Archive for the ‘Health Tips’ Category
Is your iced venti triple chocolate whipped cream everything but the kitchen sink making you pack on the pounds?
Check out these summer drinks from Starbucks so you can cool off without breaking the calorie bank.
1. Iced Skinny Flavored Latte
2. Shaken Green Iced Tea Lemonade Unsweetened
3. Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee
Remember everything you put in your body adds up. Next time you hit the coffee counter know what is in that drink you’re about to order. Visit the Starbucks website for more of their nutrition information.
Photo Credit: http://starbucksorder.tumblr.com
Healthy meal options can be very limited at the beach. Snack bars are commonly stalked with chips, ice-cream and fried food. Skip the chips and try one of these great snacks instead.
1. Frozen Grapes
Place as many grapes in a zip-lock bag as you like. Place the bag in your freezer the night before your trip to the beach. The grapes should be frozen by the next morning. Pack this refreshing snack in your cooler for a sweet treat at the beach.
2. Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Cut up fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Dress lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Store this in a Tupperware dish or bowl. This snack will keep you full and you won’t feel weighed down after eating it.
3. Fruit & Nuts
This time of year there are so many options for great tasting fruit. Cut up your favorite fruit and store it in a tupperware dish, sprinkle a handful of almonds on top and keep it cold in your cooler.
Pick a brand that has a lot of protein to stay fuller longer. My favorite brands are Chobani and Oikos. Bring a small container of almond or peanut butter to add to your yogurt for a balanced and delicious snack.
5. Hummus and Veggies
Sabra Hummus comes in small snack size containers. Pack a few of these with a bag of your favorite vegetables. Cut up some peppers, carrots, celery and cucumbers for a nice vegetable medley.
Your best defense against unhealthy eating is to always be prepared. When you know you’re going into a situation like a day at the beach, take the time to plan some healthy options for you and your family.
The beach can be a very relaxing place. For those of you that would rather burn calories than your skin, put on some sunscreen and give one of these 10 activities a try.
1. Bocce Ball
The beach is a great place for a Bocce Ball game. When your ball lands it’s less likely to roll because of the soft sand. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of playing room so you won’t disturb anyone working on their tan.
The best way to cool off and get some exercise. You don’t have to perform a perfect crawl stroke to enjoy swimming. As long as you’re moving around in the water you’re getting exercise.
3. Ladder Ball
This game is easy to set up and break down. The Ladders stick perfectly into the sand. Ladder ball is great entertainment for a day at the beach.
When you’re with a large group volleyball is a good choice for a game. Bring your own net and use a traditional volleyball or blow up beach ball for a less competitive game. Many beaches will have a volleyball area or net already set up.
5. Build A Sandcastle
This activity is great for a family beach day. Bring plenty of “building materials” and make it a contest between everyone in your group. Give a special prize to the winner.
This game is similar to horseshoes. Baggo is another activity that is easy to set up and transport to the beach. If you have multiple people that want to play make this activity into a tournament.
Play foot ball on the sand or in the water if you want to cool off. This game can provide endless hours of entertainment for any group size.
8. Go For A Walk
Enjoy the breeze off of the ocean and take a nice walk next to the water on the beach. If you’re with children, incorporate a game. Challenge them to find the most seashells or a certain color rock.
9. Bury a Friend
Dig a hole in the sand for one of your friends to lye down in. Then pile all of that sand back on them from the shoulders down. You can even make them into a mermaid or another type of sea creature.
This activity is also great if you’re with a larger group. Running back and forth on the sand adds a new level of difficulty to this game depending on how soft the sand is.
Give these activities a try for a fit and fun day at the beach!
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and regain focus in your day. It’s a simple practice that can be very beneficial. Here’s how to get started.
Find a comfortable spot in your house. It can be a big chair, your bed or a spot on the floor. Wear comfortable clothing and find a position you feel good in. You can lay down, sit with your legs crossed or lean up against a wall.
Set Aside Time For Your “Time-Out”
Set a timer for 5, 10 or 15:00, whatever you can squeeze in your day. Forget about the laundry, dishes or 80 other things you have on your to-do list today. When your timer goes off you are done and can go about your day with a clear mind and refreshed feeling.
Quiet The Room
Make sure there are no artificial noises like your television or radio in the background. Pick a time when you know you won’t be interrupted by anyone or anything. This may be challenging at first depending on how many people you live with. You may have to wake up 15:00 early or wait until everyone is asleep in your home to ensure your own personal quiet time.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. At first it may be difficult to focus. It will blow your mind how noisy your thoughts are until you try to quiet them. Try counting your breaths or repeating one word over and over. If your mind starts to drift don’t get discouraged just come back to focusing on your breath.
Forget About The “Noise”
So much of our days are spent worrying about ourselves and the ones close to us, taking a 10-15:00 break to think about nothing can be very liberating. We are exposed to so much noise through out the day. Television, radio, billboard advertisements, magazines, iphone applications, it’s all noise when you think about it.
Give this time-out a chance. If you feel silly don’t worry, no one is watching you!
Photo Credit: downtowndharma.com
Next week is April vacation for most schools. If you’re planning a trip or taking time off from work, follow these tips to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
Brown Bag It
Stay away from airline food. Honestly, how good is it really going to taste anyway. Bring your own snacks to eat at the airport. If you’re in for a longer flight then pick up something healthy and balanced from one of the airport stores. Be sure to bring a large bottle of water on the flight. You don’t want to have to wait for the beverage cart to get all the way to your seat only to receive a half cup of water.
Get In Your Work-Outs
If you’re going somewhere new then you may be doing a lot of walking. Walking should not be the only exercise you get while you’re away. Take at least 30:00 to work-out either in your hotel room, gym or outdoors. There are plenty of exercises you can do with no equipment. After you work-out you will feel better and it will remind you make good food choices through out the day.
Many people take vacation as a week to eat whatever they want with the mind-set that they will deal with it when they get back. Don’t go overboard with your food-consumption. Allow yourself a couple of treats while you’re away, don’t make a day or week of it. If you want dessert, split it with someone and enjoy every bite. Don’t let it lead to two desserts or a donut the next day for breakfast. Coming back from vacation is hard enough you don’t want to add weight gain on top of it.
Get Enough Sleep
Traveling often disrupts our sleeping schedule. Make sure to sleep on the plane or take a couple of extra hours the next morning to rest. When you’re tired your body may react with hunger pangs because it is trying to restore your energy level. Side step this diet pitfall by getting enough sleep.
Keep Your Food Schedule
If you normally eat every 3-4 hours, continue to do that while you’re away. Yes, this will take a bit more planning but it’s worth the hassle. When you wait too long to eat then chances are you will be so hungry you won’t care what you put in your mouth as long as it tastes good. Pack some snacks if you’re afraid you won’t come across a good restaurant while you’re out. A good snack is something that will keep you satisfied for a few hours. Some of my favorite choices are
- .25 cup of almonds and 10-15 grapes
- 6 oz of non-fat Greek yogurt with 10 Almonds
- One medium sized apple with 1TBL. Peanut Butter
- Organic Protein Bar
If you are worried about your food staying cold, there are plenty of storage containers you can get that will keep your food insulated.
Remember to enjoy yourself and think about the reasons you are on vacation. You’re there to have fun and relax that doesn’t have to go hand in hand with eating junk all week.
Guest Post: Author Ryann Price has been an active runner and yogi for 10+ years. In 2010 she completed her teacher training certification at In Touch Yoga in Bryon Bay, Australia, where she primarily studied hatha and vinyasa yoga. Today Ryann continues her practice and love of both yoga and running, and teaches the art of strength and flexibility in Washington, DC.
Ever find yourself sitting at the computer wanting to go to a yoga class but feeling stuck or intimidated. Ashtanga, Bikram, Power Yoga, Iyengar – what does it all mean? Can yoga really be this complicated? … And the answer is yes and no.
Finding a style of yoga that suits you is less about the type of yoga itself and more about what you’re looking to get out of the experience and the instructor.
Here are sample scenarios to help guide you.
- Persona: Hi my name is Dylan. I’m an avid runner. Really high energy. I LIVE to compete. I’m driven to achieve and if I’m not sweating my brains out, well, then I’m not working hard enough. My friends and I love to meet up for class, get our butts kicked and snag brunch after class.Tip: If you sound like Dylan you might love the heat and competitive nature of Bikram or Hot Power Yoga.
- Persona: I’ve been studying yoga for a few years and my name is Carla. I’m dedicated to the poses and to proper alignment. I like that fact that I’ve been going to class with many of the same people and learning a progression of poses. We’re all in it together and we have a very dedicated instructor passionate about our yoga journey and development.Tip: Carla more your style? Try Iyengar or Hatha yoga – they’re both focused on alignment and building a solid foundation of basic poses.
- Persona: Yoga is something I’m deeply passionate about. I’m Andrea and I’ve been practicing yoga daily for about 6 months. It’s a big commitment, but the more I do it the more I love it! I enjoy the challenge and the physical workout, but I’m also exploring the spiritual side. We’ve said mantra’s in class a couple of times and spend a lot of time working on our breath. After all, yoga is really just fancy stretching if you’re not breathing.Tip: Do you look in the mirror and see someone like Andrea? Ashtanga or vinyasa flow classes could be your jam.
Does one of them sound like you? Then follow the respective tips above. Or if you’re like me and you could be any of them depending on the day – just get out there and try all!
Now, finding a yoga class that works for you is not all about the style, the instructor plays a huge role. I have a few critical questions I ask myself after I take a class with a new instructor.
- Did I like listening to his/her voice for an hour (or more)?
This is KEY (more than you may think). If you don’t like his/her voice you’re not going to enjoy class.
- Did I feel safe?
Yoga is like any other physical activity, if you’re not safe you can get injured. Your instructor’s job is to ensure the safety of their students.
- Did the environment meet my expectations?
If I wanted to relax did the lighting, the smell, etc work for me?
- Was I inspired?
This is the most important question for me. I need to be inspired by the instructor and the class. Continuous learning and exploration drew me to yoga and keep my interest day after day . If I’m not inspired I won’t go.
Yoga is like dating, you never know who you might meet but you’ll know once you’ve met someone you like. Try several studios or gym classes and give each instructor 2 chances (unless you feel totally unsafe) – everyone can have an off day. Most studios offer new student/client rates or deals – in some cases unlimited yoga at a significantly reduced rate. If they don’t advertise it ask for one.
No more excuses, if you’re like so many others and you’ve been unsure of where to start, just Google it, find a studio and jump on the mat! The worst thing that happens is you get back from class, run to your computer and search for a new class.
Are you starting a “Biggest Loser” competition with your co-workers, friends or family? Here are 4 easy guidelines for getting started and measuring your success.
1. Ante Up
Give everyone an exact start date and when to have their money in by. It’s up to you to decide what you’re playing for. You can use money, household chores or bragging rights. Find what motivates you the most. Stick to whatever start date you pick, if you keep it an ongoing enrollment others will be less likely to commit.
2. Get Informed
Make sure everyone in the competition has the proper guidance they need. Each participant will have their own reasons for joining the contest. Some people may know how to eat healthy and exercise but they want the support of their peers to keep them on track. Others may need a lot more guidance than that.
Hold an information session for anyone wanting to learn more about what they should be eating and how much exercise to get. You can have someone that is experienced in the group give their best knowledge or hire an expert to come in and get you started.
Nutrition Made Easy
I find the most convenient way to track nutrition is through the website Fitday. Create a free profile with your current age, weight, height and activity level and you will be provided with a general estimate of what your daily caloric intake should be. Then use the food log to track your daily calories. At the bottom of your food log is a pie chart explaining the percentages of where your calories are coming from. It’s best to have 40% from Carbohydrate/30% from Fat/30% from Protein.
Get in a good sweat session at least three times per week. Your work-outs don’t have to be long ones but they should be intense. Try taking a new class like boot camp or starting a small group training session with others in your contest. Don’t just stick to cardio like walking, running and biking. Make sure you get in some strength training. Body weight work-outs are very effective, you can get a great exercise session done in your own home.
3. Weighing In
Everyone’s weight and measurements should be taken at the same time and day every week. Use three factors to measure results
- The Scale. All the participants need to use the same scale. It’s best if they wear the same outfit every week as well.
- Waist Measurement. Designate one non-participant to take everyone’s measurements. It needs to be the same person every week to insure accurate results. Take the waist measurement from the participants belly button.
- Hip Measurement. This measurement should be taken from the widest part of the hips. Be sure not to wear thick pants or ones that are made of slippery material to make taking hip measurements easy.
By using more than just the scale you will level the playing field for everyone. It’s common for some people to see small changes on the scale, however their clothes may be falling off of them. This often occurs in females and most commonly in ones that are 5-10LBS. away from their “goal weight”. When you exercise and use strength training to get in shape you’re building muscle and losing fat. This can makes the scale an inaccurate measure of your diet success.
Once all of the measurements have been taken award points for any losses and add points if any measurements should go up. Each pound is worth one point and each 1/4 inch is worth one point. Record everyone’s results in one notebook each week.
4. Finish Line
Give your group about three months before you end the competition. This will prevent people from trying crash diets but it’s also short enough so you won’t get into the mentality of “Oh, I’ll start this next week.” Count up each person’s points from the results notebook and the person with the most points is the winner. In the event of a tie, come up with a fun challenge for a “tie-breaker.” Use a physical challenge like the person that can do the most push ups in 5:00 or the participant that can run a mile the quickest is the winner.
Make sure you have fun with this and remember the real reason you’ve signed up is to get to a healthier happier life!
Website for image: http://wonkette.com
Longer days and warmer weather gives us more opportunities to get active. Here are 4 great ways to get your sweat on this spring.
1. Spring Sports
Join a pick up league for a sport that you’re interested in. There are multiple websites that organize spring sports for all ages and fitness levels. Try Boston Ski & Sports Club or Social Boston Sports to find an activity that you’re interested in. Both of these websites have a wide variety of sports like dodge ball, softball, kickball and soccer to name a few.
2. Outdoor Fitness
Take advantage of the spring weather and get moving outdoors. Leaving the gym and coming into the fresh air is a great way to get motivated again, after a long winter of indoor work-outs. Research outdoor fitness classes in your area. If there are no local classes that fit into your schedule, try starting a group fitness class near you.
3. Change Your Commute
Run, walk or bike to work. Depending on how far your commute is this may be a great way for you to get fit this spring. With gas prices on the rise, this is also a great way to save money and help the environment. You could always run or walk to work and carpool home with someone if the distance seems too far.
4. Friendly Competition
Start training for a spring or summer competition. There are multiple choices out there from your typical 5K to relay races, duathlons, trail runs, and sprint triathlons. Another competition that has become very popular is racing with obstacles like The Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. Do some research and find a competition that you can see yourself doing.
Find something that inspires you to get moving this spring!
Photo Credit: http://blog.sierratradingpost.com
This week marks my four year anniversary of living a cigarette free life. After about a decade of being married to smoking, I successfully kicked the habit on March 18th, 2007.
There are multiple reasons why quitting is too difficult for some people. An excuse I hear often, especially from women is they are afraid of gaining weight. It’s true that cigarettes are an appetite suppressant, however there are many other ways to keep your weight at a healthy level without causing lung cancer.
Here are 6 steps you can take to help you put down the cigarettes without putting on the pounds.
1. Get Active
Start an exercise program. It can be anything you’re interested in, walking, yoga, strength training or kickboxing. Any activity that will help you add to your daily caloric deficit. Then notice how your breathing feels after several weeks of the activity that you have started. You should experience less coughing and an increase in your endurance as the weeks pass.
2. Spice It Up
3. Enjoy Your Food
Cigarette smoking dulls your taste buds. Start to notice the difference in how your food tastes after you kick the habit. When your food tastes better you can practice mindful eating. Mindful eating means paying attention to what you’re eating, how it tastes and how much of it your ingesting. If you focus on enjoying your food and listening to your body when it’s full, there’s less of a chance that you will overeat.
4. Cut Back On Alcohol
Many smokers associate having a drink with smoking a cigarette. Avoid alcohol, especially in the beginning stages of your smoke-free life. When you drink alcohol your inhibitions are down and you will be more likely to light up a cigarette. If you are strong enough not to break and have one, you may look for a substitute such as a snack to munch on to get your mind off of smoking. It’s best to side step this situation all together, until you’re confident enough that you won’t slip up after a drink or two.
5. Know Your Weaknesses
Certain situations call out to you as a smoker to light up. It becomes an unconscious thing, but you start to associate certain times of the day with smoking. For some smokers it’s right after a meal, with their morning coffee or in the car on their commute to work. Just being aware of these high risk times can help you avoid temptation. Keep some gum or mints on hand and try to keep busy so you won’t reach for a cigarette or food when you’re not hungry.
6. Remember Your Reasons
Keep a small notepad and pen on hand for when a cigarette craving hits. Make some lists to help you stick out the hard times with out replacing smoking for eating. Write down the reasons you’ve decided to quit smoking, if you’re having trouble remembering your specific reasons here’s three to get you started.
- Money Saver. Cigarettes are around $8.00 per pack now. If you smoke one pack a day that’s around $225.00 per month. That’s a good chunk of change.
- Odor Eaters. No more smoke filled scent in your car or on your clothes. Enjoy the fresh smells of your day without the usual cloud of smoke you use to carry.
- Live Longer. Reduce your risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Your body is an amazing thing and your lungs have the ability to repair themselves.
Quitting a habit is never easy, especially one that contains an addictive drug like nicotine. Remember to take it one day at a time and if you have a set back don’t give up!
Photo Credit: http://www.stopsmokingsteps.com
A good smoothie can be a great meal replacement if it has the right ingredients. Most restaurants or fast food places have way too much sugar in their smoothies and not enough protein. Be cautious when ordering, just because it says health smoothie does not mean it’s good for you.
Here is an easy recipe for a delicious smoothie with a balanced mix of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate.
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (My favorite is Pro Complete 40)
1/2 Cup Plain Non-Fat yogurt (I use Dannon)
1/2 Cup Skim Milk
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1/2 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1/2 TBL. Almond Butter
Mix in a blender and enjoy!
Let’s compare my recipe with smoothies from two popular food chains.
McDonalds Small Wild Berry Smoothie
- You will notice there are less calories in the McDonalds Smoothie than in my recipe. Those calories are mostly coming from sugar, however.
- It is very likely that you would be hungry again in an hour after consuming this beverage.
Starbucks Grande Strawberry Vivanno Smoothie (made with 2% milk)
- Once again, the calories are lower than my recipe, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better meal choice.
- The protein content in this beverage is better than the McDonald’s smoothie, however the Carbohydrate content is way too high.
Take ten minutes out of your day to make your own smoothie, it will be more beneficial for your diet and your wallet!
Photo Credit: http://www.natures-health-foods.com