Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Habits of Successfully Fit People

While compiling interesting articles for a monthly health and wellness newsletter I manage at work, I came across these 10 habits of successfully fit people. I immediately nodded my head in agreement upon reading number one because I knew this to be true. Year ago a friend from work was married to a fitness buff and I remember her rehashing his boring weekday meals–baked chicken, brown rice, and green beans. He splurged on the weekends but was faithful to his weekday meal. Ironically, another friend dating a similarly fit guy spoke of the same thing. Led me to quickly wonder why do I make this thing so hard.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that out of this list of 10, I’m good for more than 1/2! Read through it and let me know where you stand in the comments.

check list

 

1. They Tend to Stick to the Same “Daily Menu”

The majority of fit people say they eat virtually the same meals every day, mostly the same breakfast, same lunch, same dinner, and when it comes to snacks and beverages . . . well, you guessed it, very predictable food. To clarify, they did not suggest that they eat exactly the same entree for every meal, but they often chose from three, maybe four things that they like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There are three possible reasons behind this shared habit among fitness professionals, individuals who have succeeded at taking off 100-plus pounds and keeping it off for years, and those who have been trim all their lives.

First, it allows “careful” eaters to predict their daily calorie allotment without much effort. Second, perhaps the most fit among us are entrenched in habit, including the habit of taste. Third, effortlessly fit folks are in tune with the energy and calorie needs of their bodies. When they find foods that deliver what they need and that they enjoy, why look further? Keep in mind, there’s a fine line between careful eating and disordered eating. The careful eater’s diet is a habit and not a matter of control or obsession.

2. They Eat Breakfast (My favorite meal of the day)

This one common characteristic is nearly universal in statistical studies of people who have achieved and maintained a large weight loss. Eighty percent of those who have been able to maintain a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least a year report that they always eat breakfast. Research has consistently shown that the people who successfully lose weight are the ones that wake up and eat! Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral status and eat fewer calories from fat. Experts agree that the majority of people who struggle with overeating are those who undereat during the first part of the day, specifically those who skip breakfast. So it seems that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

Why does eating breakfast help people lose and ultimately maintain a healthier weight? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger throughout the rest of the day, therefore decreasing the likelihood of overeating and making poor food choices at lunch.

3. They Drink Water (All day at work, Needs improvement outside of that)

Not soda. Not iced tea. Just plain old water. This is the biggie. Drinking enough water is a vital part of any conditioning program because it keeps your body functioning in homeostasis and aids every aspect of bodily function. Highly successful fit people drink at least six to eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day, plus more as needed during exercise. Note: It’s possible to drink too much water, which dilutes the body’s electrolytes (potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium). Don’t drink more than a gallon a day unless you’re also replenishing your electrolytes.

4. They Eat Small—And Often (Sort of, definitely not an over-eater, though)

Most people know that small, frequent meals are absolutely the only way to go. Why? Because when we go longer than 3 hours without eating, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. And high cortisol levels signal the body to store fat in the abdominal region. Keep in mind too that people who skip meals have the highest cortisol levels of all!Eating small meals more often reduces cortisol levels, research suggests. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who ate six small meals a day for 2 weeks, as opposed to three large meals containing the same total number of calories, reduced their cortisol levels by more than 17 percent! They lost belly fat, too.

When you eat small, frequent meals long term, the body becomes efficient at keeping cortisol levels low, which helps both men and women reduce belly fat.

Eating throughout the day also makes you less tempted by the monster-size buckets ofpopcorn and supersize fries and drink containers that include triple and quadruple servings. Guided by their nutritional needs and deeply rooted habit to eat small meals throughout the day, the superfit stand steadfast, even in the face of a delicious, jumbo chocolate-chip muffin.

5. They Eat Whole Foods First

Successful fit people tend to eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies, and whole grains (and products made from whole grains). Certainly they enjoy the occasional treat, but 80 percent of the time or more, their preference leads to whole foods.Whole, natural foods—apples, steel-cut oatmeal, broccoli, salads, brown rice—are what food researchers call low-density foods. That is, they take up a lot of room in your stomach because they contain lots of fiber, which satisfies hunger with few calories. High-density foods are the opposite; they are things like butter, oils, candy, or ice cream. Think about how much frosting you could pack into your stomach if you really tried. (Okay, don’t think about it—it’s too gross.) Eating mostly low-density foods is the easiest way to keep your weight in check without feeling hungry or like you’re depriving yourself.

6. They Know Their Foods (Maybe not exactly, but I am knowledgeable  of caloric content & serving size)

This characteristic is truly universal among fit people: They know, generally speaking, every food’s calories and approximate protein, carbohydrate, and fat content. It’s not a case of being idiot savants but rather of having an understanding, a knowledge of food that allows them to make an educated guess. Their assumptions are almost always spot-on. This gift affords them the skill of making better food choices on a moment’s notice.Just as important: They know what one serving of said food really looks like. You can show an effortlessly fit person a whole grain cracker, and even without looking at the label, he or she can accurately predict how many crackers count as one serving. It’s not a gift, actually. It’s a skill, and all habits are skills you can master.

This skill is easier to acquire than it sounds. A couple of weeks of label reading is all it takes. There are even apps for your phone and Web sites that provide this information quickly and for free.

7. They Eat Their Favorite Foods—Carefully (I eat my goodies infrequently)

Despite knowing everything about their foods and tending to stick to the same foods day in and day out, fit people rarely report eliminating foods. If it’s something they crave, they enjoy a little taste. They know that simply eliminating foods they absolutely love will only set them up to fail when the temptation is too great. Instead, successfully fit people know that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. They savor those moments instead of sucking down the food as if they’re afraid it’s the only time they’ll ever see it again.

8. They Don’t Keep Red Zone Food in the House (The best change I made to my kitchen)

If you look in a successfully fit person’s fridge, pantry, or cupboards, you won’t typically find cookies, crackers, chips, chocolate, full-fat ice cream, or soda. Why? Because they don’t crave these things. They also know you can’t eat ’em if you don’t have ’em. Smart, right?

What’s interesting about these trim types is that they don’t have the same inner battle of healthy versus junkie foods that the average person who struggles with weight might have. They can walk past the aisle with chips and sodas and think nothing of it. Either they never developed the junk food habit or they kicked it.

9. They Close the Kitchen after Dinner

Unlike most Americans, successfully fit people eat their final meal at a reasonable hour, as opposed to eating dinner followed by a lavish 10:00 p.m. snack and another dessert. Most often they go to sleep, not hungry, but on an empty stomach. This allows them to wake up feeling thin, rested, and hungry for breakfast. It may take a little effort, but going to bed earlier and going to sleep without food awaiting digestion in your stomach keeps your body’s metabolism in a fat-burning state. Instead of digesting, which causes restless sleep, your body can focus on other things—like repairing cells!

10. They’re Resourceful and Politely Picky at Restaurants (Been doing this more often)

Successfully fit people find healthful alternatives to selections on any menu, from a five-star restaurant’s to Wendy’s. They know that it’s the food choices, not necessarily the restaurant choices, that help them to stay slim and healthy.They generally steer clear of fried meat, poultry, and fish. Instead, they order their protein broiled, steamed, stir-fried, or poached. They also speak up in restaurants, politely making special requests like asking that their dish be prepared with little or no butter or sauces and with dressings on the side.

 

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/healthy-eating-habits

 

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Putting the Brakes on Insanity

Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results is one of the definitions of insanity, right?

So I guess I can’t expect to keep dabbling in such treats as these and think I’m going to see results of the exercises I’ve been engaging in with my Fit at Work project.

I’ll be honest. I added three of these treats to my breakfast of a hard boiled egg and fruit bowl this morning. These other two were intended to be an afternoon snack. Normally, I’d convince myself that, “It’s only two. And they’re mini cinnamon rolls, for heavens sake!”

This time, though, another thought occurred to me. “You’ve been rationalizing like this all of your adult life. But forty-one year old you can’t keep this up and keep this weight from piling on.” With that in mind, I dumped these little delectable delights in the garbage can!

Yay me! Gotta start somewhere, right?

What changes are you making to live a healthier lifestyle? Lose weight?

Posted in Fitness, Health

Wellness Wednesday–Year End Weight Loss Update #2

Down 2 lbs!

I’m so happy to announce that. Ramping up my exercise game to include 2-3 days of power walking has done the trick. Enlisting the help of my neighbor has made a difference too. This past Saturday I was laying in bed considering my options for the morning:

1. Go walking by myself (my neighbor had a personal training session scheduled that morning–more on that in a minute)

2. Go to my coffee spot to write, walking afterwards

3. Get up and enjoy the quiet of the house while my husband and son remained asleep

Before I reached a decision I received a text from my neighbor:

Are we walking this morning?

I’d like to say that if she hadn’t texted my I might have decided on one of the last two options and ended up missing my walking opportunity as the rest of my day was pretty busy.

Awesome exercise buddy, right? Well… unless she goes rogue. Lol!

Apparently I re-lit the fitness fire of my neighbor friend and she’s just jumping feet first into her own fitness program. Since we started walking together, she’s contacted her personal trainer and started back this week.  Already she bailed on me for one of our walks because she was meeting her trainer the next morning.

But to her credit, she hasn’t completely bailed. She still hits me up for a walk in between her sessions. Plus, she’s invited me to go with her. I doubt I will, though. I’m not one for personal training sessions. Especially those that cost per month because I wouldn’t be going that frequently. Not to mention I already pay a monthly gym membership (albeit $10).

Anyway, I expect we’ll still keep each other going. And if things continue as they have been, we’ll walk together once or twice a week. That works for me. Plus, I’ll always be grateful for her showing me just how fast I can walk around my apartment complex. In the cold too!

Considering myself on target with a good exercise regimen, my next challenge is baking for the next and last holiday of 2016–Christmas. In 10 years, at least, no holiday has been void of one of my homemade deserts (cream cheese pound cake being the favored). But after the pounds my daughter and I packed on during Thanksgiving, I have to decide on a healthy alternative. This should be interesting…

Stay tuned! Looking forward to more lost pounds. Oh yeah!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @naturallylajeff

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fitness, Health

Wellness Wednesday–Progress One Meal at a Time

Ever start your day with a healthy green  smoothie or pack healthy snacks for the day like these:

only to get to  work and partake of the bagels and donuts the management team surprises the office with? 

 I’ll be honest. It happens to me all of the time. It’s hard to decline free goodies that don’t come often.

The good thing is that I learned a long time ago not to let one ( or two) meals ruin my day. My philosophy is that a healthy diet happens one food choice at a time. So as long as I’m incorporating good food choices throughout the day I’m moving in the right direction of a healthy lifestyle. And the more good food choices I make over time, the less inclined I’ll be to choose bad food.

In the meantime, I’m not beating myself up when I indulge in not-so-good-for-me food and I suggest you don’t either. Just keep doing the best you can and get better one meal at a time.

I’m always open for suggestions to do better on this health and wellness journey. Post yours in the comment section below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness  Wednesday(Thursday)–Setting Goals & Managing Expectations

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Haha…thought I wasn’t going to give you my week 3 weight watchers update??? I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for it.

Down 2.6 lbs!!! Pretty awesome, right? I’d say so, especially considering I didn’t starve myself or ramp up my exercise regimen. Not only that…but I ate pizza all weekend before the weigh-in, although I didn’t overdo it. So what do I think attributed to this weight loss? Honestly, increased water consumption. The day before and the day of the weigh-in, I consumed every bit of the recommended 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water. Prior to that, I was dinking water everyday but not keeping track of how much. Plus, once I got home, I was usually done for the day. This water bottle solved that problem.

water bottle

And I know for sure that before I wasn’t getting the proper amount because with this bottle I have to start drinking pretty much when I get home and usually need the 16 oz when I get home. Today marks day 5 since I’ve been getting the amount that I need–okay, I missed one day of the entire amount but still…you get the point.

The best thing about my weight loss for this week is that it helped me achieve my January goal! I don’t want to get too personal with y’all–not yet anyway :)–but my goal was to lose 3 lbs this month. “Why not five? Why not ten?” You may want to know.

I wanted to be reasonable with myself. I’m not brand new to this program so I knew that it was a likely possibility that I was going to gain in between the first and the last weigh-in for January. Some might say I set myself up for failure but I say the opposite. The overall goal is to lose weight. How much I lose is up to me and what I’m willing to do to make it happen.

Life is really hectic right now. My husband has a chronic illness and I’m needed at home for physical and emotional support. So I’m not in a place where I can schedule 3-4 days in the gym. Honestly, I don’t even want to. The last thing I want to do is start a workout program that I’m not going to commit to long-term because that leads to weight gain once that activity stops.

It’s important to set goals and manage expectations according to your own lifestyle and preferences. What someone else is willing or able to do may not work for you or be what you want to do. For example, a friend of mine participates in a very intense workout program. The kind that makes you say, “Arrgh!”

intense expression

Nope, not for me! LOL! I’m more interested in…

yoga

My focus is on the 80% of that 80/20 makeup we hear so much about regarding weight loss (80% food, 20% exercise). Time for exercise fluctuates over time, depending on what’s going on in life, but eating is continuous. If I can get that under control, I’ll hit my ultimate goal in due time, which may not be during this 12 wk weight watchers program.

And I’m okay with that. I increased my desired weigh loss for this month by a couple of pounds and I can’t wait to achieve it on February 29th. Stay tuned for updates.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.