Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nutrition - start the morning with fuel

Photo by framboise
This week I'm focusing on the most important meal of the day; breakfast.  The name says it all--to break the fast.  So why are so many people skipping breakfast?  I know of at least two reasons, lack of time and to loose weight. 
For some odd reason we seem to find time to give to everyone else but ourselves.  Aside from a fire or medical emergency, what can possibly keep you from eating something before leaving your house in the morning?  If you're running late consider a portable breakfast such as a fruit, protein bar, etc. If time is an issue I recommend getting up a little bit earlier and make time to eat. 
As for those of you who think that starving your body equals weight loss, think again.  You are starving your body which in turn slows your metabolism and in the end you gain weight, yes, you gain.  Your body will know when starvation mode kicks in and it will hold on to every ounce of water, fat and calories you put into it. It's called self preservation!
Tom at  Free Fitness Tips has a series on boosting metabolism in which he shares this: "Just as eating large meals can hurt your metabolism, eating too few meals can have the same effect. To keep your metabolism high you need to feed it."  I agree with Tom and all other fitness and nutrition experts out there.  Does your car run better with less fuel?  Do you think eventually it will stop running?  Your body needs fuel and the fuel comes from nutritious foods.
An article at Ripped Corner has 7 great tips for a better breakfast.  Simply stated, balance your breakfast so that your early morning fuel is the best it can be to take you through the rest of the morning without feeling like you could eat a horse or your babie's PB&J.
Eat well, Stay well!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fitness, Nutrition, Relaxation

Photo by FanBoy30

This week marks the first in a series fitness, nutrition, and relaxation tips I'll be sharing to help get your wellness program started or maybe to add a little spark to your usual routine.  I will provide an exercise, a healthy recipe or meal idea, or a relaxation technique.  Together we will begin to add each of these ideas together.  Over the weeks, as we continue to perfect each exercise, change the way we eat, and incorporate some well deserved R&R, we will begin to form habits that are likely to change the way we feel and the way we look.  Who knows, maybe your family will clue into what you’re doing and follow in your healthy living footsteps.
Get down and give me 20 or just one, give me one!!
When babies reach a certain age (somewhere between 4 and 8 months- depends on the child) the first physical activity they do is a push up.  Have you ever noticed?  It is the sweetest thing to see them trying to balance that big ol’ head and push up with their tiny little arms.  But they persist and eventually they go from belly to knees. 
Well we, as adults, need to mimic this determination and persistence that babies intuitively show off right from the start.  This week’s exercise is the infamous Push Up.  The push up is one of the most effective exercises because you have to engage many muscles just to hold the proper form.  Push ups test your cardiovascular and muscular endurance as well as your level of fitness. 
In an article on the New York Times, writer Tara Parker-Pope says, “The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.” 
Having been in the US Marines I know all too well the meaning behind ‘get down and give me 20,’ it was never really 20 because we had to do 4 count push ups so we were push up 40 times.  If you really want to challenge yourself, give it a shot… count down 1- up 2- down 3- up 4 – that’s your first push up.  Ouch!!!
However, one must first start at the beginning to avoid injury and work your way up to a full push up. I remember thinking I would never leave the traditional girly push up because, after all, I am a girl and so why not stay where I'm comfortable. After joining the military I realized that wasn't going to cut it for my Drill Instructors so my knees left the floor, quickly.  However, to get yourself started set a goal, start with the “girly push up” and work your way up to real push ups. Better yet, start with full push ups, do a few, as many as you can, then drop the knees and continue your workout.
Another, excellent, idea to help conquer these failing push ups is one I read about at The One Push Up Challenge.  Yes that's right, one push up  challenge.  Go check it out, it's actually a great idea and if you do your one "whatever" you wont ever feel like a failure because the goal was to do one and you did it, however, if you do more than one you'll feel like an overachiever and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm really warming up to this idea.  
The best about using push ups as your on-the-go workout is that you need zero equipment, you don't even need special clothing, so no excuses.  
I hope you'll join in the fun of this little challenge. Start with one and see where that takes you.
Share your goals, ideas, comments and questions...right here, right now!!
Stay well,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Start your Wellness program NOW! No resolutions needed

You know it's been a long time since you worked out if you can't remember where you last saw your workout shoes or clothes for that matter.  How about that old water bottle? Many of us have a huge list of good excuses reasons for why we stop a perfectly good workout routine and that's perfectly OK to do.  After all, life does happen and sometimes it happens to interrupt whatever we have going on at the time.  Most recently, the Holiday Season. A time to share, love, give, take, shop, bake, eat, eat, eat... I don't attempt to fool myself into thinking that I will be "good" during this time of year because I will not.  I bake to give and so does everyone else, in the end I end up with a lot of goodies that can't be thrown away --hey I respect my neighbors and they are great bakers.  No matter what you try to tell yourself, you will indulge in drinks, sweets, salty, deliciously fattening foods that you would not normally eat the rest of the year.  
I'm not a big fan of making resolutions because I feel sort of paralyzed after a few weeks.  It's like I make this decision to do the best ever (lose weight, pay off debt, get organized, ha ha) and then if I can't meet that huge goal I feel like a complete failure and feeling like a failure makes me eat, shop, and then I become disorganized so it's sort of counterproductive. Instead I just jump right in and get started with what was working before or at least adjusting what wasn't working.  I do my best at improving our lives but that's just something we should all strive to do all the time, not just on January 1st, every year for a few weeks.
Here I will talk more about the fitness side, but know that this all can apply to just about any goal...
So how do you get started?
First - you need motivation.  Only you can make the decision to start a wellness program and only you can determine the reason.  To lose weight, to maintain weight, to be more active? for your kids? for your HEALTH? Whatever the reasons, write them down and let that be your motivation to START!.
Second - gather up your gear & put it on the schedule.  Get everything ready the night before - find that old gym bag and fill it up with a bottle of water, towel, exercise shoes and clothes.  Be prepared and eliminate any potential pitt-falls. On your family or personal calendar, write your workout plans. Make this an appointment with yourself, your family or your friends.  Would you miss your doctors appointment? NO. Then don't miss this one. Once you take a day off it will be easier to find reasons to take a second day and then a third, stop STOPPING so you don't have keep STARTING.
Third - where are you going? are you going to the gym? calling a friend to join you on a walk? going for a run or bike ride? working out at home? Choose your activity.  It really doesn't matter what activity you choose, but choose one and go with it.  Be prepared to do that activity and several others throughout the week.  Even when time is limited do something and write it down. A 15 minute walk or run is better then not doing anything at all.
Fourth - Clean out your fridge and pantry.  The last thing you need are temptations to ruin a good workout. You don't have to toss the goodies, although not having them is the best way to go, just tape up the boxes and bags and place them up high or low - you don't want those treats to be easily accessible.  Load up on fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks such as nuts and high fiber protein bars, good fat-free dairy and of course, water.  Yes, plain old water.  Keep the water bottles ready to go in the fridge or on your counter and drink water throughout the day.
The first workout might be the hardest but it will be the beginning of a much healthier you in 2013!!
What are your goals and how can I help you get started?
I'll be back soon with some exercise tips you can do at home, with the kids, in the gym or on the road.
Stay Well,