condition is stable, may/may not improve and “may” get worse with age) is certainly not a reason to throw in the towel. To age without challenging disability on a daily basis is to limit mobility and life purpose. And for many increase health risk. This is where depression begins its insidious course on the organic brain and body.

If lack of mobility causes body weight to climb, then cardio circulatory and disease often follow and may further complicate primary disability circumstances. And when you see no way out of this progressive negative you experience more mental and physical depression and pain than need be.

Don’t let disability and society dictate how to live your life. Don’t accept or fulfill a social disability expectation that’s less purposeful than needed to accomplish life goals and especially when capable.

Be a MirrorAthlete® Warrior and take back as much of your life as possible.

See the world and enjoy yourself in social gathering space and experience positive life interactions.

Live life to the fullest, with purpose and in a way that makes you feel good about your time here in these mortal bodies!  Then you may experience life to the fullest with no regrets. And find peace within your mind’s eye, heart and soul.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2015 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

21 12 2014

It’s that time of year again. What will be your New Years Resolution?

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have some food management and modified behavioral habit tips that may help alleviate fears of eating your traditional Holiday meals without gaining weight.

These tips may help you resist the temptation to overeat foods craved at this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy” I’ve provided past clients and have helped to keep weight off within a 48 hour window of time and longer.  Although most didn’t lose weight… they didn’t gain any either.

It was through a diet consulting session a client asked if I could create a work around food strategy so they could eat their favorite foods during the Holidays.  And without derailing a weight loss diet plan.  Of course I told them there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when you eat rich foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to enjoy a good Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the tempting food nemesis in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing to remove the excess food fuel from it.  Instead, our metabolisms get very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays we all have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern through the New Year.

We all know excess body fat has a direct correlation to poor health conditions and disease.  Some of the better know diseases directly related to obesity for example are diabetes, atherosclerosis, congenital heart failure, weight bearing joint pain, etc.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’ll provide the same client tips to help you modify food habits in a way to enjoy a tasty meal in good company without fear of weight gain.  And quite possibly this may be a habit changing plan to supplement  your continued weight loss effort during the New Year.

But the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Since weight loss, health condition, medical history and fitness levels are all interrelated it is advised you seek a medical doctors consultation if you have a serious obesity or health problem.  These food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, obsessive compulsive tendencies and/or carry excessive body weight.

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A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than you with regard to all the tempting foods during the Holidays, I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food management strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight you don’t want.

There are many reasons one may over consume foods daily [stressful environment,  compulsive behaviors, bad relationships and depression to name a few].    However when over consumption occurs frequently, the body tends to accept this habit as the norm.  Hence a new habit of overeating is formed and weight gain is inevitable for most of us.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirement is to cut out excessive calories and participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, medical conditions, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the weight” solution that will work for everyone for a few days.  Especially when I know the program was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.  But since I know these tips can work through short-term modification of food behavior and habit it’s worth sharing because it can work for you.  Especially if your the type that has enough “will power” to apply a short term off-the-wagon dietary strategy to self control within the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan guidelines below.

Can this food tips strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals fitness and weight loss goal nuances, habits and behaviors within environment etc., is best accomplished through 1:1 professional consulting services that make these connections and provide relatable  information  that resonate with clients.   Personalized fitness programming with a safe weight loss long-term strategy has the best chance to succeed when unique lifestyles are analyzed and prescribed relative to the individual.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power that most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays, My 8 tip Holiday Meal Plan plan may be of some assistance.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

Now, let’s get to the meat of what you’ve been waiting for. Here are the tips clients and I have used to minimize weight gain during the Holidays.  If you take this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply it, it can work for you short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal feeding frenzy seems to be ingrained within the American culture.  I know my family, like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves, before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.   So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food your stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours after each meal depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies within each one of us.   I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table, you won’t be as hungry and you just won’t want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point made of over consumption is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain… Much calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently.  Plus, water will make you feel fuller faster.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating for further conversation.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here; I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle strategy that advises one to move away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving, after you consume this wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal before you even think about seconds.

“Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.  Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/4 the plate diameter.  And no piling on.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat desert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass assault without consequences, especially if you’ve achieved fullness after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of fullness.  If you experience a feeling of satiety after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  But if you begin to experience fullness again back off.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods stimulates and addicts some to a continued and similar eating patterns for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds is added to body weight.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holiday season.

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Marc prepares for the Holiday festivities with family. A time of Year to reflect and be thankful for all we have.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to assist the body in removing the unspent food fuel.   I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

Hopefully, I’ve provided a few tips you can relate to and apply this Holiday season.  You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods without guilt and doesn’t’ compromise taste buds or the social meal experience with family.  And best of all, if taken seriously and applied correctly, you won’t gain any weight.

Many can enjoy tasty meals during the Holidays without gaining weight when a reasonable food consumption plan is known in advance to help modify traditional Holiday food habits.

Please have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss diet plans compromise having a great meal experience with loved ones.  Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays, you’ll be glad you did.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ANG, MSC CPT RET.  2014 MirrorAthlete® Copyright,  All rights reserved.  Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.