Friday, January 06, 2012
Thursday, January 05, 2012
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – SparkPeople
A support system is one of the most important things we need on our journey to a new and healthier “us”. The support system needs to start with you. You need to love yourself and believe in yourself in order to undertake this quest. It will not always be an easy one but it starts with you and your ability to be in your own corner so to speak. Ok, so now you have decided you are worth it and you want and need this, where do you start?
Well, we are pretty lucky because if you are reading this then this means you have discovered SparkPeople. SparkPeople may be free but it is a priceless tool. More of you need to really start using it. I am not just talking about the Nutrition Tracker, the Fitness Tracker, the exercise videos, Spark Recipes, and the wealth of knowledge that has been compiled and is here at our finger tips – you actually need to start using them. The very minimal you should be doing is the Nutrition Tracker, Fitness Tracker, exercise videos, and Spark Recipes.
SparkPeople is oh so much more. It is a community or a family of fellow Sparkers that are here for you when you need us. We are there for you to celebrate with you, to give you a hug when you need it, a shoulder to lean on, offer support and motivation, and to give you a much needed kick in the pants to end your pity party and get you back on track . SparkPeople is your very own Support System when your family and friends just aren’t thee for you. Either they do not “get it” or they don’t want you to change, you becoming healthier and stronger is a threat to them on many levels. You are no longer their eating buddies, your spouse or significant other may feel threatened that you will now leave them for greener pastures, your activities have changed because your love of food is no longer forefront in your way of thinking or what you may be doing in your downtime, your improved health is spilling over into all areas of your life and it may be scaring the hell out of them. You are changing and they are not, they are afraid of being left behind.
The most important thing that you can learn is that you need to Spark. You need to participate. You need to get involved with the daily threads. Join teams that are going to help you get to where you need to be. Start blogging or at the very least support your fellow Sparkers blogs by reading them and taking the valuable information they are giving you and apply it to your quest for a new you. We have all been on diets before but SparkPeople adds a different component to the mix. The support system on here is both incredible and priceless. It is true, the more you Spark the better you will do. I know for me that is the major thing that is different for me this time and utilizing it is making me flourish. I wish you the same.
Spreading goodwill that can return to you. (Taken from yesterday’s Healthy Reflections)
“This quote can be read in a few ways, and all of them are worth thinking about. First, complimenting and encouraging others is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to be a positive force in someone's life. As long as you're sincere, repeating that encouragement as often as possible can have effects that far outweigh the effort. Countless people have exceeded their own expectations just because others believed in them. Second, giving positive feedback works even better if done publicly. Take those kind words and repeat them until everyone knows the great things that this person is doing. Third, we've all had kindnesses bestowed on us in word and deed. In return for that favor, it's up to us to repeat that generosity for someone else's benefit. However you read this quote, the point is that there's a kindness out there to be performed. And you're just the person to do it! ”
“ A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal.”
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
We all know the saying, "Fail to plan, Plan to fail." Goals get you going. Goals
give you a purpose for taking on your new quest to a healthier you. People who live without goals have no purpose. Many people just muddle through this journey to a new you. Please do not make this mistake, you are too important to yourself, your family, and to us.
Goal setting is a powerful tool. In fact, goal setting can make the critical difference between success and failure. One obvious goal of many may be to simply stick to your diet and/or exercise program in the course of a busy, overscheduled daily routine.
While life may seem out of control at times and that you’re a passenger in life rather than the driver, remind yourself that YOU hold the greatest power of all – that is the ability to design your own life. You can wake up every morning and decide to exercise, eat a nutritious breakfast, or you can choose other options that may be detrimental to your emotional and/or physical health. Ultimately, the decision is yours and yours alone.
Here are a few tips to make lifetime commitments through goal setting:
1. Don’t compare yourself with anyone except your self. This is not about winning or losing. This is about making your life better – whatever that means for YOU.
2. Focus on the present – How will you feel after your exercise session today? Will your ability to resist that donut fill you with a sense of accomplishment?
3. Imagine the results – literally. Visualize! Day dream in detail about how you would like to look. Athletes picture themselves performing their event over and over again in their minds until they finally perfect it. If you see your self as soft, sloppy, weak, tired, or stressed, this may very well become your reality for just thinking it. Picture yourself standing tall taking deep breaths, confidently approaching life head on.
4. Take small steps – they DO count! It’s impossible to stop smoking, start drinking 64 oz of water, and exercising 5 days a week. Start slowly, one attainable goal at a time. Begin with taking a short walk and slowly work your way up.
5. Be patient – it make take weeks before you start noticing you have more energy, your clothes are fitting more loosely and you aren’t getting short of breath walking up a flight of steps. When you do recognize these signs of achievement, celebrate.
6. Put holes in your excuses. When you find your self coming up with an excuse not to exercise, go back to the reasons why you want to exercise in the first place. Put a stop to the negative self talk and obstacle formation. Grab that mental sledge hammer and break through!
7. Journal – If you do just one thing related to goal setting, begin journaling. Tracking your progress can help you stay focused. Write down not only your goals, but what exercises you did, how you are feeling and what small changes you are noticing in your everyday life like, not being short of breath or lifting something with ease, or having less pain. Writing your goals in front of your journal would help you to review them daily.
Now I do not think I am going to journal per say because I use my blogs as a journal. I use it as a historical record of where I have been, how far I have come, and where I am am going. I am planning to write out a contract to myself this year. It will plot out my long term goal, it will also entail mini goals in between so the ultimate goal doesn't seem so far away and unattainable, and it will include some rewards along the way. Ii love rewards and I bet you do too!
Unfortunately, there is a problem with most New Years Resolutions. People talk about their resolution and tell other people about them. We really mean to follow through; we might even make plans in our minds to do so. But how often do we use a written goal setting process for our New Years wishes? If we did, we would have a better likelihood of making them come true.
Being goal-directed is important, but few people put their personal and emotional goals into writing. Businesses stay successful because they have written business plans. Many of us are high achievers at work; making and meeting goals is life long in the educational and professional part of our lives. Similarly, we can use goal setting in our personal and emotional lives to help us live less stressful lives with greater balance and simplicity. Why not use this method to make yourself happier? When you write out our goals and plans, your chances of attaining them become greater.
When you know what you want in your life, write down your long term goal. Your long term goal is what you ultimately would like to see happen. Please remember that your long term goal should be positive! Attaining your goals should make you feel good about yourself. They should also be reasonable. A typical resolution might be 'lose 10 pounds' (especially after all those holiday parties) A better way of writing your long term goal would be: 'be healthier about my food choices so that my weight stays where I feel comfortable.' Notice that I didn't say: "I'm a fat slob and need to stop eating so much" (that would be a put-down and would not make you feel better about yourself) or "Fit into a size zero next week" (which may be unrealistic) Remember: you want your end result to be achievable and optimistic! You must believe you can do it!
Now it is time to break down your long term goal into short term goals. Short term goals should be concrete, measurable and time-limited. There should be several of them to attain your goal. Using the above example, your short term goals could start with: 1. Use your Nutrition Tracker for 30 days. 2. Stay within my calorie range every day for 30 days. And for Pete's sake don't always shoot for the low end of the range.3. Use your Fitness Tracker for 30 days.
Then do it! Once you reach the end of your goal, feel good about it. Celebrate in some way. Your achievements are important! Make up a reward system for yourself.
When you complete your short term goals you may want to revise your plan. You can extend the same goals if they are working well for you, or add new ones. So: Make a goal. Turn the goal into steps. Make the steps into tasks. Set dates for completion. You can revise your long and short term goals or write new goal setting plans as needed.
Don't self-sabotage by staying in your comfort zone or denying that part of you wants to grow. Be willing to learn from the experts so you don't re-invent the wheel. Don't start crazy diets or exercise routines. Read as much as you can so you can learn about things to apply to your goals. Try new recipes to keep you on track. Spark as much as you can, there are so many role models here on SparkPeople. Surround yourself with successful and positive people in your life and here on SparkPeople. Learn from them, emulate them, jump on their bandwagon and let them take you to new heights.
Attaining your personal and emotional goals helps self-confidence and improves self-esteem. It makes you move out where you are comfortable and try something different. If you want something strongly enough, you can do it! You will feel life has more purpose and meaning and be more secure and self-reliant. Goal-Setting can help you live your life the way you really want it to be.
"Goals .There's not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.'
"Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps."
–– David Lloyd George
Remember, you only have to succeed the last time.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
On the Tenth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - plenty of water
Water does much more than just keeps fat away. Water has more of a function in our bodies than just helping to curb our appetites.
Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take for granted, water may be the only true "magic potion" for permanent weight loss.
Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.
Here's why: The kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When they don't work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney's work it can't operate at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops.
The overweight person needs more water than a thin one. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the over weight person needs more water.
Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weigh loss -- shrinking cells are buoyed by water which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.
Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of -- all that metabolized fat must be shed. Again, adequate water helps flush out the waste.
Water is crucial to your health. It makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration - as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight - can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
Little or no urination
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water,it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands. Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water,it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.
Water can help relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But when a person drinks enough water, normal bowel function usually returns.
How much water is enough? On the average, a person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day. That's about 2 quarts. However, the overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. The amount you drink also should be increased if you exercise briskly or if the weather is hot and dry.
Water should preferably be cold. It's absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water. And some evidence suggests that drinking cold water can actually help burn calories. To utilize water most efficiently during weight loss, follow this schedule:
Morning: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
Noon: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
Evening: 1 quart consumed between five and six o'clock.
When the body gets the water it needs to function optimally, it's fluids are perfectly balanced. When this happens, you have reached the "breakthrough point." What does this mean?
Endocrine-gland function improves.
Fluid retention is alleviated as stored water is lost.
More fat is used as fuel because the liver is free to metabolize stored fat.
Natural thirst returns.
There is a loss of hunger almost over night.
According to the above calculations I need to be drinking Lake Michigan each day. No seriously, I know that I have to drink more than 8 glasses a day. I am urging all of you to do the math so you can figure out just how much you need to be drinking.
You don't need to sip from your water bottle all day to satisfy your fluid needs. Your diet, including the beverages you drink, can provide a large portion of what you need. In an average adult diet, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. The remaining 80 percent comes from beverages of all kinds.
Fruits and vegetables - besides being good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber - contain lots of water. For example, oranges are 87 percent water, and cucumbers are 95 percent water. Milk, juice and other beverages also have large amounts of water. Conversely, dried fruits, nuts, grain products and baked goods generally contain less water.
Make it count: Meet your water needs through food and beverages
Alcohol - such as beer and wine - and caffeinated beverages - such as coffee, tea or soda - can contribute to your total fluid intake, however it doesn't make sense to drink alcohol to meet your daily needs. Your best beverage is still water. Water is calorie-free, inexpensive when drawn from a faucet or fountain, and readily available in and out of your home.
Have trouble drinking water? I never understood this one because water doesn't really have taste then add lemon or cucumber makes it taste better too. Water is now my beverage of choice. Here is a very simple recipe that I found in SparkRecipes:
Submitted by: EMBERMOON
Refreshing twist for people who hate water
1/2 cucumber with peel
1/2 lemon with rind
8 cups of water
Pour 8 cups of water into a pitcher
Thinly slice cucumber with peel still on
Add cucumber and lemon to the water
Chill for about an hour
Monday, January 02, 2012
On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - healthy fats
The fact is, everyone needs to have some fat in their diets daily. It’s the type of fat that matters in addition to how much you consume. Healthy fats are essential to good health.
The human body uses fatty acids to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes, and lungs. The functions of fats include:
Brain – Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.
Cells – Fatty acids help your cells stay movable and flexible, as well as being responsible for building cell membranes.
Heart – 60% of our heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
Nerves – Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and speeding their transmission.
Lungs – Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.
Eyes – Fats are essential to eye function.
Digestion – Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients. Fats help provide a constant level of energy and also keep the body satiated for longer periods of time. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can only be absorbed if fat is present.
Organs – Fats cushion and protect your internal organs.
Immune System –Some fats ease inflammation, helping your metabolism and immune system stay healthy and functioning.
To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the different kinds of fats there are. The "bad" fats—saturated and trans fats—increase the risk for certain diseases. The "good" fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats—and to avoid trans fats.
Are liquid at room temperature and turn cloudy when kept in refrigerator.
Primary sources are plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Other good sources are avocados; nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.
People following traditional Mediterranean diets, which are very high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil, tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Are liquid at room temperatures as well as at cold temperatures
Primary sources are sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish.
This fat family includes the Omega-3 group of fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and your body can’t make. In addition, Omega-3 fats are found in very few foods.
Are usually solid at room temperature and have a high melting point
Primary sources are animal products including red meat and whole milk dairy products. Other sources are tropical vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and foods made with these oils. Poultry and fish contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.
Saturated fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
It is unnecessary to eat saturated fat sources since our bodies can produce all the saturated fat that we need when we consume enough of the good fats.
Trans fats are created by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers – and very bad for you.
Primary sources of trans fat are vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially
hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.
Make sure you eat some of these fats daily:
1. Olive oil - The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
2. Avocado- my favorite fat, thus the indepth list of benefits
Oral Cancer Defense
Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells. (ref)
Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies. (ref)
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. (ref)
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week. (ref)
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart. (ref)
The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't. (ref)
Better Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados. (ref)
Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease. (ref)
Vitamin E Powerhouse
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health. (ref)
3. Flax seeds / Flax oil have many benefits:
Lowered blood cholesterol levels
Lowered high blood pressure
Increased energy, vitality, and stamina
Increased sense of calmness under stress
Reduced threat of blood clots
Protection against cancers, particularly hormone sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate
Better regulation of blood sugar levels
Eases inflammatory tissue conditions, including arthritis
Alleviation of dry skin, eczema and psoriasis
Enhanced immune system
Increased metabolic rate with a positive impact on weight management
Helps with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
4. Salmon, mackeral, herring, albacore, sardine, rainbow trout, eel contain omega-3 fatty acids.
5.Olives - Olives are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Olives can also be a low-calorie snack all on their own. One serving of 20 small black olives is a great snack with less than 100 calories and will contain a good amount of iron, fiber, vitamin E, and copper.
6. 1 ounce of nuts - nuts are now considered as a health food—ironically because of their fats (the good, heart-healthy kind). They also contain an array of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E and zinc, and are a good source of fiber.
7. Natural Peanut Butter -Natural peanut butter is high in fat - good fat - and it's cholesterol-free and has vitamin E, folic acid, and zinc. In regards to the myth that its loaded with calories. A slice of toast with peanut butter has the same number of calories as toast with a bit of diary butter. But keep in mind peanut butter is higher in nutritional components...
Note:Two tablespoons contains about 8 grams of protein/200 calories, the same protein as 1oz of roast turkey. Yes the calories are a bit high, but protein and nutrition value far out weighs the worry of a few extra calories.
Natural Peanut Butter is better due to regular peanut butter does contain a tiny, tiny amount of hydrogenated fats, less than 1% per jar. Are Trans Fats Listed on the Nutrition Facts Label ? NO There is currently no provision for the listing of trans fats on the nutrition facts label. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a proposed rule for including trans fat on the nutrition label.
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