You’ve heard it time and time again how vital exercise is to maintaining health. So, the question remains, why are so many of us not still not getting the recommended 30-60 minutes a day of exercise? Here’s a refresher course on what a good sweat can do.
We do it when we’re stressed, upset, depressed, or straight bored: Eat, munch, nosh, and “inhale” the wrong foods. Often, it’s the taste of something sweet, salty, rich or creamy that gives us a short-term escape from whatever we’re going through. These moments don’t last long, do they? We comfort ourselves, feel bad about it, then move on. But it’s these phases that can add up to long-term weight problems. Let’s work on getting that control back. Start here:
What does your pantry say about the way you eat? If your goal is to make smarter food choices in 2015, it might be time for a kitchen overhaul! Check out these 5 “clean sweep” kitchen tips to really get your healthy eating goals in motion:
1. Toss the prepared foods from your freezer and pantry: Check the label of your favorite frozen meals and you’ll find that some are high in calories, fat and sodium! If you’re really trying to eat clean this new year, you’ll want to minimize, if not eliminate, your consumption of these products. Now, we get it – sometimes you’re just looking for a quick weeknight meal to prepare. Why not try meal planning for the week! You’ll save time, money, and added inches to your waistline.
2. Say bye-bye to the cookies, cakes and pies, oh my!: Eating healthy requires discipline and let’s face it, some of us have more than others. How many times have you opened your pantry looking for something to snack on and grabbed the first thing you saw? And if we’re really being honest, the first thing we saw was actually the healthy pack of almonds but we opted for the Oreos instead. I’ll admit that I have. Toss ’em! Baked goods are high in empty calories and low in the nutrients your body needs; they’re also high in fat. I stopped keeping baked goods and potato chips in the house and guess what happened? Not only did I want them less over time, my son also stopped asking, “Mom, can I get a cookie?” Instead, he started grabbing the grapes, or string cheese that he saw in the fridge when he wanted something to snack on.
3. Get rid of soda, juice and artificial sweeteners: Have you checked the calorie count in one can of soda? Drink two of those bad boys and you will have consumed the calories contained in one nutritious breakfast – and you’ll still be hungry afterwards. Sodas and juices are high in sugar, which if not eliminated, is stored in your body as fat. And no artificial sweeteners! They’ve been linked to cancer and other illnesses. If you’re looking for something sweet and refreshing, try adding fruit to your purified water. Want some bubbles? Use carbonated water.
4. Make room for more olive oil!: Olive oil is rich in Omega 3 which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of women. With its versatility, olive oil can be used in salads, marinades, and for cooking foods over low-medium heat. Want to know what else it’s good for? Hair! So grab a bottle, or 2, or 3 the next time you’re in the grocery store.
5. Toodles to white flour, breads, pasta and creams: Gasp! For some of our readers, those products probably make up a huge portion of your weekly meals, but if you’re trying to lose weight, improve your health, and eat clean, you’ll want to kick these bad carbs to the curb. So what’s the replacement? Wheat flour is an awesome substitute for white flour and no one will ever taste the difference. Next time you’re making a sandwich, try using lettuce and make it a wrap. Craving pasta but don’t want the extra calories? Purchase a spiralizer from Amazon and grab your favorite veggie! And what about the creams? Low-fat milk and almond milk are great substitutes.
Want more ideas on keeping your kitchen clean? Check out our pick for the 9 Must Have Healthy Foods to stock in your pantry and fridge.
When I want a good sweat, I prefer to get away (escape!) from the house and be in my own element where it’s about me and no one else. I’ll take my gym or the outdoors any day. But I decided this weekend that I seriously need to carve out a workout space at home. I admit it. I’m hating these cold, early mornings on the East Coast, and my ideal workout time happens to be the coldest part of the day — before sunrise. So folks, here was my challenge:
This is our den, but really, it belongs to my 3-year-old son. Can you tell? Now, one of my goals this year is to furnish this room with cutesy, clutter-control storage units. Something you might see in Better Homes & Garden. OK, maybe an IKEA catalog. But until then, I had to come up with a way to share this space with my Muffin and his zillion cars and trucks. Here’s my thought:
On the mornings when the weather might too yucky for a run or a trip to the gym, I’ll encourage my son to help me move all of his toys out of there the night before. Make it fun, a game, even. I figure, at his age, kids like to help. And boys, especially, don’t need a reason to drive their toy vehicles from one spot to another. I gave it a try, and…
Now, this I can manage! That toy chest is sturdy enough to use for triceps dips, and just the right height for split lunges. And, if need be, I can move it since it slides pretty easily. My neighbor below us probably wouldn’t appreciate my jump squats at 4:30 am. However, core work, low-impact bodyweight exercises, and strength training are all doable and won’t wake a soul.
Moral of this story: Eliminate any and all excuses. Oh, and for the Muffin: Sharing is fun!
Baking? Moi? Who do I think I am? Well, check this out!
Brace your core for these challenging stability ball exercises
For many, simply balancing yourself on a stability ball is half the battle. We get it. But once you’ve mastered that and other basic ball moves, it’s time to challenge yourself all over again. Try these five:
1. Single-Leg Bridge
How to do it: Start by performing a bridge on a ball. Straighten one leg, then lift it until it’s pointed toward the ceiling. Lower leg and repeat for 10 reps. Wait, you’re not done. Complete 10 reps on the other leg!