Racquetball

Racquetball
Working out is a critical part of weight management, and yet some people shudder at the very idea. Really – who wants all the hassle, discomfort and icky sweat that comes with strapping yourself to a treadmill every day?

Well, while it is possible to lose weight through dietary restrictions only, it certainly isn’t optimal. Good health is the important thing when it comes to weight loss, not just fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. Don’t think that eating less means you can sit around more; raising your metabolic rate and achieving good cardiovascular health comes from exercise.

But what if you just hate exercise? Well, you might never get to the point where you’re salivating at the thought of jumping on to a Stairmaster, but there are things you can do that can make getting fit and active a little easier and more enjoyable.


Think about what you really love to do.

If what you really love involves lying on a recliner and watching Law and Order, then maybe working out will be a bit of a struggle for you. But if you love music and love to dance, sign up for a dance class, like Hip-Hop, Salsa, Tango or Swing. Dancing is a fantastically fun and wonderfully social activity. Moreover: Did you know that professional ballroom dancers are some of the fittest athletes in the world? The flexibility from perfecting the different moves combined with the cardiovascular fitness from the interval bursts of energy result in phenomenal cardiovascular health!


Develop a useful skill.

Don’t think about exercise as a slog you have to get through every day – think of it as training. If you view working out on a stationary machine as being a waste of time, start using that time on the stationary bike to get fit for a 5k or marathon. Use it to enhance your fitness for a martial arts class – something that is definitely useful.

Even being able to run great distances is a fantastic resource. You never know when you’ll have to sprint for a bus or a train!


Get social!

If you want to get in shape while making new friends, think about joining a local sports league team. Plenty of businesses, bars and community centers have sign ups for soccer teams, softball leagues or basketball teams. When you are engaged in a friendly competition, you can work up an intense sweat and not even know you’re doing it because you’re having such a great time!

If you don’t have any local team resources, try to engage your friends and family in a basketball or football game in a nearby park. Even if you don’t play exceptionally well (or even know the rules), you will all be active and having fun.

Exercise certainly doesn’t have to be an ordeal. When you abandon your belief that exercise is a chore, you are better able to see it for what it really is: An opportunity to enjoy life with old friends while making new ones!

Healthy Eating

Eating healthy can be just so, um… boring

Healthy Eating
Really, how many salads, whole-grain snacks and protein smoothies can we have before we go insane and order a pizza? Don’t despair – you can eat well while eating healthy!

We’ve all been there. We’re doing great; for months, we’ve been counting our calories, making entries into our food journals and making certain that we get such-and-such grams of protein, fiber, carbs, etc. Suddenly, and seemingly without warning, a cheeseburger calls our name. What happened? Aren’t cravings supposed to just stop after strict adherence to healthy eating routines? Sometimes they do. Not always, though.

So how can we make our choices culinarily exciting without letting ourselves slip back into our old habits? Here are a few tips you can try.


Make substitutions tailored to your own tastes.

There are millions of tricks around the web for making healthy, low-fat, low-calorie, and low-carb versions of everything. Some of these recipes are great! Some… not so much. However, when you look into your own eating habits and decide what exactly it is that makes you crave your favorite fattening foods so much, you can make better decisions about how to modify them.

It isn’t strictly the grease in greasy fast foods that we crave – we don’t fantasize about tubs of vegetable shortening. We like flavor- spice, sweetness and tartness. When we learn what healthy flavor combinations stimulate our palates, we don’t think about the lack of fat and calories.

If you like hearty and savory foods, try roasting some vegetables and putting them in a sandwich so that you have the robust and deep flavors you crave without all the fat. If you have an incurable sweet tooth and a love of rich deserts, grill some fresh fruit – pineapples pears and peaches work especially well – and serve with some Greek yogurt sweetened with honey. Once you turn the tables on your cravings, you’ll be able to enjoy great food without any of the guilt.


Try new things.

If you’re stuck in a food rut, splurge on a trip to an exotic restaurant and discover new and interesting techniques for spicing up your boring menu! There are all kinds of unique and healthy flavors just waiting to be explored. Make a date to go and try some cuisine from the Philippines, Lebanon, Ethiopia or Peru. There are tons of new culinary discoveries just waiting for you!


Take a trip to the Farmer’s Market.

Sometimes, the fresh produce at the large-chain grocery stores just doesn’t have much flavor. Supermarkets get fruits and vegetables from all over the world, and they are picked before they’ve reached their peak so that they will be stable by the time they get to the retailer.

However, Farmer’s Market produce was harvested only hours before being put on display, so it tastes the way nature intended – delicious!

Comb through the fruits and vegetables at your local Farmer’s Market and find the ripest in-season fruits and vegetables to take home and prepare. Very often, the farmers will have tips for preparing their wares in such a way as to extract the most natural flavor. Once you’re reminded how heavenly an in-season peach tastes, you’ll find yourself craving them and not peach pie!

Learning to eat healthy foods for enjoyment and not merely out of obligation is key to long term weight management and overall health. Eating well is more than just restricting calories – it is about eating nutritionally dense and delicious food that improves and enriches the quality of your life!

LetsMove1

We hear in the news about the growing rate of obesity in America due to people not eating healthy and not getting enough exercise, which is an increasing problem that is not only affecting adults, but also children. Nearly one in three children in America today are overweight and childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last thirty years.

What do we do? How do we combat childhood obesity? Luckily, there are many organizations and individuals offering solutions to help combat this epidemic.

Let’s Move!

Let’s Move may be one of the best known organizations working to combat the childhood obesity epidemic as it is led by First Lady Michelle Obama. Let’s Move is billed as a comprehensive initiative that focuses on all aspects of the issue by promoting healthy eating and physical activity.

One of the methods by which the Let’s Move initiative helps to encourage healthy eating is by working in conjunction with the USDA and the new food icon MyPlate, which replaces the old food pyramid as a guide to healthy, balanced meals. You can even find MyPlate Recipes on Pinterest, which features thousands of healthy recipes for each food group.

Let’s Move also features 5 Simple Steps to Success for parents, schools, kids, chefs, health care providers, and community leaders to help all individuals and groups take action in the effort to improve children’s health across the United States.

Children’s Obesity Fund

Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi are the co-founders of Children’s Obesity Fund, a non-profit organization with the goal to increase awareness and understanding of how to raise healthy and happy children to make sure that the ensuing generations are strong and live active lives. The Omidi brothers are concerned about the growing U.S. obesity rates and the reality that unhealthy habits start at a very young age.

Julian Omidi covers current trends and new studies about healthy eating and exercise on his blog in addition to other philanthropic topics. He believes the best way to right against childhood obesity is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. With simple proactive lifestyle changes, parents can help their children from ever becoming obese. Four guidelines that Julian Omidi suggests for parents to teach their children how to live a healthy lifestyle include:

  1. Serve food portions that are recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children.
  2. Promote healthy eating choices such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, lean meats, and fish.
  3. Make exercising fun by participating in fun activities with your children such as sports or other outdoor activities and limit the time you child spends indoors watching TV, playing video games, or being on the computer.
  4. Moderate the amount of junk food you child consumes. Special treats are okay from time to time but if your child is eating junk food on a daily basis, try switching out the junk foods with healthy alternatives like fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are not high in fat and sugar.

NICHQ and COAN

The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality is a non-profit organization that has worked since 1999 to apply innovative approaches to improving children’s health, including childhood obesity. NICHQ formed the Childhood Obesity Action Network to organize healthcare professionals across all 50 states of the US and 4 additional countries to combat childhood obesity. This organization allows the sharing of resources, news, and publications in addition to other helpful items.

A major federal health survey has shown that the obesity rate among young children has decreased by 43% in the last 10 years, so hopefully these initiatives are working and we will be able to provide a brighter, healthier future for our children with continued efforts, awareness, and solutions.

Fitness Tips

When we decide we need to lose a few pounds, we are very often doing it for mainly aesthetic reasons. We want to look good, feel great about ourselves and be more popular as a result. Unfortunately, when we use only surface criteria as a measure of success, we are more likely to abandon our endeavors if we don’t feel we are getting thin enough, fast enough.

How do we keep our eyes on the prize and continue a healthy lifestyle journey in a sustainable way? It is essential that we lose weight and keep fit for the right reasons. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by the pressure to look a certain way, keep the following reasons you really should stay fit in mind.


To live longer for your family and children.

Fitness Tips
Obesity is a huge global health problem. People who suffer from obesity are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and even some cancers. Losing weight in a healthy way can raise your life expectancy significantly, and if you have a family and children who care about you, then that matters far more than if you are able to get into the same jeans you wore in high school.

Think about the example you are setting for your children. Being an active, healthy and responsible adult will pay far greater dividends in terms of your kids’ future success than taking them out for ice cream. In fact, when parents demonstrate healthy eating patterns by eating together with the entire family, children were shown to take in 1.5 more servings of fruits and vegetables than those who did not eat with their families.


To feel happier and more energetic.

Granted, if we’ve struggled on a new diet and workout routine for months and we see our hard work translate to lowering numbers on a scale, of course we feel good! We are getting closer to becoming the person we’ve always wanted to be – on the outside.

However, the infamous weight plateau can sometimes cause us to feel as though we’ve failed; we’ll never reach our goal and we’ll be heavy forever. This attitude can contribute to abandoning the program and falling into our old habits. But when you measure your success in terms of how your lifestyle has made you feel physically – the increased energy, the better mood – you will feel like a success no matter what the scale says.

Working out and eating healthy foods helps your body produce mood enhancing hormones that help you feel energized, sleep better and feel better all around.


To live a more productive life.

When you are happier, more energized and healthier, you can accomplish anything. Think about how getting a better night’s sleep, being sharper and more focused can help you personally, academically and professionally.

Studies have shown that regular exercise, even walking, helps you to retain learned information longer and perform better on tests. Moreover, in the workplace, particularly if you are in a team-leadership position, being positive, energetic and motivated will definitely help you succeed.

Everyone wants to look like a movie star. But isn’t it more important to feel great, perform well and live a productive and happy life? The next time you get on your scale, remember that no matter what you see, the value of your life and achievements and overall happiness can’t be measured in pounds.

New Years Fitness

Successful New Years Fitness

The beginning of a new year always brings along the desire to get into shape. We join gyms, fill our fridges with healthy, fresh foods and start writing food journals. Unfortunately, some of us tend to lose our zest for fitness somewhere between President’s Day and Easter – if not earlier – when we find that the weight might not be coming off as quickly as anticipated.

What can we do to keep that momentum going? Here are three tips for keeping our healthy lifestyle promises to ourselves.


Start slowly.

New Years Fitness
Yes, we all want to jump into the weight-loss fray with both feet, but when we alter our lifestyles drastically from the outset, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we are trying to change habits that were built up over a lifetime. Our family lives, jobs, homes and social activities sometimes dictate our choices, which can grow to be quite unhealthy over time if we let them.

Don’t expect to suddenly live a vigorous, Spartan lifestyle if you’ve spent the last 10 years on a Barcalounger. Begin to incorporate activity into your existing routine – start speed walking when you walk your dog; always take the stairs in any building; park as far away from your destination as possible in parking lots. When you begin to build cardiovascular health, energy and start seeing results, you will want to start increasing your intensity, and your motivation will be heightened.


Don’t starve.

Constantly feeling hungry only reminds us that we are on a dreaded diet, and over time, our obsession with eating and food can overtake our judgment. Instead of severely restricting calories right at the beginning, begin to supplement your existing diet with raw fruits and vegetables; fill up on crudité and apple slices before meals. You’ll fill your body with fantastic, unprocessed nutrients while naturally shrinking your portions of more calorie dense foods.

Also, make sure you get your protein in the morning! Skim milk, egg whites and yogurt are great sources of energy-boosting protein, and studies have shown that a protein-rich breakfast staves off hunger more effectively than a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. Even if you enjoy a bowl of morning oatmeal, have a glass of skim milk along with it for an additional boost.


Get the family involved

Your entire family is gorging on pizza, hot wings and chocolate lava cake while you nibble quietly on a salad. You might be strong in the beginning, but if those tempting foods are constantly accessible, you will eventually lose sight of your goal and slip back into old habits.

Try to get the family motivated to live healthier lifestyles. Don’t force them to adhere to a new, militaristic regime, but make sure you gently convey to them how important this lifestyle change is for everyone. When everyone works as a unit, each individual’s resolve is strengthened.

Living a fit and healthy lifestyle is certainly within everyone’s grasp. When you start moderately, work consistently and keep an active support group behind you, you will definitely make 2014 your fittest year ever!

Exercise Motivation

Motivational Tips to Keep you Active and Exercising

Exercise Motivation
It’s 5am, and the clock radio is blaring. The morning is frosty, but your bed is warm. You know you have to get a move on if you are going to get your morning workout in before you have to get ready for work, but today you just need a few more minutes…

Suddenly, it’s 25 minutes later, you haven’t moved from your bed and it’s time to jump in the shower.

Sometimes, we just can’t face our morning run or going to the gym. We may know that exercise is essential to maintaining cardiovascular health, staying fit and even getting a good night’s sleep, but sometimes, just spending those extra few minutes in bed or vegging out on the sofa is just sooo much more tempting.

What can we do to motivate ourselves to get up and get working? Here are four helpful hints that should motivate you to get cracking before you succumb to your inner couch potato.


Just get up!

Alright… it’s late, traffic’s a nightmare and you just can’t face a crowded gym and waiting in line for the elliptical. So, don’t. Get out and go for a run, instead.

We sometimes get locked into such as specific routine that we think that if we can’t adhere to it in every detail, we might as well skip it. However, when it comes to working out, the world is a gym. You don’t have to rush to a particular, subscription-only fitness center to stay trim and healthy. You can go for a brisk walk or run; you can do resistance training in your own home (if you don’t have weights, you can use your own body weight as resistance). There are tons of online free fitness videos you can try. You can even put on some music and just dance!


Remember how you feel when you exercise.

Occasionally, we just feel so blah and lazy that we think we might be better off just skipping the workout. But working out is a tremendous energizer and mood elevator, and when we feel stressed, depressed or just sluggish, getting that heart pumping and working up a sweat is just what the doctor ordered to make us feel great!

Finishing a workout when we thought we couldn’t also gives us a feeling of power, triumph and discipline – feelings we sure wouldn’t have had if we just stayed in and watched TV.


Instead of saying, “I’ll get to the gym later,” tell yourself, “I’ll relax later.”

If you are in the habit of putting things off, try to put off your non-productive activities. By redirecting your instincts towards efficiency instead of passivity, you will simply accomplish more — both with regard to your fitness goals, and life in general.

Treats feel much more rewarding when they are earned. Get up, get on that treadmill and work until you are satisfied that you deserve an hour or two of laziness!

Remember, it takes at least a few months of regular exercise sessions before the need to work out every day becomes a hard-wired part of our routine, and not just a sporadic indulgence. Keep at it – before you know it, you’ll feel so great and look so stunning that you wouldn’t dream of skipping a day!