Archive for the ‘Move’ Category
Photo Source: bodysite
Nothing fills us with universal dread the way an announcement that ‘There are only a certain number of shopping days until Christmas’ does. Yet, while most folks worry about finding enough time to make their list and check it twice, those of us with a dieter’s mentality fear that the visions of sugarplumbs might lead to the kind of overindulgence that could result in our waistlines (as opposed to the Grinch’s heart) ‘growing three sizes that day.’
But fear not, Little Elves! The holidays do not have to be a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying healthy, keeping fit and looking divine all the way through new year’s eve and beyond. In fact, if you follow these simple tips as a general rule throughout the next several weeks, you’ll be giving yourself a gift that keeps on giving.
Curb hunger before you dash out the door
Whether attending a holiday party, a special dinner or even a cookie exchange, have a snack before you go. I’m not saying not to eat at the event. But I am saying to arrive without feeling starved so that you’re not tempted to make like a Thanksgiving Turkey and stuff yourself. Healthy pre-event snacks can include 1/4 of a cup of raw cashews or almonds, a piece of fruit or even a few slices of lowfat cheese. Munch on those just before an event and you’ll arrive with socializing on your mind instead of filling up on the wrong foods.
Indulge like a supermodel would
Successfully navigating holiday eating doesn’t mean giving into avoidance or denying yourself your true desires. It means indulging in a healthy and sane fashion. Want it? Taste it. Enjoy it. But stop there. You don’t have to have more than one cookie, more than a few chips or more than one helping of each dish during dinner. Pretend you’re being followed by TMZ cameras (and why shouldn’t you be?) and that you’re showing the world that you can eat anything (in proper portions) and look and feel fabulous at the same time. And by not denying yourself, you’ll be less tempted to cheat when you get home from an event or outing.
Eat, drink and be wary
Don’t forget that those holiday cocktails can be loaded with more calories than the snackaroos. A good general rule for women is to limit themselves to one alcohol drink a day. Men can usually go for two drinks, depending on their individual weight. But drink sensibly — not just because you don’t want to be the one at the party wearing the lampshade, but because you don’t want to be the one in January wearing a moo-moo. (For a holiday cocktail calorie count, click here.)
Home, sweets, home
If you’re someone who’s more tempted to overindulge at home, when in private, then don’t feel like you have to do any holiday baking. Instead, stop by your local store (preferably one like Whole Foods, which is known for using healthier and more natural ingredients) and pick up any baked goods you want to give as a gift. And do so when on the way to an event. This way you not only don’t have to have the baked goods in your home tempting you, but you don’t have to deal with seeing your cabinets stocked with the tempting ingredients (bag o’ chocolate chips be gone!).
Make time to exercise
There are no excuses when it comes to moving your body. It must be done — even if you are running all over town like a renegade reindeer. The trick is to actually do the running – or walking at the very least. If you’re spending an afternoon at the mall, make a few more rounds than you have to, take stairs instead of escalators and park far away (which you’ll probably have to do anyway) in order to enjoy the lengthy walk to and from the mall entrance. And when you can, get your butt to the gym. Or, if you’re truly pressed for time, around the block. Even when incorporating the tips above, you’re likely to still be consuming more calories than you normally would over the next several weeks. So walk like you mean it (suck in that tummy and pump those arms). For 9 ways to exercise at the mall, click here.
Become a track star
By track, I mean tracking! In other words, make sure you keep a food diary during the holidays. Write down everything you consume — even the handful of raw cashews recommended above. Studies show that dieters who keep a food diary are not only more aware of what they’re eating, they’re also more likely to take off and keep off the excess pounds. So when in doubt, write it out. For a handy food diary you can print out and use anytime, click here.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself
While the season at hand obviously introduces some added stress into all of our lives, that doesn’t mean we should make like Ebenezer Scrooge. So take a (mental) load off and be gentle with yourself. We’re often our own worst enemies when it comes to critiquing ourselves. The fact is, even for all the great reasons we have for losing weight, we are good enough and hot enough right in this very moment (you’re being followed by TMZ cameras after all, remember?). So add a little of your own joy to the world — and to yourself – while living through and hopefully enjoying the season at hand.
Photo Source: Flex Belt
Although I don’t know actress Denise Richards personally, I find myself questioning her judgement in regard to her being a spokesperson for The Flex Belt® – a device that claims to be “The first Ab Belt Toning system cleared by the FDA for Toning, Firming and Strengthening the stomach muscles.” Uh-huh.
Are Denise Richards and other celebrities (including Lisa Rinna and Adrianne Curry) really so desperate for a paycheck that they would encourage people to believe that something like this works better than old-fashioned situps? This is to say nothing of professional athletes like San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice and Olympic Gold Medalist Janet Evans – two people who should surely know that there are no shortcuts to the benefits achieved by doing real exercise.
When it comes to a true celebrity “testimonial” for The Flex Belt, I’m reminded of Robin Williams, who (and I’m paraphrasing) suggests strapping the device to your forehead in order to wake up your brain in order to stop buying this crap. That humor seems to encompass more reality than any of the testimonials from people like Denise Richards or any of these other ‘celebrities.’
Photo Source: Health News Review
As many professional trainers will tell you, you can’t target specific areas of your body for weight loss. In other words, there’s no way to specifically lose body fat from your stomach or love handles if those are the areas that concern you most. Fat reduction happens at different places around the body. And until you remove the layers of fat that might be covering your stomach muscles, it’s not likely you’re going to see that 6-pack anytime soon (certainly not by use of The Flex Belt alone).
So why pay hundreds of dollars when you can do 5-10 minutes of ab-work virtually anywhere and for no cost at all? It makes no sense to me. And yet companies like this (with their ‘celebrity’ endorseres) seem to want a fool and his money to soon be parted. Fact is, if devices like The Flex Belt (or even diet pills and other quick fixes) worked, then America wouldn’t have the dangerous obesity problem that it currently has. And the problem is only growing (no pun intended), which is why companies are inventing would be “miracle cures” to get the overweight consumer to spend – if not waste – their money looking for a cure.
DoesItReallyWork.org reports that “The Flex Belt will not help you lose weight, and most people already have a well-defined abdominal wall. The problem is you can’t see it through the layer of fat in the way. Since it doesn’t help you burn fat you won’t see any progress unless you combine it with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet.” The site goes onto say that, “The type of person that would be interested in shocking their abs into submission probably doesn’t have the sort of will power to stick to a diet and exercise regiment rigorous to get down to the 8% body fat or lower that it takes to get a visible six pack. Learn to love the abs you have, and rid yourself of the unrealistic goal of having six pack abs.”
As I’ve written before, the “cure” for losing weight and getting healthy is not on the outside (of ourselves) and certainly doesn’t come in a box (not even when the ‘box’ includes “generous bonus materials which combined would regularly cost $100!” as promised within the Terms of Your 2-Year Warranty section on The Flex Belt website).
The “cure” for getting healthier, losing weight and having firmer, more defined abs is on the inside (of you). It takes commitment. And believe it or not, you do have what it takes. And getting down on the floor and doing 5-10 minutes of ab work is a lot saner of an approach than forking over money for The Flex Belt – even if Denise Richards (and others) are telling you that it works for them.
The less we pay attention to these kinds of hucksters or modern day snake oil salesmen, the better. These messages aren’t just potentially deceiving, they can also be potentially misleading, confusing and even downright wrong (on an ethical level). So think about that next time you’re cashing your check from your Flex Belt campaign, Ms. Richards. You may think the joke’s on us. But it’s really you who is making a joke of your authenticity.
When I tell people I workout seven days a week, the usual reaction is “Really?!” Followed by, “How do you do it?” When I add that I get up around 4:30am every morning and that I am at the gym by 5am — including on weekends and even holidays, people usually start to wonder if my body’s been taken over by an alien being. And, I must admit, on certain mornings I wonder the same thing.
First of all, no — it’s not easy dragging my butt out of bed when the alarm rings every morning. This can be as true on a Thursday or Friday as it is on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. When the alarm rings, I’m not always a ‘happy camper.’ But I never (and I mean never) reach out and hit ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock. Instead, I do a quick stretch (sometimes with an added ‘groan,’) cuddle with my puppy for a few seconds and then jump up and get going. At this point, I’m usually in ‘robot mode’ (AKA ‘automatic pilot’) as I brush my teeth, wash my face and run a few fingers through my hair (before deciding the early morning gym crowd can just deal with my ‘bed head’). After getting dressed and grabbing my gym bag, I’m out the door.
I’m usually the first to arrive at my gym (even before the person who opens it). And I see the way the person who opens the gym looks at me, wondering himself if I’m part alien. At this point I’m forced to admit that the answer is probably ‘yes.’ This is because I’m a much different person today than I was years ago when I weighed over 450 pounds, during which time I would become breathless just from talking on the phone and participated in no physical activity whatsoever (unless you count ‘chewing’ as a physical activity). Ironically, during the time I was that heavy, I usually always wore sweatpants and t-shirts (AKA the usual gym-wear), since with a 60-inch waist, those were the only types of clothing items that I could find that would fit (not to mention stretch with me as my body grew bigger and bigger).
When I think about ‘those days,’ I’m able to understand why I’m somewhat obsessive about working out these days. I never want to go back to my former habits (the ones that kept me tipping the scale at over 450 pounds). And while also helping me to maintain my self-imposed work schedule for the rest of the day (after my daily workout is complete), exercising also keeps my ‘inside’ as healthy as my ‘outside.’ And I’m not gonna lie — I like looking good as well as feeling good.
Now, just because I exercise 7 days a week at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Just as with a healthy eating plan, you need to create and stick to an exercise regimen that works for you, individually. The good news is that you don’t even have to join a gym to do so. Just walking several times around a block (or a track field, a park, a mall — the list goes on) is a good place to start.
After years and years of yo-yo dieting, I find that working out 7 days a week is essential to my metabolism and my current dietary needs (and occasional dietary splurges). One exercise program is not right for all people. So you need to do what works for you as well as what works for your schedule. (And depending on your current medical condition, you might want to consult with a doctor first — be smart about it.) Personally, I find working out first thing in the morning a better choice, since by the end of the day I’m tired and can usually come up with 100 excuses why I don’t have time to (or don’t feel like) work(ing) out.
But do I love it when the alarm rings? No. Am I thrilled when stepping onto the treadmill knowing I’m going to be on it for an hour? No. Do I love waiting for a trainer and his or her client to stop using the one piece of gym equipment or weight set that I need to complete my workout routine? No.
But do I love how I feel when my workout is complete? Yes. Do I love breathing without difficulty? Yes. Do I love getting a medical checkup and my doctor telling me my lab numbers are “Insanely good?” Yes. And do I love being able to treat myself to occasional indulgent foods knowing I’ll work the calories off the next morning? Hell yes. I mean, um, yes. You get the point. The working out is worth every morning groan (when the alarm rings) and every drop of sweat. Bedhead be damned.
So join me in my insanity, won’t you? Whether you’re setting the alarm for early in the morning or scheduling a 30-minute walk later in your day (perhaps during your lunch break), please do your body, mind and soul a favor and make working out a part of your life — one that you stick with throughout the year.
Again, it doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be at some crazy hour. But it really does have to be. As much for looking good and feeling good as for being healthy on the inside. Your health is important to me. So let’s be mad workout alien beings together!
Did you know both the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) have declared May to be an official month for good posture? Sure, we’re a little past May at this point. But standing and sitting tall is as good for your inner health as it is for your outward appearance – making this an appropriate reminder for anytime of year (and believe me, I need just as much reminding to ‘Stand up straight’ as anyone!).
In fact, if you stand tall and sit tall, you’ll appear as much as 10-pounds thinner. You also exude extra confidence and self-worth, upping the “attractor factor.”
Think about it… People you see with good posture (whether seated or standing) just seem to have it more together than the people walking around in a slump. Take the initiative to reach for the stars by reminding yourself several times throughout the day to stand or sit tall. Look in a mirror to help you know how it “feels” to use correct posture. It takes some getting used to – but is definitely worth the effort. Other ways to improve personal posture include trying yoga, Pilates or other stretching and strengthening exercises, as recommended by your doctor.
For 10 do-able tips for improving your posture, click here.
Photo Source: Mensfitness.com
“A life without love is like a year without summer.”
Summer’s finally here – and that makes it a great time to get outdoors to add even more physical activity to your day. Not only will being outdoors add to your bottom line (or lack thereof) when it comes to your healthy life outlook, but it will also allow you to soak up some healthy Vitamin D in its natural form from the sun.
But whatever your outdoor activity, make sure you remember the sunscreen. The FDA recommends that we apply SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 at the very least. But that rule doesn’t apply to everyone. Thus, you’re encouraged to take your own “sun history” into account.
If you rarely burn and tan easily, SPF 15 is likely right for you. But if you are very pale, have numerous freckles and/or red hair, then you should use a much higher level of SPF. If you’re not sure which level of SPF you should be using, make a quick call to your doctor or dermatologist to get their professional opinion. After all, the skin you save may be your own.
And no matter which level of SPF you’re using, this same rule applies to us all: Reapply the sunblock every 2 hours (moreso if you’re sweating or just getting out of the pool or ocean).
To find out which SPF level is right for you, click here
For more information on the FDA Guidelines regarding SPF levels, click here