Monday, November 22, 2010

Smart Shopping

Several weeks ago I heard a statement that really struck me. "You can't be any healthier than the food you eat." I went to the grocery store recently with that phrase in my head. I found it to be a great guideline for my food shopping and meal planning.

It can be so tempting to purchase meals in a box and fast food when life gets busy. Most of us know what we should eat, but we often make choices based on convenience and impulse. Life is busy. I get it. But, do you really want to only be as healthy as a fast food meal?

Take a step back from the busyness for a few minutes. Make a plan for your meals. Hit the grocery store with that plan in mind and have a healthy holiday season!

Shopping tips:

Start your shopping in the fresh produce section and purchase a variety.

Look for lean meats: Chicken and turkey (skinless), fish, and even lean beef.  (Look for the words “loin” or “round” in the name for leaner cuts of beef.)

Organic does not mean healthy. Check the calorie and fat content and the ingredients. Check the calories, fat content, and ingredients - just like you would with all foods.

Look for whole grain, high fiber versions of cereal, bread, tortillas, etc.

Low-fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. Many low-fat choices have high sugar content.

Skip the empty calories (high in energy, but low in nutrients) like sugary soda, candy, cookies, etc.  You'll cut unnecessary calories and save money. 

Check labels - always!

Choose food that is as healthy as you want to be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sandwich Thins and Flatbread

I've recently tried a couple of newer products and wanted to share them with you in case you haven't tried them yet.  The first is Orowheat's new Sandwich Thins.  I am loving these!  They are only 100 calories (for the top and bottom slice!) and have 5 grams of protein and fiber. 

I've found this to be perfect for a post-workout peanut butter sandwich (toasted is the best!)  It's light, but great for a snack without a lot of calories. 

The second thing I tried was Flatout Flatbread.  The jury's still out on this one for me.  I made a wrap with it today, but the texture of the cold flatbread wasn't quite right.  I think I'll try it warm next time and see if that helps.  I tried the Healthy Grain Flatbread which has 100 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber.  I think it has potential, but I need to experiment a little more! 

Have you tried either of these products?  What do you think?

Have any healthy foods that you'd like to share?  Tell me about them!  Everyone is always looking for something delicious, healthy, and new - what are you liking right now?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 in 5 Challenge Wraps Up - Now What?

It was 5 weeks of ups and downs for all of us participating in the 5 in 5 Challenge.  But, that's how life always is.  You can't expect things to always be easy sailing - in any aspect!  In weight loss especially.  We are constantly bombarded with temptations and interruptions.  But, having a goal to work towards and plans in place to deal with those interruptions and temptations is what will help you be successful. 

My 5 weeks resulted in a 2 pound weight loss.  No, it wasn't 5, but I haven't failed.  I made some necessary changes to my exercise and eating that I plan to continue.  And, just because the 5 weeks is over, doesn't mean I'm done.  For me quitting would be failure.  My overall goal is lifelong fitness, so the journey continues - and I hope it does for you, too!

Whether you met your weight loss goal or not, I encourage you to look back over the last five weeks.  What changes did you make that were successful?  What didn't work well for you?  What changes should be permanent?   True success in improved health and fitness is lifestyle change.  Diets and temporary increases in exercise will only bring temporary results.  What will you commit to in the way of lifestyle change?

Also remember that the number on the scale is only a piece of the overall picture.  How has your body composition changed?  Does it look or feel differently?  How are your clothes fitting?  Often that number on the scale becomes our sole focus and we forget to look at the positive changes we've made - both inside and out.  

So, as you look back on the last 5 weeks, focus on the successes you've had and decide what's next for you.  What goal/challenge will you set to continue your quest towards better health and fitness?  

If the accountability of the 5 in 5 Challenge is something you need, I am happy to continue to check in with you weekly and encourage you to set regular goals for yourself.  Let me know how I can help you.  

Thanks to all who participated!  May your challenge continue.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week Five. . . .

We wrapped up Week 4 with quite the challenge for many of you - the SuperBowl and all the parties and unhealthy eating/drinking that can involve.  I hope you all made it through unscathed! 

Week 4 was a little crazy for me in terms of eating at regular times, but I kept it healthy and managed to lose one pound!  How did you do this week?

Week 5 - the final week in our challenge is now upon us.  This doesn't mean all your hard work ends after this week.  Hopefully you've made some positive changes and plan to make those changes a part of your healthy lifestyle.

My goals this week are related to the challenges I had last week.  I would encourage you to look at your challenges and create goals to get past those challenges this week. 

Eating:  Focus on eating at regular intervals - about every 3-4 hours.

Eating regularly will help keep your metabolism up.  When you go too long between meals your metabolism slows down to perserve what calories you have until your next meal.  It may be a little scary to eat more often, but eat 3 balanced meals and 2-3 healthy snacks in between.  The key for me is to always remember to include protein whenever I eat.

Exercise:  Hire my favorite trainer, Chris, to kick my butt once a week.

I am exercising, but I haven't done so well with the intensity.  I need a kick to get me going again.  Chris and I share the same training philosophy, so I trust him to keep me safe while making me work hard.  And the bonus of having someone else train me. . . . . new ideas!  Watch out!  ;) 

There are my goals.  What are yours for Week Five?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week Four is Here!

Week Three has ended and I can't even tell you my official results this week as I forgot to weigh-in first thing this morning.  I can tell you I was down one pound on Friday and Saturday, so there's a good chance I will finally have a negative number!  (It helps to re-focus!)

I did meet this week's goals for both eating and exercise, however, I think I need to refresh my memory regarding all my goals.  I believe I slacked a couple of days this week on my veggie/fruit goal from Week 2.  I would encourage you to do the same, by writing out all your goals so far and keeping them somewhere visible.

Week One:
Exercise - 3 running days, 3 lifting days
Eating - At least 2 bottles of water during the day

Week Two:
Exercise - Up the intensity of lifting workouts - 3 sets (This goal I did slack on - time to remember it!)
Eating - At least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 of fruit daily.

Week Three:
Exercise - Make one running day a speedwork day
Eating - Cut out at least 2 Chai lattes this week 

And, finally, my goals for Week Four: 
Exercise - Include plyometrics (various jumping drills) with one lifting workout this week.
Eating - Track eating (on paper!)  It's easy to forget how much you've eaten.  A visual reminder is extremely helpful.
Limit my Chai latte intake to 3-4 this week.

I know some of you are struggling and frustrated with the weight loss process at times.  Remember, losing weight is NOT easy!  You have to work at it every day.  Don't expect magic to happen.  You have to make this happen for yourself.  Remember, it takes a calorie deficit of 3.500 calories to lose 1 pound!  In order to lose 1 pound in a week, you must create a deficit of 500 calories per day!  Do this with a combination of healthy eating and consistent exercise.  

Look at what you've done in the past three weeks.  What has worked and what hasn't?  Adjust accordingly!  Feeling stuck?  Ask for help.  I'm happy to help.  Let's make this happen.  

Set measureable, challenging, realistic goals for yourself this week.   "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."     

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week Three Begins

I'll be honest, Week Two was a terrible week for me with regards to exercise.  My half-marathon was over and I entered my usual post-event slump.  To start the week, I just couldn't shake being tired.  I gave myself Monday and Tuesday off to recover.  I did a short run on Wednesday and felt really good.  Then Thursday and Friday flew past and despite my best intentions, I was just plain lazy!  I ran on Saturday, but it was tough.  Then once again, the laziness hit on Sunday.  I hate to admit it, but I did not meet my exercise goals this week.  I'm annoyed with myself, but I know it was a temporary set-back.  Nothing worth beating myself up over.  It will be used as motivation for Week Three!   

On the flip-side, I did well with my eating goal this week.  I continued to drink plenty of water and focused on getting fruits and vegetables in.  It's kind of crazy that I have to make myself set a goal of getting more fruits and vegetables, because I love both.  But, I tend to get lazy with my eating at times and skimp on the healthy stuff because I haven't made it to the store to stock up on fresh fruit/veggies.

I know some of you did great this week, while others struggled.  Regardless of how Week Two went, refocus and decide what Week Three will hold for you. 

Week Three for me means getting back to my exercise habits (listed in Week 1 and 2) and using one running day as a speedwork day.  My eating goal is to cut out at least 2 of my Chai Lattes this week.  I can substitute my calorie-laden drink for a calorie-free tea and save around 250+ calories!  (This is a tough one for me.  I do love my morning Chai!)  

So, I enter Week Three with no weight lost or gained.  It's time to get busy and make things happen!  Lazy Week Two is over.  I WILL get moving this week!

How was your week?  Don't forget to check in!  Once I hear from all of you, I will add a running total to this post, so you can see how the 5 in 5 group as a whole is doing!

Note: Total pounds lost, so far : Seven!  :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

5 in 5 - Week Two Begins

Week One of the 5 in 5 Challenge is complete.  How did you do on your goals for the week?
My goal of drinking one bottle of water by lunchtime and a second before I left work was successful 6 out of 7 days.  My exercise goal was also successful, however, my lifting workouts were lighter than I would have liked - due to my half-marathon preparation.

My weight was unchanged as of this morning.  I actually was quite relieved, as I was expecting it to go up after my half-marathon on Sunday.  I anticipate better results next week!   How was your weigh-in this morning?

The next step today is tweaking your goals.   Don't quit doing the good things you started doing last week!  Just do something different - add a new goal to your list or change something about your current goals.  If you were unsuccessful with last week's goals, make the necessary changes to allow for your success. 

Here's my plan for Week Two:

Exercise - Continue Week One goals of 3 running days and 3 lifting/strength days. 
Begin to up the intensity (3 sets of each exercise) of my lifting days towards the end of the week - once my body is fully recovered from the half-marathon.

Eating - Continue Week One goal of drinking at least 2 bottles of water during the day.
Make sure I eat at least 3 servings of vegetables everyday and at least 2 servings of fruit.

It's time to make your plan - if you haven't already.  And, make sure you check in regarding how Week One went and what you plan to do for Week Two. 

Good luck and be healthy!  :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 1 - The 5 in 5 Challenge

Today is Day 1 of the 5 in 5 Challenge.  The day that we weigh in, share our goals for the week, and move forward with a week of change!  8 of us are taking on this challenge together.  Some of you have already shared your goals for this week from exercising a certain number of days, to portion control, to planning meals ahead of time, and more!  Great goals overall!  I'm looking forward to seeing you succeed in this challenge.  :)

In the spirit of accountability, I will share my weekly goals and weight progress on this blog - as well as in the studio. 

Week 1 Goals

Eating (drinking) - Increase my water intake by drinking at least 1 bottle of water by lunchtime and the 2nd before I leave work. 

Exercise - Run 3x this week, Lift or strength work 3x this week.

Unfortunately this week my lifting will have to be lighter and my running shorter since I have a half-marathon this weekend.  But, setting this goal will help me be consistent in a "taper week."  

I do have to share with you that I am a bit nervous about my weigh-in next week.  Let's be honest, it's not going to look good because everytime I do a run of 11+ miles, my weight goes up by 2-3 lbs. for a couple of days.  I believe it's due to the number of calories I burn and the dehydration that occurs during my run.  Afterwards my body hangs on to everything for a couple of days.  I know, you'd think I'd drop weight after a run like that, but it doesn't work that way for me. So, despite my best efforts, you all should do great in comparison this week!  :)  (But that does put the pressure on for me next week - doesn't it?)

Good luck to all of you, and feel free to email me with questions throughout the challenge!

Note: It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.  Creating a daily deficit of 500 calories through exercise (burning calories) and eating (cutting some calories) over the course of one week translates to 1 pound lost!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 5 in 5 Challenge!

With the start of 2010 came many New Year's Resolutions.  Unfortunately, the statistics for keeping those resolutions is staggeringly negative.  I prefer to avoid resolutions in favor of setting goals that have a shorter time frame and realistic, achievable steps.  As you may already know, my previous goal of running the Cascade Half Marathon has almost been achieved.  With the run less than two weeks away, I've decided it's time to start thinking about my next goal.  (I've found that too much downtime between goals can be detrimental!)  And, I am challenging you to join me on this one.  Next Monday, January 11, the 5 in 5 Challenge will begin. 

I am challenging myself, and you, to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks.  Realistically and healthfully, a person can lose 1-2 pounds per week, so some of you may lose more. (If you do not have 5 pounds to lose, please do not accept this challenge!) The key here is to lose that 5 pounds AND keep it off after the 5 weeks is over.  The focus is lifestyle change.  Not dieting or extreme exercise, but healthy eating and regular exercise. 

How does it work?  Between now and Monday make a list of at least one thing you will do differently with your eating and your exercise this next week.  On Monday you will weigh in and make your changes for the week.  The following week you will weigh in again and have a list of what you will change the next week, for a total of five weeks.  Making just 1-2 changes each week will make your goal achievable and will keep your body surprised so that it will give you results each week. 

Those of you who are current clients at The Fitness Studio - you will check in with me weekly to weigh in and share your changes with me.  I will share my progress with you, as well!

So, how about it?  Who will join me in for the 5 in 5 Challenge?