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I know, you’re busy. I’m busy, too. Everyone is. Busy, stressed and tired.

For most, their exercise routine is just another cause of stress- one more thing you have to fit into your schedule, one more thing fighting for your time, one more thing you are too exhausted to do, and one more thing that makes you feel guilty when you push it off in favor of some downtime.

These would all seem like good excuses to skip exercise, if any of them were true. Poor exercise, it gets such a bad rap. If this sounds like you, you need to switch your thinking. Exercise is your CURE for stress. A good workout stimulates your beta-endorphins (which are 30 times more powerful than morphine) giving you more energy and helps you burn off that extra tension and anxiety- the perfect mix to nix stress.

The best workouts for eliminating stress?

Boxing. Sure, you get to beat the crap out of something, but you also get a great cardio, upper body and core workout. Punch away.

Aerobic Exercise. Working in repetitive motion, clearing your mind while pushing your body as hard as it will go is better for lowering stress than any prescription out there.

Sports. Playing basketball or volleyball with a few friends is not only a great workout, it’s a great stress reliever. Fresh air, blasting fat and fun with friends- it doesn’t get much better than that.

Yoga. For a slower, calming (yet, still effective) mind clearing workout, give your body and mind a good stretch with a long yoga session.

Don’t stress about stress- use it to your advantage. Use your anxiety and pent up energy to push yourself further than you thought you ever could, and end up feeling better than ever afterward.

Most people own a bathroom scale, and if you are trying to lose weight, you are probably pretty familiar with yours.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to measure your weight loss progress, and while it may not be 100% accurate all the time, it’s a good gague of how you are doing.

All too often, however, people let the scale rule their lives.  They let it dictate how they are going to feel about themselves that day, their motivation level and their mood.  If this sounds like you, here are 3 ways to break the scale’s hold over you, without throwing it out the window.

  1. Remember what the number on the scale really means.  The scale will tell you how much weigh at that exact moment, but it doesn’t tell you how hard you’ve been working, what kind of person you are or how you should feel about yourself.  If the number on your scale means all those things to you, you need to reevaluate your expectations- because no amount of weight gained or lost should decide how much you are worth. 
  2. Make it work for you.  Is that number not what you expected?  That’s your clue that you did something different and it’s not working for you.  More often than not, you’ll know what did it (pizza after work yesterday, or skipping the gym a few too many times last week) but a change on the scale is a clear sign of what your change of routine wasn’t a good idea.  Next time you are faced with the same scale changing temptation, you know what will happen next weigh in, and hopefully decide to pass.
  3. Remember that you are in charge of the scale, not the other way around.  You can through that scale right out the window if you want.  You choose when to weigh in and how often.  It’s not your judge, it’s a hunk of plastic and metal.  If you had a splurge last night, and your belly is still full the next morning, you know your weight is probably not going to be what you want it to be.  If you know seeing that number is going to bring you down, skip your weigh in that day, and vow to see a number the next morning that you can be proud of. This will motivate you to make better choices more than a guilt-enducing number ever could.

Sometimes, being healthy sucks. It sucks when you go out with your friends, and they are swilling beer and cramming pizza down their throats and you are eating a salad. It sucks when everyone wants to go out and stay up late but you have to call it an early night because you have boot camp in the morning.

It seems like living a healthy lifestyle, or working towards your goals, is keeping you from doing the things you love. It’s always hard to be different.

You know what? You are different. To lose weight, or stay healthy, you have to live differently than most people. Most people are over weight, sedentary, and suffer from, or are at a very high risk of, developing diseases that will keep them from enjoying life to the fullest, and will in a lot of cases kill them prematurely. Most people can’t climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, dread bathing suit season because they hate they way they look and can’t play with their kids and grand kids.

I get poked fun at constantly for my choices. My friends tell me to relax and just eat a cheeseburger everyone in a while, and to let loose for once and stay out a few more hours on the weekends. People push food on me and groan when I say I’m on my way to the gym.  “Have fun every once in a while” they say.

You know why?

Because we make them uncomfortable.  If a real life person, like you and me, can make healthy decisions on a daily basis toward losing weight and staying healthy, it means it’s possible. It means they can can do it, too- they just choose not to.

To them, indulging in unhealthy foods and treating their body poorly is fun.  That’s not my idea of fun.  Sometimes, yes, but not always.  You can make yourself feel good and have fun without the aid of cheese and alcohol.

It’s not your responsibility to police others, but it is vital that you don’t let food pushers and workout distracters sway you from your goals.

My strategy? Don’t apologize: teach and motivate. If someone makes a comment about my overly complicated, healthified order at a restaurant, I explain why I made the choices I did, and when it arrives, I offer them a bite. If someone makes fun of me for heading to the gym, again, I let them know all the positive health benefits exercise has on one’s health and body, and I invite them to come along. 99% of the time, they will decline, but even if they say no, they learned something, and will gain a little appreciation for you working so hard to take care of yourself.

 
www.marriedtothesea.com
www.marriedtothesea.com

May 10th is National Women’s Checkup Day (which probably has something to do with the fact that Mother’s Day was yesterday) where women everywhere are encouraged to head their doctor and get a thurough check up. 

Many women don’t go to the doctor, or ignore nagging symptoms, until it is too late, and the consequences can be dire.

Many women are intimidated to go to the doctor, scared of what they may hear about their weight, their health, or their lifestyle, but you have to do it.  Make an appointment to get your physical soon.  Working out is an important part of staying healthy, but check ups are vital to spot health concerns before they potentially ruin your life.  You only get one body, one life, and you have to take care of it.  Do it for your family, do it for your friends, but most importantly, do it for you.

In case you need a little motivation today, here are some words to think over:

“We do not stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising.” -Dr. Kenneth Cooper

It’s never too late. Don’t use your age as an excuse for those aches and pains. Age is just a number. Start your revolution today.

Cravings hit.  They aren’t a side of weakness, they are actual, physical cravings your body gives you because it wants something.  Isn’t that nice?

Sometimes you’ll have a water craving (thirst), or a food-in-general craving (hunger), or sometimes you will have a specific craving for a certain food.  This means your body needs it and you can have it right?

Wrong. Usually when you have a craving, let’s for this example use sugar, because it is the most common, but it can also be a salty craving, or a crunchy craving, it’s because your body is out of whack.

Sugar cravings work thusly:  you eat sugar, it dumps into your system, is burned quickly, depleting your energy.  Your body needs energy quick, so it signals your brain to make you crave sugar, so you go get it, eat it, and get more energy quickly, which starts the cycle all over again.  Sure, the glucose is used, but those calories remain.  And are soon stockpiled after you’ve made continual trips to pantry for more cookies.

So what do you do?  You have two options:

Give in and eat it- but the RIGHT way. If you are craving sugar, eat it all in one snack- don’t graze on sugar all day long.  Knowing you will be able to have it will keep you from going nuts, but consolidating it into one 150 calorie snack will ensure you don’t overindulge, and keep your blood sugar in check.

Skip it. But how? My body is SCREAMING for it!  Relax.  You don’t need it, and cravings pass in a few minutes anyway, so all you have to do it resist.  Go for a walk and get your endorphins going.  Drink some water to fill your belly.  Brush your teeth to freshen your mouth.

Cravings are real, but they aren’t life and death.  You are bigger than some craving trying to derail you from your goals, so crush it with a strategy that works for you.

Do you weigh too much? I don’t mean how much you weigh, I mean how often you weigh.

Are you one of those people that hops on the scale every time you go into the bathroom? A daily weigher? Weekly? Never?

How often you weigh yourself might effect your weight loss goals- and not in a good way.  Scales don’t just measure fat, they also weigh muscle, bones, and water. The scale is not an indicator of weight loss. You can weigh less without losing fat and you can lose fat and not see it in the scale.  Weighing yourself everyday can be frustrating when you see these numbers change up and down, and cause you to lose motivation.  Weighing yourself less often can actually give you a clearer picture of your actual weight loss.

The ensure the most accurate number on the scale when you do weigh, make sure you weigh at the same time each day you weigh in, preferably first thing in the morning when you stomach is empty and you had a good night’s sleep.  Or better yet, use your body fat percentage as a gauge- this is the only way to keep track of the actual amount of fat your body contains.

The number one excuse, by far, as to why people don’t workout consistently is because they don’t have time. 

No one has time.  No one magically has an hour a day where they find themselves staring at the wall because they just don’t have anything to do.  We fill our time on purpose, because doing nothing is boring.  So, sometimes we fill up our time with fun stuff, but more often than not, we fill it up with things we “have” to do.  Then, when we need to fit something in, like exercise, or a little me-time, there is no room.

This is why you have to make time to exercise.  It’s not going to fit seamlessly into your packed schedule, so here are some ways to free up time to get in a workout.

  • The easiest is waking up earlier.  Just wake up an hour earlier and get it done.  You are going to be tired when you wake up either way, so instead of snoozing for another hour, get out of bed and get in your early morning workout.  It will do more for your energy level than that extra hour, anyway. 
  • Consolidate tiny tasks.  I’m guilty of not following this one.  If you look at my planner, which if I lost, you’d find my curled up in the corner with no idea what day it was, it’s full of tiny little errands. Each day is riddled with “Go to the banks,”Go to the post offices,” and “Go to the store for one tiny little thing.”  If you consolidate all these tasks that can definitely wait into one trip on one day a week, you can easily free up hours per week to workout.
  • Turn of the tube. Many people watch TV as a way to relax and unwind, but you might be surprised how many hours you actually watch.  Take just one of those hours per day and get in your workout.  DVR is your friend- record your favorite shows and for the week, and watch them on one day, sans commercials, which will save you even more time.
  • Prep your meals for the week.  You gotta eat everyday, so instead of spending time everyday cooking up your meals, prep them all for the week on Sunday so you can just throw them together when it comes time to eat- saving tons of time, and even a few trips through the drive-thru, which is doing NOTHING for your goals.
  • Delegate tasks.  Give up some control.  Your kids can do some housework, like laundry, dishes and vacuuming, and let your spouse take care of paying the bills or doing the grocery shopping every once in a while.  This will save you time and give you a little bit of that ‘life balance’ everyone keeps talking about.

 

If this still doesn’t free up enough time for you, try to find your individual time sucks.  Everyone’s schedule is different so take a day or two and write down everything you do every minute of the day.  It sounds horribly time-consuming (which also sounds counterproductive to the topic of today’s post) but you may be surprised how many unimportant things suck up your time.  Try eliminating just a few and you may soon find yourself with an hour or two to kill, and I know just the place to do it.

 

(Just not with food, which is what most people tend to do.)

Hitting a fitness goal is a huge accomplishment, yet few take the time to give themselves some credit and bask in the glory for a bit.  I’ve found this is usually because most people look at how far they still have to go, and think, ‘There’s nothing to really be happy about right now, because I have so much more work ahead of me.’

Now what kind of thinking is that?

Each small goal on the way to your big goal, be it weight loss, or training for a race, should be celebrated.  You worked hard, you did what you set out to do and each smaller goal is a step closer to hitting that big one.

Everyone has more goals to hit- if you don’t have a goal, what are you working for?  Even if someone whose sole focus has been weight loss hits that 50 pound mark they have been dreaming of, they aren’t done.  They take some time to congratulate themselves, maybe even cry a few happy tears, and then they find something else to strive for: a 5k, a six-pack, a black belt, whatever it may be.

So how do you celebrate?  Your treat yourself for all your hard work with something that showcases your goal.  Did you lose 10 pounds?  Buy those new jeans you told yourself you would never fit into.  Did you shave a few seconds off your race time?  Time for some new running gear.

You can even get sentimental and have your goal etched onto a nice little pendant for a necklace.  Put your pounds lost, or your miles done, or .  Soon, you’ll have a whole bracelet full of your successes jingling you on as you head towards your next goal.

The idea of negative calorie foods has been around for a while. The idea is that certain foods are so low in calories and so hard for our bodies to digest, that you burn more calories trying to digest them than actually come in the food, so you can eat as much as you like and actually cause weight loss.

Common foods cited as being negative are water dense fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, cabbage, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini and oranges.

If you’ve done Weight Watchers, these are the foods that are given zero point ratings, which means you can eat them all day long and they don’t really count.

But is this for real? Can you actually lose weight by eating more?

No food actually has a negative amount of calories, because all foods have some caloric value. The overall result from eating them, however, can lead to a negative calorie outcome.

That’s all well and good, but I don’t like labeling healthy fruits and veggies as ‘negative calories’ like they are some magic fat burner. Don’t expect to be able to burn off a piece of pizza with a few strawberries. The difference is almost negligible, and won’t result in measurable weight loss, especially if you do not eat healthy otherwise, or do not exercise.

Here’s why I don’t like this line of thinking: if everyone ate fruits and veggies till they were blue in the face, I would be the happiest person alive. We all know fruits and veggies are filled with tons of great vitamins, minerals and fiber, but eating them because you can stuff your face guilt-free and think it will help you lose weight isn’t the right mind-set to making healthy changes. The goal of living a healthy lifestyle is to learn to listen to your body and to eat in a way that fuels you right. Even though you are scarfing healthy foods, you are still pigging out because you can’t control your urge to eat. Finding a loophole that won’t make you gain weight isn’t truly getting healthy, because your mind isn’t in the right place.

By all means, eat as many fruits and veggies as you want, but don’t eat them in mass quantities to try and lose weight, or eat them in place of other nutritious food with the calories you need to maintain your health.  You need calories, you just need them from the right sources.

There is no secret or magic tip to lasting weight loss.

You can’t take the easy way out.

You know my favorite source of negative calories? Exercise. A walk will burn more calories than trying to digest a stomach full of celery, and will also do wonders to increase you mood, energy level, and your health.

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