Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Movember Challenge Update

Well, we are now half way through November and the Movember Challenge is in full swing. For the most part I have been active every day this month for at least an hour with the exception of my birthday and the weekend in which it landed. Life got away from me a little bit on those particular days but other than that I have stayed on track.

I have definitely made things interesting with this challenge. I have walked my dog, hiked, biked, danced, full HIIT routines, strength training, swam, inline skating, running and much more. I did my best for this month to keep my workouts outside of the gym and focus more on being outside and literally MOVING. It has been a true blessing to do this. It has revitalized me and gotten me out of my workout "rut". I didn't realize how mundane my workout schedule and routine had become until I started this challenge. It has motivated me to definitely make some changes in the regard of how I will structure my workout routines in the future. With that being said, I am looking forward to this last half of the month and kicking some more butt. I may even be able to squeeze in some workout time on Thanksgiving....have to work off that big meal some

If this challenge so far has taught me anything it is that even as a health, fitness and wellness professional I can find myself in a rut and lose motivation once in a while. I am not immune to that lackluster attitude and that drastically changing things up is a good thing once in a while. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my normal workout routines and getting in my gym and really focusing on certain things. But this month for me has been a real breath of fresh air and was genuinely needed to regroup and re-prioritize.

So, how have you been doing with the November Movember Challenge? Have you been able to keep up? How is it going so far? Share in the comment section below. I would love to hear how it is going from you all so we can learn and support each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November Movember 30 Day Challenge

November is the perfect month to get moving and start making some gains on the fitness goals. It is time for the November Movember 30 Challenge! Are you in? All month I will be posting all about exercise tips, healthy recipes, things to try out and much more to help get motivated to start and stay in the habit of moving every single day and rounding out a healthy active lifestyle. It is going to be a blast.

The rules to this challenge are quite simple. For every day during the month of November you need to have 1 hour of exercise and physical movement. This could equate to taking two 30 minute walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. It could be going to the gym for an hour. It could be six short ten minute segments of activity throughout the day....what ever it takes to have physical movement and activity for one hour. I have read that to form a habit it takes approximately 30 days to do so for it to actually become a habitual routine. So I say LET"S DO THIS! Lets make this November a spectacular Movemeber and get motivated and get moving.

Today is day one! What are you going to do to get this month and challenge started off right? My plan for today is to take my new puppy out for a nice long hike. It's time to get moving...Are you with me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snack Attack - Simple Ways To Dip Healthier

Autumn is officially here and with it comes the season for tailgating, school parties and the start of holiday craziness. It becomes very easy to over indulge and eat all of the unhealthy food platters piled high with crackers, chips, cheese and dips. It is enough to send any sane person running for the door to avoid having to buy new pants every time the big game comes around and a huge smorgasbord of food is set out on the table. Over indulgence in these situations never seems to fail. But, what if you could satisfy your snack craving and do it in a healthier way that won't make you feel like you just ate the football. Sounds pretty tempting, right? Keep reading, I think I may just have the solution for you...

Today I am here to bring to you a healthier alternative to the normal chips and dip fare by using Chobani Mezé Dippers and a fresh take on the normal chip plate. If you are anything like me, no get together, party or tailgate would be complete with out some sort of plate piled high with yummy goodness and something awesome to dip it in. It just wouldn't be a party without it. But how do you still enjoy the snacks without all the gut busting guilt? By carefully selecting what items make it on to your plate and selecting one of Chobani's new Mezé Dippers you can have a munchfest that can reach epic proportions and still stay relatively healthy and guilt-free. 

So, what should be on this platter? What is going to be a crowd pleasing powerhouse? Well, for me personally, instead of the normal chips, breads and crackers my plate would be piled high with lots of bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots  But why stop there? There are so many different healthy options to choose from. You could add sliced green beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, black olives, egg plant, radishes and much more. By swapping out the chips and crackers and piling high the veggies, you now have a snack full of nutrients and health filled goodness. I would serve it with either Chobani's Roasted Red Pepper Mezé Dip or the Chili Lime Mezé Dip because those two are my absolute favorite. There is even a Three Pepper Salsa Mezé Dip and a Smoked Onion and Parmesan Dip. You can't go wrong with that! And with the Mezé Dippers coming in at 25 calories per serving and 1 gram of fat you pretty much have an amazing snack that you don't have to feel guilty about. 

By making a few strategic swaps on the traditional snack platter, snacking just got a whole lot healthier and much easier on the waistline. The vegetables will still give you the crunch you are looking for in a snack without all the fat and calories and when it is paired up with a  Chobani Mezé Dipper you have a winning combination. Snacking doesn't have to be a waistline addition and by adding in all the vegetables you are getting in plenty of healthy nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. Do you have a winning dipping combination? What are some of your healthier ways to dip? Please share in the comments below. Also be sure to check out the Chobani Mezé Dipper page on their website to find out more about these awesome dips and how they can take your next snack attack to a whole new level.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Mindset for Healthy Eating | Gillian Riley | TEDxChelmsford

I recently watched a fascinating Tedx talk given by Gillian Riley that covers the mystifying subject of "The Mindset for Healthy Eating". It was a very poignant talk that touched very deeply into the power we all have within us to make choices and how having the freedom to make those choices is paramount to our success. In this talk the subject matter revolved around healthy eating, but in truth I think this mindset can be useful in every aspect of life. The choices we make take us in many different directions. Some choices are right and some are wrong. Either way, when we allow ourselves to freely make our own choices our chances for staying on track and beating out temptation become that much stronger.

The human brain is a very powerful and wonderful thing. It is the command center for our entire body and is capable of many wonderous things. Keeping that in mind, it is no wonder that our mindset plays a crucial role in our success, especially when dealing in areas around healthy eating. Have the right mindset and just about anything is possible. Have a negative mindset and success will be much more difficult to come by.

Of course this isn't "new" news but I do believe that Gillian's message hits home in a rather large way, that if we change our mindset and truly allow ourselves freedom of choice our very way of thinking begins to change. The things we used to crave no longer plague us. The goal we thought was impossible doesn't seem so far out of reach and in fact, is very doable. If you have a few moments I highly recommend checking this Tedx talk out. It may be the very turning point of thinking you have been looking for. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Struggle With The Scale

Scales....most of us own one or two of them...most of us have a love/hate relationship with them...and to many of us, our day is either made or broke by what the scale says. Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are definitely not alone. Weight scales are often used way to much as the total measurement on how a particular weight loss journey is going. If the scale isn't going down in numbers we must be failing right? Not exactly, but to many of us that is what we go by. There is so much more going on during a weight loss journey besides numbers going up or down. The scale can be a great tool to utilize and gauge how we are doing if used properly. It doesn't have to be the enemy and make or break days. If used properly it can be a powerful ally in attaining weight loss goals and maintaining those goals.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Running For Weight Loss App Review

About a week ago I was introduced by a friend to this app called Running For Weight Loss. I have never really been into running very much but have always wanted to give it a fair shot so I thought....what the heck! and downloaded the app and began my journey to check out running as a part of my regular weekly workout routine. I have always been more of a speed walker and hiker so this change for me was kind of a big deal. I wondered if my forty-something body would react well to this new abuse. To my surprise I did way better than I thought I would and may have even grown to like running.

The functionality of this app is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. I downloaded the app and within five minutes I was ready to go. When you initially open the app it will ask you for a some of your basic information such as, age, weight and if you consider yourself a beginner runner, intermediate or expert. Once all of that is entered the app will than create an 8 week running plan for you based on the information provided. My weekly plan is set up for running 3 days a week but I imagine this can vary depending on experience and goals. Now as you can tell by the title of the app this is geared for weight loss but I think anyone that would like to give running a shot could benefit from using this app.

One of the things I liked best about this app is that it just isn't telling you to go out and run a mile to build up endurance. It is actually set up where you have a "coach" instructing you to start with a warm up of a brisk paced walk for five minutes. You then begin the workout by running for a minute and a half, then walk for two minutes. You do this for thirty five minutes. The time frames for walking and running will vary. As your routine progresses the time frames of running verse walking will start to vary and get longer. Since I am starting out in the beginner phase my run time is only at a minute and a half to a minute. My training plan has it set up where I only run 3 days a week as to not get burned out.

The app is very easy to use and I like the fact that it gives you a weekly plan so you don't just have to wing it. I am the type of person that does better with a plan in place so this feature is very helpful for me. I am using the free version of this app for the moment but it does have the option to upgrade to premium for $9.99 a month or if you purchase 12 months up front it works out to be $3.33 a month. So far I find that I am perfectly happy with the functionality of the free version but for serious training runners and those that are looking to lose weight there is definite value in the premium version. One dislike I have with the free version is all of the ad popups to go premium and other advertisements BUT I also understand why that is in place on the free version. Over all my experience with this app has been a pretty great one. It got me interested in running and did it in a way that was easy on my body. I never had any issues with  the app failing or crashing. I honestly had a lot of fun using it and will probably continue to do so. If you are interested in checking out this app go to the app store on your phone and type in "Running For Weight Loss" and check it out. It is very easy and straight forward and a great tool for implementing running into your workout routine.  

Do you have any favorite running apps that you use? What do you like best about them? Share in the comment section. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Busted! 5 Foods That Have "Hidden" Sugars in Them and Ways To Avoid Them

Grocery shopping can be tricky! Especially if you are trying to avoid sugar. Walking up and down the isles of any grocery store will prove a daunting task when just about every packaged food item contains some amount of sugar. There is sugar loaded into items that no one would ever expect sugar to be in, let alone in high quantities. Listed below are 5 foods that have hidden sugars in them that may surprise you and hopefully make you think twice before putting them in your cart.

  • Fruit Yogurt - Ahhh, yogurt! Often thought of as a "healthy" food, fruit yogurt is usually loaded with lots of added sugar. Coming in at a whooping 19 grams of sugar, fruit yogurt should be more aptly named dessert. Instead of going for the sweetened yogurts with fruit already in them a good option would be to buy plain yogurt and the fruit you desire and make your own. By doing this you can control how much sweetener actually makes it into your yogurt and avoid the over access of 19 grams of sugar. (By the way, in case you were wondering....19 grams of sugar is the rough equivalent of 5 sugar packets.) Using a sweetener like Stevia might be a good option to replace the sugar altogether. 
  • Dried Fruits - Now you would think that dried fruit would be healthy enough BUT if you are buying this from the grocery store chances are it is also loaded with added sugars. Just look at the ingredient list and in most cases the second ingredient is sugar. In some instances just 1/3 cup of dried fruit can contain as much as 24 grams of sugar or roughly 6 sugar packets. That is a lot of extra sugar added to some dried fruit that is already sweet enough on its own. If you really want some dried fruit look for unsweetened varieties or make your own in a food dehydrator or oven. This way you will know you are only getting the natural sugars from the fruit and not all the extra from added sugars. 
  • Energy Drinks -  This one may not be a surprise that it has sugar added to it but just how much it has might be. In some instances this little can of "pep" can contain a monumental 83 grams of sugar! The sugar packet equivalent on this one comes out to be about 19 1/2 sugar packets. That is A LOT of sugar. Not all energy drinks are made the same and sugar content will vary but it would be wise to check out the food label before drinking one of these down and definitely proceed with caution. 
  • Pasta Sauces - Believe it or not your favorite pasta sauce probably contains on average 10 to 12 grams of sugar or the equivalent of 3 sugar packets of added sugar to it. It doesn't occur to most people to look for sugar in pasta sauces but it is there and in surprising amounts. Depending on what type of sauce you are using this will greatly vary the amount of sugar that is present. Some sauces can average well over 24 grams of sugar per bottle so it pays to look at the food labels and see just how much sugar is in your favorites. A good way around this is of course to make homemade sauce but if that isn't possible there are some pretty good sauces available that have very little if any added sugars. Just be sure to read the labels to know what you are buying.
  • Granola Bars -  Known by some as a "healthy" snack this little gem of a bar can hold some secrets. These convenient snack bars can have about 12 grams of sugar per bar or roughly 3 1/2 sugar packets worth per bar. It always pays to read the food labels before devouring one of these up. Making your own granola bars are not only a good way to control how much sugar gets added but also gives you more control over the variety of bar you can have too. Experiment with different flavor combinations and let your creativity soar. You may just create your new favorite.

Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! It is everywhere and in just about everything. Hopefully by giving you the above examples it will help in learning how to avoid extra sugars that are hidden in some of our most unsuspecting foods. A good rule of thumb at the grocery store is: If it comes in a probably has added sugar. With so many things like diabetes and obesity on the rise it is so important to watch sugar intake and be mindful of what is going into your body. By learning how to read food labels and being aware of all the hidden sugar possibilities obtaining optimal health will become easier and easier as the knowledge base broadens. What are some foods that you have found to contain hidden sugars in them? Were you able to find an alternative solution? If so, share in the comment section below.