Monday, October 21, 2013
Did you know Sparkpeople.com is getting a makeover? There's a new Start Page, and it's much more personalized than the old one. You probably have seen it already if you're reading this. Iím always open to improvements. As someone who has been a part of this community since 2006, I have seen many changes. I am sure it will take some getting used to; however, I think over time, I will grow to like these changes. Hope you will too. Check it out:
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Do you have bad influences around you that get in the way of your progress? If you say yes, then youíre not alone. Itís a common problem for people on a regime to eat healthier and get more exercise to find people in their lives discouraging them. In some cases, all you have to do is dissociate with them. This is especially important if youíre someone who finds it difficult to stay motivated. Sever ties with them. But thatís not an option when you and them live in the same house.
1. Find ways to motivate and inspire yourself. If your family member or house mate isnít supportive, then youíll have to support yourself.
2. Next, find people who can offer that support. Exercise classes at the gym or a community center is a great place to meet like-minded people who serve as a source of inspiration for one another.
3. If youíre someone who has trouble staying on your plan, find a support group where others with the same problem get together and share tips and strategies.
4. Keep separate grocery lists. If they want to eat unhealthy, thereís nothing you can do to stop them. But that doesn't mean you have to eat it. Let them eat their Fritos and donuts. You know what you should be eating.
5. After dinner, when that other person lays on the couch and calls you over to relax with them, go for your walk or hop on the treadmill before you do. Plan for it, and prepare yourself so you wonít be tempted. Just because itís your spouse or your sibling or parent or whatever, that doesn't mean you have to do exactly what they are doing.
I know itís easy to fall off the wagon. Believe me Iíve fallen a few times. But donít stay off too long before you get back on. The longer you stay off that wagon, the more difficult it will be for you. Stay with it and always have a plan A and a plan B and a plan CÖ.because there will always be someone or some thing to try and derail your plans. Stick with it, by any means necessary. Like Larry the Cable Guy says, Git er done!
Friday, April 05, 2013
Last night, I was reading a health report that indicated that we should limit our intake of salt to no more than one teaspoon per day. When you hear it, it doesnít actually sound like very much. Itís just a measly teaspoon, right? But when you look at a teaspoonful, my gosh it sure is an awful lot of salt. Even if you use the more healthy salts, such as seat salt, kosher salt, or Himalayan pink salt, a teaspoon seems more than enough. Eating too much salt in the short term can affect weight retention, blood pressure, proper kidney functioning, and can dilute the body making a person dehydrated. In the long term, it can adversely affect the heart and lead to liver disease or kidney failure.
So, how do you season your food when you think you have to use salt to make your foods tasty? Did you know there are dozens of different herbs and spices out there you can use to add robust flavor to your foods? Some of the most common ones are cilantro, parsley, chives, marjoram, paprika, garlic, thyme, basil, caraway, dill, oregano, rosemary, savory, sage, and celery leaves. But there are many more. Using different combinations can help you get a different flavor. One combination I use is garlic, basil, marjoram, and parsley; another combination I use is sage, cilantro, thyme, and paprika. You have to experiment with different combinations to get a flavor that you like. Also, if you add the juice from a wedge of lime, lemon, or orange or a drizzle of cider or rice vinegar, you can greatly enhance the flavor.
Just like with sweets and junk foods, salt has addictive qualities. That is what makes it hard to give up. But if you replace salt with other flavors such as the ones Iíve listed above, that will help you give it up.
Friday, March 29, 2013
So I ran across a Sparkpeople recipe, and my first reaction was, ďYouíve got to be kidding me.Ē
But then, being an open-minded guy, I decided to give it a try. The recipe is BAKED GRAPEFRUIT. Did you see it on the Sparkrecipes.com site? This is it:
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons shelled and finely chopped pistachios
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Slice the grapefruit in half.
If your grapefruits are tipping over, use a knife to remove a thin layer from the bottom, taking care not to expose the flesh.
Use a paring knife to separate the grapefruit segments (optional). Run the knife between the inner flesh and the white pith between the flesh and rind.
Place the grapefruit halves on a baking sheet and top with the honey and chopped pistachios.
Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings, 1/2 grapefruit is one serving.
I didnít think I was going to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was very good. I substituted the honey for agave nectar, but Iím sure the honey would be fine too. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
How do you stay on track? I donít have to tell you how difficult it is to follow your eating plan and stay on target with your goals. Iím probably one of the most regimented people out here and itís hard for me too. But I have a few tips and tricks that I like to use, and you may like some of them too. They actually work for me.
ē Pay attention to and keep track of everything youíre eating. The Sparkpeople food tracker is great for this, but you can use another method if you choose. I like Sparkpeopleís because you can tailor it to your own eating and set your goals for calories, protein, carbs, fiber, etc., and it tells you how youíre doing throughout the day. When you keep track of it, you realize how easy it is to go overboard. If youíre not paying attention, you can quickly rack up hundreds of empty calories. So, track everything, even a 5 calorie stick of gum.
ē The best way is to plan all of your meals. I know, I know. Youíre thinking how thatís easier said than done, right? Well speaking from experience, I agree that it definitely can be easier said than done. But I also know that the reason most things are easier said than done is because we donít do them often enough. The more we do things, the better we get at doing them -- the easier they become. People sometimes laugh at me because Iím always thinking about or talking about food. Thatís because I like to plan out all my meals and snacks ahead of time. On most days, when I first get up in the morning, I already know what Iíll be eating for the rest of the day, including my between meal snacks. If I donít plan it, Iíll grab the wrong things in a mindless, rote sort of way.
ē Next, keep healthy snacks with you. Raisins, nuts, or grapes are good snacks. One of my favorite snacks is blueberries. One snack that Iíve recently gotten into lately is sun dried tomatoes. I like to get them sliced or julienne cut, and just one cup is filled with fiber, protein, iron, niacin, vitamin K and loads of antioxidants. How about that: snacks that are good and good for you. Canít beat that.
ē Also, portion out your foods, particularly snacks. I portion out a serving size of various things and keep them in baggies in the fridge or the pantry. And hereís another tip: you donít have to have a full serving in order to be fulfilled. One of my favorite crackers list a serving size as 15 crackers. I usually have half that amount and Iím satisfied. The full serving is 150 calories. By having only half a serving, I free up 75 calories. That may not sound like much, but believe me, calories add up.
ē If you really need to visit a vending machine, be careful at what you choose. Nowadays, many vending machines have a section dedicated to healthier items (i.e., the top row, the left side, row B, etc.). Other times, healthier items are dispersed throughout. Look out for those items, and be sure to portion them out.
ē Donít eat as soon as you feel hungry. You wonít pass out from starvation if you hold off for a half hour or so. Drink a cup of water or green tea, do some stretching, or go for a walk. If you eat as soon as you feel hungry, chances are youíll eat all the wrong things.
ē Last but not least, donít allow friends and family members to derail your progress. If you hadn't had your loved ones be discouraging or uninspiring, consider yourself fortunate. Many people trying to embark on a healthy life have to face the challenge of an unsupportive inner circle on a daily basis. If those in your inner circle are not being supportive, shame on them. When they try to impede your progress and say things to hinder you, try to let just let it go like water off of a duck's back. It's up to YOU to follow your plan.
Give these things a try. If they donít work for you develop your own. The important thing is to find ways to help you succeed and keep achieving your goals. Donít give up just because you didnít make it today. So what if you ate three donuts this morning. That doesnít mean you should just say "never mind" and eat whatever you see the rest of the day. Itís never too late to begin again. It just requires a little effort.
Stealing the Nike slogan, ďJust Do It.Ē
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