This Week in Health & Fitness: 2017’s Big Food Trend Is…

This Week in Health & Fitness: 2017’s Big Food Trend Is…

Welcome to the first edition of “This Week in Health & Fitness.” Every other week, the Under Armour Connected Fitness team will hand-curate the biggest stories, trends and goings-on around the world that will help you on your quest to live a healthy lifestyle. Let’s jump right in!

Fearless Foodie Forecast

It’s that time of year when multiple outlets look for the latest on what will be in fashion on your plate in the new year. Whole Foods rounded up some, well, interesting predictions. Ever heard of aquafaba? It’s the liquid left over when you cook chickpeas. Mmmm. Some of the others, like spiralized veggie noodles, are ingredients MyFitnessPal users already know well.

That’s So Trendy

How often are these trends actually right on? The New York Times took a look at some predictions from the past few years. To wit, it’s official: Kale is dead (as our writer so well documented). So what’s on tap? Filipino food, for one. That delectable dish pictured above is mung bean soup, which you can make with this recipe.

The Fit Year Ahead

OK, so what about fitness trends? Health magazine has a list of 20 for 2017. Spoiler alert: If you’re already aboard the HIIT train or immersing yourself in wearable tech, you’re ahead of the game. If not, check out our four-week HIIT plan for beginners, and consider the UA Band to track your heart rate, steps and sleep.

Now and Zen

Over in the wellness category, MindBodyGreen has 11 trends to watch to help your state of mind, including DNA-optimized meals, fashion minimalism and “sober” events.

Across the Pond

Curious to see what they’re predicting in Europe? Check out the trends forecast in the U.K. by The Telegraph.

Are You Tough Enough?

Do you feel the need to keep challenging yourself in fitness classes? The Wall Street Journal has this item on boutique gyms that are upping the ante on their members with some of the toughest classes around.

Thanks, I’d Rather Chill

On the opposite side of the coin, Vogue has this piece on LISS — or low-intensity steady state — which is sort of the anti-HIIT. In other words, taking it easy might be a better weight-loss strategy.


Senior Moment

Here’s a wild one, also from The New York Times, on an 85-year-old who is shattering records for marathon finishes and defying all the conventional wisdom on aging and what humans can accomplish in their senior years.

The Best News You’ll Hear All Year

Dessert will ruin your weight-loss plan, right? Wrong! Wait, what? Greatist says sweets can actually help you — as long as you do it right. Dig in.

No Wait, It Gets Better

We’ll leave you with this one. New evidence shows that Taco Bell — that’s right, home of the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch — is perhaps the healthiest fast-food chain around. Our eyes are starting to wander toward that Taco Bell Cantina just blocks from UACF’s San Francisco office…

Original Post on

Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success | MyKCM

So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ really should take place before you start your home search process.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made, with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

2 Myths That May Be Holding Back Buyers

2 Myths That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

Fannie Mae’s article, “What Consumers (Don’t) Know About Mortgage Qualification Criteria, revealed that “only 5 to 16 percent of respondents know the correct ranges for key mortgage qualification criteria.

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but many programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

2 Myths That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy”

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.7% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

2 Myths That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

Ingredient of the Week: 11 Ways Bananas Can Sweeten Up Your Breakfast

Ingredient of the Week: 11 Ways Bananas Can Sweeten Up Your Breakfast
There’s a reason bananas were the top-logged fruit among the entire 190 million strong Under Armour Connected Fitness community in 2016: They’re nutritious, versatile and easy. They can help keep your heart healthy and reduce muscle cramps because they are high in potassium. They also make for a healthy, satisfying snack because they’re rich in fiber, carbohydrates and antioxidants. Compared to other fruits, bananas are highly portable and affordable, and they’re a great start to your day. That’s why they’re our Ingredient of the Week.


With only five ingredients required, this no-fuss recipe is designed to be an uncomplicated, delicious pre-workout snack. Each sweet, nutty bar is packed with wholesome carbs, healthy fats and protein. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 energy bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 94mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 7g


These vegan muffins are lightly sweetened and deliver some heart-healthy omega-3 fats from the ground flaxseeds and walnuts. (Plus they sneak in a veggie while still tasting delicious.) These mini muffins are great to have on hand for a quick breakfast or snack. Pair with a banana and a cup of yogurt for a filling breakfast. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 muffin each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 174; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 108mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 4g


Four ingredients, one bowl, five minutes. That’s all you need to make these soft and fudgy banana-bread blondies! You don’t have to turn on the oven — plus, these tasty treats are gluten-free, Paleo-friendly and vegan. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 blondie each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 156; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 56mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 3g


Craving French toast, but don’t want all the calories that usually come along with it? Our baked banana French toast saves you calories and adds nutrition without compromising the traditional flavors you crave. We use simple swaps such as baking instead of frying and whole-grain bread instead of white. Give this dish a personal flair by adding your favorite toppings. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 (3 1/2-inch) square (165 grams) each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 229; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 125mg; Sodium: 197mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 18g; Protein: 11g


Need a healthy, delicious on-the-go breakfast or a healthy snack to curb your hunger before dinner? Try these one-bowl banana nut muffins. Filled with crunchy walnuts and and fragrant spices, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Recipe makes 11 servings at 1 large muffin each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 250; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 17mg; Sodium: 233mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 4g


Craving something sweet and crunchy? Make this black-and-white banana granola. Flavored with chocolate and vanilla, this two-toned treat packs a healthy dose of fiber and protein without an overload of sugar. Serve these clusters for breakfast with fruit and yogurt or with recipe number 10 for a sweet treat. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1/4 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 178; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 157mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 5g


Treat yourself any morning with banana-oat waffles. They’re light and crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. These clean-eating waffles will satisfy your cravings while keeping you on track with your nutrition goals. Top your waffles with fresh berries or crushed nuts for an extra nutritious boost to kick-start your day. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 large waffle each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 232; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 93mg; Sodium: 82mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 10g


This lightly sweetened granola bar takes banana bread to a new, portable level. These simple bars are made from chewy rolled oats and ground flax and lightly sweetened with ripe bananas, honey and dates. They’re also gluten-free. These make a great post-workout snack. Recipe makes 10 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 130; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 120mg; Carbohydrate: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 3g


This banana “yogurt” is made with deliciously simple whole-food ingredients, and it’s dairy-free! Creamy cashews, fiber-rich ground chia and ripe banana blend together to create a thick, yogurt-like dish that’s creamy and naturally sweet. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 152; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 45mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 5g


The easiest way to save your ripe bananas is to peel them and freeze in a zip-top bag, so you can save them for recipes like this one.This ice cream has just one ingredient, and we think you’ll go bananas over it! Recipe makes 2 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 61; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 1g


The most popular quick bread in the book, banana bread is a classic comfort food. Make this fluffy, moist loaf on Sunday, and enjoy it for breakfast or snacks throughout the week. Recipe makes 8 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 47mg; Sodium: 322mg; Carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 22g; Protein: 4g

What to Expect From Your Home Inspection

What to Expect From Your Home Inspection | MyKCM

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

  1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
  2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases.
  3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
  4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that there is continued training and education provided.
  5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection, that way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

Bottom Line

They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

Dealing with Hunger and Food Cravings

Eat Better and Manage Your Weight without Deprivation
  — By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian
There’s more to healthy eating and weight loss than simply tracking your food. How you think about food and respond to hunger, eating cues, and cravings also affect your diet and overall health.

As babies, we ate intuitively: We fussed when we were hungry and stopped eating when we were full. As we grew older, the world around us began influencing what, when and how much we chose to eat. After years of advertising, imposed meal times, cafeteria offerings, holiday meals, grandma’s comfort foods, and yo-yo diets, many of us have completely lost touch with our real hunger and satiety signals. We confuse cravings with hunger and end up overeating—or emotionally eating—as a result.

But hunger and cravings are very different, and by learning to distinguish the two, you can be more satisfied with your meals and reduce your calories without feeling the urge to continue eating. Here’s what you need to know to get back to your intuitive eating roots and manage your weight.

Hunger: Your Need for Food
By definition, hunger is “the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food.” Simply put, hunger is a signal from your body that it needs food for energy. When you’re truly hungry, your stomach, brain, or both will give you cues to tell you to eat. Signals from your stomach may be growling, an empty, hollow feeling, or hunger pangs. Your brain may send signals such as a headache, trouble concentrating, irritability or fogginess. Some people even experience physical fatigue when they are hungry. Hunger does not go away over time—it only gets worse. And any food will satisfy your hunger and take the hunger signals away. <pagebreak>

If you’ve fallen into the habit of ignoring hunger cues (eating when the clock says it’s “lunch time” or eating when you are not even hungry), tune back in to your body. Keep a journal to track your hunger and satiety before and after eating. (You can also use the Nutrition Notes section on your Nutrition Tracker to record these sensations.) When assessing your hunger level, use the following scale to rank how your body feels in terms of hunger or fullness (also called satiety).

Hunger Level Sensations and Symptoms
1 Starving, weak, dizzy
2 Very hungry, cranky, low energy, a lot of stomach growling
3 Pretty hungry, stomach is growling a little
4 Starting to feel a little hungry
5 Satisfied, neither hungry nor full
6 A little full, pleasantly full
7 A little uncomfortable
8 Feeling stuffed
9 Very uncomfortable, stomach hurts
10 So full you feel sick

Once you begin paying attention to how you’re feeling before and after you eat, you can start to make changes in what and how much you eat according to your hunger. It’s best to eat when your hunger level is at a 3 or 4. Once you wait until you’re at a 1 or 2 and are feeling very, very hungry, you are more likely to overeat or choose less healthful foods. (Remember: Any food will quell hunger, so we often reach for whatever is easy and convenient when we’re feeling desperate to eat.) At a level 3 or 4, when you’re just starting to feel some hunger signals, you can make a conscious decision to eat the right amount of healthful and tasty foods. It’s important, too, to be aware of how much you eat. It’s best to stop eating at level 6 before you feel uncomfortably full (7-10). Your brain registers the signals that you’re full slowly, and learning to eat to satisfaction without overeating will take some attention and practice.

Another important strategy, as you become aware of your hunger signals, is to eliminate all distractions and make food the main attraction of your meal. Watching TV, reading, using the computer or paying bills while eating can reduce your ability to recognize satiety. <pagebreak>

Appetite: Your Interest in Food
We talk a lot about appetite: “My son has a huge appetite!” or “I worked up an appetite at the gym.” Appetite is not the same thing as hunger; it actually refers to an interest in food. It’s often said that someone’s appetite can override their hunger and fullness. When some people feel stressed, they could lose their appetite and choose to ignore feelings of hunger. (Others respond the opposite way, eating in response to stress or negative emotions despite a lack of hunger or strong feelings of fullness.) And how many times have you sat down to a delicious meal and continued eating even though you were experiencing sensations of fullness? That, too, is an example of appetite overriding the signals from your body. As you start becoming more aware of hunger signals, do not confuse appetite with physical signs of hunger.

Cravings: Your Desire for Specific Foods
Cravings are very different than hunger, yet somewhat similar to appetite. Look up “crave” in the dictionary and you will see “to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.” Usually, the foods you crave are not a necessity, nor do they serve a life-sustaining need. Cravings, unlike hunger signals, will change over time, even over a period of 10 minutes. They are usually triggered by emotions (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.), an attachment or fondness for a certain food, or proximity to appetizing food. Unlike hunger, where any food will quell the sensation, only one specific food will satisfy a craving.

Keep in mind that when you have a craving but are not physically hungry, you must look deeper into why that craving is there. Are you bored? Did you have a stressful day at home or work? Did doughnuts appear in the cafeteria and now all you can think about is eating one (a thought that previously hadn’t even crossed your mind)? Dig into the reason behind your longing for a certain food. If it’s an emotional need, deal with the emotion. If it’s a proximity craving (you see appetizing food and therefore want it), try a distraction technique.

Certainly, it’s important to take pleasure from food and get satisfaction from the foods you eat. Cravings are normal and have a place in a healthy balanced diet. But learning to satisfy them in a controlled manner will keep your relationship with food in balance. Constantly giving in to your cravings—or confusing them with hunger—can lead to overeating and an unbalanced diet, especially since many of the foods we crave are high in fat, salt, sugar, or a combination of the three.

This makes it even more important to stop and examine why you want to eat something. Many healthy eaters have come up with delicious and crave-worthy recipes that can satisfy their longings for a particular food without going overboard. Other times, you may simply choose to eat the food you’re craving. Both situations are OK as long as you are making conscious decisions and practicing moderation.

When you stop to think about your hunger and fullness levels, your appetite and cravings (both the triggers and your response), the more in-control you’ll be around food, which can help you return to an intuitive way of eating that helps you manage your weight without ever going hungry or feeling deprived. Now that’s a recipe for good health and weight-management!

Selected Source(s):
Curbing Cravings video from

Original Post on

Leaked! Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone Images Specification Features Price


Leaked! Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone Images Specification Features Price :  The next latest flagship of Samsung – the Galaxy S8. Tipster Evan Blass has revealed the release date of the device, confirming other features and specifications as well.

Evan Blass, in a twitter post, released an image of a Samsung smartphone claiming, this is the Samsung Galaxy S8, which will be launched on 29th March 2017.

Evan Blass said that Samsung will be unveiling two models of the Galaxy S8 with larger display. The two models will come with a 5.8- and 6.2-inch QHD Super AMOLED screens with both featuring Samsung’s ‘edge’ display.

As per the GSMArena that the larger variant of the Galaxy S8 measures 52.38 x 78.51 x 7.94mm, taller and wider than its predecessor. Samsung Galaxy S8 ‘Plus’ will feature 6.3-inch display, larger than the Galaxy S7 Edge which features a 5.5-inch display.

Some models of the Galaxy S8 will have Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 built on Samsung’s 10 nm technology, while the rest of the models are said to be powered by Samsung Exynos, again built on the 10nm fabrication method.

Evan Blass said that the usage of 10nm technology will make the S8 models run 11 percent faster than the Galaxy S7 overall, with 23 per cent faster graphic processing, but still 20 percent more energy efficient.

Features of leaked New Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone as follows:

  • The Galaxy S8 models are confirmed to run on Android’s Nougat version.
  • Both models fuelled by 3000mAh and 3500mAh for the 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch design, respectively.
  • The Samsung galaxy S8 will sport 4GB RAM with 64GB internal storage option, which will be expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card.
  • Smartphone will also have USB-C and a new version of Samsung’s Gear VR headset and Gear 360 camera.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 will come with a 12MP rear sensor and an 8MP front sensor with improved image quality, low-light performance and speed, compared to S7.
  • The camera will feature built-in object recognition found in Google Glasses.
  • The iris-scanner biometric technology will be available on the Galaxy S8 smartphone.
  • Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor at the rear next to the camera lens.
  • As per the report, the Galaxy S8 will feature Samsung’s new AI personal assistant, called Bixby, developed based on the technology gained from the Viv-lab, which Samsung acquired in October last year.
  • The new smartphone will also consist of a new service called DeX that will allow Galaxy S8 to switch into an Android desktop computer, connecting to a monitor, keyboard and other peripherals.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will be unveiled in an event in New York on March 29.

The 5.8-inch model will retail for €799 (approx. Rs 58,000) and the 6.2-inch model at €899 (approx. Rs 65,000). Both the models will be available in the market on April 21.

Original Post on

Interested or Committed? Only One Spells Success

6 Tips for Achieving Your Healthy Living Goals
  — By Ellen G. Goldman
No matter your motivation—New Year’s resolutions, an upcoming high school reunion, a milestone birthday—everyone has experienced that looming feeling of urgency when they feel that a life change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

Whether the goal is losing weight, getting in shape, getting more sleep, organizing the house or any other improvement, people suddenly feel an urgency to make big changes. As you begin spending more and more time thinking about it, you start taking some preliminary first steps: You bypass the dessert in the restaurant that night, check out the local fitness center, maybe even clean out a drawer.

But sadly, for most people, that’s where it ends. A few months or even just a few weeks down the road, the progress towards that goal halts. The scale might have dropped a few pounds, but then went back up. You visited the gym a couple of times, but then life got so busy! That drawer you cleaned out? It’s a mess again.

If you’ve attempted making changes and setting goals before, sadly, statistics show that you are not alone in this path. Despite the fact that approximately 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to research at the University of Scranton, a mere 8 percent achieve their goals. Of the 20 percent of the population that set goals in general, at any time of the year, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

What is different about those 8 percent who get to enjoy success? What do they know, or do differently, that escapes the rest?

Productivity experts say it’s all about making the right kind of goals and having a plan. Your goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic but challenging, and be attached to a time frame. Furthermore, according to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, participants who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.

However, despite writing down your goals, making them SMART and creating a plan, many still see their goals and resolutions falling through the cracks. It’s frustrating and confusing, and leaves you feeling bad about yourself. So, what gives?

After more than a decade, working with hundreds of individuals around setting goals, I found that there is often a foundational piece missing, a piece that comes into play before beginning to create SMART goals, before mapping out a plan and before implementation. That piece is your mindset.

Too often, although genuinely interested in making a positive change, people are not truly committed to their goals, which makes a huge difference. It’s the difference between success and failure.

When something piques our interest, most people tend to think about it a lot, moving it to the forefront of our minds. They set good intentions, and may even follow through for a while, but when it becomes inconvenient, difficult or downright frustrating, many people lose interest and give up.

Commitment is a whole different ball game. Consider the definition of the word commitment: The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity; a pledge or undertaking; an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

When you commit to one thing, you are saying no to something else. If you commit to an exercise program, you say no to sitting on the couch all afternoon rather than heading to the gym. If you commit to weight loss, you restrict the freedom to eat anything you want.

Commitment, then, goes beyond just being interested. You feel a responsibility, an obligation to yourself to get the job done. No more excuses. Once and for all, you are going to succeed at this goal, despite difficulties, discomfort and inconveniences. Which means that despite having a stressful day at work, you still go to the gym afterwards as planned. Even though it’s your favorite cousin’s birthday, you skip the cake.

Even when you have a lapse in your positive actions (which you will; everyone does), you trip, stand up, wipe off your knees and begin again. Even when life gets busy and complicated, you recalculate and create a new plan.

If you sense that you are interested, rather than committed to the goals you’ve created, should you throw in the towel? Absolutely not. Follow the steps outlined below, and you can strengthen your resolve and reach your vision once and for all.

1. Develop the right attitude. Listen to your inner voice. Is it one of excitement, enthusiasm and even feelings of being a bit scared? If yes, you are on the right track. Those are the emotions of positive movement. But if your inner critic says you probably won’t follow through, that it is going to be too hard, and not much fun, there is a good chance you’ll quit before reaching the finish line. Remember: That voice is yours, and you get to change it. Talk back and encourage yourself the same way you would if you were talking to your best friend.

2. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. You might be wondering what the heck this has to do with commitment to goals. Brain research consistently proves that when we are tired, our cognitive thinking brain shuts down, and our emotional brain takes over. We do not make good decisions when we are tired. Before taking on any meaningful goals or resolutions, check in on how much sleep you get and how well rested you feel each day. If you are struggling, work on improving your sleep habits before you focus on changing any other behavior.

3. Increase your confidence. Confidence and commitment go hand and hand. When one falters, so does the other. Reflect back on past challenges that you accomplished, and ask yourself what personal strengths you brought to the table back then. How can you use those strengths to help you now?

4. Hang out with others who share your commitment. We are influenced by the behavior of those around us. If most of your friends aren’t too interested in healthy eating or working out, it may be time to limit time spent with them and find a new group to hang with. Join a support or mastermind group of like-minded individuals or participate in online forums with others who are working on similar goals.

5. Have a visual reminder and a mantra that you can refer to several times each and every day. Whether it’s a picture on your wall that reminds you of your goal, a screen shot on your computer or an alert that goes off on your phone several times a day, you want to keep that vision in the forefront of your mind at all times.

6. Continuously check in on your deepest motivations and reasons why. If you do not feel passionately about what you want to achieve, you’ll struggle to get there. Ask yourself daily, “How important is it to me to achieve my desired goal? What’s at stake if I fail?” Those answers should be strong enough to propel you into action every day.

James Womack, founder and senior advisor of Lean Enterprise Systems and author of several books, including Lean Thinking, says, “Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision and gives us the ‘right stuff’ to turn our dreams into reality.” Big goals and dreams require dedication, determination, discipline and patience. Built on a foundation of commitment, there will be no stopping you!

Original Post on

Is Dating Making You Fat?

Fall in Love Without Falling Off the Wagon
  — By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
Dating isn’t easy. In the beginning stages, deciding what to wear, where to go, and whether you should or shouldn’t kiss can be stressful. Then, once you start to get more serious, you have big decisions to make, such as whether to be exclusive, to live together, or to get married. With so much to think about, your healthy lifestyle is probably the last thing on your mind.

Well, it shouldn’t be. According to research from the journal Obesity, dating and cohabiting can lead to weight gain. The 2009 study looked at 1,293 dating, cohabiting and married romantic couples, and found that over five years, women who were dating put on an average of 15 pounds, and those living with a romantic partner gained 18 pounds. Men also have an increased risk of becoming obese as they stay in a relationship, but not nearly as much as women.

Researchers say that when you find someone who you really like, you start spending more time with them and therefore adopt some of their less-than-healthy behaviors. Or you cut back on your usual workout time to spend time with your sweetie.

But you don’t have to be a statistic! Follow these five tips below to enjoy falling in love—without falling off the healthy living wagon.

Plan Active Dates
If your usual date night consists of dinner and a movie, it’s time to get moving! Active dates such as ice skating, hiking, running, laser tag, bowling and dancing give you the opportunity to burn some calories and get to know your loved one much more than you can watching the big screen. In fact, you can even have a date at the gym: grab two side-by-side ellipticals and chat each other up. Or, take turns spotting each other while you lift weights. After all, couples that work out together stay together.

Be Mindful of Portions
When you’re going on a lot of dates, it’s easy to get wrapped up in conversation and not notice how much you’re eating. You might even order foods you normally wouldn’t choose off a menu, such as heavy appetizers or decadent desserts. When the date of your dreams asks you out for ice cream, it’s hard to say no, right? So instead of saying no to certain foods, think small. When you’re out, be sure to put your fork down between bites, order healthy foods whenever possible, and remember to listen to your hunger signals. Your date won’t be offended if you don’t finish every bite on your plate, and you’ll feel much better leaving the restaurant pleasantly filled instead of stuffed!

Watch What You’re Drinking
Dating seems to revolve around food and drink. Want to meet for a cocktail? Grab a latte? Have a nightcap? The problem with this type of date is that you can easily consume hundreds of calories (especially if you’re nervous and think that glass of wine will calm you down) without even feeling full or being out for very long. Be just as careful about what you sip as what you eat. If you’re a drinker, limit yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks (choose wisely with these tips), or go for low-calorie non-alcoholic options such as sparkling water, black coffee, or unsweetened ice tea. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather chew my calories (usually on a few bites of dessert) than drink them!

Have a Romantic Evening at Home
Dining out can be hard on your wallet and your waistline. Save some cash and some calories by eating at home. Find a healthy recipe together, go to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients (grocery shopping together is a fun way to bond and make everyday errands more enjoyable), and then spend the night making a good-for-you dinner. If you’re not known for your cooking skills, throw together an easy salad, so that if you do accidentally burn dinner, you have a back-up plan. Then, spend the night chopping, cooking and spending time together. Once dinner is ready, light some candles, turn on some music and enjoy your romantic evening in.

Don’t Forget “Me” Time
When you’re falling in love and consumed by a new relationship, it’s easy to want to spend every free minute with your honey. Just remember to give yourself some “me” time. Whether it’s hitting the gym, going to an exercise class, heading out for a walk or doing a yoga DVD at home, take at least a few minutes of every day to do something good for you. If you really have a keeper, he or she will understand how important this time is to you and your relationship.

Follow these tips, and you will find yourself not only happy in love—but in health, too!

Selected Sources
Dating and Your Diet, from
Entry Into Romantic Partnership Is Associated With Obesity, from Obesity and
First Comes Love, Then Comes Obesity?, from

Original Post on

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than A Renter’s

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that by the end of 2016, the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s | MyKCM

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!

%d bloggers like this: