You are going to learn how to lose pounds easily and use a practical approach to do this. Diets and gym memberships are never long-term solutions to managing health and fitness. Proven in Japanese management for decades, “kaizen” can be used to turn your health challenges into joy and energy-filled success. Dietitian and Life Coach Barbara Bingham shares the science and the savvy to guide you through a small-step approach which always works when you wish to exchange an unhealthy habit for a healthy one. You can create an entirely healthy, energy and joy-filled lifestyle, one step at a time, no matter what your current physical condition, attitude or age. This is the program approach used, along with Dr. Harvey Mishner, at the popular Kaizen Total Wellness Center in Sarasota, Florida. You won’t find any deprivation diets, gimmicks or task-mastering in this book; you will discover how to use a notebook, specific tips and tools to master a healthy lifestyle, and maintain it effortlessly. There are many reasons why you should read this book and the best one is that all of the healthy habits you desire will soon be yours, without struggle.
The book goes on to show exactly how to pre-market your book so you can take advantage of the benefits of being a published author even before the book is released. Positioning your book in the marketplace and promoting your book on social media are steps which Bingham and Orenstein help with so your efforts are efficient and effective.
Order The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy LIfestyle directly from:
The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Easy Steps to Better Eating and Exercise Habits to Help You
Lose Weight and Feel Great
By Barbara Bingham, MCC
As the founder and CEO of the Kaizen Total Wellness program, I am pleased to recommend this book to all of our patients, friends, and anyone looking for a practical and encouraging approach to improving their health. Please look at this more as a reference book rather than a “How To” or novel.
Several years ago, I too got caught up in an unhealthy lifestyle consisting of too much work, eating too much sugar, and not exercising. Yes, it was always, “I’ll start tomorrow.” But one day tomorrow finally came. Utilizing the methods outlined in this book, I slowly changed my lifestyle. This meant healthier food choices, not diet or deprivation. It meant increased activities, not “exercise”(sounds too much like work).
After a few months, the pounds were coming off very quickly. Because I was so successful and it was so easy, we decided to offer this as the first stage of the Kaizen Total Wellness Program. We know that nutrition is very important but too many people have their own misconceptions of what a diet should be. We still NEED sugars, fats and proteins, but the RIGHT sugars, fats and proteins.
Exercise will increase endorphins and serotonin, which will give you more energy and improve your mood. Exercise will also naturally increase natural growth hormones which are also a very effective anti-aging agent.
Consistent with my philosophy of health (smart choices, no gimmicks) Barbara explains in a very engaging style how anyone can benefit from using the Kaizen approach.
Hopefully reading this book will help with a positive attitude about your health. Like they say in the golf world, visualize a bad shot and you have no chance of being successful; picture the ball going in the hole and the odds go up dramatically!
Good luck and please call us if you have any further questions.
Harvey S. Mishner, MD
Why the Kaizen Approach Always Works
Neal Peterson was radiant as he spoke to my daughter’s graduating 6th grade class of ‘The School by the Sea.’ He had recently completed the “Around Alone” race, a harrowing voyage considered to be the Mount Everest of sailing. He recreated his adventure with such intensity that it felt as if I were there with him, splashed mightily with freezing cold water, holes in my boots, and the mast and my body now dipping again and again under the churning water, under the huge swells.
How did he do it, sailing around icebergs, and eventually around Cape Horn, alone, in the boat he built himself?
“I sailed 195 days,” he told us, “One day at a time.”
What do you truly want to accomplish – whether it will take a year or a lifetime – that you could start right now, knowing you are only committing to it for one day at a time?
“I sailed 27,000 miles one mile at a time.”
- Neal Petersen, Captain of ‘No Barriers’, after completing the Around Alone Race
Are you trying to get more exercise, lose weight, or quit smoking? If so, you’re not alone – those are three of the most common New Year’s Resolutions or goals people say they want to achieve. Since we know that only a very small percentage of resolutions are actually accomplished, what has the biggest effect on a person’s success or failure? Wouldn’t it be extraordinary to know the one approach that contributes to success and improved health more than anything else?
If you are looking for a brand new concept, a high-tech solution, or Voo-Doo Diets for Dummies, this book is not for you. This book takes the proven, ultra-successful management approach termed “kaizen” in Japan and shows how it works for any individual who embraces it with the intention of developing a healthy lifestyle and enjoying its many rewards.
The Sino-Japanese word “kaizen” simply means “good change” and refers to any improvement, large or small. In restoration efforts after WWII, it became common practice in Japan to label their emerging philosophy of productivity improvement “kaizen” and the method was famously and successfully adopted by Toyota. The culture of continual, aligned small improvements and standardization yields large results and compounds productivity improvement. This differs from the “command and control” improvement programs of the mid- twentieth century.
Most of us are all too familiar with the shortcomings of the “command and control” method when it comes to changing eating habits, starting an exercise regimen, or even trying to count carbs, points or calories. Even if discipline is maintained for a few short- term results, most often the results are not sustained.
So, with previous tries, you haven’t achieved and maintained your desired level of health and fitness—but it is important to note that there are certainly other goals in life you have achieved. How did you get so good at what you’re really good at? It did not happen overnight. It did not happen without your intention and persistence. You mastered certain skills, and succeeded with your learning goals through a series of steps, over time.
Healthy lifestyles are built out of small changes that become new patterns and habits.
We are creatures of habit, and when it comes to our health, that is good news. Brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create new brain cells and synapses. This means that our new chosen patterns of thinking and newly chosen habits become a part of us.
The kaizen method works in complete and harmonious alignment with the way our brain works. Small and continuous improvements are at the heart of small or big change, and when this is the path of change, it has been found that momentum is increased.
Imagine if you needed to change course while steering a large boat. If you slowed down enough to make a sharp turn you would lose all momentum. Then you have to expend a lot of energy to overcome inertia and get back to making any forward progress.
But if instead you made a small course correction, you would proceed in the new direction more gradually but without losing momentum.
When it comes to making lifestyle changes, momentum is affected by things like motivation, optimism and the psychological will to change. One of the biggest drags on our momentum is fear. In her book This Year I Will… M.J. Ryan says, “Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain. If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we are trying to do.” Our own mind can work against us! We say we want to develop healthier habits that would be good for us, and yet we are often guilty of self-sabotage.
Ryan notes that “Small steps don’t set off fight-or-flight, but rather keep us in the thinking brain…” This is how we keep fear from taking over. Ah yes, Bob Wiley (played hilariously by Bill Murray) practiced this in the 1991 movie, What About Bob? As instructed by his psychiatrist, Bob verbally coached himself to take “…Baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps…” In this manner he conquered his many fears and made slow and steady progress towards better mental health.
Ryan’s advice echoes the kaizen approach of making small, steady improvements. As she explains, you want to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, but not so far out that you experience stress, fear, or overwhelm.
Can you commit to that? Identifying small steps and then taking them? In the following six short chapters, you will learn how to name and take your next small step, and the next, as you develop healthier habits and embrace a healthy lifestyle. You will learn how to be consistent with your steps forward, and what to do when you find you’ve taken a step backward.
You’ve been saying you want to be healthier. Unfortunately no matter how many times you say that, no matter how many people you say that to, and no matter how much you really mean it, it makes no difference. For you to have any sustainable success, you need to shift from “I want to” to “I will.”
As your first baby step, start saying, “I will….”
“I will go for a walk before I get ready for work.”
“I will choose the grilled salmon instead of the fettuccini tonight.”
“I will buy new running shoes that I love by the end of this weekend.”
“Just for today, I will set out eight bottles of water and drink them all.”
Notice that these promises are all achievable and have a specific time attached. Your first assignment is to get a notebook and begin writing down your “I will” baby steps (see Appendix A for tips on setting up your healthy lifestyle notebook.) You’ll be using this notebook for many different assignments as you progress through this book, all with the same purpose – to increase your awareness of your healthy lifestyle progress, which begins the moment you commit.
“To commit when I feel inspired, capable and grand is one thing… I will also commit on days when I feel dull, blue and insignificant.” – Eric Maisel, Affirmations for Artists
Chapter One Key Point: The kaizen approach works because you are making small, continuous changes. Your mind feels stretched, but not overwhelmed.
Chapter One Assignment: Consult Appendix A for tips on setting up your healthy lifestyle notebook. Write about your desire to lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as the challenges and excuses that have thwarted your efforts in the past. Make a fresh commitment, starting now. For example, you may have a goal to lose a certain number of pounds. Research shows that simply writing down everything you eat and drink each day makes a huge difference to weight loss. Is that a step you are ready to take?
What else might be useful to track? Using your notebook, no matter what format you find most convenient, will serve to increase your daily awareness and will accelerate your efforts while reducing effort and struggle. You can jump over to Appendix A now if you wish.
Get Your Mind and Body to Work Together for Your Greater Good
Do you realize that you talk to yourself all day, every day? Thankfully not out loud, for the most part, right? Closely examine the conversations you are having in your head about your lifestyle habits, because they will drive your actions – or lack of actions.
Change the conversation – change your behavior. Yes, it’s that simple!
There are volumes written about reframing your thoughts and changing your inner script which seems to direct your actions and your life. The power of thought is a topic that has inspired brilliant writing and teaching, and for good reason: You become what you believe yourself to be, and you believe what you hear, repeatedly.
We know labels create self-fulfilling prophecies. We ache for the child whose parent tells him every day he is clumsy or stupid, as we are afraid the child will accept it as fact, and never realize a more successful possibility. We come to believe what we hear and think. To alter your way of being, change what you believe by choosing the thoughts you want to think, again and again.
“Mental exercise,” promoted widely as a healthy habit, has seduced millions of Sudoku and crossword puzzlers into justifying their sedentary behavior as a good way to ward off Alzheimer’s.
Being a Scrabble® addict myself, I don’t mean to disparage the fascination and entertainment value of these activities. However, there is a more useful and life-altering way to fire up those sleepy brain synapses.
I call it “intentional optimism.” This is the practice of noticing and constructing the thoughts and sentences in your mind. Strengthening this mental muscle is how we imagine better realities in the future, and motivate ourselves to pursue those desirable future outcomes.
Intentional optimism also has clear benefits in the present. Researchers studying heart disease patients found that optimistic patients were more likely than non-optimistic patients to take vitamins, eat low-fat diets, and exercise, thereby reducing their overall coronary risk. A similar study of cancer patients revealed that pessimistic patients under the age of 60 were more likely to die within eight months than optimistic patients of the same initial health, status and age.
Some call it the power of positive thinking. Call it anything you want, just know that practicing this will help you develop and permanently adopt healthy lifestyle habits. With a healthy mindset, you will have more energy, more enthusiasm for life, lower health care bills, and a higher quality of life as you age.
Starting with a healthy mindset is all-important when you want to effect positive change. Once you commit to the idea that it is not too late to learn something new, that an old dog can actually learn a new trick, you are on your way to better eating and exercise habits to help you feel great. To develop any new habit, there are only three things to put in place and ‘Voila!’ You can have any new habit you’ve been wanting to have.
Only three? Most of us can work with that, so I’ll start with a short story illustrating the way these three keys work. When my husband and I first moved to Sarasota several years ago, we stayed in my friend’s guest house a few weeks until we found our own place. It’s a little house right by the side of her home. Her dear husband, so tolerant, came over to show us how to operate the TV, where to park, and when and how to take out the trash. The lesson on trash took an hour—this man has a system!
There are, not two, not three, but five different bins for garbage, each one a different color.
Being a grateful guest, I tried to pay close attention and I tried at all times to follow the rules, to remember to separate the waste, paper, glass, aluminum, plastic, plastic bags and donation items properly. I tried, and I succeeded, in developing the habit of recycling.
Compelled to this day, years later, I will fish a tuna can right out of the trash, rinse it, and walk out through the garage and plunk it into the blue recycle bin. I might even do it at your house!
You see, I really do have this new habit, one I did NOT have before. An old dog learned a new trick! Here are the 3 keys to Success in developing a new habit:
- Be clear on exactly what to do. I was Trained. I knew what I needed to do.
- I was Accountable. I knew my friend’s husband came along behind me and corrected any category errors. I watched in horror one time as I saw him retrieve a Styrofoam cup I had stupidly put in with newspapers! Luckily he didn’t kick me out of the guest house.
- I had built-in Rewards. I got to stay. I also had the satisfaction of doing the task right, and on time, each week. I could even tell I was getting better at it as time went on. And especially when I saw the big trucks come and take everything away, I felt like a part of a worthwhile effort. I was saving the earth!
Let’s see…Success: Training – Accountability – Rewards I became a STAR !
You can be a STAR too!
Think of one habit you would really like to have in place, something that the consistent practice of would mean a higher quality of life for you personally. A common one is to get more exercise.
Using the three keys, you know that to be successful in having a new habit of exercise you would first need to understand exactly
how to do it. I asked my personal trainer at Kaizen Total Wellness, what is an example of an exercise that is really important to do, but that people often do incorrectly? She quickly answered, “The Pec Fly.”
Excuse me? She demonstrated, “The Pec Fly—you hold a light free weight in each hand, out to the sides and slowly bring your hands together, then back out. Done properly this is excellent for strengthening your pectoral muscles, helps your core, chest, arms, improves balance and stamina. “
I asked, “What happens if you do it wrong?”
“Performed improperly, people extend too far back and put all the strain on their shoulders which could damage their joints and even tear their rotator cuff which requires surgery to fix.”
Okay, yes. I see that training is very important! Plus, don’t we always feel more confident when we start doing anything new if we’ve been shown or told how to do it?
Then, there’s accountability. Are you more likely to complete your workout routine if you have an appointment with a personal trainer or if you are home alone? Are you more likely to go for a long walk if you’ve planned to meet a friend and walk together?
Lastly, we need to build in some rewards. What trumps being lazy, sleeping in, skipping exercise? It is important to come up with something! New desired behavior needs to be reinforced with reward. One of my clients has a goal to put 10,000 steps on her pedometer every day for ten days, then she will buy herself the great new running/walking shoes she really wants. Or how about rewarding three weeks of consistently practicing your “new trick” with three hours of time off? Write in your calendar each time you will practice your new habit and at the end of three weeks ‘X’ out half a day and take yourself to the beach.
Show yourself it’s not too late to learn a new trick. It’s the perfect time to start acting like the star of your own life. For success, just remember to make sure you are confident enough about what to do, or get any training you need. Then, design a way to be held accountable until the new habit becomes as
automatic as brushing your teeth, and build in rewards for milestones along your way. Any new habit can be yours.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Training starts with your mind. In your healthy lifestyle notebook (discussed in the previous chapter and explained in Appendix A,) write a list of limiting thoughts and excuses that are running around in your mind waving a white flag of surrender whenever you try and push yourself a little. Notice these old conversations, the things you have been telling yourself about why you don’t eat the right way or why you can’t find time to exercise. Writing these down and seeing these irrational discouragements in the light of day will help reveal what has been holding you back, and give you clues to what you want to adopt as your new way of thinking.
By managing the conversations you are having with yourself, your desired actions become much easier, almost effortless.
Recently, I was expecting my daughter to come home from college. All my thoughts gave rise to happy, excited feelings. When I heard her car outside I sprang from the couch like a circus poodle and glided the 20 yards to greet her. Contrast this with someone sitting on the couch watching TV when a solicitor rings the doorbell. Their thoughts create feelings of annoyance and they might as well be in quicksand up to their knees. Sighing, standing up, and trudging to the door is so hard, so tiring, such a pain.
Have you ever had the thought “exercising is such a pain”? (If so, add this to your notebook as one of your limiting beliefs or old ideas.) What is the opposite thought? Perhaps “exercising is such a pleasure” or “exercising is the most fun part of the day.” Did you just hear a scoff in your head when you read that? (If so, write that down in your notebook as another counter-productive thought.)
It is time to reprogram any old thoughts that do not serve you.
One cannot simply wipe the slate clean and begin with all new
healthy thoughts. You must DISPLACE the old with the new. That is, gradually bring in more and more healthy thoughts, literally crowding out the old, disempowering ones. After all, they are toxic and must be flushed out!
If you attempt to practice your new healthy habits without working to replace toxic thoughts with healthy ones, you’re relying on willpower. Meaning, you will yourself to ignore the mind and “just do it.” This can work, for maybe a week, but it is energy- draining and not sustainable. By following the kaizen method and each step outlined in this book, you will find developing a healthier lifestyle much easier than you ever thought possible.
You’ll take a few minutes at the end of this chapter to start writing the new thoughts you will choose to hear and believe, which will help you have and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. It is critical to your success for you to speak to yourself more encouragingly. It is just as important to stop fueling the old mind machinery which doesn’t serve you. Notice those thoughts, record them if helpful, then say, “Thank you for sharing” and switch your full attention to the empowering thoughts instead.
Here are some examples, typically called “affirmations” because they affirm your commitment to intentional optimism. You may use these if you wish and I also suggest you write your own.
Affirmations for Healthy People
• My mind and body work together for my greater good.
• Practicing my healthy habits bolsters my enthusiasm for life.
• I say “Yes!” to healthy activities – vitality is a function of participation.
• Moving my body releases stress.
• Being mindful today means more enjoyment today.
• I feel the rush of feel-good hormones as soon as I begin exercising.
• My life is becoming more disciplined, which is so freeing.
• I put in my mouth only what helps my body systems work well, including plenty of water.
• Gratitude and worry cannot coexist – I choose gratitude.
• Who is responsible for my health? I am.
• As I relax and clear my mind, intending healthy thoughts, I feel peaceful.
• I imagine my heart, tirelessly pumping life through my body. Thank you, heart.
• I imagine my lungs, expanding with my deep breath, and then exhaling any tension my body was holding. Thank you, lungs.
• I am flexible. If one plan for a meal or exercise doesn’t work out, I easily find another good one.
• I persevere. If I skipped a healthy habit, I put that behind me and take the next right action.
• I choose to stay in balance. Healthy habits work in harmony with all my priorities.
• I am committed to progress, not perfection.
• I consciously design my home to support my healthy lifestyle.
• Leading a healthy life is very important to me. I will do my best.
• Every day I have time to play.
• The smallest step in the right direction builds my confidence.
• I am training my mind to choose healthy thoughts and to direct my body in healthy behaviors.
• I am a gentle reminder to myself, full of compassion.
• I plan ahead so my self-care is easier.
• There are plenty of people and resources to help. I can find support whenever I need it.
• I act as if I am a health-conscious person.
• I love my journey towards total wellness.
• One day at a time, I feel healthier and more alive.
Feel free to copy any of these into your healthy lifestyle notebook, giving yourself permission to change the wording and also create new ones. You can find additional examples online if you search for “health affirmations.” Louise Hay has written dozens of books and articles on healing as it relates to the power of positive thought. Also remember the destructive power of negative thought which we can slip into when we start judging our less-than-perfect behaviors and become too self-critical. Better to shift from being critical to being curious. Catch yourself: Hmm…I wonder where that thought came from. Kind of sounds like my overly-critical mother. Or, isn’t this curious… I don’t know how long I have been standing here in front of the refrigerator with the door open, staring inside.
One of the best ways to instill affirming thoughts of choice is to read them out loud to yourself. Seeing and hearing them helps your mind remember them. That will help them take hold and edge out the automatic, reactive, toxic thoughts. Why not store your list of new thoughts right on your tablet, smartphone, or other handy device – it’s a great way to help keep your empowering voice present. You need a “reset button” when the old thoughts take over. You have some brainwashing to undergo, but keep in mind the result is a cleaner bill of health!
Chapter Two Key Point: The self-talk and automatic thoughts you listened to in the past got you where you did not want to be, just like listening to new, health-minded encouragements will get you where you want to go. For success in developing a new habit, remember the acronym STAR. Success comes from having the proper training, being held accountable, and building in rewards.
Chapter Two Assignment: Write about your confidence level for a new healthy habit you would like to have. Is there some training (such as from a nutritionist or personal trainer) which could help you feel more confident and motivated? Do you have any structure of accountability such as a Wellness Coach or exercise buddy? Begin a list of rewards you can treat yourself to which are consistent with your new healthy lifestyle – not like eating a box of chocolates! In your notebook write the title: My Affirmations. Start writing short, encouraging sentences that you desire to be true, even if you don’t feel they are true at the moment. For example, it’s fine to write “I put myself to bed every night before 11:00 p.m.” if that is a habit you wish to establish, even if you have seldom practiced it in the past. Refer to the affirmations in this chapter for ideas and write your first five positive affirmations.
A Different Result Only Comes from Doing Something Differently
“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end of where we are headed.”
– Chinese Proverb
As humans we all face challenges and turns of events we cannot predict. With the kaizen approach, we’ll be ready for unexpected bumps in the road to wellness. Let’s peek into people’s lives and see some of these strategies in use…
Becky gets benched.
Becky donned her workout clothes and new tennies and headed toward the gym in her apartment complex. A familiar little furry ball ran up to her ankles, dancing around. Holding the leash was Lilia, Becky’s 88-year old neighbor, lonely for a conversation as usual. Lilia looked especially fragile that day and Becky motioned toward the nearby bench under an oak. They sat down for a chat and Becky never made it to the gym.
We start out with the best of intentions, but get sidetracked all too easily when it comes to practicing healthy habits like regular exercise and clean eating. It happens to everyone, can be discouraging and depressing, and can derail the self-care our bodies require. There is so much at stake – our very quality of life– that it is worth learning and practicing new, health-conscious scripts to get us back on track.
Let’s ask Becky to script the end of this episode in a way that fulfills her desire to get moving. This also demonstrates how to use intentional optimism to master and maintain healthy habits.
Becky’s new story ending:
Becky found herself sitting on a sidewalk bench instead of a gym bench. The little dog, Bella, danced around her feet. She remembered her much-practiced affirmation: “Living a healthy lifestyle is very important to me. I will do my best.” She said to Lilia, “Bella has so much energy. How about if you sit here in the shade while I take her for a little jog around the apartment complex?” Lilia gratefully agreed and Becky set off for her jog. When she returned 25 minutes later, Lilia thanked her for letting Bella get some much-needed exercise. Becky smiled and walked with a bounce back to her apartment.
Becky’s encouraging self-talk came into her mind effortlessly because she had trained herself with affirmations. Becky’s story also reminds us to keep looking for opportunities to fit in healthy habits rather than letting a bump in the road justify the reasonable response to give up the journey. The opposite of being reasonable is not being unreasonable – it’s being intentional.
Harrison’s hunger hangs him up.
Harrison worked late but still stopped at the grocery store as planned on his way home. He’d just returned from a business trip and had to stock up on just about everything. Starting in the produce section, he selected a large variety of organic fruits and vegetables, and then progressed to the meat counter. After awhile, he chose the lean, skinless chicken breasts. By this time he was noticing a piercing headache coming on, the kind he always got if he hadn’t eaten in too long. He put his buggy into high gear and grabbed his whole grain bread, low-sodium soy sauce and organic milk. Harrison prided himself on being a scrupulous label reader and only buying health foods.
Standing in the check-out line, he glanced at this watch, having a little trouble focusing through his headache strain. 9:15 p.m.! He had been in the store over 40 minutes. He hurried out to his car, feeling almost too weak to carry his three bags of groceries. As he pulled out of the parking lot onto the parkway, he saw the golden arches, that most familiar brand icon in the world. Realizing it would be almost two hours until he got home and finished preparing his food, he swerved into the right- turn lane, coming dangerously close to side-swiping a car, and continued his turn into McDonald’s. He had barely pulled away from the drive- through window when he tore open the box, gripped the burger and took a bite of what was to be his 960-calorie meal, complete with 53 grams of fat and 1,336 mg of sodium.
Does this situation sound familiar? Life happens and our best intentions are waylaid. That is why we must practice our kaizen method until it comes automatically.
Let’s ask Harrison to script the end of his story using tools and practices from the kaizen approach.
When Harrison arrived at his apartment he was feeling much better, and much worse. He was no longer weak with hunger, but he was angry with himself for getting so desperate that he ate food totally out of sync with his healthy eating style. Luckily, he remembered these affirmations
1) My healthy habits work in harmony with all my priorities.
2) Who is responsible for my health? I am.
3) I consciously design my home to support my healthy lifestyle.
4) I plan ahead so my self-care is easier.
5) I am committed to progress, not perfection.
More importantly, he thought of a very important tool — the “Magic Question”: What’s my one next right action? And he immediately thought of some achievable steps to move him towards his healthy lifestyle goal. After putting away his groceries, he sat down at the kitchen table and started writing two lists: 1. Healthy Staples and 2. Snacks To Go.
The next day on his way home from work he stopped to buy everything he wanted to never run out of (healthy staples.) He included five frozen entrees which, after reading the nutrition labels, he deemed suitable and convenient alternatives to drive- through food when he needed a quick dinner. He also stocked up on his favorite low-sugar, high-protein snack bars, and cocoa- roasted almonds. He would put these in his travel briefcase as well as in his desk drawer at work. He knew he was infinitely more likely to eat when he first felt his energy getting low if he had healthy choices handy.
Like Harrison, you can set yourself and your environment up for success. You know you are busy and naturally have other priorities besides self-care, no matter how committed you are to living a healthy lifestyle. Make it as easy as possible to follow your healthy eating and exercise plans by creating an environment which really helps you.
Do you have a “purpose-driven” kitchen (see Appendix B for how to create one), full of only good choices and organized around delicious healthy recipes? Do you have water and healthy snacks handy whether you are traveling, playing golf, watching a ball game or driving in your car? Is there a TV by your home treadmill where you can watch your favorite show while getting in 30 minutes of great exercise?
There are so many things that we have no control over which can throw us off track – be sure and pay attention to everything you do have control over. By planning ahead you will have a much easier time mastering a healthy lifestyle.
Heather weathers the storm.
Heather set her alarm and placed her walking shoes next to her bed. She wanted to be ready to head out when her buddy Karen stopped by for their Saturday morning walk. In a still-dark room, Heather opened her eyes, awakened not by her alarm, but by a loud clap of thunder. Hurricane Maggie must be near, she thought, and sighed as she realized there would be no walk with Karen.
Even when we are willing and able, we can suddenly be thrown off our healthy habit track by life’s circumstances, and should not expect otherwise. We can learn what to do when that happens, using simple tools and the kaizen approach.
Rather than focusing on a specific exercise outing or healthy meal, it is best to focus on our overall intention to be as healthy as we can, and on how the results of our efforts will help our bodies avoid debilitating diseases like Type II diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hypertension. There is a lot at stake and that is why it takes a lot of commitment. You will find yourself honoring that commitment more easily, and more frequently, if you stay flexible about how to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals and remember to break down every goal into small steps.
Let’s ask Heather to script the end of her story in such a way that she honors her intention to maintain her new chosen healthy habits.
Heather turned on the lamp, glad the power had not gone out yet. She remembered her affirmation: “I am flexible: I am firm with my intention, but flexible with my plan, doing what works at the time.” She called Karen who answered with “No, we are not walking – the wind would blow us away!” Heather said, “I know, but I have a better plan – we’re going to have a hurricane party! Come on over before the heavy rain starts, and bring candles and ice. I’ve got lots of good food and snacks. Bring your work-out clothes and when the power goes out we’ll use the boom box and dance to CDs.” Karen loved the idea of having fun with her friend, not riding out the hurricane alone, and taking advantage of “found” time to do healthy activities.
With one quick phone call, Heather took a key next action which set her up for success. Why was Heather able to come up with such a great “Plan B” so quickly? First, she was focused on her intention of getting results versus being stuck on a certain plan of how to get the results. Secondly, she has a buddy with the same intention and healthy mindset. There is absolutely no use wasting energy trying to get someone to play healthy when they are not in the same game as you. She rightly guessed Karen would go along with the alternate plan which would provide the healthy activity they both wanted. Heather finds it empowering to remember she is not alone.
Terrie talks tough.
Saturday, after diligently walking/jogging 40 minutes every morning six days a week for three months, Terrie had come in 1st place in her age group in the Manatee Park 5K Fun Run. She not only had the T-shirt, she had the toned legs and butt, and enough lung capacity to make it up the office stairs, rewards she noticed and appreciated.
Yet by Monday, the high from her victorious run had worn off, and the thought of getting ready for work was a total buzz kill. Her early alarm went off, set for her training routine. But instead of swinging her legs over the side of the bed and slipping her feet straight into her running shoes, she lay still, staring up at the ceiling. The conflicting thoughts in her head were too loud to permit drifting back to sleep. One voice said: Get up and do your walk. The other whispered: Don’t get up. You’re too tired. There is no reason to keep training; you accomplished your goal on Saturday.
There was no more race on her calendar to look forward to, no event to train for, no goal she had shared publicly, no good reason to get up early. She rolled over, moved her pillow to shield the morning sun, and closed her eyes.
As a student of the kaizen approach to developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Terrie wrote her new script as follows:
Terrie was suddenly conscious of warm air near her face and the purr of Stella, her cat. She was still in bed though the room was bright with sunlight, because she had decided not to do her morning run. Terrie wondered if she was going to have to sign up for another race in order to motivate herself to train. Then she remembered her goal – she was determined to lose 40 pounds by her 40th birthday, when she would throw a party called “Forty, Fit and Fabulous!”
It was 11 weeks away and she had 9 pounds to go. She pulled out her Healthy Lifestyle journal she kept by her bed, and reviewed the progress chart with the big smiley face she had added when she had gotten halfway to her goal. She read her ‘Top Ten Reasons I Will Lose 40 Pounds’ and the motivational quotes she had collected for inspiration. She focused on how much better she felt already with her 31 pounds gone. (“Gone forever!” she said in the mirror every morning.) She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and enjoyed her revitalized sense of purpose. She stepped in front of the mirror and said confidently , “You can do it.” She put on her shoes, laced them up and ran her familiar route, noticing the new pink and green azalea buds.
Terrie’s story reminds us:
Set a goal that means a lot to you. It can’t be someone else’s goal, not even your doctor’s. It must be your personal goal, one that makes sense in terms of time and results, and one that you have a lot of reasons to accomplish. Remembering why you want to reach your health goals is the key to activating your motivation when you feel unmotivated. Imagine how you will look in that stretchy dress in six months. Think of what you will do with the extra $80 you won’t need for medication every month when your doctor says you no longer have to take it. Picture yourself walking through the streets of London without getting tired or breathless.
Create milestones along the way. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. To take that step you may need to have your sights set on the end of your street, where you will sit and rest and have a cool drink of water. Perfect. Find a small-step goal that your mind doesn’t argue with. No matter how small it is, build your confidence by reaching and acknowledging each one step. Remember from Chapter 2 that rewards along the way are key to success.
Frannie gets by with a little help from her friend.
When Janet invited Frannie to her first Zumba class, Frannie guessed it was an art or collage workshop, something like she and her best friend Janet had done before. To Frannie’s delight, Zumba meant dancing to upbeat Latin music and watching the moves of
Mario, the handsome young instructor. Frannie moved her body to the beat, laughing when Janet managed to catch her eye and smile. She left every class feeling invigorated and happy, her body unintentionally but nevertheless well-exercised.
Already looking forward to the next day’s class, one Tuesday morning Frannie walked out her front door to mail a letter and was horrified to see her cat, Freeman, dead in the street. She never returned to Zumba class. It was too painful to imagine dancing around as if she were happily enjoying life…she wasn’t.
How did the Kaizen approach help Frannie? Her story continues…
Frannie called her friend Janet, tearfully relaying the tragic loss of her cat, and told her she would not be joining her at the Zumba class. Janet went over to Frannie’s the next day after Zumba, bringing a bouquet of flowers and a sympathetic ear. The next Wednesday, Janet returned and asked Frannie to walk around the block while they talked. Frannie always felt better talking with her friend and readily agreed. This began a regular walk, which turned into a walk/run, and one year later remains a weekly habit for the friends who have worked up to five miles every Wednesday.
Frannie’s story reminds us:
Be gentle with yourself. Just because you don’t keep up a particular healthy habit doesn’t mean you are doomed to weight gain and a heart attack. And it doesn’t mean you are a lazy, weak person. It is simply that life is constantly changing, and when you surrender to that, you can remain in the flow and find yourself reaching your goal in a different way.
You are not alone. Having a buddy is enormously helpful when developing new eating or exercise habits. In fact, to maintain those habits you may need lots of buddies. Be someone else’s buddy and you’ll see how much of an effective and mutually helpful tool this is. Remember from Chapter 2 that accountability is one of the keys to developing a new habit.
Chapter Three Key Point: We have to take life as it comes, and we can use many tools to help us be healthy even when challenges arise.
Chapter Three Assignment: In your healthy lifestyle notebook, write a short account of a time when your healthy living routine was disrupted, like the situations above. Recall and write down how you reacted. If your response was less than ideal, write a new script of how you could have done it differently.
Easy Steps to Feeling ALIVE!, Feb. 9, 2014
Highly qualified to write “The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy Lifestyle”, Barbara Bingham takes you through a good feel, joyful way to replace old habits with healthy choices. Her positive process is clear, free of gimmicks, honest, backed by science, and written with true intentions of giving you the tools you need to look and feel your best! A beautiful metamorphosis! A stand out book that allows you to feel joy and energy instead of stress and guilt. THANK YOU!!
A new Lifestyle awaits you! Explore the Kaizen Method!, May 26, 2012
By Anne S.
I have been a victim of the yo-yo diet syndrome, losing weight from the latest fad type starvation diet, herbal supplements, etc., then gaining it back, why? Because I had never really changed my lifestyle or pursued a holistic and healthier way of living or developed good, continual exercise habits. I was usually too weak and tired from the latest diet I was on to even stick to any exercise plan or feel that great, other than seeing I was losing weight on the scale… that I inevitably gained back. I knew I had to find a way to get healthy, lose weight permanently and build positive eating and exercise habits.
I had read an article online about the Japanese way of Kaizen business management and how it could be applied to a complete lifestyle change and felt this would be a good way for me to achieve what I had failed to do so far, to take it in small steps. And doing a search for the Kaizen Method led me to this book. Practicing the Kaizen Method isn’t difficult. I have learned to replace bad habits with good habits. To create goals. To use a notebook to track progress. To celebrate small successes. This isn’t a diet and exercise book that overpromises and underdelivers, this is a new way to live, and a way that you can embrace as you see the results. There are many diet and healthy lifestyle books on Amazon and I’ve cruised through a lot of them and bought others in the past, but this book is definitely a winner and will make you feel like a winner, too.
Very practical!, March 28, 2012
By Rachel Aderholdt
Barbara Bingham, a dietitian and master certified life coach, introduces a simple but effective method to healthy living in her book The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy Lifestyle. This does not fall in the category of the dozens of diet books that regurgitate the same ideas of weight loss and cardio fitness. Instead, it revolves around the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen. Kaizen means the practice of small, continuous improvement, and this book helps the reader focus on setting manageleble steps to develop new, healthier habits. The book is packed with practical, effective ideas– such as keeping a notebook, writing positive thoughts, creating goals and milestones, and making lists that are doable. Bingham’s beliefs that “intentional optimism” and holistic balance are the keys to good health are clearly evident in this book, and the reader cannot help but be carried by her enthusiasm. If you are a person looking for a “quick fix” to weight loss or you are searching for a traditional diet book, you probably don’t need to pick this book up. If you are wanting to challenge yourself without stress, and if you want to reprogram your mind to become a more simple and conscientious person who takes their own health into their hands, The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy Lifestyle might just be the answer you’re looking for. It is a refreshing reminder that even though we cannot control many things in our lives, we can take an active role in our health. Why wait for tomorrow? Now is the time to take the first step to wellness!
Kaizen Total Wellness, Florida, September 9, 2011
By H. Mishner, M.D.
This is not only an incredible book but is well written and easy to understand.
Forget fad diets, this is not only safe but requires no special foods or supplements to buy.
Finally, an honest approach to weight loss and better health without a hidden agenda to rip off the public. This is a must read, truly life changing.