Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fitness is Like Money in the Bank

Fitness is Like Money in the Bank

By putting a little away each day, you create security and can build ownership for yourself.  Consider your exercise routine a deposit you are making every day into your health and well-being savings adds up over time.  Before you know it, you will have a wealth of health!”  -Mandy Ingber

1. Drink more water. Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Staying hydrated is the best quick weight loss tip and is essential to your health. The biggest problem with hydration is the fact that most of us don’t even think about it until we’re already dehydrated.
Often times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually dehydrated. You should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water daily. You will begin to slowly see the benefits of drinking water.

2. Use a pedometer for a week-day one: normal day two: add more steps...etc.

3. Make a healthy food choice switch: fruit for chocolate, veggies for cookies...etc.

4. Bring a healthy lunch/dinner/snack from home that is homemade.  
A Healthy Choice product may seem like the quick fix needed for dieters with no time to cook, but the name of this brand inaccurately reflects its actual content. Rather than filling your belly with nutritious vitamins and minerals, Healthy Choice meals fill it with sodium, sugar and plenty of starch.
Another problem with this Healthy Choice product includes its abundance of starch and lack of vegetables. Yes, whole grains make up the pasta, and the company did sneak some tomato paste in there, but what kind of health food consists of carbs, carbs and more carbs?

5. Check in with your posture throughout the day.

The number one thing that gets people into trouble as far as a downgrade in their health is their posture.
Certain ergonomic changes can really make a difference: Sit close to the work station. Keep monitors at eye level.Keep the keyboard at a level that doesn't require too much reaching and isn't too high or low. Sit with legs flexed at a 90-degree angle with feet resting comfortably on the floor. Lift objects with the legs and keep the object close to the body and the middle of the trunk.
Strengthen muscles involved in posture -- including the abdominals, the muscles attached to the back of the spine and the gluteals -- to avoid injury to the muscles of the neck, lower back, arms and legs. It's important to maintain a balance between stretching and strengthening muscles.
When muscles are weakened because of poor posture, what typically occurs is that the opposing or opposite muscle group becomes tight. So the balance comes in making sure that the tight muscles are stretched and the weak muscles become strengthened.
Helpful exercises include shoulder squeezes, back bends, walking,and tightening and contracting the buttocks.
6. Meditate
Meditation may seem like a passing trend, but the newly popular practice touts some serious health benefits. Om-ing is optional, but regularly taking 10-20 minutes to unwind and focus on yourself is one of the greatest secrets to longevity. “Meditation is going to help with stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved immunity and improved cardiovascular function," says Kerry Bajaj, a certified health coach at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. It’s also going to make you feel much better because you’re disconnecting from all the stimulation of life.”
7. Sleep
It’s no secret that most hard-working people are sleep deprived, but just because it’s common does not mean it’s OK. Sleep makes or breaks a healthy lifestyle. All that time and effort you spend eating right and working out won’t be as effective—and your physique will actually be harder to maintain—if you’re not getting seven to eight hours a night. Catching up on sleep on the weekends won’t work either.
Research from Rochester University suggests that insufficient sleep disrupts our brain’s ability to flush toxins from the body and as a result, can impair brain function. So, when you show up for work after a bad night's sleep and you're unable to focus on anything—that’s why.

Insomniacs who did 16 weeks of aerobic exercise—walking outside or using a treadmill or stationary bike—for 30 to 40 minutes four times a week slept an extra 75 minutes per night, finds a recent study published in Sleep Medicine. That's more than other non-drug therapies have achieved, likely because exercise improves metabolism and decreases inflammation—both of which can enhance sleep quality and reduce daytime fatigue.

8. Drink warm water with lemon
The first thing you put in your mouth when you wake shouldn’t be a vegetable omelet and a side of chicken sausage. Drinking warm water with lemon upon rising delivers loads of benefits. “Warm water with lemon in the morning is very alkalizing. It supports detoxification and even helps to stimulate bowel movements,” says Bajaj. It will even give you a nice boost of energy sans caffeine.

9. Drink tea
Drink more tea. Just do it. Aside from water, tea might be the best beverage for your body. Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that regular consumption of green tea can improve memory and cognition in men. Green tea is also credited with a host of other health-boosting benefits, like firing up your metabolism, lowering blood pressure, preventing bad breath, boosting immunity, and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.

10. TV Time = Toning Time
I’m sure we all stop to check the news or catch up on our favorite sitcoms on TV once in awhile. Make the best of this time by holding a plank, or stretching while you watch. Here’s a fun idea: invest in a hula-a-hoop and watch the inches melt away while you enjoy the tube ?
11. Take time to eat mindfully
Mindful Eating is:
  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.   
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

12. Eat a protein filled breakfast.  Food is fuel.  Eating breakfast is like filling up a gas tank. When you wake up in the morning, your body is low on fuel, like a car running on empty, explains Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD. A morning meal can kick-start your engine by giving your body energy.

A high protein breakfast can give you the perfect start to your day. Protein can be a great way to fuel up after a long night's rest. What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, which is why many experts suggest starting off with a big breakfast that’s packed with satiating protein and fiber.
Why Eat Protein? Protein is a building block of cells throughout the body. It is necessary for healthy skin, nails, muscles, cartilage and blood. Protein helps to build and repair bodily tissues, and it is used to produce hormones and enzymes. When you eat protein for breakfast, you will feel more energized and ready to take on your day. You are also more likely to feel full longer, which can lead to healthier eating habits and possibly even weight loss.

13. Check in with your “hunger/fullness meter”

Hunger Meter

1. I'm little hungry; my stomach feels as hollow as the promises of a politician.
Eat now to prevent yourself from progressing to 2. Other leading indicators of mild hunger are slight stomach growling, mild headache, shakiness and loss of concentration. If you aren't sure whether you're actually hungry, you're probably not. You may be confusing true hunger with boredom, fatigue or thirst.

2. I'm so hungry I could eat the lining of an empty Spam can.
My stomach is growling so loud it scared off a junkyard dog. I've got to have something to eat, and fast. Don't let yourself get here. You'll be eating a package of Twinkies and guzzling Coke like crazy.

Fullness Meter

3. I'm starting to feel full. I will stop now so that I can save on my grocery bill.
You have entered that pleasant zone where you are no longer hungry but not quite full either. Feel honorable about leaving a little room in your stomach. Try to keep yourself here at meals " never starving, never stuffed.

4. I'm so stuffed I'll have to waddle over to the couch to collapse.
You have eaten too much, even if it's all on your diet. Avoid this extreme; practice more restraint. Don't feel obligated to clean your plate, either. Stop eating as soon as your stomach feels full. Those extra bites of food that you're trying not to waste add unneeded calories.

As you go through your day and manage your mealtimes, ask yourself how hungry or full you are, based on my Hunger/Fullness Meter. Your goal is to listen to your body, and let go of external cues such as the clock to tell you when, and how much, to eat.

14. Limit sugars after 2pm.
It’s 2pm and rather than concentrating on your work, the only thing on your mind is the struggle you have to stifle your yawns and stay awake. Yes, your usual afternoon energy slump has kicked in with a vengeance and frankly all you want to do is take a nap.
Instead, you resort to a double cappuccino and bar of chocolate to give your power levels a much needed afternoon energy boost, which seems to work its magic – but only for the next half hour or so! Before you know it, you’re right back to square one and wondering how you’re going to survive the rest of the day.

15.  A healthy mouth is more than just clean teeth; it's also the portal to a healthy body.
Brushing your teeth daily is connected to these health benefits:  decreased risk of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and COPD (Journal of Periodontology), prevention of heart disease (American Journal of Medicine), stroke prevention, healthy weight maintenance - (brushing your teeth tells the brain that mealtime is over) and of course, prevention of gum disease.  Also, a Journal of American Geriatrics Society study found that daily brushing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia, especially in women. Remember to brush your teeth!
16.  Keep track of your food/beverage intake for one week, along with your daily activity.  Why?
Because keeping a daily food/beverage and exercise log could be your secret weapon to weight loss success.  Research findings of a study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research that followed more than 2,000 dieters for six months and encouraged healthy eating and regular exercise, found that the single best indicator for dropping weight came down to keeping a food log.  Researchers have found that Americans typically underestimate their food intake by about 25 percent while overestimating their daily physical activity levels.  Many people overlook the bites, licks, and tastes, or BLTs as food experts call them. Especially in an office environment, it’s easy to forget about that piece of chocolate a co-worker supplied or the trip to the vending machine. These little indiscretions, however, quickly add up to big calories.  And track your exercise, whether it’s walking around the block, taking the stairs, going on a family hike, snowshoeing, biking, kayaking, or any other activity that increases your heart rate.  Once you get in the habit of paying attention to your daily food intake and increasing your level of activity, the reward will be better overall health and the great feeling of success.
An excellent Internet resource for health information and tools for tracking your daily food intake and activities is:, sponsored by the U.S Dept of Agriculture.
17.  Have you tried any of the cool fitness apps for your phone?
Seeing as many of us carry our smartphones all day long, they are great tools for monitoring fitness and diet goals. That constant reminder or ability to check in on your progress is key to staying the course, whether you're trying to lose weight, or walk more steps in a day, or make time for a seven-minute power workout in your living room. But most important of all, the best fitness apps let you set your own goals and maintain a pace that's right for you.  Here is a link to a January 2014 article on “The 25 Best Fitness Apps”:  Some of them are free, some carry a small fee.  My personal favorite, which didn’t make the list, is  It’s free, easy to use, and you can scan nutritional info into your diary just by taking a picture of the upc code on the foods you eat.  Give it a try!

18.  Lose Weight to Save Your Heart

Losing weight can do more than make you look better — it can save your life.  The weight-heart connection is simple: Weight loss is an important shield against coronary heart disease. If there is heart disease in your family, or you're on prescriptions for blood pressure, or your doctor warns you about extra heart risks … you may feel a bit like disease is your destiny.  But take heart. In its Guidelines for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity, The National Institutes of Health report that a 5 to 10 percent weight loss can make a huge difference.  You don't have to wait for your weight goal to see a difference in your heart health. "When it comes to heart disease and weight, there's an exponential curve," says Miller-Kovach. "A little bit of extra weight increases your risk for heart disease a little bit, and vice versa." In the same way, a little bit of weight loss decreases your risk a little bit, and vice versa again.  As you're losing weight, you're more likely to start exercising, which has bonuses of its own: "Exercise has been recognized as an independent positive factor to heart health," says Miller-Kovach. "We now know that exercise tends to mobilize the fat stores in the abdomen, which are the ones that put you at the greatest risk for heart disease." Plus, says Fletcher, in addition to preserving "good" cholesterol, exercise will help you control your blood pressure, among other things.

February is National Heart Month! Show your heart some love with these 18 Super Foods for your heart.  You might be surprised by some of the items on the list, like chocolate, potatoes and coffee.  

No comments: