Online Fitness Coaching: Featured Blog of the Week

This week’s featured blog is snack-girl.com I actually got acquainted with Snack girl when I started to follow her on Twitter.  Whenever a snack looked tasty to me, I checked into her web site.  I have quite a collection of healthy recipes and snack advice from Snack girl. Here’s what she says about why she got into healthy snack blogging.

Lisa Cain, Ph.D., is an avid snacker, foodie, published author, and mother of 2.  An evolutionary biologist by training, she has become obsessed with how food contributes to our overall health.

For example, she is fascinated with the fact that Americans in the 1950’s weighed on average MUCH less than they do now.  Obviously the root cause of the epidemic is what we eat, and she wants to help people make better decisions about what they eat.

She believes that the study of nutrition is overrated and that we should eat as our ancestors did.  Since our ancestors didn’t have convenience stores and Starbucks, she decided to write about snacks to help people understand how to decipher food marketing messages.

She is also a big proponent of food that doesn’t have any packaging at all.”

Snack a little healthier with snack-girl.com

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Dealing With Chronic Injuries

This is the fourth blog in this online fitness coaching series about common obstacles to regular exercise and healthy nutrition.

Obstacle #4 “I find myself in this negative spiral:  I get a minor injury and stop exercising to save myself for my physical job.  Then I get reinjured while working and coming back to workouts before I’m healed.  This leads to an even longer rehab, discouragement, depression and eating for comfort.  Weight gain is next followed by more discouragement, more eating and  more weight gain.  Yikes!”

Here are tips from myself and About.com on dealing with overuse injuries so they don’t turn into the dreaded “negative spiral”.

Before diving into these tips, I should give this important advice. If you have not been exercising regularly, get evaluated by a doctor before starting, to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise.  Ok that’s covered!

To prevent injury in the first place….

  • Start out slowly!  Many chronic injuries happen because people new to exercise or returning to exercise try to do too much too soon.  Apply the ten percent rule.  Increase your intensity by only 10% at a time.  So if you were running two miles a day and wanted to increase the distance, you would only increase by 2/10 of a mile. Run this way for at least a week before you decide to increase distance again.  Increase time or weight using the same rule.
  • Listen to your body. If you are becoming fatigued to the point where you are not performing the exercise with the correct form, it’s time to stop.  If you are experiencing unusual aches or pains during your workout you are probably overdoing it.
  • Know the proper technique.  Many chronic injuries are caused by poor technique.  Watch a “basics” video.  Observe yourself doing the exercise in a mirror.  Work with a coach, fitness coach or a personal trainer to make sure you are doing exercises with good form.
  • Vary your routine.  Don’t do the same exercise routine over and over every day.  This is an invitation to an overuse injury.  A good workout regemin should include strength training, cardio, interval training and flexibility.  You should also have one day of rest (you can use a day of recreational fitness) each week.
  • Wear the right type of athletic shoe.  There are sneakers for every sport imaginable these days that give the right kind of support for the activity you will be doing.  Have someone trained to fit your sneakers help you. Replace sneakers when they begin to break down.

If you get injured….

  • RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  Ice should be applied 20 minutes each hour.
  • Don’t come back full strength too soon.  You should be pain free, no swelling, have full range of motion (compared to your non-injured part), be able to bear weight without limping or throw with proper form.
  • Modify exercises until the injury feels strong enough to go back to the move done normally.  I have wrist issues when I do push-ups.  When they crop up, the first thing I try are push-up stands.  If that doesn’t do the trick, I modify the push-up by going to my knees instead of my toes.  When my wrist feels strong enough, I go back to toes.  Sometimes I need to modify the number I do on my toes until the wrist gets even stronger.
  • Change your workout.  For example, if you have a knee injury, you may need to bike or swim instead of run or walk.  You can also develop  circuit training  that won’t involve the injury.

If the injury continues to get worse or does not improve, you should get yourself to the doctor or an athletic trainer.

What chronic injuries have you had to deal with?  How did you deal with the “negative spiral”?  Your comment may help someone else who is struggling.

 

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Tackling Food Pushers

This is the third post in my online fitness coaching series to help you overcome common obstacles to regular exercise and good nutrition.

Obstacle #3  “When I go to functions with family some people push me to eat more than I know is good for me.”

We all have a food pusher on our family tree or in our circle of friends.  It goes something like this:

Food Pusher “(Insert your name here), what else can I give you to eat?”

You “Nothing, (insert food pusher’s name here), I’m full.

Food Pusher  “Oh, you can’t be full yet.  Don’t you want more mashed potatoes?”

You “No thank you, I’m good.”

Food Pusher “How about some more roast beef?  You don’t want me to have to throw all this good food out do you?”

You “Really, it was great, but I can’t eat another bite.”

Food Pusher “Well, make sure you save room for a BIG piece of cake later.  It’s your favorite and I made it especially for you!”

You (Sighs)

Food Pushers usually mean well.  Food equals love to them.  The more food they cook for you= the more love they have for you.  The more food you eat= the more love you have for them.  I’m sure you are spotting the problem here.  Here are nine tips to help you navigate this minefield of food and emotional connections.

  1. Be honest about your weight loss efforts.  Tell your family or friends that you have decided to really watch the amount and kinds of food you are eating.  You can tell them it’s doctor’s orders if that takes the pressure off you.  Then ask them to help you by respecting your refusals on seconds and desserts.
  2. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal.  While you do that, the food pusher has offered everyone else firsts AND seconds.  By the time you finish it will be clean up time and the pressure to eat more will be lessened.
  3. Eat smaller portions of your regular meal.  Take a little bit of everything.  During the chaos of the big food dishout, the food pusher won’t notice.  Then take a small portion of dessert.  If Food Pusher asks why say,” I’m so full from that wonderful dinner!”
  4. Use stealthy stall tactics.  When asked to take seconds or dessert, again exclaim that you are really full from the wonderful dinner and you would like to wait till later.  Later may never come and Food Pusher may never notice.  He/she may have moved on to someone else by then.

Some food pushers are of the “misery loves company” persuasion.  They feel better about overeating if you are overeating with them.  These folks are often more persistent in their offers.  Here’s some tips for them.

  1. If you are asked repeatedly to take seconds say, “I couldn’t possibly eat another bite right now.  If you are offering doggie bags, I would love to take some home.”
  2. Just offer a polite, “no thank you” without an explanation.  Sometimes these can be shot down easily by the food pusher and that could leave you scrambling and eventually giving in.
  3. Apply the broken record technique.  Apply the tip above as many times as necessary.
  4. Bait and Switch:  Answer repeated offers for seconds or desserts with a question about the kids, the grandkids or an upcoming trip that’s planned. Be very interested in the response.  Your attention= love too!
  5. Bring a healthy side dish or dessert to share with everyone else. Combat unhealthy food pushing with healthy food.  It may turn out to be the most popular dish at the event!

Have you had to deal with a food pusher?  What were you faced with and how did you handle it?  Comment below.  Your advice could help someone else in their exercise fitness and nutrition journey.

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Featured Blog of the Week

This week’s featured blog of the week is Meals and Miles.  This blog was started by Meghann Anderson.  Her story is familiar to many.  She was active in high school and college, but was not that concerned with healthy nutrition.  After graduation came a desk job. She wasn’t getting any exercise and slowy put on 20 pounds.

This wake up call got Meghann motivated to change her eating habits and start running a little.  Her goal was to lose those 20 pounds.  She did that plus 5 more.  During her journey to get healthy, the blogging community was a big support, so she is giving back by blogging about her newfound healthy lifestyle.

This blog is well organized.  There is a section where you can read about all the races Meghann has participated in and recipes she has tried.  There’s a blogroll of her fav blogs.  She has some really nice reviews of fun things to do in Orlando, Florida and oh yes…she’s getting ready to get married and there’s a nice section on that.

So check out Meals and Miles.  If you are starting a fitness journey, Meghann can be a big help to you.

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!