Tag Archives: Health

resolutions

Resolutions: Commitment vs. Interest

It’s the time of year when optimism strikes anew and we think to ourselves, “My New Year’s resolutions will totally work out this time!” Our intentions are good, right? We want to make meaningful changes in our life and January 1st seems to make the most sense as the place to start with all the promises and possibilities a new year brings. Besides, everyone else is doing it.

So we get inspired, energized, and ready to drop the bad habits and build some good ones. There are about 50+ apps out there to help you achieve any resolution you come up with. But the bigger question is whether you are committed or just interested?

People committed to fitness during Get Fit, our annual day of free classes.

People committed to fitness during Ballet Austin’s Get Fit event: our annual day of free classes.

Interest vs. Commitment

It’s easy to be interested in a lot of things. But how do we move beyond interest? To begin with, make sure you understand the difference between interest and commitment.

  • Interest reads an article or blog post; commitment applies that post to each day.
  • Interest works on a new hobby, improving yourself, or eating healthier when it is convenient, easy, or fun; commitment is a priority, is being proactive and looking for ways to make it work!
  • Interest procrastinates; commitment focuses on what’s important today and does it.
  • Interest makes excuses; commitment constantly looks for new ways and solutions, and won’t take “no” for an answer.

Now ask yourself: Are you committed? Or just interested?

Life change and growth requires more than mere interest. It requires a decision, determination, and ongoing dedication. It is your promise to yourself that you will not give up on you! So are you ready to go all out? Are you ready to fully commit yourself to achieving what you have resolved for 2016?

Check your Mindset

PILATES-DETAIL-2

Get on the wagon… or Pilates reformer. Don’t let new activities intimidate you!

Success, in any aspect of life, starts with your mindset. You must make the decision at your core to hold nothing back. Take a good look at your life and decide that nothing is going to stand in your way of achieving something new or changing a habit in your life. If you’re going to commit yourself to your resolution, it’s got to be something that you truly value; not what others think you should do. Your state of mind at the beginning of this journey is key.

Refine and Define Your Goals

I’’s hard to commit yourself to something if your finish line is a nebulous point in the distance. Plenty of resolutions fail because it can be overwhelming to think about doing something for the rest of your life, even the rest of a year.

Instead of “be healthy in 2016”, be specific about what your goals are and what you want the ultimate outcome to be. Determine what you want, how to get there, and how long you plan on dedicating to reach your destination. Consider some of the unhealthy habits you have now, and think about which of those you may want to change. Or is there something you would like to learn, or accomplish? Be specific.

Daily Resolve

Be positive in your goals.

Be positive and commit to your goals daily.

Regrettably, having a clearly defined end-goal isn’t enough to keep you going. Initial enthusiasm slowly begins to fade as time presses on. In fact, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

Once you know how you want to change/learn/grow, begin to put steps together to get there. Daily resolve. Daily commit. At the beginning of each week, write down your top goals for the next 7 days. At the beginning of each day remind yourself what has to happen on that day, and before you go to bed each night, check to see you’ve completed that task. Your mind needs daily reminders of your goals.

The key to staying motivated is finding both enjoyment and achievement along the way. When it’s fun,  we feel we have conquered something; when there is a reward, we gain the edge.

Gather Supporters

Having fun is key! Plenty of like-minded people during Get Fit 2016 event.

Having fun is key! Plenty of like-minded people during Get Fit 2016 event.

Tell others what you are doing. Tell them to ask you about it and encourage you! Surround yourself with like-minded people; people who support what you are striving for and people who are also heading in the same direction. You will meet them at the running trail, the gym, and in a dance class.

And don’t forget to record your progress with photos, journaling, social media, or anything else that gives you motivation and a sense of progress. Celebrate the milestones.

Go easy on yourself

Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time, but don’t allow that to be a deterrent to reaching your end-goal. There are occasional detours and hazards of the road. Treat these as temporary setbacks, rather than failures or a reason to give up completely. So eat that cookie or enjoy a lazy afternoon, and then get back on track! After all, your committed, not just interested.

8 Tips

8 Tips For A Healthier Holiday

By Vicki Parsons, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness Director

During this busy season of crazy schedules—holiday shopping, baking, decorating, family gatherings and celebratory meals—I have a tough time sticking to my healthy eating habits. In fact, eating healthy during the holidays sometimes seems like an impossible challenge. All around me I’m faced with delicious sweets, gift baskets filled with yummy cheeses and meats, rich egg nog drinks, and platters overflowing with fattening foods. Can you blame me when faced with these temptations? Chances are you can’t blame me. In fact, you probably join me!

Most of us utter some form of “I’ll start eating healthy again in the New Year,” and then we proceed to stuff ourselves from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. We’re uncomfortably full. Most of us don’t pile our plate like that on a regular day, but during the holidays it would be rude not to try every dish, so pass the pie please!

Blame The Brain?

Research has shown that our brains can easily override our bodies’ signals to stop eating, even when we know the consequences will be unpleasant. While one incredibly heavy meal won’t make us fat, it can make us terribly uncomfortable. It’s harder to breath, we’re drowsy, bloated and gassy, irritable, and even sick. Blame the brain? Maybe. When we’re stuffed with comforting food our brain triggers a warm feeling inside. It’s actually comes from a primal instinct to eat a lot as often as we can, preparing us for hard times when food might not be as easily available: like the squirrels storing up for the winter. The real bummer is that our brain rewards us for it by releasing pleasure chemicals. A recent study suggested that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin!

So now that we know all of this, how can we fight against our body and brain taking over our eating habits during this holiday season? First off, simply knowing this will help. Be aware of not only the challenge of more parties and extra food, but also how the brain and body respond to it all.

Tips For A Healthier Holiday

Besides paying attention the brain body responses, follow some of these tips:

Don't skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning!

Don’t skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning!

  1. You don’t have to quit “cold turkey” all the savory holiday foods. Remind yourself that you don’t have to overindulge everyday. Decide to eat as healthy as possible on most days, and then give yourself the “go-ahead” to enjoy a few of your favorite foods throughout the month… guilt-free!
  2. Now is probably not a good time to go on a diet. Instead of trying to shed extra pounds during the holiday season, focus on maintaining your current weight.
  3. Stop making food your number one thought. There are some yummy foods we wait all year to consume, but instead of focusing on what’s going to be part of the spread, think about the company you keep, the conversations, the traditions, and the good times. Don’t make it only about the food, make it about the people.
  4. Grill, roast, and bake as often as you can. Go light on the creams and gravies.
  5. Don’t put all the food on the table. When we have to get up for a serving we traditionally eat less.
  6. Eat before you eat! Seriously! Maybe not right before, but the tendency on holidays is to starve in preparation for the big feast. Don’t deprive yourself before your Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch (unless your feast is at noon), enjoy your usual in-between snacks throughout the day, and come to the table like you would on any other day. If you show up at dinner starving, you’ll be more likely to overeat and your body will have a harder time digesting the heavy meal.
  7. Take time to savor your food on your days to indulge. Pace yourself, chew slowly, and enjoy each bite. Make each bite smaller and put your fork down once in a while to chew and talk with the other people at the table. It actually takes time for your body to realize it’s full, so the slower you eat, the more likely you will be to stop before you are over full.
  8. Continue to stay active during the holiday season. Not only does physical activity relieve the added stress of the holidays, it will give you the motivation to eat healthy when it’s not party time. Even if you’re significantly busier this month, don’t skip your workouts. Beyond burning calories, a workout can boost your mood for up to 12 hours; a much-needed perk during this hectic season. Get creative to keep moving your body. Walk the Trail of Lights, walk through a decorated neighborhood, bundle up for a fun game of Frizbee, or take the dog for a walk!

 

 

Stay Active

Enjoy the months ahead, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals when you can, watch portion sizes, don’t restrict yourself from enjoying some of your favorite holiday foods, and stay as active as you can. Most importantly, don’t forget that the holidays are for celebrating with family and friends.

And if you totally blow it? Join us January 10 for our Annual GetFit! Day.

Happy Holiday’s From Ballet Austin!

Iconic Thriller Re-awakens “The Dancing” Dead

By Guest Blogger, Laura Bond Williams, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness member

In 2008, and Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance & Fitness had re-awakened me to the possibilities of becoming a dancer—at age 38. That fall I took a thrilling step forward as a dancer and performer when I joined 800+ other local dancers to participate in “Thrill the World” at the Long Center, joining tens of thousands of movers worldwide to set a Guinness World Record for simultaneously dancing Thriller. That experience—and several more over the last seven years—are why I appreciate and celebrate Thriller as a way for people to connect with their bodies, channel their creativity and claim dance for themselves.

thrill-the-world-tibbygirl

Image from 2008’s Thrill the World at the Long Center. Photo Credit tibbygirl via Flickr CC.

That day, lying flat and “playing dead” on the warm concrete plaza of our city’s performing arts center, we waited for the opening notes and footsteps that mark the beginning of Michael Jackson’s legendary song. Together—women and men of all ages and races—we slowly rose to life, our bodies play-fighting against gravity. Acting our roles as stumbling, bumbling living dead, rising from our graves and ready to…dance. Thriller’s famous fanfare brings us to our feet, and we stare straight ahead, enlivened by the music. The beat drops, and we walk, slowly. Right. Pause. Left. Pause. Right. Pause. Left. Pause.

One of my favorite Broadway dance teachers often quips “if you can walk, you can dance.” (Please note: walking is not even a prerequisite for dancing, as beautiful dance troupes such as Austin’s Body Shift dancers demonstrate.) As we stumbled right-left-right-left across the Long Center plaza, I realized this truth: when we are moved by music, we are dancing.

If you were alive and young in 1984, then Thriller connects your present body to your past. Perhaps you watched Friday night music videos while sitting next to your VCR, waiting for the Thriller video to air so you could tape it and watch it over and over. Thirty-one years later, Thriller still stirs the same reactions.

But you don’t have to be middle-aged to be excited by Thriller. This year, I taught Thriller to a group of young dancers, and we performed it at as a flash mob at an Alamo Drafthouse movie theatre. I gave them only two pieces of advice on costumes: Find some mud and some blood, and if your costume is too clean or too cute, it’s not a zombie.

People of all ages dressing as zombies for Thriller. Photo Credit

People of all ages at Ballet Austin dressed as zombies for Thriller. Photo Credit Laura Bond Williams

These 9–13-year-olds—and many of their parents—channeled ghastly princess and cheerleader zombies and night-of-the-living-dead zombies in white t-shirts, flannel and jeans, drizzled in dirt, leaves, mud and fake blood.

For adults, learning and performing Thriller is a way for us to claim our identity as dancers. For most of us “flash mobbers,” our identity as dancer may fall behind our roles as spouses, parents, and/or professionals. But the identity is no less dear. Last month I met a successful nonprofit executive whose career is a model and inspiration for many. Our conversation spanned many personal and professional subjects, and when we touched on the topic of dance, we went to a whole new shared space and she shared with me that she was starting Ballet Austin’s Thriller workshop. Her enthusiasm and excitement for tackling this iconic dance was palpable.

Photo Credit Laura Bond Williams

Photo Credit Laura Bond Williams

In less than six minutes—from a creaky door to an evil cackle—Thriller brings us back to life, living in our bodies, channeling our creativity and declaring our love of dance. As Vincent Price reminds us in rap: “For whosoever shall be found without the soul for getting down, may stand and face the hounds of hell and rot inside a corpse’s shell.”

Ballet Austin offers Thriller workshops every year! And with Halloween around the corner… Go ahead dancers. Thrill the world.