Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Lent Diet- Give up WHAT?

Photo: harrys-brownies-ahero

It seems people these days spend way too much time talking about miracle diets and fast weight-loss. My favorites are the ones that give up something for Lent in hopes they'll never crave it again or in hopes they'll lose weight in the process. Like that's ever going to be a permanent thing. They spend 40 days out of the year avoiding certain foods, this is the big sacrifice. The real sacrifice is to those of us who have to hear them whine on a daily basis. Don't tell me you gave up chocolate or coffee or potato chips because the more you talk about it the more I will be tempted to always show up with all three in my hands, just to get a rise of out you ;-)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a really good effort and what better time than Lent, when you feel you need to be accountable to God, to give up something you probably shouldn't be 'over'eating to begin with. I respect what you're doing; keep up the good work beyond Lent. But please, quit whining about it. Must you salivate at the site of chocolate brownies and behave like an unfed lion because you have not been able to eat chocolate in the last 30 days? Whose fault is that? Not mine? Then, please, back off and let me enjoy my brownie and "fat-free" milk in peace. And wipe your mouth, you're still salivating.

Personally speaking, I eat what I like to eat and I also eat what I crave, all in moderation (sometimes not.) But because I eat nutritious foods most of the time, I exercise and rehydrate my body regularly, I do not crave much on the junk side of foods. When I do eat my share of 'junk' I don't feel one bit of guilt, I simply enjoy the blissful moment.

It is very important to understand what your body really needs when you are craving something. Thirst is often confused for hunger and this often results in eating too much of a good, and sometimes bad, thing. The problem is that your thirst will linger until you give it H₂O. Other times we eat out of boredom and again we find that food will not satisfy that feeling, so if you are bored go for a walk or go to the gym- guaranteed you won’t be bored there.

Balanced nutrition, plenty of exercise, and H₂O --it's no miracle!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super Workout in under an hour

Today in class we did a super workout in under an hour -- 43 minutes to be exact but if you're working out alone this could take less time. Use fast paced music to keep you motivated. Have a towel and water available and if you don't have the equipment mentioned here, do it on the floor and improvise, but don't skip a thing!!

So here's what we did for cardio:

1- jog w/ high knees

2-jacks to the four walls (8 count then turn right until you go all the way around) then plyo jacks to the front only (touch the floor and jump up-explosive)

3-football drills to the four walls

4-like in turbo kick- jab right high/low 8 counts then zig-zag torso side to side 8 counts and switch to the left 4X each side

5-squat & reach then plyometric squat & jump

6 - slow knee then speed up for fast repeater knee using Abs to pull knee to the chest

7-push up slow count of 8 then four-count push ups 4X

8-shuffle right for 4 counts and add 2 plyometric jumps at one end then return to other side 8X total (four each side)

9-mountain climbers slow knee tuck 8X then fast 16X

10-flip to work triceps- like reverse push up or reverse plank

Quick recovery- drink water, dry sweat... move on to partner work if you have a partner. If not, just switch on your own - do each for about 30 seconds.

Partners work- this was focused on muscles but heart rate still up - interval training.

1- partner1 wall squat w/chest squeeze using medice ball; partner2 burpees

2-p1 triple squat on bosu; p2 upright row/military press

3-p1 lunge off bosu with bicep curl; p2 jacks/push ups

4-p1 squat jump over bosu; p2 push up with side plank

5-p1 squat kick; p2 plank hold

Abs - criss cross or bicycle, single leg & double leg stretch, crunches, flip for a plank hold of 30 seconds. DONE!!

Stretch every muscle, drink lots of water and you are set for the day!!

Have fun! We did :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Consistency = long term benefits

Over the last, oh I don't know, eons, I have tried every diet, fitness routine, quick fix pills and several equipments, and even several diet products that promise to make me skinny in no time flat. Some worked short term then I had to get back to reality, others just didn't work at all and for sure I figured it was the crappy product or diet plan I was on. It couldn't be me right?

I have become a little bit smarter about all the dieting and quick fix programs and their false promises - basically I don't believe in strict diets nor do I believe that diet pills or quick-fix equipment work in the long run. Strict diets only work if you do them consistently for the rest of your life and that's not an easy thing to do.

I learned, the hard way, that the #1 key to success is consistency. Once you have a plan that includes eating healthy and exercising then all you have to do is follow through and keep doing what you planned to do. The best laid plans are nothing if we don't follow through.

So buying a journal, a gym membership, cute workout clothes and new running shoes and paying a trainer will not increase your ability to lose weight or get in shape or even improve your health if you don't use them. You still have to watch what you eat (and I don't mean watch it go in your mouth, I mean be aware of what's good and bad in what you eat each every meal). The gym membership is just a waste of money if you don't actually go to the gym; cute workout clothes and new shoes are pointless if you don't ever break a sweat in them. Go ahead, make them stinky - that is the smell of a hard workout.The Personal Trainer still gets paid regardless of your progress - he/she is there to lead you, teach you, motivate you and guide you - but you have to want it more than the trainer. Show up, work hard!

I'm sure, in fact, I know I have not reached the MY personal fitness goals. Not for lack of motivation, know-how, or consistency but simply because I set goals for the long term and I know that it can take as long to get there as it did to get where I am now. Funny how my body just didn't bounce back after baby number 3 and 4. What was I thinking? Regardless of the changes in my body as I age, umm get wiser, I can't give up and blame it all on my "maturity," in fact, I work harder because it takes longer to achieve the same results. Add to that the added stress of raising kids, added stress of packing out and moving every 2-4 years due to military orders, school, work, etc..etc.

With a well laid out plan and taking into consideration holidays, kids getting sick, family visiting, etc.What can possibly keep me from getting a workout in today? Well, first my attitude can get in the way of things. If I get up looking for an excuse not to go to the gym or for a bike ride or a walk then, believe me, I will find a way and a reason why I can't exercise today. Secondly, preparation. If I don't lay out my clothes, pack my gym bag, fill my water bottle AND write on my calendar what my next day will be, it's very likely that it will be filled with a lot of things, none of which include my fitness routine.

To avoid these potential interruptions in my fitness routine I first fix my attitude, before I even get to bed. I write down what class I'm taking or how far I plan to walk/run/ride, etc. When all else fails, I call someone and tell them what I'm doing. Now there's one more person I'm accountable to. Second, I plan to succeed the next day by preparing everything the night before - gym bag, food, water bottle, clothes, etc.

OK so I have control of these two issues in my life. I can fix that. But what about the others, the unexpected or even expected events that come up. I have those days. Believe me, with four kids and a husband whose not always here, the last minute cold, tummy issue, and food spill rests on me to clean up. No matter how great a plan I had to go to the gym at 9:30 am, things happen.

It's OK to stop and do what needs to be done. Deal with the situation and move on. I can't beat myself up about it, I can't beat my kids up either -- that would be counter productive. So I have to go to plan B. We all should have one. Options: Once all the clean up is done and the child is settled or asleep, workout at home, use FitTV, ExerciseTV, YouTube, and the million and one blogs out there with easy, no equipment required fitness programs that can be done at home in a short period of time. The idea is to keep moving, do something, don't just give up for the day and call it quits.

The last minute visitors...they have a place in my healthy heart too. Either come with me to the gym or wait here, I'll be back shortly. Many of my friends already know to show up prepared, just in case we go for a long walk or in case we go to a Spinning Class. When I have overnight visitors coming and I know they're coming I tell them in advanced that I plan to go to the gym and I would love for them to come along. But if they don't want to, that's OK. Mi casa es tu back shortly. I know there are times when you have company coming and you have to prepare, clean, cook, etc.... that's different, but not so. This is a great opportunity to get the workout in around that particular visit - very early or late on the day of, or the day before or after. No one ever said we had to be working freakishly hard 7 days a week. But we can certainly plan to exercise and eat healthy before a party.

It is not difficult to be consistent with matters of the heart and health. We can consistently find time to do a great deal of things in our every day life, except taking care of #1- that usually goes to the bottom of the list. Maybe it's time we reset our priorities and put YOU back on the list as #1, permanently.

Stay Well,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feeling crappy and I know why

Photo Source: "Bread"

So yesterday I decided would be my day to throw in the towel and eat whatever I wanted and craved. I do that everyone once in a while and usually I have a reaction to what I eat and learn a good lesson. Then I avoid whatever that was for a long time because I don't like to feel crappy, ever. Once it was Oreo cookies, another time it was those delicious sugar coated pecans another time I believe I had one too many margaritas -- hey it happens.

Yesterday I was craving bread. I normally don't keep the kind of bread I crave in the house (White, refined carbs). I like to bake my own bread and for those us who crave carbs, you know the feeling we get when the smell of fresh baked bread takes over the entire house. I only imagine melting butter--- yum. Anyway, I told myself I would have self control and eat one, maybe two servings. I made French bread. It was just perfect coming out of the oven. I figured instead of butter I would have my bread with olive oil, after all, olive oil is better for me than butter.

I should have known better then to think I would have self control. I didn't. Not at all. Instead I ate almost all the bread I made, with olive oil of course. Shortly after I started feeling weak, tired, a mild headache was lingering around my head. I felt worse as time passed. I tried drinking water, lots of water but I continued to feel like someone beat me and left me for dead. OK a little drastic but you get the idea.

What was happening with my body?

Refined carbohydrates are converted to glucose which give you a boost in energy. This boost doesn't last long at all. It's not long after this high that the low begins to kick in leaving you completely flat. What happens is the higher amounts of sugar in the blood force the body to produce an excess amount of insulin to help metabolize the sugar. As the blood sugar returns to normal, sometimes it can drop below normal and that's when the lethargy kicks in. So you go from hyperglycemia (excess sugar in the blood) to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in a very short period of time.

Best way to balance out the sugar levels when they fall below normal? Reach for a 1/2 cup of fruit juice, a cup of milk, hard candy, a tablespoon of sugar. Sounds counterproductive but the idea is to raise the levels to normal, especially if you know that the symptoms are associated with hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can lead to death if left untreated. That's scary. OK time to go back to my well balanced diet and indulge in some frozen fruit (my new candy), lots of fresh fruit and veggies, water and I will be making better carbohydrate choices, i.e. complex, whole wheat, whole grain, sweet potatoes, brown rice.

I know better but sometimes we give into those cravings when all our bodies want is good nutrition and not whatever we think we're craving.

Have you made food choices that affected your health? What did you learn?

Stay well!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wii Fitness is Fun

Photo Source: techplay

Last week we received half of our house hold goods. Yes, just half. Apparently it didn't all fit in the barge but that's OK. It's something. I was really excited to find our favorite family video game, the Wii. Since buying this latest electronic gadget, two years ago, I've become somewhat fond of video games. I was never a fan of the idea that one could sit in the same position, moving nothing but a few fingers and thumbs for hours at a time.

I just can't focus that long.

However, the Wii was a different story. We played tennis, bowling, boxing and many other games that took us from the couch to the middle of the family room floor fast. So I added the Wii Board and that's when things really picked up around here.

When I tell you that even my 3 year old gets involved in the fitness activities, I'm not lying. We are very competitive with each other so every time someone's score beats the last player, well, we have to take care of that now don't we?

One of my favorite activities is the hoola hoop. Have you done the hula? We were soakin' wet with sweat and we were having a blast. Next came boxing. I was beat by my seven year old twice but I took her down on the third try - although, she says she let me win because she felt sorry for me, HA!! We finished our workout, I mean, our game with a few yoga poses.

It was one of the best family game nights we've had and we're about ready to do it again real soon. The next day we, or I, felt the pain of our game night. My obliques were screaming and my arms were super sore from boxing.

I can honestly say we had a hard workout, we had a great time, and there was no couch time. We will be repeating the event soon. Our Wii board arrived in our shipment this week and we can't wait to get it set up and begin the battle yet again. I need to practice my hula so I can beat little miss know it all here... hee hee hee!

If you haven't already tried it, go for it. Be a kid again, you will have an amazing time, trust me!!

Stay well!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hundred Pushups and Bok Choy

It is not a good idea to skip a day or two when doing this challenge because catching is hard to do! I skipped Friday and Monday in leu of all the other things I was doing and because I was sore from my prior workouts I thought "hey, I did enough, I'll just pick up on the right day and week." NOT!!! I would have to do 20, 2, 15, 15, max of 25. There's no way. I think I will go back to last Wednesday and start over with week two. OK I can't let that happen again or I'll never reach my goal.

On the bright side, I will begin Spinning again real soon. I'll be working with mostly military members who use Spinning as their morning workout here on base. I hope to keep them motivated and give them a hard, energizing workout that will keep them coming back for more.

I recently bought Bok Choy. I don't know what to do with it but if I don't have it in the house I'll never learn so I'm looking for easy, tasty recipes with this interesting vegetable. HELP!!

Hope to get some tips on how to use my Bok Choy! Have a fantastic, energized, super active, healthy Day!

Stay Well!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Running with the dog=a great workout

So I decided to take our new dog for a jog today. She is full of energy all the time and never seems to get tired of playing and running and retrieving things.

Because we live in a fairly hot environment I prepared myself with water bottles, a dog travel bowl, and of course, the leash. We set out for our first run and for the first mile I felt like was being pulled. This dog wanted to take off running and if we were living near an open field I would let her go. Instead I was forced to run faster and use my upper body muscles to restrain her from taking my arm out of the socket.

Somewhere along the way we spotted an iguana which she through she had to fetch for me. Again, another jolt to my right arm. Thankfully, this is a yellow Lab with excellent training and listening skills. I told her to stop, sit and wait and she did. "Good Dog!! here's a treat for not ripping my arm out!!" I'm glad I'm still working on the hundred pushup challenge or I might not be able to hold her back. That might be an issue for the iguanas.

On the way back we ran and then she ran out of steam and it became a nice comfortable jog. I think the lesson here is to play hard in the back yard before going for a run. Bringing water was a great idea as well. Running in 85 degree temperature with a wind chill factor of... well, 85, makes staying hydrated very important. Don't worry, Honey was born and raised here so she's accustomed to these extreme temperatures. We drink plenty of water throughout the day, before, during and after any outdoor activities. Honey's favorite after exercise activity is getting splashed by the hose!

All in all it was a great fitness day for all!!

Monday Fitness Tips - Just go do it!

(photo by Kim Aubrey)

It has been the rule since the beginning of ...well, who knows since when, but many of us choose to start almost everything on Monday. Diets, exercise routines, getting organized, reading a book, the list goes on. I remember overeating over the weekend just because I was going to start my diet on Monday--always a bad idea.

Anyway, since it is Monday already and we all want to get or stay in shape I suggest starting something new to change our routine:

1. Revisit the eating habits by keeping a daily journal of everything we eat (from that cough drop to the sinful cookie, even the babies sandwich crust, you know you all do it too). **Drink your water and/or tea. This can be an online journal, a calorie counting journal or a piece of paper and pencil--that works too.

2. Move more while doing chores. Turn the music up and get busy - that all counts as exercise. If you're busy you are less likely to visit the pantry or fridge in search of snacks you really don't want or need.

3. Read the menu for the week and make sure you have all that you need to avoid a big diet sabotage.

4. Find time to regroup, read the schedule for the week, take control of stress by finding a few minutes to just sit and relax.

Sometimes we just need someone to say -just go do it! Stay in control!

Stay Well!