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Fitness Resolutions: Healthy Snacking

Your hectic lifestyle can make it hard to eat right and get the nutrition you need for that superhero-style energy level. Skipping those fast food runs and packing your own lunch for the day is an easy way to keep your energy running in high gear. Plus, it limits your chances of overeating at the next meal.

High-protein snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of water and green tea on hand can help you snack smart throughout the day. Here are some easy ways to keep up with those healthy eating goals as you tackle those busy days ahead:

Stock up on your favorite snacks – A Burton Lil’ Buddy bag is all you need to stock up on your favorite snacks and drinks so you’re always prepared for those hunger pangs that creep up at the last minute. These types of bags are convenient and easy to stash away under the car seat or even under your desk at work. You don’t have any excuse to forget about those carrots and celery sticks, or even load up on a few cans of green tea for the day!

Make a point about protein – Eating more protein can curb hunger pangs and keep your energy levels up even during that afternoon slump. High-protein snacks such as string cheese, beef jerky and low-fat yogurt are healthy snacks that can get you through the day with flying colors.

Skip the heavy lunch – Eating lunch that’s loaded with carbs is a surefire way to snooze through the remainder of the day and take away from your productivity. Eat a light and healthy lunch that contains plenty of protein (see above.) Packing your own lunch is a surefire way to keep up with your healthy intentions. Try salads, stuffed pita bread or even a healthy wrap so you can say goodbye to take out for good.

Avoid the sugar-caffeine buzz – It’s tempting to load up on sugar and caffeine when energy levels run low, but this can only put you on an addictive high-low cycle. Skip this altogether by eating plenty of fruit for energy and noshing on those healthy snacks throughout the day.

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Fitness Resolutions: Stay Focused, Stay Motivated

It’s easy enough to commit to a fresh new workout routine or fitness resolution to get in tip-top shape for the season ahead, but when it comes to strapping on those running shoes at the wee hour of 5 a.m. and heading to the gym, motivation levels can hit an all-time low. In most cases, making the decision to jump into a new workout routine is much easier than actually making it to that next workout or even getting through it. If you’re less than excited about trading in snooze time for an early morning cardio blast, here are a few ways to stick with those good intentions and get started on your fitness quest:

1. Pick up some new gear:
Nothing beats some a snazzy new pair of shoes or a new gym outfit , a quick way to brighten up those grueling days on the treadmill and look great while you sweat away the pounds. It won’t take much to get started on your workout wardrobe, just a few new shirts, shorts and a new pair of athletic shoes can be enough to help you take a big leap in the right direction. It’s just like dressing for success; when you’re preparing to reach your goals with a positive mindset, you’re much more likely to get there. Fast.

2. Eat like a star:
When energy levels plummet or you’re on a sugar high-low rollercoaster all day, making it through a workout can be an impossible task. Make sure you’re eating enough protein and cutting back on the extras – sugars, fats and junk food – so you have enough energy to get through the day, your workout and then some. Don’t forget to guzzle down a few bottles of water throughout the day either – sometimes that in itself is your instant picker-upper.

3. Focus on the goal:
Whether your goal is to lose weight, train for a marathon or just feel like an Olympic champion, keep your eye on the prize. Imagining yourself reaching your goal day in, day out can be enough to keep you chugging along on all eight cylinders. Positive visualization works for athletes and champions; it could work for you too.

Stress, Stress, Stress: Find YOUR Stress Reducer

With the busy lives people live today, stress has become a big buzz word. Stress, stress, stress! But what exactly are we talking about? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, stress is “a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” Ouch! We all know that the emotional and physical toll of stress can be great, from headaches to ulcers. But what can we actually do about it? Many of us have families, jobs and other things that are an inherent part of our lives, so eliminating the stress altogether is impossible. Fortunately, there are a lot of real things you can do to reduce stress and its impact, all while keeping your life (and sanity) intact.

Don’t Add To Your Load
As I mentioned, a lot of factors that cause day-to-day stress are here to stay. But, if you take a closer look, you may find there are ways you can eliminate some stress without compromising your quality of life. Take a few minutes to jot down what, or who, causes you to stress out. Then ask yourself which things you have control over and which you don’t. Procrastinating, consuming too much sugar and caffeine and not budgeting your money can all complicate an already stressful day. Instead of looking at the things that stress you out, look to the root of the problems. You may have more control than you think. If a messy house has you pulling out your hair, a weekly list of what needs to be cleaned when can add to your sense of control, thereby reducing your stress.

Find The Stress Reducers That Work For You
Marketers use the term “stress reduction” to sell everything from lotion to herbal supplements. But many things that are supposed to reduce stress just don’t do the trick, and the same techniques won’t work for everyone. A few ideas to try and tweak are aromatherapy candles, percussion or chair massagers, hot baths or showers, meditation, keeping a journal and exercising. The best stress reducer, of course, is the one that works for you.

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Healthier Lifestyle Week by Week: Tie a Knot in the Caffeine IV

Everyone understands the importance of a healthier lifestyle. But, let’s face it. Giving up all those bad habits at once is just too much to ask. Trust me. There have been times when I’ve given up every bit of candy and snacks to try to be healthier, not to mention smaller. Guess what? It never worked. A healthier lifestyle isn’t meant to happen overnight. What does work is making one change at a time.

Each week, this blog will offer up advice on a lifestyle change that will make you healthier. I will explain the challenges involved with each change, as well as ways to overcome them. So, without further ado, let’s move on to this week’s healthy lifestyle change.

During the fall of 2001, I made three trips to the ER. I felt absolutely horrible, but none of the doctors were able to pinpoint what was wrong. At the last visit, they finally discovered the problem. I was dehydrated. The dehydration was to the point that I was dizzy and sick constantly. I was also weak and was having vision problems. I was stunned. After all, I drank around 6 cans of soda each day. According to the doctor, that was the problem. Caffeine had caused the dehydration. But, I must admit that I went back to caffeine. Caffeine is addictive after all. In 2003, I had more health issues. A painful lump appeared on my breast. Luckily, it turns out that it was only a cyst. I was told to stop drinking caffeine and the cyst went away.

What’s the point in telling you all this? The point is to make you understand the need to drop caffeine from your lifestyle. Caffeine causes health problems, plain and simple. How can you stop though? What worked for me is cutting cold turkey. Trying to wean yourself off caffeine doesn’t work. Switch your drinks to caffeine-free versions (they taste just as good). You will have a headache for a few days, but you’ll also sleep a lot better. Slip into a comfortable pair of pajamas and enjoy your healthier lifestyle.

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More Workplace Snacking No-No's

When sinful treats and fast food lunches fill up your days at the office, it’s hard to stick with a healthy diet. Just make sure you steer clear of these seven deadly diet sins to keep your healthy motives on track.

When you’re bombarded with sinful treats from well-meaning coworkers or heading off on yet another fast food lunch for a mid-day refueling session, sticking with a healthy diet at the office may seem impossible.

Eating out regularly and snacking on sugary foods throughout the day is the fast track to weight gain, and day-to-day stresses can make it even harder to stick with a diet plan. When you’re stuck behind a desk all day, one of the keys to staying fit is to steer clear of the deadliest diet sins – the fat traps at the office holding you back from getting in shape. Here are just seven deadly diet sins to avoid at the office:

1. Morning Donuts. Those Monday morning meetings can quickly turn into a diet catastrophe with the donut plate, that innocent-looking platter of sugar and fat-laden treats to accompany your coffee.

2. Birthday Treats. Coworkers’ birthdays are the easiest way to fall off your diet course, but all those baked goodies can easily add up to extra pounds around the waistline.

3. Vending Machine Snackfest. When stress levels run amock, it’s easy to head off to the vending machine for a quick snack. Unless you’re craving granola bars or a bag of pretzels, you’ll be vulnerable to potato chips, cream-filled cakes and candy bars that can do more harm than good.

4. Soda Pick-Me-Ups. Loading up on sugar and caffeine might help you get through the day, but they won’t be helping your fitness aspirations. Sugary soda will also take you on a sugar high-low ride, leaving you even more vulnerable to overeating when you crash.

5. Mid-afternoon Chocolate Attacks. When a negative mood and low energy levels unite, you may be at risk for a chocolate fix. The mid-afternoon slump is the window of opportunity for the devil’s food indulgences, so eat a healthy lunch to combat cravings for good.

6. Candy Jar Social Hour. When coworkers serve up candy and sugary treats at their desk, make sure to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to avoid a diet catastrophe.

7. The Office Bake-Off. While it’s hard to resist your colleague’s homemade chocolate brownies, ‘just saying no’ can help you say ‘yes’ to a healthier body in a few short weeks.

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Staying Fit in the Workplace: What to eat, and What Not to Eat, That is the Question

Keeping up with your fitness agenda can take second place when looming deadlines, endless meetings and a never ending to-do list fill up the calendar. Make sure you steer clear of these five fat traps and keep your fitness resolution with ease!

Keeping up with your fitness agenda can take second place when looming deadlines, endless meetings and a never ending to-do list fill up the calendar. While some of us can sneak in some gym time during lunch hour or after work, it’s the eight hours <em>at </em>work that usually sabotage most of our efforts to stay in shape and ward off excess pounds.

When you’ve got a busy schedule to manage, steer clear of these five fat traps so you can stick with your fitness goals with ease:

Fat Trap #1: Free Donuts and Bagels at the Morning Meeting

Starting the day with a sugar laden donut or high-carb bagel may help you wake up, but it could be the ultimate saboteur to your diet plan. Eating too much sugar at once can get you on the high end of a sugar high-low cycle, leaving you to crash a few hours later.

Solution: Skip the freebies at the office and eat a healthy breakfast before leaving home. Try oatmeal with fruit or an egg white omelet to supercharge your day.

Fat Trap #2: Staying Stuck Behind the Desk for Eight Hours Straight

No matter how big that pile of work may be, you don’t have to stay glued to the computer screen or shuffling papers behind a desk for hours on end. Sitting in one place for extended periods of time burns very few calories per hour, and can leave you feeling tired and stressed.

Solution:Take frequent breaks to walk around, run an errand or just visit a few people in other departments. Increasing your heart rate even slightly can help keep your mind fresh and keep those calories burning at a steady rate.

Fat Trap #3: Lunch Meetings

‘Let’s do lunch!’ may be the mantra at your office, but it’s easy to overeat on unhealthy foods when you’re heading off to restaurants, or worse – fast food places.

Solution: Pack a lunch the night before so you always have a healthy choice at hand. Avoid eating out more than once or twice per week so you can extend some control on what you eat during your mid-day meal.

Fat Trap #4: The Candy Jar

It’s only natural to reach for the sugar during the mid-afternoon slump, but the combination of sugar, chocolate and fat can do more harm than good – no matter how great you feel right after your treat. Calories from ‘just a few’ miniature candy bars or hard candies can quickly add up and put a damper on your healthy eating plans.<br><em>

Solution: Steer clear of the candy jar and don’t keep one within easy reach. Try a healthier afternoon pick-me-up such as an apple, healthy protein such as string cheese or yogurt, or even a handful of nuts for a satisfying treat.

Fat Trap #5: Snacking when Stressed

When the pressure’s on and you need a boost of energy, it’s easy to head to the snack machine for some instant fuel. Only trouble is, that vending machine is probably full of sugary treats and fattening salty snacks that will only tide you over for an hour or two.

Solution: Anticipate a snack attack and pack accordingly; pick up fresh fruit salad, vegetables, granola bars, low fat popcorn or even miniature boxes of cereal to snack on when stress levels run high. The ‘crunch’ factor alone can help reduce stress and satisfy those cravings.

When you’re stuck behind a desk all day, it’s easy to fall into dozens of fat traps that can leave you with extra weight in a few short months. Stay a step ahead of the weight gain trends at the office by avoiding these common fat traps.

Ready, Aim...Fire: How To Aim When You're Exercising

Everyone has a body part that they would like to change given the chance. Whether you hate your thighs or your stomach or your love handles, there are ways to target your exercise regimen to firm up those areas you’d rather not show to the public just yet.

Everyone has a body part that they would like to change given the chance. Whether you hate your thighs or your stomach or your love handles, there are ways to target your exercise regimen to firm up those areas you’d rather not show to the public just yet, as long as you have the willpower to sustain a regular workout. Although you shouldn’t neglect full-body exercise such as cardio, you can incorporate certain aimed exercises.

Abdominals

This area is perhaps the most frequently targeted as aimed exercise, and is also one of the most commonly neglected. Doing crunches once or twice a day is usually sufficient to keep this area in check, but it’s important to exercise the right way if you want to see results.

Some people use equipment such as exercise balls and ab rollers to perfect their techniques, but according to Elizabeth Quinn , nothing beats the Bicycle Crunch. Simply lie on your back with your hands beside your head, and alternately bring your elbowsto the opposite knee. This type of aimed exercise targets all abdominal muscles, and will even start to chip away at those love handles.

Thighs

Women are probably the gender most often concerned about their thighs, and thankfully there are aimed exercises that can help slim them down and tone them up. Of course, most women don’t want bulging thigh muscles that make it difficult to fit into their jeans, so the trick is to exercise without adding bulky muscles.

One of the most popular exercises for this area is the Sumo Squat, which is easy enough to do for beginners but can be made more difficult for advanced workout enthusiasts. Stand with your legs slightly spread, toes forward, and place your hands in prayer position in front of your chest. Then squat down as far as you can without allowing your knees to venture in front of your toes, hold for three seconds, and straighten back up. To increase the burn, you can hold a dumbbell between your hands rather than squeezing your palms together.

Butt

If you don’t like your view from the rear, it might be time to shape up that but. Aimed exercise for the buttocks can provide shape and toning, but again you don’t want to build bulky muscle. For this reason, your exercise regimen should include strength training movements that are intended to tone down rather than bulk up.

A Kneeling Leg Press, for example, is perfect for the buttocks, and will also help to shape your outer thighs and even your abdominals. Start by kneeling on the ground with the heels of your hands directly underneath your shoulder blades and the fronts of your knees under your hips. Flex your left foot, keeping your eyes directly between your hands, and slowly lift your leg in the air until your knee is level with your hips. Hold, then slowly lower back to the floor. If you need an additional challenge, try squeezing a rubber ball at your knee joint.

There are thousands of other aimed exercises that can target different areas of the body, but make sure you’re targeting the results you want. If your goal is to build muscle, try cardio exercise and weight lifting, but stick to strength training exercises if you simply want to tone.