Thursday, March 28, 2013
How do you stay on track? I donít have to tell you how difficult it is to follow your eating plan and stay on target with your goals. Iím probably one of the most regimented people out here and itís hard for me too. But I have a few tips and tricks that I like to use, and you may like some of them too. They actually work for me.
ē Pay attention to and keep track of everything youíre eating. The Sparkpeople food tracker is great for this, but you can use another method if you choose. I like Sparkpeopleís because you can tailor it to your own eating and set your goals for calories, protein, carbs, fiber, etc., and it tells you how youíre doing throughout the day. When you keep track of it, you realize how easy it is to go overboard. If youíre not paying attention, you can quickly rack up hundreds of empty calories. So, track everything, even a 5 calorie stick of gum.
ē The best way is to plan all of your meals. I know, I know. Youíre thinking how thatís easier said than done, right? Well speaking from experience, I agree that it definitely can be easier said than done. But I also know that the reason most things are easier said than done is because we donít do them often enough. The more we do things, the better we get at doing them -- the easier they become. People sometimes laugh at me because Iím always thinking about or talking about food. Thatís because I like to plan out all my meals and snacks ahead of time. On most days, when I first get up in the morning, I already know what Iíll be eating for the rest of the day, including my between meal snacks. If I donít plan it, Iíll grab the wrong things in a mindless, rote sort of way.
ē Next, keep healthy snacks with you. Raisins, nuts, or grapes are good snacks. One of my favorite snacks is blueberries. One snack that Iíve recently gotten into lately is sun dried tomatoes. I like to get them sliced or julienne cut, and just one cup is filled with fiber, protein, iron, niacin, vitamin K and loads of antioxidants. How about that: snacks that are good and good for you. Canít beat that.
ē Also, portion out your foods, particularly snacks. I portion out a serving size of various things and keep them in baggies in the fridge or the pantry. And hereís another tip: you donít have to have a full serving in order to be fulfilled. One of my favorite crackers list a serving size as 15 crackers. I usually have half that amount and Iím satisfied. The full serving is 150 calories. By having only half a serving, I free up 75 calories. That may not sound like much, but believe me, calories add up.
ē If you really need to visit a vending machine, be careful at what you choose. Nowadays, many vending machines have a section dedicated to healthier items (i.e., the top row, the left side, row B, etc.). Other times, healthier items are dispersed throughout. Look out for those items, and be sure to portion them out.
ē Donít eat as soon as you feel hungry. You wonít pass out from starvation if you hold off for a half hour or so. Drink a cup of water or green tea, do some stretching, or go for a walk. If you eat as soon as you feel hungry, chances are youíll eat all the wrong things.
ē Last but not least, donít allow friends and family members to derail your progress. If you hadn't had your loved ones be discouraging or uninspiring, consider yourself fortunate. Many people trying to embark on a healthy life have to face the challenge of an unsupportive inner circle on a daily basis. If those in your inner circle are not being supportive, shame on them. When they try to impede your progress and say things to hinder you, try to let just let it go like water off of a duck's back. It's up to YOU to follow your plan.
Give these things a try. If they donít work for you develop your own. The important thing is to find ways to help you succeed and keep achieving your goals. Donít give up just because you didnít make it today. So what if you ate three donuts this morning. That doesnít mean you should just say "never mind" and eat whatever you see the rest of the day. Itís never too late to begin again. It just requires a little effort.
Stealing the Nike slogan, ďJust Do It.Ē
Monday, March 18, 2013
Sparkpeople.com has sponsored recently-released oldies cardio workout music. Iím very particular when it comes to my cardio because I love my treadmill and like to do cardio cycling (which in a nutshell is a series of faster then slower then faster then slower cardio routines). Itís hard to find pre-made music lists that would work, so, I handpick the music for my playlist. However, I happen to like this new oldies playlist. It still wouldnít work for my cardio cycling, but it would work really well for aerobics or jazzercise. And this was developed based on feedback from Sparkpeople.com users. This playlist, called 80s Retro Hits, has music from the 50s and 60s, most of which are still very popular today. This music gets my vote. Here is the list, the top 15:
No. 1: Aretha Franklin Ė Respect (1967)
No. 2: Steppenwolf Ė Born to Be Wild (1967)
No. 3: The Monkees Ė I'm a Believer (1966)
No. 4: Martha & the Vandellas Ė Dancing in the Street (1964)
No. 5: The Kinks Ė You Really Got Me (1964)
No. 6: Elvis Presley Ė Jailhouse Rock (1957)
No. 7: Rolling Stones Ė Jumpin' Jack Flash (1968)
No. 8: Tommy James & The Shondells Ė Mony Mony (1968)
No. 9: The Beach Boys Ė Surfin' USA (1963)
No. 10: Foundations ó Build Me Up Buttercup (1968)
No. 11: Chuck Berry Ė Johnny B. Goode (1958)
No. 12: Led Zepplin Ė Whole Lotta Love (1969)
No. 13: Rolling Stones ó Paint It Black (1966)
No. 14: The Beach Boys Ė Good Vibrations (1966)
No. 15: Chubby Checker Ė Let's Twist Again (1961)
and here is more information on the playlist:
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I havenít posted here in quite a while. I've been a busy bee, though I've still maintained my healthy lifestyle during my Sparkpeople.com absence. Conversations I have had with people often include asking me for tips as we move into spring. Iíve maintained my progress and I love helping others, as this helps to keep me motivated. So, the top tip I want to share is this. VISUALIZATION. Thatís very important.
When I say visualization, Iím talking about a lot of things. You need to visualize yourself at your ideal weight. Visualize yourself eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. Visualize yourself having at least 5 servings each of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains per day. Visualize yourself being more mobile and increasing your physical activity. Lastly, visualize that you are maintaining these things for the rest of your life.
Even if you donít really believe in your heart that you can achieve these things, you need to see yourself doing them. Donít worry about not believing in yourself. That's normal. But, for each little, teeny-tiny milestone you make, youíll feel a little bit more confident and over time, you'll begin to believe more in yourself. But it all starts with first visualizing it.
You need to see yourself all the time, the way you want to live, the way you want to be. Thatís the most expeditious way to achieve your goals.
Friday, October 14, 2011
With all the many health benefits that exist from exercise, I have been reading recently about another one I didnít know about. Did you know that exercise has been known to help acne, blackheads, rosacea, and other skin problems? Who knew? Apparently, exercise contributes to healthy skin because it increases blood flow, unclogs pores because it activates sweat glands, and more importantly, it reduces stress which is one of the biggest causes of skin problems. Exercise helps to increase circulation and aids in the delivery of nutrients to skin cells.
Exercise isnít just good for your heart, joints, lungs, and waist line. It can help your skin too. So, if you didnít already have enough good reasons to exercise, now you have another one. Here are some good articles on the topic.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Michael lost 12 pounds over the last 6 weeks. He was excited about his progress, even though he still has a long way to go. He attributes his success to following primarily a plant-based diet. But he began to get a little worried when two friends in town on business wanted to take him to a private dinner party at a restaurant one Saturday evening. Michael wondered where they would be eating and what would be served. He was afraid that all his progress would be blown by one night of fun and adventure, particularly knowing that his friends were carnivorous eaters who didnít know the meaning of moderation when it came to food.
To combat his dilemma, Michael, decided to have a light and healthy meal at home prior to meeting his friends. He hoped that doing so would fill him up. He figured that if he was hungry when he went out, he might be tempted to order too much or order all the wrong things. He had planned to keep it light at the restaurant and only get a soup and salad and maybe some other vegetable and absolutely no alcohol.
At dinner, things were much better than he thought they would be. Michael was proud of himself, ordering a cup of vegetable-barley soup, a garden salad, and a side of steamed broccoli. He viewed the menu online beforehand so he knew what to order when he got there. He was resilient to his friendsí gluttonous eating while kidding him about his healthful eating. He even had half a slice of pound cake for dessert that he shared with one of his friends. Michael realized that the jokes (some people might even consider them insults) from his dinner companions just rolled off his back, and he went home feeling ecstatic that he didnít overdo it.
While this story about Michael is fictional, it illustrates the problem many dieters often face. We all want to hang out with friends and family when we can, but unless they also eat the way that we do, it can be a challenge socializing with them. Furthermore, it doesnít help if they say mean things. Even though their comments are meant as a joke, the meanness still hurts just the same. Try to let it roll off your back.
The next time youíre in this situation, think of Michael. Have a light snack before dinner, think and plan ahead what you may order when you go out, and let the ribbing from others fly right over your head. Finally, if you do fall off a little bit, eating a little too much of the wrong things, thatís okay. One night of culinary pleasure wonít derail all of your progress. Get back on the wagon after dinner. Rather than feel bad about yourself, make up for it by doing some extra crunches or staying on the treadmill a little longer. Lifeís too short to stress about it.
"Just Do It!"
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