Tag Archives: healthy living
By Jennifer McGregor
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.
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.
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.
PS (Thank you Lilly for this. <3)
Posted in #fitspiration, #inspiration, #motivation, #Ownit, accomplish, balanced diets, being fit, benefits of exerxise, bootcamp, CanFitPro, certification, exercise, fitness classes, fitspiration, fitting in exercise, group workouts, healthy eating, healthy living, inspiration, staying fit, Uncategorized, working out, working out at home
Tags: accomplish, CanFitPro, exercise, Fitness, fitness and nutrition, fitspiration, goal crushing, goals, health, healthy, healthy eating, healthy living, Inspiration, nutrition, Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist, personal trainer, Personal Training Certification, Personal Training Specialist, teaching, weightloss goals, working out, workout
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.
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.
Tags: amplify, amplify snack brands, body, clean eating, conscience companies, eating clean, eating healthy, food, health, healthy, Healthy Choices, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, healthy recipes, healthy snacks, homemade Larabits, homemade snacks, larabars, lifestyle, Oatmega, skinny pop, skinny pop popcorn, snack food, snacks, tyrrell's
Tags: broken heart, eat clean, eating clean, eating colors, eating healthy, Fitness, fitness and nutrition, fitness tips, fitspiration, health food, Healthy Choices, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, healthy snacks, heart conditions, Inspiration, pets, staying healthy, staying on track
If you recall from my previous post, I noted it’s much easier to have success with your fitness/weight loss/health goals if you make a plan and make a commitment. I know, personally, that if I say I’m going to do something, I may not always follow through with it. But if I commit to something, I am committed 100%. So, here are my commitments for 2018:
To kick off the new year, I’ve committed to another Whole 30 – which begins TOMORROW. As always, I’m super excited to start another Whole 30 Program. I have over-indulged in my fair share of chocolate this Christmas season, and I really need to slay my sugar dragons.
I began preparing for my 30 days late this past week. I got my grocery shopping done and spent part of the weekend eating clean meals. My fridge is organized and the chocolate is going into cold storage. I have been waiting to get started and now I’m more than gung-ho. I know how great I feel during and after my 30 days and I know the chocolate will be there later on down the road if I really feel the need to have some. But, for the next 30 days, I’m committed to clean eating and drinking.
Gym Routine and Workouts and Rest
Fortunately, I don’t really ever need to push myself to exercise. In fact, I’m eager to do my workouts and, it seems, it’s often all I think about.
In addition to my boot camps, family fitness classes, and attending Zumba, I have regular gym sessions (I often exercise more than once a day – splitting my days with lifting in the morning and cardio/boot camp in the evenings). Therefore, I sometimes get through a work day on 3-5 hours of sleep. And, let’s be honest, that just isn’t enough. Although I am fully functional on just a few hours of sleep, I am committing to resting more in 2018. I am going to let go of my fear of missing a workout and spend time relaxing (and snoozing).
A few years back I had eye surgery. It was a gross surgery where my eyeball was cut into and a membrane was scraped out. Although, my vision in that eye on it’s own has not improved (and may never), my vision with both eyes together is still better than 20/20. That being said, I’m constantly fearful that the sight in my good eye will go and I’ll be SOL. If it happens, I won’t be able to read and my driver’s license will likely be taken away.
I have been as proactive as I can be, but the issue with my “bad” eye was such a fluke that there really is no way to prepare for or prevent the same thing happening in the other eye. However, I am careful with my eyes and I do what I can to ensure my eye health is up to par. I keep drops in my desk at work and at home, I always have my sunglasses on during the day, even in the winter, and especially with all this snow in Nova Scotia so as to prevent Photokeratitis – or snow blindness. In fact, I have several pairs of sunglasses with different UV protection and different shades of protection so that I have a pair to go with every weather condition. And I already have my next appointments set with my eye surgeon/check-ups.
Although I don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, Warby Parker now offers a Prescription Check App that allows an eye doctor to assess your vision and provide an updated glasses prescription. If you are someone who wears glasses, or just want to have your vision checked out, then it may be worthwhile checking out this app.
So that’s my short-list of my commitments for staying on track this year. What’s on your list?
Posted in #fitspiration, #inspiration, #motivation, #Ownit, accomplish, balanced diets, being fit, bootcamp, elimination diets, exercise, fitness classes, fitspiration, fitting in exercise, healthy eating, healthy living, inspiration, staying fit, Uncategorized, working out, Zumba
Tags: #whole30, #wholefoodchallenge, clean eating, commitment, eating clean, eating healthy, exercise, eye care, Eye surgery, grocery, health, healthy, healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, healthy living, Inspiration, lfting, lifestyle, lifestyle changes, make a committment, make better choices, no sugar, rest day, sleep, sleep for good health, sugar dragons, sugar free, Warby Parker, weight lifting, weight training, Whole 30, working out, workout
It’s a brand new year, which means the resolutions have been made and people are out in abundance to make this year their best year ever.
Diets have been started, gyms have been joined, pacts have been sworn to. And while I’m hoping that most of you will have success, some of you will fail. Why? Because plans aren’t being made.
I never make resolutions for the New Year when it comes to fitness and health. I may make other resolutions, such as reading more, watching less television, spending more time with friends, etc. Those are the resolutions that are easy to keep. Because they’re easy. Changing your health and lifestyle doesn’t come easy for many. It didn’t come easy for me at first. Mostly because I wasn’t being honest with why I wanted to “change my life”. (In complete honesty, I didn’t want to change my life, I just wanted to stop being fat.) It wasn’t until I made the commitment to change my life and improve my health – for me (and not for the New Year) – that things started shifting for me. I made a plan and I stuck with it. Why? Because my lifestyle was becoming detrimental to my health. I wasn’t exercising and I was eating crap and I have a heart condition to worry about. I didn’t want to die from a heart attack before I turned 30. That’s when I made the commitment to and for myself.
I wholeheartedly want you to succeed in your resolution. But, instead of calling it a New Year’s Resolution, why not calling it a Lifestyle Change or a 2018 Commitment? And instead of making a resolution, why not sit down and plan out how you will improve your health this year? What will you do? Make a list:
Will you commit to: Working out 3 days a week?; Creating a grocery list to include only the good stuff? Plan your meals in advance? Trying and sticking with a fitness class for a full session? Eating clean? Quitting smoking/drinking/binge watching tv?
Think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to: Improve your overall health? Sleep better? Eat more veggies? Lose weight? Get stronger? Run your first 5/10K? Have mental clarity?
Once you know what and why you want to accomplish, and you commit to your new life changes, your rate for success goes up.
And for all of you who are old pros at this, be sure to support those around you. Encourage those in your circle to continue to eat better, exercise, sleep more, log out. Welcome the newbies to your lifestyle.
And don’t be a dick in the gym! We were all the newbie at one point. For some, stepping into a fitness room for the first time is intimidating enough. Be friendly! A smile goes a long way!
Cheers and good luck!
Posted in #fitspiration, #inspiration, #motivation, #Ownit, accomplish, balanced diets, being fit, benefits of exerxise, exercise, fitness classes, fitspiration, fitting in exercise, healthy eating, healthy living, inspiration, running, staying fit, Uncategorized, working out
Tags: #newyearsresolutions, changing your life, commitment, committment, exercise, Fitness, fitness and nutrition, fitness community, fitness tips, gym, gym etiquette, health, healthy, healthy lifestyle, healthy living, Inspiration, lifestyle, lifestyle changes, make a committment, make a plan, make better choices, making change, new year, New Years Resolutions, success, tips, workout
Christmas is often seen as the season of indulgence. There are an excessive amount of parties and dinners and get-togethers and functions – not to mention Christmas dinner – and with all of that, there comes large quantities of food and drinks. Whether it’s chips and dips and beer or a buffet with an abundance of rich desserts and cheeses and wines, there is likely something that
will can entice even the strongest-willed guest.
So, in order to do your best at not over-indulging (or gorging yourself) this Christmas, here are some of my best tips:
Make a Plan. Don’t start the season off without knowing exactly how you will approach it. Look at your calendar and figure out when you can get your workouts in – even if you can only spare 20 minutes. Utilize that time to make the workout count! Making a plan also comes into play when you’re preparing to feast. If you are attending a holiday party where you know there will be lots of decadent foods served, plan your meals and eating routine around that. Have a lighter lunch or dinner* or have a healthy snack instead of your regular meal if you will be eating later at an event. If you really have the will power (or discipline) you can always prepare your own snacks to take with you to a holiday party – that way, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and won’t go over your portion. *You can also prepare a nutritious meal at home prior to going to your event. This will prevent you from overeating or eating excessive junk at the party. And again, this way you will know exactly what you’re consuming.
- Commit. If you commit yourself to staying healthy during the holidays, stick to it. This does not mean committing 100% (although, how fantastic would that be?), but why not commit yourself 80-90%. If you’re not able to get to the gym 4 times per week during the Christmas rush, why not commit to getting there twice a week? Or saving your gas and working out at home 3-4 times per week. There are ways to compromise while (sort of) sticking to your plan.
- Challenge Yourself. If you are going to be working out less during the holidays, make sure your workouts count. Adding in strength training (you should be doing this anyway), plyometrics, HIIT workouts, or something out of the ordinary can rev up your system and help you in burning more fat than your regular workout. There are so many other ways to do this easily – increasing the intensity on your treadmill or elliptical, holding your yoga pose longer. Whatever it is, make sure it’s challenging you and see the difference.
- Eat Breakfast. I cannot stress enough how eating a well-rounded, healthy breakfast can change your life. Protein and the right carbs can be a game-changer for your entire day. People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat during the day.
- Don’t Drink (All) Your Calories. Have a glass of wine or punch or a beer – just don’t overdo it on the booze or eggnog or cider. Holiday party drinks are almost always loaded with sugar or fat. So be on the lookout for that and sip wisely. In addition to this, making your own java can help save you calories – and money. Brewing at home as opposed to purchasing overpriced, over-sugared coffees/mochas/lattes/etc. will help you monitor what’s going in your body and what’s coming out of your wallet.
- Don’t Punish Yourself. If you’re at a party or a dinner and there is something you really want – eat/drink it. Just limit yourself. You don’t necessarily have to eat the entire plate of cookies, but you can have one. Enjoy it. Savor it.
- Don’t Forget that Christmas/the holidays are not all about food. Christmas parties and family gatherings are also about being social and spending time with friends and loved ones. So, step away from the buffet table or the chip bowl or the bar and indulge in the conversation, listen to the music, sit by the fire. Mingle, tell stories, and Enjoy Yourself!
Posted in #fitspiration, #inspiration, #motivation, #Ownit, accomplish, balanced diets, being fit, benefits of exerxise, Christmas, exercise, fitspiration, fitting in exercise, healthy eating, healthy living, inspiration, staying fit, Uncategorized, working out, working out at home
Tags: 25 days of Christmas Challenge, Avoiding holiday weight gain, Christmas, Christmas parties, Christmas workout, clean eating, exercise, healthy, healthy eating, healthy living, Holiday drinks, Holiday parties, holidays, Inspiration, lifestyle, nutrition, overall healh, overindulge, party food, Preventing holiday weight gain, social health, staying healthy during the holidays, tips to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, working out
You’d think it would be basic common knowledge by now that good nutrition is important (likely the most important factor) in living healthy, long lives. But, alas, some people still don’t get it. You see people non-stop forging garbage into their bodies and then wondering while they are unhappy, unhealthy, overweight, tired, lethargic, have acne, etc. <– This list goes on and on.
Here it is:
In order for our bodies to function properly and stay healthy, it is important that we follow a good nutritious diet. Good nutrition provides energy and the building blocks of muscle.
The more you know about the importance of nutrition, the better the good food will taste. Increasing your knowledge on the importance of good nutrition will make healthy foods more appealing to you, not only because of the taste but also because of their nutritional content. It’s fun to eat when you truly understand what you’re putting into your body.
Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients our bodies need in order to not only function properly, but also allow chemical reactions to occur at a faster rate.
If we think about food as fuel, and even medicine, for our bodies it can give us a better understanding of the role nutrition plays in our overall health, and guide us in making better food choices.
We want to achieve longevity and increased energy and promote growth and happiness, and proper nutrition can assist in all of that. This does not mean you can’t indulge in “treats” (i.e. the craptastic foods like baked goods and chocolate) on occasion, it means you have to limit putting them in your body and be wiser to the effect the crap foods have on your health. BALANCE is vital to good health and well-being.
We know from research that a healthy diet can lower risk of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, some cancers, and diabetes (to name just a few ailments). Choosing healthier foods and following a proper nutrition plan can also provide mental clarity and clean up hormonal imbalances. (<–This is part of the reason I love the Whole 30 Program so much.) And aside from all of this, eating better really just makes one feel better. You don’t usually get the same satisfaction from French fries and frozen dinners that you get from fresh produce and lean proteins.
The growing epidemic of poor health and obesity and preventable diseases can all be reversed by living healthier – following a healthy and nutritious diet and exercising.
What is comes down to – eating the right foods is as important as the air we breathe. Choose wisely.
Posted in #fitspiration, #inspiration, #motivation, #Ownit, accomplish, balanced diets, being fit, benefits of carbs, benefits of exerxise, fitspiration, healthy eating, healthy living, inspiration, staying fit, Uncategorized
Tags: balance, balanced diet, exercise, Fitness, fitness and nutrition, good carbs, good health, grocery, health, health food, healthy, healthy eating, healthy living, nutricious, nutrition, Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist, nutritionist, nutritious, whole foods
Last month I wrote a post on my Top 5 Wellness Favorites. Included in that post, was mention of the company Elysium Health. Elysium is all about the small, daily habits that lead to a healthier and better life. And since my post, the team at Elysium has come up with a great infographic and included quotes from some wellness sites – MINE INCLUDED. (That’s me at the bottom – NSFitBitch.)
Thank you Elysium for providing this great infographic and for including my post.
Tags: body, changing your life, Elysium, Elysium.com, energy, exercise, exercising, Fitness, food, Guest post, health, healthy, healthy lifestyle, healthy lifestyles, healthy living, Inspiration, life, lifestyle, lifestyle changes, making change, metabolism, sleep, soul, Star Wars, wellness
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