I have diligently been working on shedding weight off my obese body over the past year and I’m happy to announce that I’ve made some fantastic strides towards improving my health and fitness. Naturally there have been some ups and downs getting used to the new healthy way of life, but even with the difficult moments, the process has been one that has opened my eyes.I’m ecstatic that I’ve shed over 35 pounds along with a 12.1% drop in body fat! That is a huge success in my book, especially since I’ve had no luck whatsoever over the past 10 years trying to lose weight and get into shape.Here are 5 of the key findings that I had to realize over this past year in order to make real progress turning my life around.1) Be ready to face nutritional curveballs.When a person is seriously overweight like I was, changing eating habits is one of the most difficult things to truly handle on a consistent basis. You may have one good day of healthy eating, but then the next lose focus and have a completely opposite episode if you are not careful with the choices you make. Eating healthy is something that takes daily planning along with strong willpower to resist the usual temptations.2) Don’t buy junk food.Changing the types of food an overweight person eats is difficult, even more so when you are surrounded by foods and drinks that are not healthy. Re-stock your kitchen with only items that are healthy which means no potato chips, cookies, crackers, and sugary drinks like soda and energy beverages. You really don’t need that stuff anyways. Believe me, I used to be the king of soda pop and potato chips. Now that I don’t buy those items and have developed healthy eating and snacking habits, I don’t even miss that junk at all.3) Portion size is extremely important.It is critical to be mindful of the amount of food eaten at each meal/sitting so that an excess does not enter the body. Even if you prepare a healthy meal, it is still possible to eat too much and gain weight. To use as a guide, the food on your plate should take up about the same amount of space as your hand balled up into a fist (give or take a bit). Don’t forget to take into consideration the drinks you consume at meals too! One glass of soda at each meal would be about 600 extra calories per day. Why put all those wasted calories into your body when water has a grand total of 0 calories per serving?4) Always have healthy snacks and water at hand.Take the time to designate a shelf or plastic container in your refrigeratorwhere you can keep all your healthy snacks. Make it easy to grab snacks when you’re in a rush so it’s simple to stay adhered to your healthy eating plan. You’ll find that when you don’t make a healthy lunch and snacks, most likely you’ll purchase an unhealthy meal from a fast food restaurant or buy a few items from the vending machines at work. Generally not the healthiest of choices when you’re focused on improving your nutrition.5) Try never to go more than three days without working out.As you get used to this new healthy manner of eating, it’s imperative you find an exercise routine you can stick with week in and week out. Once you find an exercise or sport you can do on a regular basis 3-5 times a week and tie in healthy eating habits for the majority of the week, you are well on your way to getting into the shape that you have been wanting to get in.Just remember this is a process. You won’t lose 50 pounds in a week or even a month. However if you focus on your nutrition, cut out the unhealthy stuff, monitor your portion sizes so you don’t overeat, and get a regular form of exercise, you will drop those 50 pounds in a healthy manner within 6-8 months.
If you are a health and fitness vendor there is a good chance that you spend a great deal of your time working by yourself. Presently there are not too many ways that like-minded health and fitness professionals can get together and brainstorm ideas to help grow their business. But it does not have to be that way, and things are slowly changing for the better.There are several ways to expand your business that involve working with other vendors who have a similar interest to your own. Internet marketers in general have figured out how to exploit the talents of one another by doing what is called a joint venture. Two or more parties get together and agree to work towards a common goal by utilizing the strengths of each party, and avoiding their weaknesses.As an example, one marketer might have worked hard to build a number of large email lists to which he/she can broadcast messages. Another marketer might have no such lists, but is an expert in writing persuasive emails that convince readers to take a chance on 10 percent of the recommendations that are made through these broadcasts. By getting together, these two marketers can pull off a feat that neither of them could do alone – make some reasonable money in a short period of time.The list of possible joint venture opportunities is endless. Only imagination and the specific circumstances of the parties involved determine what can or cannot be achieved by working together. This is what makes joint ventures so appealing.But to get started on a joint venture you need to be able to communicate with other marketers who are in the same niches as you are in. Because I am interested in fitness-related enterprises I find myself looking around constantly for prospective health and fitness vendors who might like to joint venture with me. You may find that you are in a similar situation, and that finding a community of people to work with takes real effort on your part. I know that it has been that way for me.Because of that I decided to build my own member database of health and fitness vendors, so that the people who signed up would be able to contact one another with the view to doing joint ventures. By creating a common database, the work involved in getting started on a new joint venture will be considerably reduced for people who belong to that group. If you decide that joint ventures with health and fitness vendors are right for you, then becoming a member of such a database makes good business sense.I know that I have made some great contacts by reaching out and discovering the strengths of other members of my community, and I am sure you will find this to be true for yourself. Then you can joint venture and take your health and fitness businesses to the next level.
One of the difficulties facing travel companies is that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to providing for customer’s travel needs. Many factors cause our needs to change over time, such as how much disposable income we have, how much free time we have, whether we do or don’t have children, and they mean that in reality every holiday maker wants something different.For travel companies, trying to satisfy such diverse customer needs is a constant challenge. Now, with the mass adoption of the Internet, customers have an extremely powerful tool to tailor-make their own holidays -and this is what they are doing in increasing numbers.A large number of on-line travel companies have sprung up over the last five years offering the component parts that go to make up a holiday (flight, transfer, hotel) but this seemingly endless choice can actually lead to a fairly negative on-line experience. After too many hours spent researching online and then attempting to make bookings with two or three different suppliers, potential customers sometimes justifiably conclude that half an hour spent with a traditional high street travel agent might actually look like better value.To help get through the process and reduce the amount of time wasted it really helps to do some thinking first. Apart from the obvious things like where and when you want to travel, it helps to have answered the following questions:1. Do I want to buy a package (flight, transfer, accommodation booked as one item) or do I want to attempt to save money (or tailor the holiday to my specific requirements) by booking my holiday components separately?2. Do I want the reassurance of booking a holiday with a brand that I am familiar with or am I happy to try somebody new?3. Am I confident enough to deal with any issues that may come up whilst I’m in resort (as, unlike on a package holiday, there will be no representative to turn to)?4. Do I want to book a holiday that is covered by some sort of financial protection scheme such as ATOL or do I not mind either way?There is no doubt that one of the key trade-offs customers need to make when booking on-line is between how much “reassurance” and “supplier accountability” they want (if something goes wrong) versus how much “tailor making” and perceived cost-saving they want.
There is a spectrum which reflects this trade-off right from, at one end of the scale, buying a two-week brochured package holiday from one of the major players such as First Choice (firstchoice.co.uk) or Thomson (thomson.co.uk) up to the other end of the scale where somebody goes to British Airways (ba.com) to buy a flight, Sol Hotels (solmelia.com) for the hotel and Holiday Taxis (holidaytaxis.com) for the transfer.All the way across this spectrum are a huge number of other suppliers and online companies who are providing services that fall between the two extremes. The best-known examples of this would be Expedia (expedia.co.uk) and Opodo (opodo.co.uk) which are examples of sites that provide a “one stop shop” to give customers the feeling that they are “tailor making” a holiday and making a good cost saving but still give customers the feeling that, because they are dealing with one travel agent, a “safety net” is in place.There is then an interesting new breed of online travel companies who are different yet again in terms of what they offer. This group is different in a number of ways:1. They are typically ATOL bonded which means there is a financial guarantee in place if they were to have financial problems (details at caa.co.uk).2. Through advanced technology they link to as many flight and hotel options as any of the other sites – often sharing the same hotels.3. They offer an “on call” representative service in resort so they are only around if you need them.4. They offer “package” holidays but their packages are made up of “components” from many different suppliers and presented to customers in one transaction. A recently launched example of this is Fresh Holidays (freshholidays.com)All of the sites mentioned above have an online booking capability and all work reasonably satisfactorily. Most of the major travel web sites are now quite slick in the way they take customers through the booking process which means that the time consuming part when booking on-line now is the research phase.Many of the shopping comparison sites such as Holiday Watchdog (holidaywatchdog.com) offer opinions from people who have actually stayed in the different properties but the best known for researching travel options is Trip Advisor (tripadvisor.com). This is a justifiably popular site that provides a rich vein of comment on most of the major hotels in the world and is always a good place to start.Best of luck with your mission!