Tag Archives: health

Motivational Mondays: How to Start and Stay Motivated in 2013

From WebMD

Be Realistic

First-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals that are too ambitious for beginners. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Remember to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. Endress says if you accept that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks.

Expect that you’ll get sick from time to time, and be psychologically prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. Don’t let it be an excuse for giving up. “From then on, many people say, ‘I can’t exercise,'” Endress says. “But there’s always a way to exercise.”

To keep injuries from sidelining you, do your best to prevent them by warming up, cooling down, stretching properly, and not doing too much too soon.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

We’ve all seen those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Get Support

Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you to stay on track.

“The person should be in support, but not say, ‘Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'” says Sottovia. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

If you need additional help, hire a trainer, she advises.

Find the Fun In It

Sottovia and Endress both say it’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, follow Geiger’s lead and join a team.

Break It Up

You can make it easier on yourself by splitting your exercise session into two or three sessions, says Endress. Research supports the idea that this can be as beneficial as one long workout, he says.

So, for example, if you don’t feel like exercising for an hour on any given day, do three sessions of 20 minutes each.

Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible, says Sottovia.

If you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you, Sottovia says.

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with food, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers, says Endress

Try to think of indulgences that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ball game. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

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Motivational Monday

Motivational Monday: Attitude and Gratitude

I saw a post on She’s Losing It about ways to get into better shape now and one of her tips was to keep a Gratitude Journal. From Wiki:

A gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful. Gratitude journals are used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives. In a 2005 study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life (Seligman et al., 2005).Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment; the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over.

I think it’s a great tip. I have been feeling a little depressed and sad, and fat (LOL) so I am devoting a few minutes each night to write down the things I’m grateful for. I keep track of it in my spiritual journal (it’s my journal that I do my bible studies, prayers, inspirational quotes and all things positive in). I hate that I forget, but I know things could always be worse and I am a very lucky person.

Reblog from Greatist: 22 Cheap and Easy Ways to Eat Healthy

From Greatist

At the Grocery Store

1. Make a grocery list (and stick to it). By heading to the store with a clear list of what’s necessary, it’s much easier to avoid last-minute purchases. (Some studies say shoppers may still make impulsive buys… but the list can’t hurt.) Feeling techy? Try one of the many apps that can help with shopping, like GroceryIQ or Shopper.

2. Don’t go shopping hungry. Even after you take the time to write a meticulous grocery list, if that stomach is grumbling so loudly the people in the next aisle can hear it, chances are something surprising’s going to jump into the shopping cart. Avoid succumbing to last-minute cravings (like, say, for lardwiches) by eating a healthy snack (or meal) before heading to the store.

3. Buy more greens. On that weekly trip to the grocery store, grab some extra green vegetables for health benefits like a stronger immune system[1]. They’re super-healthy (kale and spinach are bona fide superfoods!) and easy to fit into any meal!

4. Choose fresh or frozen over canned. For veggies, soups, and beans, nixing the can cuts out unnecessary sodium. For fruit, it avoids excess sugar. Plus, the fresh stuff always tastes better. And, perhaps surprisingly, canned produce can actually end up costing more (or at least the same amount) as the fresh stuff!

5. If you can’t grow it or raise it (theoretically), don’t eat it. Monosodium glutamate doesn’t grow on trees. Neither does high fructose corn syrup or Yellow No. 5. But at least one of these ingredients is found in many (if not most) of the processed foods on grocery store shelves, from chips to fruit juice. And these ingredients have been linked to everything from obesity and diabetes to brain and liver damage[2][3][4]. If whatever’s in that grocery basket couldn’t theoretically come from your own backyard, swap it for something closer to the original. Choose whole potatoes over a box of mashed; pick plain ol’ oats instead of pre-sweetened packets.

6. Choose whole grains. When grains are processed — like, say, to become white flour used in crackers, cookies, or white bread — two essential parts of the grain (the bran and germ) are removed. The problem is these parts hold the most health benefits and nutrients, including vitamin E, major B vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Look for the “Whole Grain Stamp” on packaging or just opt for ingredients like whole grain, brown rice, and oats.

7. Avoid sweetened drinks. Added sugar is a big no-no. Not only does it pack on calories, but eating foods with added sugar has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain[5][6]. Replace sweetened beverages (even artificially sweetened diet drinks) with water, seltzer, and fresh fruit, or 100 percent fruit juices diluted with water.

8. Eat naturally sweet food (and don’t add extra sugar to it!). Some of us have a sweet tooth, but instead of indulging in sugar-packed processed foods, choose naturally sweet ones to cut down on sugar cravings later. Start in the fruit section and choose naturally sweet vegetables like beets, corn, and sweet potatoes (just to name a few!).

9. Buy in bulk and divide into portions. Yes, this strategy is mostly a way to cut down on cost. But buying in bulk — anything from vegetables, to meat, to grains — can also cut down on shopping time, so there’s more time left to prepare healthy meals.

10. Stick to the edges of the grocery store. The outer edges are typically home to fresh produce, meats, dairy, and breads. The inner aisles usually feature highly-processed items packed with extra sugar and artificial ingredients. There are always exceptions, of course, but try sticking to the 80:20 rule (80 percent of the grocery cart from outside the aisles, 20 percent from inside the aisles) for a healthier diet.

Food Storage and Prep

11. Make grocery day “Food Prep Extravaganza.” To cut down drastically on food prep throughout the week, do it all at once after returning home from the store. Unwrap, clean, and cut up meat to freeze or refrigerate in portions. Wash and prep all produce. Chop and freeze anything that may be used at a later date. Pre-portion snack foods (see below), and yogurt or rolled oats for easy breakfasts throughout the week! (Overnight Oats are a favorite in the Greatist office!)

12. Prepare your own food as often as possible. We’re not talking give up eating out entirely — it’s no fun skipping those special restaurant dinners! But by preparing as many meals as possible on your own, it’s much easier to know (and control) exactly what’s going into your body, without any sneaky ingredients. Going to be at work during the lunch hour? Pack something to eat there. No time to eat before heading out in the AM? Bring something to eat on the way or at the office.

13. Pre-package snacks. When eating out of a family-sized potato chip bag, it’s easy to keep reaching that hand in until all that’s left are the greasy crumbs. Instead of wasting away in a bottomless pit of chips, try pre-portioning snack foods into single-serving plastic baggies or reusable containers.

14. Grow your own herbs. Fresh herbs (or freshly dried ones) are a great way to season food without excess salt, butter, or cheese. Growing a personal herb garden isn’t only good for that belly — it’s also an easy way to pretty up any space! All that’s necessary for a DIY herb garden is a few small planters and an empty windowsill (even the Greatist office has one!).

15. Store the healthiest food in the front of the fridge. When the fridge door opens, make sure you see the healthiest items first. If the leftover chocolate cake is shoved in the back corner, chances are the eye will gravitate towards the shiny apple right up front first. Bonus points for storing healthy options in transparent containers and unhealthy stuff in opaque ones so you see the healthy stuff before the stomach really starts grumbling.

Cooking and Mealtime

16. Sneak veggies into everything. We even have a few ways to fit veggies into dessert. Yep, we went there.

17. Forget about counting calories. Checking every nutrition label before chowing down is annoying (to say the least). Instead focus on meals that include a variety of nutrients, colors, and fresh ingredients. It’s much easier to keep a healthy, balanced diet this way than by counting calories.

18. Eat a healthy breakfast! Starting the day off right is key to eating healthy all day long. So what makes the best breakfast? One study found consuming protein for breakfast can help prevent overeating later in the day[7], but another found that eating a big breakfast with dessert could help keep off excess pounds[8]. Choose what works best for you.

19. Opt for smaller portions. When restaurants pile plates bigger than a human head, it’s easy to overeat. Limit those portions to less gargantuan sizes to easily eat a little healthier. Not sure where to start? Try these portion-size plates, or learn how to estimate serving sizes for certain foods. And here’s a great tip for eating out: To avoid eating more than planned, ask the server to wrap up half the dish beforehand and go home with a pre-made doggie bag.

20. Replace dessert with fruit. (…Or at least add fruit to dessert.) While some varieties can be high in sugar, fruit is a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth without breaking the sugar bank. Plus, it offers health benefits typical desserts can’t, like fiber and antioxidants. And opting for fruit can help avoid that dreaded sugar crash.

21. Pace your mealtime. When we eat quickly, our bodies don’t always have time to realize we’re full — so it’s easy to overeat[9]. Enjoy what’s on the plate, and stop eating as soon as that stomach gives the first hint of being full. It’s always possible to eat more later.

22. Consider not buying unhealthy stuff in the first place. ‘Nuff said.

Originally posted April 2012. Updated November 2012 by Shana Lebowitz.

What are your favorite healthy eating habits? Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author @ksmorin.

Works Cited

Exogenous stimuli maintain intraepithelial lymphocytes via aryl hydrocarbon receptor activation. Li, Y., Innocentin, S., Withers, D.R., et al. Division of Molecular Immunology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK. Cell, 2011 Oct 28;147(3):629-40 [↩]
Nutrigenomics of hepatic steatosis in a feline model: effect of monosodium glutamate, fructose, and Trans-fat feeding. Collison, K.S., Zaidi, M.Z., Saleh, S.M., et al. Cell Biology and Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Biological and Medical Research, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Saudi Arabia. Genes and Nutrition, 2012 Apr;7(2):265-80. Epub 2011 Dec 6. [↩]
Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice. Ishimoto, T., Lanaspa, M.A., Le, M.T., et al. Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2012 March 13;109(11):4320-5. [↩]
Role of fructose-containing sugars in the epidemics of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Stanhope, K.L. Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. Annual Review of Medicine, 2012; 63:329-43. [↩]
Consumption of added sugars and indicators of cardiovascular disease risk among US adolescents. Welsh J.A., Sharma A., Cunningham S.A.,et. al., Nutrition and Health Science Program, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, Circulation. 2011 Jan 25;123(3):249-57. [↩]
Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Schulze M.B., Manson J.E., Ludwig D.S., Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, Journal of the American Medical Association 2004 Aug 25;292(8):927-34. [↩]
Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study. Leidy, H.J., Lepping, R.J., Savage, C.R., et al. Department of Dietetics & Nutrition, University of Kansas Medical Center. Obesity 2011(10):2019-25. [↩]
Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite. Jakubowicz, D., Froy, O., Wainstein, J., et al. Diabetes Unit, E. Wolfson Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Holon, Israel. Steroids 2012;77(4):323-331. [↩]
Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. Kokkinos, A., le Roux, CW., Alexiadou, K., et al. Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2010 Jan; 95(1):333-7. [↩]

Overnight Oats

I decided to make overnight oats and I made a pretty simple recipe because I have no groceries lol. I know most people put in yogurt as well but I didn’t have any so I did a 1/2 cup of oats, 3/4 cups of skim milk and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. I put it in a covered bowl and let it sit overnight. That morning, I added sliced banana and some granola. It was pretty good I must say and super easy. Since I just started my new job at a gym, it’s a great grab and go meal that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

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Fruit and Veggie Preservation Rules

Got this from Pinterest. Good to know!
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2 Week Challenge

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Sigh. I have slacked off soooo bad this weekend. My brother/best friend came home from Afghanistan after being deployed for 6 months so this weekend we celebrated and partied hard. I feel so bloated lol. I also drank a lot 😦

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Good news is, I didn’t gain much, but I need to detox hard starting today and for the next 14 days.

No alcohol
No sweets
Only good carbs
Lean meats

That should get me back on track, along with me kicking my fitness routine back into high gear. I think I’ll do ok 🙂