5 tips to lose 15 pounds fast

In an effort to help people achieve a healthier weight and adopt healthier life habits, I have come up with a short list of five simple things you can change in your life that will help you lose weight quickly. The trick to it though, is that you have to make them a habit.

How do you make it a habit exactly? Real simple: you need to practice said habit every single day, for 28 days.

After that it will become as automatic to you as brushing your teeth every morning. It's hard to explain unless you've experienced it before, but you just won't feel right if you don't continue these habits after 28 days.

So take a deep breath and relax... this is going to be fun!

[1] Give up the white stuff for 28 days.

Before the start of the 28 day clock, go through your entire house and anything that is white, get rid of it!

For example:

  • White Bread
  • White Rice
  • White Flour
  • White Sugar
  • White Salt
  • White Milk
  • White Potatoes

Does this mean that you can never eat these things again?! No... All it means is that instead of white, you are going to replace it with whole grain and/or whole wheat products.

Here are a few examples of what would be acceptable to eat:

  • 15 Grain Wheat Bread
  • Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Brown Sugar (in moderation folks)
  • If something already has salt in it that's fine. Just do not add any additional salt to anything and you will be okay.
  • Almond or Soy Milk
  • Red Potatoes

If you come across something and you aren't sure whether it would be considered white or not, just take a good look at it or read the ingredients label. If it looks white or has the word "white" in the ingredients list, don't eat it.

[2] Give up all soda for 28 days.

There are a multitude of reasons why soda is bad for you. I am not going to delve into the science behind why you should not drink it. Instead I'm going to give you my best synopsis based on what I have learned and experienced in my own life.

  1. Soda has A LOT of sugar in it. Too much sugar makes you fat. Period.
  2. Drinking too much sugar will make you crave more sugary drinks and foods throughout a given day, which will make you even fatter.
  3. Diet soda - even though it has no "calories" - is a chemical soup that tricks your system into believing you consumed something sweet (just like regular soda does). On a psychological level, drinking diet soda makes you eat more calories because you believe it had absolutely zero affect on your system. Well guess what, it did, and guess what else... diet soda makes you fat too.

What should you drink instead? Well... the only thing I would recommend is water with lemon in it. Preferably distilled water if you can, but any water will do. The majority of people don't realize this, but you could work out for 8 hours a day, and if you don't drink enough water, it will all be all for nothing.

Why? Because your body needs a lot of water in order to remove the excess waste (weight) through your bowels. So as a side challenge I would recommend drinking an abundance of water every day for 28 days to help your body do its job.

[3] Do ANY kind of exercise for 30 minutes a day, for 28 days.

Oh no! The dreaded E word!! Relax guys; I'm going to make this really, really easy for you. How? By helping you redefine the word exercise to better fit your current lifestyle. Because to me and the rest of the world, exercise is defined as any activity that brings your heart rate up and makes you sweat - that's it!

So seriously, keep this simple. Just think of anything you enjoy doing that makes you sweat, and then find a way to do it 30 minutes a day for 28 days.


  • Have sex!
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower
  • Shovel the driveway
  • Walk at a brisk pace
  • Jog
  • Elliptical
  • Bicycle
  • Play a sport
  • Throw a ball around

Do you get what I'm saying yet? Just find something you can do every day, put it on your schedule in advance, and then have fun doing it! It really is that easy.

[4] Take the stairs and park far away for 28 days.

This one is easy: Whenever you have the opportunity to take the elevator or park close to where you are trying to go, take the stairs and park far away instead.

I know it might feel like a pain in the butt at first, but just remember that those few extra calories will add up over time. Make this a daily habit for 28 days and it will pay dividends for years to come.

[5] Eat more fruits and vegetables for 28 days.

No, I am not asking you to give up eating meat. All I am suggesting is that for 28 days you find a way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. If you would like more information, you can read my previous blog post about "how to live naturally". I will not go into great detail here; this is meant to be short and simple.

Here are a few examples to get your brain working:

  • For breakfast if you typically have cereal, try adding a sliced banana to the mix.
  • For lunch, have a healthy salad with walnuts.
  • For dinner have a side of steamed carrots or peas along with a side salad.

Final Thoughts

I know it's easy to get stuck on a certain path and forget how you wound up there in the first place. I understand - I really do.

After 28 days you will no doubt go back to being the busy body you were before. The trick though, is that once these habits become your habits, you will finally be able to move forward without having to worry about your weight. By making these small changes, you will finally become the person you deserve to be.

Cheers to a healthy and happy new you!

- Corey Barton

why meat is bad for you

Ever since I made the decision to stop eating meat, we have encountered a lot of resistance and skepticism from our friends and family regarding our new lifestyle choice. And while I could not care less about what anybody else thinks of us or our way of life, for personal reasons I felt compelled to write an article to help explain to everyone exactly why we stopped eating meat, and why you should too.

So here it goes.

1. It is morally wrong.

How can anyone claim to be an animal lover, if you are also an animal eater? As a vegetarian, I have absolutely no reservations about eating any: fruit, vegetable, bean or nut; because I know that every variety is delicious and nutritious. Now, do you think that a truly carnivorous animal cares about what type of meat it will eat when it gets hungry? No, because they are true meat eaters. Therefore, they eat any and all meat, regardless of species, and they eat it raw and bloody. Sometimes they even resort to eating their own kind!

Humans on the other hand are very picky about where their meat comes from: and no matter what, it has to be cooked and heavily seasoned before it even enters their mouth. If humans were truly meant to eat meat, we too would not care from which animal it came, we would also be perfectly comfortable eating it raw and bloody. So if the idea of eating the raw meat of a cat, a rat, your dog, a family member, a horse, a squirrel or an eagle make you feel sick or uncomfortable, then why on earth would you be okay with eating the meat from a poor, innocent, defenseless, sick and malnourished cow? Wake up people!

Companies that make money selling you meat to eat spend billions of dollars every year to convince you that their product is delicious and good for you. Let's face it; you, me and billions of others have been duped. Your parents, your parent's parents, and their parents before them, have all been tricked by this industry. For generations our families have passed this misinformation down, simply because they never bothered to ask why they were eating what they were eating. Many of them have or will go on to suffer from a variety of horrible medical conditions later on due to their intake of meat - which is fantastic news for the pharmaceutical industry! Lord knows they need more money...

You have to open your eyes people. These companies know exactly what they are doing. They depend and bet on the stupidity of the general public to do whatever they are told to do. They know that meat is horrible for you and causes disease and other health problems. Quit being a mindless drone and use your brain. The only way to stop them is to stop supporting them with your money.

Don't believe me? Watch this.

2. Meat is disgusting and deep down, you know it.

As you can see, it's not hard to find an informative documentary or a clip that uncovers the gross and disgusting nature of the meat slaughter and meat packing industry. These animals are brutally tortured, mistreated, branded, and then murdered. Like it or not, when you buy their product, you are supporting this horrible business. Not only is the treatment of these poor animals disgusting, but the way that some of these animals are processed and packaged, it can be near impossible to determine exactly what part of which animal you are actually eating! How would you feel if you knew that the ground beef in your freezer was made from the combined meat of several hundred cows; and that same package of beef most likely contains a wide variety of different animal parts?

Husband: "What's for dinner tonight honey?"
Spouse: "Well, we'll be having a combination of cooked beef intestine, beef eyeballs, beef tongue, beef heart, and beef anus."
Husband: "That sound delicious!"

Hungry?... No?... I didn't think so.

3. It makes you - or will make you - fat and unhealthy.

Based on what I've learned about what happens to your body when you consume meat, and also on my own life experience, it isn't hard to see that people who regularly consume meat are not the thinnest or fittest people in the world. How does eating meat make you fat and unhealthy? Simply put, cooked meat is calorie dense and nutritionally deficient. What this means is that even though your body can (barely) process the meat and get it out of your system, it does your body little or no good in terms of actual nourishment. Comparatively speaking, meat also stays in your system much longer than fruits, veggies, beans and nuts.
"Have you ever seen what happens to a piece of meat that stays in the sun for three days? Meat can stay in the warmth of the intestine for at least four to five days until it is digested. It does nothing but wait for passage. Often, it usually stays there formuch longer. Medical doctors have found traces of undigested meat remaining in the colon for up to several months. Colonic therapists always see meat passing through people who have been vegetarians for several years, thus indicating that meat remains undigested there for a long time. Occasionally this has been documented in twenty-year vegetarians!"-CelestialHealing.net
On the other hand, the foods that our bodies were designed to ingest (i.e. fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, etc.) digest much more easily and rapidly, simply because our bodies were designed to eat them!

4. According to celestial healing, more evidence points to humans being herbivores, not carnivores.
"Many people ask me, "If we weren't supposed to eat meat than why do we?". It is because we are conditioned to eat meat.
Also, the ADA (American Dietetic Association) tells us that "most of mankind for most of human history has lived on a vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian diet."
The chart below compares the anatomy of man with that of carnivorous and herbivorous animals.
When you look at the comparison between herbivores and humans, we compare much more closely to herbivores than meat-eating animals. Humans are clearly not designed to digest and ingest meat.
Meat-eaters: have claws Herbivores: no claws Humans: no claws
Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue Herbivores: perspire through skin pores Humans: perspire through skin pores
Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length (from mouth to anus). Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length (from mouth to anus).
Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater. Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits. Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits. Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits
Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)
Clearly if humans were meant to eat meat we wouldn't have so many crucial ingestive/digestive similarities with animals that are herbivores." - CelesitalHealing.net
5. Meat kills you.

I'll try to keep this part short and sweet. Since meat has no real nutritional value (to humans), we would die if that was all we ate. Furthermore, the excess protein from consuming such a diet would inevitably lead to liver toxicity, kidney overload and mineral deficiency diseases. It is my opinion then, that the consumption of meat is one of the primary causes of cancer and heart disease in human beings today. Fruits, vegetables, and other vegetarian friendly foods on the other hand not only fight, but can actually cure cancer and disease. Think about this, when was the last time you heard of someone going to the hospital because they ate too many organic fruits and vegetables? It is common knowledge that raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. contain a tremendous amount of micro nutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals) that are essential to maintaining a quality, healthful life.
"Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients; the very thing the body needs to live a long disease and pain free life. The same cannot be said for meat. Nutritionally, the alkaline-based digestive system of humans will not properly break down substantial acid substances of meat." - CelestialHealing.net
Eating meat to me is basically the same thing as drinking soda pop (which I also don't partake in). If you were to quit drinking water and drank only soda, you might survive for a little while, but you will pay for it later on down the road. Why risk it? Do yourself a favor and keep your diet natural! The more natural the food and drink, the better your health and life will be!

6. Eating meat changes you in many negative ways and on many different levels.

I'll let celestial healing do most of the talking here:
"The spiritually aspiring person attempts to work on his/her self. The purpose of spiritual growth is to move away from the animal nature into the more human nature that God intended for us to have. Meat eating inhibits this. The same science that attempts to ignore the existence of a force higher than man also proved that aggression levels are much higher in meat eaters than non-meat eaters! The animal instincts become more powerful every time you eat meat. Another spiritual aspect of being a meat eater is when one must question the necessity and method of killing animals. However, everyone has their own morals to which they must determine for themselves. It is not the purpose of my dissertation to force a specific moral behavior on anyone. Most spiritual people believe in auras. Kirilian photography shows us that a force field still remains around dead or amputated flesh. You adopt that animal aura when you eat it's dead flesh. Fruits and vegetables have a higher vibrational aura than animal products."
“You are what you eat”, is a slogan that I love to use to show the mental aspect of vegetarianism. When animals are slaughtered, fear and aggression enzymes are shot into their muscle tissue. They remain in the meat until the consumer ingests the flesh and adapts the same emotions. Fruits and vegetables do not have emotions; therefore, when they are picked they do not release any emotional cells prior to digestion. The enzymes within fruits and vegetables supply the body with sufficient nutrients that will always uphold a healthy state of mind."
You literally (not figuratively) become what you eat. Your nails, hair, skin, are all made from the broken down nutrients that you put into your body. Take a moment and consider these two questions:
  1. What is the quality of the fuel your body is currently running on?
  2. What can you do to improve that quality today?
7. Dead meat is chock full of bacteria - it poisons us.

After watching the film Food Inc., I came out of it with an entirely new perspective on what the meat industry does, and what the consumption of meat had been doing to my body. During the film, they show you how most animals who are raised to be slaughtered, essentially live in a pile of their own filth until they are killed. This bacteria that they stand in every day doesn't magically disappear once the animal is murdered... many times that bacteria will end up on your plate. That's not all! Check out this clip from Food Inc. that explains how e. coli gets transferred from the runoff of infected dead meat and winds up contaminating other common foods that we consume regularly.


To make matters worse:
"Meats are frozen for long periods of time. Some meats (especially poultry) are frozen [for] up to two years. Cold temperatures do not kill all species of bacteria. Worse than this, as it is shipped and stored, most frozen meat is thawed and refrozen many times. This is almost unavoidable. Meat eaters suffer more frequently from various types of food poisoning than vegetarians. Statistics show that every American has had food poisoning at least once. When you've felt ill, had diarrhea or were just a little sick to your stomach, no doubt you had not the slightest idea that you had been poisoned by scavengers living off the dead carcass you just ate." - CelestialHealing.net
Getting hungry yet? Think about that the next time you bite into that hamburger or steak!

Bottom Line

I have lived on both sides of this and I can say without a shred of doubt, that after everything I have learned about the dangers of eating meat, I am never going back. Being a vegetarian, I maintain a healthy weight and I feel healthier and more energetic than I have ever felt before. My spirit feels calm and peaceful, and my thoughts and my ability to focus have become sharper and more clear. I think celestial healing put it best,
"I love being a vegetarian and it shows. Because I wish the best for myself, it’s just second nature to want the best for others. From my past experience and research, going vegetarian is the best thing anyone can do for their mind, body and spirit."
Good luck and best wishes!

-Corey Barton

what you need to know before running a marathon

Brief History:

My first race ever was a 25k (15.5 Miles) in May of 2010. After completing that race, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would run my first full marathon. Five months later, that dream came true. I trained hard and studied everything I possibly could regarding what one should do before attempting to run their first marathon. And after sixteen weeks of training and studying, I still hit the wall at mile 22 and struggled to finish.

Below is a general outline explaining some of the major mistakes I made during that first race, along with some great advice on what you can do to avoid them. Enjoy!

Before you even begin training:

  • First and foremost, if you are like me and you sweat a lot, read this article on how to sweat proof your running workouts.

  • Before you even think about whether you should run a marathon or not, you must commit this nutrition information to memory! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Set yourself up for success by first taking the time to understand exactly what you are putting into your body and what it does for you.

  • Follow Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Guide to the letter! If this is your first marathon, the sixteen week training plan will probably be a little intimidating at first glance, and that's okay! Just take a deep breath, choose which training program you feel is right for you, and print it out. When the day finally comes to get started, do not fuss about week 5 or week 10, just focus on Day 1! If you take it one day at a time, before you know it you'll be race day ready and raring to go!

  • You'd be doing yourself a huge disservice if you embark on your first marathon training program without first reading and understanding the three basic long run principles. These three principles are going to help you get through your weekend long runs.

  • Last but not least, you are far better off learning how to avoid hitting the dreaded "wall" now rather than later. I guarantee that if you go into your training with this information in mind, you will not only finish the marathon without hitting the wall, you'll also avoid hitting it during your long training runs.

During your training weeks:

  • You should already be learning this anyway, but especially during your training weeks you need to educate yourself on how to stay properly nourished! Do yourself a favor and read this article from http://www.runnersworld.comThe Best Foods For Runners. It's got a lot of great tips regarding what runners ought to be buying when they go to the grocery store, along with several yummy dinner recipes that will help fill you up and keep you fit and healthy!

  • As your runs get progressively longer, you might benefit from creating your own "running mantra" that you can repeat to yourself whenever the going gets tough. When you think strong words and repeat inspiring phrases, you run better!

  • It will benefit you to get into the habit of completing your runs as early as possible. Trust me, you will feel much better waking up a little earlier and having your runs behind you. There are far fewer obstacles and obligations standing in your way early in the morning than there are right when you get out of work in the afternoon. So think like Nike and Just Do It!

  • Don't get into the habit of doing this; but if you happen to have one or two days where you seriously just do not feel like running, it's okay! No, that does not mean you get to take the day off and sit on your butt all day. What it means is that instead of running, maybe you go for a nice long walk or bike ride with a friend or spouse. The key here is to keep your body moving. Whenever you don't feel like running - cross train!

24 hours before race day:

  • Just like we learned before we got into this crazy mess, in order to keep from hitting the wall on race day, you have to consume A LOT of carbohydrates the day before the race. The best tool that I have found to help you calculate how many grams you ought to consume can be found right here: running endurance calculator. - I credit this tool for getting me through every marathon I have run (since my very first) without ever "hitting the wall" or having to stop once.

  • This one is quick and easy: read this article to learn how to adequately fuel your body for peak marathon performance prior to race day.

  • Have your running outfit laid out and ready to go before you go to bed! (and get to bed early!)

Morning of race day:

  • Important: wake up three hours prior to the start of the race.

  • The morning of race day, it is always best to eat something light. You want to avoid eating anything that might upset your stomach (spicy foods, dairy, etc.) What always works best for me is a banana and two packages of apple cinnamon oatmeal.

  • Go to the bathroom as much as you can before the race begins! Trust me, you'll want to be completely empty before that gun goes off.

  • For those of you who have a tendency to sweat a lot, try adding a few shakes of iodized salt to a full 32oz. bottle of Gatorade® and drink the entire thing about 45 minutes before the race begins.

  • Remember that regardless of how much you sweat, always take your first energy gel 45 minutes before the gun goes off.

  • Life Saver Tip #1: If you want to avoid chafing, apply Body Glide to: your inner thighs, lower back, and everywhere you might chafe after running 26.2 miles!
  • Life Saver Tip #2: I believe this is important for everyone, but especially for you guys out there - listen up! If you want to get through this thing and still have your nipples in tact, I highly recommend you invest the $2.99 on a box of these bad boys.

You'll thank me later...

  • Finally, do not make the rookie mistake of going out too fast. I promise, you will finish faster if you start slow and build up to your average pace. Remember: Slow and Steady Finishes The Race!

During the race:

  • Utilize (read: drink) at every aid station, even if you don't think you're thirsty. Remember that you are running 26.2 miles here and dehydration is one of the most common reasons people fail to finish.

  • Remember that to avoid hitting the wall, you need to consume an energy gel or a sports drink every 45 minutes.

  • Thank and praise the volunteers! They are out there to help you achieve your goal - and they are doing it for free!

  • IMPORTANT! Read every sign you can get your eyes on. This will be especially helpful in those last 6.2 miles when you start to question your sanity. I'll never forget during my first marathon when I was struggling at mile 23, a little boy had made this sign that said, "The reason your feet are hurting is because you are kicking so much butt!!" Not only did that little boy bring tears to me eyes, he gave me the inspiration and encouragement I needed to kick the crap out of those last 3.2 miles! Feed off spectators, they are there to help you!

My last bit of advice is really simple: enjoy every stinkin' minute of this thing! You worked your ass off to get to that starting line. No matter what anybody else says, you're an athlete now. And once you cross that finish line, your life is going to change forever!

-Corey Barton

you repeat the lesson until you learn it

By the time I first entered the doors of high school, I had grown into a rather bulky young man. When my freshmen year came to a close, so too went the days of easy gym class. Upon entering the 10th grade, I was forced to choose between taking either a weight training class or aerobics for my physical education credit - I chose weight training.

That first day was a real challenge. To get us warmed up, our teacher had us run an "easy" mile around the indoor track. Suffice it to say, I was the last person in my entire class to finish. That one mile took me over 15 minutes to complete - and that was only the warm up! By the end of class, I was dripping with sweat and wreaked to high heaven.

As hard as that first day was, there was something magical about that class. It fundamentally changed my attitude towards exercise, and that attitude is still with me to this day.

Thanks to that class, I went from about 250lbs to 200lbs in only one semester! I was also running our daily "warm up" mile in 6 minutes 30 seconds. Better yet, I was finally light enough and strong enough to complete my very first pull up - ever!

I was on top of the world, but unfortunately that routine did not last long.

After only being out of school for one year, my weight was already back up to 250lbs. By the time I was 20, my weight had ballooned to over 300lbs. I knew I was in serious trouble, but I honestly did not have a clue what I was supposed to do about it.

You see, psychologically, when you go from being a somewhat "normal" weight to becoming morbidly obese in less than two years, your perception of self becomes unbelievably distorted.

I remember looking at myself in the mirror, and from the neck down I saw absolutely nothing; somehow I had conditioned my mind to believe that as long as my face looked thin, the rest of my body must look thin as well.

I was sorely mistaken...

In case you couldn't tell, I'm the big dude on the right.

It was years before I finally mustered up enough courage to step on a scale and actually weigh myself. When I saw the numbers, I could not believe my eyes. To help me feel better, I would tell myself that the scale must be broken. But it wasn't the scale that was broken, it was me.

I was so convinced that in spite of my sedentary lifestyle, I was still the the same person I was in high school. I was in a state of complete denial, and there was not a single thing anyone could do or say to convince me that I had a problem.

Every now and again I would get inspired by something or someone, and that usually lead to me joining a gym or going for a jog around the block; but the inspiration faded just as quickly as it arrived.

After many failed attempts at losing weight through "popular" weight loss programs, I decided that enough was enough; it was time to go back to square one. The answer was always there, sitting in the back of my mind waiting to be dug up. I remember thinking, "could it really be that simple?" I mean, if I had successfully lost weight in high school through regular exercise and running, would committing to an hour of weight training and running every day possibly work for me again?

And the answer folks, is yes.

 Myself circa January, 2012.

One of the best pieces of knowledge I took away from my entire weight loss experience, was that if you want something to last a life-time, you have to make it a life-long habit. There are no short cuts; no magic pills that will help you achieve your goals.

I also learned that before you can completely change your life for the better, you have to be willing to honestly evaluate, and if necessary, replace or remove all of the people, places, things, actions and ideas that are causing you trouble in your life.

Who you are today is merely a residual image of your past life experiences. In my life, I had created a horribly destructive pattern that was easy to diagnose, but difficult to dismantle. The majority of the people, places, things actions and ideas that were making up my life were incredibly negative and toxic.

My weight, home life, family life, person health, love life, financial life, friendships, career and religious beliefs were all in ruin. When I finally took a step back and honestly evaluated my situation, it had become painfully clear that my life was out of balance. The solution? I had to change everything and everyone around me.

It wasn't easy. I had to burn a lot of (bad) bridges that were getting in my way. I had to end relationships with some of my former (so-called) friends. I also had to end my relationship with a former girlfriend of six years. I knew going into it that removing them from my life was going to be difficult, but I had to keep my eye on what truly mattered most - putting my life back together the way I wanted it to be.

This wasn't the kind of situation where I went to sleep, and when I awoke the next morning a better life was waiting on my doorstep. This was simply the first step in what I knew was going to be a very long process of removing the bad in my life and replacing it with good. After all was said and done, it took me two solid years of working hard every single day before I finally turned my life around.

In those two years, I went from:

  • Horrible girlfriend to incredible wife!
  • 330 lbs to 230 lbs.
  • Financial ruin to financial freedom.
  • Smoker to non-smoker.
  • Toxic relationships to healthy relationships.
  • Hating myself to loving myself.
  • Living for other people to living for myself.

Now, I do not know what your situation is, or where you might be hurting in your life. All I can tell you for sure is that in my experience, holding on to what does not make you happy and does not bring you joy, will only hurt you in the long run.

As hard as it may seem, you are going to have to face your fears and deal with these issues. If your relationships have become stagnant and you are unhappy with certain people in your life, you need to ask yourself, "Is this relationship a benefit or a hindrance to my life?" You have to be honest with yourself and learn to trust your instincts. For far too long I held on to relationships because I foolishly believed that "some day" the person would eventually come around, grow up, or change. Unfortunately for most people, "some day" never arrives.

You have to understand that you cannot control other people, no matter how hard you try. All you can control are the people, places, ideas, experiences and actions that you allow into your life.

Regardless of the situation: if it is hurting you, holding you back, or bringing you down to a level where you don't want to be, then it's time to let that person, place, thing, experience or idea go.

The way I see it, life is a series of tests. And unlike school, in life we are forced to take the test first and then we learn the lesson that was being taught. If we fail to learn it, life doesn't flunk us - we just keep repeating the test over and over again until we finally get it right.

Life is short... you better start learning.

keep it simple stupid

I have come across some people recently that were so brainwashed and so dependent on the opinions and acceptance of others, that they had completely forgotten what it's like to think for themselves.

After Interacting with such people, I feel that it is important that I clarify for you now the distinctions between what is popularly true in our culture, and what is actually true.

To start off, I get that a lot of people think it's weird that I believe in such "radical" ideas as self health care and living healthy; and I am perfectly fine with that. The last thing I want to be in this messed up culture of ours is "normal". Normal is broke, overweight, apathetic and blind to the truth.

I do not want to be normal, I want to be weird.

Truth be told though, five years ago even I would have thought that the me of today was absolutely nuts.

I mean, who in their right mind: runs forty miles a week, doesn't eat meat, doesn't have or want traditional health care coverage, thinks most doctors are misinformed, doesn't believe in credit cards and other forms of debt, and lives significantly below their means?

The difference between the me from back then and the me of today is simple: I learned how to open my mind to the possibility that everyone and everything that I once believed to be right, could be, and most likely was, wrong.

This concept did not come easily to me. You see, as human beings we have all been conditioned to believe that we must: fall in line, follow the rules, blend in, not make mistakes, stay out of trouble, respect our elders, and do what we are told.

Throughout my years in High School, I was never fond of the idea that I had to follow the rules and respect authority without just cause. For the longest time I felt like the odd man out because I refused to follow the pack. My fellow classmates thought I was a troublemaker and my teachers thought I deserved to be punished. Regardless of what everybody else thought, I followed my heart.

Following your heart isn't always easy, but in my experience it is truly the only way to live and still have any respect for yourself at the end of the day.

My freshman year I held strong to my beliefs, convictions and objections to the way things were getting done. By the time I graduated, I had grown so apathetic toward life that I just did not care anymore.

And like the old saying goes, "You reap what you sow."

Boy oh boy did I sow a sorry excuse of a life for myself. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, then you know how much I have changed over the past three years. A lot of people ask me, "What's your secret?" Up until this point I have given a variety of different responses and theories. Then in the midst of writing my book yesterday it finally came to me...

I kept it simple!

If you think about any problem you might be having, regardless of size or severity, the reason it became a problem in the first place is because of your inherent need to over-complicate everything in your life.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you are living your life based on the beliefs, recommendations, and research done by people other than yourself? Why not start taking care of yourself and figure things out on your own before you buy into what everybody else tells you is right? You can have all the research in the world to help you back up a theory or a concept, but until you can say that you made the effort to try it out yourself, it's all worthless.

We blindly listen to people and companies that we trust, and accept that what they tell us is fact without ever considering the possibility that they might actually be wrong. More importantly, we fail to experiment and decide for ourselves if what they say is actually congruent with who we are and what we care about.

Have you ever actually stopped for a second and thought about how inaccurate a popular set of beliefs can be?

  • Does the milk from another mammal really do a human body good?
  • Who can you trust more, yourself or your doctor? Why?
  • Are pills really the cure to our ills?
  • Are new cars and houses really a great investment?
  • Should I really trust that the government will take care of me when I retire?

I know how earth-shattering it can be when someone with more life experience than you comes along and rocks your world by questioning your particular belief system.

Once I finally awoke from my apathetic slumber, I was suddenly faced with having to process what was going on in my world. Instead of escaping it or hiding behind the opinions of others, I taught myself how to question my own beliefs again. If it didn't make sense to me, I accepted the fact that my belief system was inaccurate and I changed it.

The reason I bring this up to you is because this is the kind of thing that I encounter on a daily basis, and somebody needs to point to the elephant in the room before real change can occur.

Just the other day while I was at the gym, I overheard some guys complaining about how much milk they were told they had to consume in order to "beef up". Then they complained how they weren't achieving the results that someone had told them they should expect from their rigorous daily workouts. Then they went on to complain about how much of a chore it was to eat all the calories a certain person had told them they had to consume each day in order to build muscle.

I could not help but shake my head and laugh.

These otherwise rational and intelligent men had completely missed the point. They were doing what other people were telling them they ought to do; and when they didn't achieve the desired result, did they think to change anything? No. They kept doing what they were told they should do and then complained how it wasn't working.

What answers might they have come up with if they actually started questioning this persons methods and began thinking and trying things out for themselves?

  • Does it really make sense to drink the milk of other mammals? - No, it does not. We are human beings, they are cows.
  • If I am doing everything I was told to do correctly and I am not getting the results I am looking for, should I just keep doing what I've been doing and expect change? - No, that is the definition of insanity. You are either doing the exercise incorrectly, or the person who told you how to do it that way was misinformed to begin with and/or did not tell you the whole truth.
  • If I do not enjoy eating this many calories, should I just keep doing it anyway? - No, if it does not make you happy or bring you joy, stop doing it and find a better way of achieving the desired outcome.

Human psychology astonishes me. Perhaps it is because I have been on both sides of the fence and can actually say with a great deal of certainty that the grass is truly greener here.

Thinking outside of the box has become a preferred way of life for me. Now I look at every problem in my life as an opportunity to grow. Because of that, I now have the ability to help myself (and others) solve a variety of life problems that others would say are impossible to solve.

Some of the best advice I can give to any of you is to learn how to take a step back from every situation and have the courage to question popular belief. Don't just buy into what everybody else tells you; including me!

If you are hooked on smoking for instance, ask yourself questions that will help you see the problem from a different point of view. Questions like, "Is this helping me become the person I want to be?" "Is it worth jeopardizing my finances and my health to continue a habit that provides absolutely no benefit to me in my life?"

With enough self-conditioning, your way of thinking will change and you will feel empowered to keep asking yourself even more questions!

Here are a few questions that I ask myself on a fairly regular basis:

  • "Is this really the fastest way to get to where I need to go?" - I take pleasure in finding new and more efficient ways to get from place to place.
  • "What kind of nourishment will this food provide to my body?" - If I can't prove to myself that what I am about to eat will provide my body with enough nourishment per calorie consumed, I (usually) don't eat it.
  • "Is consuming dead rotting flesh and drinking the milk from other animals outside of the human race going to be beneficial, or harmful to our overall health?" - Asking ourselves this question ultimately lead to my wife and I becoming vegetarians.
  • "Is what I'm doing with my life really making me happy?" - If the answer to this question is no for too many weeks in a row, I will stop what I was doing and do something that make me happy instead.
  • "Does this person make me feel good, or bad about myself?" - If the answer is bad, I typically will not hold on to that person in my life much longer.
  • "Is this a want, or a need?" - The answer is usually a want.

The more questions I ask, the more answers I get. The more specific the questions, the more specific the answers, until eventually I have come up with a whole new set of beliefs that I set in place to help me live a better life.

Instead of believing the nay-sayers who tell you that you can't do something, talk to someone who has already done what you are trying to do and learn how they did it! Then apply what you have learned to your own life until you too achieve what others said could not be done.

This reminds me of a scene from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith.

In the film, Will Smith (Chris Gardner) has a moment where he tells his son (Christopher) that he shouldn't waste his time dreaming about becoming a professional basketball player. When his son throws the ball down in anger and walks away, Chris has a profound realization...

Chris Gardner: Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right?
Christopher: All right.
Chris Gardner: You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period

By changing my way of thinking, and learning from people who challenged popular belief systems and actually succeeded, it has truly changed my life for the better. If everybody could learn to be more open minded and accepting of new ideas and new ways of thinking, I truly believe the world would be a much happier, healthier place to live.

Be brave enough to question popular beliefs, and have the courage to experiment with new ways of living. Trust your heart kid... and you'll never go wrong.

~ Corey Barton

healthy weight but still fat?

What a lot of people do not realize these days, is that being thin and looking good in your clothes gets you nowhere in life if you do not have the fitness to back that ass up.

Let me explain...

There are (approximately) four types of people in this world:
  1. People who are visibly fat.
  2. People who are visibly athletic, fit and trim.
  3. People who are visibly average-looking and fit.
  4. People who are visibly average-looking, yet surprisingly out of shape and over fat.
Unfortunately, with popular culture being what it is, many young adults today fall into the fourth category. The pressure to look good in their clothes has convinced a lot of people that being thin enough to fit into a pair of skinny jeans is all it takes to make it in this world.

This short-sighted way of thinking has been around for decades, and has created a terrible pattern that I believe needs to change -- before it's too late!

These people can not comprehend how they could possibly be at a proper body weight and still be over fat. The truth is, we have become so obsessed with personal vanity in this culture that we have completely neglected our own health. Now we have people in their late teens and early twenties who are paying for their mistakes with sudden heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of heart disease. 

We have allowed thinness to become more important to us than our fitness

How did this happen?!

Well, according to the website Health For Life.com:
"Our modern life-styles are the reason for this modern day epidemic of heart disease. Too much animal food (meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods), too many refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour, white rice), too much oil (Omega 6 dominant), stress, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, obesity, inactivity and genetics, all are contributory factors. Having said that, the last factor, genetics, is the least important, believe it or not. Dr. Lamont Murdoch from the World Health Organization has stated: “Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger!”
It has been proven now scientifically, that heart disease is not only preventable, it is reversible!
"Forty years ago it was believed that heart disease was irreversible. Blocked arteries were (and still are) treated with drugs & surgery. Nathan Pritikin changed all that in the 1970′s. He reversed his own blocked arteries -- inoperable at the time -- with diet alone, no drugs or surgery. Other medical doctors have conclusively proven that most arterial heart disease is preventable and reversible if correct dietary principles are followed."
So now that you have all the information, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you and your family?

I recommend that everybody should, at least once every year, get their body fat percentages measured by a personal trainer, nutritionist or dietician. You can find one at almost every gym and health club in the country. If you are a member, there is a chance they might administer the test free of charge. If they do charge a fee, it most likely will be small. If you are strapped for cash or do not have access to a fitness center, you can use websites like these to measure yourself at home and get an estimate of what your body fat percentage is.

Below is a chart that compares body fat percentages between men and women and explains what they mean in relation to your current lifestyle.

Body Fat Percentage Categories

Classification  Women (% fat)Men (% fat)
Essential Fat  10-12%2-4%
Athletes  14-20%6-13%
Fitness  21-24%14-17%
Acceptable  25-31%18-25%
Obese  32%+25%+
Once you have figured out your body fat percentage, my advice would be to immediately evaluate and reassess your current exercise regimen, then figure out how to incorporate as much cardio and strength training into it as you can. The idea here is to focus your effort on not necessarily achieving an ideal "weight", but rather achieving an optimal balance between body fat and body weight.

The cardio will help increase your overall heart capacity, while the weight training will help build up excess muscle mass -- which is the very material that helps our bodies burn fat calories morning, noon and night! 

This last bit of advice comes from Dr. John Berardi and his work at Precision Nutrition. 
I swear by these habits and can vouch for their effectiveness.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs 
  1. Eat every 2-3 hours – this gives you a steady stream of nutrients throughout the day without over feeding.
  2. Include a lean source of complete protein every time you eat – it is easier to meet daily protein requirements for health (not to mention active adults trying to change their body composition) if you spread it out throughout the day.
  3. Eat fruit and/or vegetables with each feeding opportunity – this is the big empty spot in a typical North American diet.
  4. Include 'healthy' fats back into our diets – these would include oils from, mixed nuts, avocados, fish oils, flax seed, and omega-3's.
  5. Eat carbohydrates (those that aren't a fruit or vegetable) when you deserve them – this means your pasta, breads, rice, and potatoes should be eaten the meals following your intense workout. This is when your body is best equipped to utilize carbohydrates for promoting health.
  6. Zero calorie beverages like water and green tea – to make things simple: it is best we eat our calories rather than drink them.
  7. Eat whole foods whenever possible – this is referring to pre-packaged chemically preserved foods versus the fresh organic stuff; and real food vs. astronaut food (e.g. protein shakes, smoothies, bars, meal- replacement drinks etc…)
Now you have all the tools you need in order to win; take advantage of what you've just learned and do not delay! Remember that to truly succeed, you must first remove any false beliefs you have built up in your mind. Every day tell yourself that "I can" instead of "I can't".

If you take nothing else away from this article, then please remember this: will power alone will not be enough. You have to program your mind into believing that you are better off with these habits than without them.

Once you learn how to apply them to your own life, your body fat and body weight will balance out  naturally. All you have to do is take the first step...