Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Shake It Up

May 2, 2016

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Lately, I have been feeling like my workouts need shaking up. I have fallen into the habit of taking a variety of cycling classes four times a week, and an endurance based weight circut class, followed by abs class once a week. I toss in a post-cycling pilates class when I can. I take one day off, where the most strenuous exercise I do is walk. That leaves one day per week to fit in weight training, running or another much needed rest day. With my regimen of extremely healthy eating and tough, consistent workouts, I seem to have hit a plateau, even sliding down the mountain a bit, if you will.
This week, fate seems to be taking my need to shake it up into their own hands.
About a month or two ago, one of my favorite instructors dropped many of his morning classes, two of which were mine. I found great replacements and continued my regular schedule with minor tweaks. This week, two different instructors announced their recent promotions to corporate, which means they are dropping my classes. I have been feeling like one of my other classes with a longtime favorite instructor is getting stale. The workout feels punishing and exhausting, rather than envigorating, while pushing my body past it’s limits, and out of my comfort zone. Maybe this is the universe telling me to lift more and spin less.

Truth be told, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again without results, I am at the precipice of crazy town. It is time to move along. 

Starting a new month is the perfect time to re-evaluate my fitness goals and how to achieve them. I am exploring new classes, other gym locations and plan to get into the weight room instead of the cycling studio a few days a week.
I don’t want to give up the blood pumping, heavy breathing and  exhilaration of cycling. I just know that I need to mix it up to get better results.

Do you ever get in a fitness rut? Share you experiences in the comment section.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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The New Year’s Resolutions That Never Happened

January 29, 2016

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Every January, I enter the gym in a state of dread, knowing that it will be swarming with people who aren’t normally there. Us regulars take a deep breath, secure in the knowledge that most of them will be gone before the month is over. This year however, they never actually showed up.

Did they give up the fight for a healthier and more svelte version of themselves? Are they all at Soul Cycle? I have a theory, and its not a bad one; they set themselves up for failure from day one.

In New York, we experienced mild temperatures all the way through Christmas Eve, which was a balmy 73 degrees. Suddenly, the thermometer dipped into the teens, and those dark, dreary mornings became instantly more difficult to navigate. There was little subtlety in the situation. It seemed like out of nowhere, winter arrived. It made it’s point this weekend, when 30″ of snow was dumped on our city, virtually shutting most of it down. When you aren’t used to getting up and getting out and hitting the gym while it is still dark, trying to do it when its freezing isn’t a good place to start. Eating clean, when all we crave is comfort food, is super hard this time of year. Setting goals like that are almost certain to fail. We opt to hybernate, instead of working out.

I never make New Year’s resolutions. I just resolve to try to do my best throughout the year. Perhaps deciding to become a morning gym person is a better goal for the late spring, when it is light out, and weather is more welcoming. Eating clean, while possible all year long, is much simpler when the produce is fresh and in-season, and lighter fare is more palatable than heavier choices. Getting out and running or biking is easier to achieve when there is more daylight available in which to partake in these activities.

May I suggest resetting some of these goals in the spring, with the intent to maintain them long term? Once the habits are set, they will carry through, regardless of the time of year.

I’m not advocating putting off trying to build a healthier lifestyle. I am however, suggesting that you cut yourself some slack and just do the best you can. Resolve to do better, and build on that throughout the year. Go to the gym whenever you can, and make some healthy food swaps when available. Come spring, you’ll be part of the way there, and easing into a more rigorous program will be much easier.

Photo:Glasshouse Images

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In Good Health: Fitness Trends To Watch in 2016

January 7, 2016

 

7091300071_compAs one year comes to a close and the new year begins, we view the clean slate before us and resolve to eat better, exercise more and take better care of our bodies than we did the previous year. The new year’s resolutions will come and go, but trends in health and wellness will continue to manifest throughout the year.

In 2015, we saw a new crop of juice bars, boutique fitness studios and athleticwear brands mulitply like rabbits across the country. Superfood juices became superfood bowls, and those that dared to eat carbs ate avocado toast. Exclusive, expensive and specialized studios popped up everywhere, with a better, more novel way to ride a bike, lift a weight and burn a calorie. These once unique boutique gyms soon started to spread their wisdom and some, like Soul Cycle, have become more prevelent in the New York City landscape than McDonalds.

Last year, we went hard. HIIT, or high intensity interval training was the common denominator in many of the hottest workouts. Gasping for breath and dripping with sweat were key determinators of a great workout. While we still see a preponderance of high intensity experiences leading the way, a few key factors will change.

This year, competition will take over the scene, with gyms like Orangetheory and Flywheel using leaderboards to track anything from speed, watts, mileage and heart rate across all participants. Full service gyms, like luxury player Equinox, are getting into the act with their specialized cycling programs being rolled out across the chain.

The concept of “Go big or go home” will take on a new sense of importance, with rest and rejuvenation becoming just as important and going all out in the gym. This will manifest itself in interesting ways, from planned active recoveries to a influx of regeneration activities breaking into the scene. Meditation studios, such as MNDFL are cropping up, as are sensory deprivation and cryotherapy outlets. L.A. leads the way with a new facility called Wanderlust Hollywood,which challenges members to “find your true north, and cultivate your best self,” through yoga, meditation, food, festivals and mindfulness.

We are discovering the benefits of sleep are much greater than we thought, and getting a full 8 hours could become way cooler than staying out all night.

If you can’t get to the gym but still want the experience, no worries. Peleton’s special bike allows you to stream into a class taking place in real time in their NYC studio, or select one from their extensive library. The Daily Burn allows you to stream classes with some of the top instructors in the fitness world today, and choose from a variety of genres to tailor your at home workout just for you. Watch for this concept to grow, allowing people to access the best class experiences when and where they wish to have them. Think of it as the Netflix effect.

Functional training, and bodyweight training are also gaining popularity. They require no fancy equipment, and train us not just to lift a heavy weight, but to be able to get our bags in the overhead compartment of an airplane without help, and lug our groceries up a few flights of steps. What’s the point of building muscles if you can’t use them?

Where we once we willing to scramble from studio to studio to get in our workouts, we are now looking for a more wholistic approach that gets it done all in one place. With fitness publications striving to answer the age old question of which should come first, cardio or strength training, these classes throw caution to the wind and mix it up. (Also, please stop writing those articles. I’m pretty sure that unless you are training for an elite event, it doesn’t really matter. Just do it!) From Equinox’s cutting edge introduction of Shockwave a couple of years ago, which incorporated rowing intervals with strength segments, to Barry’s Bootcamp which uses the treadmill, these classes aren’t exactly new on the fitness horizon. They are, however gaining momentum. Watch for more of these hybrids to pop up, and new combinations to emerge. Rowing and weights, cycling and yoga, boxing and pilates? Who knows what the next big idea might be!

Speaking of boxing, that is another form of training that seems to be having a resurgence. Whether it is true boxing from Aerospace or Shadowbox, or boxing inspired workout classes, like Equinox’s new The Cut, there seems to be renewed interest in this genre. Victoria’s Secret models swear by it, and from the looks of some of the participants, if you want to be strong, lean and cut, this could be the ticket.

Group reboots, which include training programs, nutrition and lifestyle coaching are gaining momentum. With goal setting, accountablilty and the support of a team driving their success, these specialized programs have proven to be very effective. Look at Barre 3’s 28 to Great, Anna Kaiser’s Transformation, and Equinox’s ETC as examples.

Technology will continue to grow as we monitor our stats, track our progress and compete against our peers. Whether it is apparel, accessory or equipment based monitors, this area will only get bigger, and more complex as new technology is developed. Watch for new developments to continue to astound us. Chances are, whatever you want to track, there is an app for it.

Stay tuned as we delve into our predicitions for the new year in wellness and food!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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A Dose of Healthy Motivation

June 18, 2015

Fitness and nutrition is a big topic around here at Indigo Jones, and we believe that working out, staying strong and eating well are the keys to good health.

I was inspired by the folks at ETB Fit   to share a little bit about my workout regime, how I stay motivated and fueled.

Here a few of my personal tips to get you going:

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Prioritize your workout as you would anything else in your life. You wouldn’t just simply not show up for work, school or a doctor’s appointment just because you weren’t feeling it. Schedule time to exercise and respect the commitment you made to your body and yourself by adhering to it. Unless you are sick, injured or truly unable to make it, get your butt to the gym!

Find something you like to do, and you are more likely to do it. While I don’t love every aspect of my workout while I am doing it, once it is over I feel accomplished and eager to do it again. I like to work hard and sweat. I would opt for a tough, noisy spinning class over yoga any day. I hate overly choreographed, dance type classes, but love the adrenelin rush of bootcamp and circuit training. I also like putting on my headphones and hitting the weight room or running a few miles in solitude to center myself. Find something that you enjoy, and do it!

 

4270900130_compShake it up. While my repertoire of workouts is consistent, I don’t do the same thing two days in a row, and try to make each workout a little different from the last. I take indoor cycling classes 3-4 times per week, lift weights 2-3 times per week, run and take high intensity interval weight training class once a week. I work with two different cycling instructors who push me past my limits each time, and change up their classes frequently. I vary the exercises, the order,the weight and amount of reps when strength training. While running is not my favorite pastime, mixing it in makes a difference in my endurance level and burns more fat. I schedule one full rest day each week, and allow two if my schedule is crazy.

Listen to your body. Sometimes, I feel like I need more cardio, and other times I feel exhausted. Once you start to know your body really well, it will guide you to what you need. Pushing past a little workout soreness often makes me feel better. Pushing through true pain always ends in disaster. If I am feeling really run down, I will schedule a more gentle workout. On a day when my legs are maxed out, I will concentrate on upper body and abs to give them a rest. A stroll on the elliptical is a really low impact way to move without over exerting myself. The foam roller is a good friend, and using it helps massage away all the kinks and tightness. Keeping my appointment with myself is key, but being kind to myself is of equal importance.

 

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Get up and go! I find hitting the gym first thing in the morning is best for me. I get my workout in before the diversions and excuses of the day get a chance to take over. If you can’t bear working out in the morning, pack you gym bag in advance and make sure you go later.

You are the best form of transportation. I am lucky to live in a big city where I can walk everywhere. Just getting where I need to go each day can easily rack up the recommended 10,000 steps or close to 5 miles. Before you hail the cab, jump on the subway or bus, or get into the car to go a short distance, consider walking or biking it instead.

Nutrition is key. Whoever said that good abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room was absolutely right. All that exercise can easily be over powered by a bad diet. I joke that I am scrupulous about my nutrition except when I’m not. To me, that means eating an extremely healthy diet most of the time, and allowing a few splurges along the way. Life is too short not to have a little fun!

Coconut Cookies

I often ask myself which I would rather have, a cookie ( slice of pizza, bowl of pasta, etc.) or a 6-pack. Sometimes the cookie (or several of them) wins. When I get too far off track, I start to have digestive issues, and a spare tire. That is when I do a total reset and just rely on lean protien for a few days to get me back to healthy eating. A squirt of sriracha here and there helps lesson the boredom of it.

In the morning, before I go to the gym, I start with something light, but high in protien. That is either plain Greek yogurt, or a smoothie made with a few handfuls of fruit, water and some protein powder. While the tenents of good nutrition are what they are, I have learned to listen to my body about this as well. I do best with a diet high in protein, and very low in carbs and sugar. Although I don’t eat red meat, I do eat a lot of fish, seafood, eggs and a little chicken. I love pasta and bread but frankly, it doesn’t love me. It puffs up my belly and causes almost instant weight gain. I am not a nutritionist, or a doctor, but I do know that avoiding refined carbs makes me look and feel a whole lot better than when I eat them. Figure out what your body likes and doesn’t and feed it appropriately. Just remember, pizzatarian is not a “thing,” and french fries with ketchup are not really good vegetable choices.

When I am eating restrictively, I take a multivitamin each day to make sure I am getting the nutrients my body needs.

 

 

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I avoid eating things that come in packages. Low fat, low carb or low sugar packaged foods almost always use something unhealthy to replace the good stuff. I would rather splurge on the real deal, than eat chemical laden, high calorie versions. I prefer to make my own soups and sauces, and try to steer clear of processed foods. I prepare most meals at home, and take my lunch to the office. That way, I have food when I want it, that is pure and healthy.

I snack on nuts, yogurt or hummus and vegetables. With a high activity level, I need to refuel to keep my blood sugar and energy levels high. I have found it is better to have a snack in the afternoon, than to go home starving and shovel the first thing I can find into my mouth.

I drink water during my workouts to stay hydrated, but I know I don’t drink nearly enough. I sip on green tea throughout the day, starting with matcha, and tapering off to decaffeinated versions by mid afternoon. I never drink soda, or waste calories on fruit juices. I love a glass of wine, and try to limit it to the weekends, or nights out.

I record my activity and food intake in an online journal. That helps me keep track of how much I am eating, and holds me accountable for the good and the not so good choices. It is also is a way for me to make sure I am taking in enough calories when I am eating more restrictively.

Being healthy, fit and looking and feeling great are top priorities for me. You don’t need to spend all day in the gym or only eat lettuce to achieve them. If you find your passion for wellness and embrace it, the rest will follow!

Fitness photos: Glasshouse Images

Cookie photo: Spencer Jones /Glasshouse Images

Protein powder photo: courtesty of ETB Fit

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Move It or Lose It!

May 27, 2015

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The New York Times recently reported on two large-scale studies which link the role exercise plays on longevity.

One of those studies, conducted by Harvard University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The American Cancer Society among others, reviewed aggregated results of six surveys, in which respondents reported thier exercise habits. The over 660,000 adults were then categorized based on their activity levels. The categories were:those who didn’t exercise, those who exercised less than the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio (or just 21 minutes a day), those who exercise two to three times more than that, and those who exercise three to five times the recommeneded amount. They also reviewed 14 years worth of death records for the group.

Those who exercised less than the recommended amount still had a 20% lower mortality rate than those who did not exercise at all. Those who did one to two times more than the minumun recommendation (approximately 42 minutes per day) had a 31% lower rate of mortality, and the group who exercised two to three times the more that the minumum (about 64 mintutes per day) had a 39% lower rate of mortality.

The second study reviewed the mortality rates of those who exercised vigorously, versus those who worked more moderately. Of those who met the minimum guidelines, the people who categorized 30% of their workouts as vigorous lowered their mortaltiy rate by another 9%. When an even higher percentage of their workouts were listed as vigorous, the rate dropped to  13%.

The bottom line? Get up and move! Even a few minutes per day can make a difference. Finding an hour per day, and pushing hard for just 19 minutes of that can reduce your chance of death by a full 39%! Isn’t that worth the effort?

Let’s go!!

 

photo GIF: Come Alive |Glasshouse Images

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Image Issues

February 16, 2015

Cindy Crawford is arguably one of the most beautiful women on the planet. At 49 years old, she is still posing in a bikini with the confidence of a 20 year old, and from most accounts, looking pretty damn good doing so.

Recently, this unretouched photo from a 2013 Marie Claire photoshoot leaked and has been taking the internet by a storm. It features Ms. Crawford in a bikini, looking a lot more average than we expected.

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Ah, the wonders of Photoshop! Celebs have even taken to using it to touch up their Instagram selfies. The blatant overuse of this tool has given us a false sense of what people really look like, and has caused some damage to our self esteem in the process.

As regular readers, you know I work out hard and often, and try to eat as healthfully as possible. I hate the idea of looking good for my age, and want to just plain look good. I am forever comparing myself to other women, often those half my age, and trying to fine tune my body to fit the image of attractiveness I see out there. Although I am in pretty good shape, I am self conscious in a swim suit, and I constantly obsess over every little imperfection.

Seeing Cindy Crawford raw and unretouched made me instantly feel better about myself. It made me realize that a good part of the things I try so hard to perfect, aren’t perfect on the celebrities I see either. Many stars have admitted to wearing double Spanx that are so tight they can’t eat or use the bathroom at red carpet events. We have all seen photoshop fails where the pictures are so over edited, that the model appears deformed, but we forget that all magazine photos have been retouched to some extent. Those jiggly parts are simply removed, and skin is smoothed over to look almost poreless. While it is nearly impossible to spot reduce in real life, it’s super easy to do with Photoshop. And all of this retouching has created an unrealistic view of what is beautiful. It holds us to a higher standard that apparently, even supermodels can’t achieve.

Seeing Cindy Crawford looking a little “soft” shows us another side of beauty that is more about feeling comfortable in your own skin, albiet skin that is a little puckered and blotchy.

photo: Marie Claire

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Resolutioner’s Etiquette

January 12, 2015

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It is that time of year again, when everyone vows to workout, joins a gym and then….you know the rest.

Coming from someone who is there all year long, year after year, I am here to tell you that you are annoying. While us regulars applaud your new found commitment and wish you lots of luck sticking with it, most of you are in our way, doing things that inhibit our workout, and taking up valuable space on equipment and in classes.

In an effort to have us all live happily over the next few weeks when most of you will go away as quickly as you arrived, let’s go over the ground rules once again, okay?

Know which classes require pre-booking (cycling) and which you can just walk into. We don’t take kindly to you stealing the bike we got up at the crack of dawn to book, only to have you waltz out 10 minutes in when you’ve had enough.

If you are new, get to class a little early to get help setting up, so the instructor can get things started on time.

Don’t do your own thing in a group fitness situation. There is a group for a reason. It’s very distracting to watch you flailing away at your own speed when we are doing drills. In a class like spinning, reduce your resistance to make it easier, but keep up the pace.

Don’t just stand around fiddling with your phone, or chatting with friends. You are in the way. And as for that phone, don’t even THINK about talking on it. Most gyms have a policy against it, and most people really don’t want hear you talking on it. If you are in a class, leave it elsewhere.

Pick up your towel. Even in a full service gym with lots of staff to do it for you. It’s rude, and inevitably, someone else will have to move it or climb over it before they can get to it.

If you should actually break a sweat, wipe it up! I mean, yuck!

Don’t spread your stuff out on the locker room bench so that nobody can sit on it or put their stuff down. And speaking of sitting on it, please don’t do it bare back, if you get my drift.

If there is a row of cardio equiptment, don’t take the treadmill or elliptical right next to someone else if there are lots of open ones. It’s just creepy.

Don’t leave your stuff all over the weight area to stake your turf and then not use said turf. Also, don’t do few reps and then sit there and play with your phone and your hair while others are waiting for that equiptment.

If you wear something to workout in, please wash it. Even if it doesn’t seem to smell bad and you think you can wear it again, you can’t. Trust us. The new sweat reactivates the old sweat, and the stench is stinky squared.

Please put your bag, coat, and coffee cup in a locker. Your stuff laying all over the place when it’s crowded is a nuisence, and a hazard.

When your coffee inevitably spills, please wipe it up.

It’s great that you have a workout buddy. Can you actually work out?
We don’t want to know about your date, your friend, your boss, your new shoes or hear you recite your last 7 text messages. Like, ok? OMG,that’s awesome.

We were newbies once, and we pushed through, so if you do it right, you can too.

Here are a few suggestions for success.

Schedule your workouts like you would a haircut or a dental appointment, and show up.

Try to workout at a similar time of day to start creating a habit. It will make it easier to maintain.

Set realistic goals: start with twice a week for a couple of weeks, then add another day. If you commit to too much too soon, you won’t be able to handle it, and you will become a New Year’s Resolution statistic.

If you can afford a personal trainer for a few sessions, get one. They will help you learn proper form, create a well balanced workout for you and get you off to a good start, injury free.

You probably aren’t burning as many calories as you think. Don’t undue your good work by treating yourself to a fattening snack. If you don’t adjust your diet, you won’t see results, and you will get discouraged.

Missing a workout or eating something you shouldn’t doesn’t mean it’s all over. You are only one meal or one workout away from being back on track.

See you at the gym!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Can You Exercise and Still Gain Weight? SPOILER: YUP!

November 19, 2014

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Did the New York Times act responsably when they wrote about a recent study of weight management and exercise?
The article, entitled “Exercising but Gaining Weight,” takes a look at research conducted at Arizona State University, following 81 healthy, but sedentary women who were overweight.

The women participated in a supervised exercise program where they walked on a treadmill 3 times a week for 30 minutes, at a pace that represented 80% of their maximum endurance.

They were told not to alter their diet or eating habits during the 12 week study. At the end of the study, all of the women had significantly increased their aerobic fitness, but many had also gained weight attributed to fat, not added muscle.

Are you shocked? I certainly am not. The average 150 pound person would burn about 142 calories walking briskly for 30 minutes.A 200 pound person might burn about 172 calories in the same time. Do the math, and at best, these people would have lost between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds over the 12 week period. That’s it. Less than 2 pounds!

I would venture to guess that the increase in activity led them to be a little hungrier, and maybe a little more tired, causing them to eat a bit more and move a bit less throughout the day. It’s no surprise to me, that these people gained weight.

I see woman at the gym struggle through a cycling class, only to spend the next hour or two at the juice bar, replacing practically every calorie they burned with carbs. Exercise isn’t a magic pill. Slow, consistent cardio doesn’t burn much fat. To see results, it takes a combination of strength training and cardio with intervals to spike your heart rate.
What you put into your body is of even greater importance. Moving more and eating more, especially more of the wrong foods, is going to cause weight gain. It’s that simple.

A congratulatory post workout snack at Starbucks would run about 600 calories for a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte and a muffin. Try that three times a week and see where that gets you.

I calculate a 6 pound weight gain from that alone!

It doesn’t take a degree, or an elaborate study to come to these conclusions.

Did the Times do a disservice to it’s less fitness conscious readers by printing this study? Does it send a message that exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight so you shouldn’t bother?

While I am sure people are using this study to validate their sedentary existence, I am not going to give up my gym membership just yet.

Read the article in it’s entirety here:

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Challenging Math and Science

September 29, 2014

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist. I am not good in science and I absolutely suck at math. Therefore, please take this post with a grain of salt, or better yet, skip the extra salt completely and just keep reading.

Conventional wisdom states that 3500 calories make a pound. A pound is a pound, whether it is fat, muscle, butter or carrots. It is presumed, that if you reduce your calorie intake by 3500 calories over a period of time, you will lose 1 pound. If you over-consume by that much, you will gain. Makes sense,right? Well, not so fast…

What you eat, and how you burn it off is as important as the elimination of those 3500 calories. Case in point:

I am admittedly obsessive about food and fitness, hence the premise of this blog. I keep a food and activity journal, and try to be as accurate as possible. Based on my current size, if I only consume 1,110 calories per day, I will lost 1 pound per week. Before you all go crazy and think I starve myself, when I enter activity, it adds those calories burned back to my daily food quota. Because I am so active, I am able to eat more than that and still be on target to lose a pound per week.
I take hardcore cycling classes four times per week, I weight train, do weight circuits and toss in a Pilates class when I can for good measure. I also walk 1-1/2 hours per day on average, as transportation. In most people’s eyes, that should be a free pass for the all-you-can-eat fish fry, with extra dessert, right? WRONG!

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According to my Lose It app, I have saved 5369 calories over the last 4 weeks, over and above the 3500 per week deficit built in. That would mean I lost 5.5 pounds. According to the scale in my bathroom, I have gained almost that much. Say WHAT?

The big differential for me these last few weeks is not the amount of food I am eating, but the type of food I am eating.  Based on my personal experience, here are the cold, hard realities of healthy eating and exercise, according to me:

Just because it came from Whole Foods, or is organic, low fat, gluten free or whatever else the package says, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sorry, but real healthy food does not come in a package, and therefore does not state it’s virtures.

I do not have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, and gluten does not make me sick. Foods that contain it however (with the exception of french fries, that would be all the really delicous ones!) make me fat. And by fat, I mean bloated, and thick around the middle. Maybe it’s not the case for you, but for me, if I want a flat belly, I need to lay off the white stuff, most of the time. And while we’re at it, the whole grain goodness of whole wheat isn’t any better on my middle.

For many, many years, I avidly avoided sugar. Not even a bite of a cookie, or a lick of ice-cream. Now, if I have a little sweet something, it makes me want more. Like a junkie, that bite becomes the whole thing. And then I have a stomach ache. My body is trying to tell me something. Why don’t I listen to it? Do you listen to yours? You really should.

Protein is the building block of muscle or something like that. (See disclosure above.) I am clearly not eating enough of it lately. I don’t like meat, so getting to the fish market has to be a priority, otherwise I just eat fruit and vegetables, and later become ravenous and down half a bag of  trail mix or something else masquerading as “healthy” in a  package in my pantry. It’s important to fuel properly during the day to avoid the ravenous binge, especially post workout.

My exercise routine is intense, followed by long stretches of sitting on my butt in front of a computer or drawing table all day. I get out of my chair sometimes and can barely move I’m so stiff. Studies show that even a couple of  hours a day of physical activity cannot offset being sedentary for the rest of the day. I need to get up and move around every few hours, to rev my metabolism and stretch my sore limbs. Perhaps a stroll to the nearest fish market would solve multiple issues?

While we are on the subject of walking, I regret to inform you that walking does not burn very many calories. For those of you that think walking for 30 minutes per day a few times a week is exercising, you are wrong. It is better than not moving at all, but it doesn’t do much for increasing your heart rate or decreasing your fat rate. Lose It says that I burned 69 calories during a 30 minute walk, or the equivalent of  1-1/2 tablespoons of trail mix. And that’s not the kind with M&M’s in it. Bummer, right?

This is the calorie equivalent of a 30 minute brisk walk.

This is the calorie equivalent of a 30 minute brisk walk.

The media touts salt as an enemy. It’s not the salt that we sprinkle on our home cooked meals that is the problem. It’s the huge amounts lurking in those bags and tetra packs, and glass jars (no plastic please! ) that is the issue. That organic, gluten free, low fat, high fiber soup my be a BPA free sodium bomb. Making soup is so easy and tastes so much better. It’s time to get off my duff and make a few different kinds to put in the freezer in individual containers so that I can have homemade convenience foods at the ready. While salt doesn’t cause fat gain, that jump in the scale after consuming large quantities of it is due to good old bloat. Drinking a lot of water can help to eliminate the retained water in a day or two.

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The bottom line is that whole foods; the kind that are produced by nature, not factories, are the best for us. There is no debate there. Eating the freshest, highest quality foods, without added chemicals, additives and flavorings will produce the best results in terms of health, fuel and weight management.

Moving throughout the day is important for your health, but adding bouts of high intensity activity ( intervals for example,) will yield you better results.

It’s true what they say: You can’t out train a bad diet, and abs really are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

Inspired Living

July 28, 2014

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As a frequent business traveler, I tend to encounter some of the same people working at my destinations. Whether it is the room service waiter, the taxi driver or the check in clerk, there is something pleasant and comforting about encountering a familiar and friendly face.

In one city, I rely on a taxi service to shuttle me from my hotel to the office and back. It is not uncommon for me to have the same drivers over and over again. In the 30 minute rides, we make idle small talk, and they all know me on a first name basis. They know a bit about my family and where I live, among other tidbits we share on our journey together.

This week, I had a unique and gratifying experience. I was greeted my one of my regular drivers and he immediately inquired as to my well being, and my family. After a few minutes of polite chit chat, he told me he had been on a health kick and had lost about 30 pounds since we last spoke. He attributed it to getting active, and eating healthier. He began cooking his own food, and gave up on junk. I congratulated him on his accomplishment, but I was unprepared for came next.

He said, “Chatting with you about healthy eating and your exercise regimen really inspired me. I decided after I dropped you off one day, it was time to get serious about my weight and my health.”

That really blew me away and made my day. In a week that I was feeling less than good about myself, I realized that our actions, however small can have an influence on others. We probably have an effect on people all the time, through the positive, and not so positive things that we do.

I am so happy to have been able to help this man change his life for the better, however inadvertently that may have happened.

Congratulations Bill the taxi driver! Keep up the good work and pay it forward!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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