Thursday, July 26, 2012

Decoding the Plans: Part four

Wow, part 4 already?! I keep thinking I am done and then someone comes to me with yet another plan that they are considering trying. This week, I will be discussing It Works Body Wraps and ViSalus.

Body wraps have been around for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Body wraps at that time were utilized in body sculpting practices and primarily worked to stimulate circulation.

It Works sells body wraps and claim that they remove "toxins" from the body, resulting in inches lost. Unfortunately for them, there is no scientific evidence that this works. The toxins they speak of are undefined, making the validity of such this technique questionable.  Toxic accumulation is rare, as the liver and kidneys automatically detoxify and excrete many toxic materials including metabolic wastes. I am all for letting my organs do their job. So, let's say that it *really does* remove toxins in the short time that you are wearing this wrap well. In that case, from everything I have learned, if toxins are too rapidly released without being safely eliminated (such as burning fat that stores toxins) they can damage the body and cause malaise.

"But, Motivational Mom, I have seen it work...", "I just invested a bunch of money into this business...", "I lost 6 inches in an hour..." the distributors of this may cry. (Note that pretty much any good review you see online is by someone who is trying to sell you on this product) Let me tell you that if you understood the way the body works, you wouldn't have bought into such a product. You need to learn about water retention, sodium, glycogen stores, hormones, and a bunch of other things that cause crazy weight fluctuations. While body wraps may temporarily tighten your skin, it's not permanent. You see, it's not really taking off fat. It's simply water weight, and water retention. So, basically, it's not reducing your WEIGHT at all, it's just reducing your inches. Water makes you bloat, feel fat, and slow. Ever see a wrestler drop 10lbs in a day? It happens but when they do, it's not fat or toxins - It's water weight and they feel like crap because it messes with their organs and dehydrates them. A loss like this is not likely to last.  A body wrap is also not going to shrink your fat cells in any permanent fashion. It's just like when you get dents in your ankles after wearing tight socks all day. They go away shortly after you take the socks off. 

All this wrap is doing is pulling water out of you so if you'd like to do them every 2 weeks or so, be my guest but I can tell you right now that it wouldn't be worth the money to me. Diet and exercise are FREE, people....FREE!

ViSalus Sciences sells a series of health pills and products that are supposed to help you live  a healthier and better life. Ranging from weight loss pills to anti aging pills, the system is claimed to be a proven solution to help everyone but yet is not sold in stores? A great solution that would make millions if sold to the public, but it's not available in stores? That’s interesting that even a health store like GNC or Vitamin World wouldn't carry such a miracle cure but let's keep going and see if we can figure out WHY this is the case. (Red flag! Red flag! Red flag!)

ViSalus, like other MLM (Multi Level Marketing) companies, asks you sell, sell, sell. Not only do you have to sell, but if you don't sell for a month, you can't continue. Be prepared to buy extra products just to stay in the game when you have no buyers.  One of my friends got involved in this company because of the promise of a BMW for their top performers.  If you read the small print, you will see that all you get is the right to go lease a BMW yourself and be paid $600 a month towards your lease. The caveat being that you must remain in the program at that level to keep it. Be prepared for this financial trap. Let's go with the scenario that you get to the regional director level and get to pick any BMW up to $600 a month. You are limited to a 3 series as the other ones cost more or require lots more money down, even though they show the 6 Series on the site. (Another red flag anyone?) If the following month you don’t make it in sales, you must pay your own payment. The better part is that if you don’t really qualify for a BMW lease, you can’t even get one, since the lease agreement has nothing to do with ViSalus Sciences but rather is with you and BMW. Visalus Sciences simply pays the $600 monthly allowance as long as you make them a ton of money but what happens if you quit or have to move? Well ViSalus Science has nothing to do with you, and therefore enables you to continue carrying your own payments unless you sell. There is one more element to this and its quite simple, you must sport all types of advertising for them on your car and there are many restrictions as to which car since they want others to believe in the myth. ViSalus Sciences executives do drive BMWs because of YOU selling their products, and are paid by the corporation, not by some product scam.

I think it's safe to assume that you probably learned enough to not want to get involved with the company as a distributor but what about their products - Do they work? Sure, they do. With their products, you will be taking in presumably less calories than you were before and since they ask you to exercise, it's a simple calories in/calories out calculation. Anything in conjunction with diet and exercise is going to help you to lose weight. The thing is, if the products were really any better than other brands, they could sell them retail and make a fortune. Anytime a product has a whole complicated distributorship network, that means the network is the real source of income because the product isn't special enough to make it in regular retail. These products probably aren't bad, but they're not much different from Slim-Fast or other meal replacement shakes that you can buy for half the price at your Wal Mart or Giant Eagle. (Note: For my opinion on Slim Fast, click here)

When you buy it retail, you can quit if you don't like it and no one will know or care, unless that cute stockboy chases you down in the store to see why you aren't buying this week. When there's a distributor involved, you are going to have to deal with phone calls or even visits where they'll make you explain why you don't want it anymore. That is such an embarrassing and unpleasant thought where you are going to have to explain that you lost your job or you're moving or you're trying for a baby, or something personal like that. Sorry but I don't think anyone is going to want to explain their life story to their powdered shake distributor....

My opinion - steer clear. And for the last definitely not the last time, DIET AND EXERCISE = Success!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Decoding the Plans: Part three

Time for part three of my blog about the workout/diet plans that are out there. The past 2 posts have focused a lot on food plans, but this one will highlight three popular workout programs out there. I have done all three so I can provide my personal thoughts on these rather than researching them. Today's three picks are the 10 Minute SolutionJillian's 30 Day Shred, and P90X.

The 10 Minute Solution is a series of DVDs that are designed to be used in conjunction with the Special K Challenge. I can see why people would choose this plan because "heck, it's only 10 minutes" and "Special K is pretty tasty - I suppose I can handle eating it twice a day" What is important to remember is that each DVD contains 5 different ten minute segments, which you can do individually or mix them up for a 50 minute workout. It's not *just* 10 minutes.

As for eating Special K twice a day, I can tell you that I lasted a whole two days on this plan before I was ready to eat my own arm. It's just not enough calories. Since that time, I can see that they have added in a collection of protein shakes and bars but honestly, I wouldn't try it again because a plan that asks you to eat processed food like that just doesn't seem ideal to me.

The cost seems low with just $4.99 per DVD but with 45 DVD's available and a Wii game to boot, it could really add up quickly. I would steer clear of this one if you are looking for some real results.

Any Biggest Loser fans out there?! I am a HUGE fan of this show, though the past few seasons haven't been as good as previous ones due to stupid drama. I do adore watching the transformations of these people - both physically and on every other level as well. It's amazing. Due to my love of the show, I tried the 30 Day Shred DVD that is lead by Jillian Michaels. At this point, she has added quite a few other DVDs to her lineup but this one is still a favorite of mine.

There are three different levels. The idea is that you start with level one and move to the next level after 10 days and then on to the next 10 days later which is supposed to help you "lose 20 pounds in 30 days". Losing that amount of weight was not my experience but if you are a non-exerciser and a lot heavier than your goal weight, I suppose it is possible...maybe...if you *really* reduce your calorie intake too. Suffice it to say that, in my opinion, this workout isn't enough for the quick weight loss that it claims but it is a GREAT option for beginners.

I think that if you would like a nice introduction to workouts, this would be a wonderful way to get started. Then, you can move on to the B.A. workout that is the next one I'll be reviewing...

P90X is just one of the many programs offered by Beachbody. P90X is a collection of 12 workouts. In addition to the workouts, there is also a detailed 3-phase nutrition plan, specially designed to help you lose fat; a fitness guide, and a calendar to set your workout goals, track your progress, and stay motivated. I'm sure by now you probably know someone who is a Beachbody coach as they seem to be popping up all over the place, especially with Facebook being such a great marketing tool. Have you taken a look at their before and after pics? Here are just a few that I found in a cursory internet search:

So, does it work? Heck yes, it does. Some of my weight loss can be attributed to P90X and its program. The DVD's are designed to be done in a specific order which confuses your muscles and keeps them growing while shedding fat. The nutrition plan is realistic in that it takes a lot more into account than some plans that just say "eat 1200 calories a day and work out for an hour". On this plan, you actually get to eat - and good food too!

One of the things that I found challenging about this program was that there are a few workouts where you are supposed to use a chin up bar. I don't own one and I don't have a good place in my house for one. Instead, I had to use resistance bands for those parts and never really felt like I was getting the maximum workout.

P90X IS a lot of work. You will be pressing play on your DVD player six days a week. The shortest workout is about 55 minutes and the longest is 90 minutes.  The cost is high but cheaper than hiring a personal trainer (Ohhhhhhh, maybe I shouldn't say that - hate to drive away clients...) so if you are REALLY committed to weight loss and feeling better in your skin, this one is worth every penny.

I'll give a quick shout out here to my friend and a great inspiration for me, as well as others. Go visit Fit With Jo if you want to give this one a try.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Decoding the Plans: Part two

This is the second post in my series of blogs about workout/diet plans. Today, I will be reviewing the following three plans: Sensa, HGC, and  Paleo.

Sensa sells these shakers of a powdery substance that you are supposed to sprinkle on your food before consuming. It is supposed to work by triggering your "Sensory Specific Satiety" and making you feel full faster. That means Sensa is supposed to enhance smell and flip your "I feel full" switch sooner, so theoretically you will stop eating sooner, thus eating less and losing weight. Wow, that sounds too good to be true! Do you remember what your Mama used to tell you "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is..." This is definitely accurate for this product.

In doing my research for this product, I discovered that the developer of this product, Dr. Hirsch, claimed there was a peer reviewed study supporting the claim that subjects lost over thirty pounds using Sensa (versus the control group that lost only 2 pounds). The claim is that this study was peer reviewed by the Endocrine Society. Well, guess what?! The Endocrine Society says they did not review the study. On ABC’s 20/20 news they stated that, “they were surprised and troubled by the promotional nature of his presentation”. In fact, none of the internal “studies” are confirmed by any respectable body.

In addition to being liars about their study, they admit on their website that the following side effects are possible:

• Upset stomach
• Dizziness
• Hives
• Gas
• Loose bowels
• Difficulty breathing
• Dizziness
• Swelling

Sorry y'all, but this is one of which I am going to have to give a big fat "NO"! Don't think about it. And certainly don't waste your money to try it.

Next up is the HCG Miracle diet. HCG stands for Human Choriogonadotropin, the hormone produced by pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy. This diet is based on research that suggests a small, daily hCG injection (approx. 125 IU to 200 IU) results in a weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs per day, and often more, when accompanied by a very low calorie diet of approximately 500 calories.

I'm pretty sure you are seeing a HUGE red flag already but just in case...

<<<when accompanied by a very low calorie diet of approximately 500 calories.>>>

You've got to be kidding me. Anyone who eats 500 calories a day is going to lose weight and more than likely, their metabolism, and pretty much guaranteed, their mind. And to top it off, the HGC diet recommends that you do not exercise while on this plan. <Insert insane amounts of laughter here> Like you'd have enough energy to work out anyway... You'll be lucky if you can get out of bed and get dressed on just 500 calories a day.

Waste of time!

From the Paleo site: "The Paleo Diet, the world’s healthiest diet, is based on the simple understanding that the best human diet is the one to which we are best genetically adapted. It is supported by documented scientific evidence and by real-life improvements, even triumphs, of people winning their personal health battles." You may have heard it referred to as "the caveman's diet" and from everything I have read, that seems to be accurate.

First of all, Paleo is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle.  Like becoming a vegetarian, this "diet" takes a huge amount of commitment to a new way of looking at food. Basically, if the cavemen didn't eat it, neither should you. That is going to cut out all sorts of processed foods, especially sugars. Your fat intake may increase as well as your fiber but that will give you the "I'm full" feeling that keeps you from snacking during the day and evening. 

This paleolithic way of eating is 100% correct in the fact that we should be eating more unprocessed foods, similar to the way our ancestors ate. Truthfully, I don't think we have to dive into tons of research to draw the conclusion that hunter-gatherer diets are healthier than takeout pizza and cans of Coke. This is not rocket science, right? My only issue with this plan is their disdain for grains and dairy. In my opinion, both have nutritional values of which I am not willing to give up at this time.

 There doesn't appear to be much evidence that you will lose weight on this plan, but with anything, if you build a “calorie deficit”by eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max, or burning off extra by exercising, you should shed some pounds. How quickly you lose and whether you keep them off is up to you.

I've been listening to tons of speakers through a Real Food Summit that has been going on this week at this site and I have to admit that I am intrigued.  I will take 2 weeks at some point to try this out and will report back to let you know what I find.

So, for this one, stay tuned. I'm not as turned off as I thought I would be initially....


Monday, July 9, 2012

Decoding the Plans: Part one

This is the first of a series of posts where I will be reviewing the workout/diet plans out there to help you decide what is right for you. In this post, I will be talking about three of the most popular ones out that are very diet focused: Atkins, Slim Fast, and Weight Watchers

The Atkins Diet is a popular diet that focuses on reducing your intake of carbohydrates in favor of consuming more protein-rich foods. It requires strict attention to the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, particularly during the first few weeks. I've heard it joked about saying "Have a double bacon cheeseburger but hold the bun".

You go through four “phases” of the Atkins diet, starting with very few carbs and eating progressively more until you get to your desired weight. Keeping carbs at bay isn’t as simple as saying "No" to sugar and baked potatoes. You’ll keep acceptable foods lists handy and do a lot of counting. In phase 1, for example, you are allowed 20 grams a day of “net carbs” <<<pull out the food list>>>, 12 to 15 of them from “foundation vegetables” <<<pull out another list>>> high in fiber. But as for fat, you don’t even have to trim it off your steak.

By reducing your carbohydrate-intake, your body will enter a process called ketosis. Ketosis is the state in which your body burns fat as fuel. Dr. Atkins also says that ketosis will affect insulin production, which will prevent more fat from being formed. He also says that once you enter ketosis and your body begins efficiently using fat as fuel, your cravings for carbs will subside and you won't miss the foods you are doing without.

Sounds great, right? Ohhhhh, so WRONG! The build up of ketones can cause a myriad of symptoms. The Atkins Diet acknowledges that drastically cutting carbs in the early phase of the program can result in some side effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
That doesn't sound too pleasant, does it? And for those "bacon cheeseburger, hold the bun lovers"... sorry folks, but eating foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which are now established as major culprits in heart attacks and strokes, isn't a good idea at all. This diet plan is not a safe one, in my opinion and in the opinions of many leading medical professionals.

Remember those old commercials... "A shake for breakfast. A shake for lunch. And a sensible dinner"?!

I thought they were B.S. back then and I still do. As I sit here trying to come up with *something* good to say about Slim Fast plan, the only thing I can come up with is that it is mind-numbingly easy to follow. A healthy shake for breakfast, one for lunch, and a healthy dinner, and a couple of small snacks in between - doesn't get much easier than that, does it?

Nonetheless, the Slim Fast diet pretty much encapsulates what's wrong with the state of mainstream dieting and weight loss today. In a Slim Fast shake, the four main ingredients are skim milk, sugar, fructose, and cocoa. In other words, milk, sugar, sugar, and sugar. Other ingredients include various vegetable oils, emulsifiers, and a vitamin blend.They contain about 150 calories each so with 2 shakes, a snack and a sensible dinner, you are looking at 1000-1200 calories a day into your body.

Of course, if you limit yourself to 1200 calories a day, you will lose weight but you'll also lose muscle mass and the will to live. Ok, maybe that last part is an exaggeration but on that amount of calories, you ARE going to be hungry - *really* hungry. Assuming you've got excellent willpower and can keep from eating, you should also know that these is so much sugar in these shakes and so little fiber, your blood sugar levels are going to go through the roof. Can you say "crash and burn" because that is what you are going to do....

Nope. This plan doesn't fit the bill for anyone. Sorry. Not going to waste any more of my precious time on this one.

 Weight watchers is a popular program that specifically assigns food values, in the form of points that are given for different types of foods. You are assigned a maximum amount of points based on your height, weight, activity level, etc that you can eat throughout the day. In order to be successful, you are supposed to aim for this amount of points or less each day. The points system works very similar to counting calories, so it is similar to that in the fact that it is tracking energy in versus energy out. The one major difference is that it helps you to make better food choices by assigning large number to the unhealthy/white flour/sugary items and allows you to eat tons of fruits and vegetables throughout the day for little or no points.

The Weight Watchers plan tries to cut down on the number of carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates are your first energy source for anything you do whether it is walking to the mailbox or running a full-fledged marathon. This plan works so quickly at the beginning because when you cut carbohydrates from your diet, your body will begin to use an alternate form of energy. This second form of energy that your body uses after carbohydrates is the fat that is stored in your muscle and tissues.  Once you begin using fat as the main energy source, this is where you begin to burn fat calories and start losing excess fat and lose weight.

If you learn HOW to eat while on the Weight Watchers program, you CAN maintain your weight afterward. It's not ideal for the people who just want to "diet" for a short time and then go back to eating the way they did before. 

I am actually a pretty big fan of this program. My only issue with it is that they don't promote exercise much except to say "Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day". As I have wrote about in other blogs, in order to keep the weight off, you MUST incorporate weight training into your routine. Muscle boosts your metabolism and makes you burn more calories in every single activity you do.

In my opinion, this is a great program for a newbie in the world of healthy eating. It really does start to teach you more about what is healthy for your body and what is not.  If you decide to start this program, just be sure to pair it with an appropriate workout plan.

More to come in my next installment of "Decoding the Plans"

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's my birthday and....

I'm eating cake! Not just any cake either...a HOMEMADE cake. Since I have been trying my hardest to adhere to the 100 Days of Real Food Challenge, I thought it would be best to avoid the bakery cakes and mixes and go from scratch. I know most people wouldn't *want* to make their own birthday cake but I'm a control freak little bit different than your average girl, so it's all good.

As I am sitting here, writing this blog, my cake is baking. I followed the whole wheat chocolate cake recipe found on the blog. I am not a fan of cream cheese, which is what she suggests for the topping so I searched online for a different icing recipe and stumbled upon this one.  Sounds fabulous, right?

So, happy birthday to me. At the ripe old age of 35, I have finally figured out how I want to live my life and it's as cleanly and as healthily as possible. Here's to another 35 plus!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Healthy Shopping on a Budget

I started Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover plan in late November, hoping to clear out all debt and to get a really good chunk into savings. Part of that plan requires you to put your money into envelopes, which helps you to budget each item accordingly. For instance, we have an envelope for food, one for fuel, and one for entertainment. Once that amount is gone, we are done. I was really interested to see what would happen to our budget when I cut out all the processed foods and started buying local meats and cheeses as well as ingredients for making my own breads, cereals, trail mixes, etc. From what I can tell, it is going to end up costing us about $100 more a month to eat this way. That's just a little over $3 a day - the equivalent of one of those fancy Starbucks drinks - so I think we can handle it.

On Sunday, after church, I stopped at Shop n Save to do a little grocery shopping.

Here is what I got:

Meats: Jennie O brand 99/1 Lean Ground Turkey breast (not local), 96/4 Lean Ground Beef (The butcher promised me this was from a farm within 50 miles), Whole chicken (from an Amish farm)

Cheeses: Delallo sliced provolone (local), Hillandale mozzarella, Lite Ricotta cheese

Produce: Organic green pepper, bananas, Fresh basil, Fresh green beans, Green leaf lettuce, Grape tomatoes

Other: 2 dozen Hillandale Farms eggs, Delallo organic whole wheat lasagna noodles, Triscuits, AkMak crackers, 2 boxes of Gia Russa whole wheat pasta, 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 3 packs of toilet paper

With these items, I will be making:

Breakfasts:  My go to meal is usually eggs and sauteed peppers.

Lunches: Lunches, for me, are typically sandwiches (I still have Ezekiel bread left in my fridge but I am going to work on making bread myself soon) or leftovers from the night before. I also have whole wheat pasta available, should I choose to go that route. I'll also have homemade soup here, starting on Thursday.

Dinners: Whole wheat banana pancakes for Tuesday, a whole chicken in the crockpot for Wednesday, Leftover chicken (probably on salads) for Thursday, Chicken soup for Friday, and Lasagna for Saturday and Sunday.   The ground turkey breast and ground beef will be frozen and used next week.

 Snacks: Triscuits with tomato, basil and mozzarella, AkMak crackers, as well as lots of fresh fruit already in my fridge from my last trip.

My grand total for this trip was.....


Not too shabby if you ask me....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Live and learn...

I posted on a board I frequent asking for suggestions on side dishes to serve with tonight's dinner of Tomato, Ham, and Mozzarella Ciabatta. After some going back and forth, I decided on making a fresh fruit salad. Then, someone popped on to ask why I was eating ham since it's processed.

I haven't even thought about the fact that ham was a processed form of pork. I had even gone the extra step to buy my ham from a local source. Fiscally, I was being smart by using my Easter leftovers for the first few days of this challenge. I even had some for dinner last night. Smart financial sense but a dumb move when it comes to this new journey.

I guess that is the point of the 10 day challenge though, right? To learn HOW to eat without relying on processed foods. We will still be having the ham tonight which should finish up the last of the leftovers but now that I have this new awareness, I won't be buying any more ham or deli meats.

Although I feel a bit deflated that I screwed up so early in the challenge, I am so grateful for this lesson.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trading in convenience for health - My journey.

Recently, I have been hearing a lot about the 100 Days of Real Food blog.

For those who haven't heard about it, basically, in 2010, a woman named Lisa Leake vowed to go 100 days without eating a single ounce of processed or refined foods. She included her husband and 2 kids on this plan. After reading her blog, as well as several articles about the dangers of processed foods, I was more or less convinced that this was something I needed to try as well. 100 days; however, is a long time and requires more commitment than I feel I can give at this moment. Luckily, on her blog, she has a shorter 10 Day Pledge, which I think will be totally do-able for me.  After that is over, I may continue it or I may say "forget it" and load my pantry back up with boxes and bags. No matter what I decided to do, I think the awareness gained during this 10 days will make it all worthwhile.

In anticipation of this 10 day challenge, I figured I should remove the temptations to ensure my success. I have made a sizeable donation to Scouting For Food including lots of canned pastas (see ya, Chef Boyardee!), an insane amount of Knorr Sides, and even a few of my precious cans of soup. I did keep a few cans of my Campbell's Select Harvest, just in case I hate this non-processed food thing and really want to consume some xanthan gum. Or maybe if I would decide that I was no longer concerned with the dangers of BPA from canned foods.  Or, maybe I will think that consuming over half of my recommended sodium intake for the day in one meal is the way to go... (Yes, I plan to reread this initial blog if I decide to be done with this challenge and figured maybe my healthy self could convince my addicted to processed foods self to make an educated choice.)

I also stocked my pantry with whole wheat flour (This will have to do until I can afford to buy my own grinder), yeast, natural peanut butter, Triscuits, tons of fruits and veggies, and the ingredients for my planned out meals for the next week. I will go back to the store on Saturday to buy the things needed for the last few days of the challenge. As my faithful readers know, I am a big fan of meal planning! See my meal planning blog post here.

This afternoon, as things were winding down from our Easter celebration, I took advantage of the calmness, to prep some Breakfast Casserole Bites. I used 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites instead of 8 whole eggs and then instead of the breakfast sausage/bacon, I threw in some ham. What a great way to use up some of those pesky leftovers. *wink* Because I was using a mini-muffin pan, I was able to make 24 smaller bites with the same amount of ingredients as listed on the website.


I even grated my own cheese. This is HUGE for me....
Going into the oven:

15 Minutes Later:

Tomorrow is the big day and I'm so excited to start. I know a few of you on my Facebook page are trying it as well. Be sure to check in as often as you can so we can share stories, swap recipes, and learn from this process together.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wow! This is my 100th post!!!!!

In honor of this being my 100th post to this blog, I wanted to make a list of 100 reasons for *something*. Well, as you know, I am a busy Mom of 3 with a million things on my to do list each week; I decided to compromise and made a list of 50 reasons why it's great to be fit. I hope you enjoy it and thanks everyone for continuing to read this blog and for following me at Motivational Mom Personal Training on Facebook.

50 Reasons Why it's GREAT to get FIT!

1. A healthy heart
2. Increased metabolism = more energy
3. Exercise helps you to sleep better
4. You have more self confidence
5. Rise in serotonin, which keeps feelings of depression at bay
6. It's easier to find clothes that look great on you
7. Nutritious food makes you feel better overall
8. Longer life
9. Better brain function
10. Fast food becomes so undesirable that you will never be tempted to eat it
11. Your children emulate your healthy habits
12. Improved lung function
13. You can meet new friends at the gym, fitness classes, track, races, etc...
14. Endorphins make you happy
15. You'll get sick less often due to increased immunity
16. Better cholesterol numbers
17. Less likely to develop osteoarthritis or other bone conditions
18. Things in...ummm, the bedroom, are better
19. Improved productivity
20. No need for seatbelt extenders
21. No need for booths only at restaurants
22. No more shopping in the big girl stores
23. Lower heart rate
24. Reduction in anxiety
25. Never having to hear "But you've got such a pretty face..." again
26. You'll actually enjoy getting your picture taken
27. Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
28. Stroke risk reduction
29. Improved digestion
30. Brighter and healthier complexion
31. Better coordination
32. No more inner thigh chafing from them rubbing together
33. Wear one size fits all clothes
34. No more getting winded while playing with your kids
35. Stop hearing "When is the baby due?" from random clerks, bank tellers, people on the street, etc...
36. Being able to sit on someone's lap without worrying about squishing them
37. To wear cute Halloween costumes
38. Sweat is sexy
39. Bikini season is a much happier time for you
40. It feels good to be strong
41. Tank tops look better when you have muscles
42. Slower signs of aging
43. More chance that you'll survive any kind of attack
44. Easier labors for you pregnant ladies
45. Better liver function
46. No embarrassment at your high school reunion
47. 6 pack abs are sexy
48. Increased flexibility
49. The runner's high is the best feeling in the world


50. You will love your body AND it will love you back!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Make and use a to-do list. 

Do you make to-do lists? I do. In fact, I LOVE them! Creating a to-do list helps me to focus throughout the day and gives me a sense of organization. With my to-do list in hand, I am free from all the disorganized thoughts that were cluttering up my mind. I am able to accomplish more tasks since my mind isn't busy thinking about the 100 things I need to do on that day. So, now that you know that you NEED a list. Let's talk about how to CREATE a list.

1. Prioritize! It may help you to develop some sort of ranking system for your to-do list. Certainly every item on the list can't be equally important. You can even use a number system and rank them from 1 to 5. Items ranked 1 might have a lower priority, while the 5's are tasks you should attend to first. My number 1's everyday are packing my daughter's lunch, prepping lunch/dinner, and bus pickup. My number 5's are things like an extra job around the house (baseboards, dusting, organizing closets - basically something that can wait for another day if I am not able to get it done).  Writing this blog was a "3".

2. Give each item a time specification! Knowing how long each task will take is helpful as well.  If you have 15 minutes to spare, find something on the list that will take that amount of time and get to it. Believe me, all those 15-minute chunks can really add up to something huge. At the end of the day, you'll be surprised how much you've accomplished in small increments. 

3. Don't Over-schedule! If your to-do list is too rigid, it simply won't be effective. You 100% NEED to include some flexibility and breathing room into your day. Try not to jam pack your day with unreasonable goals or else you'll be at risk of disappointment.

4. Add in Something Fun! Your to-do list is probably like mine: full of things of which you might not be looking forward to with glee. That's why listing both fun activities and tasks is a great idea. When you write down a fun item, it doesn't feel like work - it may even feel like a break. When you return to the less desirable items, you'll be more motivated to actually get them done. For example, I write down "Just Dance" onto my list everyday (the video game - I don't just dance around the house...well, maybe I do but that's beside the point...)

5. Organize it! Your to do list needs to be organized in a way that makes you feel comfortable. With all the technology out there, you have a vast array from which to choose. I know a lot of people use their iCal application for keeping themselves in check. As for me, I'm an old-fashioned pen and paper girl. That is what works best for me. 

Check back in here and let me know if you started creating and using to do lists. Or, if you already do, tell me about how YOU organize yours... 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Change your attitude! 

I keep hearing people talking about being on a "health kick" or a "diet". These words bother me because I can sense "failure" as soon as they are uttered. These folks want to lose weight and their measure of success is tracked on the scale. And, honestly, the scale isn't the one and only indicator of health but to some, it seems to be. Changing your attitude about your goal will go a long way. If you're only adopting a healthy lifestyle for a short time to lose weight or to look a certain way, it will be hard to keep going.

Question: What happens if/when a person doesn't see results quickly enough?
Answer: They give up.

Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what will keep you going if the scale doesn't budge? Losing weight in the proper (read: long lasting) way takes time so you need to figure out how to motivate yourself in the meantime. Your best bet is to find more reasons than weight loss to be healthy. Some great examples are having more energy and less stress, strengthening your heart and lungs, and/or wanting to live longer to be around for your kids...grand kids...great grand kids...  If you ask me, those are some darned good reasons, so change your attitude and stick with it. YOU CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Hold Yourself Accountable

One of the best things to do if you have a goal is mind is to tell someone else about it. That person should be someone who will ask you about it later. It is very rare that I have a goal in mind that I don't share with at least one other person. Try it. It works!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Make some eating rules. 

I get a lot of questions about how to change your eating habits and become more healthy. If you are starting now, start off with just a few simple rules and see how that works for you. Here are three to get you started:

1. Eat a wide variety of different foods. Don't get stuck in a rut when it comes to eating. Different foods provide different vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Not only that but you don't want to get bored. If you eat same old meal over and over and over again, you are more likely to get cravings and splurge on something fatty and disgusting.

2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. You should get AT LEAST 5 servings of fruits or vegetables per day. Remember, that is the bare minimum so please try to get more than that.

3. Limit unhealthy fats. All it takes is for you to read your labels before eating to see if the food contains too much of that yucky saturated or trans fat. Read more about the various kinds of fats here.
Your body does need some fat to function so don't go crazy here. Just be informed and make good decisions.

These three rules are a great starting point for an overhaul on your eating habits. Stay tuned next week, as I add a few more for those who are further in their journey.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Make a wellness plan. 

My days, as I am sure yours are as well, are jam packed with "to do" items, appointments, commitments, meetings, etc. Every Sunday night, as I am writing out my calendar for the upcoming week, I am often shocked by how much I have agreed to do over the next 7 days. With a schedule like this, it would be easy to put exercise and healthy eating on the back burner. But, knowing myself, I am so much happier and centered when I am working out so I refuse to let that happen.

Here is what I do to ENSURE success. I call it my "weekly wellness plan". I take out my fridge calendar which has long columns for each day. The first thing I do is write in the commitments I have already made. Then, I look at each day and determine when would be the best time to work out. Sometimes, it is at 5am. Other days, it will be a DVD workout during naps. Occasionally, I find a free evening and text my neighborhood friends to see if they would like to walk or run the hills near my house with me. In addition, I figure out which nights we will be home for dinner and what we will be eating on each night. On the days when I have an eating/drinking occasion in the evening, I make sure I can get lots of calories burned earlier in the day in anticipation of all the temptations I'll face. It is really easy once you get into the groove. 

I use a yellow highlighter to mark my workouts so they won't be missed. Let me tell you there have been many days when I meander over to the calendar at the beginning of the kids nap time and realize that I have a workout scheduled. If it wasn't on the schedule, it wouldn't get done - plain and simple. 

I literally snapped this pic of my fridge calendar just now...

Having a wellness plan helps to motivate me into exercising regularly. Seeing it all spelled out on my fridge calendar gives me a sense of focus and control. If you plan your exercise and food ahead of time, you will be likely to find success with it as well. Once you create your wellness plan, print it out and place it where you can see it everyday. Let me know if you start this or if this is something you are already doing. I am always here for you, anytime so don't hesitate to ask. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let's talk about your mess.....

They say that a cluttered house is a sign of a cluttered mind and I definitely believe that to be true. Pretty much everyone I have ever met who lives in a disorganized house is also completely disorganized in life.  Ever watch Hoarders on A&E? Can you think of a single example of one of those people that seemed to have their life in order? Nope, they are pretty much all crazy cat ladies and hot messes of individuals.  Ok, that sampling is definitely extreme but you get the idea. 

I watch the show every week and during the last episode, something struck me. In just about every single instance, the hoarder spends a good deal of time blaming the mess on someone else. It's not *their* fault that they are sitting in mounds of trash. It's their darn kids that decided to stop taking out the garbage. It's the fact that they inherited everything from their Mother's house. It's because they are disabled. Excuses...excuses....excuses....

So, let's translate the unfathomable messes that are shown on tv to a smaller scale, shall we? I have a friend; We will call her Bea. Bea lives in constant chaos. Her house is a mess. Her kids misbehave. She has a husband that might as well be a bump on a log for all the work he does around the house and in their lives. As the weeks, months, years pass by, junk continually accumulates throughout her home as well as in her mind. Living in a state of disarray makes it hard to get a grip on the things she needs to do to turn this around. 

Bea says she wants to live a better life but isn't willing to make a change for it to happen.In my humble opinion, it is time for some serious action. But, like most things in life, it takes baby steps to get things started. 

Enter Flylady. 

“I know that you have become overwhelmed by your home and the chaos that you have been living in. We are here to help you and it doesn't cost you a dime. Keep in mind that your home did not get this way overnight and it is not going to get clean in a day. We are going to teach you how to take Baby Steps and establish little routines for getting rid of your clutter and maintaining your home. This system will work for anyone; it doesn't matter if you work outside of your home, stay home with children, retired or work at home. You can do this, you have just needed someone to pat you on the back and give you a great big hug to get you started. “ ~FlyLady

I did this years ago and still practice many of her techniques today. You need 31 days of baby steps to get your house into order. My challenge to all of you that need some help decluttering your house (which will get you on your way to decluttering your mind) is to start this TODAY. Don't delay. And report back to me and let me know how it's going. As silly as it sounds, when you are no longer living in confusion, the harmony that follows will enable you to continue a journey toward complete wellness. It's a great place to be.

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.