Monday, April 18, 2011

Complete Reboot

I am working on a complete makeover of this blog in anticipation of some life changes.  This will happen over the next week or so.  This will still be a great place for healthy lifestyle ideas, but I am expanding to include new content.

Thanks for your patience,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oops, I broke my blog

Yep.  I changed a security setting and the next thing you know, BAM, broken. Ugh.  The sad part?  I didn't know until a few days ago.

It's a long story, but suffice it to say, I have some blogs to recreate and a fresh start to make.  It will teach me to fiddle with something that was just fine.

Starting tomorrow, with the oops corrected, I will give you fresh blogs and push through the old ones to see if they are worth saving.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Comfort Food - Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

It's the weekend and with more snow in the forecast and a cold snap on the way next week, we could all use a little comfort.  Frankly, potatoes are calorie heavy as a rule, but you can make the mashed variety healthier and at least not pour on the fat.  (Read, no gravy.)  Fried chicken is pretty bad for you, no matter what.  But if you don't really fry it, use chicken breasts instead of dark meat and keep the breading lighter, you have a fighting chance.

This recipe is from Eating Better America and is called "Healthified Mashed Potatoes".  It's called such because it cuts out the butter and adds heart healthy olive oil in its place, which I had never tried before. Then they keep it simple with salt and pepper and fresh chives.  Nice job!

As for the "Fried Chicken", I LOVE the folks at "America's Test Kitchen"!  They try all the techniques, so you don't have to.  In fact, if you ever want a no-fail recipe, go here.  There is a membership fee, but if you are a serious cook or just starting to learn, this site is unbelievable.

As for a recipe, I will let you choose what fits your fancy.  However, these are the tips from America's Test Kitchen for getting it to come out as closed to tasting 'fried' as possible:

Oven-Fried Chicken

Crunchy-coated, tender, juicy fried chicken is utterly irresistible, but it can be a real pain to prepare. There’s the multi-step breading to contend with, and then there’s all that hot, spattering oil. We wanted to mimic the best of fried chicken with a minimum of fuss, and bake it, not fry it. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

  • Marinate the chicken in highly seasoned buttermilk flavored with mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Soak the chicken for at least one hour, or even better, overnight, so that the flavors have a chance to penetrate deep into the meat.
  • Use a blend of corn flakes and breadcrumbs for the crispest coating. Seasoned heavily with spices and lightly coated with oil, the coating bakes up as crisp as a deep-fried crust.
  • Bake the chicken in a hot (400-degree) oven on a wire rack set on a baking sheet. The rack allows hot air to circulate beneath the chicken so that all sides of the pieces become crisp.
  • Traditional homemade fried chicken has 552 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 10 grams of saturated fat per serving. Cook’s Country Oven-Fried Chicken has 216 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 4 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Nice calorie savings, huh?  We have tried this at home, very tasty and crispy.  And that's coming from a girl that used to love the Colonel's extra crispy!

Yours in Health,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Get Fidgeting!

I was going to write this fabulous blog on how fidgeting can help you lose weight.  It's true, your tendency of pacing instead of standing still or bobbing your leg when typing can help you burn more calories.

If you wear a calorie burning monitor, you can prove this yourself.  Set aside two days in a row with the same basic planned activities.  Except on one of the days be as still as you can in between your work, chores or exercise.  On the other day, fidget in any way you can think of.  You will find a noticeable difference in calories burned.  Probably between 100 to 350 more calories burned on that day.  It may not seem like much, but when you add it up over the year, it's pounds lost, for very little work.

The reason I say I WAS going to write about this, is because someone else has done it better.  In fact, has even used one of the studies I was going to cite.  It's a great look at how a little can add up to a lot.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chiropractic, Give it a Crack

Okay, actually, that's a bit of a misnomer.  While you sometimes hear a 'cracking' noise when you are being adjusted by your chiropractor, it's actually harmless.  It's gases escaping the barriers surrounding your joints.

Because of noises like this or urban legends, I know there are people actually scared of chiropractors.  Worse yet, there are other doctors who warn away from seeking such care.  The former is lack of knowledge.  The latter often has to do with lack of knowledge as well, but also selfishness - they would rather you continue to come to them or let them do surgery, rather than find relief outside of their practice.

Chiropractic medicine offers a wonderful (non-surgical) alternative for relief of not just back and neck pain, but many other maladies with which you may afflicted.  That being said, I have never met a chiropractor who discouraged surgery for those who really needed it.  These doctors just want to make every effort to assist you and lessen the possibility of going under the knife.

Let me tell you about a my recent visit to the chiropractor.  After tweaking my back from a slide on the ice, within minutes I could barely walk.  It was a subtle slide, but it pushed both of my hips out of position.  While I was at the doctor, I decided to mention that my neck had felt stiff for quite a while.  A few adjustments and some therapy later and I was walking better and seems to be half an inch taller.

In truth?  I had been so misaligned that indeed I was standing taller!  And, the adjustment also spotlighted the fact that my misalignment was blocking several key glands that help monitor and maintain stress, weight gain and other things I have been struggling with.  I would never have known if I hadn't slid on the ice.

My story is just one example.  Chiropractors tend to be holistic, so not only do they look at your joints, they also consider other issues surrounding your overall health.  You see, being misaligned can cause: bad sleeping patterns; weight gain; increased pain from diseases like fibromyalgia and crohn's disease; migraines; achy feet; even personality changes.

I am not telling you to run out tomorrow to a chiropractor.  What I am saying is that if you are looking for relief from a long-term problem, this may be an alternative to 'just living with it'.  This website can help you find some other answers and a doctor if you decide you want to try a new option for relief.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow, Here We are Again

My deepest apologies for the lack of posting.  Friday I was running 200 miles an hour, working, seeing the chiropractor for my back/neck and then getting everything done in time to meet my mom for dinner and take her to Riverdance.

That makes two times in two weeks I have had my mother alone, it was so nice.  She updated me on her work with our family genealogy.  It seems I am related to Richard Nixon, Lucille Ball and a number of other big names on my grandfather's side of the family.  Now mind you, we are probably all related in the end, but it was fun to hear of my distant cousins.

As for Riverdance, WOW.  It was amazing watching them dance without moving their upper body.  And they don't appear to sweat or breathe heavily.  I am sure they do, but they make it look so easy.  Plus, I think they must all be double jointed, the way they swing there legs with such liquidity is astounding.  I guarantee I would pass out after five minutes of attempting to dance like them, never mind surviving a whole show.  But then, they are trained athletes.

As for the weekend, I was tired.  I slept in on Saturday and still took a nap in the afternoon.  Sunday was work and dinner at mom's and errands.  As well as getting my roomie ready to head north for an extended stay.  She is up helping a family member who is ill and with the storm coming we made the call she needed to leave Sunday night, obviously we nailed that one.

Anyway, I am back in the saddle with posting.  Expect useful important things as early as this afternoon.  Stay warm!

Yours in Health,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Butt Could Use a Good Laugh

And so could the rest of me.  You have heard that laughter is the best medicine?  Well, while it won't ever surpass the polio vaccine or penicillin, it is good for you.  In fact, laughing 15 minutes throughout the day burns an average of 50 calories.  Admittedly, that's not even an Oreo, but it's not just the calories that count when it comes to a good guffaw.

Laughter helps reduce stress and decrease the offending hormones involved - cortisol, adrenaline and dopac.  This is important because cortisol is a particular problem for those trying to lose weight.  It has a long history of 'protecting' the body by building fat, especially around the midsection, in reaction to stress.  When we were living in caves, this was useful as stress was often brought on by conflict or if the weather turned and we knew that food wouldn't be as readily available.  Now, for most of us, food is everywhere and our bodies never changed their chemistry.

A good giggle not only assists in fighting the bad, it increases the good - T-cells and globulins.  These are agents that act to build and bolster our immune system.  You see, though the science is late 20th century to today, the expression, "Laughter is the best medicine", was sound a hypothesis long ago.

In the spirit of funny, I wanted to bring you a few things that could potentially make you healthier...

From Go Comics - Two of my all time favorite strips -

The American Film Institutes Top 20 Best Comedies of all time (as of 2000) - 

The poster and trailer for the new movie "Cedar Rapids" and yes, for you Iowans, it really was shot in Cedar Rapids:

So, there you are, just a few things that make me laugh.  Whatever hits your funny bone, laugh and laugh often, it's good for you.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Remainder of the Week

I got so busy today accomplishing things (hallelujah) that I have run out of time to write something useful for you. So instead, I want to preview the rest of the week:

Tomorrow - How humor can help you lose weight
Friday - The benefits of chiropractic care - and yes, it can help you lose weight
Saturday - Lose weight by fidgeting
Sunday - More comfort food - fried chicken and mashed potatoes made healthier

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Inspiration

I love a good story, heck we all do, about people who have been there and done that, when it comes to what you want to do.  Today's story caught my eye because of the 'after' picture.  She really looks like she could kick your ass.  Then I read her story - and she can.  LOL.

Sweta's story is on the Women's Health Magazine website, but I wanted to share her before and after picture here, so you could get the idea.  Not only has she lost 95 pounds, but she has gained confidence and has a real respect for herself, you can tell just by looking at her.

That's one of the biggest things we're all looking for as we try to lose weight - respect.  Sometimes from others, because we are so often written off for being fat.  But mostly from ourselves.  We lost our way when it comes to self-appreciation and self-control, that has added up to many an internal insult and a constant boxing match of conflicting emotion.

This is a reminder to stop beating yourself up and instead turn the aggression outward to beat the real problem.

Yours in Health,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comfort Food

It turned off sunny today, which is awesome.  In fact, the weather looks pretty good, right up until the weekend when it's going to get ugly cold.  Perfect, time for comfort food.

I know what you are thinking - comfort = unthinkable amount of calories.  True, though there are healthier ways to get that warmth in your stomach and smile on your face.  I dug around for a recipe that was healthier and still takes you to a 'happy place' for the ultimate comfort food - macaroni and cheese.

Honestly, mac n' cheese is a calorie bomb, but it can be better.  This recipe from a cooking blog, Gina's Skinny Recipes, that I had never been to before, does just that.  I plan to look deeper, I have a feeling I found a new favorite site.

So, enjoy your comfort cold when it gets below zero again this weekend.  And remember a side of broccoli or a big salad make great fillers.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Post with No Name

Today and today were those random days where a lot happened...

The day started after a not great night's sleep thanks to Sheldon the kitten.  His kittenhood will be the one I will not miss when it's over.  The other 'kids' were much easier, although Lori the roomie would argue that Mischa was worse.  You see Sheldon has decided that anything on my nightstand should be on the floor after dark.  So every night he comes in and knocks things off, one at a time, if it rolls he will chase it.  If it doesn't, he moves on to the next thing.  If it finally wakes me up (always) he jumps in bed, wants a cuddle and then tries to draw blood when I start to nod off and the petting slows.  Good thing he's cute. ;)

Once up, it was on to a meeting with readers of !ntuition Magazine.  Enjoyed hearing their feedback, good and bad.  We can't be better without constructive criticism.  Thanks to those ladies for sharing their Saturday morning!

I went to grab a healthy lunch - veggies with tofu at the new Thai restaurant in East Village.  It's called 'Taste of Thai' and one star is plenty spicy for me.

Then on to an adventure trying to rent "Despicable Me" - 6 Redboxes and a Blockbuster kiosk later, I went and bought it.  It's a really wonderful movie and I will watch it enough to justify the purchase.  I took it over to my dad and step-mom's and we watched it.  I had a small bowl of popcorn with a few M&M's - don't mock me, it was today's treat. :)  My brother Gordon came down when we were about to start the movie and he was sick, he went back upstairs to lay down - this is important for later in the post.

After the movie I was suddenly incredibly tired.  I was supposed to go to the Iowa Energy game, but I realized if I didn't get a good night's sleep, I would be useless in the morning.  I went home, ate some soup and curled up to finish a book.  Then I grabbed another book and headed upstairs.  I have a new sleep regimen I will tell you about next week - it's all part of being a healthier person.

Well, I was just about to nod off and my mom called.  It's 9:45 p.m., mom doesn't call that late unless there is a problem.  My father had taken Gordon to the hospital.  Mom said I didn't need to go to the emergency room and said she would update me.  I sat in bed groggy, but with a growing ache in my stomach and a rise in adrenaline.  There was no way, no matter how tired I was, that I would be able to sleep with Gordon at Lutheran.  So, I threw on clothes and headed out.

A couple of hours later they had run tests - blood, cat scan, etc.  They still don't know.  But they sent him home with pain meds, anti-nauseau stuff and an antibiotic.  Hopefully he's sleeping right now.  Gordon doesn't get sick, so it freaked me out.

Now, I am at work because I couldn't sleep.  I am doing a few things and then I will go home after while.

I know this was the most useless post, but I needed to write it out.  So, this is the Saturday/Sunday post and tomorrow (Monday), will be a new recipe - with the lovely cold weather and snow, we will find healthier comfort food.

Yours in Health,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Finally Friday

Sorry no post yesterday.  I was on a mad dash to get everything done and then go meet my mom.  I never get to spend time alone with her, so it was great.  Pedicures and dinner - awesome!

Today isn't much better, I am rolling out the door go do a remote broadcast at Cellular Advantage.  We are giving away tickets to the Chicago-Green Bay play-off game this weekend.  It will be epic.

So, I am going to chug down my remaining green tea and head out.  Have a good weekend!

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something's Fishy and That's Good for You

Fish is one of those foods that one minute you hear, "It's fantastic for you" and five minutes later hear, "Oh, but it can make you sick".  Oddly both are true.

Fish is fantastic for you, as you can see here in a summary from the American Heart Association: "Fish is a good source of protein and, unlike fatty meat products, it’s not high in saturated fat. Fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death.  Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly)."

Nice huh?  Then of course there is the other side which mainly comes from the amount of damage that humans have done to the eco-system.  Between oil spills, toxic dumping and other garbage disposal, the world waters aren't as clean as they once were.  The biggest concern is mercury.  This toxin can really build up in predatory sea creatures such as sharks and sword fish, mainly because they eat smaller fish who have been tainted on a smaller scale by mercury and it builds up in the system.

Pregnant women and children are most at risk for these side effects, so you should check with your doctor.  But the benefits greatly outweigh the concerns if you are middle age or older (male and female) or a heart patient.  There are three keys to minimizing your chance of over-exposure: choose non-predatory fish - canned light tuna (in water), salmon, pollock and catfish are some;  mix-up your fish choices, if you really want to eat swordfish, make it a treat, not every week; eat fish just 2-3 times a week, studies show that's enough to help create the positive reactions you want in your body and limit your chance of a mercury build-up.

Now, all of that being said, fish scares people.  I don't just mean sharks and ugly bullheads.  I mean preparing fish throws people off, especially in land locked Iowa.  We didn't grow up having the ocean within reach and many of us grew up with little knowledge of fish if it didn't come in a can or from the local lake.  Plus, we tend to wrongly believe fish is bland, it's often been thrown on our plate poached or fish-sticked, there is so much more.

Better Homes and Gardens has done a wonderful job of answering your fish handling questions.  From telling if fish is fresh to cleaning shrimp, it's all in one place.  Plus, they have a full site with recipes that will help fish be anything but broiled, tasteless and boring.  The picture to the left is tasty 'Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon', um, yum.

The case for fish and yesterday's topic, tea, has been being made for a few years now by scientists studying life expectancies.  Every time they looked around the world to see who was living the longest, Japan came to the head of the class.  While there are a few 'micro-countries', like Monaco that are a bit longer, Japan is the only major country in the top 5.

Researchers have determined that the Japanese diet, which is high in fish and tea, is the key to their longevity. U.S. life expectancy - 78.4 years (when averaged between men and women) is 49th worldwide; Japan's expectancy is 82.17.  That's nearly four years difference and with equal medical advances available in both countries, diet really is key.  Well, that and the Japanese deal with stress differently than we do, but that's for another blog.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions about fish.  It really is a great diet staple, especially when you are trying to lose weight - you see it is also lower in calories.  :)

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cup of Tea?

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Starbucks.  In fact, I was given 4 gift cards from the 'Yum from Seattle' for Christmas.  I often get oatmeal for breakfast, sometimes a low-fat breakfast sandwich for lunch and a dose of non-fat latte after a hard workout.  Well, welcome to 2011.

I still want my Starbucks, it's just a little different now.  I started slowly decreasing my caffeine intake when I ended up in the hospital in November.  They were trying to figure things out and caffeine briefly was brought up. Taking no chances (and after 36 hours without caffeine in the hospital), I decided to slow down what I drank.  I won't go through the steps I took to ween off, but suffice it to say, I am down to less than one cup of actual coffee a day.

Instead, I am enjoying tea.  I have been drinking a cup or two a day.  That cuts my caffeine intake substantially, but actually keeps me steady.  Plus, tea is actually good for you.  Here is a link from the Republic of Tea that hits on some of them.  And the picture on this blog is a new tea from them that is decadent in sound, but healthy in reality.

The brief is: tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids.  It has been connected with overall better health, better sleep, helping fight cancer and even obesity.  It is a good substitute for your morning wake-up needs.  So, as the British say, "Have a cuppa" and enjoy better health.

Yours in Health,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beginning of the Week Inspiration

I had a good food weekend, until I got to my mother's yesterday.  LOL.  Fried chicken, homemade mac and cheese and homemade butterscotch pudding.  My mother really does want to be Paula Deen when she grows up.  Well, it was damn tasty.  This morning however, back to the healthier options.  ;)

And sometimes, to make sure I get back on track, I forage for inspiration.  It gives me the assurance that being a healthier person is worth not eating junk every day.  I thought maybe you had a similar weekend, so here we go with some beginning of the week inspiration.

The story comes from Fitness Magazine.  This woman was moved to exercise because of her 9-year old daughter.  I also chose her because she admits to being a cheese addict and I can WAY relate.

Yours in Health,

Friday, January 14, 2011

January/ February !ntuition Magazine on Shelves Now

My latest baby has been born.  Or at least that's what it feels like each time !ntuition lands at newsstands for you to enjoy.  Each issue is handcrafted, sweated over and given much love.  I hope that's what you feel when you pick it up.

As always a reminder, they go fast, so grab yours while you can.  Here's a link to our website, so you can find a place to pick it up.  And the cover you are looking for.  Aren't these two sweet?  I was ready to stay, they were both a lot of fun.  Of course, once again, Paige Peterson did a great job on the photography.

This is our First Anniversary Issue!  My column issue is about taking hold of 2011 by the collar and making it mine.  You will find other great articles that should help you do the same.

Next up: 'Feedback and a Snack', a meeting with a few readers in Des Moines to look at what the future holds for the magazine.  If you are just dying to be there next Saturday, because you are an avid reader of !ntuition, hit me with a message and I will hook you up.  Just a note:  I have limited room.  :)

Yours in Health,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Looong Thursday

I apologize.  It has been a long day of meetings and I am not feeling well.  I know it will pass, but I just want to go home and curl up with the cats.  So no blog tonight.  Maybe you can catch up on others. ;)

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Soup's On

It's cold.  It's Iowa in January, but still, we're going for a low of 1-below tonight and a wind chill around 10-below, awesome.  That has led my household to seek the warm solace of a great bowl of soup.

Lori, the roomie, is really into this book by Anna Thomas called "Love Soup".  I love soup too, so Anna and I would get along famously!  The greatest thing about soup is that it's one of the easiest dishes to make your own.  Admittedly if you skip something here or tweak something there, you won't get the chef's exact intentions in your pot, but who cares if you like it.

Earlier this week we had Cauliflower Bisque, the link to this recipe mentions "Buttered Breadcrumbs", I didn't get those, but then again, Lori is trying to support my healthier habits.  It really was tasty and surprisingly mild, cauliflower can sometimes have more bite than you would like.  One tip:  we made it with cream cheese, when we do it next time it's going to be goat cheese.  (And then it will be perfect.)

So, I challenge you to go out find a soup that suits you.  There are so many wonderful low-fat or low-calorie soups to be had.  From chili to chowder and everything in between, you can keep warm and be satisfied this winter.  The bonus:  Most recipes make a ton, so you have lunch or dinner for most of the week.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow, You Want to Know, "How Many Calories do I Burn Shoveling?

I shoveled last night.  I haven't done that since winter of 2008 because my knee was so messed up.  So, big "shout out" to the gang at the YMCA Healthy Living Center and Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center for getting me healthy enough to shovel.  (Did I really just thank someone for that?  ;)  )

I actually enjoyed it, though it did wear me out, especially after the upper body workout I did with Gwyn yesterday.  But there was something so pure and enticing about pushing the snow away as more fell.  With the exception of my heavy breathing, it was actually peaceful.

My efforts on the driveway (which were wiped out by the continuing snow), reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago about shoveling.  You see - it's exercise.  It's a combination of cardio and weights.  You get your heart rate up trying to move along quickly and with the weight of moving the snow.

Just one reminder, you hear stories of people having heart attacks after shoveling, so take your time.  It's okay to stop and rest.  As with any other exercise, stay hydrated.  And above all - if you haven't been cleared to go to the gym - shoveling is a NO for you.

All of that being said, I wanted to repost the calorie burn for shoveling.  Like every form of exercise, the number of calories burned depends on what you weigh, how long you do it and how much muscle you have.  Here are three different weight levels, all based on one hour of shoveling (not accounting for the possibility of higher than average muscle mass):

150 pounds - 408 calories
200 pounds - 544 calories
250 pounds - 680 calories

Not bad eh?  If you have already done a workout for the day it's kind of like doing '2-a-days'.  (A term usually reserved for hard core athletes and high school football teams.)  If you have higher muscle mass, as I did at one time, you will burn a slightly higher percentage.  Just one of the many benefits of lifting weights.  

Brenton Skating Plaza
by Chris Chandler
I also wanted to include some other winter activities, since the City of Des Moines announced the sledding hills are open and Brenton Skating Plaza beckons.  These are all based on a 150 pound person:

General ice skating - 476 calories per hour
Skiing downhill light effort - 340 calories per hour
Cross Country skiing light effort - 476 calories per hour
Sledding - 476 calories per hour
Snowshoeing - 544 calories per hour

Hopefully this helps you feel even more fulfilled after clearing your sidewalks.  Besides, your letter carrier appreciates it.  :)

Yours in Health,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Good Workout

FB Friend Dave Corbett's Shot
from last winter - any excuse
to promote Dave's talent!
As I watched the snow fall this morning I fought the temptation to skip the gym.  I went and it was hard, but it was worth it.  Gwyn had me do a number of things that now have my shoulders almost unwilling to work.  Oh and my ribs hurt from some of the ab work.  But I learned a lesson.

That lesson is, snowy days don't seem so hard when you are hot coming out of the gym. :)  No really.  The rest of my day felt like it flew along and I was able to get a few things done.  If I hadn't gone?  Well, I forgot my super-healthy lunch at home this morning, so I probably would have split the pizza that always gets ordered in on days like today.  Instead I grabbed a healthy sandwich and some milk on the way back.

Tomorrow, even snowier.  I plan to go to the gym, it's pool day!  Unless we get more than expected and I have to stay at work or Gwyn can't get to the YMCA Healthy Living Center, I will be there.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Putting Pen to Paper

We're over a week into the new year.  How are things going?  Is it easier than you thought or did you binge yesterday on sugar and fat?  Are you hitting the gym or has the cold weather sapped your energy?  Do you feel you have a strong plan or are things falling apart at the seams?  If you are stumbling, it's time to write it down.

There is something more real, more concrete, about things in writing.  It doesn't have to be fancy, no new journal needed, it just has to be kept.  This won't be disposable, not until you are done.  So the back of an old envelope probably isn't going to cut it.  But a simple piece of notebook paper from the kids will.

This scrawling will help keep you on track and is something you can look back on frequently.  Keep it in a place of importance, it will be a mental reminder that YOU are a priority for yourself now. 

Now it's time to figure out your personal style.  What has and hasn't worked for you in the past?  Taking these things into account is very important.  If it hasn't worked in the past, it won't work this time either.

Here are a few ideas:

Keep it simple.  Write down your goal weight, then write down month to month what you plan to lose.  And finally a goal date.

Make a list.  Step by step, how you plan to make your healthy lifestyle successful.  Your overall exercise and eating plan would fit nicely here.

Go visual.  Use pictures to motivate you - what your rewards will be for successes, what you want to look like when you are done or a warm body that makes you want to workout.

Gerard Butler, my warm body
Scotland, my reward
A smaller me
Do it every week.  Instead of laying out a year or 18 months, some people need to focus on now.  Pick a day of the week and use it to map the week to come, each week.

Put it on the wall.  Often it helps if you see your goal every day.  A lot of people put it on their refrigerator, that can be a bit daunting.  But you can put it somewhere else you look at least two or three times a day.

Journal it.  This is a daily look at what you plan to do.  It can be on paper or maybe it's filling out your food journal in advance of the day, making it more likely you will stay on task.

Blog it.  Obviously I do this.  It's a chance to not only put goals out there, but connect with other people on a similar journey.

Hopefully one of those work for you.  Of course, that's just a smattering of ideas.  There are many other ways to chart your course to success.  Whatever you choose, I know you will succeed.

Yours in Health,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fun Food

Eating healthy can seem very stodgy and tasteless, but it doesn't have to be at all.  Today is Friday (thank goodness) and it's time to embrace the weekend and have some fun.  One little problem, 'fun food' makes people think, 'naughty'.  Well, it can be.  If I had a dollar for every time I gave into the idea that the weekend meant 'full fat' I would have a lot of dollars. However, since no one ever actually pays for these types of things, I have the pounds as proof.  

I have been craving a burger big time and we know how calorie laden those can be.  So, I went to the Iowa Turkey Federation site and pulled up the part of their cookbook that covers sandwiches, including eight ways to do burgers.  YUM!

Greek Burger
I was just reading that you can save an average of 100 calories per meal by replacing other meats with turkey!  If you eat meat at most meals, add that up.  Even substituting in just one meal a day, you could lose almost a pound in a month without changing your eating habits in any other way.  Wow.

I am a big turkey fan because when the breast is ground it's just as flexible as beef.  We've had it all - burgers, meatballs, sloppy toms - it all seems naughty, but make it with turkey and it gets better for you.

Enjoy your food and the weekend - you deserve it!

Yours in Health,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inspiration for the Beginning of Your Journey

The first inspirational story of 2011 comes in the form of an update - it's Dave Williams.  I posted here about his amazing weight loss journey in October.  Well, that video was a bit old, but I really loved his story.

Now Channel 13 has done an update on Dave and he has lost 30 more pounds since the video was made!  Here is a link to their story.   It's so fantastic to see he not only lost weight, but he is keeping it off.

So, if you have been staring at the scale and brooding, this is proof it can be done.  Let it inspire you!

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Busy + Stressed = Junk Food, But Don't Give Up

Today has been one of those days where I had to do my job and the work of others.  Now, I am sitting at work at eight o'clock at night again, trying to finish my own.  Strike that, trying to just put band-aids on things until tomorrow, when I can finish.

All of this has led me to stress eat.  I ordered Chinese delivered this afternoon as I saw everything unraveling.  I knew I would be here late again and I justified it that way.  Team that with the fact that being so busy left me no time for my workout with Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center and I am unhappy.

And just now?  I took a deep breath, sighed and let it go.  That's what you have to do on the days when 'it' doesn't go the way it should.  'It' being the healthy plan you have carved out for yourself.

We have to let it go, because to be honest, we are too busy not to.  If we don't just mark today off and reaffirm our commitment for tomorrow, we will be lost in a downward spiral.  One meal of junk food can easily lead to the mindset that, "Well, I ate that, I might as well eat this...".  That's how we have gained and lost and gained and lost a thousand times.  We weigh ourselves down with regrets.

So, the next time you have a day like mine, let it wash away.  It's just one day, one meal, one workout; it is not how you are going to live.  No, YOU are going to live healthy, don't give up!

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mom Delivers Her Own Baby In Pickup

This is not what I normally blog about, but I love this story.  It's a good example of the power of a woman.

Heather Bell was in labor with her fourth child on New Year's Eve, so she and her boyfriend headed for the hospital.  The contractions were 7 minutes apart, so they would be there just in time.  But the baby had other ideas.  One huge contraction later and Heather knew he was coming.

She pushed and he came right out.  Heather caught him in her hands in the front seat of the truck as it whizzed down the highway.  She wiped his little face and he started crying.  A few minutes later they met paramedics outside of Story County Medical Center.  Mother and baby received initial treatment and then took an ambulance ride to Mary Greeley where they are both doing just fine.

The baby is Nico Dodge, he had a different middle name until he was born in the family pick-up.  He weighs in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce and is expected to be released soon.  See the full story here.

And that's the power of a woman.  Heather didn't panic, she just dealt with what life was giving her.  In the end, delivering her own baby - pretty impressive way to start the New Year.

Yours in Health,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Which Weight Loss Program Do I Choose?

It's a question I get a lot.  Personally, I like the exercise/eat better thing, hence my involvement with the YMCA Healthy Living Center and Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center.  But I also know that everyone has their personal demons, food preferences and health issues, so I say choose what works for you - but choose wisely.

Rather than telling you what to choose, I want to point out a few things to avoid:

An Empty Promise:  "You will lose weight overnight", "Be 20 pounds slimmer in 30 days", "Eat nothing but ice cream and lose weight", "Two grapefruits and a sensible dinner strips away fat", etc.  We've all done it, I have.  We are so desperate to be slimmer, healthier, be able to breathe, we want to believe the lies.  Gimmicks don't work.

The Truth:  ALL weight loss = calories out are greater than calories in. So, yes, if you are cutting your food intake dramatically (which all of the above require) you will initially lose weight.  But you will also gain it back because none of those fads teach you what you really need to know - how to eat sensibly for the rest of your life, not just for the four weeks you suffer through endless grapefruit.

The Magic Pill:  "Pop this pill and drop 50 pounds in 3 months", "This pill will give you energy without being jittery", "Lose weight and eat all you want", etc.  The manufacturers change, the promise stays the same - "Our researchers have found a secret that has been kept from the world..."  And for that first time when you hear the commercial, walk past the supplement store or see the magazine ad, you entertain this idea.  Especially in America where we want everything yesterday.

The Truth:  (And you already know it.)  There is NO "Magic Pill".  If there was, no low-grade pharmaceutical company in Southern California would have discovered it, nor would it be some 'secret'.  If there was really a pill out there that could help you lose weight, without eating right and exercising, without ruining your health - WE would know.  That's right the obese amongst us would be forming lines.  Heck, those who need to drop 20 pounds would be in line!  The demand for the pill would make Viagra look like aspirin.

A Machine That Does the Work FOR You:  "You barely move and your abs tighten", "Just hold the weights and they work your muscles", "Stand in one place and the machine will shake the weight off", etc.  Sadly I am not making those up.  The ads bewitch you with men and women that rock six-pack abs, they draw you in with stories from 'real people who have had real results' using this machine.  They may even bring in a 'doctor' who will share how your body reacts to this moving and shaking and how that will slim away that belly fat.

The Truth:  If a machine works, it is unlikely it will be introduced on an infomercial by a B-level movie actor.  More likely you will discover it on a visit to the gym.  That's where real fitness experts have tried the machines, looked at research and talked to other facilities that have it.  The result is - they only invest in equipment that will really make an impact on the size of your butt.  Before the equipment ever makes the cut, they know whether people will stick with it - the best sign of a good investment and ultimately gyms are a business.

DVDs and Books:  Everyone seems to be an 'expert' on weight loss.  They lost weight with a guru and want to share.  They have a reality show and everyone likes their muscles.  They once looked at a package of Oreos and were able to resist.  They must all have the answer.

The Truth:  This one is a split decision, there are good and bad DVDs and books.  There are also good and bad reasons to use them.  A DVD created by a real trainer, rather than a super model, can be a great ice breaker for people shy about going to the gym because of weight.  It's a chance to get sure on your feet before you workout in front of people.  With books, again, actual experts are the key - Dr. Oz, good; your favorite sitcom star, nope.  I am a big believer in educating yourself every day about healthier choices and lifestyle tweaks you can make.  Good books and magazines are great tools for that empowerment.

What should you choose?  I won't choose for you.  I will tell you the ultimate keys to your success - have your head in the game, pick the right team and don't give up.  I'll cover those three as the week proceeds.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 is Here - Let's Talk

It's a new year, thank goodness.  2010 was a year of health issues for me and I am praying 2011 will be health-drama free. Especially because I have plans for a better and brighter year.  I plan to follow through on long dormant projects and work harder to become a healthier me as well.

I am sure you have similar plans.  So here is my reminder to you - we are in this together.  I am not some woman on a blog-island, I am out there every day trying to get it done, just like you and would love to hear from you.  I want to know your goals, your successes, your failures and how you pick up again and keep going.

Communicating these things can be a great help for a couple of reasons - it gets it off your chest, so you can move on AND when you put it in writing, you have a better understanding of what happened.  Therefore, I highly encourage you to share this year.

Here's to a great New Year!

Yours in Health,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

That is all.  Enjoy your bowl games and snacks!

Yours in Health,