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.


The Fastest Way To Health and Fitness

Why should your lifetime of health and fitness start now? Well, first, it is going to be easier now than in a year, or five years, or ten years.  Second, have you ever seen a really overweight 80 year-old?  Probably not, as unfit, overweight people usually don’t make it to 80 due to disease and serious health conditions caused by excess weight.

The fastest path to get to a place of health and fitness is to start. Choose now as the perfect time. Don’t wait to get sick but make healthy living and fitness as the obvious choice. Of course there will be times of falling off the wagon. I am just getting back on the wagon after a three week slump, but it is always okay to start again.

If the word “fitness” makes you shiver because you have no idea how you will ever find the extra time, or you think you need fancy shoes, clothing, and a gym membership—it’s time for a new way of thinking.

It is time to see a lifetime of health and fitness with fresh eyes. As you age, do you want firm skin? Do you want less wrinkles? Do you want an easier time with every day activities? Do you want to feel and look great? Remember, there is nothing that tastes as good as healthy and fit feels.

A two pronged approach can ignite you into fitness or at least provide a slow flame of excitement. And remember, the race is only against you. Set your own speed to get it going.  The first two things to do are:

Get rid of the junk food

Most people are not aware of how damaging junk food is to their overall health and well-being. The fact is that junk food is packed so full of sodium, calories, fat, and preservatives that there is almost no possible way that it can be something positive for your life. If you can’t pronounce more than half of the ingredients, you can live without it. Scrap junk food and replace it.  Of course I want to tell you to replace junk food with fruits and veggies, but the reality is that most people won’t do it. So, you need to find a balance that you can live with. And that doesn’t mean replacing regular potato chips with baked Lays. It may mean ditching chips all together, and choosing something like low cal popcorn plus the fruits/veggies. Ditch the ice cream for a low sugar popsicle… and some fruit of course.  Choosing  healthier options time after time will change the way you think about food, and it will alter the way food tastes. Healthier food begins to taste better, and junk food begins to lose its appeal. Really.

Get moving

When you move your body you will feel better, and not just physically. The benefits of exercise can be more important to emotional and mental health. And who doesn’t want to be in a better mood? How can you not be exercising? Lack of exercise is the cause of too many ailments to list, and quite honestly, I think most people think it’s not going to happen to them. So I will raise the question again—how many obese 80 year olds do you see walking around? 30 minutes a day is a good goal. Don’t have 30 minute a day? Shoot for 15. Don’t think you have 15 extra minutes? Start with 10. By this stage in your life, I am going to assume that you know what activity looks like.  Hint: it isn’t sitting on the couch watching he latest episode of Real Housewives. Walk, run, squat, hula hoop, just do something.

5 Healthy Foods For Healthy Skin

I know I have used several puppy pictures, but this one seemed appropriate.

So I heard that dreaded question when I picked the kids up from summer camp yesterday.” Is that your mom or your grandma?” Really, little girl, do I look that old? I know she is only eight years old, but really, little girl?

I recently changed my skin care regimen to included coconut oil, and I guess it hasn’t “kicked in” yet. In the meantime, I am offering a list of foods that can help our skin look younger.

But first, on a side note, for all of you who are trying to lose those last five pounds, you may want to re-consider. There is a saying – if you’re thin, you’ll look good from behind, but your face will suffer. Depressing as it may seem, there is some truth to the saying. A couple of studies have found that women with a low body mass index (BMI) have increased skin aging (read: more wrinkles).

So do thinner women just look older, or do they actually have more wrinkles? Actually, both are true. As your BMI goes lower you lose some volume of soft tissue, particularly over the age of 40, and loss of soft tissue can mean the wrinkles either become deeper or more noticeable.

Okay, if thinner women have more wrinkles, is the opposite also true?  Well, yes, heavier women may look less wrinkly as they age because they have more fat padding just beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat). They also might have a little extra collagen (the protein that gives skin its elasticity). However, don’t think that wrinkle prevention is a good reason to blow your healthy eating plan on pizza and ice cream.

Back to the foods of choice. There are certain foods that offer specific skin health benefits. Take a look at this list and make sure you include some in your beauty regimen, which begins at the dinner table.

  1. 1. Seafood for smooth, clear skin. The omega-3 fatty acids and zinc found in oysters and salmon help to reduce dryness, inflammation and control the production of sebum, the oily substance that causes acne.
  2. 2. Citrus fruit for smooth, taut skin. Citrus is full of vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen, a protein that forms the structure of your skin. Increasing vitamin C helps tighten the skin and prevent wrinkles.
  3. 3. Red and green vegetables for bright, smooth skin. We convert the beta-carotene found in veggies into vitamin A, which prevents cell damage and premature aging and offers anti-acne benefits to boot.
  4. 4. Nuts for young soft skin. The vitamin E in nuts fights free radicals and helps protect against sun damage. It also relives dryness, making skin appear younger.
  5. 5. Whole grains for clear, moisturized skin. Whole grains provide the antioxidants, which helps fight inflammation-related skin damage, and biotin to assist cells in processing fats. If you’re biotin deficient, your skin may be dry and scaly.

These are easy enough foods to add into your daily menu that not only benefit your insides, but also your outsides.

Exercise Expectations

What You Can Expect From Exercise

The Shrot Term Benefit (right after you finish): Exercise works on the part of the brain that determines what kind of mood you’re in. No matter how rotten you feel when you start out, a good run, swim, bike ride, or walk can change that mood. If you’re already feeling good, you’ll even feel better.

The Long Term Benefit: After a few weeks your body will be firmer and more flexible. Your pulse will be slower when you’re not working out; a sign that your heart is working at a healthier pace. You’ll look better and the difference will start to show in your shape and how you carry yourself.
 What You Can’t Expect From Exercise

You can’t expect to look like a super model that  you see in a magazine, television or advertisement. If you went to take voice lessons, you might expect your voice to improve, but you wouldn’t expect to sound like Madonna. The same goes for your shape. You’ll end up with your body –  in shape,  not with the shape of someone else.
A Work Out That Works
The word exercise covers a lot of different activities, from walking to weight lifting. The best exercise is any kind that keeps your whole body moving for at least 20 minutes, makes you breathe harder than usual, makes you sweat, and gets your heart beating faster. 

A good exercise routine involves these four things:
Warming up
Cooling down

Warming up
Before you begin working out at full force, start slowly by using the same motions you’ll be using when you’re exercising . By starting out easy, your giving your blood time to make its way to your muscles. The blood is fuel for those muscles, and if you don’t give it a chance to get to them, they might poop out on you. 
This is when you work your body so much that you feel a difference in your pulse rate and in the way you are breathing. During conditioning, you’re working out the most important muscle of all — your heart. Exercise that increases your pulse rate (makes your heart beat faster) is the kind that has all of the benefits like controlling your appetite and making you feel terrific. People who don’t exercise end up storing much more of what they eat as fat, than people who work out often. The reason for this is that muscles which are in good shape from conditioning use of a lot of energy, and fat uses hardly any energy at all. (Read: you burn more calories)
Cooling down
Don’t bring yourself to a sudden stop when you’ve finished your work out. Your body isn’t prepared to quit as quickly as you might be, and a sudden stop could cause cramps, dizziness, or even fainting. Slow to a stop by lightly doing whatever activity you’ve been doing, just at a slower pace.

This softens and relaxes your muscles, allowing them to handle the extra stress you have put on them during your work out. Well-stretched joints are less likely to strain, or sprain. Even if you only have time for a quick stretch, doing it after your workout is key.
Make the most of your routine by including all four steps, and embrace your inner supermodel.


Why do we start gaining weight in our 40’s?

I know we like to think that 40 is the new 20, but weight increase is common, almost universal, as we reach middle age. However, while it may be almost inevitable it is not healthy. Many people continue to eat the same amount of calories as they did a decade ago, and without a few tweaks in calorie consumption, most of us will gain weight.

As we get older, we lose muscle tissue. Less muscle tissue means we need less calories. The most common reason why we need to eat fewer calories as we get older, is because our muscle mass tends to decrease. Between the ages of 30 and 70 years, muscle tissue shrinks on average by about 30 per cent in most people. The reason for this is simple lack of exercise. The problem is, muscle requires more energy to sustain, than fat, does. So the less muscle we have, the fewer calories we need, and any extra calories (energy) we take in will be stored as fat. Hormonal changes may also slow down our metabolic rate and cause a drop in calorie needs.

How much weight do we gain with age?
The age-related reduction in muscle tissue leads to an average weight increase of about 5 pounds per decade for men or 3.5 pounds per decade for women. When you look at those numbers, they do not seem too threatening, but if you do the math it adds up. I would also bet that those numbers are on the low side. Think about all the people you went to high school or college with. How many are overweight, obese?

I think that most people would be surprised that the average weight gain is 5 pounds per decade. I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone lament about gaining weight with age. I think that most people have heard that everyone gains weight as they get older, so it is used as an excuse. Since “everyone is doing it”, people are not concerned when they put on 20 or 30 extra pounds instead of just 5.

1. If you are close to your desired weight, it’s easy to reduce mid-life weight gain. To minimize the risk of age related weight increase, all we need to do is eat about 50-100 fewer calories per day, per decade, or increase our calorie burning by about 50-100 calories a day per decade. In the whole scheme of things, 50-100 calories is nothing. That is an easy change to make by cutting out one sugary drink per day, skip the butter every day, cut you portion to 2/3 cup instead of a whole cup. You will hardly miss those few extra calories.

2. If you are one of those people who has gone the way of 30+ pounds, you need to lose weight to get back on track, and ensure that you are not 50+ or 60+ pounds by the time you are in your 50’s. “Everybody’s doing it” was not okay when you were in high school, and it is not okay now. Stop the excuses and get moving. Check out THE TRICKS section of my blog for some great ideas on how to cut serious calories from your diet without feeling deprived.

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