Who says there’s no time?

I’m probably not the only one here who has been inspired by the talented Jennifer Hudson. She decided she wanted to be healthy, to be an example for her son, to feel powerful. She did it… and she happens to look fantastic on top of it all.

There is a pretty cool article/slideshow on Mrs. Hudson on Self.com. In one of the slides, Hudson says:

“On days when I’m short on time, I do this workout called trilogy, which is cardio and strength combined: I do 25 squats, 25 push-ups and 25 ab moves, then rest a minute. Then I do them in reverse and rest another minute. Fifteen minutes and I’m done! And I create moments of exercise. When I lived on the 26th floor, I’d walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.”

I love that she totally advocates and makes squeezing in activity look so simple–because it really is! I decided to put the bold part to the test since my strength training has been lacking since Pole Fitness is so far out of the way from my new residence.

And DANG! She says it like it’s easy. NOPE! It may have taken me only about 10-12 minutes to do the cycle, but boy did I feel it. For my ab moves, I chose gymnastic sit ups* for the first set and lifted heel presses** for the second so I got a rounded core workout. My arms were dreading the second set of push ups and my abs felt dang good after (I’m a nut for core work).

Bonus? It got me 2 AP’s. For only ten minutes! Awesome right?

I challenge you to try it! The time may range from my 10 to Jen’s 15 so just be patient and stick through it. Your body with thank you. Just think of how strong you will be if you squeeze this in every other day! Remember to track it as “circuit training” if you do it like she suggests, with minimal rest between moves. I highly recommend stretching and doing windmills with your arms after because you will feel it.

1) See if you can get through the whole thing (trust me, I struggled… I had to pause during the pushups for a mini-sec a couple times).
2) See how your muscles  (and your heart rate!) feel during and after.
3) Make sure to stretch after.

An extra challenge: do it right when you wake up as a nice little boost for the day. Quick AP’s right off the bat!

With a mini-workout like this, it makes me think that there really are no excuses to not “find time” to exercise.

If you do end up trying out this circuit, let me know what you think!

Remember… no excuses. ;)

*Gymnastic sit ups: Lay flat on your back, arms stretched above your head. Lift one leg as you lift both arms to meet/stretch past it. Return to flat position, and do on the other side. Repeat.

**Lifted heel raises: Lay on your back with your legs up in the air, perpendicular to the ground. Holding in your abs, slightly raise your tush and gently press your heels upward and away from your body. Return to original position. Repeat.

Blogging helps!

Do you want to know something I’ve noticed since I started back with WW last month?

Blogging has become a huge source of motivation to keep with my health efforts. When I blog every other day or so, I find that I keep on track a lot better. For example, last week I didn’t blog as much and towards the end of the week I was slipping a little (I like to attribute it to the fact that I was exhausted).

It could be because I don’t attend meetings and am doing WW solely online. So it’s like blogging has become my way of being accountable while still trying to share information that can benefit others as well. It’s like I’m not only speaking my language but living the culture as well (a really broad metaphor, I know).

Reading other blogs is also a great source of inspiration.

I know a lot of you here employ the use of the WW blog, but I wonder if you have found that it helps you in your weight loss/maintenance efforts. Whether it helps with your accountability or find that it keeps your mind clear enough that you can focus on making better choices. I’d love to hear what you think about how blogging helps (or if it doesn’t!) you.

Brrr!

Ever since I started dropping weight way back in 2009, I’ve had this particular problem and I wonder if you have some version of it too…

I have always hated winter and I don’t like cold weather very much. That much is still the same. However, my tolerance of cold temps has gone down the tubes. This is literally the conversation that happened yesterday when I went downstairs.

Mom: Why are you wearing a sweater?
Me: I’m freezing!
Mom: But it’s 72 degrees in here!
Me: And that’s too cold!
Mom: Seriously? I’m burning up…
Me: Well, lucky you. I’m freezing so it’s obviously cold in here.
Mom: You’re nuts.

No joke. With my new residence in the mountains, I need the minimum of 4 blankets covering my bed at night so I don’t freeze my toots off. And then at work, I have to have a space heater because God forbid I drink the delicious hot cocoa to warm up. A lot of the time, I attribute it to my consumption of lots of ice cold water–but when I’m not doing that, then I have nothing to pin my sensitivity on.

My mom’s argument as to why my body is so sensitive? “You’re too skinny.”

Thanks, Mom. I wouldn’t say that at all. In fact, I’m still trying to trim down the mess of my senior year of college (+10 pounds… ugh). How much of that is muscle? No idea. But I know I have more muscle than before. You think that muscle would help keep you warm, but noooo! I really wish my body wasn’t this sensitive to cold. It’s such a pain.

Another thing is when I feel really cold, I like to turn to food as a source of heat. Sometimes I’ll do push-ups because those are a quick fix but it depends on where I am (no way am I doing those in the middle of the office). It’s not a huge problem right now, but I’m deathly afraid of winter coming because hot cocoa is definitely a favorite of mine. And it’s bound to get FREEZING!

Does anybody else have temperature issues? What do you do to combat them?

Sharing the scale love…

My friend Maryann posted a great blog on “Loving the Scale” yesterday and I think it is worth sharing!

… it occurred to me this morning that there are an awful lot of people out there sweating their weekly weigh-in (or not weighing in at all). I see lots of posts like… “I weigh in tomorrow morning. I don’t think it’s going to be good.” or…. “I’m not sure how my weigh-in will go tomorrow.” But…. why?

Click to read more on her blog! She further gives you ways to think about why you shouldn’t fear the scale so much, but rather embrace it. You should subscribe to her–she’s an awesome no-nonsense Lifetimer at Goal with motivation and truth.

Happy Thursday!

Challenge: Slow Down!

How fast do you eat your food? Do you have a sip of water or set down your fork between bites? Do you chew each bite 20 times before you swallow? Or do you simply wolf down your plate before anyone else can get halfway through their own?

I’m not saying either way is wrong or right, but there are benefits when it comes to eating slowly.

The new guy I’m seeing (technically not-so-new since we’ve been into each other for two years) is a wolfer. However, he does have an extremely busy lifestyle (taking 21 credit hours this semester on top of a host of other things) so I can see why being an “efficient eater” would be necessary for him. He loves to eat but I often wonder how much he enjoys food since his fork is only empty for a half a second between bites before he’s shoveling more food onto it. (I must say that he has excellent taste in steak though… )

Over the past few years where I’ve been interested in health, I’ve read about studies on fast eaters several times… and they are three-times more likely to be overweight than slower eaters. The problem is that when you eat a lot of food super fast, your body isn’t given time to assess when it is full so you’re more likely to go overboard. Whereas, if you eat slower, you are more likely to stop when your body has had it’s fill of food even if you don’t finish your meal.

Another benefit to slower eating is better enjoyment of your food–and who wouldn’t love that? Food, while also crucial to survive, should be enjoyed!

So how about this for a challenge this week: Take the time to eat and enjoy your food for at least one meal a day. Turn off the TV, computer, or whatever and focus on what you’re eating instead (since those can distract body from recognizing full signals and also lead to mindless eating). Go slow and don’t eat while driving (dangerous!). See how your body feels and how much food you actually end up eating once you slow down.

I’m curious to see what you find out about their eating habits with this. If this is something you have already worked out, I welcome comments on your discoveries!
Good luck! =)

The “C” Word

What do you think of when you see the word “cheat“?

Negative connotations, right?

I don’t know about you but I really despise this word. A lot of people use it in the “dieting” world and it’s rather tiresome.

  • “I totally cheated last night at Olive Garden and ate way too much.”
  • “My friend made me cheat by making me eat half of her chocolate bar.”
  • “If I eat it after 10 PM, it’s not cheating.”

The reason why I hate it? Take a look at the Merriam-Webster definition (with minimal condensing from me) and see if you can figure it out.

  1. to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something
  2. to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule; to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get
  3. to avoid (something bad, dangerous, etc.) by being clever or lucky

Any guesses yet?

Cheating, to me, is an active, fully conscious act to gain something that may or may not be yours by means trickery and dishonesty–i.e. a conscious deception.

“Cheat” is not listed in my lifestyle dictionary. Everything that I do, what I eat and how often I exercise, is a choice that I make. Another a choice I make is to be honest–a trait that so-called cheating lacks.

This is where tracking what you eat and what kind of activity you participate in prevents “cheating” on a diet/lifestyle. An honest record of these things or even owning up to your choices cancels out any deception–so the “c” word doesn’t apply!

Somethings may not be as healthy but that’s just how it goes! So I like to eat brownie batter… who cares? I haven’t broken a rule or law, I haven’t prevented either myself or someone else to get what is expected, and I’m certainly not avoiding anything. This makes me feel that the word “cheat” is being used improperly.  I’m honest about it just as I should be; my stomach can feel it and the residual taste is still on my tongue. I know that I’ve done it. I make the choice to eat the batter and hold myself accountable for it.

Do you know what another choice of mine is? To live a life where I choose to progress in my health endeavors and not be deprived. I eat the batter–I combat it with a healthier choice next time or an extra ten minutes of dancing around my room naked. It’s not a step back so much as it is an opportunity to enjoy myself a little more for a moment. Things taste good–why not enjoy them?

This is why WeightWatchers trumps most other weight loss options. It encourages healthy choices but still allows you to enjoy the foods you love in moderation. No deprivation necessary. Not only that, but it encourages honesty and accountability with what goes into your body. The “c” word doesn’t apply if it’s part of the plan. ;)

So instead of “cheating” on a diet or lifestyle, simply own up to the fact that a decision is a decision. If you enjoy it, why should you consider it cheating anyway? A lifestyle is forever. If part of your lifestyle is enjoying a cookie every once in a while, there is nothing wrong with that. Just remember that you will always have control over your life even if you think you don’t at times.

Keep in mind this is just my opinion… I hope I’ve given you something to think about.

What’s your opinion on the “c” word?

Those sneaky workouts…

So crazy thing–my workout yesterday was really tame while I was doing it. My pole fitness instructor decided to do a complete core workout where I barely broke a sweat. Heck, I wasn’t even feeling half of the moves and so I attributed that to the fact that we have done more core than other body areas for a while. There was a point near the end where I even thought, “Seriously? This is all we’re doing? Not very challenging…”

Little did I know how sore I would feel today! Oh-em-gee! I really love it when I feel sore but I just was not expecting to be sore from yesterday since Pole Fitness wasn’t as intense as it usually is. It just goes to show that repetitive subtle motions requiring lots of body control can kick your trash just as much as some other high-intensity, hard-hitting workout.

I should have known that it was a good workout this morning when I woke up starving. Didn’t even think about it ’til now.

This can also be turned around on its head. There have been times where I have a crazy hard workout only to not be sore. That even happened for a couple weeks and it drove me crazy. If I’m having a tough workout, I better feel it the next day. So it’s weird when a workout is not very intense but still leaves me wincing at every turn in the 24 hours following.

Don’t you love how different kinds of workouts can affect your body?

Points Plus or Minus?

One thing that I love about Points Plus is that because of the free fruits and most veggies, it is possible to actually have an OP day where you end up well below your Daily Points Target. It’s crazy but it’s doable.

Case in point: My lunch today. It was a styrofoam to-go box filled to the brim with food and yet it was only 6 points in all. The contents?

2 C mixed greens
2 T fresh mushrooms
.5 C pears
.25 C each pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, and green bell peppers
8 baby carrots
5 cherries
1 wheat dinner roll (2)
.5 hard boiled egg (1)
1.5 oz sliced turkey (1)
1 T ranch dressing (2)

Looking at that list, it’s a lot of food! Lots of yummy food that made my taste buds very happy (I wasn’t aware that our salad bar at work had so many yummy fruits). The crazy thing is that only the last four items are the only things that have a PointsPlus value (listed beside them). And I’ve knocked out more than my 5 fruits/veggies daily requirement all before 2 PM!

So now I’m looking at 20 points left for the day. I could use those to easily help polish off my GHG’s and also have a treat if I wanted to. I’m already debating if I want to do Starbucks for a skinny pumpkin spice latte (YUM! Perfect prior to my workout too for that little boost since I didn’t get enough sleep last night…) or Red Mango for my afternoon treat since I will have a break between activities this afternoon.

Not only is this why I love PointsPlus, but this is why it works. It encourages good choices and you don’t have to be deprived. Oh, so that’s why I came back to tracking with WW last month… ;)

Pump it up!

I just read this fascinating article in USA Today about how people who engage in intense workouts continue to burn calories and torch fat stores for up to 14 hours after.

They define intense activities as those that make you sweat, get your heart rate up and increases your body temp–such as running/jogging, higher intensity sports, and circuit training. Just walking will not get you those same benefits of burning an extra 190 calories (on average) for the 14 hours following your workout. You would have to incorporate more into your walks to reap those (like adding a backpack or climbing stairs/mountain).

For me, Zumba Fitness does a dang good job of this which is one of the reasons why I love it so much… it is a blast and it blasts your body as well.

  • Do the findings from this research motivate you to up your game when it comes to your workouts?
  • What’s your favorite way to get an intense workout?

Naturally in LA…

My challenge from last week went pretty well for the most part! I ate almost always when I was hungry and was able to stop before feeling full. The biggest challenge was being out of town for it since I was in LA auditioning for The Voice.

Man, did I feel spoiled! My host and his parents wouldn’t let me pay for anything! We went out for most meals, a couple of which were exceedingly nice and delicious. One restaurant even reincarnated my favorite dish from Italy (these guys have serious connections). I may have polished off every meal I had, but I still managed to keep my hunger/fullness feelings in check–and I enjoyed every single bit of it. Even the Oreo milkshake from Mel’s Diner. But it was on this trip that I realized something…

If I’m going to eat something, consume a host of calories, I better be enjoying it. If I’m not doing that, then there is absolutely no reason to be eating it. If I don’t like it, then I don’t want those calories being in anyway in my daily diary.

In a way, this is great! In another, it’s interesting because I’ve become a bit of a food purist. I don’t like touching fat-free or sugar-free alternatives of foods unless it is the only option (dairy tends to be the only exception). If I’m going to eat something, I want it to be the real deal with real, natural ingredients. None of that aspartame or preservative junk. This is why I miss Europe food so much–absolutely none of that stuff.

I love food! It’s just how it is. I enjoy eating and trying new flavors and revisiting favorites. If I’m not enjoying it, it’s so not worth it to even finish it.

Call me crazy, but yesterday I even accidentally ordered the wrong drink from Starbucks. It’s a new discovery of mine that someone from the auditions told me about that I loved (iced soy green tea latte w/ only 2 pumps syrup–new fave!) so I hadn’t gotten down the swagger of ordering it yet. Tried a sip, realized I had made a mistake–and it was a bad one (forgot the soy and forgot to ask for iced). Despite paying $3 for it, I tossed it immediately in the trash. Didn’t like it, not worth it!

So what do you think on only eating things you enjoy so long as you keep yourself in check?