Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! And how to survive from the sugar aftermath.

 Boo! Oh how I love this holiday. I love all holidays really, but Halloween is just so fun. I love the dressing up, the orange and black themed everything, the glowing pumpkins, and the decorations. I love it all...all except for the overabundance of sweets and the endless confessions I get at work for who ate too many of what, and why it was necessary. Halloween can be the start to a verrrry scary holiday season for those who are looking to keep up your healthy habits and stay fit. It is extremely possible to do, you just have to be willing to set some ground rules! Here are my tips on how to start this holiday season of right, and keep it that way.

1. Set some guidelines for yourself now - I am going to allow myself "x" amount of sweets per week. I am going to go to the gym this many times. Etc. Set goals that are measurable, not vague. If you set your goal as, "I'm going to try and eat healthy this week." That is great and all, but it's hard to feel like you either did, or didn't. Try something more along the lines of...Monday though Thursday I am going to cool every meal at home, or I am going to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. These are measurable numbers.

2. Get rid of the Halloween Candy - Give it away, bag it up and send it to a neighbor in need of some loving, throw it away, lock it up, do something so it's not just sitting in front of your face in a giant bowl asking you to come and munch. Sure, a few pieces of candy aren't going to do much harm to you, moderation is always the best way to do things. However, if you grab a mini candy bar every time you walk past that bowl you could be adding hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake. This could be trouble!

3. Prep yourself for the holiday parties. You know there is going to be a lot of them. Offer to take a healthy side dish. Eat before you go so you aren't ravenous and wanting to delve in to the high calories foods. Serve yourself one plateful and don't continue to constantly graze. Fill your plate with veggies and fruits first, so there isn't a ton of room for other junk. Avoid the unknown foods; if you can't tell what the salad is composed of, don't venture there. Pick ONE dessert. Although the table may be filled with eight different delightful goodies, don't go overboard.

4. Cook healthy yourself. Holiday Feasts don't have to be unhealthy. Get creative and experiment with healthy cooking substitutions. You'd be surprised at how great some taste.

5. Don't allow yourself to give up. Don't say, "I'll just start over at New Years." Start over right now. You may have a day or two, or three, or four, where you feel like you blew it. Don't let that get you down. Don't let two full months go buy of you allowing yourself to slowly creep back on the pounds you've worked so hard to take off. You are in control. Be in control.

Benita and I decided to dress up as nerds at the last minute, so we scrounged up what we had for costumes. I think I look more like a french girl scout...or Molly the American Doll...who I loved. I hope everyone has a great, safe, and happy Halloween Weekend! Are we ready for November...yikes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Regrets.

Yesterday I was watching the Today Show while I was working out in the morning. Don't worry I'm still quaruntined to the elliptical because my ankle isn't quite back to normal yet. P.S. Injuries are the worst...Anyways...Apollo Ono the speed skater was on the show promoting a new book he wrote. I liked something he said. He said he wanted to live his life with no regrets. He wanted to live feeling like he did everything in his power to be the best that he could be. I think that is something that is SO applicable to anyone, and of course applicable in our lives as far as health is concerned. I hear a lot of my clients say, "Ten years ago was my prime. I'll never be able to get back to where I was then," or "If only I could look a certain way, or feel a certain way, or complete this race or that race. I just don't have the time to look as good as I want."
I don't buy it. 
I don't buy it for one second. If you want to look a certain way, feel a certain way, or accomplish a certain goal. DO IT. Live with no regrets. Don't let your own excuses get in the way. If you feel like there is a habit that is getting in the way of your progress, do whatever you need to to do change it.
Don't keep thinking that you'll change tomorrow. Change today. Change now. Don't let another year pass with your mindset being...sheesh if only I'd done what I needed to do to lose those extra ten pounds last year. I might not feel so bad about myself right now, or my cholesterol might have gone down, or I wouldn't feel so sluggish.
Stop with the excuses.
Start the good habits.
Live with no regrets. You are so much more capable than you are giving yourself credit for. Don't play the What if game. Make it come to pass.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So this winter thing is really happening, huh?

Snow. It happened, and I don't like it. Although the second I got back from AZ and there was a chill in the air I was cold and craving some warm soup. My Mom used to always make this vegetable soup, and I remember she'd always tell me she threw in whatever she had to it. I couldn't resist making it last night. It's ridiculous how easy it is. I literally just used what I could find at home.

Here's what I added...
3 Diced new potatoes
1 can cut green beans
1 can kidney Beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 package of frozen veggie mix (mine had cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)
1 small zucchini cut in small pieces
1 can tomato paste
2 cups whole wheat bow tie pasta (or you could use whatever small pasta you have in your pantry)
6 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes (you could use canned chicken broth if you have that)
2 TBS minced garlic
2 TBS dried oregano
2 TBS dried basil
2 TBS onion powder 
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Add the potatoes and the liquid first. Allow to boil for a few minutes so the potatoes become tender. Add everything else except for the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes and add the pasta. Allow it to cook, covered, until the pasta is done. 
I ate mine with some warm whole wheat pita bread! For one cup of soup there is about 200 calories. It's amazing how creative you can get with this. You really could add ANY veggie to it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Road Rules

I think I've made the drive to AZ and back about 10 times this year. Between the trek to see the family, and the fun road trips with my friends, here, there, and in between. I feel like I've spent some serious time in the car. It's fascinating to see people's road trips food habits. For the most part people tend to stock up on candy and snacks galore, hydrate with soda, snack the entire drive, and stop at whatever horrendous fast food location will get them refueled and on the go. Sound familiar? Because I've been doing so much driving I refused to let this be my story as well. Don't let a day trip in the car be the sabotage to your weeks worth of hard work. Here are some tips to beat the road trip munchies.

1. Plan Ahead: More than likely you will get hungry in the car, so be prepared for it. Bring a small cooler with cut up fruit or veggies and hummus. Pack whole wheat crackers, almonds, granola bars, or protein bars. Try if you can to go get pre-portioned foods, so you don't have to worry about letting your hand find the bottom of the Wheat Thins box two hours later. 

2. Know your distances: If you know you your route plan out healthy spots where you might be able to stop and get lunch. If you aren't going to be able to stop somewhere healthy pack a loaf of whole wheat bread and some peanut butter and jelly, or some cold cuts. You'll save money and calories. 

3. Don't let the convenience store inconvenience your diet: You stop to get gas and suddenly everything on the gas station shelves looks so enticing. Be strong. Ask yourself, am I really hungry? Do I really want a treat? You might just be thirsty, and need some water. If you really are hungry eat real food, not junk food. 
4. Don't be a mindless muncher: So often we drive on and it's like because we know there is a bag of food packed for the trek we feel like we have to eat it. Not so. Be in control. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or just thirsty. Be aware of what you're eating throughout the trip. Remember that because you're sitting in the car instead of moving around doing your normal daily activities you aren't burning your usual amount of calories. You'd be better off to keep your calorie intake on the lower side, rather than overindulge in mediocre snack food.

5. Hydrate: Bring water bottles. If you feel like snacking, drink some water. 

6. Chew gum: Sugar free flavored gum can help you to fight off those sweet tooth cravings. 

7. Don't let others bad habits ruin your good habits: So often we fall to caloric peer pressure, because our friend is eating it, we feel like we should have it too. Don't let this sucker you in. You want to have success! Be strong. 

My road trip necessities as of now are: 
Vitamin Water Zero (The Orange Flavor tastes like Tang. So good.)

Blue Diamond Natural Almonds. Very Tasty.

Quakes Caramel Corn Rice Cake Bites. A sweet, tasty, guiltless indulgence.

Cliff Bars. I love the Crunchy Peanut Butter and the Chocolate Mint.

Orbit Gum. I always have a fruity and a mint on hand.

Happy Traveling!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Get out of the rut!

Slumps. We all have them. I have been talking to several people who have told me that for whatever reason they just aren't feeling the gym right now. They aren't caring what they eat, but on top of that they feel gross and aren't happy with the way they look. 
This morning while I was working out I was thinking about why this happens to us. How we can go from loving our gym routine and being in such a good grove, to hating stepping foot in the gym and not caring about a thing we put in our mouths. I think that a few things happen. First, we slip up somewhere. Whether it's missing a couple workouts, or feeling like we are over eating for a few days. This slip up, which should be thought of as just a bump in the road, and then forgotten as we get back to our good routine, often times does just the opposite. It gives us the "well I already screwed up..." mentality. After this thought process has occurred many times our motivation factors are low because we don't feel like we're on top of our game. This process may go on for a couple weeks, where you all of the sudden are wondering what has happened to you. Maybe you gained a couple pounds, your clothes aren't fitting right, or you just don't feel like your happy, motivated, healthy self. At this stage we feel uncomfortable in our own skin, and probably in your gym clothes. The last thing you want to do is look at yourself in the mirror and feel like you're out of your groove. Does this sound familiar?
On the other hand, think of the times when you feel like you are really in a good routine. You are doing great with your eating, you are sticking to your workout regimen, and you're feeling good. What a contrast between the two states of mind. More than likely, when you're on a roll you want to go to the gym. You want to keep up with your progress, so you continue to press on, hoping to keep feeling great. 
So, if you feel like you fall into the first scenario, don't let that downward icky spiral suck you in until you completely want to give up. My solution? Force yourself to be very strict for two weeks. Record your food, watch your portions, drink lots of water, be religious with your gym routine (even though you don't want to be there.) You'll probably feel uncomfortable still for the first couple days, but if you can get back into the place where you feel that motivation you'll be back on a roll. It is worth it! Discipline yourself back to where you feel like you can do it, because you can!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stopping the Sabotoge

Excuses. We can find them just about anywhere. Your job is to create an environment where you won't let the things that can sabotage you turn in to a list of excuses. This is easier said than done, but it can definitely be done. 

Potential Problem #1
Your significant other. 
Less trips to the gym, more evenings out, more nights on the couch...your relationship with your significant other doesn't have to mean giving up the good routines in your life. You can involve your loved one instead of giving them up. Go to the gym together, find a sport or active hobby you both like, cook dinners at home together, etc.

Potential Problem #2
Your friends. 
Friends can do the same things as significant others as far as having either a positive or negative effect on your habits. It's easy for us to get in the downward spiral of peer pressure that can come with say...a girl's night out? Well, if everyone's going to eat that I will too, type of a mentality. Why not use your friends as a support group, rather than a reason to indulge in a triple scoop fudge Sunday. Get everyone together to go to a spin class, schedule your next girls night out at a healthy location, choose fat freefrozen yogurt over Ben and Jerry' get it.

Potential Problem #3
Your family. 
Of course your family is one of your primary obligations, but you don't have to let your families needs completely ruin your good habits. Instead, involve your family in your good habits. Pass the positive influence of making healthy decisions on to your children. Make healthy dinner options, keep your family active, teach your kids about being active and healthy from a young age, don't let the TV be your babysitter, rear them into active adulthood. 

Potential Problem #4 
Your schedule.
Give me an empty day, schedule free, and I promise you I can fill it right up. I know you're the same way. Don't let your schedule, schedule you. Map out times ahead of time, for workouts, healthy meals, sleep, relaxation...if you don't make time for some of these things it is more than likely that they won't happen. They need to happen. Make yourself a priority.

Potential Problem #5 
Your stress.
This goes hand in hand with your schedule. A lot of stress can trigger the hormone Cortisol which tells your body to store fat. On top of that, stress can often induce eating as a method to calm nerves. Don't let this be you. Find ways to eliminate the stress out of your lives. Don't crowd your day with things that don't matter, leaving crunch time for the things that do. Sometimes we create unnecessary stress in our own lives by setting expectations that are unreachable, and trying to do the impossible. Allow time in your day to do something that helps you to de-stress be it exercise, a warm bath, a nap, find something.

Potential Problem #6
Your computer/phone/tv.
These are all time suckers. Sometimes we wonder, "why we don't have enough time in a day," and yet we failed to realize that we wasted 3 hours of it sitting in front of a computer, or watching our favorite shows. All of these things are fine and good, but don't allow your precious workout time to be bombarded by two hours of online shopping, or miss the chance to cook your family a healthy dinner because you talked on the phone for 45 mins to your best friend. You get the point. 

More than anything it is just a matter of being aware. Try to make the most out of the time and the relationships that you have. Become an active person and help your family do likewise. Don't let your good practices be sabotaged by bad decisions.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Healthy, Easy, Pita Pizza's

Look at that.
Now tell me that doesn't look divinely delicious. Well, It is. The good news? It's just about the easiest meal you can throw together, and a very health option. I went to Lake Powell this past weekend with a group of about 20 people, and I was in charge of the food. I wanted to make it as easy, and as healthy as possible, and these Pita Pizza's worked out SO well. I plan on making them at home! 

Pita Pizza
Pita (you can use white or whole wheat)
Pizza Sauce, Pesto Sauce, BBQ sauce (depending on your flavor of pizza)
Cheese: We used mozzarella, but you could get fancy (Parmesan, feta, goat cheese, Gouda) I am not a huge fan of cheese, so I did mine without and I thought it was delish!
Meats: Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Chicken, Sausage...etc
Fruits & Veggies: tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, olives, avocado, spinach, red onions, pineapple, etc. You really can just be creative with this!

You can either cook these in the oven or on a grill, depending on what you have available to you. It only takes about 5 mins, or until the cheese is melted. They really are so good, and a great meal for kids and entertaining. 
On a side note...while on said Lake Powell trip I decided to go running the morning after we got there. The run was great. The temperature was PERFECT. I got in about six miles and was heading back to the houseboat where I decided to sprint the last leg of my run from the dock to the boat. The dock is made up of rock slabs that aren't cemented down so I knew I needed to be careful. I guess I wasn't careful enough! I stepped in the crack between two rocks and was down before I could do much about it, rolling my ankle. It was pretty dang painful. Turns out I tore my deltoid ligament in my foot :( I have been in a LOT of pain, and I know I'll be out for a while as far as running goes. I am definitely appreciating a healthy, well functioning body at this point. This is going to be a rough recovery!

On another side note...I have been working with a friend on setting up a website which will be very similar to my blog, (don't worry I'm not getting rid of this guy,) but has more of a specific search engine purpose. I'll be posting a lot of useful information, so you can mosey on over HERE if you're interested. It's still in the preparatory phases, and the design work hasn't been done yet, but I want to start getting it out there. It has been and will continue to be a really fun project for me! I'll let you know when the official is up, but you're more than welcome to browse the info that is posted as of right now.