Fitness & Wellness

Fitness Is Mental

Fitness Is Mental

You probably equate getting fit with working out in the gym and eating healthy foods, which makes it seem purely physical, but the truth is, fitness is mental. That’s right. Getting fit starts first in the mind, long before the physical side is even started. In order to be successful, it requires perseverance and mental toughness. It takes determination. That’s why approaching it as a goal makes more sense. Goals define what you want to achieve, plus provide a path to achieve it and a way to measure success.

To be successful physically, you have to identify it clearly mentally.

What do you really want? Do you want to lose ten pounds? Feel great again? Increase your energy? Those are all ways people identify their version of fitness. It has to be something achievable, measurable and really important to you. Looking like a specific movie star may not be possible, but becoming the best you is. You need a strong reason to and goal to keep you going when the road gets rough.

How will you keep that mental power going?

One reason you track your progress and set goals is to boost your motivation. Seeing progress is extremely important to sticking with any program. It keeps you focused and motivated to stick with it, even when it’s tough. Don’t just use weight loss as a measurement. Use inches lost, energy gained, amount of weight you can lift or distance you can run. I’ve worked with people who wanted to get fit to help relieve back or joint pain. They tracked their fitness by hours without pain and eventually days without pain.

Ask yourself if you really want that last slice of pie.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of all the unhealthy foods. You can still eat that occasional piece of pie or bag of chips. It just means making smart food decisions most of the time. Ask yourself before you eat high calorie food that have limited nutrition whether you really want that particular food. It’s extremely important when you first start, especially if you eat a lot of sugar. Sugar is highly addictive, so you might find you crave it. That’s when the mental side kicks in and helps you skip it until eating healthy becomes a habit.

  • Getting fit means forming new habits. One of those is drinking more water. If you normally drink sugary soft drinks, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you drink water and how much easier it is to lose weight, particularly if you drink them often throughout the day.
  • Planning is important when you get fit. It means including your workout in your schedule and planning meals ahead of time, so you aren’t tempted to grab carryout.
  • Your attitude is extremely important as you work toward fitness. Focus on enjoying your workout and healthy eating habits, rather than on the negative.
  • Speaking of enjoyment, consider getting a fitness partner. It’s more fun to workout with someone, which is why group sessions are so popular. Sharing goals and successes with another person helps you stick with a program and be even more successful.

Burn Fat While Sleeping

Burn Fat While Sleeping

Yes, you can burn fat while sleeping. Your body is constantly burning calories, even when you sleep. There are ways to boost that number, too. However, burning calories isn’t the only way sleep helps you. Besides benefiting your body and keeping you alert, it helps you stay thin in another way. No matter how many calories you burn, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. When lack sleep, it causes your hunger hormones to increase and those that make you feel full to be limited. Lack of sleep causes overeating!

Studies show that lack of sleep causes weight gain.

If you sleep less, you might find that you gain weight easier. One review found that the potential for obesity increased by 55 percent in adults and a whopping 89 percent in children who lacked adequate sleep. The Nurses study that tracked the sleep habits of 60 thousand nurses who weren’t obese for sixteen years found that those who slept just five hours or less were fifteen percent more likely to be obese than those who slept seven or more hours. One small study showed that cutting back sleep for a group of adults to five hours for just five nights showed a weight gain of almost two pounds!

When you get adequate sleep, it keeps your metabolism at full throttle.

Not only will you have more energy to workout when you get adequate sleep, you’ll be more resolved to stick with your workout program. Keeping your metabolism running at full force is important to weight loss. If you want to boost belly blasting, keep your room cooler. Studies show that keeping the temperature in the room at 66 degrees doubled the amount of belly fat lost compared to those who slept in 75 and 81 degree rooms.

Try some protein at bedtime.

Casein protein, such as that found in cottage cheese, can actually boost the amount of calories you burn as you sleep. It takes a long time to digest, approximately seven hours, which means it keeps your metabolism going strong throughout the night. It also helps prevent early morning hunger, which is good if you workout first thing in the morning. One study showed that consuming the protein casein before bed helped improve muscle repair and strength, while burning an extra 30 to 35 calories. Not only does cottage cheese contain casein, it also contains tryptophan that improves your sleep.

  • Do strength training resistance exercises after work. Strength building exercises boost your metabolism for up to 16 hours, which means you’ll be burning more calories as you sleep.
  • Turn out the lights and all technology to get the best possible sleep.
  • If you use the snooze, you don’t lose. Rather than setting your alarm for an hour early and allow yourself to hit the snooze, set it for the time you intend to get up. You’ll get better sleep that helps keep pounds off when you don’t interrupt it every 15 minutes to hit the snooze button.
  • Establish a bed time and wake up time and stick with it, even on weekends. It helps you get better REM sleep that affects the number of calories you burn. This deep sleep state is when you burn the most.

Workout Tips For Busy Moms

Workout Tips For Busy Moms

I get a lot of requests from clients in Florida, for help. One of the biggest problems they have is fitting exercise and a healthy lifestyle into their schedule. It’s especially a problem for moms, whether they work outside the home or not. They have so many demands on their time that are controlled by others, whether it’s the boss at work, the children’s schedule or a spouse. That makes carving out time for themselves almost impossible. Here are some workout tips for busy moms that can help make working out regularly easier.

Make your workout a priority, not a luxury.

Feeling selfish about carving out time is one of the biggest hurdles busy moms have. I’ve actually seen mom’s put off going to the doctor for medical conditions, using their child’s school trip or other family needs as the reason. Some misguided moms think that taking care of their health is a luxury, but they’re wrong. In fact, it’s selfish not to make sure you’re in good health and stay that way. If you aren’t healthy, not only is there no one to take care of your family, someone has to take care of you. Working out regularly and eating healthy should be a top priority. Treat it as such and schedule it into your week.

Create a routine and get the kids involved in working out and staying fit.

Younger children often love working out with mom. When working out is part of your schedule, you are more apt to do it. The kids also know that it’s your time to get fit. Make it a rule that if they need you, they have to join you in exercise. If you’re doing jumping jacks and they want to tattle on brother or sister, they have to do jumping jacks with you to report the infraction. It actually makes it more fun when you have a workout zone where everyone who enters joins the routine.

Create healthy meals and make them on your days off work.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, devote one or two hours each week to meal planning and creating a grocery list for healthy eating, a specific time to shop and two days to prepare the weekly fare. Make sure you double the recipes, so you can freeze meals ahead. In a few weeks, you’ll have healthy meals and snacks ready with only a few hours of prep, since you’ll already have enough meals ready to use in the freezer.

  • You don’t have to do an exercise routine every day, some of your workout can be devoted to fun kid time. Hiking, biking and even hula hooping provide the exercise you need and a fun family time.
  • Get up earlier. Nobody wants to have to get up before the family to get in workout time, but sometimes there’s no alternative. It’s one option to work it in your day.
  • Get adequate sleep. To be your best, you need plenty of sleep to have the energy. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night will help you stay healthier and make it easier to lose weight.
  • Share your goals. If your kids are old enough, share your goals. Put reminder signs up, post a schedule and keep your goal in front of you. Letting the kids know that success comes from setting goals and the creating the steps to achieve them is a huge lesson in life.

Habits Of Healthy People

Habits Of Healthy People

You may have heard of the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which helps identify the habits, so the reader can do them and become highly effective. It’s no different from learning the habits of healthy people. Once you know them, you can develop them and become healthier for life. One of the habits most people recognize is that healthy people are active people. That doesn’t mean they’re working 24/7, but that they take time to play and get plenty of healthy exercise. Even if you do physical work throughout the week, it often means repeated motions and focus on endurance or strength building. Taking free time to balance the workout and even enjoy the time is important.

Healthy people eat healthier.

If you’re a junk food junkie, you’re probably not the healthiest person you know. Eating healthy means eating more whole foods and far less processed food or even cutting out processed foods completely. Healthy people often make meals over the weekend so all they have to do is warm them and assemble them during the week, which is a lot easier than standing in line at a take out restaurant and often tastes far better, too. Learn to plan menus, shop and prepare foods ahead and you’ll ensure healthier eating.

Healthy people understand portion control and also know that sometimes a bit of cake doesn’t hurt.

While you might eat healthy most of the time, sometimes, you can indulge in some less than stellar selections occasionally. Healthy people don’t want to be those people that require specific food at parties or turn down a dinner invitation with friends because it’s not the type of food they eat. Eating the occasional quickie burger and fries isn’t a great choice, but as long as it’s occasional, it’s not a problem. One thing you’ll probably find after eating healthy for a while is that even your favorite cake or pie will taste far too sweet and nothing like you remember. Those fries you’ve coveted since you started healthy eating, won’t taste nearly as good as you thought. Occasionally eating less than healthy food will actually eliminate most of your cravings.

Healthy people hang out with other healthy people.

If you’re an active person, you’ll be more likely to have friends that are active, too. Once people get on the healthy lifestyle track, they often find that they add friends to their circle of friends that enjoy a healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you desert old friends in favor of new ones. In fact, it actually could mean you introduce your old friends to some of the fun you have with your new lifestyle or invite them for healthy meals.

  • Healthy people smile more. Studies show that people who smile more tend to live longer. Other studies show that laughter really is good for your health. Being optimistic is a direct road to good health.
  • Healthy people drink plenty of water throughout the day. In fact, water is often the drink of choice for healthy people. If you’re drinking eight glasses a day, you’re on the road to a healthy habit.
  • Healthy people take time to rest mentally and wind down throughout the day. Whether it’s just taking a few alone minutes or practicing meditation, healthy people take time to defuse throughout the day to reduce stress and tension.
  • Don’t forget to get eight hours of sleep. The average person needs seven to nine hours of sleep to function their best. Healthy people get that sleep in a dark room, without any interference from electronic devices like TVs or computers.

Beginner's Guide To Food Prep

Beginner’s Guide To Food Prep

Eating healthy doesn’t normally come naturally. It’s tough to break old habits of carry-out, quickie meals and sugary snacks. That’s why setting goals, planning meals ahead and preparing them ahead is a huge benefit. If all you have to do is warm and serve, you’ll be more apt to eat healthier, especially when you’ve had a long day. This beginner’s guide to food prep can help you start your program of healthy eating and eliminate some of the pitfalls.

If you aren’t already using a healthy eating meal planning program, create your own.

Take an hour to scan the grocery sales and include the in-season fruits and vegetables when you plan your meals. Once you identify the primary ingredients you’ll use, find healthy recipes that store well for your weekly menu. If you’re buying a special ingredient, such as fresh cilantro, find a recipe that uses it for other meals if you want it fresh or freeze it in ice cube trays and use it in cooked recipes later. Nothing will go to waste when you plan. Fresh fruits and vegetables make great snacks and can be used in recipes throughout the week. Anything left over makes a great soup.

Make shopping a once a week job you do after you eat.

Whether you shop at night or during the day, don’t do it without eating first or you’ll find your cart filled with impulse options, like sweet treats or crunchy chips. Take your shopping list with you. It should include all the ingredients you need for the meals and for snacks. Snacks play an important role in healthy eating. They help prevent overeating at meal time or grabbing a quick candy bar or sweet treat between meals. Get the kids involved in helping you choose the snacks, but do it when you’re planning meals, not at the grocery. You can narrow their choices by allowing them to pick the fresh fruit, healthy dip or vegetables to serve as snacks. Ants on a log, celery filled with peanut butter with raisins dotting the top, or yogurt with fresh fruit, are examples of choices.

Take two days to devote to the weekly cooking.

If you’re working outside the home during the week, use the weekend for your cooking spree. Make double the recipe, so you have some to eat during the week and meals to store for another week. At first, you’ll have to cook all the meals in two days, but eventually, you’ll have enough stored up to cut cooking to one day and plenty of meals ready to eat in the freezer.

  • When you make meals ahead, you’ll have plenty ready to heat and serve. You can even create one free day when the family gets to pick out exactly what they want to eat from the stored food.
  • Label your frozen foods with the name of the food and the date stored. It’s easier to have portion control when you buy divided meal containers for meal storage.
  • There’s never any waste if you plan ahead. Instead of throwing out, store some leftovers that aren’t used in freezer bags and when you have enough, make soup! If you make a rotisserie chicken in your air fryer, use the bones for bone broth.
  • Creating healthy snacks isn’t hard and it also cuts down on meal prep time. Wash up fresh fruits and vegetables and have them ready in eat in bite size pieces. They provide snacks and the ready ingredients for a healthy stir fry or other menu option.

Strength Training Does More Than Just Build Muscles

Strength Training Does More Than Just Build Muscles

If you skip strength training because you don’t want big bulging muscles, the good news is that you don’t have to develop them if you workout right. In fact, for women, it’s nearly impossible, even if your goal is getting a set of guns that everyone would envy and for men, the right training can tone and build some muscle without getting the look of body builders that takes far more effort and the right type of training.

Strength training can help you avoid injury.

Whether it’s in the gym or at home, pulled muscles and falls can occur. While strength training won’t alert you to that child’s toy on the stairs that you trip over, it can prevent injury from doing every day tasks, like lifting a child or picking up a box. The boost in your strength that the training provides helps make muscles more resilient and resistant to injury. It also helps decrease the risk of falls.

Strength training will help you take off weight and keep it off permanently.

While aerobic exercise does burn a lot of calories, strength training is actually better for long term weight loss. When you burn calories during aerobic exercise, the body isn’t picky where it gets those calories. It burns both lean muscle mass and fat tissue. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn twenty-four/seven, so having less means a lower metabolism. Strength training builds muscle tissue as it burns calories, boosting your metabolism and making weight loss even easier.

Prevent muscle wasting and osteoporosis with strength training.

After your mid 30s, most people start losing muscle mass. Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that can be as much as three to five percent per year if you’re inactive. When you lose muscle mass, bone loss tends to follow, which is why osteoporosis and sarcopenia often go hand in hand. Many larger studies show that high-intensity resistance training, not only helps prevent or even reverse osteoporosis, it also improves balance, strength and muscle mass that can help prevent broken bones and falls. Studies also show it does it even better than most pharmacological or nutritional approaches.

  • You’ll look thinner than your weight indicates and have a body without ugly bulges and rolls when you include strength training in your workout.
  • Strength training, like all types of workouts, boosts your endorphins while burning off the hormones of stress.
  • Strength training can improve the way your muscles work together. That can improve your balance, coordination and even posture. It reduces the risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, according to one study.
  • One amazing discovery about strength training is that it actually can help control pain and help with chronic conditions. One study showed that people with arthritis who did strength training got as much relief as they did with pain medication. It also helps control glucose levels.

Inflammation And Diet

Inflammation And Diet

I get a lot of questions from clients in Florida and other areas about the effect of diet on inflammation. There is a connection and there’s even a new branch of the medical field studying the effects of food on illness or rather, focusing on food for health. Inflammation isn’t bad. It’s a natural process that’s necessary to keep people from dying from infection and injury. Inflammation sends a message to the immune system to come to the rescue when tissue is damaged or subject to invasion by viruses, bacteria or other foreign microbes. Without inflammation, people could die from small wounds that easily would become infected.

Sometimes things go amok.

You can have too much of a good thing when it comes to any of the body processes. Your body is all about balance. There are a number of reasons the inflammation response can get out of control with chronic chemical signals in the body. It can occur from environmental reasons, diet and lifestyle. Chronic inflammation is where the problem begins and it can end up with a stroke, heart disease, autoimmune disorders or other serious conditions. It’s even linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

A healthy diet is one way to help reduce the potential for inflammation.

Even though there’s a focus on food as medicine that’s gaining ground, there’s still not enough information to exchange modern medical treatments for food. However, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce signs and symptoms of inflammation, lower the potential for a disease that comes from inflammation and improve the quality of life. Anti-inflammatory foods include everything from consuming a Mediterranean diet to eating whole foods and plant based proteins.

It’s a rainbow of colors that help fight inflammation.

Plants have phytonutrients whose effect on the body still isn’t clearly understood. Some of these, like anthocyanin, give the plant their color. These pigment producing phytochemicals are actually potent inflammation fighters. It only makes sense that eating colorful fruits and vegetables like blueberries, cherries and blackberries would be anti-inflammatory. Vitamin K also has anti-inflammatory properties, so choosing leafy green veggies like spinach and kale can reduce inflammation.

  • Choosing food with omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Fatty fish like salmon, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils like flaxseed oil all contain omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Tomatoes are anti-inflammatory and so is olive oil. Those two foods and high amounts of vegetables may account for the Mediterranean diet noted for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • What you shouldn’t eat is just as important as what you should eat. It’s no surprise that fried foods, refined carbs, soft drinks, processed meat, margarine and foods high in processed sugar cause inflammation.
  • Eating too few anti-inflammatory foods and too many foods that cause inflammation may lead to low grade chronic inflammation, which can ultimately lead to health conditions like allergies, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Food Can Taste Good AND Be Healthy

Contrary to some people’s belief, food can taste good and be healthy. In the past, there’s been food offered that was loaded with vitamins and processed to include plenty of protein and other nutrients. Those products often tasted like vitamin soaked cardboard, giving healthy food a bad reputation. Seriously, there’s no reason to eat “processed” healthy food when Mother Nature provides it right on the vine, also providing herbs that add a gourmet taste and healthy nutrients to the mix.

You need to start with healthy ingredients.

Scour your fresh fruits and vegetable section for the healthiest foods. Even if a bag of kale chips or a power bar are described as healthy on the package, you can do far better! I love the vegetable noodles made with those spiralizers. One simple salad I enjoy making uses sautéed or fresh zucchini noodles, chopped Black Krimm tomatoes—an heirloom variety—(the black varieties of tomatoes have more antioxidants), colorful sweet peppers, cucumber, celery and onions. Sometimes, I toss in some feta cheese, mozzarella or air baked chicken pieces. I toss it all with a homemade vinaigrette that includes herbs and spices. It’s super quick and easy, plus very healthy.

Add lots of Omega-3 to your cooking.

I love wild salmon and it’s an exceptionally good way to boost your omega-3 fatty acids, something the average American diet is far lower in than it should be. It’s easy to make, just drizzle some olive oil, salt, pepper sprinkle fresh herbs and create a foil packet to bake it at 400 degrees for ten minutes. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen you can grill it.

Make your salads healthier and yummier.

Green salad may sound boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Use a spring mix with some spinach added for a colorful, nutrient loaded salad. Add some berries, onions, walnuts or pecans and/or tomatoes. Sometimes I add grilled vegetables to mine. Parmesan cheese is a great topper. Those berries give it zing and some sweetness. For the dressing, I use a variety of healthy homemade vinaigrettes or a Greek yogurt ranch that’s particularly tasty. .

  • If you include beef or chicken in your meal, choose organic grass-fed beef and free range chicken to boost the health benefits.
  • When the weather turns chilly, a robust homemade soup is always welcome. If you have fresh vegetables left over or even cooked ones, everything can go in the soup and taste delicious.
  • One of my favorite treats is grilled asparagus with lemon. Toss the asparagus in olive oil, grill or pan fry until tender and drizzle with butter and lemon. The butter should come from grass fed cows. Salt and pepper to taste. You can even sprinkle a little Parmesan.
  • Introduce your family to spaghetti squash. It’s so simple to make and hundreds of ways to serve it. Cut in half, clean out the seeds and lightly coat with olive oil. Roast for approximately 40 minutes and serve with tomato sauce, roasted broccoli, mozzarella and some fresh basil for a delicious and healthy taste.

The Importance Of Meal Planning

The Importance Of Meal Planning

I’ve watched clients roll their eyes when I suggest adding meal planning and preparation to their fitness program. While meal planning doesn’t necessarily mean you prepare all your meals on the weekend, it’s the way most people with who work outside the home do it. It’s a great way to have your meals and snacks prepared ahead of time so there’s no excuse for take-out or a quick microwave meal. It means the meals will be easy to make in a few minutes, because in most cases, all you have to do is warm them.

Creating menus for the week and having all the ingredients is the key.

If you’re like most people, including myself, at the end of a long day at work, preparing a meal or even thinking about what you want to eat is a bit more than you can sometimes handle. When you plan your meals ahead, during a quiet, restful time, you can plan to include healthy foods that are packed with nutrition and lower in calories. You can also include ways to use all the food you buy so none goes to waste.

Spending one day making meals can save hours of cooking during the week.

Preparing your meals all in one day saves a lot of time. While some foods are cooking, you can chop and prepare others, like fresh vegetables, to add to the food later. For instance, if you bake a chicken, you can use some parts to eat as a main course one day, with some left over to create a salad for dinner. Having plenty of vegetables cut into serving sizes makes meal preparation easier. Some can be snacks, while others only require minimal preparation to add to main dishes. You can even double the recipes you make and store some in the freezer for another week, freeing time later.

When you plan and prep meals ahead, you’ll have the optimal serving sizes.

When the food is in front of you and you’re starved, it’s not the time to decide how much you should eat. Being hungry also isn’t the time to shop. You can solve both problems by making these decisions ahead of time and having the food already in portions. It also means you’ll plan for leftovers, so there’s not going to be questions about those dishes left in the back of the refrigerator that are either green meat, brown vegetables or your child’s science project.

  • Meal planning means planning around sales and coupons. Add that to the use of leftovers and you have a savings at every meal.
  • When you plan and prepare meals ahead of time, you’ll also save on takeout and junk food. If you’re not shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll be less likely to grab snacks off the shelf.
  • If you find you still have leftover vegetables that you won’t be using during the week, don’t fret. Make soup instead. Soup not only uses up those extras, it’s an easy way to create nutritious meals by adding a salad and/or a side.
  • When you plan ahead, you’ll reduce the stress that comes from not knowing what you’re going to eat next or the hassle of preparing it. It can make meal time something to look forward to rather than dread.

Food Journals

Food Journals

If you’re like many of my Florida clients, you probably never considered food journals as a technique to shed weight. It’s worth a try because it not only helps you stick with a diet program, it tells a lot about what’s causing the weight gain. The catch is that it takes some time, but you can make it easier. With Smartphones today, there’s a lot of help. Making a recording of everything you eat is one way, sending yourself a text or just using the notes area to jot down what you eat and transferring that information to the official list at the end of the day can make it a lot easier.

It’s more than just for weight loss, it’s also for health.

There’s so many different chemicals in food and changes to the actually food itself—like hybridization—that often people find they get sick after eating with no idea why. Keeping a food journal with information on how you felt after a meal can help you track down the actual food that is the culprit. There are more people today suffering from gluten intolerance and one of the reasons may be the change in the grain. Almost all the wheat that exists today comes from a hybrid that was created in the 1960s, which contains more gluten than previous varieties of wheat. Identifying what makes you sick and avoiding it can help you live a fuller, healthier life.

You’ll learn about portion size if you’re going to journal.

Portion size is important. Knowing that a portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. When you consider the serving size is 8 ounces or more, about twice the 3 to 4 ounce serving size, you can understand how portion control is important. Sure, according to the menu it’s one portion, but not according the actual portion size you should eat. Knowing portion size helps you evaluate just how much you’ve eaten. Learning it can help food journaling and you, by aiding in weight loss efforts.

You’ll be amazed at what you learn about your eating habits.

You’ll get a lot of information from journaling, whether it’s what circumstances cause you to eat, the foods that make you feel bad or how much you actually eat. If you’re adding things like how you felt right before you ate a food or right after, it also helps. You can learn your triggers for unhealthy foods and what makes you turn to comfort foods. Some people stress eat. Recognizing it is the first step to conquering it.

  • You’ll also identify the foods you fail to eat. If you think you’re getting adequate vegetables or more than enough green leafy ones, you might be surprised when you keep a food journal.
  • Just tracking your food makes you more aware of what you eat. In fact, some people find that when they keep a food journal, they start questioning whether they’re really hungry before eating a snack they have to record.
  • You’ll learn a lot about your dietary habits and even may find it isn’t your metabolism to blame for your weight. It may be small handfuls of snacks you eat without thinking. One study shows that people who kept a journal were more likely to lose weight even if they didn’t diet.
  • Don’t forget to track what you drink, too. A serving of soft drink can add 100 calories. If you drink several in a day, it can add up to a weight gain in a week or two.