The One Percent Change

one-percent-1Our life is like a heavy ocean liner; think the Titanic. We set a course quite early in our life and sail on it. Just as it was difficult to change the course of the Titanic quickly, so it is difficult to change the course of our life. If we are to avoid the proverbial iceberg in our life, we need to adjust our course early; the sooner the better.

The proverbial, unavoidable iceberg in our life is disease and aging. It is out there in front of us and mostly unknown. Will we age well? Will we avoid the big C? Diabetes? Heart disease? Alzheimer’s? Parkinson’s? The icebergs lurking in the water are many. We know they are out there. Some are lurking in our system due to genetic traits; some due to environmental factors.

In order to miss these icebergs, we need to make changes to the course of our life, but it is hard to do. It takes time to change course. This is where the 1% change comes into play.

A 1% change to the direction of a ship will not move it much off course at the beginning, but a few kilometres after the change is initiated, the ship will be at a substantially different place than it would have been if the change had not been made.

If we strive to make long-term and meaningful changes to our life, it is helpful to think in terms of 1% changes.

A simple example may be alcohol consumption. Most people enjoy a drink from time to time; some more than others. Reducing alcoholic consumption to zero is a huge change, but cutting one drink, or choosing to have one alcohol-free day, is a relatively small change that in the long-term will have a big effect.

Another good example  is the money saved by buying one less specialty coffee a day. An average latte or similar specialty drink at Starbucks or any other of the many coffee shops around, is about $4. This is not a big amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but 2 drinks a day, every day adds up to almost $3,000 a year. A small, “1 percent”, change of skipping one drink, twice a week would lead to a savings of over $400 over the year.

For sedentary people, becoming more active may seem like a huge change. Adding a small amount of activity, perhaps one exercise class a week, may lead to a huge change to the course of one’s life. Adding exercise to our life is one of the most significant changes one can make to affect the course of life. The quality of one’s diet and eliminating smoking are the other two most significant factors.

If you think your life needs a change of course, don’t think of making huge changes. Make small, 1 percent adjustments. Over time, these will significantly change where you end up.

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The One Percent Change

Exercise — Better Than Medicine

better-than-medicineWe have all heard it too many times: exercise is good for you, get out and move, etc. We often get tired just from hearing all this. However, please, don’t ignore this advice. Several recent medical papers have shown a significant, provable link between exercise and longevity.

The April 2016 journal of the BC Medical Association describes research conducted at the University of British Columbia showing that increased fitness lowers the incidence of cardiovascular mortality (heart-attacks), reduces high-blood pressure, incidence of diabetes, stroke and even cancer.

Coincidentally, the March 2016 CMAJ and April 2016 CMAJ (journal of the Canadian Medical Association) published an article stating that prescribing exercise results in similar outcomes in the treatment of many chronic conditions as does prescribing medication. The article states that prescribing exercise for the treatment of non-life threatening conditions such as back pain, type-2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions is often even better than prescribing pharmaceuticals.

The American Cancer Society states in their guidelines that second only to avoiding tobacco, the most important factors for reducing cancer risk are weight control, dietary choices and level of physical activity.

If you exercise regularly, you KNOW the value of exercise. But know this, the biggest health benefit from exercise is gained by adding some exercise to people who do not exercise. The biggest gift you can give your sedentary friend is help them find a fun exercise that they may enjoy doing. You will literally will be adding years to their life!

Exercise — Better Than Medicine

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. PART 2 – FOOD.


Challenge – Eating Vegetables vs Me….
(Or: It is time to come to terms with my grudge against vegetables.)

confessionals_02I loathe vegetables.

I have been at war with them for as long as I can remember.  My mother can tell you about nights where I sat alone at a dark dinner table for hours, stubbornly staring down at cold cauliflower and broccoli on my plate.  When it comes to vegetables, I modelled myself after Jane Austen’s character, Elizabeth Bennet “An obstinate, headstrong girl.”

As an adult I’ve decided it’s time to change my mindset and approach to help me actually grow a desire & love for veggies. A victory would be avoiding a frown while chewing on broccoli and sucking back water to wash it all down… you know… the look a 5 year old makes while eating brussels sprouts.

So I call to arms beginner veggie eaters like me to unite & take this one step at a time.

Step 1 – Groceries

Pick a veggie.  Only one. Carrots. Red peppers. Broccoli… Educate yourself about it, learn the nutritional values and Google search recipes. Start to understand how your veggie can be prepared with foods you enjoy.  If we don’t understand something, we (humans) have a tendency to avoid it. Food for thought — Have you eaten vegetables at a restaurant and enjoyed it? Probably. How was it prepared?

Step 2 – Recruit your foodie friend.

Grab a friend who loves to cook and enjoys vegetables (Vegans and Vegetarians are great resources for this).  Let them know about your one veggie challenge and quiz them about how they prepare it.  What are quick ways to prepare this item?  Is it better raw or baked?  What should you avoid?  Over boiled broccoli is terrible.  Let’s win at just cooking it properly first.

Step 3 –  “Experience: That most brutal of teachers.  But you learn.” – C.S. Lewis

When you are working with food, the only way to learn is trial by fire (or marinating, or steaming). Once you’re set with recipes, it is time to do some cooking. Set aside an evening, purchase multiples of your choice veggie and get cooking. Focus on using your vegetable in a few different ways. Can it be prepared as a pickle? Is it best roasted? How does it taste from the BBQ?  Made into a soup?  

Cooking can be creative, so try to keep your testing low-risk and fun while you experiment.  If your recipe is terrible then try another… but make sure you re-read the old one to make sure you correctly followed the instructions.

Bonus Step – Purchase in season produce.

In season and local produce can taste a lot better than out-of-season and tends to be less expensive. This can help keep costs down as you experiment.

A fellow kettlebell-ist, Ayden and I were chatting about food preparation where he drove a concept home for me.  “Making time to prepare food at home is much more satisfying.  When you put the work in you can make a healthier, more colourful and tasty meal on your plate. It is just so satisfying.”

Well Team.  I’ve picked red pepper for this first round, I’ll report and show you how it goes in about a week.

What’s your veggie of choice?  How do you prepare it?  Hit me with your pictures and ideas!

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. PART 2 – FOOD.

Member Story #1: Getting here has and will take lots of patience, perseverance and support

(Otherwise known as “They gave me a soapbox to stand on.  Hear me out on this long read.”)

Marcia
“My first 6kg kettlebell turned into 8kg, then 12kg, then 16kg. Five years later I’m eyeballing the 20kg!”

 

Once upon a time in a galaxy not so far, far away.  I broke myself, I broke myself right proper.

Please let me set the scene for you.

Have you ever been to a rock concert at an arena or an outdoor music festival? See all those stages/lights/sound/video gear in the ceiling? I used to be the stagehand technician (roadie) that would work and run crews to set all that gear up. From the back of semi trailers to building the show, a nap under the stage during sound check (if you were lucky), work the show, then take everything down and put it back in the truck. A very physically demanding job that I did with a smile and much enjoyment.

In 2006 at 24 years of age I damaged my back from a bad lift while working at a local arts festival. The morning after the bad lift, I awoke to the inability to physically move. Any attempt to move from my horizontal state sent sharp, electric pings through my body. (Have you ever had lower back pain that when you’re about to sneeze, you brace yourself against a chair because this sneeze is going to send huge shocks through your body? Extremely uncomfortable.) Continue reading “Member Story #1: Getting here has and will take lots of patience, perseverance and support”

Member Story #1: Getting here has and will take lots of patience, perseverance and support