Day 9 – Go Meatless

Day 9 – Go Meatless

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Going meatless, even just once to a few times a week, can have a tremendous impact on your health. You don’t have to cut all animal products out of your life cold-turkey, but decreasing the amount of meat and increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole-grains that you eat can do wonders for your health and the health of the environment.

Don’t get me wrong (or hate me), I am a full-on meat eater.  But eliminating meat from meals every once in a while can be great.  It can be time-saving, money-saving, and health-beneficial.  You don’t have to sacrifice deliciousness because you’re eliminating meat.  Have you ever tried a whole roasted herbed cauliflower or a vegetable burger? Mmmmm.

Go ahead and expand your horizons by making full meals solely out of plants.  You’ll be surprised with the plethora of ideas and recipes you can find or come up with.

~FB

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Day 8 – Pack A Lunch

Day 8 – Pack a Lunch

 

Save money and eat healthier by packing your own lunch. (This is your challenge today but you can plan it for tomorrow.  ) Knowing exactly what’s in your food and ensuring it’s nutritious can give you some peace of mind when it comes time for your lunch break. Save time by preparing your food the night before or the morning of (rather than spending time heading to pick up some grub and waiting in line) can also free up time to socialize or take a lunch-time walk.

I am not one of those people who spend all day Sunday prepping meals for the week (or month!).  I honestly just can’t put the effort in.  But, I know that many of you benefit from this.  It can help you achieve goals of healthy eating; and if it allows you more free time during the week, then I say kudos to you.  There are some evenings when I’ll prepare dinner and lunch for the new couple of days; this usually occurs when I’m participating in a Whole 30 (like right now).  If I am eliminating sugar and processed foods from my diet, then prepping my lunch meals (or meals for evenings away from the home) is a must – because I want to know exactly what’s in my ingredients and want to be certain I am maintaining compliance.

In addition to eating healthier when brown-bagging it, preparing my lunch also allows me time to do other things on my lunch break – whether that’s go for a walk or run errands or just spend time with friends or alone….it means I’m not running around looking for something to eat, waiting in lines or for a server.  My time, as I’m sure yours is as well, is valuable and I don’t want to waste a minute.

~FB

 

Make 2019 Great! (Health and Wellness Challenge)

feeling-great-my-physio-sa

The end of the year is upon us.  Literally, tomorrow is December 31.  It’s hard to believe that another year has passe by, yet, here is we are again, getting ready to ring in the new year, saying goodbye to the Christmas and holiday festivities, and trying to ram as much junk in our faces as we reflect on how well we did and didn’t do this past year.

A while back, I came up with the idea of a month-long challenge for better health and wellness.  And I am talking overall health and wellness – mind, body, spirit – not just body.  And I have been diligently working away like a busy little bee to get ready to launch this challenge January 1.  I’ve already worked out the full calendar for the month of January, highlighting a new challenge each day.  Challenges that will provide for your physical, emotional, mental, and social health.  <– These are all important aspects of overall health and wellness and I wanted to take the focus off just physical (and nutritional) health, although, I am sneaking items for those in too!).

So get ready to bring 2019 in with a bang and work toward bettering your overall health and wellness and clarity.

Stay tuned..and I promise you Day 1 will be easy peasy.

Happy New Year!

Follow me on Instagram @nsfitbitch for the short and sweet of it.

12 Days of Fitness

See that Search button up there at the top right of the screen??  ^^

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If you type the word Christmas in that search bar, you will get my Christmas workouts and tips from years gone by.  There are a handful of articles that might be helpful in you succeeding the holidays without overindulging and keeping you in tip-top shape throughout December.

And since it is December and we’re getting closer and closer to Christmas (we’re about 18 days away), I thought it would be a perfect time to post another Christmas Fitness note.  This one is the 12 Days of Fitness.

12 Days of Fitness

And technically, we are a little further out than the 12 days of Christmas, but I know there are days that some of you absolutely won’t be able to fit in a workout.  Some of us are busy with work (and many shift workers can’t manage every day), or kids, or functions, or shopping, or whatever is happening in your life, so you get a few extra days in between to hopefully find time to take time for yourself and get your exercise on.

This workout is actually super easy so that 1. you can fit the time in or 2. you’re new to exercise.  The workout only calls for one exercise per day, as you can see from the picture.  However, it is an accumulator workout so you can also look at in several other ways:

  1. As just noted above, perform just the specified exercise per day; OR
  2. Each day add the next day’s exercise (this is the accumulation) so that you’re doing 1 exercise the first day, 2 exercises the second, 3 exercises the third day, etc. ; OR
  3. You can do every exercise each day.
  4. Or – if you want to go even further than #3, you can do each exercise for a full minute (or longer) each day.

The great thing about at-home workouts is that you can make it fit to your schedule.

If you’re anything like my and you like a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie (obsessed), you can try one of these fun Hallmark Christmas Movie Workouts.  They’re cute and, let’s face it, if you pay attention to these movies, you’ll get a good little workout.  Incorporate it into your evening binge with friends or your kids or partner.  (Bonus Burpees or squats if Candace Cameron Bure is in your movie or/commercial.)

Hallmark 1

Hallmark 2

The main thing to remember is to take time for yourself this holiday season.  Go into the new year feeling refreshed and shiny and bright.

Cheers!

~FB

Healthy Living from Head to Toe (Guest Post)

 

By Jennifer McGregor

PIXEL

Photo Credit: pexels.com

 

It is frequently assumed that health comes from genetic predispositions and exercise.  While those do play a part, one’s overall health is determined by a wide range of factors, many of which are frequently forgotten about or ignored entirely.  A complete head to toe health plan should incorporate aspects of self-care, exercise, healthy eating and stress management.  Here are some strategies you can use to incorporate more healthy practices into your everyday life.

Begin with a self-care checklist
It will become easier to take care of yourself if you view healthy practices as a pyramid.  If you’re just starting to try to live a healthier lifestyle, start by following a self-care checklist.  Think of self-care as the base of the pyramid, and the foundation for all the other healthy practices that follow.  At its core, self-care is simply about taking care of the basic daily needs that support your overall well-being from both the physical and mental angles.  For example, make sure that you get enough rest at night.  While the exact amount of sleep you need varies according to your personal body clock, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep to be fully rested.  You should also take time throughout the day to relax and rest your body or mind, particularly if your day has been stressful.  By stepping away from your responsibilities for 15 minutes, you will become more energized and better equipped to manage your situation for the remainder of the day.  Yoga can be a good way to rest, due to its focus on getting mental wellness and physical fitness in sync.  As a bonus, you can do yoga in any location, however yoga classes offer the additional benefit of social interaction.

Strengthen your body with healthy meals and regular exercise

The next stage of the health pyramid is keeping your body healthy through proper nutrition and exercise.  Both eating well and following a regular fitness plan help to get your body working efficiently, with improved blood flow, stamina, and lung capacity.  They also benefit your mental health.  Exercise increases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, which increases your ability to memorize data and recall information.  It also causes endorphins and other positive chemicals in your body to be released, reducing the amount of stress you feel and lessening feelings of anxiety and depression.  Eating a healthy meal composed mainly of healthy vegetables helps to support these processes while keeping the rest of your body in check.  Dark, leafy greens, for instance, have many different nutrients that ensure all your body functions run as effectively as possible.

Remember, with both exercise and nutrition, once you establish a plan, it is important that you stick with it.  Don’t expect results from intermittent days of exercise and good eating spread across the season.  While an occasional cheat day won’t do too much damage, try to stick to your schedule.

Increase your confidence and sense of belonging

Finally, with your body supported by good food, exercise and self-care, you can help support your mental health.  Mental support comes in many different forms, but the two core facets are self-esteem and a sense of belonging.  When you are comfortable with yourself and your own mind, many things will seem much easier.  It will also provide a confidence boost during more troubling times.  Similarly, when you connect with a group of friends or family, you will feel more secure in your current living situation.  Both of these are excellent for your mental health.  Meditation and other similar practices can help you center yourself and become closer with a group of friends.  Hobbies can be a great way to find a friend group with similar interests.

To become healthy from head to toe, start with a foundation of self-care, then work your way up the pyramid by strengthening your mind and body.  Finally, establish a sense of belonging and purpose through shared interests and activities.

Jennifer is a pre-med student who co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org. She enjoys writing about health and medical topics.

Stay well.

~FB

Goal Reaching

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by a young woman for a small piece she was writing on inspiration and Goals.  I thought I’d share it with you.  

18 Again

1. During your life so far, what has been one of the biggest goals you’ve set that you were able to achieve?  I have always had issues with my weight…growing up as the chubby girl.  Overcoming a weight issue has been a goal since I was a child.

2. What did you have to do to accomplish that goal? I began working out regularly and eating better and making better choices in my life.

3. Where did you get your inspiration? I saw a photo of myself one day and did not recognize that it was me.  The girl in the photo was very overweight and I couldn’t believe it was me.  I inspired myself in that moment to fix my life.  I started an exercise program when I got home that evening and have not looked back.

4. Were there any obstacles that got in your way? If so, how did you handle that? What about people? Were there any people who discouraged you while reaching for your goal? I have a heart condition and was told when I was in my teens that I would have a pacemaker by the time I was 30.  I was worried at first about how vigorous exercise might harm me, but in all honesty, my heart is nice and healthy now that the extra weight is off.  I still struggle with it on occasion and it is genetic, but at least I don’t have to worry about jeopardizing my health myself.  As for people…there are always people who want to see you fail.  I still come across those people in my life.  But the worst was a “friend” who told me to stop losing weight because I “look sick”.  It’s funny how she never commented on my weight when I had an extra 60 pounds on me.

5. Did you ever think about giving up? If so, how did you overcome that feeling?  I never thought about giving up. I knew what I was doing was benefiting my life.

6. When you achieved your goal, how did it help you in life? Or what is life like now that you have accomplished your goal?  Once I reached my goal, I looked into how I could help others reach theirs.  I got certified as a personal trainer and as a nutrition and weight loss coach.  I now teach boot camps and other classes and coach people one-on-one.

~Cheers

PS (Thank you Lilly for this.  <3)

Why I Stopped Tracking My Workouts (and Macros)

A couple of years ago I got myself a FitBit.  At first, I had complete buyer’s remorse and wanted to return my tracker immediately.  But I hung onto it and eventually, I fell in love with it.  I loved being able to set goals, and alarms to keep me moving, and I especially loved being able to track my sleep pattern.  I definitely do not sleep as much as I think I do.
Fitbit-ChargeHR

FitBit Charge HR

My main reason for getting the FitBit was the heart rate monitor.  If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you may recall that I have a heart condition.  As a fitness professional – and participant – I thought it was important to be able to keep an eye on my heart rate during my workouts.  Though, sometimes I still overdo it and find myself gasping for breath or wanting to barf because my heart rate if out-of-control high.

Healthy Snacking

I am not 100% healthy all the time.  I admit it.  I am human and occasionally, I like to indulge in snacks that are not the healthiest choices.  (Who doesn’t like popcorn at the movies?)

But most of the time, I try to be very conscious of what I’m eating and I like to know what I’m putting in my body.  So, when it comes to snacking and making those healthier choices (and opting not to stick to just fruit or vegetables), I often like to go the homemade route.

My recent obsession are homemade protein nut butter cups.  They’re made with just a few ingredients – dark chocolate or cocoa or chocolate protein powder, coconut oil, and nut butter of choice (I use almond hazelnut).  Melt and mix and freeze.  Easy peasy.

Protein-PB-Cup

I’m also a huge fan of making my own “Larabars“.  It’s definitely a lot cheaper than buying actual Larabars, and I can throw in whatever I want.  I also like healthy cookie dough dip (made with chickpeas but you’d never know it!) and black bean brownies.

And, in the summer when it’s super hot, I might make a little “nice cream” – a healthier version of ice cream made with frozen bananas.  This is a great compromise for people like me who are also allergic to dairy.

Knowing exactly what I’m eating is definitely important to me, not only because of the obvious benefits of eating healthier and cleaner and knowing my ingredients, but also because I can eliminate as much garbage from my diet as possible.  This is especially important when I’m following the Whole 30 Program and eliminating sugar and processed “foods” and other junk.

However, as I said, I am human and I do like to indulge on occasion.  But that doesn’t have to equal eating garbage.  There are plenty of healthier options on the market – even for your favorite “junk foods”.

For example, Amplify Snack Brands – the makers of Skinny Pop popcorn – have some wonderful snack products that are comparable in taste to your regular snacks, but without the garbage and the guilt.  Their Paqui Tortilla Chips use non-GMO corn, are trans-fat free, are nut, soy, and Gluten-free, have no MSG, and are certified Kosher.  Oh, and they come in a bunch of crazy flavors (Haunted Ghost Pepper, anyone?).

Amplify also in their roster, Oatmega Bars – grass-fed whey protein bars offered in a plethora of flavors – and Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked Potato Chips– which offers “no iffy ingredients”.  And of course, let’s not forget the  Skinny Pop brand of popcorn and other products, which are also “free of all those things, including GMOs, MSG, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, and Gluten”.

As you can see, there are many options on the market for snacking better and it’s commendable to see companies with a conscience – ones that care about our health and the ingredients they choose to put into their products (and therefore, that we put into our bodies).

So, if you’re on the go or not able to making your own healthy snacks (or have no interest in it), check out Amplify Brands (or at the very least, ensure you check your labels for ingredients on your snack foods) to see what product might become your next favorite snack.

Be kind to your body and what you put into it.

~FB

10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VEGAN DIETS* (Guest Post)

Vegan

(By Michelle Hannan)

“Veganism is as old as humans themselves, but with time, we have somehow lost our track of how good this path full of veggies is. I am not against meaty diets or people who love meat, I just prefer those diets that have veggies and fruits more than any other thing.

People may opt veganism due to their religious belief, moral values, or merely to lose weight in that particular manner. Here it is essential to understand that veganism is not just restricted to your diet, but it is a code of conduct, the way you choose your life to be. click HERE to see the food list that is not only delicious, but healthy too 

A vegan diet has so many benefits, and for you, ten of them are listed below.

1. The medical fraternity accepts 150-200 mg/dL to be a standard range of cholesterol. According to a recent study, an average Americans cholesterol level is 210 mg/dL, and the level of a vegan is 146 mg/dL. Well, it is safe to say that it is better to be under than above.

2. People may think that vegans do not consume dairy, so they lack in protein and calcium, but to their surprise food like broccoli, bok choy, calcium-fortified orange juice, collards, kale, and Chinese cabbage are an excellent source to meet the deficit.

3. With the vegan diet, men and women are less likely to be a subject of cancer, and the rate goes down to approximately 36%. Cancer is one of the most common and deadly diseases, but with this diet, you may save yourself with this trouble.

4. Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize winner, came up with a study that claims that vegan diet changed more than 500 genes in just three months. Apparently, veganism turns off the genes that cause cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other diseases and turns on the genes that prevent infections.

5. Products that are listed as non-cholesterol are often vegan as bad fat is a product of meaty food.

6. Vegan diet not just brightens up your skin, it also makes you feel active and energetic for the longest time. So, if you feel frustrated and fatigued throughout the day than a properly cooked vegan meal can may you feel better.

7. While there are so many benefits of vegetables and fruits, if they are overcooked, all the benefits it carries go down the drain.

8. When one person decides to be a vegan that person helps saving the entire acre o a forest from demolishing. How? For meat production, forests are being cleared out to grow crops to feed the animals. I am not asking not to feed animals, but in order to fulfill the huge meat need, drastic measures have been taken.

9. To produce one pound of meat 2500 gallons of water is needed and to grow one pound of wheat, only 25 gallons of water is required. Considering the rumors that the third world war will be on the water, I think we should do more to save up this precious thing than wasting it.

10. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Sia, Pamela Anderson, and Peter Dinklage are the ones who believe that veganism is not just healthy, but it is also the right way to live.”

*The views expressed in this post are strictly that of the author, Michelle Hannan.

 

 

Staying Inspired

I have been having a very emotional and stressful week.  I normally am an upbeat person and always on the go, so when stress and lethargy run high in me, I’m not sure of the best outlet. Because I normally don’t deal with it.
Earlier this week my cat of 12 years started seizing and his health is in jeopardy and I’m a basket case. Dealing with my own heart condition is one thing, dealing with a heart condition in a very loved pet is another.  The thought of losing my long-time companion has me feeling like I’ve been punched in the heart.  Literally.  This pain is real and it’s taking my breath away.
And although I haven’t had much of an appetite lately, part of me has been thinking about comforting my pain by stuffing my head with chocolate and all that kind of goodness.
Oddly enough, a new-found friend has also been suffering through an emotional and stressful week – probably the hardest one he’s had in a very long time , but instead of easing his pain with the kind of garbage one would find in comfort food (like my craving for all that is chocolate), he turned down my offer of coffee and a pastry and instead kept to his healthy journey.  What a man!  What an inspiration.
Josh's lunch

This is his actual lunch – I was very jealous!!

So…thanks to him, I said no to drowning my sorrows in chocolate and red wine and instead picked up some carrot sticks and hummus.  I don’t yet have the appetite, or frankly the desire to eat anything, but when I’m ready, my healthy choices have already been made.
~FB