Online Fitness Coaching: Weekend Proof Your Nutrition Plan

This is my second post in a series of online fitness coaching tips to overcome some of the most common obstacles to regular exercise and healthy nutrition.

Obstacle #2:  “I do great all week. Then I blow my exercise and nutrition plan on the weekends.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone?  We work hard all week long preparing healthy meals, getting our daily workout and staying away from sugary treats.  Now here comes the weekend…family get-togethers, dinner out with friends, a holiday here, a special event there.  Monday morning comes.  We step on the scales while we peek through our hands.  Then we cringe because those two pounds we worked so hard to lose last week are back again…and sometimes they bring a friend or two!  Grrrrr! I’ve collected tips from the blogosphere at sites like Fitness Magazine, Mark’s Daily Apple, and Healthy Affordable Weight Loss.  I have also added a few of my own to help you through the minefield of the weekend.

  1. Stop the all or nothing thinking that surrounds the weekend.  Yes, you overate while you were out with your friends.  That’s no excuse to wave the white flag and binge all weekend.  Get back on track at the next meal.  Get up and move around.  You will feel better and burn off some of that overindulgence.
  2. Set a goal that 4 to 5 of the seven meals you eat from Friday evening to Sunday evening will be made at home with health in mind.  For the other two or three…..
  3. Eat a healthy snack at home before you head out for any “eating outing”.  That includes dinner out, holidays, weddings etc.  If you are not starving when you finally get your food, you will make healthier choices and eat less.  If you end up with big portions, take it home in a doggie bag for later.
  4. Plan ahead.  You can find online menus for almost any restaurant you go to.  Pick out a healthy menu option before you leave.  It can be fun to research the place you are going to eat before you get there.
  5. Be the first to order.  That way you won’t be negatively influenced by someone else’s meal choice.  Plus if you go first, you could positively influence someone else!
  6. Don’t linger at the table after the meal.  Suggest an after dinner walk or activity that doesn’t involve food.   If you don’t have any control over when you leave, order a low cal drink and sip away.
  7. Limit your alcohol consumption.  Alcohol lowers your blood sugar, which triggers eating.  Alcohol contains empty calories.  It also lowers your inhibitions. That will make it harder to say “no” to those tempting snacks and desserts present at your social activities.
  8. Build fun active-ities into your weekend.  Not everything you do should revolve around sitting and eating.  Hubby and I love to ballroom dance, so some weekends center around dance lessons, practices or dances. It’s fun, it’s social and it burns calories.  You may not be a dancer, but find something else you love to do that gets you moving on the weekends.

With these nutrition and exercise tips plus a little practice, those extra pounds and their friends will stop dropping by your house on Monday morning.  Do you have some tips that help you stick to your plan on the weekend?  Comment below!

 

Blog of the Week: Skinny Taste

It’s week number 2 and this week’s featured blog is Skinnytaste.com .  This blog has loads of low fat recipes that can help you keep on track when you are trying to eat healthy.  One feature I like is the Weightwatchers point system that is part of the recipes.  If you are using the points system, you could easily find a variety of dishes you could make.  There is a really easy to use index of recipes on the left side of the home page.  It’s called the recipe box (clever).  Of course there are loads of great pictures.  Gina, the author, is also and accomplished photographer.  You should definitely put Skinnytaste into your blog reader!

Help yourself to Gina’s Bio below:

“Gina Homolka is the author, recipe developer, and photographer of Skinnytaste, which features low fat, family-friendly, healthy recipes. She started Skinnytaste back in 2008 in an attempt to help her stay healthy, experiment with creating skinny recipes, and develop her photography skills to expand her own background as a digital photo retoucher.
On Skinnytaste, you’ll find healthy dishes that don’t sacrifice any of the flavor that can be found in their full-fat origins.  Gina knows all the food she prepares for Skinnytaste is tasty and satisfying, because after all, this is the same food she cooks on a daily basis for her friends and family, and they are some of her toughest critics!
Skinnytaste recipes have been featured on sites such as Glamour.com, Gourmet Live, The Kitchn, Finecooking.com, Fitness Magazine, More Magazine, Country Living, and was the winner of the SHAPE Magazine Best Healthy Eating Blogs 2011, The Homies: Best Home Cooking Blog for 2011 . Gina was born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, NY.”

from Skinntaste.com “about me” 

Online Fitness Coaching: Finding Time to Work Out and Eat Well

I polled my Facebook friends and fans to see what obstacles they face when trying to exercise regularly and eat healthy food.  Over the next few weeks my online fitness coaching posts will offer advice on how to overcome each of these obstacles.

Obstacle #1             “I don’t have time to work out or cook healthy meals.”

This obstacle to healthy living is one we all struggle with at times.  Here are 10 tips to overcome it.

Exercise

1.  The surgeon general recommends adults get 60 minutes of exercise a day.  This 60 minutes doesn’t have to happen all at once.  You can get some exercise in when you are working (waiting) on something else.  I have a friend who sneaks some push-ups or sit-ups into her schedule every time she makes her hubby some popcorn.

2. Break your workout into smaller bites.  Today’s workout for me included a 20 minute brisk walk  early in the morning.  After work I did 30 minutes of Zumba and 10 minutes of Yoga.  There are workout programs like Ten Minute Trainer that break things into smaller chunks for you.

3. Schedule workouts when you have less distractions in your day.  For some people that is early in the morning.  I get home earlier than everyone else in the family so I get it done before they get home for the evening.

4.  Multi-task your workout.  Check e-mail on your Smart Phone while you are on the treadmill.  Have to watch the kids?  Run and play with them instead of just watching.  Make those phone calls on your list while you are taking a brisk walk.  When my youngest daughter was little she loved to play “Hunchback of Notre Dame”  This game amounted to me carrying her up the steps to our deck, holding her in the air and yelling, “Sanctuary!” We played until I couldn’t lift her up anymore.  If you think that wasn’t a workout you are wrong.  I was exhausted after that game.

5.  Remember that “functional workouts” can be part of your 60 minutes too.  Right now we are doing a lot of snow shovelling where I live.  It’s definitely a workout.  Other things that would qualify are yardwork, housecleaning, moving boxes, barn work, gardening and many, many others.

Nutrition

1.  Cook a healthy dish for dinner. Make enough so you can pack it up in some Tupperware and take it for lunch the next day.  Now you have two healthy meals instead of one.

2.  Make healthy recipes on the weekends when you are less pressed for time. Store them and freeze them.  Simply thaw and heat throughout the week.

3.  Buy presliced fruits and veggies that you can snack on instead of junk.

4.  Check the internet for healthy recipes that are quick and easy.  Google “easy healthy recipes” and see what you find.  One of my favorites that I just featured is The Picky Eater.

5.  Breakfast is the meal when I am most rushed and it truly is the most important meal of the day.  What about a protein shake for breakfast?  My favorite kind is Shakeology.  It’s easy and quick to make and I can drink it on the way to work (major time saver). It’s full of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and “superfoods”.

Try one or more of these online fitness coaching timesaving tips and let me know how they worked for you.  Do you have any of your own timesaving tips for staying healthy?  Leave a comment below.

 

 

Blog of the Week: The Picky Eater

Part of online fitness coaching is helping you find the resources you need to live a healthier life.  With that in mind I am going to feature a blog each week that can help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals.

My first featured blog is The Picky Eater.  I recently discovered this blog when I went looking for easy to make healthy meals and snacks. Anjali features something new almost every day.  She offers a step-by-step guide on how to make each delicious recipe and (my favorite) lots of pictures to give you an idea of what the food will look like when you make it.  I don’t know about you, but if a recipe doesn’t come with a picture, I usually don’t try it.  These pictures are gorgeous.  You will definitely want to try to make what you see.  Happy, healthy cooking and eating everyone!

Anjali Shah is a food writer and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Her blog chronicles her adventures in making healthy recipes that her “fast food loving husband” will enjoy – so all of her recipes are “husband approved”! You’ll also find healthy lifestyle tips, snippets of Anjali’s everyday life, and other personal anecdotes alongside healthy and flavorful recipes on her blog. More about Anjali: She is a traveler, adventurer, cooking-show addict, lover of veggies, self-taught chef, and a Bay Area native. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, or Google+.

Online Fitness Coaching: Fitness Tips to Get Back on Track

In my last blog posts, I gave nutrition tips to get you back on track after the big holiday binge.  Here are eight online fitness coaching tips to get you back on the workout track.

  1.  Don’t beat yourself up about falling off the workout wagon.  Just get back on.  Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to become (or stay) sedentary.

  2. Just do it!  It’s a good motto.  Start moving.  Use the stairs and stay out of the elevator.  Walk instead of drive whenever you can.  Take a look at your daily routine and see where you can add some activity.

  3. Get enough sleep.  There have been studies that link lack of sleep and a higher chance of obesity.  Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

  4. Write a fitness plan so you know where you want to go and how to get there.  If you set some fitness goals and write out specific steps to reach your goal, you will be surprised at how focused you can become.

  5. Start a new workout you are jazzed about.  It will motivate you to stick with it.  I try to change my workout in some way every 30 days.

  6. Pick a consistent time to work out.  Make an appointment with yourself.  Put it on your calendar or in your Smart Phone.  Treat it like any other appointment and keep it.

  7. Join with others in a fitness challenge.  I am running one right now in a private group on Facebook.  We have six teams of four people from all over the country. We receive points for the time and intensity of our workouts each day.  Teams compete for 30 days.  The team with the highest number of points wins.  It’s amazing how motivating it is, even when there is no prize.

  8. Have one other person be your accountability buddy.  Tell your buddy what your goals are and have them check in with you to see how you are doing.  It will make you more likely to stick with your workout if you know someone will be checking on you.  It can be as easy as a text or e-mail contact every day.

Make 2012 a great new start for healthy eating and regular exercise.  Comment and let me know what you are doing to get back on track after the holidays.

Online Fitness Coaching: A Sample Clean Eating Day

In my last post I outlined 10 online fitness coaching tips to get you back on track after the holidays. Here’s an example day of clean eating to give you some ideas on how to apply some of those tips.  I didn’t go hungry!

Breakfast: Shakeology made with 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tsp. mint extract, 1 c ice

36 0z. of water

Morning snack 1/3 cup of raisins.

Lunch: Roasted potatoes with broccoli, carrots and beef broth

18 oz of water

Afternoon snack: One large orange. Oooh it was good!

4 0z. of baked haddock with dill and lemon juice, steamed broccoli and frozen carrots

10 oz. of water

Evening snack: Pure protein bar. 20 grams of protein.

Hope this jumpstarts your clean eating after the holidays!

Online Fitness Coaching: Nutrition Tips to Get Back On Track

It’s January and the holidays are over. You ate, you drank, you were merry.  Now comes the dreaded step on the scales.  Ugh! (My “ugh” was four extra pounds)   How to get back on track?  Here are 10 Nutrition tips from your online fitness coach to get you back to normal.

  1. Do Not beat yourself up!  We all have times when we leave the healthy path and get off track. Don’t let gaining a little weight make you throw in the towel completely.The holidays are over!

  2. Get rid of all the left over holiday treats in your house.  They are going stale anyway.

  3. Make a commitment to eat a nutritious breakfast every morning.  A piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter or granola with fruit are great choices.  I am  pressed for time in the morning so my choice is chocolate Shakeology with a teaspoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of strawberries or blueberries.  I blend it with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water and 1 cup ice.  I can drink it on the way to work.

  4. Aim to eat 3 smaller meals and 3 snacks each day (300 to 400 calories each is a good rule of thumb).  This will keep you from getting really hungry and overeating.  It also keeps your blood sugar from spiking/dropping and keeps your metabolism humming all day.

  5. Eat five fresh or frozen fruits and veggies each day. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that your body craves.  Bonus, they are lower in calories.  This is high octane food.

  6. Make your drink of choice water.  Calories-Zero.  Did you know that 75% of your body is made of water

  7. Journal everything you eat for at least a week.  You don’t even have to look up calories and count them.  The simple act of writing down everything you eat will make you slow your calorie consumption.  If you are still struggling to get back to normal after a week, you can start counting calories for added accountability.

  8. Increase the protein and limit the white stuff (white sugar, white flour)

  9. Be present at all your meals and snacks.  Sit down, eat at a table, turn off the TV and don’t read and eat. If you actually focus on eating, you will eat less.

  10. If you dine out in the next week.  Make a choice from the healthy menu many restaurants include today. If there is no such thing, choose baked or broiled meats, skip the sauces and breading.  Choose a salad with a clear dressing. Pick veggies for your side (no, fries don’t count) and water to drink.

Try these tips this week and see how you do.  Let me know how it’s going.  Next post will be eight exercise tips to get you back on track.  In the meantime, here are some links to help you get started!

28 quick and healthy meals

Skinnytaste

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Stressed Out About Blowing Your New Year’s Resolution?

Are you already feeling stressed out about blowing your New Years resolution to lose weight, start exercising or quit smoking? By now, most of us have made a few New Year’s resolutions for 2012 and most of us have included at least one of these top three.  Research shows that over time a majority of us will fail in maintaining resolutions.  Here are some stats compiled by Serge Prengel, a licenced mental health counselor in New York City.  Seventy five percent of us will be able to maintain our resolutions past the first week, by week two it’s down to 71%.  After one month the percent has dropped to 64% and by six months the number has taken a nosedive to 46%.  I guess we have a right to feel a little stressed out!

One of the best tips I can give you as an on-line fitness coach is to take some steps to hold yourself accountable to your resolutions.  If you really want to achieve them, do some planning to set yourself up for success.

  • Set specific goals that can be reached realistically.  Here’s some examples:  “During the next 90 days I will exercise 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week” or “Jan 9 is my quit date for smoking.  By that date, I will have all tobacco products out of my house.” or “Starting the Tuesday after New Years day, I will limit my diet to mainly lean meats, whole grains and fruits and veggies.”

  • Track your progress.  Keep a food journal.  Write down what you did for your workout each day.  Keep track of how many days you have been a non-smoker and record the health benefits you are noticing.

  • Get an accountability partner.   This is so important, I can’t emphasize it enough!  Tell someone what your resolution is and what your specific goals are.  Ask them to check on you periodically to see how you are doing.  It’s A LOT harder to give up completely if you are going to have to admit that to someone else.

Beacause I think your health is the most important possession you have. I am volunteering to be your accountability partner to start exercising or to lose weight.  E-mail me for details on joining a small (5 or 6 member) 30 day challenge group, or on making me your e-mail or text accountability buddy.

Happy 2012!  YOU can be in that 46% that keep their resolutions! Here’s some links to get you started.

Start Exercising

Lose Weight

Quit Smoking

 

On-line Fitness Coach: Exercise is Good for Cancer Patients

Please welcome Liz Davies, my very first guest blogger!  Exercise is great for relieving stress, improving self-confidence and keeping you strong when you are healthy, but it becomes very important if you are fighting disease.  Take it away Liz..

Fight Cancer with Exercise

Physical activity produces a variety of benefits for people suffering from cancer, just as it would for people who aren’t experiencing the disease. A daily exercise routine gives people a way to stay active, maintain a healthy weight and grow to be more muscular. In addition to these rewards, physical activity increases positivity and self-confidence while lowering exhaustion and the threat for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is pertinent for people undergoing cancer treatments to make sure they remain active; starting just about any type of exercise advances healing. This is true no matter what type of cancer someone is dealing with, whether that is colon cancer or mesothelioma!
It is also recommended to consult a professional before embarking on a daily
exercise routine. There are also many licensed cancer exercise professionals
that can be of great assistance and can tailor individual exercise programs.

Patients who have no prior experience exercising can start
with stretching exercises. Any movement that fosters mobility is a great if the
patient is not ready for a more intense workout program. Yoga, tai chi, and
pilates are different forms of stretching exercises that are wonderful for
movement and can be easily altered for any level of physical ability.

For people who are accustomed to more activity, cardio
exercises, like swimming, running and even walking are a great way to receive
benefits from working out. These activities burn calories while increasing lung
capacity and decrease people’s odds of having a stroke, heart attack or
diabetes.

Resistance training, like weight lifting, should also not be ignored. These exercises
will help cancer patients gain muscle which is very important because
treatments like chemotherapy and radiation often cause muscle loss. Ideally it
is important to include both cardio and strength training into a daily exercise
routine.

Motivation can be hard to find when you have an obstacle
like cancer standing in the way. This may be an overwhelming feeling and if so
adding some simple activities to a daily routine can be a good way to start.
Putting away groceries, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or buying a
pedometer to monitor activity is a good step in the right direction. With ideas
like this it is very important that all cancer patients are experiencing some
type of activity to ensure that they are optimizing the result of their
treatment.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested
in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running,
playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Healthy Tips for Holiday Stress Relief

Are you starting to stress as the holidays approach?  Worried that all the parties, gift giving and traveling will leave you frazzled and your belly bloated?  Here are ten tips from your favorite  fitness coach to relieve stress from Christmas to the New Year.

 

  1. Eat a healthy snack before you head out to holiday parties so you won’t overeat and stress about all the extra calories you have ingested.
  2. Keep to your exercise schedule as much as possible.  Regular exercise will work off built up stress.  It also releases those feel good chemicals (endorphins) that will help you feel calm.  When you are pressed for time due to shopping and social engagements, take a brisk walk or do a quick ten minute workout like Ten Minute Trainer When traveling, plan ahead.  Find out if your hotel has a fitness room.  Take along lightweight resistance bands and a workout plan on an index card that you can do anywhere.
  3. Get some alone time each day.  Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your outlook when your are experiencing the holidays at the speed of light!
  4. Pack some healthy snacks in your purse before heading out to shop.  It will cut down on becoming so hungry that you wolf down twice your normal amount of calories at the restaurant.  It can also keep food costs down.  Paying big bucks for meals while shopping can stress you out too!
  5. Help someone else.  Volunteer at a local agency this holiday.  Focusing on someone else who needs your help will take the spotlight off you, and your stress will lower.  Helping others will make you feel good too.
  6. Can’t get to the gym? Use a workout dvd or a workout on a cable channel such as Fit TV.
  7. Use smaller plates at parties.  You will eat less.  Feel free to try my trick and only take what you can carry on a napkin.  Believe me it is definitely less than you can pile on a plate!
  8. Get family and friends to help start some active holiday traditions with you.  Go ice skating or cross country skiing.  Take a long walk around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights.  With a little creativity, you can come up with something everyone will want to do for years to come.
  9. Try some calming exercise like yoga or tai chi.  These will make you feel renewed in body mind and spirit.
  10. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.  Try to keep your normal sleeping and waking schedule as much as possible.  Little ones get cranky around the holidays when they miss naps and stay up too late and us adults are no different.

Remember:  If you are stressed and frazzled, you can’t enjoy the people you love the most during the holidays and they can’t enjoy your company as much either.  Share some of your favorite holiday stress relief tips in the comment section.  I would love to hear from you!

Additional links for holiday stress relief:

The Mayo Clinic

Web MD

Life 123