25 February 2014

Some of my Goofy Health tips

25 February 2014
Since it's the new year and all, I know a lot of us have fitness and weight loss goals. I'm all about goals, but I don't really do the New Year's resolution thing. That being said, I definitely do need to get back on track after the holidays so I thought I'd share some of the health tricks that have worked for me along the way. Most of them are silly and may only work for me, but what the heck, I'll share them anyway. :)

1. My "Magnet Motivation Mama"
This is silly, but it's my own little visual/illustrated version of my hypothetical "Before" and "After". The chubbier "Before" version is five magnetic strips. I get to pluck off a strip after each workout, slowly revealing the more fit "me". Some weeks I only workout 2-3x a week, but it's still rewarding to SEE evidence of your efforts, however small they may be.



2. Color Note Smart Phone App
This is an ultra-simple, stripped down app for your to-do lists. There is something very satisfying about checking off your to-do list - so much so that I sometimes jot down things I've already completed just to check them off. So how does this app relate to health and fitness? Every evening I try and create a detailed to-do list for the following day to keep me organized and on task. For example, I try to plan all of my meals at least a day in advance...that prevents me from eating out as much.



3. MyFitnessPal website & app
I LOVE this app and use it almost every day. It really is eye-opening to see your daily nutritional intake broken down. For example, when Eric and I first got our Vitamix, we were making these fabulous fruit smoothies nearly every morning and patting ourselves on the back for being so healthy. One day, I decided to plug all of our smoothie ingredients into MyFitnessPal, and was shocked by all of the high numbers (sugar, carbs, cals). It may be natural sugar, but it's still sugar! As a result of this handy tool, we've learned to minimize the fruit and use more veg. And it's helpful for me throughout the day so I can keep control of my calories and balance my nutrients. It also keeps track of your exercise for the day and calculates your burned calories as well which is very handy.

Here's a screenshot example of a breakfast:



4. Hydrate!
This one is HUGE and might just be the single most important health decision you make all day. When I find myself getting tired/lazy and making poor food decisions throughout the day, it's often because I'm not getting my water in. I think we underestimate the benefits of drinking lots of H2O. Luckily, I love water, and this one isn't too hard for me. I just have to remember. In addition to drinking throughout the day, I try to have 16 ounces BEFORE each meal. That really helps control my hunger. You feel bloated and need constant access to a toilet, but trust me, it's worth it.

Benefits to drinking water:

  • Fights fatigue
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves skin health (fights wrinkles, discoloration, blemishes, etc.)
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Helps digestion
  • Removes toxins
  • Fights constipation
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Keeps you looking young

Here's an awesome infographic on water. Definitely check this out: Why Dehydration is Making You Fat and Sick

5. Get plenty of Zs
I'm terrible at this! Eric and I often don't go to bed until midnight or later. BUT, I always have good intentions, and I really am going to make an effort to improve on this one.

Benefits of getting adequate sleep:

  • Sharpens your mind
  • Improves memory
  • Sharpens your attention
  • Helps with weight loss 
  • Reduces stress 
  • Less depression
  • Decreases anxiety and irritability 

6. Eat BEFORE hunger strikes
I often wait until it's too late. You know that point where all of the naughtiest food in your house seems to be scream, "Eat me!", and the next thing you know you're covered in candy wrappers and regrets? It's better for me if I stick to a schedule when possible. If I know that a 2 o'clock lunch would be pushing the food lust and hunger pains, then I'll aim for 1 o'clock instead.

7. "Thinspiration"
Don't laugh, but sometimes it just helps to think back to thinner days when you felt more confident in your skin. For me, it just serves as motivation to know I've been there before, and I can get there again, and I know I'll feel better about myself if I do. Or, I also browse Pinterest, etc. for extra inspiration + motivation.



8. Stay busy, find distractions
Being a stay-at-home mom, this can be helpful for your sanity as well as your eating. When Scout sleeps, I work. Or read. Or find a project (scrapbooking, etc.). Or, on the really great days, nap. When she's awake, we like to get out of the house and go for a walk, run errands, visit family or friends, etc.

9. MapMyRun App
I don't run, but I use this app whenever Scout and I go for our walks. I mostly use it for tracking distance, but you can also use the app to record your routes for future reference, and search for other fun routes in the area.



10. Find non-food rewards
For a lot of us, we eat to reward ourselves for surviving a long, hard day. We feel like we've earned it and deserve to treat ourselves, right? To get out of this mentality, I've tried to come up with non-food rewards. Granted, there may still be regrets afterward, but they'll have more to do with your wallet than your waistline. These will be different for everyone of course, but the key is to have a little something to look forward to (that's not a piece of cheesecake).

Some examples:

  • Vacation (even a mini roadtrip)
  • A concert or play (Wicked in April!)
  • A fun date night
  • Music for your i-Pod
  • Book
  • New hair style
  • Jewelry
  • Pedicure
  • Makeup
  • Shoes
  • Before and After photos (results!) 
  • New clothes. Or, if you're working toward a weight loss goal, maybe some workout clothes. I even enjoy "window shopping" - browsing online for that perfect outfit or swimsuit or whatever it might be, to purchase AFTER you lose x amount of weight.
11. Remove the temptations
Have chips and chocolate hidden away deep in those cupboards? Toss 'em! If you're anything like me, you're going to have rough days when you're desperate for some treat therapy. Actually, even if I'm having a great day, I have a hard time resisting scrumptious snacks if I know they're there for the taking so I have to remove them completely. I know it would be better to strengthen my self-control and learn to resist that box of Girl Scout cookies Eric just bought, but let's face it, that's not going to happen anytime soon so Eric can just keep those delicious thin mints safely in his office. I'm not unrealistic though; I still have the occasional cheat treat. I just try and reserve them for when we eat out or special occasions like birthday parties, etc. Then, I keep a few healthier treat options in the house (ie. Dreyer's sugar-free fruit bar popsicles, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, etc.)

12. Keep dinners SIMPLE
Thankfully, healthy meals don't have to be complicated. In fact, they're usually really simple. I try to just do a lean meat with veggies. We typically rotate between chicken, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, and sometimes pork, halibut, or steak. Then I just add a simple veggie side like salad (spring mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and Bolthouse yogurt dressing), broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, etc. To Eric's dismay, I try to lay off of the carbs when I can (that means skipping the potatoes, pasta, rice, dinner rolls, etc). Trust me, I LOVE my carbs, but once I get in the habit, I really don't miss them that much. Plus, when I do have them, it's a yummy treat.

13. Food as fuel 
I'll be honest, I'm a big fan of food, and I love eating out and trying new foods. In  my own mind, I'm a foodie. :) However, I tend to do best when I view food as serving a function - the function of fueling this here body of mine and providing the nutrition I need to get through the day.

These are just a few things that have helped me; I don't pretend to be an expert by any stretch, but it's always fun when you find something that actually works. Now the trick is actually doing it! If any of you have any health tips, I would LOVE to hear them!

2 comments:

Kelsey Eaton said...

These are great goals! I like practical realistic goals :)

Amy Makechnie said...

Cass, these are great. Some of them I've never heard of. The Magnetic Mama one made me laugh :) Yes, the fruit smoothie has been very eye-opening and we too have transitioned to a lot more vegetables. We are so used to it that all fruit tastes too sweet (our children do not agree yet). Love the water and sleep reminders. I need to toss the temptations. I have leftover jimmies and gumdrops that someone else gave us from a leftover project. I can't seem to toss them b/c SOMEONE ELSE spent money on them. They have no value to my life. I'm tossing them TODAY. In your honor. Great post :)