Are You Making ‘Healthy’ Menu Choices?


Photo by ulmer.frank

If you’re trying to lose weight I’ll bet you are good all during the week until the weekend comes when friends or family want to go out and eat. At the restaurant you either lose all self-control and have a pig-out fest or you order what you believe to be the healthiest option on the menu.

Either way you could be throwing a wrench in your weight loss progress. Obviously if you have a pig-out of massive proportions you’ll derail all of your hard work from earlier in the week. Even the foods that seem to be “healthy” might be anything but.

Last week I ate at Applebee’s with my husband and mother-in-law (MIL). MIL ordered a trio platter, Trey ordered a rack of ribs and I ordered an under 550 calorie chicken entree. MIL thought some of her food, like the spinach dip, was “healthy,” while Trey thought he ordered the lowest calorie option that wasn’t on the low-calorie menu.

So when I got home I looked up the nutrition facts and was flabbergasted by what I found.


MIL had eaten around 1,600 calories (more than her daily needs) and Trey had consumed between 1,600 and 1,820 calories. While my choice was the lowest calorie, you wouldn’t believe the sodium count – somewhere north of 1,000 mg. Further investigation revealed that the highest calorie salads on the menu were between 900 and 1,310 calories in total. Shocking, right?

Interestingly, aside from the low-calorie menu, the kids plates had by far the lowest calorie options. Go figure. The portion sizes are smaller, after all.

Now I’m not trying to pick on Applebee’s. You’ll find the same shocking nutrition facts at any restaurant these days.

So, here’s the lesson for those of you trying to lose weight:

  1. When eating out, chose foods on the low-calorie, “guiltless” menu, or order kids plates.
  2. But most importantly, before you go to a restaurant, get online and look up their menu nutrition information. All of the chain restaurants have them now. You’ll have no excuse to order something that you’ll regret later.

Now go and make wise food choices this week. You’ll be glad you did.



How to Look Thinner Instantly



I wish I had figured out how to look thinner with this one tip sooner. All you have to do is straighten your posture. But many of us hunch over slightly because we’re always sitting at desks and at our computers. Watch the video for a simple way to adjust your posture so you can look thinner without even trying.

Do the exercise with or without weights, and do it frequently (several days a week) to counteract the time you spend sitting at a desk. It does wonders.



Three Easy Steps to Weight Loss



Most people lack the time to workout much less prepare food. That’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to lose weight and/or exercise in the first place. But a few tweaks to your daily schedule will help you to reach your fitness and weight loss goals.

1. Pack healthy snacks. If you are going to work, shopping or just generally out and about, pack a healthy snack for those inevitable hunger pangs. This will keep you from getting junk food from the vending machine or eating fast foods. To keep your metabolism going strong, eat every two to four hours. That’s between four and five times a day. My routine goes like this: breakfast upon waking; small snack (handful nuts); lunch; snack (fruit); dinner. Good snack options are raw veggies, nuts, fruit (avoid high-sugar dried fruit) and string cheese.

2. Join a gym near to where you work. If it’s five or 10 minutes down the road, you’re more likely to go. I used to workout at a gym that was directly in front of my job. Seeing it was a daily reminder of my goals.

3. Get into a routine. If you don’t want to join a gym, consider scheduling workouts during the week your friend(s), boyfriend or husband. The more you do it, the more it will become part of your life, and believe it or not you’ll actually miss it when you skip a day. My routine until recently went like this: Come home and make dinner with husband. Wait about 45 minutes and take a walk together. Come back and do strength exercises. If you only have 20 minutes to workout, go for a five minute walk, do 10 minutes of strength workouts and do another five minute walk. Easy peasy but effective.

Change can be hard to make, but these three tips are easy ways to make a change that will help you to look and feel awesome in no time.



Warrior Dash & How to Gain Endurance


Scenes from the 3 mile obstacle/endurance challenge Warrior Dash. No sissies allowed!



Warrior Dash was a blast! There were crazy costumes and happy, muddy, pumped up people everywhere. A tornado scare and the fact that we were drenched by rain while stuck for 20 minutes in a mud rut in the parking lot added to the excitement. There’s no way Trey and I will forget that day. Check out the clip above to watch Warrior Dash from the perspective of my video lens.


Endurance Training

To get ready for an endurance challenge, start conditioning yourself several months ahead of time. This will give your body time to adapt to the challenges you place on it like long-distance running.

Beginners

If you are *severely* out of shape, I recommend beginning your training up to six months in advance. Start with a walking regimen. If you are able to, walk 20 minutes three to five times a week. Your perceived rate of exertion should begin (warm-up walk) at a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Gradually work up to a 5 and 6 exertion rate during your walk, alternating between those levels every two to three minutes.

If you’re doing it right, your heart rate will be higher than normal and your rate of breathing will be increased. During the last two to three minutes of your walk, decrease your intensity to a 4. This is your cool-down. Finish with lower body stretches.

Move on to intermediate walking when you are able to walk 20 minutes without stopping and with proper form.



Photo found here.

Intermediate

Walk 30 to 45 minutes three to five times a week. The same perceived rate of exertion as above applies. One to two times a week, instead of walking, run for one minute. Rest two minutes. Do eight bouts of one-minute runs.


Follow your runs and walks with a 2-3 min. cool-down and lower body stretches. Move on to the next level when twice a week you are able to run eight bouts for one minute each without stopping or breaking form.

Advancing to Advanced

Walk 30 to 45 minutes three to five times a week, and run three times a week. Increase your runs to 8 bouts of one and a half minutes of running with one and a half minutes of rest. Every week, add another half minute to one minute to your run time,  gradually decreasing your rest intervals.

Your goal is to work up to 30 minutes of straight running. Don’t forget to cool down and stretch.

Tips

* Purchase a quality pair of running shoes.

* Push yourself, and don’t quit. Don’t get down on yourself when you experience a particularly hard run. Making progress takes time.

* Drink plenty of water at least an hour before your run.

* If you must eat, have a small meal or snack at least an hour before your run.


As you add time to your runs your exertion rate will go as high as a nine or 10. Your lungs will hurt, you’ll likely get a stitch in your side and you might even want to hurl. This is normal, and as you press on it will get easier. When you notice a change in your energy and feel like you can go further during a run, do it. Push yourself a little bit more each time and you’ll soon run further and longer than you ever thought you could.



Bye Bye Belly



Find out one of the main reasons you are gaining weight. There is a super simple fix for this!



What size is right for you?




This is for all of you who are bummed about society’s beauty standards.



Why Getting Fit Will Change Your Life


Photo by Planetwoman


Everyone knows exercising leads to weight loss, but it yields equally or more awesome effects than the average person realizes. Do you want to find out what they are? Really? Well, then you’ll have to work out to find out. Harsh, I know, but it’s true.

See, I can tell you all of the great things that happen when working out and progressing strength and endurance, but that doesn’t mean you’d know for yourself. In order to fully understand the benefits, you have to do the work. After you’ve panted and sweat, wheezed and gasped your way to a healthier you, then, and only then will you really know.

Nevertheless, I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what benefits you can expect from being fit, because let’s face it, working out is freaking hard. Most people won’t push themselves enough to get to the other side of the rainbow unless they know there’s a pot of gold at the end, and even then some people will wuss out.




Even if you haven’t yet shed an ounce, if you’ve been “showing up” for your workouts and are really busting a sweat, you’ll foster a sense of pride in yourself. You don’t have to go from couch potato to Olympian. You just have to consistently challenge yourself, and every time you meet your demands, you’ll boost confidence. Pushing past discomfort, beyond boundaries you’d imagined you have does wonders for self-image. Eventually, you’ll begin to feel stronger and you’ll have more endurance –- another image booster.

Aside from that, if you keep a workout schedule, eventually you’re going to see physical results. An overweight friend of mine said, “When you’re significantly overweight, any weight loss is an improvement.” This is motivation for beginners. Put one foot in front of the other, and eventually, you’ll have walked a mile and broken in your BITCH Fit shoes.

Often progress will seem slow, but as the weeks go by, you’ll notice your clothes fit better and people will start to ask, “Hey, did you lose weight?” These are golden motivating moments. Harness them to push further during workouts.




When on a path of self-development anything seems possible. You want a six pack? Awesome! Keep working out, eat right and it’s yours. From a beginner’s perspective, achieving something like this might seem like a distant dream. But for someone who is entrenched in and committed to a fitness lifestyle –- even if they are still nowhere near their goals –- it’s doable. They know that while it may be a slow process, they will meet their best weight and fitness goals.




Before I became determined to get and stay fit I was a sloth. My ass was typically glued to the couch if I was home. After several weeks of working out I noticed a tremendous spike in energy. Instead of slumping around I would have to keep myself from spontaneously dancing or jumping up and down. I wanted to move my body all the time.




Like I said, working out is hard –- that is, if you’re doing it right. In order to make physical progress you have to push yourself past your comfort zone, and in order to do that your mind has to drive your body. If the mind is weak, the body will be, too.

The determination it takes to get fit can be applied to other aspects of life: determination to eat healthfully, to learn a new skill, to break into a new career path, to choose to be happy and quit dwelling on your crappy past, etc.

I’ll talk more about mental strength and how it can be used for weight loss in an upcoming post. You don’t want miss it. It may be just what you need to make that major change you’ve needed.




Beyond optimism about physical pursuits, the Fit BITCH knows she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. She’s proven it during workouts when she’s pushed past what she thought were her boundaries. When someone says something is impossible, the fit say, “Watch me accomplish the impossible.”




Naturally, with optimum health and fitness comes the capacity to do the things in life you want, whereas having a list of things you won’t do because you lack stamina or low self-confidence is anything but freeing. Once you unburden yourself from a weak physique, you can start taking part in life –- like really living –- experiencing.

Go hiking a gorgeous path, go dancing for hours, feel confident at the beach or swimming pool, explore a city for hours by foot or try new recreational sports like climbing a rock wall or learning trapeze work or aerial yoga. (If you haven’t heard of aerial yoga, check it out. Freaking amazing!)

You want one more reason to get fit? To open the damn jar of pickles yourself. Rawk!

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