being healthy is easier than you think

Not that long ago, I was living my life in a completely different way than I am today: I was fat, lazy, broke, unhappy, materialistic, agnostic, depressed and cynical. I was on a path of complete self-destruction. I knew that I needed help, but I didn't know where to find it.

In my mind I had this vivid image of how I wanted my life to be. But when I opened my eyes and looked around, I saw nothing that came even close to resembling the life I had envisioned. It became painfully clear to me that I had let this period of denial go on for far too long.

Drastic change was in order.

As I think back, it's truly impossible for me to pinpoint the exact moment or particular set of circumstances that finally influenced me to take those first few steps toward my own personal resurrection. It's akin to when you first learned how to read: you could not tell me the exact day because it was such a lengthy process that required many months of trial and error. But eventually the hard work you put in pays off and the jumbled groups of letters finally start making sense to you.

If you think about it, almost every change in our lives happens in a similar order:

  • set a goal
  • work hard to achieve a little every day
  • finally achieve the goal you set for yourself
  • either set a new goal or commit to improve on the prior achievement
  • repeat


From where I was at that time, the idea of ever attaining the life I had envisioned seemed almost impossible. Suffice it to say I had the vision, but I had absolutely no idea how I was ever going to connect the dots in order to get from where I was to where I ultimately wanted to be.

What I didn't understand for a long time was that it was okay that I didn't know how I was going to make it all come together right away. If you think about it, nobody does. How many times in your life have things turned out completely different from the way you originally had planned? We know that things are bound to happen that will temporarily disrupt even our best laid plans. All we can do is map things out as best we can, prepare for the good and bad in-between, and trust that we will reach our destination no matter what happens along the way.

That is the most difficult part of all: taking that first step towards change without knowing how or when you are going to reach your destination. Let me assure you, the path will not always be clear. When I first started out, I had this idea of living a life that was completely different from the one I was living at the time. Impatient, I resolved to give up everything all at once in the hope that I would arrive at my dream life by suppertime tomorrow. Unfortunately, change does not happen as quickly as we'd like it to. I learned that lasting change requires tremendous effort and a lot time.

Much to my amazement, once I put myself out there and took that first step, the rest of the staircase began revealing itself to me little by little each day. That first step may have been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. It required me having to accept the truth that I did not like who I was anymore, and helped me to understand that I was the only person who could ever do anything to change that.

So I began small, making slight adjustments based on a simple list that I compiled of things I wanted to change about myself and the way that I that I was living. I would write down something like, "I don't like that I am overweight," or "I don't like that I work this hard and yet have no money to spend." Beneath those statements I would write what I thought I would have to do in order to change that statement and reach each particular goal.

For example, under "overweight" I would write something like:

  • "I will exercise for at least a half-hour every day of the week for an entire year." or,
  • "I will keep a food journal every day to track and regularly assess my eating habits."

Once I had them written down on paper I stopped worrying about whether or not I was doing enough with my time. And instead I focused on trying to slow myself down and actually achieve my goals one small step at a time.

What I realized after getting everything out of my head was that it opened up space for me to observe the world and what was going on around me. I finally awoke from my monotonous slumber and took responsibility for where my life had taken me. It's hard to explain, but I promise that once you take the initiative and practice consciously writing down what you do not like and what you want to ultimately change about your life - I don't care how large or small - you will notice a dramatic and vibrant change within it.

You'll begin living your life with fresh eyes. The old you who was dead to everything will once again be alive and you will see a world full of potential and brand new possibilities. You'll start doing everything more deliberately and you will open your eyes and see new things that had been staring you in the face all this time but you just never noticed before.

After writing down that I wanted to be healthy and lose weight, I started to realize quickly that my eating habits were not in balance with the healthy lifestyle I desired for myself. I vividly recall going grocery shopping soon after making my list and for the first time paying attention to the nutrition information that was listed on the food I was buying. I could not believe that up until that point I had not once bothered to so much as glance at that information - much less take time out of my life to do research and investigate what it all actually meant.

This small shift in my awareness may seem insignificant but it is actually is what got me started on the path towards optimum health, significant weight loss, and to me reaching my goal.

Now I realize that my story might not be your story. Most likely, you probably have dreams and goals and problems of your own that I might not even be able to understand - and that's okay.

My hope is that through reading my story it might somehow inspire you to wake up to the not-so-great parts of your life that you have become dead to. And that it gives you the courage to face your demons head on so that you can start to live the life you were put on this earth to live - a life full of abundance, happiness and joy.

One thing I know for certain, is that there is something special about you. Please don't waste one more day and not shine your light for everyone else to see.

Cheers!



easy way to quit smoking cigarettes


I would argue that the average smoker is aware of how bad smoking is for their health. You do not have to search very hard to find statistics to back up this information. Smokers know that it's bad for them, but they choose to do it anyway. How come?

From early on in life we are told by our teachers, the DARE program, sometimes even our own parents, that smoking is bad for us. We are shown videos and taught special songs about how we won't do drugs and how we won't cop an attitude. We are even taught how to say no if someone offers us a cigarette. Yet some of us still decide to go ahead and smoke anyway.

Based on my own life experience, I can say with a degree of certainty that the majority of people who start smoking do not do so hoping to get hooked. They usually do it for one of two reasons: Their friends are doing it and they want to fit in, or because of their inherent desire to rebel.

According to the center for disease control, forty-six percent of high school students admit to having tried cigarette smoking, even one or two puffs. They also report that each day in the United States, approximately 4,000 adolescents aged 12-17 try their first cigarette.

It all happens so fast. One minute you are innocently enjoying a drag outside with your friends, talking about life ambitions and sharing dreams. The next minute you find yourself broke and pathetically sifting through ash trays praying to God you can find a butt with enough tobacco in it to get you through til' the next day.

And that is exactly why the tobacco companies work so hard and spend so much money every year on advertising and marketing to young adults: They want to make sure you take those first few puffs and get you hooked before you are old enough to comprehend just how badly cigarettes are going to screw your life up.

So what can we do about it?​

As I said before, we already know from an early age that smoking is bad for our health. So if they know that it is bad for them and they decide to smoke anyway, that says to me that they must not care about themselves. So in my opinion, the only way to remedy the situation is to help them figure out what they do care about. After that, they can simply use that information to help themselves see how choosing not to smoke will not only benefit them, but will subsequently help them get more of what they do care about.

For example, let's say this particular smoker is motivated by money. A great way to encourage them to either quit or never begin smoking, would be to show them on paper exactly just how much money they would potentially lose by making the choice to smoke.

Based on an average cost of around $6.00 per pack/per day:

  •  Every month you would lose $180.
  • Every year you would lose $2,190.
  • Every five years you would lose $10,950! 

If you break that down and explain how much money they might lose by smoking, that information all by itself might be enough to persuade them to shift their attention into putting their hard earned money into a savings account instead of burning it all away.

You can even take it a step further and help them get excited about how much they could potentially retire on if they set aside their daily cigarette money and invested it instead.

Below is an example of what could happen to your money if you invested it in a growth stock mutual fund that yielded an average of 12% interest every year for five years. (Age 18 to 23)

Yearly Investment                              Interest Earned               ​​​Ending Balance

$2,190                                                        $262.80                             $2452.80
$2,190 + $2452.80 (prior) = $4642.80            $557.14 ​            ​                $5199.94
$2,190 + 5199.94 = $7389.94​      ​            ​     $886.79 ​                            ​$8276.73
$2,190 + $8276.73 = $10466.73                    $​1256.00           ​                ​$11722.73
$2,190 + $11722.73 =$13912.73                   ​$1669.53           ​                ​$15581.53
​0$         ​            ​            ​                             $1869.78           ​                $​17451.31

As you can see, if you were to stop investing and allowed it to sit still, your money would continue to accrue interest!

If you left it alone and returned thirty years later at the age of 48 to make a withdrawal, you might be shocked to discover a balance of $264,887.01. If you had kept on going and continued to invest the $2,190 every year for thirty years, you would wind up with a whopping $594,130.81! 

When you look at it that way, it just isn't worth it is it? How would you feel if you knew that by the age of forty-eight you could have access to that much money? What other bad habits might be potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars that you could give up each month? Do you think you would feel as compelled to smoke or continue on with other bad habits if you did not have to worry about money?​

This is just one example of how simple and fun it can be to dump a bad habit by replacing it with a better one. Let's face it - we all have certain addictions that we have to wrestle with on a daily basis. Maybe it's spending money on stuff we don't really need. Or maybe you've developed a habit of feeling like you aren't good enough.

It doesn't really matter what the habit is, so long as you can recognize the bad habits for what they are and make a conscious effort to replace them with habits that are worthy of your time and energy; then you will be just fine.

By using this method, I went from smoking three packs a day to having the will power to quit completely cold turkey. Once I stopped smoking, I noticed a major increase in my overall health. It was much easier to run, so naturally I took advantage and ran more often. The more I ran, the healthier I became.

So give it a shot; try something different and dare to make a positive change in your life.

You will be amazed with the results!

my story

My ex-girlfriend left me on valentines day of 2009.

After the break up I was left with very little. Up until that point we had been sharing a vehicle that was in her name and when she left I did not have a way to get myself to work and back anymore. Since giving up was never an option for me I did what I had to do: I asked a friend if he could take me to Wal-Mart and I left with a $100 bicycle.

When I got home I went straight to my computer, got online and began plotting out how I was going to make the six mile journey to and from work each day.

It was not easy, but it was the best I could do at the time. After a while I really started to enjoy and actually looked forward to my rides to work every day. Sometimes I would even leave several hours before I had to work just so I could take my time and explore different parts of the city that I had never seen before.

After a few weeks my co-workers and a few of my regular customers started to notice how much I had been cycling and commented on how different I looked. They were amazed with my weight loss and could not stop telling me how much happier and healthier I looked. Clearly I was onto something. I asked myself, "Could exercise and losing weight really be this fun and simple?!"

In those first three months alone I went from weighing 330 pounds to weighing 290 pounds. Eventually cycling became my passion and my obsession: I was riding my bike everywhere!

After working at the convenience store in Florida for a few months I had finally saved up enough money to move back home to Michigan and start fresh. It was not long after my return home that I found some work as a sub-contractor doing exterior and interior house painting for the landlord of a friend of mine. I loved how physically demanding that job was. A typical work day would begin with a sixteen mile bike ride to get to my boss' house in the mornings, then I would follow that up with an 8 to 9 hour day of physical labor before having to make the sixteen mile ride back home.

After a few days on the job I told my boss about all of my weight loss efforts and he told me that he couldn't help but notice how quickly my weight was melting away before his very eyes. After four months the season had come to a close and I was already down to 270 pounds! This was awesome!

Around this time there were a lot of other changes taking place in my life as well: I was in the process of moving into my friend's basement, I had finally started to feel comfortable enough to go out on dates again, and for the first time in my life I was truly living for me.

Soon exercise began filling up the all of the empty spaces in my life and many of my bad habits fell by the wayside. The more I exercised, the less I smoked. Eventually I just picked a day that I was going to do it and I just stopped. For several years I survived on nothing but fast food. I learned the hard way that exercise and fast food do not mix very well. It did not matter if I was riding to work or if I was getting ready to go on a 100 mile bike ride, fast food was just not cutting it for me anymore. Naturally I shifted my diet toward healthier foods like granola bars, clif bars, and lots and lots of water!

Even though I was working harder than ever before and cycling as often as I could, my weight loss eventually became stagnant. After doing a bit of research I decided that it was time for me to make some changes in my exercise regimen.

Then one day a military friend of mine invited me to go out for an "easy" one mile run with him. I figured that with all the cycling I had been doing every day, this was going to be a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong! By the time I had finished the run I was completely out of breath, lying on the filthy street outside of our house and loving every minute of it!

My addictive personality had finally found a new drug to latch on to and that drug was running. You see, I thrive on setting and achieving goals. Sure cycling had been fun, but it wasn't challenging me anymore. Running was hard and I knew deep down that I needed something that hard if I was ever going to achieve my the results I wanted.

So I caught the bug: When winter came I set my bike aside and began running to work every day instead. After a few months of that I decided it was time for me to sign up for my first road race.

No, my first race ever was not a 5k, or a 10k, or a half-marathon. I decided to go big and sprung for a 25k! Call me overzealous, I don't care. I knew in my heart that I could do it... and I did.

All two-hundred & fifty pounds of me!


After that I was completely hooked on distance races. They gave me something to train for; something to look forward to. They were also a really fun and simple way to gauge and measure my progress.

- Fast forward to Today -

I now weigh about 200lbs, I have six full marathons under my belt along with several shorter distance races and many, many more planned for the future.

So after everything that has happened and everything I have been through, I can honestly say that every day that I wake up alive is the best day of my life!


Thanks for reading!

-Corey Barton

how to lose weight with math

1st Grab a piece of paper and write down:

Age in Years            ________

Height in Inches      ________

Weight in Lbs.         ________

2nd Figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
This is the minimum number of calories needed per day in order to support basic body functions.

1)                   Multiply weight in pounds by 6.23 (4.35 for Women) and add 66 (655 for Women) _______
2)                   Take height in inches and multiply it by 12.7 (4.7 for Women) _______
3)                   Take age in years and multiply it by 6.8 (4.7 for Women) _______
4)                   Then add 1, 2 & 3 together and you get your BMR = __________

3rd Choose your personal activity level

Sedentary                                1.2                           (littleor no exercise)
Lightly Active                         1.375                       (lightexercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
Moderately Active                  1.55                         (moderateexercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
Very Active                             1.725                       (hardexercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
Extremely Active                     1.9                           (veryhard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training)

4th Take your BMR from above and multiply it by the activity level you feel is most accurate for you.
.
                Your Daily Calorie Needs=  ____________

5th You have to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, every day, for the rest of your life.

Sorry but there is no getting around this. You must move your body every day if you ever want to lose weight. The great part though is that exercise can be anything you want it to be; you just have to be able to do it for 30 minutes (without stopping) every day – that’s it!

I don’t care if you walk, bike, jog or run. As long as you are constantly (without taking a break) moving your body for at least 30 minutes every day and follow the rest of my simple advice, you will lose weight. Don’t worry, eventually you will fall in love with exercise and you won’t be able to imagine going a day without it.

6th You must keep (at least) a two week long food and exercise journal.

To make this extremely easy for you, I am going to recommend using a web based food and exercise journal like the kind found at http://www.fatsecret.com. They even have a nifty smart-phone application to make it even easier!

I cannot stress enough how beneficial and important this step is. Once you understand the correlation between how many calories you are putting into your body and how many calories you are eliminating through daily exercise, you will begin to understand that losing weight is as simple as basic math!

6th Understand the basics behind what calories really are.

The total calories you put into your body are made up of three basic macro nutrients: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. There are many books that delve further into the complex science behind them all, but I am going to try and keep this simple. If you are interested in learning more I would recommend reading the book “How Not to Get Fat” by Ian Marber - it will turn you into an expert.

So getting back to macro nutrients –

·         1 gram of a Carbohydrate or 1 gram of Protein is made up of approximately 4 calories.
o         Carbohydrates break down fast in the body and are used to supply your body with quick energy/fuel.
o         Protein is broken down more slowly than carbohydrates in the body and helps to rebuild damaged muscle tissue.
·         1 gram of Fat is made up of approximately 9 calories.
o         Fat is broken down very slowly in the body and is primarily used as a form of energy storage.

Now that you understand the basics behind what calories are it’s time to learn about how many grams of each you should be putting in your body every day.

·         55% of your daily calories should come from Carbohydrates.
·         30% of your daily calories should come from Proteins.
·         15% of your daily calories should come from Fats.

If you use the food journal that I suggested earlier, it will automatically calculate how many grams of each macro nutrient you are consuming each day. Then, at the end of the day you can figure out on your own how your diet compares to the ratios above. If you are too high or too low in a certain category, all you have to do is look at what you were eating that threw it off and adjust your diet accordingly in order to balance it out the next day.

Isn’t being in control of your health fun?!

7th Suggestions from someone who has lost 120 pounds (ME)

1)                   Armed with the knowledge I have just bestowed upon you, if you want to lose weight you simply have to cut out 250-500 calories every day from your daily calorie needs (your diet). You also need to burn off between 250-500 calories every day through exercise. Even if you stick to cutting 250 and burning 250, you will lose 1 pound a week every week until you reach your ideal body weight. Pretty simple huh?
2)                   Two of the most important keys to being successful in this is to accurately and honestly keep track of the number and type of calories you are putting inside your body. If you aren’t going to be honest and take this seriously then what is the point?
3)                   Give up soda - yes, even diet soda. It causes an imbalance in your system and has adverse effects on your thyroid. Your thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism. Soda, even diet, therefore slows down your metabolism. Trust me; it’s all bad news so just stay away from it.
4)                   If you choose to drink alcohol, do not do so while eating. Your body recognizes alcohol as a poison in your system. It therefore puts digesting anything else on hold and focuses all your energy entirely on eliminating that poison from your system. So any food you eat while drinking alcohol will likely to turn straight into fat. So stay disciplined and wait at least two hours after a meal before drinking alcohol. And as always, drink responsibly!
5)                   Remember it is important to eat within 30 minutes following exercise of any kind. Focus especially on consuming enough protein to help your body repair damaged muscle tissue and complex carbohydrates to replenish your depleted glycogen stores. If you don't know what complex carbohydrates are - Google it!
6)                   Find a way to incorporate more exercise into your everyday routine. For example, biking or walking to work is a great way to shed extra calories without even thinking about it. By adding these kinds of activities to your already stellar exercise regimen I promise you will definitely begin to notice the pounds melting away!

So that’s it! That’s pretty much all it took for me to go from 330 lbs to 210lbs in less than 2 years. 
Good luck, I believe in you!