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Jan 09, 2013

Did you resolve to lose weight and/or get healthy for 2013?  

At this time of year, we all want to decrease our weight in the time it takes to read a blog-post like this! But those who’ve made lasting health changes in their lives tell us it takes a little longer.

Shane Lashley is one of those people! He was a hard-working professional who didn’t take care of his health UNTIL he was lying in the back of an ambulance. He changed his focus and years later he’s the (very ‘cut’ and energetic) owner of a health and wellness company called Extraordinary People’s Holdings.  Don’t believe me? See his pics (and pecs) here!

Shane hasn’t only revolutionized his own life, he’s helped many others make lasting life changes. Who better to give us some great advice?

Here are Shane’s top 4.5 steps for living healthier this year. 

1) Don’t Deprive Yourself!

Deprivation goals fail.  Every time.  Don’t get into fasting for days or “no carbs” or 100% weight loss soup, etc. Food is sensual and social. We use meals to communicate our emotional support to those closest to us: to celebrate our greatest triumphs, our key romantic moments, and even our losses. You can’t NOT do that part of life. Instead, learn to tweak how you do it.

TIP: Don’t think about changing for a whole week, month or year. Keep it simple: change for a day, then repeat it 365 times.  If you have a bad day, just get back at it tomorrow.

2) Manage Blood Sugar

It’s not just for diabetics!  Blood sugar levels are a key to managing both your weight and your energy. Foods that elevate and spike our blood sugar cause an insulin response. That response tells our body to store all it can which leads to weight gain.  

And what goes up will come down. When we come down from a blood sugar high, we just don’t feel as good.  

So, moderate your intake of sugars, refined carbs, alcohol and other foods that elevate blood sugar.  And watch out for sugar substitutes - our bodies respond to these in the same way they respond to sugar.  Monitor your use and try alternatives like stevia and agave. Click here to see 7 more blood sugar spikers that could be impacting you.

TIP: Decreasing your reliance on sugars doesn’t have to mean “no flavor.”  Find new strong flavors by experimenting with spices and other foods that don’t elevate blood sugar.  Shane visits the bulk spice section and always has thyme, basil, paprika, pepper, chili powder, sea salt, cumin, and rosemary on hand.  The combinations are endless and the taste explodes when you use them to bring life to your food. These don’t raise blood sugar and can be used in conjunction with agave to achieve sweetness or with vinegars to achieve tartness. 

3)  Manage Energy Level

How are you feeling most days at 3pm? We all have go-to habits we reach for when we need a boost. What are yours? Coffee, a donut, the candy bowl on your coworker’s desk, energy drink, soda…? Watch yourself this week. If you’re reaching for sugar in some form, you’re not helping Step #2.  If it’s coffee, energy drinks or sodas – nutrients are being sucked away from your bones and body.  This then sucks your energy and puts you on a rollercoaster of energy level ups and downs.  Start moving yourself away from “artificial energy.” 

TIP: Replace your go-to “artificial energy” habits!  Green tea is fantastic – as are fruits and vegetables (you knew it was going to be in this article somewhere , right?). Combine protein with fruits/veggies and spices to get quick energy with no downsides.  For example, have some Greek yogurt (protein) with some fruit. The goal is to have protein with carbs every few hours. OR, instead of putting something “in”, get up and work it “out”: take a short walk around your office or do some stretches to get the blood flowin’.  Speaking of….

4) Get Moving

ANY movement is good. Going to the gym or doing organized workouts are great. But, sometimes they are intimidating and confusing for some people (What? Who can’t manage 45 dance steps? Oh yeah, me!). Shane started simple by walking and stretching with yoga. Chasing your kids around the backyard works, too. Muscle groups are blind and they don’t care if you’re lifting a kid, piles of laundry or a $500 barbell. 

And remember that more movement produces more energy!  Energy in the body comes from ATP (adenosine triphosphate) - it is the major 'currency' of energy in the body. People who exercise have more ATP, thereby producing more energy. Once you’re moving, keep doing SOMETHING and don’t get out of the habit!

TIP: Consistently remind yourself of the benefits of moving so you’ll keep doing it. Exercise brings with it SO many great side effects: decreased stress level, amplified brain power, heightened libido, improved attitude, increased strength, etc.    

4.5) Manage Inflammation

Inflammation is the new area of health researchInflammation within our body and cells is a silent killer. It’s at the root of 70 major chronic diseases (high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, etc.). And, it can slow weight loss. Once you’re well on your way with Steps #1 – 4, it’s worth looking into – especially if you’re not seeing results. Shane’s core approach with most of his clients is to stabilize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and increase nutrients to the cells to increase energy and fight disease. Once that system and lifestyle are in place, most any goal can be attained.

So, put on your sneakers and hang up your guilt! Stop saying “I should have changed this years ago” and do it now. Take Shane’s advice (check out his blog) and make health changes today that you can continue doing every day this year. Uh oh, now you’ll need to come up with a different New Year’s Resolution - maybe it’s time ‘world peace’ made your list again?


Reid has a passion for helping brokers & employers strategize fresh approaches to benefit plans that contain costs and increase access to care - helping employers & employees control their healthcare dime, time, and peace of mind. He writes & speaks around the country and is the Co-Founder & CEO of freshbenies.

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