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

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Helping My Sister Lose Weight

This is my sister Nancy.  When we were on vacation in July, her daughter Mackenzie and fiance, Dan, set their wedding date for October first.  At that time Nancy weighed 142 pounds and she wasn’t happy with that.  Some pounds had crept on over the years and she wanted to lose them so she could look nice for her daughter’s wedding.  She asked me to be her fitness coach.  She had about three months to get it done.  Some of the weight loss ideas she had tried had not worked and she was frustrated.  She didn’t feel she had the willpower to do what she needed to lose the weight.

I got really motivated and started to fire ideas at her.  I told her about all the cool tools on the internet she could use to count calories.  She felt she wouldn’t stick with that.  I talked to her about low fat recipes, but she didn’t think her family with two very hungry, growing sons would go for that.  I told her about all the great workout DVD’s I had from Beachbody, but she said she didn’t like to work out to DVD’s.  It had to be something quick and something she could do that wouldn’t take up time from her family and space from her living room.  I was out of  ideas.  Then she made a suggestion.

“What if I e-mailed you what I eat every day and you can tell me how I am doing?”  It seemed almost too simple, but I agreed to give it a try.  She agreed to start a weightlifting program and continue to run at least 3 days a week.

We started when we got home (July 7).  Every day Nancy either e-mailed or texted me everything she was eating that day.  I replied with encouragement (that’s great, looks good) or redirection (you’ve had a lot of carbs already today.  You will want to go light on carbs for supper) She also included what exercise she was doing that day.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but right away she began losing weight.  Just the fact that she had to tell me what she was eating was enough to change her habits.  She knew I would frown on nightly ice cream snacks at 9 p.m. so she curbed that habit.  She asked for advice on what to order at fast food restaruants when she had crazy days.  She even dreamed that she ate her way through a day and then was mortified when she knew she had to report it to me!

Every week their was some more pounds gone. That really increased her self-confidence.  On the morning of the wedding, she texted me.  “Wedding day weigh-in 128.8 lbs.  Thanks so much coach! Love ya!”  Her goal was to lose 10 lbs. and she had lost 13! Why did it work? Because it was something that fit into her lifestyle, because she felt comfortable with it and because she had someone to be accountable to.

If you think this approach would work for you, grab yourself an accountability buddy, a computer or cell phone and get started.  Or you can contact me.  I wouldn’t mind having another success story!

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

The Wrap-up to My Good Food Mood Experiment

After crunching the numbers, I discovered that not getting enough sleep affected my mood, stress and energy level and self-confidence more directly than what I was eating.  Take a look at the video and see for yourself.  Try your own experiment and let me know how it goes!

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Fitness Partners by Accident

My hubby is my fitness partner by accident.  How does that happen? I was thinking about how over the last 25 years , Bob and I have become fitness partners quite by accicent and it has been good for both of us.

For many many years, hubby lived the sedentary lifestyle.  This was much to my amazement. He had been an athlete in high school, but after graduation did not give exercising or healthy eating a thought.  No amount of encouragement from me could get him off the couch or his hands out of the chip bag.

Then, at age 40, he decided to start exercising.  He began to ride a stationary bike I got for Christmas.  It’s a good thing he made this decision.  It probably saved his life.  When he rode, he started to have a pain between his shoulder blades.  His family has a history of heart attacks at a young age.  He decided to go get it checked out and ended up getting a stent in the “widowmaker” artery that was blocked in his heart.  The widow would have been me….so I’m glad it all turned out the way it did!

Now he had to exercise and eat right.  Motivated mostly by fear, he began a running program and went on a low-fat diet.  I wanted to be supportive, so I also went on the diet and started t0 run.  The low-fat diet had a lot of tasty recipes and it wasn’t long until we both started to lose weight.  Hubby worked his way up to 5 miles per day and decided to enter some 5ks.  I am not much of a runner, but I would go along when he ran outside.  I couldn’t keep up with him, but we ran together on a cinder track near our house.  When he did a 5k in Southporte, NC I signed up for the 1 mile fun run. After while, I had to drop out of the diet because I was starting to be uncomfortable sitting on the floor or hard chairs. (I was losing weight in places where I sort of needed it!) So I added some snacks each day and tried not to indulge in front of him too much.

After quite a few years of this routine, the overuse injuries started to get hubby down.  He couldn’t run as much.  The fear factor was starting to wear off and he wasn’t sticking to his low-fat diet as well either.  Enter a friend who lost about 30lbs doing P90X.  Hubby decided he wanted to try it.  He ordered his P90X from the internet.  Of course I wanted to be supportive, so I decided to do it with him.  The first three days just about killed me (and I was already exercising regularly 5 days per week).  Then the results started to happen for both of us.  He gained upper body strength and I discovered I did have abs after all! I eventually could do some pull-ups and I had never been able to do that before.  This really increased the self-confidence.   We were both in the best shape of our lives.

About a year ago, hubby got a new, very sweet job that offered the services of a personal trainer.  He is able to work out to a plan tailor made for him and he can work out during his lunch hour.  I continued to be supportive by doing P90X plus and ChaLean Extreme at home.  Unfortunately, the weight krept back on for hubby, even though he was working out.  He scheduled an appointment to see the company nutritionist and asked me to go along.

Basically, she said he needed to make a conscious decision to change the way he was eating, especially on the weekends.  So now we are both eating more lean meats and fresh fruits and veggies and eating less bread, pasta and other starchy carbs.  We are also limiting desserts or changing the types of desserts we eat to more healthy choices.  We spend a lot of time planning meals, buying the groceries carefully and paying attention to when we are full.

Having a fitness partner can really make a difference when you are trying to change the lifestyle you are living and make it healthier.  It’s been working for Bob and I for quite a while.  If you would like a fitness partner or fitness coach contact me!