Posts Tagged ‘healthy lifestyle’

Find Your Comfort Zone

April 7, 2016

 

4989100064_compYou know that commercial for Weight Watchers, where Oprah talks about how much she loves bread, and how glad she is that she can lose weight and still eat bread everyday? I hate that commercial.

I hate all the diets that let you eat sweets, and bread and pasta. I cringe at celebrities and models who say that they believe in moderation, not deprivation, or even worse the ones who say they don’t diet or exercise, and fill their Instagram feeds with In and Out burger photos and triple scoop icecream cones, all while having a flat, toned midriff.  Or Kim Kardashian’s nutritionist discussing her 1800 calories per day diet, which includes 4 oz. of cheese, and how it is very restrictive to help her lose the baby weight. (1800 calories for not very active 5’2″ woman is far from restrictive!)

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Why do I hate all this? Because for me, none of that works. And because some of them are out and out lying.

First of all, for those of you that I haven’t met, let me state that I don’t have a weight problem. I am on the small side of the equation, but an extra few pounds really shows up on me in all the wrong places. I work out 5-6 days a week, and I walk almost everywhere I go. I eat a healthy diet, but I go rogue every once in awhile and it gets a bit out of control. Because of my usually healthy lifestyle, losing a few unwanted pounds means I need to resort to drastic measures. Calories in and calories out does not work for me. If it did, I would weigh 27 pounds. Nor does “moderation’, eating sugar and carbs, or drinking alcohol.

I don’t think that I have any major food sensitivities but after eating a refined carb heavy diet, or increasing my sugar intake from 0 to daily for awhile, I start to bloat up. I get a gut, and it is a gut that is upset most of the time. It isn’t how I want to look, or feel.
After doing a couple of Whole 30s, I have discovered that I fare best on a fairly rigid program of eating only vegatables, fruit, chicken, fish, eggs and some nuts. When I know that a cookie, or french fries are strickly off limits, I simply don’t eat them. If I try to eat them in “moderation”, I tend to fall off the wagon and over indulge. And it is a wagon I am comfortable being on, most of the time.

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I think it is important to figure out what type of diet and exercise person you are, and figure out how to make that work for you. It may in fact be comprised of a little of everything, or it may be a strict regiman that is completely different from mine. For me, staying the course for at least 30 days, and then allowing pre-meditated treats, works. That means deciding to have a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at a nice dinner out, but not wavering, just because its Tuesday and there’s cookies in the office.

Exercise follows the same idea. If you find what you like, you will actually do it. In my case, a very set regimen is key. I get up, I go to the gym. When I get too relaxed about it, I find I don’t go, or go so late that my window of opportunity has closed and I am not performing at my best. I know I need to shake it up, and try to diversify my workouts so that each day is different from the one before it. I build in rest days, where I can regroup and recover. Much like my diet, if have to I miss a day or two, I don’t get crazy, and go back to my routine as soon as I can, but I never simply don’t go because I don’t feel like it. This keeps me on track, feeling energetic and strong. If I adopt a “whatever” attitude, I know I will lose the momentum that I have spent years establishing.

I see a healthy lifestyle as important as anything else…I schedule in exercise and plan ahead so that I am not stuck in a situation where I have to eat something unhealthy and unenjoyable, simply because I don’t have a better option. If I am going to eat something that is off my regular diet, I want to enjoy it and move on without regret. I wouldn’t blow off a business meeting, so why should I skip out on the gym? You may find that going for a walk a few times a week is all you need. It really is a matter of to each his own.

Now that I finally know what type of plan works best for me, I can comfortably follow it without feeling too restricted or deprived. That is, as long as Oprah stops talking about all that bread!!

Photos: 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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Rev Up Your Metabolism

June 2, 2014

It seems every few years, there is a diet trend that is later found to be unwarranted. Remember high carb, low fat? How about high fat and low carb?
Right now it’s all about juice cleansing, and being gluten free. Thanks to the new film “Fed Up,” sugar free eating is gaining momentum, and will be the next big thing in dietary deprivation.

While some of this advice is valid, we spend so much time hip hopping between the latest diet and exercise crazes, that we often sabotage our metabolisms in the process.

A fit young man runs on a beach trail in sand dunes.

Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Revving up your metabolic functions can result in weight loss and increased energy. Yet, so many of the things we do actually have a negative effect on our systems.

Some of the first things we think of when trying to lose weight are eliminating calories and hitting the gym. While those things will impact weight loss, going about them in the wrong way can have adverse implications.

The more you move, the more you burn.

Recent research states that sitting all day at a desk can be hazardous to your health. Even exercising for an hour per day can’t offset the sedentary lifestyle of a desk jockey.

To alleviate the problem, try to get up every hour or so to stroll around the office. Use your breaks to take a walk, and hit the steps instead of the elevator. Getting up and getting the blood flowing keeps the metabolism active.

Iron deficiency can also be a metabolism-slowing culprit. Menstruating women and some vegetarians can easily become anemic. Add a supplement, or simply increase your intake of iron rich foods, such as beans, spinach, shrimp, lean meats and artichokes.

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Extreme dieting may initially get the scale moving in the right direction, but long term and frequent yo-yo dieting can wreck havoc on your system. When you deprive your body of essential nutrients and the calories it needs to function properly, you trick it into “starvation mode”, causing your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy, resulting in a lower than normal calorie burn. Alcohol can also be a culprit in slowing down the metabolic process. Avoid fad diets and cleanses, and instead adopt a well balanced diet, full of healthy proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and eliminate unhealthy processed foods.

Dehydration can be another metabolic roadblock. The body needs water to run properly, and without it, it works less efficiency. Drinking more water also helps escort excess fluid from the body, flushing out toxins and bloat.

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Your body needs adequate sleep in order to function at its optimum level. When deprived of sleep, we perform much more slowly, and our metabolism follows suit. Sleep deprivation is also linked with unhealthy food cravings. Try to get 8 hours of shuteye each night, and step away from the empty calorie foods, like cookies and chips.

Good health revolves around a consistent program of well-balanced eating, physical exercise, and adequate rest and recovery. Taking care of your body will help it function at its peak level. Try cleaning up your diet, and getting up and moving, and see how positively it responds. You will look and feel better in no time!

photos: Glasshouse Images

House of Mouse Launches a Healthy Marketing Initiative

June 7, 2012

Today, Disney announced a new initiative that would impose strict guidelines on the foods that are advertised on their TV shows, radio stations and sold in their amusement parks.

With First Lady Michelle Obama by his side, Robert Iger, Chairman of the Walt Disney Company unveiled plans to ensure that all food advertised, sponsored or promoted through its media outlets meet federal dietary guidelines and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit portion sizes and calories, and have a reduced sugar, saturated fat and sodium content. The plan will be fully implemented by 2015.

Iger also announced the new graphic symbol called a “Mickey Check”, which will appear on all branded food items sold at parks, resorts and grocery stores which feature Disney characters on the package. These foods currently include fresh fruit, dairy items and drinks. The “Mickey Check” features the tag line. “ Good for you – fun too!” and will serve to assure parents that the food they are purchasing is healthy.

The Disney announcement fully supports Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for children. Having Disney’s iconic characters helping fight the battle of childhood obesity is a pivotal change in how we market to children.

Age Rage

February 6, 2012

 

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I bristle every time I hear someone say how amazing Madonna looks for a 53 year old.

It’s not that I don’t agree; it’s that I think she looks incredible for someone of any age.  She clearly takes care of herself. She has a strong, athletic body that she works very hard for.

Yes, she has help and can afford trainers, a glam squad and a chef.

She also is a single mom of 3 kids, has an album coming out, just released a movie, and is running a mini fashion empire with her daughter.  Don’t negate the discipline involved in looking the way she looks, and having the stamina to do all that she does. No one can provide you with time or a sense of commitment. That comes from within.

I cringe every time a woman in the gym who is about my age, tells the cycling instructor that she is too old to do the intense intervals he is pushing us through.

I too work hard on my fitness, and place good health as a priority. I do not have a trainer, a personal chef or even a cleaning person for that matter. I often hit the gym at 7 am (or earlier) to fit in my workout. I am proud of the fact that I can run, lift weights, do those miserable intervals in cycling class and still get through my day. From a vanity perspective, I fight to look a certain way. I am not going to use age as an excuse to get fat, flabby or unhealthy.

I may not look like Madonna, but I look like the best version of myself that I can be.

I love knowing that my current self could kick my 25 year old self’s ass, and probably look better in a bathing suit doing it!

 


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