Monday, May 14, 2012

So-called Healthy Rules I Don't Follow

So there are several "rules" that often come to mind when it comes to being healthy, losing weight, dieting etc.  Now, keep in mind I don't believe in "going on a diet;" rather, I live my life every day eating a healthy diet (okay, the majority of days).  And however legitimate some of these rules may be, they are rules that I almost always break.  Generally, I break them for convenience, but for the most part, I break them because they either a) don't seem worth it or b) breaking them doesn't seem to negatively affect my lifestyle.

1. Don't Eat After 7pm (or whatever time)
I LOVE having a nighttime snack before bed.  I guess because it's something I grew up doing.  It's just part of my routine.  And yes, sometimes I have to be careful that it doesn't turn into an all out fridge-raiding binge fest, but usually I can control myself by having a 200-300 calorie snack depending on my overall intake that day and my exercise.  Usually that looks like one salty thing and one sweet thing.  Like a small bag of popcorn (100 calories) and a small serving of non-dairy ice cream (100-150 calories).  Maybe it is sabotaging my efforts to stay trim, but it doesn't appear to be.  I lost nearly 30 pounds while still eating a snack right before bed.  And even if I could have done so faster or more effectively, it still wouldn't be worth it.  My before-bed snack is a treat that I look forward to each night.

2. Eat fruit an hour before or after your meal.
I know that this has many benefits for vitamin absorption, and I should note to you that I usually do have a fruit separately from a meal as a snack at some point during the day.  However, during lunch particularly, I like to give myself something sweet, so I'll often have an apple or some mango with lunch.  I also put a half of a banana and some berries in my oatmeal every morning.  By dinnertime I've usually consumed my allotted amount of fruits for the day, so that usually isn't an issue.  Again, I could be getting better results in terms of nutrient and vitamin absorption if I followed this rule but it's what I enjoy and I'm afraid that if I spaced out my fruits accordingly, I might skip them all together.

3.  Eat slowly.
This one has many benefits for preventing over eating and aiding in healthy digestion, and I know it would help me, but for various reasons it's a rule that just doesn't seem worth it.  I try to eat slowly, but I almost always fail.  I just really LOVE food!  Trying to conform to this rule seems more arduous than is worth the benefits.  I don't usually overeat on a regular basis, so there doesn't seem to be a point anyway.  Eating slowly is something that I would recommend to people looking to prevent overeating, but I would tell them that for me, trying to conform to a pace that doesn't come naturally makes mealtime less enjoyable and thus, may not be worth it.

What are some "rules" you break?  Does it seem to make a difference?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Morning Workout EVERYONE Can Do

As many of you know, I'm doing P90X right now (just started week 6!), which generally takes about an hour and fifteen minutes each day, but I'm also only working part-time and don't have a family of my own to take care of.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very, very busy and have simply had to make working out a priority.  Sometimes that means turning down a trip to the mall with my girlfriends, but if I want results, I have to put it in the time.  I can always reschedule with friends, but I'll never get a day back that I didn't work out--a day that pushed me farther from my fitness goals.

So, maybe you don't have an hour a day, or you're new to fitness and not ready for something as rigorous as P90X, but if you really, truly want to transform for your body, you can start by adding a brief workout like this one each morning.  This looks like a great way to get started and after a month or so of doing this, I bet you'll want to do more challenging exercises and spend more time each day dedicated to working out.  Once you start seeing the results--body transformation, increased energy, stronger muscles, etc--you'll realize that you actually have more time than you think.

Give it a shot:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MPD: Fight

Motivational Picture of the Day

I don't usually make this blog about being "skinny" and I try not to focus on weight loss, but rather I try put the emphasis on health and fitness, but this quote really made me think.  What do you think?  Is it true?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My New Favorite Fit and Healthy Lunch: Portobello Avocado Sandwich

This is a meal I pretty much made up myself, but it's becoming my favorite healthy lunch.  It's vegetarian, yet still has plenty of protein (thanks to the Ezekila bun, avocado and the portobello mushroom).

(this is a generic photo, not the one I actually make)
On one Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Grain Hamburger Bun Put the Following:
  • One large, grilled portobello mushroom cap (I use my Cuisineart Griddler, which is like a George Forman, until it is pretty black, making it easier to bite off without getting stringy.  I cook it on a very small amount of olive oil and I add a dash of salt on top of the mushroom cap)
  • One slice of red onion
  • One slice of tomato
  • 4 slices of cucumber
  • 1/5 avocado with some lime juice on it
  • A few pieces of fresh spinach (or lettuce)
  • Spicy Brown mustard (or whatever spread you like)
On the side, I have one half of a baked sweet potato or yam (no salt or butter needed!).  

Here's the nutritional breakdown for the whole meal (based on information from

Calories: 311
Fat: 4.5g
Protein: 12.67g
Carbohydrates: 57.2g
Fiber: 11.9

Some other things that might be good on the sandwich (but not ALL of them at the same time!):

  • Sprouts
  • Shredded carrots
  • Reduced Fat cream cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • What else would you put on yours?

MPD: Sweat!

Motivational Picture of the Day:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be A Fit and Healthy Weekend Warrior

Happy Monday everyone!  If you're like many people, Monday is often a day to "get back on the wagon."  I usually give myself a little more freedom on the weekends in terms of food choices, but I know I used to have a really hard time not overdoing it.

Here are some tips that helped me conquer the weekend binge fest:

  1. Do Your Grocery Shopping on Thursday.  Of course, Thursday may not be a good day for you, but you might want to try to do your grocery shopping as close to the weekend as possible; that way you are sure to have a  fridge and pantry fully stocked with healthy treats for the weekend.  Late night binges on take-out or delivery are often caused by the feeling of "there's nothing to eat."  Prevent it by stocking up on healthy snacks and meals.
  2. Do Your Homework.  One of the hardest parts about overeating on the weekends is that we are more likely to dine out on the weekends.  Before heading to a restaurant, check the menu online and decide on what the most healthful option for you would be.  Don't forget to calculate in alcoholic beverages if you choose to have any (I recommend skipping them and really enjoying the meal).  You may also want to figure out ahead of time how you can get your meal modified to suit your dietary goals.  I never hesitate or feel bad about requesting a side salad instead of fries or asking that the chef hold the oil/butter, bacon bits, egg yolks, etc.  As long as you are polite, the waiter and kitchen staff should not have a problem with this.  Don't be embarrassed or feel guilty about getting what you know you want and deserve.
  3. Plan Ahead.  I often do this during the week, but during the weekend it's even more crucial.  Now that you know what you'll be having for dinner because you did your research on the restaurant, might as well figure out what you'll be eating for the rest of the weekend, too.  In the morning (or even the night before), write down what you plan to eat and how many calories it will be.  This decreases your risk of grabbing something without thinking first.  As the day goes on, plans may change and you may have to make alterations to your menu, but you'll still be prepared for the majority of the day.
  4. Don't Sleep In Too Late.  We all love to sleep in a little on the weekends, but sleeping in too late and skipping breakfast can really throw off your whole day.  Make sure you get up and have a healthful, balanced breakfast (preferably the same breakfast you normally have or something similar) and stick to your normal eating times.
  5. Work out!  Many people say it's harder to be motivated to workout on the weekends, and I can definitely relate.  You'd think having more time would make it easier, but for whatever reason it doesn't.  Some ways to stay accountable with your workouts on the weekends are: make plans with a workout buddy to meet up at a certain time to workout, workout earlier in the day so that you don't keep putting it off until it just doesn't happen, and save that especially fun workout that you look forward to for the weekend that way you don't dread your workout.  By working out, if you do eat more on the weekends or eat less healthfully, you're guaranteeing that you burn it off (or at least some of it).
You may still "fail."  A lot of well-meaning people will tell you, "Don't worry about it!  Tomorrow is a new day!"  While it's important not to beat yourself up about it, make a mental note of that feeling of remorse and regret.  Really feel what that is like to know that you genuinely want so badly to do better.  Sitting with the disappointment for a while will actually prevent you from making the same mistakes again.  For me, sometimes the only way I can seem to make a positive change is when not changing becomes so painful and disappointing that I simply can't stand it anymore!  Please forgive yourself for your poor choices, but don't let yourself off the hook for next time either.

I hope this helps!  Do you have any other tips for staying healthy on the weekends?