{May 29, 2012}   Getting back on the horse

I haven’t posted in far too long. I sprained my ankle working out, causing not only a loss of exercise time for the last couple of weeks, but a profound loss of motivation. While I couldn’t do my usual workouts, I found myself unmovtivated in other areas of my life. I realized that having that exercise routine made me more organized, more focused, and more able to reach my goals. Without that motivation I used to have, skipping ab and arm workouts became much easier. But my ankle is mostly back to normal, and I am more than ready to get back on track with my routine. Everybody loses motivation sometimes;¬†I am a perfect example of this. But I am going to make time to bring those workouts back and motivate myself to continue. How do you keep yourself motivated?


{May 8, 2012}   Forbidden Foods

There’s that little corner of everybody’s pantry with the forbidden foods, the ones we tell ourselves we can’t eat because they’re too “bad” for us. But here’s something many people may not know: a lot of those so-called “bad” foods have actually just gotten a bad rap. Here are a few you should consider adding back into your diet, or at least back into your “good” pile:

1. Nuts. They are oftentimes high in fat and calories, but this snack is chock full of nutrients. You don’t have to eat a lot to get their value. Try adding them into a trail mix for a powerful midday snack.

2. Avocados. They’re very high in fat, causing many people to put them aside for times of weakness only. But much of the fat is actually “good” fat and can help reduce the risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer. Not only that, but it boasts high fiber, potassium and vitamins.

3. Cheese. Many people assume that cheese is just too fatty to be considered acceptable for a diet. But by eliminating it, you are also losing the calcium and positive nutrients it has to offer. The best way to keep cheese in your diet is to figure out which varieties will satisfy your craving and deliver the greatest health benefit.

Now go into your pantry (or fridge), pull out one of those so-called “bad” foods and make a healthy meal. Happy eating ūüôā

{May 6, 2012}   Take time to give back

The purpose of eating better and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is, in essence, to give back to ourselves. We are maintaining a lifestyle that will make us feel the best that we possibly can. But most people find that feeling better about yourself comes about internally. Instead of focusing all of your energy on how a dress looks or if pants make you look fat, do something productive with your time: give back. There are plenty of ways to help people less fortunate. No matter what you choose to do, you will be taking your mind off of your insecurities for just a short while, and helping someone who really needs you. You might even find that doing community service can help improve your self-image and feeling of self-worth. There is no better feeling than knowing you have made a difference. It is truly what makes you beautiful. It’s not how well the clothes fit that matters; it’s who you are and how you live your life. So today, forget about how your appearance impacts you and do something productive. It might just make a difference you never expected.

{May 2, 2012}   Give yourself a break

Diets are hard. We say “no” to ourselves constantly, keeping our sub-conscious cravings in check. But this can become¬†a tiring, 24-hour job, and immersing ourselves in it can actually be counterproductive.

I’ve talked about body image before, but it can’t be stressed enough.¬†We punish ourselves for bad food choices, for not being strong enough or having enough will-power to say no. What many people don’t know is that self-criticism is¬†actually harmful to a diet, and can make you indulge more. Instead of punishing yourself for eating badly, reward yourself by eating well. Remember, no one is forcing you to make healthy choices. This is a lifestyle, and it cannot be maintained without a desire to be healthier and in-shape.

Dieting isn’t about denying yourself; it’s about giving yourself what your body needs to be at its strongest.¬† When you eat something off your diet, don’t lose your mind in a frenzy of self-loathing. Instead, take a portion that will give you a taste of what you’re craving; don’t go over the top. And when you’re done, you will have enjoyed something. Food is meant to be enjoyed, by the way…remember that. And then¬†plan the rest of your day accordingly. For example, if you get dessert with lunch, make sure your dinner is a bit more calorie-conscious. You’re not doing yourself any good by giving in to self-hatred. Life is about enjoying what you have, not depriving yourself. Just make good portion choices, and keep “everything in moderation” in your mind.

{April 30, 2012}   We’ve all been there

It’s late. You’re working on the last few pages of a paper you put off working on until this evening. You’re tired and frustrated, but worst of all, you have the muchies. Every treat in your dorm seems to be calling to you.

Avoiding late-night snacking is one of the hardest parts of any diet.¬†For years, many of us have been told that late-night snacking is the worst possible thing anyone can do when¬†trying to lose weight. But you might be surprised to learn that¬†this diet law is being questioned. New¬†studies show that snacking at night doesn’t¬†cause a¬†difference in weight gain other than affecting total caloric intake. So for example, eating a healthy snack at night isn’t bad; the problem comes in if you’re¬†snacking on donuts like a champ at 1:30 in the morning. Calories¬†start adding up where you¬†least expect them.

So long story short,¬†if you’re hungry late at night, reach for something that won’t ruin your healthy¬†day.¬†¬†Plus, there are tons of options to go for when you’re fighting evening hunger pangs.¬†All is not lost when the sun goes down, people. Just like everything else, make healthy choices and the rest works itself out. Happy eating!

{April 25, 2012}   Just do it.

You’re busy. You have school or work (or possibly both) weighing you down. Your schedule couldn’t possibly get any busier.¬† Looking at your to-do list, it’s easy to take working out off the agenda. It’s extraneous. It can be pushed back as far as necessary to get all of your other work done. But this method is not constructive, nor will it give you results. Working out is a way to give back to your body. It’s not just a time to clear your head of the stressful clutter of modern life, but also a way to do something healthy for yourself. The minute you remove it from your schedule, you are letting yourself become more bogged down with unnecessary worries. Do yourself a favor: don’t cross the gym off your list until you’ve finished your workout. Your body will thank you. And once you have had the chance to clear your mind a bit, you might just be glad you stuck with it.

{April 18, 2012}   I have a problem.

It’s true: I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic. I love chocolate in basically any form. Before I started eating healthier, I ate an amount of chocolate per day that scares even myself. Now that I’m eating better, I still have chocolate every so often (ok, once a day) just to pick my day up¬†a bit. There’s a reason for this, other than my obvious addiction. It’s been proven that chocolate is not only good for you, but can also help your diet. ¬†No, you’re not dreaming. Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate may actually improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. But now, research shows that people who¬†eat chocolate on a regular basis have lower BMI’s (body mass index) than those who do not. The reasons behind this are unclear, though it could be that the antioxidants found in dark chocolate can also serve to give your metabolism a boost. But why question it? To me, this is a diet win. Remember, however, that eating chocolate is not a replacement for working out, nor should it be used as a constant source of nourishment. It is, and always will be, a nice little treat to come back to at the end of a hard day. Emphasis onlittle. Be mindful of portion sizes, people. But enjoy ūüôā

{April 15, 2012}   Getting fit without the gym

The gym can be quite boring. There’s only so many routines you can try and so much equipment you can take advantage of. That’s why it’s important to bring fitness into your life in ways beyond the traditional gym work outs. With the weather becoming more and more inviting, try bringing your work out outside. Go for a run or a brisk walk to get your body moving. For a better work out, play sports with friends. This is a great way to socialize with your peers and burn calories at the same time. There’s plenty to do to get yourself outdoors and¬† on your way to a healthier body. Working out shouldn’t have to be strenuous and frustrating. On the contrary,¬†having fun with your fitness program will make you more committed to it and eager to continue. Eventually, you might even find that it becomes a regular part of your day.

{April 11, 2012}   Eating badly…so well

It’s no secret that most of the foods we generally love and crave are high in fat and calories, and mostly low in nutritional value. That’s why we love them so much. I find my self-control slipping away as I watch commercials showing creamy chocolatey goodness, or the newest specials at Olive Garden. Macaroni and Cheese has always been my weakness. But contrary to poular belief, you don’t have to completely give up your favorite foods for your diet: just make them healthier. Even desserts can be made¬†healthier, and thus better for your diet. ¬†It’s all about what you put in and what you take out. Making healthy foods that satisfy your not-so-healthy cravings may be much easier than you ever thought. So next time you’re in the kitchen, grab¬†your laptop and search for healthy versions of your favorite recipes. Be adventurous, change it up, and have fun with your food. You don’t have to munch on salad and veggies all the time to succeed on your diet; you just have to be creative.

{April 9, 2012}   Eating out, on your terms

Eating out should not have to be a frightening experience. There is enough in life that causes stress; dining experiences should not be added to that list. When you’re eating at a restaurant, it’s important to remember that you are still in control of your diet. Just because someone else is preparing your food doesn’t mean you are forced to dig into whatever your mind tells you to order. Just be smart. Drink water throughout the meal to make you more full and hydrated. Check out the menu and nutritional information at home before you leave, and check out the options that will serve your body best. Always choose fruits or vegetables as a side to your entree. Don’t fill up on bread before the meal; if you can, skip the bread entirely. If the menu at the restaurant has¬† a healthy section, make your selection from there. Don’t be afraid to make substitutions to your meal to enhance its healthy qualities and decrease its fat and calorie content. You can control what you eat. Don’t let peer pressure force you to make bad choices. And most importantly, if you’re full, stop eating. No one is forcing the food down your throat, and there happens to be a refrigerator at home waiting to receive leftovers.

et cetera