Category Archives: Tony’s Tips

As I travel on my journey toward fitness and a healthy me, I’ll share some of the tips and tricks that I find along the way.

Tony’s Tip No.9 — Do One Thing


When you feel overwhelmed…do ONE thing!

health-and-fitness-tips

It is easy to set goals.

It is easy to picture where you want to be in six months or a year.

Saying “I am going to get fit and healthy” is a simple easy thing to do.

ACTUALLY getting there is NOT!

So, when you feel overwhelmed; when the number on the scale seems stuck; when you’re down, blue, not motivated and everything seems impossible…

Do ONE Thing…

Just one.  One POSITIVE thing.

It doesn’t matter what “thing” you do.  Bend over a pick up a sock and put it in the hamper.

Look at that unmade bed and straighten out the pillows.  Or pull the comforter or bedspread out flat to cover the mess.

Wash your face.

Empty the wastebasket in your office, bedroom, or bathroom.

Feed the kitty a few treats.  (And no, you can’t have any of the treats!)

Because when you do ONE Thing…

DO-ONE-THING

Doing the SECOND thing is easier…

I am not a neat person.

After 53 years of life, I accept that, even though I actually a “place for everything” — “everything” will NEVER be in its place.

At least not all at the same time.

My life is filled with clutter.  My outward living space often reflects my inner thoughts where I bound from one thing to another to another to another, leaving a trail of creative chaos in my wake.

Some would argue that the chaos is not so creative; don’t listen to them.

Few would deny, however, that it is entertaining!

Squirrel!

Therefore, my “One Thing” often is something to do with cleaning…

Given that my home is usually a mess, for me, the “one thing” is usually a bit of neatening or straightening or cleaning.

Everyone is different.  Your “one thing” might be putting on a piece of music.  Or entering ONE check into your check register.  Or it might be filling up your 7-day pill organizer with this week’s medications.

Or…taking the dog for a walk.

Or…mailing a birthday card to a loved one.

Or…adding an item to the “shopping list” on the refrigerator door.  Or…

It doesn’t really matter WHAT you do as long as you do SOMETHING!

Minion and Money - Just one step awayIt has got to be a “positive” thing.  Take a step. Any Step.  It is that first step that is the most important one.  And it does NOT have to be a big step.

Step #1 is always the hardest, so make it a teeeeeeennnny tiny thing!  Make sure that you can succeed when you take that tiny step.  Do that tiny “one thing.”

Do something that you KNOW you can do….because who knows, when taking a step, just where any step might lead?

One thing I can promise you is that doing that one thing, WILL lead to doing another, which will lead to another.  IF…

…after you pick up that sock and toss it in the dirty clothes hamper, you do a mini-celebration.  After all you DESERVE IT!

You just girded your loins!  You mustered your gumption! You fought against the feeling of battling an overwhelming MOUNTAIN of things yet to be done and you STARTED!  You took a step FORWARD!  You just did SOMETHING good!

Woo Hoo! Yay! YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHAW!

You, my friend, my dearest readers, DESERVE to celebrate! Because…

Depression and other “negative”
feelings are no laughing matter…

Depression (CC)When I am feeling “depressed” it usually manifests in one of two ways:

  1. A feeling of futility or hopelessness
    ..
    OR less frequently as:
    ..
  2. Anger. — Which according to the articles I’ve read is VERY typical for men battling depression.For some reason that scientists can’t quite figure out yet, men suffering from depression often are more on edge, stressed, likely to explode over minor things.

Do a quick Google Search on “Depression in Men.”  The information is easy to find.

Doing SOMETHING positive for myself…

…no matter how small.  How “tiny” in the grand scheme of things.  Makes me feel better.

Upward SpiralThere is actual real science behind this simple idea.  Google “Feedback Loops” — they can be either negative or positive.

By doing one “good / positive” thing you are halting a negative feedback loop and turning it into a positive feedback loop!

And that’s the key.  With that teeeeeeeeeeny tiny step.  With one SMALL action. You are breaking a negative cycle.

Ooooooooooooohhhhhhh!!!  AAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Yes, dearest readers, from your sounds of approval, I see that you are now amazed at my clever insights. 😉

Seriously, it really is that simple.  Not easy, no, but simple!

HOWEVER… you have to do the “celebration” part

Make a game of it.

And if you get silly and start laughing at yourself or if your kids or grand kids are present, then don’t worry they will start laughing right along with you! And you’ll be firmly on that positive feedback loop, putting negativity behind you.

Picture this:

Me.  Gloomy.  Not motivated.  Overwhelmed.  Hopeless.  Feeling like that it is all pointless.  Why even bother?  Who cares if I’ve lost over 40 lbs!  I still have over a 100 lbs to go!  It is impossible.  I’ve set my sights too high.  I’ll never get there.  sigh

There are too many hurdles. It is hopeless.  Then, bored, I scroll through Facebook, looking at all my friends living wonderful lives filled with fun, love, and skinny-ness.  SIGH

HUGE heavy friggin’ SIGH….

Then.

[ insert the theme music from Jaws — dum dum dum dum dum DUM DUM DUM DUM! ]

dirty-sockThere. On the floor.  I spot my enemy!  A foul sock!  Out of place!  Dirty.  Used.  And offending my latent OCD!

I leap out of my chair!

[ Ok, ok, I painfully push myself up out of my chair with a groan. ]

I spear the sock with my steely gaze and speak “Ah foul sock, enemy of tidiness and cleanliness and all things that my Mom said I should do…

Your. Days. Are. Numbered!!!!”

And I imagine a tiny fearful squeaky sock voice whimpering and quivering in abject fear of my rightful wrath!

And I bend over and carefully pick the sock up while dramatically holding my nose with one hand and pinching the smallest amount of sock between two fingers of the other hand.

I turn my head away in a dramatic swoop of the neck worthy of an Oscar and in my best Diva Voice say “I have you now!”

And off to the bathroom we go.  [Where we studiously ignore the mess in the bathroom] and deposit the foul beast into captivity with its brethren in the dirty clothes hamper.

Notice we are using the Royal “We!”?  snort giggle ROFL @ myself  This is FUN!

Now we celebrate…

Happy Dance SMALLWe start doing that circle in the air thing with our fists as we dance back to the bedroom chanting “Uh-huh!  Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Then with a couple of fist pumps we chant

“We did it!  We picked up a sock! 

We did it!  WHOSE da man?!?  WhoseYerDaddy!?!

Then I collapse in a fit of giggles back into the desk chair in the bedroom.

And TAH DAH!  I feel better…

Even if you drop all the dramatics.  The simple act of doing one “positive” or “good for you” or “improving yourself or your environment” thing can trigger a cascade of more positive things.

And, in complete seriousness, when you are down in the dumps, fighting against that awful feeling of hopelessness…

…sometimes picking up a single sock and putting it away is a monumental achievement.

It deserves to be celebrated.

So…do…one…thing.  And celebrate.  You can do this!

See ya on the dance floor!

 

Insurance Lessons Learned


…In the School of Hard Knocks

david vs goliath corpBecause right now I’m doing a lot of insurance related things I thought I’d share some “tips” drawn from my own experiences.

Disclaimer:  EVERYBODY is different. I believe these tips to apply to most people but you need to double check when applying them to your own situation.

None of this stuff is new, there are tons of sites out on the Interwebz that can tell you this stuff…

HOWEVER…  whatcha get here is proof that those “tips” — well these “tips” actually do produce results.  I’ve “been there” and “done that” and have the battle scars to prove it.

So, hopefully my experience can help you minimize the pain of dealing with insurance companies whose primary goal is to make money.

You gotta know the rules

My personal experience has shown me that “Insurance companies are NOT your friends“.  Insurance companies are not there to make you healthy or to get you healthy.

They are there to make money. They are a BUSINESS and the less that you use your insurance, the MORE money they make.

Which seems counter productive from the view point of us folks who NEED the medical services.  The insurance company will say “NO” unless they are required by law or by contract to say “yes”.

Don’t misunderstand me — I am not advocating that you try to stick it to the insurance companies and rack up unneeded medical costs.  That is called “fraud” and will get you in trouble.  But what I am saying is that if you and your doctor think you need it then make the insurance company do EVERYTHING it is obligated to do.

Insurance companies are restricted by laws and by the contract to which you agree when you buy the policy.  But they are counting on your ignorance to not utilize all of your benefits.

And they do NOT make it easy to figure out exactly what you can get.  sigh

To protect yourself, you will need two VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS:

  1. Your Policy Handbook — This is your contract with your insurance company. It has TONS of information about your benefits under the policy and sometimes has forms and/or procedural information.  Often, near the front is a “summary chart” that gives you the basics of your policy including Out of Pocket Maximums, Copay information for doctors and drugs
  2. Your Drug Formulary — This is a list of the drugs which are covered or not covered under your policy and the level at which they are covered.  Prices and coverage vary from plan to plan even within the same company.  (see the above disclaimer)

Often these are available online either as a webpage or as a PDF file.  The Drug Formulary is often available as a searchable interface online.

Save EVERYTHING!!!!

Save a copy of every email sent and received.  EVERYTHING!!!!

Why?

Read the rest of this entry

Tony’s Tip No.8 — Do Life! not “exercise”!


Incorporate “movement” into your life…

health-and-fitness-tips

Some of my “tips” are ones that I actually come up with myself.

Some of the “tips” I share here are ones that come to me from various “Health & Ftness motivational” lists that I’ve signed up with at Walgreens, WebMD, my health insurance company, a website called “RealAge” and a few others.

The tips come to me as tweets or emails.

I got this one a couple days ago. . .

Do at least one active lifestyle activity this week.  Try working in the yard, washing the car. Walking to do an errand or cleaning.

. . .and my reaction was:

“DUH!”

Hey, I realize that Read the rest of this entry

Tony’s Tip No.7 — Learn about your Metabolism


The Truth About Metabolism “Fun Quiz”

health-and-fitness-tips

I subscribe to several “tip lists” and this one showed up in my inbox today from WebMD.

The Truth about Metabolism Quiz

It is a fun mini-quiz that asks you a series of questions.

After you Uhmmmmm. . .

. . . “guess” at the correct answer…  Did I say “guess”  ahem

I meant to say, “answer based on your in depth knowledge of all things healthy, a short explanation appears with valuable information about your Metabolism.  Woot!

My score on the metabolism Quiz

I scored 15 out of 15 correctly!  100%  Who da man?  Uh-huh!  Uh-huh!  Uh-huh!  Woot!

And…  I STILL learned stuff! 

For example I learned WHY experts recommend the “eat six times a day” approach!

Woot!  Nope… not gonna tell you here.  You need to go take the quiz.

[wicked grin]

Ok, ok,  I’ll tell ya…  ’cause if you “…going too long between meals can slow metabolic rate. That’s why experts recommend eating a small healthy meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours. ”

I encourage you to check out WebMD if you are not familiar with it.

To date I have found their information to be balanced and reliable.  Which is tough to do when it comes to health and fitness.  Especially since the information is constantly changing.

See ya on the dance floor!

 

Tony’s Tip No.6 — Count your steps


Simply “walking” is a good starting point!

health-and-fitness-tips

Humans are built to walk.  As in on two legs, bipedal in an upright position.

It is, in fact, according to some National Geographic and Discovery Channel and NPR documentaries that I’ve watched recently the one of very things that makes us human and makes us a distinct species and different from our nearest cousins the Chimpanzee and the Bonobo.

So, when I got a text from one of the several “send me fitness tips” places about “walking and setting step goals” — I burst out laughing!  Literally!  LAUGHED – OUT – LOUD

AFTER I calmed down and wiped the tears from my eyes, I thought two things:

  1. These people need get out from behind their computer screens and look at the real world and…
  2. This would be a great “Tony’s Tip” post!

Here is the quote that set me off:

A good step goal is 10,000 steps per day.  For weight loss work up to 12,00-15,000 steps per day.

GWAUF!  BWHAhahahahahahaha  LOL! 

Yeh, right.  Folks, after reading that, NOT so helpful tip, I did a poor-man’s research study as in “Google search.”

Right at the top of the search results,  I found this tidbit from a column I trust, in the New York Times”:

“A person is typically considered sedentary if they take less than 5,000 steps per day.” The study also showed that American men, with an average daily step count of 5,340, are moving more than women, who averaged only 4,912 steps a day.”

And, no, I will NOT tell you what my step count is right now.  We’ll simply say that it is below 5,000 steps.  SIGH

SO… the idea of setting a goal of “10,000 steps, Sweet Baby Jesus Help Me, (Tonya, that was just for you – GRIN) OR worse, Read the rest of this entry

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