Friday, September 11, 2009
Sometimes, our friends and relatives can be an important part of our weight loss journey. Thatís one of the premises of Sparkpeople.com Ė people supporting each other (ďsparkingĒ each other) to achieve their goals. Thatís why you should let everyone know that youíre striving to shed some pounds. Nobody really needs to know how much youíre trying to lose. Whether you need to lose 50 or 10 or 80 or 15 pounds Ė or whatever Ė is really a private matter. But the fact that you need to lose definitely should be shared.
Letís say you and your sister or a good friend are out at the mall and you pass by Cinnabon. The aroma draws you in, and before you know it, you have put down about 800 calories for the regular Classic Cinnabon. If you get the Caramel Pecan Cinnabon, youíre looking at 1000 calories, and thatís just for one. Even the small Cinnabon Bites will rack up 500 calories a piece; however, I donít want to beat up on Cinnabon. You can choose any number of food court restaurants. Most of them will likely make it difficult for you to maintain your diet. Same thing for times when youíre hanging out at home snacking too much, and after youíre done eating, you probably start feeling guilty. This happens all the time. It has happened to me a few times.
Having a buddy who can nudge us (and we can nudge them) when we're about to slip is just an extra layer of security, especially in the early stages of your dieting. Obviously nobody can control what we put into our mouths but us; however, a little encouragement from a buddy could be just the thing to keep from falling off that wagon. So, go ahead and keep sharing your goals. It might be the secret ingredient to your long-term success.
Friday, August 28, 2009
With the Swine Flu going around Ė or the H1N1 virus as it is referred to by some Ė as well as the many other strains of the flu that are circulating, people are lining up for their flu shots. This year more than ever, advocates are recommending the shot, especially for people in high risk groups, such as (1) the elderly, (2) children, (3) persons with a chronic medical condition, and (4) people working in the health care field including public safety rescue workers; however, I know of several people who donít fit into these categories who get their shots every year. Is it paranoia or preventive medicine? I have never had one. I have always been in pretty good health, and knowing that there is sometimes a shortage of the influenza vaccine, I figure that plenty of people are more in need of a shot than I am.
Lately, I have been wondering whether I ought to get a shot. The few times over the years when I got the flu, my bodyís immune system kicked into gear and I was back to normal without much wear and tear. One time when my doctor told me I had the flu virus, I didnít feel any more sick than when I had a run-of-the mill cold.
I guess like anything else that can impact the body, the flu affects people differently. Do you ever get a flu shot? I think Iíll pass again this year. Until my body really needs it, Iíll let someone get my shot who may have a greater need for it. There'll probably be another shortage again this year.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was thinking last night about how hard it can be to do more physical activity when you work in an office environment. That can make it hard to get any exercise. If youíre like me and sit behind a desk all day, the only exercise you may get is walking down the hall to the bathroom. Thatís not good, especially if you have as a goal to get in at least 10,000 steps. So, here are five easy things that I use to help get me more mobile in the workplace.
First, if you have to go down the hall to another office or to another floor, donít take the quickest route. Take the longest route, and if possible take the stairs rather than the elevator. That is great to get the blood flowing and your heart rate up.
Second, get an exercise stress ball to keep at your desk. They can vary in their dimensions, however, most are about the size of a plum. Squeezing them can help relieve stress. They can also be good to relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel. The flexibility of your hands as well as improved grip is also a benefit of a stress ball. They are relatively inexpensive. The one I bought cost $4.99, but I have seen them for as much as $6 or as little as $2, depending on where you get it and any sales or discounts stores may offer.
Third, try marching in place. If you have a letter, e-mail, or report to read, simulate a forward march from your chair. Simply lift your legs, one after the other, at your own pace. This movement will help strengthen your calf muscles and tighten your abs.
Fourth, stand up and stretch. Extend your arms straight up in the air, as if youíre trying to grab the ceiling. Stop for 15-20 seconds then reach down, with your knees only slightly bent, stretch your arms down toward the floor. Stretching is good to help increase your flexibility and balance.
Fifth and last,raise your heels resting all of your weight on your toes and hold for 5 seconds before going back down again. Do this several times for a 1-2 minute period. This can help stimulate the muscles in your legs and ankles. If necessary, use your desk, wall, or file cabinet to help you maintain your balance; however you should strive to do this without any help.
These are simply things you can do not only at work, but also at home. With a little creativity, you can devise many of your own exercises. Every little movement burns some measure of calories. The more you do, the more calories you burn.
Letís Get Physical!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In my quest to distance myself from my high-priced gym and do more workouts at home, I purchased the Cardio Blast DVD with Coach Nicole, and I took some time to work through the workouts. This is a great choice and would make a very good addition to anyoneís workout. Here is why I like it.
The first plus is the cost: I ordered it from the Spark Store www.sparkpeoplestore.com/prod
The DVD costs $15.50 (plus shipping). This is a very competitively priced workout DVD. In addition, the DVD has six tracks of varying degrees of intensity, and each one begins with a warm-up lasting approximately 3 1/2 minutes. As indicated on the DVD insert, you may do each workout individually in any order, or do them sequentially. A feature that I especially like is the ability to customize your workouts. If you choose the ďIntermediateĒ customizable workout for instance, you are taken through track 3 & 4 (a kickboxing routine and a high-impact jumping routine, respectively). The customizable workouts are made up of 2, 3, or 4 of the six tracks. No matter what your goal may be, whether you want a hard workout or something more at the beginner level, youíre bound to find this Cardio Blast DVD useful.
I looked at this DVD very objectively and had trouble finding any shortcomings. The only drawback I could find is the warm-up routine. Each of the six tracks begins with the same identical 3 1/2 minute warm-up. To break up the monotony, I would like to have seen a different warm-up for each track; however, that was just a minor downside. Overall, it is a great DVD and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to do more cardio at home.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen. Just between you and me, I am working on a cookbook (Iím a little more than 50% complete), and in it I plan to include lots of tips and strategies along with recipes. Here is one of my recipes I recently made for a family gathering, and it was all gone fairly quickly. I thought I would share it here, and I hope you give it a try.
Baked Eggplant Salsa
1 1/2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1 small green and bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium sized zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat Baking dish with non-stick spray. Evenly spread eggplant in pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside allowing to cool.
In a large bowl, combine other ingredients. After eggplant has cooled, add to mixture and toss well. Can be used either as a stand alone snack, to accompany chips, or as a side dish.
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