Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is here! Thanksgiving is here!

Ah, Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday is finally upon us!

I have been waiting (im) patiently since the first crisp morning in September. It’s my personal New Year. A time to reflect on the so many things I have to be thankful for and an opportunity to start NOW with a new mindfulness that allows me to remember DAILY the oh so many things I have to be thankful for – my health, my strength, love, happiness, great new friends and fabulous old. And forget what I learned in Girl Scouts – there is no silver and gold - you are all PLATINUM to me!

And let's not forget family. This is the only week of the year I can spend infinite amounts of time surrounded by family members and not go bonkers. I love the chaos, I love the running around, I love the full house!

And 2013 is extra special – not only do we get to celebrate Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah as well!

Thanksanukkah if you will!

Other than family, nothing is more synonymous with Thanksgiving than overeating - hello turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes - oh, and can someone pass the green bean casserole? Oh - and make sure you save room for the pumpkin pie with the whipped topping - and maybe just a slice of pecan later. And wine - yes - lots of wine please! And thank you!

And after the game (Steelers vs. Ravens, proof that all good things are meant to be) – how about a turkey sandwich and maybe just another small sliver of pie. No wonder everyone naps all afternoon – the 2ndmost popular thing to do on Thanksgiving! (as determined by me)

So, how do I keep a healthy mind& sneak in some fitness amid all this excitement??
  1. Jump start the morning with a quick circuit to get your heart rate up and your calorie burn on! You can even do this one in your bathroom or hotel room - or better yet - meet them all in the living room for a little family time before you fire up the oven!
    1. Warm Up: Alternating straight-leg toe touches – 1 minute
    2. Workout (x2)
      1. 10 burpees
      2. 25 squats
      3. 10 push-ups
      4. 20 mountain climbers
      5. 60 second plank
    3. Cool down: Down dog – 1 minute
  2. Or better yet – sign up for a Turkey Trot. Go Running! holds Little Rock’s Turkey Trot (free of charge!) with run/walk options of 3, 4 or 6.5 mile routes. So grab the family, lace up, and head out for a new family tradition!
  3. DANCE PARTY! Turn the music up and have a dance off – you’ll burn an extra 125 calories for every 30 minutes of rocking out -- and you are guaranteed to share more than a few laughs with your family.
  4. Remember that old tradition of football in the backyard? Let’s bring it back folks, let’s bring it back.
  5. Make your own cranberry sauce – skip the canned sauce, which is full of sugar and preservatives…
  6. Chose Pumpkin. Of all the pies on Thanksgiving, it’s the best of the bad. The pumpkin offers you some fiber, and the added sugar in Pecan Pie also adds an extra 135 calories per slice. And by slice I mean 1/8 of a standard pie. Not your monster slice that may say, only have you cutting the pie in 4.
  7. Walk it off! For every plate of food you eat, walk 10 minutes. For every slice of pie, tack on another 15. This will burn some extra calories, boost your energy level and I guarantee you’ll feel better come Black Friday! (and if you’re on a time crunch you’ll have to skip seconds to fit your walk in!)
Happy Thanksanukkah everyone!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are we unknowingly killing our motivation?

Whether climbing the corporate ladder or starting a new fitness routine people need motivation to achieve their goal, right?

But what is that goal? Do we even know? Have we given ourselves a specific, measurable, attainable landmark to work towards?

Instead of: "I want to lose a little weight" or "I want to lose 50 pounds"
Try: "I want to fit in a size 6" or "I want to lose 1 pound a week for the next 12 months"

The 9 Toxic Things that Kill Your Motivation listed in this article seem like common sense - but so often we overlook the obvious in our path to pursue our ultimate goal.

We can't strive for perfection, push to the point of burnout OR wait for the ideal moment to take action -- are you letting any of these keep you from your goal?  


Friday, November 15, 2013

A new twist on homemade gelato

Thank goodness for Pinterest and their weekly emails.  If it weren't for there nifty marketing I would have missed out on this fabulous recipe from Oh, Ladycakes

There is no nutritional information posted - well at least that I found in my spot reading this morning.  But I am sure it's full of fat - hello, it's made of NUTS...so yes, watch your portions - there are going to be a lot of calories and a lot of fats...but remember nuts provide us with HEALTHY fats.  Unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, Fiber, Vitamin E, Plant sterols, L-arginine.....

I'm trying this this weekend and I hope you do too!  Just remember that healthy fats don't mean you can eat a quart at a time.

1 3/4 cups raw cashews
3 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
14 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 15 minutes
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight (if you don’t have a high speed blender, the longer you soak the cashews, the better). Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and transfer the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the water and blend on high speed for 45-60 seconds. Add the dates (soaking water discarded) and cacao powder; blend mixture on high speed for at least 90 seconds, or until super smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Once it’s chilled, transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the gelato starts to thicken, add the pistachios. You can store it in a freezer safe container until ready to consume. Thaw for 20 minutes prior to serving.
Yield: about 2 quarts

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't stash that water bottle just yet!

Well the warm weather has gone, and most likely so has the water bottle you've been toting around to keep you cool on those hot, hot days.  But don’t toss that water bottle into the cabinet just yet.

Yes, we sweat less (well, some of us) in the winter, but we are also exposed to dryer air.  In addition wearing more layers, sleeping under more blankets, cranking the heat up in the house…all these keep our core temperature up a bit more than the lighter weight clothes and the air conditioning do in the summer.

Staying hydrated is important no matter what time of year it is!  Know your body and what your body needs – there is no set formula for anyone…8 8 oz glasses is a great guideline but it varies greatly by gender, size, activity level....I could go on and on.  The Pee Test is the best test.  If your pee isn't wheat colored, you aren't getting enough water in your day.  So drink up! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BRRRR.....Baby It's Cold Outside!

When I stepped out the door this morning at 5:10 it was a nice and breezy 55.  By the time I left for work at 7:30 it was a cool 45 and the temps just keep dropping – 37 by the time we start out workout tonight at 6:30.  And if this wind keeps up we’ll be slathering on the Chapstick like it’s our job.

Mother Nature certainly wasn’t messing around when she ordered this cold front….And while I don’t necessarily consider what we are going to be experiencing “extreme cold” some of you native Arkansans and southerners may.

My standard rule of thumb is:  Dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer that it is.  If it’s 35 out, I ask myself, “What would I wear to be comfortable in 55 degree weather?” and go from there.  Not scientific, but it’s a piece of advice I read when the outdoors first became my gym and it’s really stuck with me. 

So, I got to thinking about today’s post and how important it is to have the right approach and gear to wear in the cold temps.  I decided that, while I will not get any points for creativity, it would probably be best to share the guidelines from one of my favorite websites, Ultimate Bootcamp

While there are no definitive standards for when it is considered “too cold for outdoor exercise” (just think about the marathoners in the North and South Poles at -40 or -50 degrees!), the following precautions will also help to make your workout even more enjoyable:

1. Dress in Layered Clothing. Several thin layers are warmer than one heavy layer. Layers are also easier to add or remove and thus, better regulate your core temperature. The goal is to keep the body warm and minimize shivering.

2. Cover your Head. Your head should be covered while exercising in the cold, because heat loss from the head and neck may be as much as 50 percent of the total heat being lost by your body.

3. Cover your Mouth. To warm the air before you breathe it, use a scarf or mask. Do this especially if breathing cold air causes angina (chest pain) or you are prone to upper respiratory problems.  

4. Stay Dry. Wet, damp clothing, whether from perspiration or precipitation, significantly increases body-heat loss. Those same moisture-wicking clothing you used in the summer make a great base layer in the winter.

5. Keep your Feet Dry. Use a fabric that will wick perspiration away from the skin. Polypropylene, wool or other fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and retain insulating properties keep the body warm when wet.

6. Stay HydratedDehydration affects your body's ability to regulate body heat and increases the risk of frostbite. Fluids, especially water, are as important in cold weather as in the heat. Avoid consuming alcohol or beverages containing caffeine, because these items are dehydrating. 

7. Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and increases heat loss so the odds of experiencing a hypothermic event increase. Alcohol can also impair judgment to the extent that you may not make the best or brightest decisions in a cold weather emergency. It's best to leave the alcohol behind when you head out into the cold.
8. Know your Limits. Everyone has their own idea of the perfect exercising weather.  You might love the summer heat that makes you sweat like you're in a sauna. Your friend might still be wearing shorts when it's 35 degrees outside.  When in doubt, do what's best for your body. That way, you can be sure to focus on the exercises, not the weather.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's all about choices...

I’m not even going to lie, this week's post was going to be about ways we’re sabotaging our salads.  But then Monday at lunch I was reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, which talks about the importance of making the right decisions over time to get desired results.  But not just any results...right there in the 1st Chapter he was talking about WEIGHTLOSS SPECIFICALLY!  I was beyond excited and scrapped the salad bar idea – maybe next week!
Now, I am sure you remember that post about the importance of patience where I was going on and on about how changing your body is like cultivating a garden?  Well, it’s true – patience and hard work are key components to a successful health plan. 

Darren tells the tale of 2 similarly-sized friends, Brad and Scott, who have made some recent life changes.  Scott decided to start trimming 125 calories a day from his diet – seltzer instead of soda, mustard instead of mayo, etc.  Brad remodeled his house and put in a bar – what’s and extra beer a night, really?  Only about 125 calories for a Bud Light anyways!
No difference at the end of 2 months, no real noticeable difference after 10 months even, some change after 18 months. But after 31 months – whoa buddy! – Scott had lost 33.5 lbs! And not only that, Brad has GAINED 33.5 pounds! What a HUGE difference.
31 months = 940 days
940 days x 125 calories per day = 117,500 calories
117,500 calories/3,500 calories per pound = 33.5 pounds!
I am not here to tell you that it will take 31 months of bootcamp (or any workout program) to see a change. But I am here to remind you that it’s the choices you make along the way (good and bad) that will help you get to your goal – and that it TAKES TIME! It’s all about patience, my friends, all about patience. Be smart, and use the formula above to set a baseline for yourself and go for it. Just make sure it’s manageable and realistic – don’t set yourself up for failure either!
Of course my preferred method is to make healthy eating choices, but BURN those extra 125 by getting up and getting moving. Here are a few ways to burn an extra 125 and melt away a pound a month!


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