Wisdom, Why HIIT Works and Weight Loss: It’s Friday. I’m in [Link] Love

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I ran across a few health and fitness links this week that I couldn’t resist sharing. Winter can be a tough time of year to stay on top of of your fitness goals, but the links below will help.

Happy Friday to everyone! It’s Friday and I’m in [link] love!

Positivity is Powerful

Even if you strive to maintain a positive outlook, some days it can be harder than others. The Power of Positivity web site and Facebook page provides daily positive affirmations that can help you on days when the struggle is real.  Below is an inspirational video created by the Power of Positivity that has been circulating social media sites.  Check out their site here:  The Power of Positivity.

HIIT Is Here to Stay

Every year the American College of Sports Medicine compiles a list of the trends they predict will become or remain popular in the upcoming year. This year, wearable tech, body weight training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) top the list.  HIIT workouts are popular because they can be done anywhere at any time and, in most cases, don’t require any equipment.

If you’d like to add some HIIT to your life, here’s a link to a 20 minute workout that you can do at home or on the road. Try this Calorie-Torching HIIT Workout from the Fhitting Room.

Nail Your Resolution By Doing This

We’re half way through January. Are you nailing your goals so far?  This article has some great advice from the Triathlete and reaffirms what we talk about here at PTCDN.  Set practical goals.  Instead of saying you’ll never eat dessert again, resolve to have dessert in moderation.  For some advice that works,  click here:  Nail Your 2017 Nutrition Goals from the Triathlete.

Too Good To Be True?

Maybe not. Japanese scientists have concluded a double-blind trail on obese adults to determine what, if any, apple cider vinegar has on blood sugar and body fat.  The results were surprising and indicate drinking apple cider vinegar could be a viable tool to aid in weight loss.  Read about the study and results here: Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Blood Sugar, Body Fat, Studies Say.

There’s Strength in Numbers

Reaching fitness goals are not only easier, they’re more fun, with friends. Stride Kick lets you join – and even create – fitness challenges that you can invite your friends, family and co-workers to do with you.

Stride Kick

Challenge yourself by creating a fun fitness challenge with your own goal or invite friends and coworkers to join and motivate you. Don’t want to create your own challenge? Become a part of the Stridekick community and join a community challenge to earn badges for achieving your goals: Moving with Stridekick’s Fitness Tracker Challenge.

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Five in 30 Week Two: How Did You Do Plus a Quick Tip

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You’ve completed the first week of the challenge and it’s time to take a look at your goal and evaluate how you did.

Did you accomplish the goal 100%? If not, what percentage would you give yourself?  75%, 50%, 25% or 0%?  The reason this is important is because you need to know if you’ve set a good goal.  If you accomplished the goal 100% you may be able to set that goal again next week and successfully accomplish it. You could even make the goal (slightly) more challenging.

If you are at less than 100% you need to look at what got in your way. Being honest with yourself about this allows you to recognize what you could do different if you choose this goal again. Here’s an example:

S.M.A.R.T. Goal Planner

What specifically will I achieve?
I will walk on my lunch hour for a half an hour Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

How will I measure It?
I will assign a completion number for each day that I walk: 25% per day. In other words one day is 25%, two 50%, etc.

Is it achievable by me now?
Yes. I have an hour for lunch and my job is next to a rec center that has an indoor walking track that we are allowed to use.

Is it relevant to my larger goal?
Yes. My goal is to lose five pounds in 30 days and physical activity will help me burn more calories which will assist in my weight loss.

By what dates will I achieve it?
By Friday, January 20.

How did you do? (Assign goal completion number)
75%

Let’s assume you missed one day. What happened on that day that kept you from taking the 30 minute walk?

What can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen again?

What are some other things you could do if you aren’t able to walk for 30 minutes?

It’s a good idea to come up with some ideas now such as walking after work, adding an extra 10 minutes to the walks on the other days, or doing a quick at-home workout before or after work in place of the walk.

Whatever goal you have set, this is the tried and true method that successful weight loss coaches use with their clients. Doing this only takes a few minutes each week and will keep you from setting unachievable goals that leave you discouraged and ready to quit. Remember, goals must be achievable because success breeds success.

The 7 Minute Workout

This workout has been around for a while but it is still considered to be one of the best short, simple, and effective workouts around. It is the 7 Minute Workout from the New York Times that now has an app to go with it for both iPhones and iSOs.

This workout can be done anywhere at any time. It’s a good calorie burner and can give you just the bump you need to get you to the goal of losing five pounds in 30 days. Plus, there’s now an advanced 7 Minute Workout so once this one gets too easy you’ll have a new challenge. Little fitness hacks like these can keep you moving towards your goal.

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Colorful Cobb Salad With Avocado Dressing

This nutritious salad is easy to make and the dressing is made from avocados that are loaded with vitamin K, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium and monounsaturated fat.

Plus, it’s a pretty and colorful salad to serve to your family or guests and can be paired with a Mexican entrée of your choice.

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Ingredients:

Salad

Romaine lettuce – 4 cups
Bell pepper – ½ cup, chopped
Cherry tomatoes – ½ cup, chopped
Red onion – ¼ cup, chopped
Black beans – ¼ cup
Corn – ½ cup Boiled eggs – 2

Dressing

Avocado – 1
Lime juice (one lime)
Garlic – 4 cloves, crushed
Olive oil – ¼ cup
Cilantro (fresh chopped 2 Tbls.)
Dash of salt and pepper

Tips – You could use other lettuce varieties, but my choice for this salad is Romaine because it is crispy and flavorful and is one of the more nutritious lettuces available.

Choose any color bell pepper that you have.  Red, orange and yellow will all work.

For the black beans and corn I used a combined frozen mix that I had on hand.  Since I wasn’t making a huge salad I didn’t want to open a can of black beans and corn, knowing that they could potentially go to waste.

Chop and Dress

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Chop and mix the salad ingredients, then run the avocado, lime juice, garlic and olive oil through a food processor or mix by hand if the avocado is soft enough. Dress the salad right before eating.

As you can see, my dressing was thick. You can add a little water to the dressing (or more lime juice) if you want a smoother dressing.

The Perfect Egg Slicer

Do you have one of these?

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If you don’t, you need to get one. I picked this egg slicer up at Big Lots on Saturday for $4.  How have I lived without this gizmo for this long?  It slices eggs perfectly with one cut.

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Five in 30 Week One: Let’s Get Real

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Welcome to Week One of the Five in 30 Sensible Weight Loss Challenge

Last week when I posted the article about the upcoming Five in 30 Sensible Weight Loss Challenge I said you only had to do a couple of things to be successful in this program:  S.M.A.R.T. goal setting (click here to download the printable goal tracker) weekly weigh-ins, and regular visits to PTCDN for weight loss tips to keep you motivated.

There is one more thing you need to do. You need to get real. What I mean by that is you need to figure out what change(s) you have to make starting today if you are going to lose five pounds in 30 days.

You have five pounds you want to lose. It is true that journaling, regular weigh-ins and goal setting/tracking will help you get to your goal, but you also need to acquire, eliminate or at least tweak those one or two behaviors that are getting in your way. Then, the other things mentioned – journaling, goal tracking and regular weigh-ins – will help you figure out whether or not what you’re doing is working. If it is, keep doing it. If it’s not you can fix it before you get discouraged.

Step One

You have five pounds to lose. That means you have some habits that are causing you to hold on to five pounds more than you want. What are they?

Possibly too much of the following:

– Sugary drinks (soda, sweet tea, special coffee drinks)

– Alcohol

– Convenience foods (fast food, heat and eat)

– Sugary foods (confections, candy, granola bars, some dairy products)

– Carb-loaded foods (bagels, breads, pasta, rice)

– Special occasion splurges (happy hour, birthday cake, pizza night)

– Inactivity

Or, not enough of some of these things:

– Low-calorie-high-nutrition foods (vegetables, some fruits, lean proteins)

– Physical activity

– Motivation

– Time (meal planning, grocery shopping, journaling)

number-2Pick Two

Once you’ve decided what it is you need less and/or more of, pick two. Now it’s time to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal for each one

– What is my goal?

– What specifically will I achieve?

– How will I measure it?

– Is it achievable by me now?

– Is it relevant to my larger goals?

– By what dates will I achieve it?

Make sure you put this in writing in your journal or on the goal tracker.

 

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Once you get the goals picked and written down, the magic weight loss will begin, right? If you’re lucky you’ll wake up every day excited and motivated to achieve your goals.

That is sometimes the case, but often you have to start behaving differently before you can build a different mindset. To get you started, create some positive affirmations that will help you embrace your behaviors. “I feel so much better when I eat more vegetables.” “The 15 minute walk in the morning energizes me for the day.”  “Taking time to plan meals is positive for me and my family.”

How Positive Affirmations Can Get You Unstuck and Moving Again

Keep saying these affirmations to yourself until you believe them. Your brain has more power over your body and its behaviors that you realize.  If you make a habit of positive self-talk, losing the five pounds will happen.

See you next week!

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10 Ways to Improve Your Health This Year

Making a few basic changes to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your health. Below are 10 tried and true tips to help you get started on having a healthy 2017!

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Flickr photo by ishan jha

It’s A New Year! Let’s Do This!

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals— We start out the New Year with aspirations to change all of the things we don’t like about ourselves. We want to lose weight, get organized, eat better, exercise more, be more productive at our job. But by mid-January or the first of February we aren’t giving much thought to the resolutions we made a few weeks ago. By setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely, you’ll have a better chance of success.

Trim your big lofty goals down to smaller, smarter goals by asking these questions:

– What specifically will I achieve with this goal?

– How will I measure it?

– Is it achievable to me right now?

– Is it relevant to my larger goal?

– By what date will I achieve it?

2. Move More— A review in the Journal of Applied Physiology says that inactivity makes you insulin resistant and raises your lipid levels. These two factors, alone or combined, can put you at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. The Journal also says that prolonged periods of sitting make it harder for your body to burn fat and may even encourage fat storage. Finding simple ways to get more physical activity in each day can be easy and fun. A couple of things to try might be:

– Walk in place during the commercials breaks when you watch T.V.

– Get out of your chair and pace around when you talk on the phone

– Do a set of wall squats and desk push-ups every day at the office.

3. Cut Back on Sugar—Sugar is a substance that has 16 calories per teaspoon and zero nutritional value.  Eating too much sugar adds inches without supplying any of the daily requirements for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too much sugar also contributes to illness and chronic disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and no more than nine a day for men. If your sugar intake is out of control, tracking your sugar to make sure you stay within the AHA guidelines is a good place to start.

4. Get Cooking—It’s not impossible to eat a healthy diet when you dine out, but it’s definitely more of a challenge.  Did you know that frequently eating foods prepared away from home is associated with obesity, higher body fat and a higher BMI. Plus, women who eat foods prepared outside of the home more than five times per week consume about 290 more calories, on average, each day than women who eat these foods less often. When you prepare meals at home, you control the ingredients, fat, sodium, calories and quality.

The Weight Loss Tip No One is Talking About

5. Take Up Strength Training—As you age you lose muscle. People that are inactive lose about three to five percent of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. That means, by the time you’re 50 you will have lost up to 15 percent. The loss of muscle tissue can generate a variety of inflictions including sarcopenia, osteoporosis, weight gain, loss of balance and decreased energy.

Adding a couple of strength training workouts to your cardio routine a couple of times a week can turn these conditions around or prevent them from occurring in the first place. Strength training is the key to looking and feeling younger than your age.

Strength Training: The Secret to Looking Younger and Better

6. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables — Fruits and vegetables add color, flavor and texture to every meal. Plus they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Set a goal to eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of veggies every day. Experiment with different types by trying a new fruit or vegetable each week. Best of all, most varieties are low in calories and can be consumed in abundance without the fear of weight gain.

Kale

 

7. Start Your Day With Lemon Water— Squeezing a half of a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the morning is a good way to hydrate your system, cleanse the liver, and get a supply of vitamins and anti-oxidants that can give your immune system a boost.

The best reason to add fresh lemon juice to your diet several times a week is because they are super-charged with Vitamin C which is one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Anti-oxidants can protect healthy cells from free-radicals that can damage cell membranes, which ultimately leads to inflammation, pain and chronic disease.

8. Practice MindfulnessEach day we have around 60,000 thoughts. Of those, 90% are not only repetitive, they are also negative. Psychologists refer to this as a brain loop and believe that these thoughts become so routine we aren’t even aware of the repetition of them.

Learning to live in the moment can help you break free of repetitive, negative thinking and can have a huge impact on your productivity, weight and health. According to Gregory Cherok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine, research shows that mindfulness meditation improves attention and sharpens impulse control.

Take Your Life Off of Auto-Pilot and Go Someplace Different

9. Keep a Gratitude Journal — Gratitude guru Professor Robert Emmons has spent much of his adult life examining the psychology of gratitude and its connection with positive outcomes in a person’s life. Through his work he’s found that being grateful improves both psychological and physical health.

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, tend to take better care of themselves, and behave in a ore prosocial behavior. Giving thanks reduces toxic emotions, makes us less likely to want to seek revenge, and increases the empathy that we have for others. With all of the benefits that come from just being more grateful it seems like a no-brainer that this is something we should all be doing more of.

Use a journal to write down two or three things that you are grateful for each day. It will only take a couple of minutes and the rewards are well worth it.

10. Walk 10,000 Steps a Day – Taking short walks throughout the day, walking in place while you’re on the phone, and getting on the treadmill while you’re watching T.V. are some simple ways to get more walking in. To get to the goal of 10,000 steps a day, you’ll probably need to get creative and do something extra: park farther away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, pace around in your office or workspace, walk in place for three minutes after every hour of sitting.

One of the best ways to add steps is to prepare dinner for your family rather than going out to eat, running through the drive-through or nuking a heat-and-eat item from the grocery.

Keep Calm. You’ve Got This

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Tackling all of these at one time would be overwhelming (and not very S.M.A.R.T).  Pick one or two that you think you would benefit the most from, and get started today by setting and tracking achievable goals.

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Join the Five In 30 Sensible Weight Loss Program That Starts January 9

First, Last, or Only: You Can Lose 5 Pounds in 30 Days

Do you have five pounds you’d like to lose? Whether it is your first five, last five, or only five, there is a way to lose five pounds in 30 days without turning your life upside down.

The Five in 30 sensible weight loss program has four basic components. These components are based on research that has proven that there are specific actions that, once put in place, lead to successful weight loss. They are:

Journaling – The first step is to purchase an inexpensive journal that you will use to record your weigh-ins and your track your goals. The Dollar Store has a variety of small journals for only $3.

Journal

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Each week you will need to set at least one goal. That goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. For each goal that you set, use your journal to answer the following questions:

  • What specifically will I achieve with this goal?
  • How will I measure it?
  • Is it achievable to me right now?
  • Is it relevant to my larger goal?
  • By what date will I achieve it?

For example, If you are a non-exerciser, setting a goal to get up at 5 a.m. every day to go to the gym for an hour to work out isn’t S.M.A.R.T.   A S.M.A.R.T. goal would look something like this:

This week I will go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 a.m. and will spend a half hour on the treadmill.

I Know We’re Smart, But What About Our Goals?

At the end of the week you will be able to measure how well you did with this goal. Did you complete the goal 100%? If so, what motivated you to get up go to the gym to get on the treadmill?  If not, what barriers kept you from getting there?  If you went four days instead of three, what inspiration or motivation did you draw from that helped you over-achieve on this goal?

Download a printable goal tracker here.

Weekly Weigh-Ins – Each week on the same day, at the same time, on the same scale you will weigh in and write your weight in your journal.  Weighing in and writing the weight down will help keep you accountable.

Follow PTCDN for Weekly Tips and Motivation – Each week I’ll provide a quick tip to help you stay on track with your goal to lose five pounds in 30 days.  Please feel free to request additional information in the comment box. You can subscribe to the web site by putting your e-mail in the subscribe box in the upper right hand corner of this page.

See you soon!

Karen

A Shot of Motivation for You on the First Monday of 2017.

Welcome to 2017!

Most people would agree that 2016 was pretty rough, but it’s over.  We survived it and today is the day to begin attacking your goals, just like this girl did.

Turning New Year’s Resolutions into Reality

Most of us see the new year as a new beginning.  January 1 can be a launch pad for achieving all of the things you weren’t able to get to last  year. But, often times resolutions made in January don’t come to fruition, and are often forgotten by spring.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you need some help getting started on setting goals that you can actually reach, check out this article that provides tips that will help you turn your 2017 dreams into reality: Forget About Lofty Resolutions and Set Achievable Goals.

Happy New Year!

Karen

Improve Your Health With Lemon Water

It doesn’t get easier than this.

Squeezing a half of a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the morning is a good way to hydrate your system, cleanse the liver, and get a supply of vitamins and anti-oxidants that can give your immune system a boost.

The best reason to add fresh lemon juice to your diet several times a week is because they are super-charged with Vitamin C which is one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Anti-oxidants can protect healthy cells from free-radicals that can damage cell membranes, which ultimately leads to inflammation, pain and chronic disease.

Lemons and water

All Natural Lemon Juice Cleanse

Lemon water is an inexpensive, easy-to-make no-sugar thirst quencher that is more effective than commercial cleanses. The Vitamin C in lemons help the liver produce a compound called glutathione, which cleanses the liver and helps it regenerate. The minerals and vitamins in lemons help to flush unwanted toxins from the digestive tract, also aiding in liver detoxification

Increased Energy

Lemon squeezed in water provides more energy for the body than plain water. Water with lemon is a good pre-workout hydration drink. After a workout, lemon water will replace lost fluids and electrolytes and can improve post-workout recovery.

Weight Loss

There have been plenty of articles written about how lemon water can ‘melt fat’ and help people lose weight. Lemon water is not a magic potion that will cause you to drop pounds quickly unless you’re engaged in some of the other necessary behaviors – like reducing calories, and increasing your physical activity – that promote weight loss.

Lemon water will help you feel fuller and more satisfied than plain water which can cut cravings and reduce the chances that you’ll reach for a sugary soda or sports drink.

Glass of Lemon Water

How Much Do You Need?

People that weigh less than 150 pounds can squeeze a half of a fresh lemon into 8 to 12 ounce glass of water. People over 150 pounds can use the juice of one whole lemon or drink two glasses with a half a lemon each, twice a day.

The one downside to drinking lemon water is that it can be hard on tooth enamel. After drinking your daily glass, rinse the mouth with regular water and spit it out. This will protect the teeth from the acids in the lemon juice.

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The Best Remedy for Holiday Bloat: Natural Detox

The Thanksgiving feast, holiday parties, carry-in lunches at work and the special homemade ‘treats’ that make their way into your life at this time of year may tempt you to look for a way to undo all of the damage overeating and drinking is doing to your system.

After an extended period of eating sugary, high-fat foods loaded with empty calories, and drinking too many special holiday drinks (whether it be a couple of shots of Tequila at the after-party or a 460 calorie Eggnog Latte from Starbucks) your liver could use a break.

Detox Diet

Do You Need A 48-Hour (or 7 Day) Detox or Cleanse?

The desire to get rid of that stuffed, sluggish feeling that comes after a few days of overdoing the food and drinks sends a lot of people to the drug store for a commercial liver detox or cleansing product. But, research shows that the liver doesn’t need you to spend your cash on a product that promises to flush your system of all of the toxins you’ve consumed.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “If you are in good health and not overloading your system with toxic substances (such as alcohol), the liver will cleanse itself very well.” Dr. Weil also reminds us that liver toxicity does not cause cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, auto-immune conditions, or aging.

The best thing you can do for your overall health is to get back to a plan of eating and drinking foods and beverages that promote liver, colon, kidney and heart health. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding tobacco smoke and limiting alcohol can get your system back in top-notch condition.

The Good and The Bad

A commercial cleansing product might not be as beneficial to your healing as promoters of the products would have you believe. But, there are some foods that are particularly bad and good for the liver. If you work to avoid those on the bad list, and consume plenty of those on the good, you’ll begin to feel better quicker.

Six substances to avoid (besides the obvious tobacco and alcohol) are sugar, artificial sweeteners, fried foods, monosodium glutamate, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and fuel exhaust.

Foods that support liver health are beets, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lemons, lentils, minimal amounts of healthy fats (found in avocados, nuts, and chia seeds), apples, onions, and leafy greens. In general, whole foods that are low in calories, sugar and salt, but high in nutrients and vitamins are what you need to get and stay healthy this year.

Natural Detox

Components of a Natural Liver Detox

In particular, large amounts of leafy green vegetables, six to eight glasses of water with slices of lemon, cucumber or other fruits, green tea, and moderate amounts of daily exercise are all you need to naturally ‘detox’ your system.

A while back I posted a recipe for a delicious and super healthy kale and pomegranate salad  that provides a ton of nutrients, and fiber and would be something to add to your natural detox plan.

Your Liver On Sugar

One of the best things you can do for your liver is limit the amount of added sugar that you consume each day. Too much sugar, and more specifically fructose, turns into fat in the liver. Over time, this buildup of sugar leads to a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and damages the liver in the same way that too much alcohol does.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than nine teaspoons a day for men and six a day for women.

For more reasons why you should say no to sugar, click here.

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Improve Your Health: Drink Green Tea

Coffee gets credit for being a beverage loaded with anti-oxidants that can help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, fatty liver disease and even some cancers.

Green tea, also considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks, tends to take a back seat to coffee when it comes to media attention, and that’s probably not fair.

Flickr photo by Leon Brocard

Health Benefits of Green Tea

There are many known health benefits of green tea and most of them are tied to the fact that it is loaded with epigallocatechin-3 gallates (EGCG) and bioactive polyphenol that have been shown to be the most effective compounds in eliminating free radicals.

An article in Medical News Today says that green tea is approximately 20% to 45% polyphenols by weight, of which 60% to 80% are catechins such as EGCG. What that means for you, is that when you consume green tea an army is released into your system that will destroy those pesky free radicals that cause cell damage, oxidative stress and eventually chronic disease.

Free radicals are generated from a variety of sources found in our daily lives including injury, cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants, radiation, certain drugs, pesticides, industrial solvents, and the ozone. Totally avoiding them is impossible so consuming green tea is one way to combat the damage they can do to cells.

Not only is green tea full of strong antioxidants, it is also believed to be effective in increasing metabolism and helps the body burn fat. Green tea also acts as a natural diuretic that removes excess fluid from the body and, a study done in at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine shows that people who drink green tea age better than those who don’t.

Not All Teas Are Equal

Since there are so many options available when you go to buy green tea it’s important to pick one that gives you the highest levels of EGCG. For starters, bottled teas don’t measure up to brewed teas. Not only do they contain fewer antioxidants, many bottled teas have as much added sugar as soda.

Even bagged teas have different amounts of the healthy properties that can make some better than others. For bulk tea, Teavanak at 85 mg. has the most EGCG per teaspoon. If bagged tea is your choice, Lipton Green Tea bags, which contain about 71mg EGCG per serving, provides the most EGCG at the lowest cost (27 cents to obtain 200mg.

Flickr photo by Chris Costas

Green Tea Supplements Are Another Option

If you’re really serious about amping up your consumption of EGCG, green tea capsules might be the way to go. Through a study done at UCLA, researchers determined that green tea supplements produced the highest levels of antioxidants in the blood compared with liquid black or green tea.

If you do choose the supplement over the beverage, be careful not to get too much of a good thing. The average person should not consume more than 4.54 mg per pound of body weight. For all body weights, it is recommended to have no more than 750 mg in one day.

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