Monday, December 29, 2008

New You in 2009!

Change Your Health in 2009

“Starting this New Year, I’m gonna…” fill in the blank: lose weight, exercise more, quit a bad habit, stop eating sugar, etc. The unfortunate thing is that we usually make unrealistic, quick-set goals. As soon as they start to fail, the ego tells us to just forget it., and we go back to bad habits.
This year, let’s start off with a better plan. I will list for you today the things that most people need to do to lead a healthier life, lose weight, feel better, fend off disease, live with less stress, be more productive, and even sleep better. So, if any of the above things are the end goal, please find the things on this list below that you are not doing yet. Then, take out your calendar. Spend twenty-one days on each habit. It takes about twenty-one days for the body to start adjusting to a new habit. Do one at a time. If you slip up for a little bit, forgive yourself and keep moving forward. A slip up here and there will happen, and it should not mean the end of the road for your new healthy you.

Quit smoking. This is the number one thing on the list because you simply will not be healthy if you smoke. Period. Get a quit-smoking package from the doctor or your drug store, or see a hypnotist. Do what you need to do to make this a priority for your life and the life of those of us around you.
Move every day. If you do not move at all, start small. Start wearing a pedometer and start logging your steps per day. Make your goal 10,000 steps by building 500-1000 steps per day. When the end of the day gets here and you only have 8,000, take a walk. When you are ready to move forward, start power walking, jogging, or taking a class every day. Then, start doing some kind of weight-bearing exercise. There is a ton of information online and in DVD stores. Your local fitness club has classes and trainers to help you find something that suits you. Exercise IS fun, if you find your nitch. ,
Go to the store. This seems simple enough, but many people eat out so much that they miss the weekly shopping trip to get necessities for cooking and eating healthy. The perimeter of the grocery store is the most healthy section: fresh produce, fresh poultry, seafood, frozen vegetables, and the deli are great places to start. Search the middle for beans and whole grains. Don’t know where to start? Start simple!
Eat breakfast every day. Those who eat within the first two hours of waking in the morning consume fewer calories throughout the day. There have been numerous studies on this. Nutritionists say the body is still in sleep mode until food awakens the organs. Then, they work more efficiently and burn many more calories. The latest studies show the big morning eaters (600 kcal of food in the morning), weigh less than those who do not eat in the morning. What’s a good breakfast? A balance of protein and complex carbohydrates. For example, try a scrambled egg and a slice of whole grain toast with smart balance butter or natural peanut butter.
Prepare your own lunch and dinner. If you work or are away during the day, this takes some early preparation. This means preparing a lunch while you make your breakfast in the morning, or even fix it the night before. A simple sandwich, fruit, yogurt, and a handful of nuts should do. Come home starving? Become friends with a slow cooker or a quick-cooking apparatus like the George Foreman grill. A good dinner consists of a lean protein the size or your palm, preferably grilled or baked with olive oil, and a ton of vegetables, steamed, sautéed, or microwaved.
Plan snacks. Everyone has their low point in the day. Some of us are starving halfway through the morning, and some of us need something in the mid afternoon. Some of us even need both. This is fine, just prepare for it. Bring with you nuts and dried fruit, or snack bars. Products by All Bran, TLC, Fiber One, and Pria by Power Bar are all excellent. A good snack is 110-180 calories.
Drink water all day. Walk around with a steel water bottle or a thick-plastic bottle (recycle numbers 2, 4, or 5) and refill it all day.
Quit sodas. Drinking full-calorie sodas add hundreds or even thousands of calories per day. Diet sodas are loaded with chemicals. Some studies show that diet drink consumers eat more sugary snacks through the day than non-soda drinkers. If you are on full-calorie sodas, start mixing them with diet sodas. Eventually, you will be on diet sodas. Then, drink fewer diet drinks. Try fresh-brewed teas and lots of water. It does take some time, but you can get rid of sodas all together.
Balance the caffeine. Caffeine has health benefits. Some coffee in the morning, or midday tea is healthy. But if you find yourself drinking coffee all day, try alternating between coffee and water. You will find you don’t need so much coffee afterall. Have a cutoff time. Drinking caffeine too late in the day means less sleep at night.
Balance your alcohol intake. Alcohol also has health benefits. If you find yourself having more than 1 drink per day as a female, or 2 drinks per day as a male, then cut yourself back. If cutting back is difficult, please seek a professional’s help.
Work out the schedule. As you start making all these changes, a daily schedule should emerge. There are times to exercise, times to eat, and times to sleep. Try to stick with your schedule every day. Consistency is key. Rest is key.
Log it in! If you are not a member yet, join the team at . Log in your goals and what you are doing for your health every day. Find a group or team that you feel likeness to. Studies prove that loggers stick to their goals! Check out this free meal and calorie planner, too.

There are professionals to help with any or all of these goals. Seek out nutritionists, sleep professionals, and personal trainers for extra help.
Let’s make 2009 the year to feel fantastic!

Carrie Harper
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Certified Weight Management Consultant

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Week!

It is a new week! Besides the fact that I have caught constant viruses since October, I am starting to feel pretty good. I'm not exhausted or pukey any more.
BUT, this is NOT the time of year to be pregnant and wanting sugar. There is sugar everywhere. So, those of you with a sugar addiction out there, I am with you for the first time. I have to remove myself from the situation because I know that sugar won't make me feel better, but it seems to be a magnet these days! And these days, fake sugar won't do. So, again, I am trying to remove myself from the situation, and sugary gifts are being re-gifted! So, if a box of cookies shows up at your door, try one and REGIFT or leave them in the conference room! Bye Bye, Sugar!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving and Other Holiday Survival Tips

The average American consumes over 600 extra calories PER DAY in the holiday season, which can mean 6 pounds of fat, plus extra water-weight gain for the new year. That can be a tough uphill battle, so let's stop it before it starts.
For the big meal days, make sure you don't save up for the big event. In other words, eat light meals and snacks at your regular times. At meal time, just watch the portion size. And after the meal, enjoy one dessert. The alternative is overindulgence. All things in moderation makes for an easier holiday.
The other thing that packs on the calories is alcohol. One "serving" of alcohol is 100 calories. A margarita or long island iced tea can be 6 servings, plus the mixer. The body has to work pretty hard to get rid of the alcohol in the system, and in the mean time, the fat you had with the alcohol is NOT getting burned off.
Instead, opt for one glass of wine or light beer, and then try a spritzer of carbonated selzer water and cranberry juice. If you do decide to have a few drinks. Go double fisted, but with water in the other hand.