The Do and Don’ts for Avoiding Exercise Burnout

images[1]Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Thanks Wikipedia!

We all experience burnout whether it’s at work, home, with family, friends, diet, and even exercise, maybe especially exercise.

Consider how many gym memberships purchased in January go unused in July, or how all you can think about is a cheeseburger two weeks into a new diet plan. Burnout can happen over years or in a matter of days.

Certain habits or lack of certain habits will accelerate the burnout process.

 

So if you don’t want to suffer from exercise burnout….

DO NOT Wing It

Failing to plan is planning to fail, as the saying goes, and creating lofty, long-term goals without establishing checkpoints along the way is failing to plan. Shoot for the moon, but include intermediate and short-term goals to assure that you remain on track to achieve your long-term goals.

Example:

Long-term goal: I will finish a marathon this year.

Intermediate goal: I will finish a half marathon within the next six months.

Short-term goal: Within the next week, I will jog three times for a minimum of 10 minutes each run.

Writing goals down (on paper, using a smart phone app or online software program) is an absolute must.

DO NOT Forget to Self-Assess

Your goal-setting process should include assessing weak links in the chain and how to address them. Using the example above of planning to finish a marathon, short-term goals could include completing some form of a fitness test, such as a one-mile run for time, gait analysis, nutrition consultation, body composition analysis, etc.

Example:

Short-term Goal No. 2: Within the next two weeks, I will complete a one-mile run for time to assess my current fitness status.

Intermediate goals should re-evaluate these tests every few weeks to validate your exercise regimen and determine what tweaks you may need to make. Modifying goals along the way (to account for “life”) is a  key to achievement and  sustained motivation. Altering your long-term goals can also be critical; for example, switching from the full marathon to the half marathon two weeks before a race is better than not showing up at all.

DO NOT Skimp on Sleep

Research suggests those who sleep less than six hours per night are at greater risk for burnout. Too little sleep can cause fatigue, impaired mental function and increased sensitivity to stress, as well as decreased motivation and physical performance. In a busy world, we seem to prioritize so much at the expense of ZZZs. There are usually enough excused to go around for not exercising, don’t add “too tired” to the list.

DO Take Time to Truly Relax

Multiple experts agree that a key to avoiding burnout from your job is being able to turn off work when you get home. Likewise, tuning out from exercise from time to time is essential to maintaining a long-term fitness program. Expert coaches suggest taking at least one day per week completely off from structured exercise and including another day or two of restorative activities (yoga, hikes, naps and Sunday football couch potato-ing all count as restoration). Every few months, take an entire week off, and just relax.

DO Find a Sport You Enjoy

Some people hate running – I would not suggest a marathon training program for those individuals. The key to longevity of an activity or fitness program is enjoyment; sometimes you must ignore what your friends are doing or the most popular class at your gym, and simply do what makes you happy. If it makes you sweat and also makes you smile, it’s the right activity for you. I still have a Groupon for 4 Pilate’s classes hanging over my head, because my friends think Pilate’s is great…. I am a gym rat and always will be.

DO NOT Overdo It

A fine line exists between what fitness experts call over-reaching and over-training. Over-reaching involves applying the overload principle to exercise, i.e. increasing the intensity, duration and/or frequency of exercise to create positive stress on your body that will gradually result in fitness gains. When over-reaching, you should feel tired and sore, but two to three days of adequate recovery should cure that.

Over-training occurs when the increase in physical activity is too much and recovery is insufficient. It can involve loss of sleep, lethargy, injury and a lack of fitness gains despite an increased workload. When in doubt, listen to your body – go hard when you feel good, and rest up when you feel overworked.

DO NOT Live for Repetition

Imposing the exact same stress demand on our bodies habitually does not result in positive gains. Doing the same activities each day or the same exercise routine will lead to a physical plateau and eventual mental burnout. Not to mention it gets really boring! Even if you’re a creature of habit, add variety to your favorite activity… it may be a change of scenery, faster or slower run times, switching up the free weights for machines, taking a Zumba class instead of Yoga, or whatever.. A change of pace and scenery may keep your muscles honest and your mind fresh.

The path toward burnout is can be averted. Self-assessment, goal planning, adequate sleep and recovery, variety and, most importantly, enjoyment can keep you pointed in the direction of lifelong fitness and goal accomplishment.

Seven Tips That Make Dieting Strategies Work

1. Drink Your Water

It’s important to stay well hydrated on a diet. I often hear that people can mistake thirst for hunger. Is this true? The jury is still out, but the next time you get a hunger pang, drink a glass of water first. If you really are just thirsty…problem solved. If you are really hungry, the water will help to fill up some of your stomach space so you won’t scarf down a bag of chips. Tip: Water may be the most boring beverage on the planet, so add a bit of flavored carbonated water to jazz it up. I like La Croix.

2. Remove Sugar

If you want to lose weight, you have to remove the SUGAR. Sugar makes it easy for our bodies to store fat. Removing sugar out of your life is a tried and true way to shed and keep off the pounds. Tip: Sugar is found in many forms, so if you’re trying to reduce sugar intake you also have to stop eating the foods that act like sugar in our bodies. Whether you put a spoon full of table sugar in your mouth or chomp on a bagel, the effect is the same. For a complete list of these foods, http://www.olsonnd.com/what-foods-that-act-like-sugar/

3. Eat Smaller Portions

We love “super-size”! It makes sense, right? More food for your buck. When it comes to a good value maybe, but when it comes to good health, “super-size” is the enemy. Be mindful of the amount of food you consume at every sitting. Tip: use smaller bowls and plates for your portions. It will look like a lot of food, and it will be just the right amount. When possible, use a scale, and when eating out avoid anything with the words “all-you-can-eat” and never “super-size” anything unless you are going to share it with at least four or more people.

4. Eat Your Vegetables
Vegetables are superstar foods. Not only are they low in calories, they are high in fiber. Vegetables are a great replacement for rice, pasta and other starchy foods during weight loss. Non-starchy vegetables are the best selection for weight loss; they include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, field greens, spinach and more. Tip: Eat your veggies first to fill up most of the space in your stomach.

5. Get Enough Protein
Protein is the best fill-me-up food. It’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats because it keeps you feeling full for longer. Protein also helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. Tip: Include healthy proteins like lean meat, sugar free yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans into every meal and snack.  If your choice is a carb or a protein, go with the protein.

6. Limit Late Night Snacking
Dangerous snacking occurs most often after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax. Snacking while reading or watching TV is one of the easiest ways to throw your diet off course. If you are going to snack, make sure it is a low-calorie snack like fruit, low-fat cheese or a sugar free yogurt with a serving size of no more than 100 calories. Tip: Brush your teeth right after dinner. This is your signal that eating is done for the day.

7. Get Moving
Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss. It helps to control your weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat.  Enjoy your exercise routine whatever it may be; sports, a trip to the gym, bike riding, walking, household activities, yard work, or work-related tasks — all are beneficial. Tip: Do some kind of movement EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if it’s just for 5 minutes while you are watching your favorite show. Make a game out of it. Every time your favorite character says his catch phrase do 10 jumping jacks, or 20 sit-ups, or 5 squats, or whatever.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Everyone experiences bad breath at one time or another, and many people suffer from chronic bad breath. My Guest Poster this week offers the reasons and solutions for that pesky problem. I am so pleased to have Darla Scheidt from Grove Dental Associates share her expertise.

If you are one of the 80 million Americans suffering from bad breath, then you know just how embarrassing it can be. Clinically known as halitosis, chronic bad breath can wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem, close friendships and professional life. But the good news is that you don’t have to live with it. Consider the following causes of halitosis as well as tips to restore your fresh breath — and self-confidence — once and for all.

What’s causing your bad breath?

Many factors can trigger bad breath with the most common being improper or infrequent brushing and flossing. Bad breath typically originates in the mouth due to bacterial buildup. As the bacteria multiply on the tongue, teeth and gums, it emits foul odors that result in unpleasant breath.

 

The first step to keeping bad breath at bay is to identify the cause, which may include one or more of the following.

 

  • Poor oral hygiene. Most cases of bad breath are caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth after every meal, pieces of food can collect between your teeth and around your gums and tongue to foster bacteria that produces unpleasant odors. Brushing and flossing daily is the best way to reduce the amount of food particles that linger in your mouth and cause bad breath.
  • Gum disease. Persistent bad breath can also be an early sign for gum disease, which is caused by plaque — a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Because gum disease can cause serious health problems, including pain, bone loss and tooth loss, it’s important to understand other warning signs and discuss them with your dentist.
  • Tobacco use. As if using tobacco didn’t already cause enough harm to one’s overall health, smoking and other tobacco products can cause foul-smelling mouth odor. In addition to unpleasant smoker’s breath, tobacco use can increase your risk of dry mouth, gum disease and other oral infections—all of which cause bad breath and lead to other health problems.

 

  • Foods. Certain beverages and foods, like garlic, onions, alcohol and coffee, are more powerful smelling than others and commonly produce unpleasant breath for several hours after ingestion.

 

  • Dry mouth. Your mouth requires saliva to rinse away debris left behind after a meal. Otherwise, when your mouth is too dry, food particles and bacteria will linger on your teeth and gums, leading to dental problems that contribute to bad breath. Because saliva production is reduced during sleep, many people experience “morning breath” upon waking each day.

 

  • Medical conditions. A person’s bad breath is not always the result of bacteria buildup. In some cases it can be a symptom of an illness such as chronic sinus infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, bronchitis, or liver or kidney ailments. To improve bad breath, your physician should first address the underlying illness.

Tips to improve bad breath

In many cases, halitosis can be remedied by making simple lifestyle changes. In addition to a diligent oral hygiene regimen, there are many easy ways to eliminate bad breath including the following.

 

  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove food debris and bacteria.
  • Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production, which naturally rinses away odor-causing bacteria.
  • Snack on crisp, healthy foods, like celery, carrots or apples, which cleanse teeth and loosen food particles from between teeth.
  • Brush your tongue as a part of your daily oral hygiene.
  • Identify and avoid foods that trigger your bad breath.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist and clean, especially if you already suffer from dry mouth.
  • If you wear dentures, removable braces or bridges, clean them thoroughly at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes.
  • Keep a portable toothbrush on hand throughout the day to keep breath fresh at work or when out with friends.
  • Don’t forget to floss at least once a day as an essential way to remove hard-to-reach food particles from between teeth.
  • If you smoke or use other tobacco products, take steps to quit as an important means to get rid of bad breath and improve your health.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a professional exam and cleaning.

 

Tired of popping mints and avoiding friends? You don’t have to live with halitosis. Start by identifying the culprit of your bad breath, improving your oral hygiene and making necessary lifestyle changes for fresher breath. If your halitosis persists, even after taking steps to eliminate it, talk to your dentist for an assessment of your breath’s origin. Your unpleasant breath could be a sign of something other than poor oral hygiene or bad habits.

 

Author Bio:

 

Darla Scheidt works at Grove Dental Associates as the Marketing Director. Grove Dental is a multi-specialty group dental practice in the Western suburbs of Chicago. With over 30 doctors and in business for over 40 years, Grove Dental’s offices stay on the cutting edge of the dental industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Detoxing Your Body While Losing Baby Fat

I am so excited to welcome Mansi as my guest poster this week. Read on for realistic tips and strategies for detoxing and losing fat.

 

Two days back, while having my usual fruit salad I wondered what could be the difference between fasting and dieting, since I call my monthly detox diet a “fruit fast”.

Just to bring things into perspective, let me tell you, I’m not allowed to fast and considering my present weight, dieting is something I don’t need.

“Fasting is where you shun all kinds of food items and eat only once a day, but in dieting the food items in every meal are restricted to a few basic ones.”

When I think of days like Ramadan, Lent, Yom Kippur, etc. I realize that there is a spiritual element associated with fasting. But that’s not the case with dieting.

We do it just to lose weight.

However, I do it to flush toxins out of my body every month. Beginning each month with a clean slate feels amazing.

That brings me to the nine months of pregnancy, where you get a free ticket to eat whatever you want and are exempted from any kind of judgment on your weight or shape. That’s certainly a bliss.

Although, my source of worry is the toxin build up in the body.

Ideally, one should wait for a 6 month period to begin the postpartum weight loss schedule. And that does make sense. After all, breastfeeding helps you lose weight too.

Still, we want to work on dropping pounds from the day one and get back the body we once owned.

So ladies! Sit tight, for I’m about to tell you three simple steps to get there without having to compromise on your baby’s nutrition or your own health.

Step 1: Get Real

Yeah, you heard me! Get real!

Gulp in this fact that you will not get your pre-pregnancy body back in the exact same measures, unless you are Kim K. So, are you?

I knew it.

Hence, do not push yourself physically or mentally. Keep calm, because what might not happen in 6 months postpartum, will happen in the coming year when you’ll be running around the house to feed your toddler.

Step 2: Go for a Fruit Fasting

As I already told, that’s my personal detox ritual. I stuck to this one after having tried a lot of others like the lemonade detox or green smoothies which always, just always left me craving and lethargic.

How I fruit fast every month, for three consecutive days –

  1. Take fresh seasonal fruits and cut them into cubes. The colorful the platter, the better.
  2. Sprinkle a little salt for taste.
  3. Poke in fork, smell each cube and relish it.
  4. If I feel thirsty, I go for coconut water, which is again detoxifying and nourishing. Plus, it does wonders for my skin and hair. I completely avoid milk or any kind of fats during this time.
  5. I also make it a point to drink at least a big glass of pomegranate juice or ABC miracle drink.

If you try this out, remember not to mix sweet fruits like banana with sour ones like orange and grape, as these interfere with each other’s digestion and end up producing more toxins.

Step 3: Boost the detox and weight loss

I pride myself in calling a yoga devotee and practice it five times a week. Working out regularly would not only make you fitter but would also aid in the elimination of toxic substances.

Here, I’m listing five yoga poses that specifically work towards this.

Pose 1: Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanmuktasana)     Wind Relieving Pose

  1. Begin by lying down on your back. Keep your arms on your sides and body relaxed.
  2. Slowly lift up one leg and bring your bent knee close to your abdomen. In an attempt to do so, if your other knee bends a little bit, it is okay.
  3. Now, raise your arms to hug your bent knee and bring it closer to your chest. Hold your breath and this position for 5-10 seconds. Exhale and release.
  4. Repeat the above steps with the other leg too.

Benefits other than detox – reduction in belly fat

Pose 2: Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Cobra Pose

  1. Lie down on your stomach and relax till you are able to breathe normally.
  2. When you are comfortable, fold both your arms to place your hands just below your shoulders.
  3. As you inhale, push down the floor and lift up your torso in air like a snake. Remember to keep your toes lying flat on ground with soles facing up.
  4. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, exhale and release.
  5. Perform it twice every day on an empty stomach.

Benefits other than detox – toned back and stronger arms

Pose 3: Half Lord of fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)Half Lord of fishes Pose

  1. Sit with your legs stretched out in front, back straight, shoulders relaxed and arms on the sides.
  2. Fold your left leg and rest your left foot beneath your right hip.
  3. Now fold your right leg and place your right feet close to your left hip. Your sole should lie flat on floor with knee pointing upwards.
  4. Twist your upper body towards left and try to grab hold of your right ankle with your right hand. Feel a stretch on your right abdomen. Enhance this by taking your left arm back to touch your back.
  5. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Exhale and release.
  6. Repeat it on the other side too. Practice it twice every day.

Benefits other than detox – disappearance of love handles

Pose 4: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)surya-namaskar-sun-salutation

Sun salutation is an intense yet incredibly helpful sequence of 12 yoga poses. It is not possible to list all its steps here, so follow this link for complete steps and breathing technique.

Benefits other than detox – a full body stretching and strengthening workout in 5 minutes

 

Pose 5: Corpse Pose (Savasana)Corpse Pose

This is a relaxing and rejuvenating pose which helps eliminate all the ‘mental’ toxins which get accumulated inside our minds. All you need to do is lie down on the floor in a relaxed position and focus on your breathing. Turn your head towards a side, close your eyes and relax.

Must practice – Bellows breathing or Bhastrika pranayama

This breathing technique cleanses up sinuses and helps exhale toxins out from the respiratory system. However, those with migraine or blood pressure issues should not perform it.

Initial position: Sit in a comfortable position, either cross legged or on a chair. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Bend your elbows to bring your fists closer to your shoulders. This way your fists face up the sky and elbows towards the floor.

  1. Inhale deep on a count of 3 and raise your arms in the air spreading your fingers apart.
  2. Now exhale in a short quick bursts on just one count and forcefully bring your hands back to the shoulders making a fist.
  3. Do this 20 times in a row. Discontinue immediately if you feel light headedness.

Well, that’s all for the postpartum detox – A diet you can follow and a fast you are allowed to do, plus a simple yoga workout to leg up your weight loss plans.

Try them out and let me know how it felt.

 

Author Bio:

Hi! I’m Mansi, an ashtangi at home and an Editor at an online health magazine. Dabbling with health and fitness news is my work while playing around with poses and poetry my passion. Reach out to me at @iam_mansi or add me to your Google circles and stay in touch.

 

Family Friendly Fit Tricks for Healthy Weight Management

fridge_pic-full[1]I love Google. I use it for almost everything, including health care, how to do whatever, recipes, shopping, and more. But Googling weight loss is like opening Pandora’s Box. There are way too many sites and supplements that are questionable at best, aimed at your pocket book rather than your waist line. Here are five family friendly fit tricks for healthy weight management.

1. Build a healthy home environment. It can be as simple as having a fruit bowl on the table, rather than a bin full of fruit tucked away at the bottom of the fridge. Keeping healthy food visible encourages kids (and adults) to grab and go when they are hungry and in a hurry. Keep cut up veggies, yogurt, or fruit salad front and center in the fridge. When a kid (or adults) opens the refrigerator to mindlessly search for snacks, the healthy option will catch their eye.

2. Purchase small portions and limited amounts of convenience food that is high in sugar and fat. Pre-portion any junky snacks in little ramekin cups, baggies, or mini cupcake liners, so there is no mindless eating from the bag of chips or cookie box. Store these items in the images[9]pantry on a higher shelf so they are less visible.

3. Make physical activity a routine, and make it fun. Take a walk or walk the dog after dinner to unwind. Get up during commercials while watching your favorite show and play catch with a Nerf ball, or strike up a game of balloon volleyball with your kids.

4. Eat meals around the table, at home as often as possible. Family meals offer kids a chance to see parents eating healthy. Show how to load the plate with a variety of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and carbs. Meat packs between 55-110 calories per ounce, so it’s easy to pack on the pounds when the portion shifts even a couple of ounces on a regular basis (especially as you age).

5. Praise yourself and your kids when you practice the skills and behaviors linked with healthy eating. Give high fives after those active commercial breaks. Notice when you and your kids have put in the effort to taste an unfamiliar food and choose healthy options over the junk.

 

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