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How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2020

Is this a year you’re going to make your dreams happen?

Watch this video and I’ll show you how you can stick to your new year’s resolutions this year.

Hi, it’s Ivana.

If you want to make sure that those resolutions are going to stick this year, I’ve got just the tips you need. I’m an online fitness and nutrition coach and I help people reach their fitness and health goals.

I’m going to do this video so you can achieve any goals that you’ve got in mind for 2020.

Make sure you watch to the end because I’m going to share my goals for 2020 and what I plan to do to make sure that I stick to them.

Keep Your New’s Year’s Resolutions by Prioritizing

My first tip is to prioritize. Now, this probably won’t be the year when you lose weight. Set a personal best in the deadlift. Write a book, run a marathon, learn a new language, learn a new musical instrument and visit 10 countries.

But it can be the year that you do one or two of those things. Maybe three last year I put off writing a book which has been on my resolution list over and over and over again because I didn’t think it was a priority.

Instead I redid my website (ivanachapman.com) and I started this YouTube channel, which I’m super excited about. I also worked on my Czech language skills cause that was really important to me. And I started learning piano, which has been on my list for a long time.

So it’s a few things. I could have had a few more on there, but I wouldn’t have gotten everything done if I didn’t prioritize.

Decide what really matters to you, what’s important.

What will make you happy? What’s gonna make you feel fulfilled if you finish it by the end of this year?

Make sure you choose something that really speaks to you.

Track Your Progress

The next one is track your progress.

You want to do a weekly and monthly check in with yourself about your progress on your particular goal.

If you don’t keep track, you’re not going know where you are. You’re going to feel that your motivation starts to wane. So look at it every week and every month.

Decide where you are, what you could be doing differently.

Can you improve or are you progressing at a good rate?

So evaluate, take a look at least every week and then every month.

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Keep Your New Year’s Resolution By Rewarding Yourself

My next tip is reward yourself. Having an incentive can greatly increase your chances of reaching your goal. Just make sure that your reward is somehow in line with the goal that you have in mind. So don’t reward yourself with an all you can eat buffet. As soon as you lose your first pound, if weight loss is your goal, uh, maybe you a few are striving for weight loss and you lose let’s say five or 10 pounds, maybe you can buy yourself some new workout clothes to make that experience a little bit more enjoyable or wireless headset or something, something that sense and helps promote your steps towards that goal.

Be Accountable To Someone

My next tip for making your new year’s resolution stick is to be accountable to someone. Make that goal public. Tell your family, tell your friends, and now it’s an on Facebook, whatever it takes to solidify that goal, get it out there and make you have a stronger commitment to it. It’s also important to have either an accountability partner or a coach, someone who can really be there in that journey with you. When things get tough, they’re going to help push you along and they’re going to track and monitor your progress as well. So make sure that you have someone guiding you through and holding you accountable.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions By Finding A Strong Reason

Now here’s one that a lot of people miss and that’s find a strong reason. Although it’s great to just want to lose weight for the sake of your health or to look a little bit better. It’s not really that strong a reason, so you need to find something very specific to you that’s going to turn off the notch, kind of increase the intensity of why you want to achieve this school.

Maybe there’s someone you want to impress. Maybe you want to be a great role model for your children.

I’ll tell you what happened with me in terms of learning Czech, which is the language of the country where I was born (the Czech Republic). I had stopped speaking it when I was four years old when I went to school and I was only speaking English because I’m here in Canada. And I decided when I would knew I was going to have a child that I wanted to speak that language with my child. So I started learning check again using some apps on the computer and trying to get back to that language again. And my main motivator was so that I could speak with my child pretty much five years along the line. And we’re a little bit further down now. I now know that I can speak that language a lot better and I’m also still trying to improve.

Now my son is pretty much bilingual and he’s able to speak to my grandmother. So his great grandmother who doesn’t speak any English.

That for me is a really powerful reason for learning that language. That’s what’s kept me going through the language learning process.

Modify Your Goals As Needed

My last tip for keeping your resolutions this year is modify your goals as needed. Don’t feel that you need to stick to that commitment, even though it doesn’t make sense for you anymore. So the year is just an arbitrary marker. It doesn’t really mean anything. You can start your goal anytime. It doesn’t really matter if the goal that you’ve made for yourself at the start of the year no longer make sense for you, then modify it, change it completely. Go for something else that you’ve decided is more important. Remember that things can change at any point along the year. So don’t be afraid of starting new goals and achieving things throughout the year.

My New Year’s Resolutions For 2020

Now I’m going to share my new year’s resolutions this year so I can put them out there in a public place and people will know about them and that’s will solidify that goal for me. So I’ve got a couple of them.

The first one is that I’m going to work on French. I’m from Canada, but I only did a few years of French in school. I’m very much a beginner when it comes to French. My niece who is nine years old has been in French immersion for a few years. I would really like to be able to communicate with her in French.

That’s my reason for trying to pursue the language. Again, I’m really enjoying learning Czech as well, so I’m going to continue with that as I try to learn French.

The other goal I have is to improve my skiing and skating. So that’s something that I do with my son and with my husband. We really enjoy that as a family. I want to get a bit more skilled at those things. We’re going to go more often.

We’ve got some skis this year, so I’m really excited about that. That means there’s going to be a lot more skiing and we’re going to do a lot more skating.

Those are the goals I have for this year.

Please do share whatever your new year’s resolutions are. If you have any. And if you don’t, please tell me why you haven’t made any resolutions. And if it just doesn’t make sense for you, cause that’s okay too. Let me know in the comments below.

Ivana Chapman

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The Only 7 Resolutions You Need To Make For 2018

Are you ready to make the big leap?

In the past few years, I’ve done the standard blog post to help guide you through the process of making effective resolutions. I’ve also identified common mistakes that people make with new year’s resolutions. I wanted to do something a little different this year, which I hope you find equally useful. While the specific new year’s resolutions you make are totally up to you, there are overarching themes that should also be part of your success plan for the year.

If you’re contemplating how you want things to look for you in 2018, here are seven guidelines to get you started:

1) Stop Feeling Guilty

Whether it’s eating something that wasn’t on your nutrition plan for the day or skipping a workout because of a concert you really wanted to go to, it’s not worth beating yourself up over it. Feeling guilty tends to make you adopt the “Screw it, why bother?” mentality that totally blows your plans.

And being down on yourself just means you feel BAD. Have you ever felt like overeating when you were feeling really bad about yourself?

Yup, me too!

Guilt is counterproductive to what you want to do. So realize that you’re not perfect and that you’ll make some mistakes along the way. Don’t dwell on it. Move on and keep pressing forward.

2) Quit Dieting And Learn How To EAT Effectively For Your Goals

Severely restricting your calorie intake, or eliminating certain foods because some online “nutrition expert” tells you they’re bad, isn’t necessary. Restricting some foods can be useful if you’re allergic or suspect you might be intolerant to something (it’s always best to investigate intolerances under professional supervision), but for most people it’s not necessary for fat loss or optimal health.

No one substance, whether it’s dairy or wheat or carbs or tomatoes, will cause an increase in fat stores all on its own.

By the same token, no magical food or supplement will create significant fat loss by itself.

So what’s the real solution to losing fat?

Get your calories and carbs in line with your genetics, current body fat percentage, and activity level. Make sure that you get adequate protein on a daily basis to help your muscles recover and grow.

Many popular diets, by restricting certain calorie-dense foods, automatically reduce your calorie intake. And that’s the real reason they work. So learn how to eat properly and stop going on and off different diets.

3) Get Help When You Need It

Being accountable to someone is an important part of succeeding with a goal. The reason I created my Lean365 online membership program is so people can be part of a supportive group that’s working on achieving the same thing – a lean lifestyle. The membership program is on my website, and you could go through the process on your own if you really want to, but the private Facebook Group provides the additional benefit of accountability. That’s what many people are missing when they’re trying to get lean.

I’ve used similar groups to help me with my business goals and I can tell you that they’ve always been worth the money I’ve spent.

People who are successful with their goals have others around them when they need support. Be willing to say that you don’t know everything and that someone else may be able to guide you through the process more effectively.

Many people do well when they first set their goal, but start to stumble a few weeks or months into it. That’s why many people have a history of yo-yo dieting and weight fluctuations of 10-15 pounds.

Consistency is key. When things get tough, you’ll have someone to give you a nudge in the right direction again. When you’re on a roll, the combined force of you and your accountability partners will be indestructible.

4) Let The Past Go

Maybe you didn’t follow through on last year’s resolutions.

Have you tried to get leaner before…and failed?

Or maybe you succeeded…and then lost your momentum and things went backward.

Whatever you’ve been through up until this point is fine, but don’t let it hold you back.

I’m not saying that you should never look backwards. Of course it’s worthwhile to learn from your mistakes and use them to figure out a more productive strategy.

I used to keep files, first written and later on my computer, with my goals from previous years. Every year I’d go back and try to update them, but I’ve found it a bit depressing. I still haven’t seen the pyramids in Egypt and I haven’t been to Bali, which I believe I was supposed to do by 2015. There’s also the motorcycle licence I’ve been planning to get since I graduated from university, and the race car driving course which has been in the works for a couple of years.

One year I’d even gone all Anthony Robbins when I was doing acting and modelling (2004 or so…) and made a 5-year plan that included winning an Oscar, or some other nonsensical goal for a beginning actor. There were a few other things in there that would make my heart feel heavy to read. I mean, I didn’t achieve them so were the last dozen or so years of my life a complete waste?

No way!

Our plans change as we grow as people over time. I’ve done a lot of things I hadn’t planned on doing and the choices I’ve made were right for me at the time. In some cases, I haven’t been the best I could be. I haven’t put in the effort I should have to get to where I wanted to be. Either way, I have to let it go and try to do better now.

Deleting those old goals from my computer lets me decide what I really want now with fresh eyes. Think carefully about what you want, make plans, and be prepared to make some changes along the way.

5) Find A Powerful Reason WHY You Want To Achieve Your Goal

I’ve been trying to learn to play keyboards for about 6 or 7 years. I’ve started many times, practiced a bit, and just let it go (despite the keyboards still sitting in my living room). In truth, learning the keyboard is hard. It takes regular daily practice and it just isn’t that much of a priority for me.

My other goal, learning to speak Czech, my mother tongue that I stopped speaking when I was 5 years old, has gone a lot better.

Why?

I started to learn it with an online program while I was pregnant with my son, with the intention of teaching it to him. Since he was born, I’ve been speaking to him in Czech and he now has a pretty solid vocabulary for a 3 and a half year old. As he’s gotten older, I’ve had to increase my vocabulary to keep up with his increased sophisticated speech. I’m also really proud that he was able to communicate with my 87-year-old grandmother, who doesn’t speak English, when she was visiting Canada for several months this year.


Quality time between my Babi and her great-gr
andson

A strong reason for learning or doing something is very effective.

If you tell yourself you want to lose ten pounds, but the best reason you can come up with is to fit into your jeans from high school, then you’ll probably give up sooner rather than later. You need to have a strong reason, and preferably a lot of powerful reasons, for achieving your goal. Want to get stronger and fitter so you can go skiing or snowboarding with your kids? Maybe you want to lower your blood pressure so you can avoid the heart attacks that run in your family.

Any reason that fills you with a burning desire is a good one.

6) Don’t Expect Perfection

Whatever resolution you make, expect to experience some obstacles along the way. You may get injured or sick, which sidetracks your workout regime and makes you lose motivation. You may have a couple more beers than you planned and eat the greasy food you weren’t planning to eat. You may have a tough emotional time or extra stress at work and your goal doesn’t seem as important anymore.

Things won’t be exactly as you want them to be. Very rarely do things go exactly according to plan.

Forgive yourself, do what it takes to get back on track, and keep moving forward.

7) Be Brave And Bold

Whatever you’re planning to do, go for it with all you’ve got. Do things that scare you. Put yourself out there in places you fear going.Be reasonable, of course. No one’s telling you to sky dive without a parachute or climb Mount Everest without training. But if you’re scared of public speaking, what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll suck and some people will laugh? Big deal. The consequences are a lot more serious when you sky dive without essential equipment.

Ok, I said be brave, NOT stupid!

Most of the progress we make comes when we’re outside of our comfort zone. If you’re not sure how to get the most of your time in the gym, get some sessions with a coach so that you do things the right way (and yes, my online coaching could help!). If you’d love to try martial arts, but you’re too intimidated to go to classes, then get an adventurous friend to come with you.

The fear is greatest when you’re thinking about the thing that worries you. Once you get in there with your most positive and bold attitude, you’ll find it a whole lot easier.

What Do You Want 2018 To Be?

With the passing years, I’ve learned to simplify my goals and focus on what’s most important.

You can achieve a lot in your lifetime. You can’t, however, learn 3 languages, read 1000 books, learn to play piano and violin, AND start a new business on top of your day job in one year. So set priorities (I recommend your health and fitness!) and focus on the things that are really important to you right now.

Don’t worry about your failures. Learn from them, as well as your successes, and put in the best effort you can. That way you’ll be ready to dive into 2018 and be successful, rather than drowned by the weight of unrealistic new year’s expectations. Because your goals are within your reach this year if you use the right strategy.

Ivana Chapman

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Building Lean Muscle Without Adding Bulk

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Are you aiming for a lean, athletic look like this one?

The whole idea of “lean muscle” is really a bit silly, when you think about it.

Muscle is either there or it’s not there, in its various sizes.

When people say they want to build lean muscle (and I hear this ALL THE TIME, from both men and women), they mean that they want to build muscle and reduce their overall fat levels.

Body composition, my friends, is what it’s all about.

And I totally get what people mean.

They want muscle.

They want to see it, without a layer of body fat on top  of it.

The traditional bodybuilder in the off-season is probably the source of this desire/fear:

IFBB Pro Gunter Schlierkamp with his “off-season” lookbodybuilder-lean-muscle

Yup, this guy has lots of muscle, but it’s obscured by a layer of fat and his ab development isn’t visible (although they’re definitely there underneath).

There are a couple things that you need to be aware of.

A professional bodybuilder is the extreme of the muscle spectrum.

They maximize their muscle mass for the purpose of competition and take around 3-6 months to gradually drop the fat so that they have impressive levels of both muscle and extremely low body fat as well.

Performance-enhancing drugs, including testosterone and growth hormone are involved, to get that large amount of muscle and then reduce body fat.

What does that mean for YOU?

Let’s say you’re looking to put on some muscle naturally and get lean.

Don’t fear putting on too much muscle “bulk” by pushing your muscles with adequate intensity (that’s the weight you’re lifting) and volume (how many sets and reps you do over the course of a workout and over the week).

Most people won’t build muscle easily and it will take time to see progress.

You’re not just going to blow up like a big muscular balloon after a few training sessions!

Sometimes when I hear the “lean muscle” argument from the skinny guy at the gym I just want to groan.

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Trust me dude, you’re not going to bulk up like a bodybuilder with all those lame body weight exercises and 8 pound bicep curls you’re doing.

Bodybuilders push to extremes for months and years at a time with calculated focus and intensity to get the levels of muscle they achieve.

If you’re training 4, 5 or 6 days a week for an hour you probably won’t be getting “bulky” anytime soon.

Still overdoing it with food when you’re trying to build muscle can have undesirable effects.

In the past, many bodybuilders (and others looking to getting more muscular) ate outrageous amounts of food to maximize their gains, without considering how much additional fat they were adding.

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They didn’t care.

They just wanted to get MASSIVE.

And for those hard-gainers among you, who struggle to put on size, they may be an effective way to add muscle.

You need to force yourself to eat more than you ever have before.

But if you’re the person (male or female) who wants to have a bit more muscle and get leaner in the process then you can train heavy and hard without fear of adding added fat as long as you keep your eating in check.

The key to maintaining leanness as you put on muscle is to carefully monitor what you’re eating.

Add regular weight training and keep eating the same thing and you’ll get more muscular and leaner as your body uses those calories to help the muscle recover and build.

Adjust your nutrition plan so you’re eating a better balance of macros and micronutrients and you’ll speed up both the process of muscle gain and fat loss.

And then you’ll end up with that lean muscle that you’re looking for, without any added bulk.

That lean, athletic look will be yours if you follow the right strategy.

You’ll add plenty of muscle, without that bulky look you’re trying to avoid.

Ivana Chapman

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5 Unhealthy Habits To Stop Doing Now

This one’s a bit obvious, but there are probably some other unhealthy habits you haven’t thought of.

Just coming off a weekend, you can probably think of a few habits you have that aren’t all that healthy. I mean, yeah, it’s not a great idea to drink a bit too much wine or beer, devour a lot of deep fried and/or BBQ’d food, or lie around all day on the couch watching sports. But all those habits are a bit obvious and I barely think they’re worth mentioning.

You know what to do when it comes to the basic things. Drink more water, eat more vegetables, drink alcohol only in moderation (if at all), and workout regularly.

Not very enlightening, right?

So what habits should you give up that will make an impact on your health?

Here are 5 unhealthy habits that can be especially damaging:

1) Feeling guilty about what you’re eating – Whether it’s eating gluten or dairy when it doesn’t agree with you or just succumbing to your favourite treat that doesn’t align with your goals (whether that’s chocolate cake, donuts, french fries, pork pie, or chicken wings), adding guilt to the mix doesn’t do you any favours.

In fact, many people are likely to go on a food “bender” when they feel guilty about their eating.
So skip the guilt and just move on when you haven’t been eating exactly the way you’d like.

2) Not sleeping enough – It almost seems like a badge of honour to say that you only slept 5 or 6 hours…or that’s all you need. People love to bring up examples of successful people who sleep very little and talk about hustling to get what you want. I get it. Sometimes it feels like you’re slacking if you actually get the 7 or 8 hours you need (I personally think 8 and 1/4 would be my ideal).

Sleep, or lack thereof, affects every system in your body. You’ll perform worse at everything you do if you don’t have enough sleep, and you’ll also increase your chances of getting sick and having to take time off.

And not getting enough sleep can significantly increase your appetite and your motivation to eat well.

Prioritize sleep and other things will fall into place easier.

3) Not dealing with stress – Yes, we all face stress. Usually daily. But walking around thinking about how busy are and how much pressure you’re under while saying “everything’s fine” doesn’t help you. Take the time you need to take care of yourself, whether that’s exercise, meditation, or just taking 20 minutes to read a book.

If you don’t deal with stress, your body will fight back, perhaps by making you sick or bringing you chronic anxiety or depression. And chronically high levels of cortisol brought about by stress can actually increase your fat levels, especially belly fat…if you need another reason to motivate yourself to deal with stress.

4) Using food as a reward – You’ve had a tough day at work so it’s time to reward yourself with a giant burger and fries in front of the TV. You just completed a major project so you want to go out and celebrate at your favourite dessert place. Or the worst one, in that it really leads to a longtime battle with fat and a bad relationship with both food and exercise, is rewarding yourself with a massive meal because you hit the gym.

As I raise a 3-year-old, I’m becoming more aware of how early the use of food as a reward begins.

“If you’re good, you’ll get ice cream!”

“If you eat all your dinner, you can have dessert!”

Many of us have internalized those types of comments from our childhoods and turned them into the reason we just can’t seem to stay lean.

Being aware of it is the first step. The next thing you want to do is find other rewards that you can give yourself when you achieve something. Maybe it’s 20 minutes curled up with a book you’ve been dying to read, a new pair of gym shorts, or tickets to a concert (depending on the size of the goal).

5) Not making physical activity part of your day – You make time for an hour at the gym a few times a week so you’re all good, right? Unfortunately not.

Sitting all day at a desk, which the majority of us do, can raise your risk of cardiovascular issues and makes it harder to get lean. If you can, try to walk at least part of the way to work. Get up and take breaks from the computer as much as possible. Take a real lunch break and go outside for a walk.

On the weekends, try to find fun activities to do that don’t involve sitting around. Explore your city, investigate a local market or festival, or go for a hike with your family. Get moving as much as you can.

So as you begin your week, think about the habits that you want to acquire and the ones you want to eliminate.

Keep in mind that it’s all a process.

Take your time and be patient with yourself, but keep working towards the healthy life you want to have.

There’s no better time than now.

Ivana Chapman

P.S. If you want to get lean (and stay lean!) for a lifetime, my Lean365 Online Membership Program can help! $47 a month gets you all the nutrition, exercise, and psychology & lifestyle guidance you need to get the body you want. Check out the details HERE.

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The Life Lesson You Should Never Ignore

There’s something important you need to think about before time runs out.

Today would have been my dad’s 71st birthday. Sadly, he passed away of a sudden heart attack at the age of only 58 over a dozen years ago.

If you’re thinking this is one of those “my dad wasn’t in good shape, died early, and that’s why I’m so passionate about health and fitness” stories, you’d be wrong.

My dad was an athlete all his life, a downhill skier in his youth and a marathoner (with the occasional 10K, duathlon, and triathlon thrown in) in later years. He gave up running in his late 40s (I think) and focussed on weights and karate.

For relaxation, he meditated, did tai chi, and studied Buddhism and Japanese.

With my dad in one of the few photos we have together (this was before digital was common!)

My dad was teaching a karate class for kids when he stopped the sparring session to take a drink. That’s when he collapsed and we’re told his heart stopped. At the time we were told that it was bad genetics and the coroner actually told me that if he didn’t take care of himself as well as he did (eating well and exercising), he might have been gone at 48, rather than 58.

It turns out that the story was a bit more complicated than that.

My dad suffered from ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of arthritis and an autoimmune disease that primarily attacks the lower spine and eventually causes spinal fusion. But AS also causes a general inflammatory state in the body and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The heart’s blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart).

The result, in my dad’s case, was a fatal heart attack.


We didn’t know any of this at the time; it just seemed inexplicable that a man like my dad who appeared to be so healthy and basically had a 6-pack late into his 50s could have a heart attack and die.

Does it make me feel better to know that there was an underlying cause to his early death?

Not particularly.

I’d much rather still have him around to spend time with his grandkids. Still, as a health professional I find it interesting that there are so many things that can be affecting the state of your body.

It’s important to take care of yourself on a day-to-day basis.

Eat the right quantity and quality of food, get to a healthy weight, exercise regularly, sleep adequately, and destress as needed. Deal with any medical issues you have and don’t leave any suspicious ailments uninvestigated.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll live to be 70, 80, 90, or 100 years old, even if you do all the “right” things.

One thing I do know is that if you do follow all those practices, you’ll feel better and look better for whatever amount of years that you’re on this earth.

Living an active, energetic life is its own reward.

Being able to run around with your kids without getting winded or play the same sport you did in high school with energy and enthusiasm is what a satisfying life is all about.

Maybe it means that you finally get your act together, eat right, do weight training regularly, and build the body you’ve always wanted.

Many people grumble about getting older, but it’s a gift to be able to grow older, outpacing other people your age (and even those much younger!) with your energy, strength, and youthful vigor.

I’m a big believer in sucking all the juice out of life that’s possible.

Run, jump, play, travel, and discover new things.

When you start on a fitness journey, it’s often about the initial result you get with your body.

You want to be leaner and look better. Maybe you appreciate being stronger or having bigger biceps.

Eating well, with plenty of protein and vegetables, and strength training 3-5 days a week is the key to building the amazing body that you want.

The added benefit is that you feel stronger and more energetic and able to conquer the inevitable challenges that you face in your daily life.

Yes, you’ll be healthier and probably live a bit longer. What’s more important than adding years to your life through a healthy lifestyle is having a lot more life in your years.

That’s one thing that my dad knew a lot about.

Ivana Chapman

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Why Willpower Sucks And What To Do Instead

Making the right decision with food can be hard.

Don’t we all wish we had a bit more willpower? To be able to turn down those muffins or donuts that someone (EVIL!) brought to the weekly meeting? To be able to head to the gym and do a challenging workout when your favourite team is playing an important game? To stop at one glass of wine and not finish off the bottle with a friend?

Let’s say that willpower (otherwise known as self-control) is the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations to meet long-term goals. You might believe that the reason you haven’t been successful with your fat-loss efforts is because you lack willpower:

“If only I had a bit more self-control around chocolate.”

“If only I had the willpower to wake up a bit earlier and go to the gym instead of hitting the snooze button.”

“If only I could resist the urge to curl up on the couch with a bag of pretzels.”

Sometimes it seems that some people have willpower and some people just don’t…and you probably feel like you’re the type who doesn’t have enough. The truth is, you’re probably no worse off than the next person. The problem is that nobody seems to have all the willpower they need, all the time. If our self-control is destined to fail us, what can we do instead?

Willpower as a Muscle

Let’s look at the problem with willpower first. Think of willpower as a muscle. Willpower can be trained and gets stronger when you use it. Unfortunately, your willpower can also get exhausted and stop working.

Ego depletion is the idea that your willpower or self-control are in limited supply and if you use them up in one area (say, your job) then you won’t have any left in other areas (working out and eating well). It’s not a fact; although it’s intuitively-appealing, it’s just a theory as to how it may work and some research doesn’t support the concept. Sometimes it’s clear that certain people seem to have more willpower in all areas of their lives, an argument against the concept of ego depletion.

One thing that seems a bit clear, however, is that relying on willpower isn’t a great idea. When you face a self-control challenge, you may experience undue stress. Most of us face struggles as we try to have self-control with our nutrition plans or our exercise routine.

An Effective Alternative

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Although often attributed to Aristotle, apparently this quote came from a 1926 book about philosophers by Will Durant. Makes no difference really. These guys had a point!

You don’t achieve a fabulous, fit, lean, athletic body in one day, but with the habits that occur over months and years. And there are many parts of that. Working out becomes a habit after a certain period of time. You get to the point when it’s weirder for you NOT to go to the gym than it is for you to go to the gym. Regularly choosing more protein and vegetables becomes more normal than crappy processed carbs like donuts, chips, fries, and crackers. You may eventually develop the habit of having a glass of water in between drinks when you go out to cut down on alcohol consumption and combat dehydration.

So what’s better than relying on willpower, which we’re concerned isn’t as reliable as we’d like?

Building habits!

What It Really Takes To Build a Habit

A habit is an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Most of us make brushing our teeth a daily habit (flossing is a bit less popular!). We take a shower after a workout (we all hope!). We might drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Or have protein powder after a workout.

How long it takes to build a habit is up for debate. The often-quoted 21 days wasn’t based on any research; it was based on the observations of a plastic surgeon named Dr Maxwell Maltz, who noticed that it took his patients a minimum of 21 days to adjust to their new appearance. Notice the words “a minimum” that are mentioned, although the fine print is mentioned when most people quote this common, but completely untrue, number. Some sources state that it takes 30 days to build a habit, or some other arbitrary number. The truth is that it depends on the person and the habit.

A small study of 96 people over a 12-week period found that it took between 18 and 254 days to build a self-selected eating, drinking, or activity habit. In this study, it took an average of 66 days to build a habit and some were easier habits (like drinking water with a meal) and some were more challenging (going for a run before dinner). The less-challenging habits took less time than the ones that were more challenging. You can probably guess which habits in your own life would be more difficult for you and which would be easy enough to make permanent quickly.

That’s what it’s about. Making the habit permanent in your life. Following the right nutrition plan and working out regularly need to become habits of our daily existence. Expecting it to happen overnight, or in 21 or even 30 days, will only lead to disappointment. Be more patient. Take smaller steps.

Setting a date (for many people, it’s January 1st!) and convincing yourself that you’re going to go from working out once a week to six times a week, while totally overhauling your diet, will only set you up for failure and disappointment. When I’m taking clients through my coaching plan, either my Lean365 membership program or one-on-one, I ask them to focus on one thing at a time when it comes to changing their diet. Each week there’s something new to practice within their nutrition plan.

That’s the way to think about it – practice. You work on your habits daily and soon you get better at maintaining them. You won’t always get it right, but you need to give yourself credit for small wins along the way.

The Pull of Bad Habits

Let’s look at the flip side of the coin – breaking bad habits. In a small study, researchers had 100 people sit in a movie theatre and offered them popcorn, varying whether the popcorn was fresh or stale (a week old!). The people who normally ate popcorn at the movies (strong bad habit) ate more than the people who don’t normally eat popcorn. Interestingly, those people who normally ate popcorn at the movies ate the same amount of popcorn, whether the popcorn was fresh or stale! So eating popcorn, for those people with the habit, was automatic and not determined by how tasty the popcorn was. Amazing how strong our bad habits can be, isn’t it? So what can we do to overcome them?

Breaking Habits with Disruption

If you have a bad habit, there are a couple of ways that you can work on changing your automatic patterns:

  1. Disrupt the habit by changing the context – Certain situations are associated with the bad habit so if you avoid the context then you avoid the habit being triggered. Think about habits you have and where they occur. Do you eat mindlessly on the couch? Try sitting somewhere else when you watch TV (even the floor, if necessary!) and the eating behaviour is less likely to be triggered.
  2. Disrupt the habit by changing the method of performance – Try eating with your non-dominant hand and you’ll find you eat less because the habit becomes more challenging to perform.

Making your bad habit more difficult or awkward to perform can make it easier to break it. So first, try to avoid being in the place where the habit is triggered. Take a longer walk and avoid the smell of the bakery. Next, make it awkward to eat the food, perhaps by eating with chopsticks (unless you’re really good with chopsticks!).

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

As you’ve learned from our discussion of habits, your environment dictates your behaviour. If you keep crappy food around the house, you’re more likely to eat it. This is true whether you have a relatively healthy relationship with food or not. If that chocolate is sitting on your desk every day you’re more likely to eat it. If that bag of potato chips is on the shelf in your kitchen you’re more likely to reach for it when you’re too tired to make dinner. Don’t test your willpower any more than you need to!

Fill your fridge with lean protein and lots of vegetables. Don’t give yourself more excuses for not eating well. Make your good habits easy to establish by giving yourself the resources you need, when you need them. Go grocery shopping with a list that fits your ideal nutrition plan and don’t buy anything that isn’t on the list. This is probably also a good time to mention that you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

A Warning!

Building a habit is a great goal, but we know that sometimes, through the pressures of life or unexpected illnesses or injuries, we get away from even some of our most deeply-engrained habits. It’s painful to “fall off the wagon”, but it happens to everyone at some point. It doesn’t matter that you’ve drifted off, what matters is that you find yourself a way to get back on track.


Getting a coach or finding a group to be accountable to, like my Lean365 Club, can be really valuable here. Being with people who are building the same habits provides the support you need during the difficult times (and there are always difficult times!) and reinforces your belief that what you’re doing is right. Be very careful which groups you hang out in though. Many groups become about complaining about the challenges of forming new habits, rather than about finding solutions. Get help from positive, resourceful people who can help you build habits that are good for your body.

Reality Check

Remember that behavioural change is hard! That’s not an excuse, but it’s a reminder that there will be challenges along the way. Building habits that give you a lean, athletic physique will take time and proactivity on your part. Commit to your goals and the steps you need to take to get there. Plan wisely and you’ll soon find that your new habits will become automatic and they won’t take as much energy to maintain. Then you won’t have to worry so much about willpower anymore.

Ivana Chapman

P.S. Want help putting together a nutrition and workout plan to get you lean – and keep you lean – 365 days of the year? My Lean365 Online Membership Program can help! $47 a month gets you all the nutrition, exercise, and psychology & lifestyle guidance you need to get the body you want. Check out the details HERE.

References:

Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H, Potts, H.W., Wardle, J. How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology. 2010; 998-1009.


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7 Mistakes People Make With New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year and that feeling of anticipation is in the air. The resolutions are fresh and you can’t remember when you’ve been so positive or optimistic. The slate has been wiped clean and you feel like nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. Well, that’s the theory anyway. In reality it’s just another day and the challenges are just as great as they were last year.

Still, I believe this time of year can be a great opportunity to take advantage of that sense of optimism and renewal that can finally get you to achieve what you’ve always wanted. So how do you avoid screwing it up? Seriously, most new year’s resolutions are caput by the end of January…and you don’t want that to happen to you.

Here are seven big mistakes that people often make when they’re making new year’s resolutions:

1) Making Unrealistic Resolutions

Planning to give up chocolate this year, even though you love it? Resolved to work out EVERY day in 2017? Promised yourself you’ll NEVER watch TV again? Hahaha. It’s not going to happen.If your resolution is nearly impossible and goes too far away from your norm then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Going from sitting on the couch every evening to working out seven days a week isn’t going to be sustainable for you and you’ll feel overwhelmed.

Make reasonable adjustments that are in line with your current behaviour. If you’re working out 2 days a week then increase it to 4 days a week. Resolve to finally have a defined weight training routine, rather than just “winging it” each time you hit the gym. Don’t promise to give up all treats. Decide that you’re only going to have treats on the weekend, in one or two meals.

2) Making Vague or Weak Resolutions

One of the most common resolutions is to “be healthier”. That’s very admirable, but what does that mean exactly? How will you measure it? If you had a piece of broccoli once a month and you never ate any before, would you be healthier? How significant would a change like that be to your “healthiness”? Not much, probably, but that’s not even the point. If you make a vague resolution like being healthier then you’re not going to get any specific results.

If you want to lower your blood pressure and come up with a specific way of doing that (exercise 3x a week and meditate 15 mins a day), then you’ve made a more useful resolution. Although a big-picture goal like “have visible abs” is great to give you a vision, it’s important to focus on the process that’s going to get you there.

So visible abs could be broken down into specific steps that will get you those results:

  • Weight train 4-5 days per week
  • Do 1-2 HIIT sessions per week
  • Eat 1g per pound of my bodyweight in protein each day
  • Have a treat only once per week on the weekend
  • Prepare 90% of my meals myself and bring them with me when on-the-go
  • Sleep at least 7 hours each night
  • Give up drinking alcohol

In case you’re wondering, the steps above are actually a good way to get you on that path to visible abs. Breaking down the steps will often make you consider whether it’s a goal that you’re really interested in achieving.

Still, make sure that your goal is ambitious and really drives you forward to change. No one ever lost 30 pounds when they set out to lose 10 pounds. Reach for the stars and make sure you put in the required effort to get there.

3) Trying To Do It Alone

Being accountable to someone is an important part of succeeding with a goal. The reason I created my Lean365 online membership program is so people can be part of a supportive group that’s working on achieving the same thing – a lean lifestyle. Having a one-on-one coach is ideal, but I realize that not everyone is in a position to pay the regular fees associated with that. The membership program is all online on the site, and you could go through the process on your own if you really want to, but the private Facebook Group provides the additional benefit of accountability.

Many people do well when they first set their goal, but start to stumble a few weeks or months into it. That’s why many people have a history of yo-yo dieting. Consistency is key. When things get tough, you’ll have someone to give you a nudge in the right direction again. When you’re on a roll, the combined force of you and your accountability partners will be indestructible.

4) Having Weak Reasons

When you’re If you tell yourself you want to lose ten pounds, but the best reason you can come up with is to fit into your jeans from high school then you will probably give up sooner rather than later. You need to have a strong reason, and preferably a lot of strong reasons, for achieving your goal. Want to get stronger and fitter so you can play tennis with your kids (and future grandkids some day), or so you can spend more exciting quality time with your spouse (yeah, I went there)? Maybe you want to eat more vegetables to reduce your risk of the cancer that runs in your family. Any reason that fills you with a burning desire is a good one.

5) Not Reminding Yourself of Your Goal Regularly

Having a daily, weekly, and monthly check-in with yourself to assess your progress towards your goal is useful. You know how you’re enthusiastic about something for a few days and then you lose interest, or something else distracts you? You need to overcome that natural human behaviour by constantly reminding yourself about what you want to achieve. I like to think of it as “boosting” your motivation regularly.

Everyone gets that whole “epiphany” feeling sometimes, convinced that their overwhelming desire for a lean body on January 3 (the day you cleared the cupboards of all the “holiday” food and decided to never have it again) is still going to be there by February. It’s not just about making the commitment once, because plenty of things will get in the way later on. You’ll be tired, you’ll be irritable, or you’ll just find other things to do that feel more important than prepping food and working out. We all need a regular boost of motivation to keep us going, so create a system of monitoring and stick to it.

6) Berating Yourself for Slipping

Whatever resolution you make, expect to experience some obstacles along the way. You may get injured or sick, which sidetracks your workout regime and makes you lose motivation. You may have a couple more beers than you planned and eat the greasy takeaway food you weren’t planning to eat. You may have a tough emotional time or extra stress at work and your resolution doesn’t seem as important anymore.

It’s easy to pretend that making a resolution steels you against those challenges, but you’re only human and you’ll probably slip occasionally. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it. Feeling guilty tends to make you adopt the “Screw it, why bother?” mentality that totally blows your plans.

Forgive yourself, do what it takes to get back on track, and keep moving forward.

7) Making Too Many Commitments

Most ambitious and driven people want to really “juice” the year for all it’s got. It’s a noble pursuit, but you need to rein it in if you’re taking too much on board. Breaking down your goals into the months that you’re focusing on them is a good idea. January, not surprisingly, is not the best time to work on achieving everything.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve put “learn to play keyboard” on my list, along with about a dozen or so things that are more important to me than learning to play the keyboard. Not surprisingly, I haven’t really gotten around to learning to play. This year, the keyboard is still on the list (I’ve had one sitting in my home for about 5 years now), but I’m making the goal to play a song once a week for 20 minutes. It’s a smaller goal, but it’s more in line with my actual desire. I’m not trying to be a professional keyboard player or a join a band in 2017, but I do want the simple pleasure of making a little music in my spare time.

Kicking Butt in 2017

I know a lot of people considered 2016 a bad year, mainly because of all the celebrity deaths. Honestly, if you measure your year by the number and quality of famous people who left us, you don’t have a lot of control over how great this year is. Really, it should be all about YOU kicking butt in 2017, not about whether Betty White beats the Grim Reaper one more year.


So make your plans and consider your resolutions and how you’re going to follow through with them. We all want to achieve our goals and feel like we’re on top of the world. Get excited, get ambitious, but also get real. Figure out how you’re going to do it and you’ll avoid the common mistakes that most people make with new year’s resolutions.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, lean, strong, successful 2017 for all of us!

Ivana Chapman 

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How To Stay Lean During The Holidays

They look pretty cheery now, but how are they going to feel when the holidays are over?

We’re right in the middle of the season of boozy parties, formal festive gatherings, and the constant flood of random treats being placed within your reach. This time of year presents a real challenge to someone trying to get lean, or stay lean.

While it’s often a good idea to relax your fat-loss expectations around the holidays, it’s still possible to limit the damage to your body while enjoying yourself throughout the season. And learning how to deal with the social pressures of your day-to-day life gives you a tool that you can use all year long.

Here’s How To Keep Lean Over The Holidays:

Get That Workout In

It can be really easy to skip workouts when your holiday schedule is jam-packed. Get it in early in the day, if you can, before the holiday eating and festivities begin. Not only will you keep working at building muscle (the best way to stay lean!), but the higher post-workout insulin levels allow you to utilize the extra carbs you’re eating for muscle recover and repair.

In my experience, you also tend to make more sensible eating decisions after working out because you don’t want to destroy all your efforts in the gym by going nuts at the Christmas party. By making the trip to the gym first, you’ll feel like a health conscious and body-aware person that wants to nourish his or her body with good food.

Occasionally people get so proud of hitting the gym that they decide to reward themselves with some hefty eating. Be aware if that’s something that seems to be true for you and make a conscious effort to resist that urge.

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Don’t try to fight those “calories in” by hitting the treadmill though. While cardio increases your calorie expenditure slightly, you won’t be able to outpace your meager calorie burn from jogging (or cycling or rowing or the elliptical) with the speed that you’re able to deliver excess calories to your mouth with a fork.

Do a weight training workout instead.

Building muscle will help boost your metabolic rate in a sustainable way because muscle burns more energy (calories) than fat.

That’s not to say that traditional “cardio” is a waste of time, but its benefits pale in comparison to weight training or HIIT (high intensity interval training).

As a bonus, weight training sessions can be done more quickly, especially if you do shorter rest intervals or work in a circuit.

HIIT is designed to be fast and challenging, and is an efficient way of burning fat in a short period of time. And time is definitely something you’re limited with during the holidays.

Make the Right Drink Choice

If you drink alcohol, this is the time when it seems to be most socially-acceptable and the pressure can be the greatest. Alcohol can be very damaging for fat loss, not only because of what it contains, but because it tends to loosen your inhibition to molest the contents of the buffet table.

Your body puts off all metabolic processes, like fat-burning, until it deals with processing the alcohol you’ve consumed. Throw in excess calorie consumption in the form of cookies, chips, fruit cake, and pumpkin pie and you’re heading for trouble.

Choose the type of alcohol that you enjoy, but be wary if what you enjoy is egg nog or sweet rum mixes. Those drinks have sugar and fat in addition to alcohol so they’re more likely to add up quickly.

Plain drinks without added sugar like vodka or gin with water or soda water (or on the rocks) are the best option. You can add lemon, lime or mint for flavour and festive spirit. Wine and beer are popular and reasonable choices, but remember that the quantity adds up fast.

Before heading out to a party where you want to drink (you don’t always have to!), decide how much you’re planning to have and try to stick to that number. If nothing else, it sends a subconscious signal to your mind to keep track of what you’re consuming.

Lastly, try to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Not only will you fill up faster (and cause you to spend more time in the washroom rather than consuming more alcohol and eating more food!), but you’re less likely to get dehydrated and end up with a hangover. Always a bonus for post-party recovery!

Drink Up To Recover

Water can also help with the recovery process. Drinking water can help decrease your appetite when you’ve been overindulging and can prevent the dehydration that comes with drinking alcohol and dancing until 3am to silly Christmas songs.

Plus, if you’re dehydrated you might be tired and suffer from headaches, which is not going to make it easier to hit the gym or make good food choices.

Getting water in will also help get your digestive system back in gear if you’ve overtaxed it with a bit too much food.

Choose Treats Carefully!

I enjoy a treat as much as the next person, but I’m very selective about what I choose to consume. And make no mistake, it’s always your choice what you consume. No one can force you to eat Aunty Betty’s Christmas cake or Uncle Jimmy’s super-spiked egg nog.

If you want it, have a little bit. You don’t need to nibble from every item that’s sitting on the table just to avoid talking to your boss about why you can’t get that project done by the time you leave work for the holidays. Have a look at what treats are available, decide which ones are really worth it…and leave the rest to add a layer of fat to someone else’s belly.

Forget the Guilt

Feeling guilty about what you ate and punishing yourself, either by starving yourself or spending excess time on a useless cardio machine spinning for hours, isn’t healthy.

Trying to lose weight by burning off more calories only ends badly and leaves you feeling exhausted.

Yes, make some minor modifications to your activity levels to account for the excess calories (perhaps a 30 minute walk with your family), but don’t do it as punishment for anything.

Moving more will make you feel better anyway so think of it as a fun, festive activity.

If you make your food choices carefully, you won’t do your body much damage.

If for some reason you venture a little outside your desired plan, don’t feel guilty about it. Admit that you enjoyed it (if you did) or that you’re not perfect (because no one is) and move on the next day without feeling bad about yourself.

Too many people give up on their plans to get lean altogether because they think one bad day will ruin everything. It won’t.

Make Some Minor Adjustments

If you know you’re going out and having more food on Friday and Saturday, try to stick to lean proteins (chicken breast, white fish, lean beef & good-quality meat, seafood) and vegetables the day before and during any meals that you’re still eating at home. The protein will keep you full and make sure that you’re maintaining your muscle mass.

I normally have a breakfast of chicken or eggs (with extra egg whites), and some vegetables and fruit, if I know I’m going out where there will be treats that I enjoy available.

That’s not to say you should starve yourself the day before or early in the day. This never goes well! Usually what happens is a monumental binge that leaves you feeling bloated and completely disgusted with yourself. Not the smart way to go.

Enjoy Stuff…Besides Food!

Holidays are about more than just food. There’s also the alcohol…hahaha.
No, really, there are plenty of other things that the holidays are about:

  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Watching cheesy Christmas specials on TV, as well as classics like “A Christmas Carol” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”
  • Getting outdoors to do winter activities like sledding, skiing, skating, or just a walk
  • Spending quiet time indoors reading or chatting with your family in front of a fireplace (real or not)
  • For some people, this is a religious time and they attend church or temple. Imagine that!

While it often seems that the holidays are all about food, try to focus on other things that you enjoy as well.

Find Ways to Cope With the Stress

Between shopping for presents, the last-minute rush at work, and plenty of celebrations to plan and attend, the holidays can be seriously stressful.

Dealing with stress in a positive way (No, alcohol and binge-watching “Game of Thrones” does not count) is really important because being stressed affects the decisions you make every day. You’re more likely to eat a lot of food, particularly sweet and fatty comfort food, when you’re feeling stressed. And we know there’s going to be a lot more of that kind of food around at this time of year!

Get as much sleep as you can.

Late parties and varying schedules can leave you short on sleep. Grab naps when you can, and think about skipping a non-essential party or two so that you can have an earlier night. Yes, you want to be social and enjoy yourself, but if you’re stretched to thin it’s going to show.

If you don’t already practice meditation, now might be a good time to incorporate it into your routine. I’ve written a blog post HERE that describes an easy 5-minute meditation you can do if you start to feel a bit frazzled. You need to take care of yourself first or you won’t be much fun when you’re spending time with other people anyway.

Exercise is another great way to deal with stress so getting your workouts in has extra benefit over the festive season. Not only do you build muscle and help yourself stay lean, but you’ll reduce your stress levels and be more likely to make better food choices. Sounds like a win-win.

Your weight training workout is the key, but keeping yourself moving (and not behind a desk all day long) will help too.

Don’t Promise to “Be Good” in the New Year

There’s something about telling yourself that January will be better and you’ll get yourself on track with your workouts and nutrition LATER that makes you more likely to spectacularly mess things up now.

“It’s ok, I’ll make up for it in the new year!”

No, you won’t.

If you spend most of December ploughing yourself with food and alcohol making the promise that you’ll be good in the new year, you’ll fail.

Not right away, of course, but after a month or two you’ll eventually realize that your life does include occasional social outings and you aren’t willing to give those up forever.

Sure, there may be fewer parties, less pressure, and more time in January, but it might not be as easy as you think to do a complete 180 when the time comes.

Get into good habits now and you’ll be all set for an even more productive new year.

Have a Plan

I’ve never been a fan of the word “moderation” with respect to food because I feel it gets misused too much. People sit around eating a bit of crap every day and call it moderation.

That’s not moderation, that’s a crappy diet!

It’s better to create a nutrition plan that includes those treats when you decide to have them. Adjust your calorie (and fat and sugar) intake for the rest of the day if you’re having a treat (or treats!). It won’t always work out during a very special day of feasting, but if you don’t stray too far you’ll limit the damage you do to your physique.

My Plan

I truly believe in enjoying the holidays. I like to eat more treats than usual and I fully intend to participate in some serious chocolate-eating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day…and I’m definitely having a slice or two of my mom’s famous cheesecake.

Those days will be very high-calorie, and with more fat and sugar than I generally consume. I’ll still aim to keep my protein and vegetable intake high, since that keeps my appetite under control and stabilizes my insulin levels to avoid major energy crashes.

I’ll work out in the morning on Christmas Eve day and then I’ll take two or three days off before getting to the gym again, my muscles well-stocked with glycogen and ready for a heavy weight training session.

Enjoy Yourself!

This goes along with the whole guilt thing, but I think it’s worth mentioning again.

If you go a little overboard one day (let’s say Christmas), don’t berate yourself for being bad or decide to throw in the towel on your fat loss efforts altogether.

Each day is a new one, and how your body looks is not the result of what you do on any one day. It’s the sum of all the days of the year. Having a few days throughout the year when you consume excess calories and sugar isn’t going to hurt your physique, but be honest about how many days like that there are.

If you do it right, you can maintain your physique during the holidays (or even make improvements!) and still enjoy all the pleasures that this season brings.

So have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa…or just a really Happy Holiday!

Stay on your path to a leaner body and you’ll be trimmer and healthier for the new year.

Ivana Chapman

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How To Avoid Food Temptations

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Do you want to avoid food temptation?

Are these cupcakes tempting you?

You know that saying “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it’s usually true for treat foods. When those chocolate bars and potato chips are sitting up on the shelves in your kitchen it’s a lot harder to forget about them.

Believe me, I know what it’s like. There was a time when I couldn’t keep any chocolate or ice cream in the house because I would HAVE to finish the entire thing, whether it was a giant-sized Toblerone or an entire tub of Ben & Jerry’s (sometimes two). Now, I have tons of chocolate leftover from my birthday last weekend (my friends know what I like!) that will probably take me a couple of months to get through…if my chocoholic husband doesn’t get to it first, of course!

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Temptation…Be Gone!

It’s taken me a long time to fix in my mind what I’m eating and not eating at a particular time. The treat temptation is much weaker because I never deny myself something I really, really, really want. Still, having the chocolate around means that I’m eating more than I usually would. When it’s not around, I’m less likely to want it.

I normally recommend to my clients that they not keep tempting foods around the house. Even someone with a relatively healthy relationship with food will be more likely to eat things that don’t benefit them when it’s in plain sight on a daily basis. So keep those treats out of the house and try to buy single servings while you’re out, or for consumption that day.

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Dysfunctional Food Relationships

Just keeping food out of sight doesn’t always work for people with food issues. In my darker, unhealthier, heavier days while I was struggling with digestive problems, I never kept any treats around the house. Still, when I was feeling particularly down (perhaps after having to cut an evening karate class early because of stomach pain), I would leave the house at 10 or 11pm in the evening to walk to a corner store and stock up on chocolate bars, potato chips, and shortbread cookies to be consumed IMMEDIATELY.

That’s an altogether different issue that needs to be dealt with separately, so if this is the case for you then seek professional counselling. No amount of “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” will help when food is your way of coping with sadness and pain in your life. It’s common, and it’s painful. An unhealthy relationship with food is often the symptom of something deeper, so don’t just try to solve the problem on your own…or with a silly diet.

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Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there’s another key thing to remember about tempting foods.

Beware the TV!

I don’t watch much TV, and if I do it’s a time-shifted episode of Modern Family or an old episode of 30 Rock. When I see live TV for short periods of time, the one thing I notice is the amount of food ads that I’m constantly subjected to. Pizza, fried chicken, sugary cereals (“nutritious for kids”!), burgers, soft drinks…you name it. The ads make foods that I would never eat, like cereal and cheeseburgers, look so appealing that I want to run out and get some.

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It’s no mystery to me why people have such a hard time avoiding these tempting foods when the average American (I think the stats are similar in Canada and most Western countries) watches 5 hours of TV a day. That’s a whole lotta tempting food that you see and hear about each day. No wonder you’re constantly thinking about it! The way I see it, reducing your TV consumption automatically reduces some daily food temptation…so reduce your TV time (spend more time in the gym, reading, or meditating).

Diets Make You MORE Food Obsessed

Going on a long-term, reduced calorie diet will get your mind thinking about food A LOT. That’s why I don’t recommend obsessively calorie-counting as part of a nutrition plan, or even trying to fit your macros (protein, carbs, fat) strictly every day. Even just trying to “eat clean” has plenty of drawbacks, with its grey areas and judgementally categorizing foods into “good” and “bad” based on incomplete information. Few foods are GOOD for everybody and few foods are BAD for everybody (perhaps with the exception of man-made trans fats, but even those can be consumed occasionally without serious issues).

Inevitably, changing your nutrition plan in any way makes you think about food more. That’s ok if the feelings you have are generally more positive (“I feel so good about eating more vegetables” or “My cravings are so much lower now that I’m eating more protein”), just beware that being overly restrictive can make you obsessive about food.

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I once went on a Naturopath-prescribed no-sugar (except for fruit), no-alcohol, no-dairy, no-gluten diet for nearly five months to try to deal with my digestive issues. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. What it did do was make me obsess about food so much that I had dreams several times a week about going to buffets and eating all the foods that I wasn’t allowed to have. Not something that makes you a joyful person the next day, believe me.

What, You Don’t Have Full Control Over Everything in Your House?

Maybe you have a spouse or partner or roommate or kids (or some combination of these people sharing your home) who aren’t always on board with your particular goals. I’ve seen more than one client’s nutrition plan get derailed when someone sharing their home has unintentionally, and occasionally intentionally, refused to cooperate. Maybe your wife likes to keep some chocolate for “emergencies”. Maybe your husband insists on eating those tempting Kettle Chips every night after dinner in your presence. 

We would love to think that the people who love us always have our best intentions in mind and want us to do what’s best for us, but sometimes their needs aren’t in line with ours. Ask politely for your loved ones to respect your wishes. Come up with a compromise that means less tempting food around you.

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The one thing I take issue with is people keeping lots of treat foods around “for the kids”. Your kids don’t need those treat foods any more than you do, especially if you want them to grow up healthy and happy. They’ll be exposed to plenty of crappy food outside the home so there’s no reason to keep it at home for them as well. Go out for ice cream or pizza or all-you-can-eat-sushi (that’s our family’s personal fave!) with friends once in a while and make it a special event. Make sure your kids know that certain foods are occasional treats and not staple foods and they’ll grow up ahead of most other kids out there. I shudder when I see kids constantly being stuffed full of crackers, cookies, lollipops, white bread, biscuits and fries on a daily basis. Is it any wonder we have a child obesity crisis?

I’ll get off my soapbox to summarize…

You won’t always have full control over what food is in your vicinity. Remind yourself that you’re making a daily choice to be leaner, stronger, and healthier. Some foods support that goal and others don’t. Learn to get your joy from things other than food.

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Treats are OK though!

If you’re thinking that I want to ban you from all treat foods – I swear I don’t! I certainly don’t mean to imply that you should always avoid tempting treat foods…sometimes you should have them and enjoy them! The key is having a plan. Keep your day’s protein up and reduce your usual carbs and fats to account for the additional amount you’ll consume in your treat food. Let’s face it, most people’s favourite treat foods are high in carbs and/or fat, but don’t have a relatively high amount of protein. Yes, burgers and fried chicken drumsticks have protein, but with a disproportionate amount of fat and carbs packed in. So make adjustments to the food you’re eating on the day (and perhaps on the day after) to keep working towards your goal of getting lean.

Life’s more fun with a few treat foods…just don’t let them tempt you too often. Enjoy your food. Pick the foods you really want carefully. Don’t get suckered in by the close proximity of some tempting food.

Ivana Chapman

P.S. Don’t read too many food blogs or look at tempting recipes…those don’t help either! 🙂

P.P.S. Want help changing your relationship with food and getting a sensible nutrition plan together? My Lean365 Online Membership Program can help! Check out the details HERE.

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6 Ways to Make Your Resolutions Stick in 2016

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You can reach your targets if you set the right ones.

It’s a new year and that feeling of anticipation is in the air. The resolutions are fresh and you can’t remember when you’ve been so positive or optimistic. The slate has been wiped clean and you feel like nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.

It’s all an illusion, of course. It’s just one day later than yesterday. You don’t need to cut out anything (food, drink, smoking, biting your nails) any more than you needed to yesterday.

Still, I believe this time of year can be a great opportunity to take advantage of that sense of optimism and renewal that can finally get you to achieve what you’ve always wanted.

Here are 6 ways to how to make those bold resolutions stick this year:

1) Don’t Make Depressing Resolutions

Planning to give up chocolate this year, even though you love it? Resolved to work out EVERY day in 2016? Promised yourself you’ll NEVER watch TV again? Hahaha. It’s not going to happen.If your resolution is nearly impossible and goes too far away from your norm then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

2) Avoid Vague Resolutions

One of the most common resolutions is to “be healthier”. That’s very admirable, but what does that mean exactly? How will you measure it?

If you had a piece of broccoli once a month and you never ate any before, would you be healthier? How significant would a change like that be to your “healthiness”? Not much, probably, but that’s not even the point. If you make a vague resolution like being healthier then you’re not going to get any specific results.

If you want to lower your blood pressure and come up with a specific way of doing that (exercise 3x a week and meditate 5 mins a day), then you’ve made a more useful resolution.

3) Make Yourself Accountable to Someone Else

Whether it’s a Facebook post stating your intention to take up a new sport, professional coaching, or teaming up with a loved one with a matching goal, being accountable to someone is an important part of succeeding with a goal. When things get tough, you’ll have someone to give you a nudge in the right direction again. When you’re on a roll, the combined force of you and your accountability partner will be indestructible.

4) Make Sure Your Reasons are Strong Enough

If you tell yourself you want to lose ten pounds, but the best reason you can come up with is to fit into your jeans from high school then you will probably give up sooner rather than later. You need to have a strong reason, and preferably a lot of strong reasons, for achieving your goal. Want to get stronger and fitter so you can play tennis with your kids (and future grandkids some day), or so you can spend more exciting quality time with your spouse (yeah, I went there)? Maybe you want to eat more vegetables to reduce your risk of the cancer that runs in your family. Any reason that fills you with a burning desire is a good one.

5) Remind Yourself Regularly

Having a daily, weekly, and monthly check-in with yourself to assess your progress towards goal is useful. You know how you’re enthusiastic about something for a few days and then you lose interest, or something else distracts you? You need to overcome that natural human behaviour by constantly reminding yourself about what you want to achieve. I like to think of it as “boosting” your motivation regularly. Skip it, and your resolution is likely to be a sad memory before March is over.

6) Forgive Yourself for Slipping

Whatever resolution you make, expect to experience some obstacles along the way. You may get injured or sick, which sidetracks your workout regime and makes you lose motivation. You may have a couple more beers than you planned and eat the greasy food you weren’t planning to eat. You may have a tough emotional time or extra stress at work and your resolution doesn’t seem as important anymore.

It’s easy to pretend that making a resolution steels you against those challenges, but you’re only human and you’ll probably slip occasionally. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it. Forgive yourself, do what it takes to get back on track, and move forward.

Kicking Butt in 2016

That’s what we all want to do in the new year, right?

Achieve our goals and feel like we’re on top of the world. Make the right resolutions and follow through with the tips above and I think you’ll have a better year than ever before. Here’s to a successful 2016 for all of us.

Ivana Chapman 

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Getting Back on the Right Track

train track splitting in two If you’ve somehow gotten on the wrong track, there’s nothing better to do than get back on.

Have you ever had one of those times in your life when it was really hectic and you couldn’t workout or eat the way you wanted to? Maybe it got really busy at work. Maybe your child was sick for a couple of weeks. Maybe you went on a sunny holiday and couldn’t get used to a life without greasy exotic food and thrice-daily tropical drinks. Maybe you started travelling for business and just couldn’t keep the momentum going the way you usually did. Maybe you had a summer of weddings, BBQs, baby showers, and music festivals that made it difficult to stick to your plan.

We’ve all been there.

If you’ve gone off track, what can you do to get back on?

Well…just get back on track again. Sounds silly, right? It’s too simple to work, right?

WRONG.

There’s no better time to get back on track than now.

The main problem that most people face is that they just don’t stop and say to themselves, “Ok, I’m going to do what I need to do to get the body I want. Starting right now.”

Too many people think about all the time they’ve “wasted” not doing the right thing and they begin to feel a sense of defeat and hopelessness. Feeling defeated and hopeless is not the way to get back on track. You’re only human and you’re always going to make mistakes (sorry perfectionists!).

Accept where you are, don’t make excuses for the time you’ve lost, and just get right back in there.

Hire a coach to give you a kickstart if you need to. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and don’t think about any time you’ve lost. Learn from the experience and be better prepared the next time a challenge hits. Because another challenge to your workout routine and eating plan is just around the corner.

That’s just life. So move on. Get going.

Get back on track.

Ivana Chapman 

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Why I Compete in Fitness

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So happy to be on stage surrounded by these lovely ladies.

Someone asked me recently why I take part in fitness competitions. Maybe it’s not the obvious thing for the 30-something mom of a 10-month-old baby to be doing; standing on stage in a sparkly bikini, unnaturally dark fake tan, and too much makeup. Probably not. Most women can’t picture themselves doing what I do, no matter there age, body type, or life circumstances. I get it. Those of us who chose to compete in physique competitions are a different breed.

Let me try to explain our obsession.

The Process

I love working out. I always have. I’m not saying I love every moment or every exercise I have to do to get the results that I want, but on the whole I love exercise. I’ve been a natural bodybuilder for over 23 years. It seems like an odd thing to say and maybe you wouldn’t necessarily guess it by looking at me, but I’ve done more than my share of punishing hours in the iron game. I love the process of sculpting my body with targeted weights exercises, and building muscular strength to feel powerful.

I’ll probably write another blog post about what I love about bodybuilding, but for now let’s just leave it at this: I love the process of preparing for a competition – the training, the eating, the focus.

Once a Competitor…

I’ve always considered myself an athlete and that’s something that’s tough to let go of. I competed for fourteen years in Karate – provincially, nationally, and internationally. I even earned a National title and was IKA World Cup champion. Karate competition was my life for a long time. I gave up work and social opportunities, and put my education second when I was in school. I even left home at the age of 21 to live in England for almost 6 years and train with the best instructors and fighters in the world.

That kind of drive doesn’t just disappear because you’re a little older and have a gorgeous husband and an enchanting baby. My outlook has changed a lot though. I wouldn’t let my family life suffer for my sport. My priorities have changed, but the desire hasn’t.

Winning is Nice and Losing is Educational

Yes, it’s nice to win things. Championships, lotteries…and the heart of someone you really love. I like to win, but I’m not a sore loser. That’s an asset in a sport that’s essentially a beauty pageant for people who work out. There’s a lot of subjectivity involved in the judging. You can’t control the outcome and you won’t always have the strengths of those you compete against. Many people are more gifted genetically or have a look that’s appealing, regardless of how long they’ve been training. Despite all my training experience and knowledge of physique sculpting, I could lose to a woman who’s only been weight training for a year and has a desirable natural shape and genetics. That doesn’t bother me.

I focus on what I can do to improve and how I can overcome my limitations. I only compete with myself and I always try to be better for each competition.

The Love of Performing

I’m no beauty pageant girl. I’m way more comfortable in my workout clothes and running shoes than in heels. I did, however, spend about five years doing acting and TV presenting, and I’ve been modelling since I was sixteen.

I like dressing up and feeling like a different character. I even enjoy speaking in public because it gives me an opportunity to share my experiences with an audience. There’s definitely a performer in me. I also love expressing myself with my body, both in training and when posing on stage during shows.

The Challenge

It’s tough to get on stage in front of hundreds of people in a bikini. Most people can probably understand that part. Walking in 5 inch heels isn’t my specialty, that’s for sure. I’ve spent most of my life in runners and “sensible” flats because I’m 5’10.

Stepping outside my comfort zone is something I embrace though, and that’s what these competitions were for me when I started. I’m a lot more comfortable now, eight shows later, but there are always challenges to face in fitness competitions.

The People

I love to be around positive, energetic, athletic people who passionately pursue their goals. Fitness competitions are full of them. Being around enthusiastic people with similar interests puts a fire under me. It juices me up and gets me motivated to do more with myself. Essentially, I’m a more enthusiastic and energetic person when I push myself to compete. If I can share that enthusiasm with others then I make a greater contribution to this world.

And that’s what life’s all about, isn’t it?

Ivana Chapman 

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Success at Fitness Competitions after Baby

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So happy to be back on stage 9 months after having my baby.

It’s been just over a week since I stepped on the stage at the Ontario Physique Association (OPA) Toronto Championships. The spray-on stage tan has pretty much faded away (apart from my suspiciously brown feet!) and I finally managed to unpack my competition bag and get organized again. Now it’s time to recap the show and keep moving forward.

Back in Action

I hadn’t been on stage since the Inside Fitness Model Search in July 2013. Since that time I spawned a beautiful little creature my husband and I affectionately call Baby Kai. Our son is nearly ten months old and it’s amazing how quickly the time has gone by. Physique-wise, I think I would have been ready to step on stage in December, but there weren’t any competitions that month.

Also, being a mom has meant an increase in daily duties (diaper changes, nursing, preparing food, nibbling on my son’s belly) that vastly decrease my spare time. I’ve been working out regularly since just over 3 weeks after Kai’s birth, but didn’t make the time to practice posing, order a bikini, and all the other random things that go into contest preparation.

Now was the time.

Challenges

As the mom of an infant who wakes up regularly and feeds voraciously, I don’t usually get the sleep that I need. I have to do my workouts in the morning or afternoon because if I leave it until the evening I probably won’t have the energy to work out as hard as I need to. Because I’m nursing, I can’t use any stimulants, pre-workout supplements, or much caffeine to get me through those tired times. A couple of cups of tea is the most I’ll have in a day. I also have to avoid a lot of herbal supplements and some teas.

I have to be careful with what I eat and drink anyway, because I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and messing around with my diet too much can have adverse consequences. I went a little heavy on the veggies and found myself bloated and uncomfortable in the last few days leading up to the competition. I didn’t want to dehydrate myself for the show, as most competitors do, because I didn’t want to do anything to effect my milk supply. The other challenge with nursing while competing is something I didn’t expect. Since I was away from my baby for several hours, my breasts decided to do their own thing. The right one started to grow bigger and I sat backstage furiously trying to pump it out before my category was called.

Not exactly a typical competitor experience!

The Results

I was happy with the physique and presentation that I brought to the stage. It was a slightly “softer” look than I’ve had before, but I’m competing in the Bikini class so that’s not always a bad thing. The time spent practising my posing really paid off. I felt confident strutting my stuff on stage and didn’t feel nervous as I got ready to go on. I got some great coaching with posing in the weeks leading up to the show and I practised my posing almost daily on my own. There’s still plenty of work to be done with my presentation, but at this stage it was a success.

I won the Bikini Masters (35+) category and took 5th place in Bikini Tall, which qualifies me to step up to the next level – Provincials! – in both categories. Not a bad start for this new mama!

This Girl is on Fire!

Every single workout since my show has been amazing. I’ve pushed myself harder, grunted louder, and felt more muscle burn than I have in a while. After looking at the video and photos from the show, I know what I want to do to improve for the next time.

It was great to be on stage again, but it was even better to be backstage with so many amazing fitness people. What I love most about fitness competitions is the great people that I get to meet and spend time with.

The Wrap-up

I consider the competition a tremendous success. Yes, it’s nice to have won one of my categories, but the main reason that I’m satisfied is that I brought the best performance that I could on the day. There are plenty of things I’ll do differently next time and a lot more to work on in the months ahead.

Oh, did I mention that the next show is two and a half weeks away?

OPA Naturals in Cobourg on April 18…hope to see many of my fitness family there!

Ivana Chapman 

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Are You Choosing Results or Reasons?

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What are you gonna do? It’s SOOOO hard.

“You will either have reasons…or results.” 

Vince Lombardi

The successful football coach used to inspire his athletes with those words before their games. He wanted them to know that without their best efforts they wouldn’t have the results they wanted. You can’t explain away an unsuccessful performance, despite any reasons you might give. It’s a cop-out.

So Many Reasons

You can probably come up with plenty of reasons why you can’t get the physique you want. You’re too busy with work, too old, haven’t got the genetics, want to spend more time with your partner, you have kids, you haven’t got the support you need from your family, your health isn’t great, or you haven’t got the knowledge to achieve what you want.

I have plenty of examples of people who have overcome those excuses and got the results they wanted. Mothers of four kids with busy careers who get up at 5am to squeeze in a workout and prepare healthy meals. Top executives who travel for work and make time to fit in four workouts a week and still catch their son’s soccer game.

No Time?

Everyone has the same amount of time every day, but some people use it more effectively than others. The average person watches over five hours of TV a day! How many hours do you think Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffett or Barrack Obama watch? How many hours do you think the average Olympic athlete watches? Not many, I imagine.

Achieving Your Goal

If you’re serious about your goal, you might need to change your life to achieve it. You can’t expect massive physique changes to come from minimal changes in your nutrition and training.

That’s what everyone wants though, isn’t it? The quick-fix, take a pill and get the body of your dreams BS that sells millions of bottles of raspberry ketones (bogus!) and meal replacement shakes. If you aren’t changing the effort you put in, you won’t see any change in the results you’re currently getting.

Stop finding reasons that you’re failing and put in the effort to win.

Ivana Chapman 

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Stop Obsessing About Numbers on the Scale

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The number’s not THAT important…really.

I always get a bit worried when someone tells me that they weigh themselves daily. Often, they say it’s to keep themselves “in line” and not stray with their nutrition and training plan. Yikes! This speaks of obsession and control-freakiness (I realise that’s not actually a word).

Here’s why weighing yourself too often can hinder rather than help your physique goals:

The Scale Lies

If you’re using the scale to monitor the effectiveness of your training program and diet, you’ll find that the scale doesn’t always give you good feedback. Even if you take your weight naked at the same time every morning, you won’t necessarily know what’s happening. Your weight varies on a day-to-day basis for dozens of reasons, including hydration levels, the current state of your digestion, hormones, and what you ate the night before. I’ve actually managed to put on five pounds over one weekend when I’ve eaten to excess (yes, I do occasionally do this, without guilt), including foods with more salt than I’m used to.

Did I put on five pounds of fat in a couple of days? Of course not! Some of the weight was water retention and the rest was food that wasn’t – ahem – dealt with yet. A few days later, after eating my usual foods, I was back down those five pounds.

A Rough Guideline

I don’t think it’s terrible to weigh yourself every week or two if you’re working towards a goal and you want to assess your progress. Just don’t get too caught up in it. Controlling every molecule you put into your mouth isn’t going to spare you weight fluctuations. Keep consistent with your nutrition and training and the changes will come.

Don’t obsess.

Does Weight Even Matter?

Muscle weighs more than fat (ie. fat occupies more space) so you might put on muscle and look leaner, but the scale doesn’t budge. Who cares? You look better, right? Isn’t that what you really want?

I mean, some athletes need to get themselves to fit into a particular weight class for their sport, but what about the rest of us? Nobody’s going to ask you to get on a scale in your day-to-day life. Your co-workers will notice how much better you look though. They’ll ask what you’ve been doing to get such toned arms. Your date might take a second peek at your butt as you turn around. Nobody’s going to be doing any measuring.

Focus on what matters; a consistent training and nutrition plan that makes you feel strong, energetic, and good about yourself.

The numbers will take care of themselves.

Ivana Chapman 

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If You Don’t Try, You’ll Always Fail

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If you try and fail that’s ok, but if you never try at all then you’ll never succeed. 

Certain moments in daily life seem to crystallize the attitudes that lead to failure.

I was sitting at the doctor’s office the other day when an older couple walked in and approached the unmanned reception desk. The woman turned to me and asked,”Where do they want us to check in?”

I told her that they just had to use one of the computers on the wall to check in.

“What if you can’t use a computer?” She said, clearly irritated.

“You can’t use a computer?” I asked incredulously.

“Well I can, but he can’t.” She said, pointing at her husband behind her, who grinned sheepishly.

At that point the receptionist walked by and the woman accosted her with an abrupt “Can’t we just check in with you?”.

It’s Not Hard, Really!

I have to point out that this was an English-speaking couple who didn’t seem to have any problems communicating. The computer check-in was a touch-screen that asked you to answer simple questions like whether you had allergies and requested that you type in data like your name and your address. Very simple procedure.

If the woman – who admitted that she could use a computer – had bothered to try the computer check-in she would likely have found it very simple and efficient.

She didn’t bother to TRY.

Never Try, Never Gain

I don’t know anything else about this woman apart from her behaviour that day, but I would venture a guess that she’s not a very successful person.  I imagine her having the same boring job her entire life and never bothering to learn anything new. If she lost that boring job, she wouldn’t know what to do. She couldn’t face the scary prospect of learning something totally different from what she knew before.

She might have had many potential abilities that she never explored. She stayed stuck.

Fail, and Fail to Try?

I was incredibly frustrated when I left the doctor’s office that day. The women’s lack of initiative annoyed me so much. Maybe she tried some things in the past and failed. The pain of the failures prevents her from trying new things for fear of more pain (even if pain isn’t necessarily the outcome). In psychology they call the phenomenon learned helplessness.

I find it very sad when people give up before they try. Even if you’re tried and failed before you can succeed the next time. If you give up trying altogether then you’ve really failed.

Just Try

Many people have tried to lose weight and they’ve failed. They might have tried to change their diets and it didn’t go the way they planned. If you aren’t willing to make an effort then you’ve already failed. You can’t learn and you can’t progress. Be willing to try different approaches. Be willing to go outside your comfort zone. Sometimes you’ll fail and look like an idiot, but you’ll probably learn something valuable for the next attempt. Some people aren’t willing to take chances and put their honour at stake. They play it safe and don’t stretch themselves.

That’s a recipe for a boring life of underachievement.

Make the Effort

Nothing worth achieving comes easily. Put in the time and effort and don’t stop until you achieve what you want.

Take a risk and there just might be a reward.

Don’t bother to try and you’ll never achieve anything.

Ivana Chapman 

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Setting A Higher Standard for Yourself

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Reach higher the norm to fulfill your potential.

There are all sorts of role models out there for any fitness goal that you might have. If you’re looking to get lean and fit, you need to follow someone who believes in doing things better than the average. How do you move away from the unsuccessful majority and become a person of higher standards?

Sad Statistics

Nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. If you’re in a healthy weight range you’re in the minority! What does that knowledge do for you? F

or me, it makes me feel very sad about the state of our society. It also makes me realize that there are a lot of people out there that I can help. Now, you can use the obesity data to make yourself feel better about the state your body is in, or you can make a plan to get to your ideal weight. If your friends are overweight, don’t make yourself feel better by saying you’re doing as well as them, or better than most people. Dwelling on that kind of information doesn’t get you to your goal physique. Justifying your failure by using data about people who are less successful isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Commiserating with others who have low standards is the enemy of success.

As in: “I know, it’s so hard to eat properly, right? Let’s go have a pizza and talk about it.”

Don’t let other people bring you down to their level.

Set the standard and encourage others to follow you.

Set a Higher Standard

Realize that by choosing to build your dream body through your lifestyle, you’re setting a higher standard for yourself. You have to stand out and be unafraid to challenge the internal and external noise that will tell you that you’re doing fine and you don’t need to change. If you didn’t want to change you wouldn’t be here. If you weren’t looking to improve yourself you wouldn’t be searching for something different.

Copy Someone Who’s Achieved Your Goal

Success leaves clues.

If you want to achieve something you need to look to someone who’s achieved the goal that you have. If you want to be lean, fit, and healthy, follow the advice of someone who’s lean, fit and healthy.

Choose role models that challenge you, encourage you, and force you to set a higher standard. Don’t use the lesser achievements of most people keep you from achieving your best. You can stand out from the unexceptional majority.

Ivana Chapman 

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Make this the Year to Achieve Your Goals

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It’s time to take hold of the new year and reach your goals.

It’s no secret that 2014 was a big year for me. My son Kai was born in June and the whole year has been a bit of a whirlwind. I had a Babymoon in Jamaica in March with my husband and then took Baby Kai on his first Caribbean adventure to Antigua in November. In between I’ve been working out (as much as reasonable given the pregnancy and postpartum period), eating as well as I can, and introducing Kai to family and friends.

Making a Bigger Contribution

2014 was also the year I set about developing my online business in a big way. Going primarily online is a way for me to reach more people with my fitness and health mission. Helping people get serious physique results and empowering them to get the life they want has been my passion for over 15 years. Consistently bringing valuable content in the form of webinars, blogs, videos, and other social tools is my plan for 2015.

I want to spread my message wider and help more people achieve the physique and health results they want.

How About You?

What’s your big plan for 2015?

Are you finally going to lose those last 10 or 20 pounds?

Pack on that muscle that’s so far eluded you?

Develop an eating plan that gets you the results you want and that you can stick to for the rest of your life?

Please don’t let 2015 be the year of the Grapefruit Diet or starving yourself to achieve the body you want.

Get in control of your lifestyle and habits for good. Make 2015 healthy, strong, and exciting. Make it the year you stop making excuses and putting off your dreams.

Small dreams are for small people.

Set your goals high and achieve them this year.

I’m here to help.

Ivana Chapman