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Every Thursday, I wake up earlier than normal to go for a run before I go to the office. This coming Thursday happens to be Thanksgiving, a jam-packed day in which I'll be cooking for more than a dozen people. Although it's Thanksgiving, it's still just Thursday to me. That means I'll be up early and out the door running while most people are still sleeping.
Since cooking for others and having company over can be stressful—and time consuming—sticking to my workout plan helps me stay sane, but it also helps me stay on track.
So what I'm wondering is: Will you be joining me Thursday morning for a workout, too? Read More ›
Love it or hate it, the only constant in life is change. Some people avoid it. Others crave it. And sometimes, how you feel about it depends on where the change is happening (think career, relationships, residence, or life stage). I love the comfort of routine myself. It keeps things predictable and easy when the rest of my life seems stressful.
Recently, I gathered a group of my SparkPeople co-workers for a lunchtime kettlebell workout. Three of us had done kettlebells before and have used them fairly routinely for a while. The other five had never tried them. None of us had gotten together at noon on a Monday for a workout before (let alone this specific workout); all of us were trying something new.
That led me to wonder: When was the last time you changed your workout routine? Read More ›
Getting fit. Eating better. Losing weight. All the hard work and sacrifice that goes into those three "little" things can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to stick with these habits for the long haul. While appearance alone is motivation enough for some, it's not a motivator for me. I need something bigger: a compelling reason to stick with it, and a higher motivator. If I didn't have a "big picture" goal, the TV and tub of ice cream would win way too often.
Do you have a higher calling? A call to action? A reason behind your goals to lose weight and get healthier? Or do you just have goals for no good reason? Read More ›
I'm one of those crazy people who likes to exercise. Running is my "drug" of choice, and when I've had a hard day, it makes me feel better and relieves my stress. I can't say that every run is enjoyable, but for the most part, it's free time that allows me to clear my head. The sense of accomplishment I feel afterward (whether my run was 30 minutes or 3 hours long) is enough to keep me addicted.
Exercise has been an easy way to help me control my weight. Don't get me wrong- I'll still see the scale moving in the wrong direction if I've been eating too many of my favorite cookies. In addition to the positive health benefits (like a healthy heart, low blood pressure and low cholesterol) it's something I like to do. But I know that not everyone shares my same feelings. Some people only exercise because their doctor says they have to, or because they are trying to fit into that tiny black dress for their high school reunion. No matter what kind of activity they try, exercise is a chore more than anything else.
I always encourage people to find something they like doing, if at all possible. If you hate to walk on the treadmill but can tolerate a 30 minute ride on the stationary bike, that's a better way to spend your energy. You're more likely to stick with it if you don't dread it. But even if you can find something you'll tolerate doing, there are lots of people who just don't like to exercise. They'd much prefer to spend time reading a good book or going to a movie with friends. I love those things too, but I'd still make time for exercise even if I didn't have to.
If someone told you that you never had to exercise again (and you'd be in perfect health regardless of what you do) would you stop? Would you be okay with never having those feelings of physical accomplishment again? Would you be happy finding other ways to challenge yourself, or do you think that eventually, you'd want to return to an active lifestyle? Read More ›
When you grocery shop, do you ever notice what other people buy? I find that sometimes it's inevitable when standing in the checkout line—especially a really long one. It can be a fun way to entertain yourself while you wait for your turn, after all.
Recently, I stumbled across a great SparkPeople blog post on this very topic that led me to wonder: Do you judge what is in other people's grocery carts? Read More ›
Having been a member of the running community for over five years now, I have seen a number of new footwear trends picking up speed. Last month the American College of Sports Medicine released its top five footwear trends for 2011. Everything from barefoot running, to minimalist shoes, to post-running recovery shoes, even shoes endorsed by Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke promising us a more toned back side just by lacing up these shaper shoes made the list, not to mention the growing trend of wearing compression socks both during one's run and for recovery. Some of these trends I have already incorporated into my running, while those I have not, I will leave for others to try.
So where do you drawn the line as to what footwear trend you should try and what trends are better left on the store shelf?
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Back in the day, I was a real clotheshorse. I wore heels, dresses and skirts to work, I spent weekends shopping with friends, and I got a real thrill from new items for my wardrobe.
Over the years, my love of fashion has waned. I no longer like to shop and do most of it online. I actually put myself on a shopping "diet" as a New Year's resolution to be more aware of the material possessions I bring into my life.
These days, I wear casual clothes to the office most days, and I own only a few fancy dresses, business outfits and the like. Outside of the office, I like to look nice, but my wardrobe is jeans or leggings and sweaters in winter and sundresses in summer. I gave up high heels for comfortable shoes long ago, and my most recent clothing purchases were purple waterproof hiking sandals (from Keen) and an SPF 50 rashguard shirt (from Athleta) for an upcoming active vacation.
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Confession: I am what some may consider to be a picky eater. I am not one to be adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, but I have made progress and include more varieties of food in my meals. When my husband and I were dating, I wouldn't ever think about eating things like chicken, bell peppers, or onions (just to name a few). Fortunately though, since then, I have broadened my range in foods that I will eat, and bell peppers are now one of my favorite food items that I have a hard time not eating, especially on my homemade wheat pizza. I even eat chicken and depending on the dish, I will even eat onions.
Even though I have learned to like more food items, there are still things that I just cannot consider trying, such as seafood. I do however enjoy a range of fruits and vegetables, so I know that I am eating a rainbow and getting a variety of nutrients in what I do eat. Read More ›
I'll just come out and say it: I'm cheap. If I can go without something, I will. If it's not a "necessity," then I don't need it, which means I don't buy it. I repair and mend broken appliances and holey socks. I use coupons and wait weeks for items to go on sale. I drive a 15-year-old car that gets me from place to place and that's about it. I don't own a Smartphone—or a phone that can even send a picture message. When I do go out to eat (a rare occasion), I usually order my food to-go just to save on tax and tip! Some people may view my penny-pinching ways as problematic, but I think frugal living is a virtue. After all, during hard economic times, living within a budget is a real challenge for many people.
I admit though: Living on the cheap can get old…fast. If you're not going on vacations, buying expensive clothes or toys, or spending much on entertainment, life can get boring. But only if you let it. Cheap as I may be, I realized recently that I do splurge on myself in little ways that add big pleasure to my everyday life. This led me to wonder: How do you splurge on a budget? Read More ›
Most companies these days have policies against smoking: smokers must light up in designated areas, many pay higher health care premiums, etc. Companies do their best to discourage smoking among their employees, but some say these efforts just aren't enough. Hospitals and medical businesses in a number of states are adopting policies to turn away applicants who smoke. If you're a smoker, you won't be hired in an effort to reduce company health care costs and increase worker productivity. Is that going too far? Read More ›
You're thinking about joining a gym to lose weight and tone up. But the fact that you are overweight (and aren't an exercise guru) prevents you from going. After all, a health club is the Mecca were fit, healthy, and thin people congregate, right? You'd stand out like a sore thumb in a place like that! Talk about feeling out of place...
Ever felt like you're not "good enough" or "fit enough" or "skinny enough" to go to the gym right now? That you need to lose weight before you join a gym, but that you need to join the gym in order to lose weight? (Try to wrap your head around that one!)
You're not alone. I've heard this time and time again from friends, family members, and SparkPeople members. When I recently read about the 8 mental barriers that keep people from the gym, it led me to wonder: How common is gym-o-phobia? Are you (or have you ever been) too self-conscious to work out at a gym? Read More ›
I used to think that my exercise routine was unaffected by the weather. In the summer, I'd make accommodations to deal with the heat (exercising outside in the evening or early morning, shortening workouts, drinking more water, etc.) In the winter, I'd add a few extra layers and head out to battle the elements. After about two weeks of a big change in temperature, my body got used to it and it was no big deal. I can't say I love running in a sauna or a blizzard, but those things never kept me from activity- until this year. Read More ›
Jillian Michaels has become a household name from her role as a tough-talking trainer on NBC's "The Biggest Loser". Fans have come to expect the duo of Jillian and fellow trainer Bob Harper with each new season of the show. (She has appeared on every season except one.) But last week, Jillian revealed that the next season, Season 11, will be her last. Will you still tune in? Read More ›