Practical ways to start living healthy now

Friday, October 29, 2010

The only way to lose weight.


I know none of you want to hear this, But before you click the x button, hear me out.

The age old saying, "move more, and eat less"  is not only true, but it is also the basis of EVERY weight loss program. Please don't use the 'eat less' part as a reason to eat nothing but a snickers all day. And do not think switching from a big mac to a chicken sandwich, with bacon cheese and ranch, is a better choice.  DO NOT fall for the fast food salad is good for you trap. Most of those salads have as many or more calories then the burgers do.  Just because something has lettuce in it does not make it healthy.

As easy as it might sound, eating less and moving more, can be difficult without a plan.  So I am going to give you guys some tools to help you do just that.

Eat less.......

    * Keep a journal: US researchers working on a study comparing approaches to weight loss, found that keeping a food diary can double weight loss. They said that the more food records they kept, the more weight the participants lost. Don't eat it until its in the journal.  

    * Drink more water: Clinical studies have shown that 37% of people mistake hunger for thirst because the thirst mechanism is so weak. By doing so, the body is led to think that it needs food when what it’s really asking for is water. Before you pick up the cookies, have a glass of fresh cold water

    * Choose your food wisely:  A great example of this is, grapes and raisins. Ounce for ounce, raisins have almost three times the amount of sugar as their grape counterparts. Raisins also contain considerably more calories. A half-cup of raisins contains 246 calories and the same amount of grapes contains only 31 calories. Now I'm not claiming raisins are bad for you, But in a situation when you need to cut calories, you will feel more satisfied eating a cup of grapes, then an ounce of raisins.

    * Know what's in your food:  If you look at a package of bread, and think your eating bread, your WRONG.  The only food you can judge by its cover, is food that is not required to have a nutrition label. Like fruit, veggies, some meats. That package of  bread, most times contains over twenty ingredients. Most lunch meat contains tons of salt, and sugar. Keep your food as pure as possible.

    * Tell people what your doing: Accountability is one of the most important factors in losing weight, or changing any behavior. When you have to report to someone else, when you feel a level of pressure, it tends to change how you think and act. One of the reasons the weekly Weight Watchers Meeting is so effective, is that it forces you to weigh in once a week. It forces you to be accountable to yourself.

Now, on to... drum roll please!



    * Find a work out buddy: This one is pretty easy to understand. Doing things with friends always seems to be less work. And you get accountability!

    * Schedule time for exercise: To many of us spend all our time taking care of our family's, and neglect ourselves. In reality, when we are in shape, we move faster, we get sick less, we need less help doing daily activities. Don't let your self believe that you don't have time to work out. You can find 15 minuets a day to prolong your life.

    * Have home work out options: Even if you are a gym or running addict, ALWAYS have back up at home. I guarantee you, at some point in your health journey, something will come up that will stop you from going to the gym. You can get a great workout at home, and not all DVDs are that pricey. You can go to Wal-mart and pick one up for five dollars.  If you need help finding a workout that suites you or you just want a recommendation, call me! I will be happy to help you find one that meets your needs. I've done a million of them.

    * Go the extra mile:  Walking to the mailbox instead of driving, parking farther away form the entrance, and taking the stairs really adds up at the end of the day.  Get a pedometer and run a test. Wear it once and do your normal routine. Then try going out of your way to your daily tasks, the steps won't lie!  

This is just a few ideas to get you guys motivated. There are so many more little changes, that make big impacts on our health.  Feel free to call or email me, any time you need help. And help people that you know are struggling, all of us need a little support.   

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Abs are built in the kitchen!

It's amazing.

Every day I see the same routine over and over again. You'll see a person with a little bit of a spare tire run over to the ab machine and diligently start knocking out crunch after crunch after crunch... only to discover weeks later that their waist hasn't shrunk an inch.
What's going on?
It's the biggest misconception about ab training out there and I'm about to hit you in the face with it...
If you can't control your caloric intake and expenditure... you'll never see the fruits of your ab work. First and foremost:

Your abs start in the kitchen...

Think about it, if you can't spot reduce bodyfat (which you can't), then the overall reduction of total body fat must be paramount in order to reveal a nice midsection.

... and the easiest way to help assure that you'll get there is to watch what you put in your mouth.
If you keep slapping Big Macs in you mouth.. you can kiss those ab dreams goodbye... ditto for the tubs of ice cream.
Keep it simple for yourself:
  • try to get at least one serving of protein with each meal
  • Avoid High GI carbs (like white bread, white rice) except for immediately after your workouts
  • Make sure to include a hearty amount of fruits and veggies in your diet (anything that has a deep color to it is a great choice)
  • Try to up your water intake to one gallon per day to make sure that you're hydrated
Remember, you can do all of the ab work you want, but if you don't have your diet in check... it's all for nothing.

It's all about consistency people, you can reach your dreams, one day at a time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Combating Emotional Eating

In our society food is a part of almost every activity: watching TV, sports events, weddings, funerals, parties, holidays, business meetings, play dates, basically any social get together has become an excuse to wheel out the food. 

Emotional eating is something I have struggled with most of my life.  With the stress of my husband coming and going, it is a constant struggle not to over eat. I have been raw vegan since the beginning of July, So my diet is very healthy. But the reality of all foods, is that you only need so much, no matter how healthy it is. Emotional eating is defined by any time you eat, not because you are physically hungry, but because you have feelings of boredom, depression, loneliness, fear, anger or frustration. Eating takes your mind off the feelings. Eating comforts you.

Eating in response to emotions and not hunger can result in many unwanted health problems, weight gain, and can even increase stress. 

The first thing someone who struggles with emotional eating or binge eating should do, is identify the triggers. When you know why you are reaching for the bag of Cheetos, or driving two miles out of your way, just to simply  "swing by" your favorite fast food joint, it is easier to prevent the situation.  And we all know, that unless we prevent the situation from happening, we won't have the willpower to step away from the Twinkies. 

The second step is to find new coping techniques. For me, it's keeping a food journal. If I force myself to write something down before I eat it, I think twice. I can also see how much I have eaten, to make a decision if  I can eat or not. This may not work for a lot of people. The key is to find what works for you and stick to it.  

Here are some more examples of coping techniques:

  • Plan alternatives and change routines. Instead of sitting down in front of the TV with a bag of chips after a stressful day you could take a walk, take a long bath, call a friend, write in a journal, or read a book. Do something that removes you from the situation that results in overeating.
  • Remove tempting foods. Don't buy the foods you crave when stressed! Having them in your house or desk is a disaster waiting to happen. If you really want to watch a favorite TV show in the evening, have nutritious low-calorie foods on hand. Better yet, find something to occupy your hands while you watch: give yourself a manicure, fold clothes or exercise.

  • Know when and how to give in. It's all right to occasionally give in to cravings. When you really do want to eat chips, buy a single serving instead of a whole bag, or take a small portion out of the bag, put in a small cup, and put the bag away before you eat.

  • When you eat, focus on the task at hand. Do not watch TV or read. Sit down at the table and leave when you are finished. Consciously eat slowly to give your stomach time to tell your brain when it's full. If you're still hungry after finishing your meal, wait 20 minutes before having a second helping or dessert 
  • Plan nutritious meals and snacks. If you wait until you are ravenous, you're more likely to reach for the wrong foods and to overeat. You may also find yourself nibbling all the way through meal preparation.
  • Reward yourself when you eat in a healthy way. Buy yourself a novel or a new journal, go see a movie or get a massage. Rewarding yourself will increase the likelihood that you will maintain your new healthy habits.

Do not be ashamed to tell some one you are tempted to over eat. Talking it through with a friend might be just what you need to stay on track.

Making dietary changes, and especially those centered on emotional eating, is tough. Changing eating habits that have been ingrained for years takes time. Take it one meal and one day at a time. You will be successful in combating obesity and stress when you combine both diet and exercise. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is fruit bad for you?

I was speaking with some one I know who is on the Atkins diet today, and a statement was made that since carbs are bad, I'm going to eat a miniature snickers instead of a piece of fruit because they have the same sugar content, Now I'm not saying Atkins is inherently evil . I'm not saying that it doesn't work and I am not saying that its not nutritionally sound.  However, I do believe that anyone who is convinced, eating fruit is just as bad as eating a snickers bar, because of the carb content is a tiny bit misguided.  Yes, fruit has sugar in it. Yes, if you eat to much sugar its not good for you.  I would not suggest eating nothing but fruit. Fruit sugar and cane sugar do effect your blood sugar the same. But really....  don't look at the sugar count in an apple as an excuse to eat a candy bar instead.  Fruits and vegetables supply us with some very important nutrients. 
  • Calcium: Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. It is also needed for normal functioning of muscles, nerves and some glands.
  • Fiber: Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, including decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Folate: Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
  • Iron: Needed for healthy blood and normal functioning of all cells.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and is involved with more than 300 enzymes in your body! Inadequate levels may result in muscle cramps and high blood pressure.
  • Potassium: Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Sodium: Needed for normal cell function throughout the body. Most diets contain too much sodium which is associated with high blood pressure.  
  • Vitamin A: Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
The list goes on and on and on, Fruit is natures multi vitamin 

Now tell me does a snickers bar "FUEL" your body?

Here's my  point:
Not all Sugar is made Equal.  Not everything you eat that has sugar in it helps your body function properly. 
Sugar is meant to be used as fuel,  And just like your car, you can only fit so much in your tank. Could you imagine if you left the gas pump running and in stead of it automatically turning off when the tank was full, it just kept pumping and adding the extra fuel to  bags on the bumper or doors of your car?  Tha'ts exactly what happens to us.  We only need so much fuel, and when we take in to much, our body's adds it to the bag around our mid sections. 

Have you ever noticed that you can eat five pieces of pizza and still want more, but you can't eat 10 cups of vegetables no matter how much you love them because you get full?  Our body's are not designed to count calories, they were designed to count nutrients.  When you give your body the amount of nutrients it needs,  it will tell you it has had enough.  When you fill it with empty calories, and it needs more vitamins and minerals it will let you go until you literally can't fit one more bite of food in your stomach.
Fruit is also a food high in water content, so it hydrates you and fuels you at the same time

Does a snickers bar hydrate you?  
Eat a well balanced diet and the sugar in fruit will not be an issue for you.  Unless of course you are a diabetic or have glucose/insulin issues. 

So to sum up 
Eat foods that nourish your body, foods that fuel your body, 

                                                              And people. Do not over flow your tank.