Category: balance

Create A Healthy Environment To Support Healthy Eating

Create A Healthy Environment To Support Healthy Eating

Does your environment determine your behavior? For example, if you love Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, should you keep a half gallon on hand in the freezer while you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle?  Or do you keep a candy bowl of all your favorites on your desk? It’s really not a rhetorical question.  Each person will answer differently. For me, I need to keep the house healthy friendly… which means no ice cream or candy.

You are the master of your space, and you can design the areas where you spend most of your time any way you want.  Sometimes the smallest little “design” tweak can make all the difference. So turn that candy bowl into a fruit bowl, and change your environment to support the weight loss goals you have set for yourself.

Some examples of how to create a healthy safe haven at home include:

1. Stock your fridge, freezer and cupboards with fiber-rich foods (read: veggies, whole grains, etc.). You can only eat what is there. If you don’t have a bag of cookies in the cupboard, you can’t eat cookies.

2. Have bottles of water around the house and in the fridge. I keep a gallon of water in the kitchen so I can make sure I am drinking enough throughout the day.  If I get busy and it is 3 PM and the gallon is 2/3 full, I better start downing the H2o.

3.Display a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen. I have a nice wooden bowl that I keep filled with fruit.  It serves as a reminder to eat fruit, and sometimes if I choose something else that isn’t so healthy, seeing the fruit may guilt me into making a better choice.

 

The same idea can be applied to your office. Here are some examples of how to create a healthy safe haven at the office:

1. Pack your lunch! Period.

2. Keep your work space free of food.  If you want to keep some snacky foods in your desk, make sure it is a piece of fruit, or some raw nuts, or even a low calorie, high fiber, high protein “bar”.

3. Keep a pair of walking shoes at work and go for a short walk on your breaks. I used to do this when I was office bound. It was nice to get some fresh air, give my feet a break from heels, and get some exercise too.

Hungry or Bored? Don’t Let Boredom Blow Your Diet

Hungry or Bored? Don’t Let Boredom Blow Your Diet

Does it ever seem like when you are really busy you don’t get as hungry? Maybe when we are busy, we just don’t take the time to notice that we are hungry.  On the flip side, when you are bored or idle, do you feel like you are hungry all the time?

I definitely do.  On the  days when I am not so busy, it seems like I am famished with in an hour after eating.  What gives?

Maybe I’m not really hungry but just bored.  Here is a good way to differentiate.  This has been working with my kids too, expecially now that school is out, and one of the cringe producing comments I hear way to often is “I’m bored!”

When you cannot determine if you want to eat because you are hungry or bored,  try the Apple Test. Simply ask yourself “Would I want to eat an apple now?” (or any other food that is boring for you).  The thinking is that if you are hungry enough to eat a boring apple, then you most likely are truly hungry. But if you bypass the apple only to splurge on the apple pie, think again. Maybe you are just bored and are using food to entertain yourself?

This falls into the category of mindful eating.  Pay attention to not only to what you are eating, but to how you feel before you eat. Don’t let boredom blow your diet.

Exercise Expectations

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
Conditioning
Cooling down
Stretching

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. 
 
Conditioning
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.

 
Stretching
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.

Eating Smart – Tips For Healthy Eating

Eating Smart – Tips For Healthy Eating

This week is National Women’s Health Awareness Week.  Healthy eating begins with learning how to “eat smart”.  It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat.

 Take time to chew your food: Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite, especially if you are eating something really yummy. I tend to rush though meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors. Time to reconnect with the joy of eating.

Avoid stress while eating: When we are stressed, our digestion can get out of whack. Avoid eating while working, driving, arguing, or watching TV.  If you are stressed, most likely you are not paying attention to what or how much you are eating.  You don’t get a chance to enjoy your food, and you may unconsciously eat way too much. Don’t be the person who eats an entire bag of chips while watching TV, driving, or surfing the internet and then wonders where they all went. 

Listen to your body: Ask yourself if you are really hungry. You may be thirsty, you may be bored. Get up and do something to take your mind off the ‘hunger’ or try drinking a glass of water first.

During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. This is a big one.  By taking a few minutes before you feel full, you can cut serious calories from your diet without feeling deprived.  You must really pay attention to how your stomach is feeling, and stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly. I started doing this, and it has worked every time.  I am always amazed that even though I don’t feel full, if I stop eating, within a few minutes I feel full and sometimes stuffed.  Eating just enough to satisfy your hunger will help to feel your best, rather than stuffing yourself into a “food coma”!

 Eat early, eat often: Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating the majority of your daily calories  earlier in the day gives your body time to burn those calories. Dinner should be your smallest meal of the day. Also, eating small, healthy meals throughout the day can really help keep your metabolism going strong and ensure that you don’t become “famished” and binge on crap snacks.

Welcome to awareness week. Time to become aware of how you eat, not just what you eat.

INTENSITY and RECOVERY

INTENSITY and RECOVERY

Intensity and Recovery! From FITPOINT

FITPOINT Topic of the Week: We all workout at different intensities and vary in how often. How hard do you work-out? Do you ever fatigue yourself or do you workout just enough to get a little burn? If you do go all out, how do you deal with this or recover? What is your routine after your workout?

This is a great topic, and I have given it a lot of thought. Intensity and Recovery actually give me a lot of anxiety, as I am never sure I am doing the right thing.

First is intensity. Over the past six months, I have been trying other people’s workouts that I have gotten online – mostly from Bodybuilding.com. I have done drop set type work outs, rest pause type work outs, 15 rep work outs, and I am now finishing up a four week program of 7 sets workout. I was missing having a trainer, so by printing out a structured workout and following it to the “T” each time, I felt like I had a kind of “trainer”. I also chose workouts that I had never heard of before that offered a new way of thinking about muscle building. I figured that I was sure to do something “right” if I tried a whole bunch of different techniques.

After a lot of sole searching and analyzing of these workouts, I have come to realize that my intensity has suffered. I think because the workout routines were so specific, I felt like I had “pass” if I did not work as hard. Except for maybe the rest pause, all the workouts have not been as intense as what I would have done on my own. I am glad I gave each workout a try, but I am also disappointed and thinking that I wasted six months of training.

Today was legs and the last day of my 7 sets workout. I followed the workout as I have been for the past four weeks, but I also added several supersets to ramp up the intensity. I realized how much I have been missing that intensity.

I am looking forward to next week to get back to my old way of doing things, and I am sure I will incorporate a few tricks that I have learned along the way.

Next is recovery. What to eat, when to eat, how much protein, how many carbs… it makes my head spin. Everyone has a different opinion on the best way to recover. I almost always have a protein shake after a workout. Sometimes I add a banana in the shake and make a smoothie.

I used to add a teaspoon of raw honey to get a surge of sugar. When I first read about adding the honey, it made sense, but as I thought more about it, it seemed kind of crazy. I want my body to use up stored fat I already have, not give it honey to burn.

It is hard finding the balance between building muscle in the most efficient and effective way possible and maintaining a low weight. That is where my anxiety comes into play and why I stopped with the raw honey. I used to have a sweet potato about an hour after my protein shake. I need to start doing that again.

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