A Little Taste Of Heaven

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I found these Belvita breakfast biscuits on my most recent trip to the grocery store. They are absolutely delicious. They come four to a package and I couldn’t resist having two biscuits before work with my morning coffee and the other two biscuits after my workout today. Although they are not on the top of my list for healthy snacks, (Tis the season for gingerbread), I’m happy to report they do not include high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. I like to pair the biscuits with raw almonds and a banana to make this a healthier snack. They are heaven with hot, steaming coffee. If you are a coffee lover, consider trying the bulletproof coffee recipe above with the optional add-ins.

Are You Sure You Want To Eat That?

Take a look at this label below, It’s pretty humorous but often true. Do you take the time to read labels, if you did- you would most likely put half the items back. Get in a habit of looking at each label and if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it 

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Your body is like a walking billboard displaying what you eat and how much you move. The old saying “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet is so true. It doesn’t matter how much you work out-  if you’re eating junk and processed foods your body is not going to change. Your body fat will hide the muscles you’ve worked so hard to build in the gym.

 

However, the most important factor when it comes to exercising and good nutrition is how it affects your health. Most people would like to have a lean and fit body, but the most valuable benefit of working out and making healthy food choices is to be able to live long and have a good quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Too Acidic?

I’ve gradually cleaned up my diet over the past few years and also transitioned to more raw fruits and vegetables in my meals. However, I still suffer from mild headaches, sinus issues, and eye irritation. I recently stumbled across an article on the benefits of an alkaline diet and discovered I have many symptoms associated with being too acidic. That being said, I did some research and to my dismay, coffee is top on the list to cut out. I love coffee and look forward to it every morning to jump-start my day. Needless to say, cutting out my java is going to be a major challenge. Next on the list was chocolate. I love having a piece of dark cholate after dinner; of course two of my favorite things would have to be on the list.

Check out this picture below that details acidic symptoms:

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“You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one.― Natalia Rose

A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution that is a number on a scale on which a value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity.
Going on a more alkaline diet means I will need to also cut out meat and dairy. Although I’ve reduced my meat consumption, I love yogurt and cottage cheese. Therefore, it’s going to be a challenge to find optional protein sources. This picture shows some examples of acidic and alkaline foods.
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I’ve decided to experiment with an alkaline diet for the month of August. I’ll keep you updated on my meals and results.

Don’t Blame Weight Gain On Aging

That’s me in my first and only figure competition at the age of 53. To be honest, I’ve struggled with my weight all my adult life. But when I became serious about improving my health, it all changed. I’m now a fitness instructor and trainer and in the best shape of my life. All it takes is a commitment to healthy food choices and a consistent workout plan.

In our youth-oriented culture, many people think of aging as losing their health, looks, and their value in society.

Aging is inevitable; everyone gets older, but how you age is greatly influenced by lifestyle factors. The foods you eat, the daily decisions you make, how you take care of your body, all have a huge impact on how you age.

Many people associate aging with weight gain. That’s not surprising when you look around and notice that many of your friends, co-workers, and loved ones, seem to pack on pounds with each passing year. Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND- of discovergood.com states,

Don’t assume that weight gain is inevitable. With that attitude, you’ll be a lot less likely to take the necessary steps to keep your weight in check. Gaining weight in your middle years doesn’t ‘have to’ happen – and if it already has, it isn’t too late to get it under control.

You can prevent weight gain as you get older by following a consistent exercise program and a healthy diet. Age-related weight gain is often due to decreased activity and poor food choices. Many people become less active after retirement and begin to eat out more often. Eating away from home can be challenging due to high calorie, high-fat menu items. This can lead to extra pounds from larger portion sizes and extra calories. When you factor in a less active lifestyle, it can lead to weight gain and increase your risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

A weight training program can help you maintain a healthy metabolism and prevent weight gain as you age. Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND- also points out, “Since muscle tissue does a lot of metabolic ‘work’ that uses up a lot of calories, the loss of muscle tissue as you age means that you will burn fewer calories per day than you used to – in other words, your metabolic rate slows down.”

The solution is to follow a well-balanced, consistent workout program to manage your weight and help promote strength and flexibility. Furthermore, it’s imperative to add stretching and balance exercises to your routine to stay limber and strengthen your core.


FOLLOW THESE FIVE STEPS TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN AS YOU AGE:

  • Monitor your weight- Although it’s important not to obsess over the scales, you should check your weight periodically. Gaining just a few pounds each year can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Consider weighing yourself once a week and logging your results. If you notice a slight gain, then simply increase your activity and cut back on portion sizes. Tracking your weight weekly will help you avoid unwanted pounds that can creep up over the years.
  • Clean up your diet- As you get older you may find yourself more relaxed about your appearance and the pressure of maintaining a certain image. Retirement often brings a more relaxed lifestyle without the pressures of a career and children. This is an optimal time to explore life, new restaurants and travel. The key is to maintain a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and to limit your food splurges to one meal a week.
  • Remain active– Staying active is a key factor in maintaining an optimum weight as you age. Many people become more sedentary after retirement when they no longer have the pressures and activities of a daily job. It’s important to remain active so you can enjoy a good quality of life as you age. Brisk walking is a great cardiovascular exercise or join a gym and become involved in group fitness classes. Many gyms offer programs specifically for seniors and offer discounts for memberships. You may want to consider trying aqua aerobics or a senior yoga class. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and can adhere to on a consistent basis.
  • Avoid processed foods- Processed foods are typically high in calories and contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to weight gain. If you frequently eat out, try to select grilled lean meat without sauces. Select a salad, baked potato, or steamed vegetables as a side dish. Try to cook and eat most of your meals at home. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible and experiment with healthy new recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Do resistance training- Weight training is vital as you get older. Studies show that muscle mass declines with age. Muscle mass peaks around the mid-twenties; starts to decline in our thirties, and picks up speed as we age. Weight training helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and helps combat the loss of muscle tone as you get older. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week can play a major role in maintaining your strength and muscle tone. Therefore, if you are already strength training, you are on the right track! If not, it’s never too late to pick up a set of weights and get started.

Check out these wise words from Ben Franklin:

I guess I don’t so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.”

The key to a healthy metabolism as you age, is to stay active and eat lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Weight gain and inactivity can increase your risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Weight gain does not have to automatically occur just because you are getting older. Take charge of your health by following a well-balanced fitness and nutrition program and periodic monitoring of your weight.

Don’t Let The Weekend Destroy Your Progress

 

I love Fridays! It’s the end of the week and I like to start the weekend off right with a great workout. If you are like most of us, the weekend means relaxing and splurging on some “not so healthy food choices.” But there’s nothing wrong with that; life is all about balance. So how do you adjust your goals on the weekend so that you don’t destroy all the grueling work you put in during the week?

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat and enjoy working out; it makes me feel good about myself. Sure it would be a lot easier on the weekends to lay on the couch and eat junk food. But what about all your killer workouts, planning your meals,  and eating healthy all week? Surely you don’t want to destroy that progress over the weekend.

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To keep on track with my goals, I know realistically that I’m going to be splurging a little on the weekend.  Therefore it makes sense for me to offset the extra calories with extra activity.

Tip # 1: Increase your activity level. I typically get up early on the weekends and try to do at least a couple of miles on the treadmill.  If I don’t have time for that, I simply do a “high-intensity interval training workout” such as this from:  Muscle and Fitness

–> Perform circuit two times.
–> Rest as little as possible.

30 Bodyweight squats
10 Elevated pushups (feet on a bench)
30 Lunges (total, not per side)
10 Inverted rows (lying on the ground underneath a fixed bar)
30 Side-to-side hops (total)
10 Inverted rows
30 Close-grip pushups (either on knees or standard)
10 Underhand inverted rows
30 Jumping jacks
10 Burpees
30 Diagonal lunges (total, not per side)

Either rest for 1-2 minutes or jog in place for 1-2 minutes (repeat)

These type of workouts are super effective and burns loads of calories.  Dr Josh Axe reports that High Intensity Training

Research from the past decade continues to report that high intensity interval training actually balances both leptin and ghrelin, which increases fat burn and weight loss. In fact, burst training is one of the best ways to best manage unhealthy hunger behavior and maximize ghrelin and leptin to lose weight.

I also try to make sure I use my activity tracker on the weekends to help motivate me to get my steps in (either by moving more throughout the day or from my workouts).

 

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Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

 

Read my article below for the benefits of  tracking your steps on a daily basis:

Do You Need An Activity Tracker?

Tip #2: Drink more water.  Stay hydrated on the weekend. This simple tip will curb your appetite, help prevent dehydration, and give you energy.

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Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Just check out the benefits for drinking water- especially number 7:   Healthline.com reports in   7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

In two studies, drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours (2627).

This means that drinking 2 liters of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day.

The timing is important too, and drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full, so that you eat fewer calories (2829).

In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks (30).

It’s easy to keep on track with your water intake by just following these rules:

Drink water:  Upon arising, with morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and with the evening meal. This schedule will keep you hydrated and help prevent overeating.

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So when the weekend rolls around, enjoy yourself. But stay on track by scheduling your water breaks and increasing your activity. Take a walk at lunch, park further away from the office, or take the stairs. It all adds up.

If you don’t have time to fit in a workout, try to break the workouts into ten-minute segments. Ten minutes in the morning upon arising and then another mini-workout on your lunch hour or after work. It’s all about priorities and staying on track with your goals.

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Enjoy your weekend!

 

What You Focus On Will Flourish

We all have goals in our lives. Some people write them down with details on how to achieve them, while others keep them stored away in the back of their mind on a mental “wish list.”  However, what if I told you the answer to achieving anything you want is in the title of this blog. Perhaps you want to change careers, go for your dream promotion, run a marathon, or simply improve a relationship with a loved one; the key is applying focus to the situation.

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Photo by Natalie B on Pexels.com

Do you feel like you deserve a promotion, or does a new career path seem out of reach? What will it take to get you closer to that goal? It may be as easy as signing up for continuing education to help you advance in your current position or, enrolling in courses that relate to your career of interest. When I was in my twenties, I wanted to go into nursing but felt overwhelmed at starting back to school with two young children. I decided to enroll in a chemistry course at my local college and that gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I went on to graduate with a BSN in nursing, became a certified personal trainer, and acquired fitness certifications to teach yoga, and group fitness. You may be surprised how quickly new opportunities arise once you prioritize the steps to help you reach your goals. The key is applying concentration, drive, and consistency. You have the choice to stay where you are and hope things magically fall into place, or go after your dreams with focus and a plan.

Maybe, you’ve dreamed of participating in a fitness competition, hiking the Appalachian trail, or running a marathon. Goals such as these may seem out of reach, but it simply requires focus, consistency, and a well thought out plan. In the past, one of the top items on my bucket list was to run a marathon. However, I was not a runner and I felt like a marathon was out of the question. I decided to research training programs and discovered all my preconceived ideas were nonsense. I didn’t have to be a runner, a certain age, or have an athletic lean body to run a marathon. All I needed was a beginner training plan and the drive and consistency to follow through. Once I signed up for the marathon, I focused on proper nutrition and consistently began to build endurance and mileage each week. I successfully completed my first marathon in 2012; It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I remember starting the race Running For The Bay, St. George Island at the break of dawn, seeing the amazing sunrise as I ran over the bridge in St. George Island- Apalachicola, FL. I knew this would forever be a high point in my life; the feeling was priceless!

All you need is the proper mindset, motivation, and consistency to make your dreams come true. I entered my first figure show at the age of 53. I never dreamed I could transform my body, build muscle, and reduce my body fat enough to consider entering a competition. I was slightly overweight in my teens and put on additional weight in my thirties after having children. However, once I became interested in a career in fitness, the goal of entering a figure competition didn’t seem so far fetched, even at the age of 53. My first marathon gave me the confidence to set new goals in life. As I became stronger and improved my fitness level, I began to dismiss age or body type as a barrier to my goals. I realized you can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you believe it, and put the work in to achieve it.

Here I am below at age 53 and I placed 3rd in my age group. I’ll admit, I could have done better, and I didn’t put enough work into posing and nutrition. But this still took hard work, and I was happy with my results. Proof that what you focus on will flourish.

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This concept also works with relationships. We all thrive on connections with family and friends. However, with our busy lives, it can be difficult to put the time and effort into building and nurturing relationships with loved ones. Perhaps you feel guilty about not connecting or spending enough time with your children, parents, siblings, or friends. All it takes is a little thought and focus on ways to increase communication. Consider weekly calls, planning weekend get-togethers, or reading nightly bedtime stories to your children.

Think about an area in your life that you want to improve and simply take the first step. Consider your health, career, and your relationships and start with a plan. Be consistent, focus on the work, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Your Life, Your Choices

 

“Regaining health is more difficult an objective then becoming ill. Becoming ill is a random act of ignorance and regaining health is an intentional effort in frustration.” 
― Richard Diaz

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Although hereditary factors can play a part in some diseases, you have more control over your health than you think. Your body is an amazing machine designed to heal if it senses a threat, but poor daily food choices and inactivity can lead to permanent damage. There comes a point where your body gives in and stops fighting.

Once this occurs there is often damage that can’t be reversed. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and even coma. Heart disease and hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Your choices could leave you dependent on others for your care.

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But the good news is you can change your future. You have a choice every day to make better decisions regarding your health.

Don’t wake up one day and regret the opportunities you had to create a healthy lifestyle, and live a better quality of life.

FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO CREATE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE :

  • Monitor your weight- Although it’s important not to obsess over the scales and weighing yourself daily, you do need to check your weight periodically. Gaining just a few pounds each year can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Make a point to weigh yourself once a week and log your results. If you notice a slight gain of a couple of pounds, then simply increase your activity and cut back on portion sizes. Tracking your weight on a regular basis will help you avoid extra pounds that can creep up over the years.
  • Remain active– Staying active is a key factor in improving health and maintaining an optimum weight as you age. Today more than ever, people tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Many people have desk jobs and find it difficult to incorporate exercise into their schedule. However, it’s important to remain active so you can enjoy a good quality of life as you age. Brisk walking is a great cardiovascular exercise and you may want to consider walking or biking to work. Perhaps you can fit exercise in by taking a walk on your lunch break or joining a gym close to work. Many gyms are now 24 hours making it easier than ever to fit workouts into your schedule. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and schedule your workouts on your calendar.
  • Avoid processed foods- Processed foods are typically high in calories and contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to weight gain. If you frequently eat out, try to select grilled lean meat without sauces. Select a salad, baked potato, or steamed vegetables as a side dish. Try to cook and eat most of your meals at home. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible and experiment with healthy new recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Do resistance training- Weight training is vital as you get older. Studies show that muscle mass declines with age. Muscle mass peaks around the mid-twenties; starts to decline in our thirties, and picks up speed as we age. Weight training helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and helps combat the loss of muscle tone as you get older. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week can play a major role in maintaining your strength and muscle tone. Therefore, if you are already strength training, you are on the right track! If not, it’s never too late to pick up a set of weights and get started.

Take control of your health starting today! Make the decision to heal rather than kill. It’s all about our daily choices.

Basic Strength Training Workout

 

 

 

This is a well-balanced basic strength routine. Begin with light dumbbells and transition to heavier weights when the exercise is no longer challenging. Consider using heavier weights for larger muscle groups such as back, chest quads, and glutes.

Perform this workout 2x a week on non-consecutive days so that your muscles can recover and rebuild.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after the workout.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Functional Warm up 7-10 minutes-

 

 

 

CIRCUIT ONE:

  1. DB Chest Press – 10-12 Reps

2. Glute Bridge (10-12 Reps)

 

3. Abdominal Cross hand Crunch (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT ONE 2-3 X

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. DB Row (10-12 Reps)

 

 

2. DB Bicep Curl (10-12 Reps)

3. DB Deadlift (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO 2-3 X

CIRCUIT THREE:

  1. Squat Bodyweight (10-12 Reps)

2. Tricep Pushups on Knees (10-12 Reps)

3. Elbow Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

REPEAT CIRCUIT Three 2-3 X

Post Workout Stretch

Weekend Six Pack Ab Challenge

It’s important to fuel your body if you want to get the most from your workouts. This morning, I started with a glass of lemon water, grapefruit, and a protein smoothie. This provides me with the proper nutrients for instructing a calorie torching circuit workout. I plan to finish my class with my weekend ab challenge – the 300. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Smoothie: 8 Oz of organic almond milk, a handful of organic spinach, 1/2 of organic banana, 1 tbsp of organic flaxseed oil, 1/2 cup of organic raspberries and blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt

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No- It’s Not Too Expensive To Eat Organic

“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria Rodale

Although organic fruits and vegetables are typically pricey, I’ve discovered good produce options to buy each week that are very affordable. Here is a list of budget-friendly items I purchased at the grocery store this week: Organic Carrots ($1.99), Organic Celery ($2.69), Organic potatoes ($2.99), Organic Gala Apples ($3.99), Organic Cucumber ( 99 cents), Container of Organic Spinach ($2.99), Organic Cherry Tomatoes ($2.99), Organic Bananas (79 cents/lb)

 

The quality of the food we eat is vital to our health. Why are food items that contain no salt, less sugar, and fewer ingredients more expensive? It’s frustrating that the food items promoted on television and in our grocery stores are loaded with harmful toxins and chemicals. However, the answer is educating yourself and making smarter food choices. If you are unable to afford organic prices, avoid items on the “dirty dozen” list and consider shopping for more affordable organic items like those I purchased above

Here’s the full list of EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) “Dirty Dozen” for 2019: This is a list of fruits and vegetables that have a substantial amount of pesticides and should be avoided unless you purchase organic varieties.

StrawberriesSpinachKalenectarinesApplesGrapesPeachesCherriesPearsTomatoesCelerypotaotes

 

The “Clean 15” are fruits and vegetables that contain fewer pesticides and can be purchased non-organic if desired.

lean Fifteen™
EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

1. Avocados

2. Sweet Corn*

3. Pineapples

4. Sweet Peas Frozen

5. Onions

6. Papayas*

7. Eggplants

8. Asparagus

9. Kiwis

10. Cabbages

11. Cauliflower

12. Cantaloupes

13. Broccoli

14. Mushrooms

15. Honeydew Melons