Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picky, picky

Happy Summer!!  As we shed our winter layers, some of us may be a little shocked to see there's more of us to love than we thought.  It's hot outside and we will want to keep as cool as cucumbers this season.  What this means is our thighs/arms/tummies/legs will surely want to get out in the sun, be it in the form of a swim suit, shorts and t-shirts or tanks.  Most of us have areas we'd rather not reveal and secretly beat ourselves up for not getting toned up in time.  There's still hope!  
This is the first summer, since I was a kid, I've worn shorts without hesitation.  I used to HATE the way my legs looked and thought shorts were as flattering as a burlap sack.  My upper arms were not toned, either, and therefore I was a huge fan of 3/4 length sleeves.  While I'm not tooting my horn and suggesting I look perfect, I can safely tell you I look a whole lot better than I did last summer.

Wanna know my secret?  I'm picky!!  I am a savvy foodie and when it comes to Summer fare, or any seasonal dish, I pick what I want and pass on what I can do without.  Right now I'll bet your calendars are getting loaded up with graduation partites, weddings, barbeque's and just any excuse to be out with friends and EAT (what else?!).  It's ironic, we're supposed to take off the layers just as we really pack on the calories.  But you don't have to.  
Lets take a typical American Summer fav - cheeseburgers and french fries.  You can eat it, but just pick the meat and skip the potatoes.  Don't eat the bun and maybe go without the cheese.  If there's beer on tap and you want to indulge, realize you're having some serious calories with your meal and maybe just grab one cold one and pace yourself.  Enjoy your food, with time.  There's no race happening, so enjoy your food and chances are if you don't wolf it down...your brain will catch up with your stomach and you'll be full before you know it and therefore eat fewer calories.

Now if you don't dine on swine (or other fatty meat options) be careful if carbs are your thing.  Just say to yourself, as you saddle up to the buffet line, "What do I really want and what can I skip?"  At first this may seem hard to do, but try it a few times and it'll become second nature to 'ya!

Another tip - education!  There's a great app called 'My Fitness Pal'.  It's also a website which I've included here.  Fitness Pal Nutrition facts page  They offer a nutrition fact page and if you only knew how many calories were in a beer (for example) you may think twice before throwing them back.  Or if you knew how offensive those pesky french fries can be, you may only grab one or two, at most.  Just arm yourself with education and watch how it transforms your waistline.  

Be picky and see what happens!!!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Big day!!!

Well my fellow savvy foodies...I did it!  Today is the first day of the rest of my career!  I signed up (and plunked down some cash) to study with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to become a personal trainer!!!

 I have six months to study and pass.  I'm going to apologize ahead of time - I'll be learning sooooo....much and I will be sharing!  Now to my dearly beloved friends and family - if you don't want to know what I'm learning, our agreed upon safe word will be 'blue'.  Just say 'blue' and I'll shut it ;)

I have never been so excited to start learning how to best help others (and myself) stay healthy and strong.  I'll be posting as I learn...wish me luck!!!

P.S. if anyone knows a celeb who needs to shed some weight PLEASE send them my way...in 6 months!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's holding you back?

I was in a spin class the other day and the instructor was trying to keep us positive as we tried to 'break through' the challenge.  He said, "Just know there is something in the universe that is always trying to hold you back from obtaining your goals."  Well smack my butt and call me Sally...he is completely right.  Nine times out of ten this 'thing' holding us back is fear.  Fear is a hologram, of sorts.  Some of us are so afraid of failing that we don't even try.

Run?  Yeah right, I'll ruin my joints.  Cycle? I'll go flying off the darn bike.  You want me to stand on my head?  I'll fall and break something.  Dance for an hour?  Are you kidding?  I'll twist an ankle or hit someone in the head.  Give up fried foods?  But I love french fries so much.  Make time to work out?  I'm afraid I'll be too tired and waste money on a gym membership.

If we get right up to the very thing that is holding us back, we push ourselves to the limit and realize that fear is just an illusion.  Unless you are into death defying feats (i.e. jumping off cliffs or out of planes) most of us will not perish by switching things up and facing our fears.  You get right up to the hologram of fear and realize its power is fictitious.

There may be some pain involved in adjusting our lifestyle.  If you're a perpetual couch potato, you most likely will not take well to moving your booty more often.  If you're a 'go-with-the-flow' eater (meaning you eat whatever you like and throw dietary caution to the wind), putting restrictions on yourself will be nothing short of irritating.  There will be something in the universe challenging your commitment to honoring your health and well being, trust me.

The old me hated:

  • sweating
  • washing hair too frequently due to sweating
  • push ups
  • running
  • weight lifting
  • eating vegetables
  • not eating mac n'cheese
  • not eating french fries
  • gyms
  • skipping desert
  • not baking
The new me loves:
  • sweating
  • standing on my head
  • standing on my hands
  • push ups (even though I'm still working on doing a real man's push up without knee assistance)
  • free weights
  • veggie/fruit juice
  • veggie smoothies
  • not putting cream and sugar in my coffee
  • gym
  • baking once in awhile and sending the treats off with my hubby to work
  • feeling and looking soooooo...much better!!
So you see, the pros outweigh the negatives.  If you're not having fun, you only have yourself to blame.  I make my exercise fun while I'm doing it.  I love going for bike rides with my savvy hubby.  I love taking my pups for a morning walk.  Going to the gym is something I look forward to because I have found a variety of classes that keep me motivated and excited to see what I can accomplish next.

Life is a challenge, no doubt.  My savvy friend recently joined a gym across the street from her work.  She and her husband have planned their schedules to accomodate gym time.  They have a little guy at home so they take turns going.  I think she's super savvy because she only takes it one week at a time.  Life does have a way of 'getting in the way', so they have a plan that ebbs and flows from week to week.  She plans her meals, her workout gear and her office attire the night before.  So when her 6am alarm rings, she already knows what she needs.  That's half the battle right there!  She's never stressed and she's looking and feeling great!  

I think it's brilliant to plan ahead.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  These are words I live by.  So plan out your meals, plan out your gym days and don't be afraid to change it if something comes up.  Just promise yourself that you will not let fear hold you back.  Make it work!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In your light

                 *I found this video on YouTube and I cannot help but SMILE :-)

I recently read an article in Prevention Magazine regarding, what else...hurdles in weight loss.  The article pointed out common pitfalls we may find ourselves in when we just can't lose those last pesky pounds.  One of the ideas they highlighted was the 'birds of a feather' theory.

Meaning, folks who are trying to lose weight need to be mindful of the company they keep.  If you're going out to eat with a preferred friend and they do not have the same weight issues or they frankly don't give a damn...they may be subconsciously or consciously affecting you.  You may have heard people say to you, as you try to stand your ground, "You have been doing so good, just splurge!" or "Lets just eat whatever we want...chili cheese fries work for you?".

You don't want to be anti-social or isolate yourself, so it's very savvy to be prepared for comments like these.  Stick to your guns and tell that person it's not your 'cheat day' and hopefully they will understand.  There's a fine line between being a savvy foodie and a foodie snob.  Practice some will power and tell that person they can have whatever they want because you're not trying to lose their weight, just your own.  You don't have to get all self-righteous on them, just simply order something you know isn't going to stunt your weight loss progress.

If going out to eat is just too tempting, find alternate activities.  I know this may be easier said than done...our culture centers around food and cocktails.  Want to go out for some broccoli?  Stop over and I'll not cook.  Sounds funny, right?

Perhaps phone/text a friend who is a positive influence.  Get all food geeky and talk about what you've found to work.  I once got a friend turned on to Kale simply because we were talking about it over dinner!  I'm a savvy foodie, so usually my topics of conversation are centered around tips and tricks I've learned ;-)

It's not easy, but you're quite savvy so I trust you'll think of something.  Get in the savvy light and that is all you'll need.

*The song 'In Your Light' is one of my favorites.  Every time it comes on my iPod I just cannot help but be in a good mood.  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Picking a path

Morning walk
In life it is inevitable to encounter choices.  The big ones involve picking a school, a partner, a career, a family, etc.

Granted, these are the big questions we face.  Life is a multiple choice test with no right answer.  We just fill our days making small choices that ultimately impact our path.  We plug along deciding what to eat for dinner, who to spend our time with and making choices we hope are right.  Some people believe in the power of prayer, others will seek assurance from trusted friends and family.

All in all, most of us have a drive to be happy and make others happy.  What makes you happy?  Would you feel differently if someone was pointing out your path for you?  Would you rebel?  Would you challenge them?  Or maybe you would feel relieved to not have to make the decision for yourself.

I'm tackling the path to health.  Everyday, I attempt to reform my old maladaptive ways and walk a path that challenges my comfort zone.  The problem with broken paths, is while we are trudging along we think they're 'alright' but later discover we were going about the path all wrong.

I was a vegetarian for four years and while I thought I had embraced a new and healthier way of living, I had slipped away from eating animals and into a diet consisting mainly of fake/processed food and CARBS!  Cheese pizza?  SURE!  French fries? Pass 'em over here!!  I had also consumed numerous frozen entrees chalk full of ingredients I didn't recognize and could not pronounce.  Ultimately, there was more of me to love than I had wanted ;)
Morning walk path

After four years of passing on the meat, I was sitting at my favorite Japanese restaurant and could not keep my chopsticks off of my savvy hubby's hibachi steak.  My body was sending me a message loud and clear...I was on the wrong path.  I reintroduced meat into my diet and now I'm on a much healthier path, for me.

I know vegetarians and vegans who would tell me otherwise, but for now my path involves ingesting animal protein.  I'm still not a huge meat eater and I tend to shy away from red meat as much as possible.  My diet consists less and less of carbs, but I still make sure I balance the carbs with the protein.  Chicken and vegetables, fillet Mignon with vegetables, plain hamburger with vegetables, etc.  No bun, no bread and no fries!

My path is not always a clear one, but my ultimate destination is a healthy body that will keep me out of doctor's office and standing in the upright position for as long as I'm still on this Earth selecting my paths.

My path involves savvy eating and exercising as much as I can.  It's not always easy, but when I think about the previous path I was treading there is no question this one is much brighter and healthier.

Which path are you on?  What is your destination?


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cup of health!

I Love Lucy - Vitameatavegamin!
Do you find that you're feeling tired, run down, listless?  Do you poop out at parties?  Are you unpopular? Well folks...it's not Vitameatavegamin, but the answer to all your problems can be found in this little juicer.

I am not being endorsed by Omega...but I wouldn't be opposed to it.  These are costly little machines, but the benefits outweigh the cost hands down.  My savvy hubby and I saw Joe Cross's "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" a few months back and we have been juicing ever since.  I like to have one glass a day and my hubby drinks it far more often than I do.  

The taste is something that needs some getting used to, but I have developed a few tricks that kill the bitter and help us enjoy our cup of health.  One essential step with this particular Omega juicer is to strain the pulp from the juice.  Indeed, the machine does separate the juice from the pulp but even with the fine strainer attached there is a fair amount of pulp in the juice itself.  So as I am pouring it into my container I run it through another small strainer.  This produces juice as smooth as silk.  My friend's husband tried a glass, for the first time, and his initial response was, "WOW!  This is great!  There's no pulp."  I had to laugh (to myself) because men just don't dig pulp.  My savvy hubby nearly choked the first time I used our Omega juicer.  It was gross, we were chewing our juice...BLEK!

Juicing has numerous benefits.
  • Rapid micronutrient absorption
  • Fantastic way to bring more RAW fruits and veggies into your diet.  I mean with all the produce I put into my juicer there is no way I would be able to eat the same amount if it were just sitting on a plate.
  • Clearer complexion
  • Clearer thought process
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • You feel healthy!  I was feeling awful one day, I had a glass and VOILA!  I told my best friend and she said, "Oh!  All you needed was a cup of health!"  We had a good laugh, but she was right.  My body obviously craves health.
Those are just a few I can tell you, off the top of my head.  Now you may be asking, 'what to put into your juice?'.
Spinach, kale, cucumbers, ginger, mint leaves, parsley leaves, apple, orange, pear, celery, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, bok choy, green pepper, broccoli, brussel sprouts, blueberries and lemons.  I find by adding lemons and mint it helps cut down on the bitter taste of the greens.  

If you're seriously into your leafy greens, make sure your juicer can handle them.  Because of their natural courseness, it's critical to invest in a higher quality juicer to tackle them.  I have also found that by following your leafy greens with carrots is very helpful in getting the juice to come out.  Again, I have the Omega and this is true for my juicer.  There are many out there, but I must tell you...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.  The cheaper the juicer, the lower the quality.  Do your homework before purchasing your juicer. 

If you store your juice in the refrigerator (which honestly is the only way to store it) and the juice turns brown...this means all the good nutrients of the fruits and veggies have died and renders the juice inefficient.  The cheaper the juicer, the less amount of time you'll have with your juice.  

It's quite a time commitment, so my advice is to get a juicer that will allow for a 72 hour window of storage so you won't find yourself juicing everyday.

Produce is pricey and organic can be a bit outrageous.  Please don't let this deter you.  I don't buy ALL organic.  My principle rule - if it can be skinned it doesn't have to be organic.  But if I plop my fruit and veg into the juicer without peeling or skinning, it has got to be organic.

Here's a video from Joe Cross demonstrating a juicer that William Sonoma carries.  Again, I'm not being endorsed by this company either.

It's a time comittment, but I'd rather invest my time in money in my health NOW as opposed to dealing with doctor's and their bills later in my life when my body is falling apart.  Just something to chew on ;)