Wednesday, July 28

Make Eating Out a Good Choice

As healthy as it would be to eat every single meal handmade, it’s not super realistic with many of our busy lives. When you’re eating out, the best policy is simply to try to follow the same rules you would follow if you were making your meal yourself (a good amount of protein paired with balanced carbs and heart healthy fats).

But restaurants don’t exactly make it easy on us! Many chain restaurants offer the calorie count for their dishes, but usually no other nutritional information (if you’re wondering where most of the calories come from, it’s always fat). But even chain restaurants make this information difficult to find.

Here’s the rundown of a few restaurants I’ve found (and how I eat at them):

· Subway – For many of us, this is the first place we think of when we’re hungry but need to eat out. Here’s the trick: order double meat and rip the bottom half off your bread. Subway makes it easy to get the nutritional information for their sandwiches. If you actually look at it, holy carb overload Batman! You literally cut the calories of a sandwich in half (and significantly limit your carb intake) if you only eat half the bread.

· Applebees – With decent section of their menu approved by Weight Watchers, Applebees is a decent choice if you have to eat out. Here’s the trick: no butter, get the dressing on the side and easy on the cheese. These dishes are lower on the calories for a restaurant, but they can be off balance by the amount of fat in them (and we’re not talking heart healthy fats).

· Cheesecake Factory – Ok, after you pick your jaw up off the floor, the Cheesecake Factory only made it on my list because of ONE dish: the Thai Lettuce Wraps. I’m warning you—if you eat this entire dish, unmodified, you will be consuming over 1000 calories! Here’s the trick: skip the coconut curry noodles and ask for plain chicken breast. As long as you’re being smart with the side sauces, you can get away with a meal at the Cheesecake Factory for less than 500 calories. And you get the pleasure of watching your friends get fatter!

As long as you’re paying attention to your rules, you can often find a way to make bad options better. Get a salad with dressing on the side and no cheese. Get fajitas and ask for extra meat and veggies. Get chicken soup and order extra chicken breast. Get chicken teriyaki but only eat a very small bit of rice and all the salad (you know you usually don’t eat the salad!).

If you’re going to eat out, make it a good choice!

Monday, July 26

A Change in Perspective

I was recently featured in the ProClub’s ProPulse Magazine as their 20/20 LifeStyles success story, and I wanted to share with you:

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I remember sitting in my junior high health class and finding myself on the BMI (body mass index) chart. While it categorized me in the “obesity” range, I was active and without any health issues. So I decided that no matter what anyone told me, I was fine and my weight was just part of who I was.

While we ate a healthy diet at home, we kept a “clean your plate” philosophy. I’ve always struggle with portion control. As I became more independent and moved away from home, I began to stray away from the healthy diet and indulge in whatever food I felt like. Instant gratification tuned food into an addiction. On top of this, I worked in a completely sedentary job, enjoyed sedentary hobbies, and abhorred any kind of exercise. Before I knew it, I was 268 pounds and still telling myself I was fine.

When I began the 20/20 LifeStyles program, I convinced myself that I probably wouldn’t lose much weight. My real motivation for doing the program was to get healthy. However, I’m a competitive person. As I started losing weight and became more fit and toned, I was thrilled by what I was able to accomplish. I found so much joy in simply jogging. I was ecstatic when I did my first “manly” pushups. It was so motivating to realize that I could take the martial arts class I’d always dreamed of, or beat my little brother in a sprint.

While my blood pressure dropped 10 points, along with my bad cholesterol, the most impressive changes weren’t recorded. I could walk up the stairs in my house and not be out of breath. I could hold my friend’s baby for more than 10 minutes and not have a sore arm the next day. I could sit in a small armchair that I’d never been able to fit into before.

With the help of 20/20 LifeStyles, I changed the way I thought about food, exercise, and health. It changed my perspective as I began to see that the changes I was making during the program had become part of my “normal life.” My old lifestyle (and self image) had become an exception to my new self.

Recently, a friend asked me, “What do you think now when you look at people who are overweight?” It’s this – they have no idea what life could be like! Their dreams of running a marathon? They could do it! That dream of going rock climbing can happen. You can do anything you dream of, but you have to be realistic about how you get there. It’s not going to happen overnight and the journey won’t be easy. But once you start seeing those dreams as achievable, it’s worth all the work and sweat.

Article – Page 1

Article – Page 2

Thursday, July 22

Pump It Up!

In recovering from my previously mentioned surgery, I lost some serious muscle mass. I used to have thighs of steel (they were seriously dreamy), but my thighs and other cute body parts were getting pretty flabby by the time I made it back to the gym.

I'm normally a BODY ATTACK kind of girl, but I decided to try out BODY PUMP at Gold’s. It’s an hour long strength training class (and it’s my new addiction). I think some serious strength training has helped me get back into the game much faster than I might have with it. It only took me about a week or two to get back to my regular work out, and I think it’ll only be another week or so before I’m pushing myself as hard as I used to.

Strength training in general is pretty important to your regular workout. This nifty article from the Mayo Clinic goes into depth on the importance of strength training, but here are my favorite reasons:

· Fight Osteoporosis – Your bones are densest where your muscles attach to the bone. When you regularly stress your muscles (and therefore stress your bones), your body adds density to your bones where you need it most. What does this mean? Women with nice strong guns also have nice strong bones.

· Weight Control – This one everyone probably already knows (but doesn’t do anything about). The more muscle your body has, the more efficiently it burns calories.

Strength training reduces your risk to injuries, gives you stamina, produces a fantastic looking butt, as well as other benefits. So grab a 5-pounder and start pumping some iron today! Or, find a BODY PUMP class near you.

Wednesday, July 21

Back in the Saddle!

I recently had a bit of minor surgery (thus my short vacation from the blog) which prevented me from working out for four and a half weeks. A month of no exercise! Not even any walking! I have to say, going into surgery I was really worried that I would slid back into my old habits. I was afraid that all the exercise and eating right were just a temporary change in my life, that maybe I had fooled myself into thinking it was permanent change.

But, despite my fears, I planned to succeed! Before surgery, I met with my dietician to discuss the kind of foods I would need (apparently protein is very important when healing from surgery) and the kind of calorie range I should aim for while recovering. I went grocery shopping the day before my surgery and made sure I had plenty of fruits, veggies and protein options around the house.

Now, I’ll be truthful with you—much of my planning went out the window. I’m pretty sure I had pizza for dinner every night during my second week of recovery. I discovered that without my entire routine, many of my habits fell to the wayside. I found it weird that I was more motivated to go to the gym if I was eating right and motivated to eat right if I went to the gym (as well as more motivated to maintain the blog).

But around week three or four, I started having dreams that I was going for a run. I was miserable during my evenings just missing the gym. I began to feel more confident that the changes I’ve made in my life were going to be life-long!

I’m back to the gym full swing now! I have a couple pounds to get off (consequences from a few of my choices during recovery), but I’m not worried about them! I’ve done this before, and I can do it again. There’s nothing I can’t do.

Well, except for 10 manly push-ups in a row. But I’m working on that.


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