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Posts Tagged ‘health’

A very large bowl (I used my "Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

A very large bowl (I used my “Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

 

Sundays I nickname “Set yourself up for success day.” It’s usually the day I do everything I can to make it easy throughout the week to stick to my diet and fitness goals, including controlling my hypoglycemia.

It usually consists of:

  • Meal planning. I don’t plan-out each meal per se, but I plan out at least 2 fully-cooked recipes (which usually make 4-6 servings), so enough for the whole week.
  • Grocery shopping. Especially for fresh fruits and vegetables and any healthy meal items so I’m well-stocked for the week.
  • Chopping vegetables. I’ve learned a valuable thing about myself: an unchopped vegetable (unless meant to be eaten whole) will never get eaten in my house. I chop them all and prepare a huge bowl of them to take to work for all week noshing.
  • Prepare my workout clothes for the following day.
  • Laundry. Since I’m busy around the house anyway.
  • Ironing any clothes that need it.

Although it looks like a lot, it doesn’t take up the whole day, just a few hours. And it makes the rest of my week so much easier.

Do you something similar? What do you do to ensure success of your health and fitness goals?

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Nice try, Starbucks. Considering that 2.3g sugar = 1 sugar cube, there are the equivalent of almost 9 sugar cubes in this damn can of coffee. That cancels-out any benefits of the 20 grams of protein in my book.

Definitely not hypoglycemic-friendly or anyone-friendly.

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1. You may not realize what you look like

A woman standing in front of a mirror with cuttings from a magazine showing skinny models

“untitled” by Danielle Henry, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I went from a size 10 to a size 0-2. But when I still look in the mirror, I see a size 10. It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play on you. I’ve known other women that have had this issue as well. It’s a challenge for them to see what they really look like, which can cause a danger of going overboard (see #12).

2. Your health costs probably won’t change short term

A jar labeled "Health" full of money

“Health” by Pictures of Money, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long-term studies have shown that regular exercise and reduced belly fat can significantly reduce your chances of a wide variety of ailments. But, in the short term, your health costs probably won’t go down and may, in fact, go up. Gym memberships, your new diet (see #6) and and increased tendency to go for regular check-ups can add up.

Also, the more athletics you do, the more likely you will gain a lot of sports injuries, which, trust me, are costly.

3. It’ll get really hard to find clothes

A man walking between large stacks of clothes

“Men Shopping for Clothing Accessories” by epSos .de, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I can no longer find clothes in regular stores. Unless, of course, you want to wear teenage-looking clothes, then, by all means, hit up the juniors department. Stores stock-up what they can sell and they don’t sell many small sizes. So, it can be very frustrating to find the sizes you need when you become fit.

It’ll also get harder to find clothes that are the smaller sizes that actually fit your arms and legs. Most clothing designers assume that if you have a small waist, you’re going to have thin arms and legs, not muscular ones.

4. Store clerks won’t like you

A woman store clerk with a non-friendly look on her face

“Store Clerk In Blue” by Phil Warren, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Overweight people complain about customer service bias, and I can see that. The truth is, fit people have the same issue. I can’t tell you how many dirty looks I’ve gotten when I’ve asked a store clerk for help finding a small size. They don’t have any tolerance for a skinny person complaining about having clothing issues.

5. Alcohol looks a lot less enticing

A fruity looking pink alcoholic drink with an orange slice

I bet this is over 400 calories and your entire sugar intake for the day. “Colorful Drink at 32 Degrees Bar at Urban Crust” by Nan Palmero, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When losing weight, you have to limit or give up alcohol. It’s not uncommon for fit people to stop drinking or, at the very least, significantly reduce their alcohol intake, even when they have hit their goal.  First, because their tolerance has dropped, but second and most common, they look at alcohol and think in their heads, “It’s not worth the calories/macros.”
6. Your grocery bill will be really high
A pile of fresh vegetables on a kitchen counter

“Farmer’s Market Bounty” by ilovebutter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Healthy food is expensive, you can eat a lot more of it for the same amount of calories, and if you are working out more, you’re going to need to eat a lot more. This is the trifecta for an insanely high grocery bill.

See How much I spend on groceries

7. But your restaurant budget will go down

A sandwich made of fried chicken, egg and cheese

SO DISGUSTING! “KFC Double Down “Sandwich”” by Michael Saechang, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As you continue to learn about nutrition and how “unhealthy” foods make you feel, you’re going to be eating out at restaurants a lot less. You’ll find yourself saying to your friends and family “Why don’t you come over and I’ll cook?” or “How about I meet up with you all after your dinner out?”
8. It will affect who you date
A couple in front of food at a restaurant

“Date Night” by Amy Truter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is not about appearance, it’s about lifestyle. If you are busting your butt at the gym most days and eating really healthy, you’re most likely not going to be compatible with a junk-eating couch potato. Instead, you’re going to find yourself gravitating to someone with a similar philosophy on a healthy lifestyle.
Sadly, I’ve also heard of this impacting marriages, where one spouse decides to make healthy changes/wants to be more active and the other refuses to do so.
9. It will affect where you live
A street view of a gym

An apartment may look a lot more enticing when you see there is a gym around the corner. “Gym.” by A National Acrobat, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figuring out what the nearest gym options are, what the nearest activities are, and where the nearest parks are will become a major factor in determining where you live.
10. Your body will become something that is analyzed

For some reason, it’s very socially acceptable for people to comment on fit people’s bodies (think about how much talk their is about Michelle Obama’s arms). Most of these are positive, but not always, as the above example shows.

You might also find that you do this to yourself. I find that I regularly talk about my body, my diet, my weight, etc. Somethings this is a good thing, but sometimes these aren’t topics you should discuss. It depends on your audience and if you are obsessing or not (see #12).

11. People will explain to you why they can’t do it

A white board drawing of a stick girl and the words "Can't do this"

“Can’t do this” by Quinn Dombrowski, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is the most awkward for me because I never know what to say. I’m a very non-judgmental person and I definitely understand that I don’t know everyone’s full circumstances and there may be legitimate reasons why they can’t, but I don’t always agree that someone’s reasoning for not taking care of their health is legitimate. I had a coworker once tell me that she could never look like me because she’s “always been a bigger girl” and that I was naturally thin. I’m actually not naturally thin, but I figured it was best to keep my mouth shut.

Another rendition of this is statements like, “I wish I could look like you” and “I could look like you, but I like (insert junk food) too much.” There is no good answer to any of these statements; if you try to tell them they could, they will get mad, and if you agree with them, you may insult them. I just try to change the subject.

12. It’s easy to go overboard

A thin woman's stomach with a balled-up measuring tape in front of it

“Body Image. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.” by Charlotte Astrid, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The fitness industry makes money on self-improvement, so they have a vested interest in you always feeling inadequate and needing to improve something. I had a trainer recently say “maintaining is not a goal” in response to me telling him that was my goal. I disagree; if I can stay at this same fitness level as I continue to move into my later 30’s, I’ll consider that a win.

Fitness is also an easy problem to fix, which can set-off a vicious cycle of needed self-improvement. It’s not uncommon for someone to have another problem in their life and vent it out by doing more in the fitness realm (example: men tend to get in shape during a divorce to raise their self-confidence). This can be healthy, but it can also lead to obsession when you realize that it’s one part of your life you can easily control.

What would you add to this list?

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I was staying in Raleigh, North Carolina and the hotel has a deal where you can use the Alexander Family YMCA for free. Awesome! On my second day there, I decided to grab a protein smoothie.

Considering that it’s a YMCA (which makes me, at least, think “healthy’), the coffee shop was full of cakes, muffins, etc. There were some “healthy” choices too, but, ironically, no health information available on any of their food so you could make educated choices.

I ordered a small peanut butter protein shake, which, admittedly, was DELICIOUS, but let’s take a look at what’s in it and the overall nutrition information in it.

  • Plain protein powder, two scoops. 280 calories, 1 g fat (estimated), 50 g protein (estimated)
  • 3 tablespoons of Jif peanut butter (I only let him put two in mine): 285 calories, 24 g fat, 9.5 g protein
  • 1 cup milk (it looked like 2%, so I’m using that). 112 calories, 5 g fat, 8 g protein
  • 1/2 very large banana. 60 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein
  • Ice

Total for small YMCA peanut butter protein shake: 737 calories, 30 grams fat, 68 g protein

Since I only let him put 2 scoops of peanut butter in and only drank half of it: 326 calories, 11 g fat, 31.5 grams protein

I definitely believe that you are responsible for your own choices, but dang, places like the YMCA seem to really be working against us with their food offerings. I’m really disappointed in them considering how much they promote “healthy choices.”

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a martini glass woth greek yogurt and corn tortilla triangles baled with cinnamon

Presenting it in a martini glass makes it seem more gourmet, don’t you think?

This recipe is similar to one I found in Health Magazine a long time ago. It’s so simple, but a favorites of my friend Melissa.

Ingredients:

For chips:

– Cinnamon

– Butter

– One white corn tortilla per person

For yogurt:

– Vanilla Greek Yogurt (Check the total sugar count on brands. It should be 7g or less per 6 oz) individual serving per person

– Nutmeg, all spice or cinnamon or a combination of the three (get creative!)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Take each tortilla and lightly coat with butter
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon on each tortilla heavily (you should see very little of the tortilla)
  4. Using kitchen scissors, cut the tortillas into 6 rectangles (like a pizza)
  5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until completely crisp (you don’t want them to “bend” at all before they break), about 5-8 minutes
  6. While the chips are baking, mix-in any nutmeg, cinnamon or all spice you want in your yogurt if any.
  7. Scoop out 6 oz of vanilla Greek yogurt (one individual serving cup) into individual serving dishes (I like using martini glasses)
  8. When the chips are done, serve them with the yogurt and a spoon

Depending which yogurt you use and the quality of your tortillas, each serving is about 150 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 12 grams of carbohydrates.

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Lifehacker has started a new Vitals health and fitness section. This is one of their first articles. It’s full of useful information including how to calculate your average calorie expenditure each day and how much protein you need.

Check it out!

Exercise vs. Diet: Which Is More Important for Weight Loss?

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A pan of homemade granola bars

These smell and taste so good!

My Health Magazine had a recipe for “Golden Fruit and Nut Granola Bars.” I decided to change it a bit to cut the fat, use local honey, and make it easier to prepare. Admittedly, these are still pretty high in sugars.

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Servings: 8 bars as prepared below

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup Bell Plantation PB2, original flavor, prepared
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used raw, local honey…yum!)
  • 1 cup raisins (you could mix-in different chopped dried fruit)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (or other chopped nuts, not salted)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine all of the ingredients above in a bowl and mix very well
  3. Line a 9 x 9 square baking dish with parchment paper. You could skip this step, but trust me, this will make your life much easier.
  4. Distribute the mixed ingredients evenly on top of the parchment paper. Tuck-in any loose raisins and use another piece of parchment paper to press down very firmly.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and dry to the touch.
  6. Put the baking dish on a wire rack and use the extra piece of parchment paper (and an oven mitt) to press down firmly again.
  7. Let cool completely and then cut.
  8. Store for up to 3 days on the counter with pieces of the parchment paper between each one. Or do what I do and freeze them.

Nutrition from Spark People’s Recipe Calculator. Note: you could cut the calories/carbs easily by changing the portion size. I chose 300 calories because that’s a good amount for breakfast for me.

Nutrition Facts

 

User Entered Recipe
  8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 306.5
  Total Fat 11.2 g
  Saturated Fat 0.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 122.7 mg
  Potassium 257.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 49.0 g
  Dietary Fiber 6.7 g
  Sugars 29.6 g
  Protein 9.1 g
  Vitamin A 0.5 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 2.5 %
  Vitamin C 1.2 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 0.6 %
  Calcium 6.3 %
  Copper 3.2 %
  Folate 0.2 %
  Iron 7.8 %
  Magnesium 1.6 %
  Manganese 3.7 %
  Niacin 0.9 %
  Pantothenic Acid     0.2 %
  Phosphorus     1.8 %
  Riboflavin 1.4 %
  Selenium 0.4 %
  Thiamin 1.9 %
  Zinc 0.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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