Are you a little concerned that your good work to date will get derailed this holiday season? Don’t despair, healthy living does not mean total deprivation. It does, however, require a few strategies to keep you on the right track.  Here are a few ways you can limit temptations over the holidays:
  1. Drink up. (Water…that is!) You’d be surprised at the difference dehydration can make. It’s often mistaken for hunger. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  2. Out of sight, out of mind.  You know how there’s a reason for product placement at the grocery store? Do your own “marketing” at home by removing food or snacks not healthy for your family. Out of sight, out of mind.
  3. Keep a log so you can identify triggers and are realistic about input/output. Most folks overestimate calories burned and underestimate calories consumed. Keep it real.
  4. Know your limit. Can you indulge a little? Or does one bit turn into the entire bag/box? If the latter is the case, then that means no sugar should pass your lips. So be it. Is it difficult to eat out if you see or smell dessert or French fries? If so, skip it for now. Honor thyself. If you CAN indulge a little, go for it. Enjoy it, savor it, and then add some extra workout time. It’s all good.
  5. Good fats help resist the sugar urge. As does protein. Eat up.
  6. Create a bit of crazy. Visualization, that is. If sugar is still tempting you, imagine your sugar free life and the healthy/energetic/lean self you’ll be sporting! SEE it, claim it, then make the choice that aligns with that vision.
  7. Change your habits…or people around you. We talked about this one before. If you eat mindlessly while watching TV, don’t let yourself watch TV unless you are on the elliptical. Or, avoid that “friend” who eats junk food in front of you daily while you nurture your self goals.
  8. Lead the way. Influence your friends and be the change you want to be. Cook healthy, commit to exercise. Healthy habits beget other healthy habits.
  9. Commit publically. With your friends, family, online. Ask to be held accountable. It works!
  10. Take a nap! This is a goal every weekend (for me). It doesn’t always occur, but when it does, it’s soooo sweet! I find I want sugar when I’m tired. Not to mention I get a little bit grumpy when I’m in need of more zzzz’s.
Last, it’s not about being perfect, but choosing to make better decisions, more frequently, and more consistently over time. Becoming healthier is a journey.  And tomorrow always brings a new day.    That’s awesome.  So next time you are faced with that fork in the road, ask yourself, “What have I got to gain?”
image
Until next time, choose fit, be strong. And, laugh often.
~Lisa
 
IMG_0772
By now, you’ve seen and heard plenty about the impact of your social environment and how you can catch obesity and other unhealthy habits from your friends and fam.  The half full cup view on this is true, too. You can “catch” good health and fitness, as well.  Turns out you can reap benefits whether your social network is in close physical proximity or virtual. Cool, huh? 
 IMG_0378
Do you remember the professors several years back who spread the word about the quality of your social sphere on health?  If your network has bad habits (eating, drinking, little sleep, excessive TV/gaming, overweight or smoking)…chances are you have those same habits.
If you have a second, check the studies out. Compelling stuff.  
 
 
So… unhealthy behavior is quite communicable. According to the studies, your chance of becoming obese increases:

 

  • 57 % when one of your friends is obese
  • 40 % chance if it’s one of your siblings, and
  • 37 % if it’s your spouse.  

But hey, before you start looking around…remember the flip side. Because health and behavior are linked so closely, that means that any health state connected to habitual behaviors is communicable. (Big sigh, right?!)  Even more good news: social connections can also improve your health. Think about how effective support groups are, right?  People who hang around others who think positively also tend to think positively. You can lose weight, gain energy, and get fit together just as easily.

 IMG_5448IMG_0395
Those closest to us have the most impact, but even a distant contact can have a nice impact. 
 
Now, before you go ditching those less than perfect around you, remember having friends (al Beit even the unhealthy ones) will still add happiness and longevity to your life.  In that case, why don’t YOU have a positive impact on them?  Your fitness and health decisions will have the ripple effect through your whole social circle, eventually coming right back to you in the form of increased social support.  I have to smile when my college son teases me and buys gluten free products because information I’ve shared over the years sunk in. (Yay) When he was taking nutrition, he said it was a breeze because he’d picked up so much information through osmosis. I <heart> that.
 IMG_0654
Next time you’re digging deep for a reason to go to the gym, or  or pack a lunch instead of hitting the drive-thru, this may be a perspective to consider. Even if you’re not hugely motivated to make a healthy choice for yourself, you may be a little more willing to do it for the sake of the people you care about — or even for those you don’t know. According to the studies, your actions are influencing 1000 people. That’s huge. Take charge of your health and improve the world one healthy habit at a time.
 
To my fit friends who inspire or motivate me to eat clean, run, lift, train harder, or get to bed sooner: THANK you. You guys are the BOMB!
 
Choose fit. Laugh often, be contagious.
 
~Lisa
 

 

Good morning friends, I have some good news…and some bad. Shall we hit the bad news first?  OK, here goes: There is no, definitive one-size-fits-all diet, workout, or magic supplement. That’s not too tragic, though, is it? Now for the good news: there are general principles, habits, foods, workouts, and supplements that when performed/eaten/done consistently will yield weight loss, improved health and energy.  In a nutshell, the list condensed below is where “it” is at. (“It” being the recipe for weight loss and improved health success.)
  • MOVE your body. As much as you can, as often as you can, in the manner that suits you most. We talked about sitting being the new “smoking” hazard, so get moving– as often and frequently as possible.
  • Don’t drink your calories. A fifth of what we consume (calorie wise) comes from beverages…and most are loaded with sugar and empty calories. (And yes, I am also talking about alcoholic beverages.)  Cut back! Unless of course, your “beverage” is whey protein shake—which is great post workout or as a meal replacement, in a pinch.
  • Get more sleep. Sounds easy, right? The reality is we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t need more sleep because we can survive on less. We don’t THRIVE on less, however, and performance and mental tests tells us otherwise. Sleep aids recovery, balances hormones, helps with weight loss, improves mood and more.
  • Watch “portion distortion”. Counting calories may not be your thing, but phone apps sure make it easy. What we have learned is that most people underestimate caloric intake and overestimate energy expenditure. Plus, most restaurants provide inflated serving sizes. Split a meal with a friend or take half home. Don’t be fooled by correlating empty, excessive calories as “value”.
  • Cheat foods are ok. Alright, even saying “cheat” or labeling foods as “good” or “bad” is not really a good thing to do. Consider colorful, real foods vs. processed, but instead of striving for perfection, strive for “good enough”. Or, try what I refer to as the “Catholic school girl diet”: eat like an angel 6 days a week and on the 7th day, make the devil blush! In other words, it’s ok to indulge a little. Just don’t let it derail you and keep it as an exception and not the rule. Remember, consistency is king.
  • Go heavy. Lifting weights, that is. Sorry ladies, you will NOT build huge muscles. And regardless of your age, everyone needs to lift heavy and combat muscle decline. Decreasing muscle mass equates to body fat increases AND a slower metabolism. Lift heavy and fire up your metabolically active tissue. NOW.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Mix up your workouts and you’ll get more out of them.
  • Find like-minded peeps. Community is important and like-minded people provide motivation, mentoring and help keep you accountable. I feel so fortunate for the fitness friends I’ve trained & learned from over the years.

IMG_0599

  • Adkins really did have it right. I’m not advocating a specific diet. Honestly, the best plan out there was laid out in the Old Testament. Real food, plain and simple. BUT, if you integrate a practice of carb swapping knocking out pastas and breads, it’s one of the easier ways to help you lose weight as many folks are sensitive to carbs. My fiancé and I are all over cauliflower options in lieu of pasta, potatoes, or bread. (Check out the recipe section of my blog for ideas.)
  • And about that Adkins….eat more fat. Yes, she said that. As much as 35% of your daily calories can be a mix of nuts, avocados, or healthy oils. It’s the TRANS fats you want to avoid like the plague.
  • You really can work out anywhere. Your body can provide great workouts. A jump rope is $10. Squat, climb stairs, step up, jump rope, do jumping jacks or push ups (from knees or feet), etc. A gym is not required.
  • Multi-function exercises work your body better and can aid fat loss. Consider a dumbbell squat to should press. Or, a deadlift to back row.
  • Regarding food, adding solid protein at each meal or snack will help keep you full and keep your metabolism going.
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can make you think you are hungry, impede performance, and affect your mood (plus a whole lot of other things). Water or tea help control your appetite and tea has so many wonderful benefits (see earlier blog). Drink water, drink tea, try some of the drinks I shared in my past blog, but HYDRATE, often.
Last of all, be kind to yourself. YOU are amazing and wonderful. And far from perfect. This is a journey we make together. Laugh at your mistakes and keep trying. YOU are worth it.
 Besides, “what have you got to GAIN”?
IMG_0598IMG_0600
(My earliest health & fitness mentor, Sharon Turrentine, used to ask this Q and it’s a great one. I met her when I was 19 and she was 39 and training for a body building contest. She looked amazing then AND still looks amazing today. A true testament to a healthy living lifestyle. Many thanks, my friend!  You have influenced my life in such a positive way.)
Until next time time, live fit, choose healthy, laugh often.
Lisa

 

I started drinking green tea 15 years ago shortly after my leukemia diagnosis. It was in my “combat phase” and I started researching anything and everything that was in my control so I could positively impact the outcome. Green tea came up repeatedly as something I should add to my arsenal, so I started drinking it, and I have been drinking 2-5 cups a day ever since. If you haven’t jumped on the green tea wagon, here are a few reasons why you should join me in this habit.

  1. It may prevent several types of cancers. Oral, prostate, breast…the list goes on. This is why I added it to my arsenal to begin with.
  2. It fights FAT. Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called “EGCG” which inhibits metabolic syndrome. Here’s another thought: if you sub 1-2 cups of green tea for one soda each day, in a year you’d save > 50,000 calories. Lions and tigers and bears…OH MY! That’s 14 pounds…
  3. It prevents the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and improves blood flow which means it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. More recently, green tea has been shown to help block the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
  5. What’s good for the heart and brain is also good for the eyes. Turns out the catechins in green tea can penetrate the tissues of the eyes boosting eyesight.
  6. It improves insulin use by the body and stabilizes energy. Drinking green tea helps prevent sugar crashes leading to fimageatigue and irritability.
  7. It provides anti-allergy and immune system support by reducing the allergy antibody immunoglobulin.
  8. Green tea is anti-aging. GIVE ME ANOTHER CUP! The ECGCs in it are 200X more powerful than Vitamin E in fighting free radicals causing skin damage and wrinkles.

Are you ready to join me?  If so, consider adding a little freshly squeezed lemon as that enhances the absorption. If not, read more about additional benefits and come on over to the GREEN side of life!

What have you got to gain?

Choose fit, live strong, laugh often.

If you read last week’s blog, you probably did the same math I did….and  probably thinking like Scoobie Doo, “Ruh-roh!” But, all is not lost and you CAN eat out successfully. Like any successful goah achievement, however, you have to plan.

When you know you’re going to eat out, consider better food choices you can make that day. You might plan a lighter lunch if you’ll eat out at dinner. Try not to skip meals because low blood sugar might encourage overindulging later. Most importantly, don’t show up at the restaurant starving. If you really want to splurge on a higher calorie entrée, by all means, skip dessert. Commit to sticking to your plan once you’re in the restaurant. And try to avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. Those are very difficult to combat mentally when the “value” proposition teases us into thinking we need to eat more. Because buffets really test my control, I just avoid them.

Your Attack Plan

If eating out, you might try some of the strategies below:

  • Don’t forget “portion distortion”! We have been brainwashed into thinking portions should be larger–and food often comes in multi-serving sizes. So order regular portion sizes instead of the jumbo or super sizes that are so common. Ask for a smaller size.
  • Try an appetizer, half an entrée, or share a meal with a friend and order an extra side salad. This is also a money saver!
  • Ask if you can make healthy substitutions, for instance, a baked potato instead of fries, or a salad or fresh fruit instead of coleslaw. Ordering ala carte is a good idea also—and always ask what healthy substitutions are available. Most restaurants want you to come back.
  • Ask for half your entrée to be wrapped up to go before the food is brought to the table.
  • Learn to spot which dishes are made with lower calorie cooking methods.
  • Ask how dishes are prepared and if they can do it your way by either grilling the chicken or steaming the vegetables.
  • Always request that sauces and dressings be provided on the side.
  • Don’t tempt yourself! Have the waiter remove the bowl of chips or peanuts, or the basket of bread. (Personally, I can’t sit in front of a bowl of chips and not eat them.) Calories from mindless nibbling can add up before you know it.
  • Don’t sit near the dessert cart!
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol is high calorie. It contains few nutrients and weakens your will power.

You can do it! Be strong & plan ahead.

Till next time, LIVE fit. Be happy.