Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Almost too easy!

Magic Fruit

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I trust you’ll be getting outside and doing something exciting this weekend.

I thought I’d share a few simple weight loss tools I learned this week hoping to send you off for the weekend on the right foot.

  • Surely you remember that apples are full fiber (among other wonderful things). Due to this fact, research has shown that if you eat an apple every day before lunch, on an average you’ll eat 187 fewer calories at lunch, generating a loss of five pounds of weight per year. “Dieting” doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Normally I don’t drink juice because it’s full of sugar, I learned (seems so obvious now) if you dilute your juice with half seltzer water to cut sugar and calories, you could lose 13 pounds in a year! Yow! You juice drinkers take heed!
  • You know you need to exercise, but did you know that if you workout just (fast walking counts) three times per week for just 30 minutes at a time you can lose 13 pounds a year. Imagine what you could do with a little more effort.

Enjoy your weekend, make it extraordinary!

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Juice? (The Season of Eating – Navigation Tip #2)

Green "Juice"

A few years back I decided to try juicing. Why? Because a super skinny girl I knew was into juicing and I wanted to look like her.

This girl, whose name escapes me wasn’t into “juice fasting.” She was simply into drinking home-distilled juice as a means of cutting her daily caloric intake. There are people however who advocate juice fasts that suggest drinking only fruit and vegetable juices for up to 14 days. This juice fasting paradigm has been touted as a way to detoxify or “detox” the body of unwanted chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately there’s little evidence that these juice-only diets provide any detoxification beyond what our liver and kidneys can achieve normally.

Anyway, once I decided to get on the juice train, I jumped online and ordered myself a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer along with a shitload of books on juicing. Two days later the books and my new juicer arrived sending me off to buy many dollars worth of organic produce to pulverize.

With bags of apples, carrots and greens I raced home to blend up my first skinny cocktail (no I didn’t add vodka). At first I thought the juicer was pretty cool because you could feed it entire apples and lemons, peel, core, seeds and all. “Whow,” I thought. But then I realize that it took a bag-full of produce to squeeze out enough juice to drink, leaving the best parts of the pricy edibles to be tossed in the compost. I kept with the juicing for a few weeks, substituting juice for a full meal or part of a meal. When I didn’t effortlessly get skinny I dumped the juicer. And frankly, the fact that I had to toss the best parts (the things the make you feel full and contain most of the nutrients) down the shoot, never really set right with me.

So here we are years later and I still think conventional juicing is a lot of effort for too much money, too many calories and too much waste. Until I read about juicing with a blender, so off I went again to buy my organics and give this new method a try. It was the idea of keeping all of the fiber and goodness the fruits and vegetables initially came with that interested me.

Well, at this point I’ll simply cut to the chase. Here’s what I have to say about juicing with a blender.

First: What you get is not “juice” it’s more like a chunky smoothie, don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. It’s just not juice and it’s very filling (which is a good thing). Also keep in mind that you’re using the whole fruit or veggie so the flavors are very intense. Be careful, and you’ll want to add water or ice to the mix.

Second: These concoctions are super filling and keep well in the frig. If you’re the type that likes to get your 5 colors of fruits and veggies a day BlenderJuicing is a great way to get the job done.

Third: You can use the same recipes to juice with a blender as you would with a juicer. Just be sure to cut things up into pieces and take out seeds, cores and I wouldn’t think citrus peel would be too good but you could try.

Lastly: Very important! Check your teeth when you’re done. Think about it! All those little colored bits…

So there you have it. I give blender BlenderJuicing about 6 stars out of 10. It’s a great way to get your colors and fiber as well as keep calories in check. Play with it, you may love it or you may not. It’s worth a spin especially this time of year when time is short and calories are high!

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The Season of Eating is now in session (Navigation Tip #1)

Sweating it out

How did you folks manage over Thanksgiving? I must admit, I ate more than I should have, but I wasn’t totally out of control. I did however let my exercise regiment go to complete shit.

As I was driving home from my holiday away I spent half of the 3.5 hour drive stressing about how much of a slug I had become over the past 4 days. Then my brain kicked in and reminded me that it’s okay to slack off once in a while. Give your body and brain a break. You’ve got to think of this, “slacker time” is recovery time. Like when you train for an event. You can’t work hard or be perfect all the time. The key however is not to beat yourself up and to get back on the program post-haste. You all know that. Right?

As I drove I realized that the first thing I needed to do was to get rid of the excess water that had hitched a ride in my body from all the extra carbs I’d mowed down. Remember, carbohydrates in the body hold water. When you cut them out of your diet, your body will naturally lose water, which is why those low carb diets are so popular. On the other side of the coin, when you drastically increase your carb intake with stuffing, two kinds of taters, rolls, pie, etc, you puff up like a balloon and feel like a stiff cow. You know the feeling?

So, I’ve come up with Step One, of The Season of Eating Navagation Plan – De Puffing, aka, ridding the body of extra water and toxins brought on by a few days of cheer. (Take notes, you may need this again in a few weeks!)

  • Drink lots of water — I know it sounds wrong but water flushes the body of all the excess water and toxins. If you don’t eat a bunch more carbs, the fresh water will flush everything out.
  • Get your sweat on — This week, start ramping up your activity level. I’m not suggesting you attempt a half marathon. I am asking you to SWEAT! Do it any way you can. Taking a steam at the spa will even help. As much as I hate it, I went to a Bikram yoga class last night and I’ve committed to another 4 classes this week (Gawd, help me!) Go for a walk, but walk up hill! SWEAT your booty off (literally)!
  • Stretch — When you stretch you stretch your insides. This allows all the stuff in your intestines to get out. Think about it. All those nooks and crannies need a little help sometimes. Best thing is get yourself to a yoga class at least once a week but three times would be impressive and cleansing!
  • Clean up your diet — You know the drill. If you want to clear your system of toxins, water and nasty stuff you need to eat clean. That means lots of fresh, organic fruits, veggies and non-processed foods. Do the best you can; I know it’s hard! An easy way to eat clean is to “juice.” While I am not into juicing, it does help to clean you out and feel spry again. I’ll share some info on juicing with you Wednesday. I need to give it a try myself before I pass on. It could be crap.

There you go. An easy, effective start. Now all you have to do it is drink up and sweat it all out.

Stay tuned for a full month of tips on how to safely navigate The Season of Eating…


Starting to build on your winter coat?

Food journal, then & now

Since I believe that diets are stupid, I simply whip out my food journal whenever my cloths start getting a little snug. Keeping a food journal means that you track every single thing that you eat, even the bite of your friends dessert. You don’t have to do it forever but when you do, it allows you to make healthier choices and see how your eating throughout the day so you don’t over indulge.

When I first started keeping a food journal, I was racing my bike so body weight and nutrition were key. At the time my coach had me tracking everything, calories, carbs, protein and fiber. It was a lot of work but it helped me immensely, and I now know the calorie, fiber, fat and protein content of most natural foods by heart. Funny, or pathetic I’m not sure but handy for certain.

For now, simply keeping track of what I eat thought the day should be enough to keep from growing a thicker winter coat. With that, I’ll simply keep a note on a post-it or scrap of paper and I won’t worry about counting things. If you want to play along I suggest you get yourself a cute little notebook that’s specifically for the purpose of keeping your journal. There are fancy ones you can buy, templates you can download and I bet a zillion apps for your phone if that’s your style. As you can see from the photo I kept mine hillbilly style. Yep, the photo above is my actual food journal from the year 2000. I’ve kept them all (one for every year since). Why I’ve kept them, I don’t know but I’m glad I did. It’s fun to look back. I also used to track my weight and body fat percentage in the corner. Yow…I know for sure my body fat percentage has gone up. Good thing I’m back on the journal!

So, anybody want to join me in keeping a food journal for a while? Now’s the time to pay special attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. You don’t have to count calories unless you want to. Just paying attention to what you eat is a good start. Remember, we’re embarking on The Season of Eating.

Let me know if you want to play. I can help!

P.s. You can also take photos of the food you eat if that’s easier but personally I think keeping a written tab is better.

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Can cheating be a good thing?

Like everything, best to earn it!

No, I don’t mean it’s okay to cheat on your lover. I’m referring to cheating on your diet.

It might seem counterintuitive but taking a break from your healthy eating regime can actually improve your chances of sticking with the program longer. It’s just like building recovery time into your workout schedule. You don’t go hard all the time. You have to back off once in a while to allow your body time to build muscle and get stronger.

Sure, eating a cupcake is not going to make you stronger or help you recover from a hard workout. But, eating something that’s “forbidden” will allow you to feel less deprived. Research shows that people who deprive themselves of the things they crave end up eating more calories in the long run. There’s also information that states, “restrainers” have lower metabolisms and higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that tells your body to store fat.

Here’s the question; when should you cheat and how much should you cheat? Well, that all depends on you. How much and how hard you workout, how good your daily diet really is, what are your goals, stuff like that. Basically, there’s no general answer, but there are a couple of schools of thought. One way of thinking is to eat a little something you like every day. If you really like full fat latte’s then have one, like chocolate, then eat a little every day (points for eating dark chocolate). Some people prefer to eat really well all week and have one “cheat day” on the weekend when they eat whatever they want. Frankly, it comes down to whatever works to keep you happy and allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The bottom line; There’s no need to sacrifice, keep your metabolism running high by working out regularly and feeding your body. If you do that, a cupcake here and there won’t be the end of the world, in fact, it’ll make your world better.

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Super ch-ch-ch Chia

Chia, not just for fun anymore

Hopefully this is not new news to you, if it is, you may think I’ve gone completely off my rocker. Today’s topic is Chia Seeds. Yep, those seeds you grew on the ceramic figurines when you were a kid. We all had them. Right?

Now a days, eating chia seeds is very much in fashion. Apparently chia seeds rival the ever-popular flax seeds with their nutritional content and health benefits adding them to the list of “superfoods.”

Here’s the lowdown on Chia Seeds

  • First, I should admit that the seeds we’re meant to eat are not the same seeds you grow on ceramic figures.
  • Chia seeds are a nutty tasting whole grain, extremely high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • A 1-oz. serving of raw chia seeds contain about 9g of fat, 4g of protein, 11g fiber and 137 calories. The recommended daily dose of chia is 1 oz per day.
  • Chia seeds expand up to 9 times their size in your stomach helping you to feel full faster. Think about that for a second!
  • Whole chia seeds can be added to salads, smoothies and cereal, or where ever you’d use nuts or seeds. Ground chia is used in baking; however remember the daily dosage requirement. I noticed when looking at recipes for muffins that most “chia” baking only includes about a tablespoon of seeds for a recipe that makes 12 servings. If you only get a couple of seeds in a muffin it kind of defeats the purpose.

There’s tons of info out there on the benefits of eating chia. Do some Googling or watch this short video if you want more. As far as I’m concerned, this is enough to get me to try adding some chia to my diet.

P.s. You can buy chia seeds at your local health food store and on-line.

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Like a dog sits for treats, I exercise for cookies

I made some cookies this weekend. They were “healthy” cookies. Meaning, the original recipe had been revised to cut calories and fat in an effort to make a healthier, more figure friendly treat. The problem I have with these sorts of treats is two-fold. First, I find that people think that because something is low-calorie/fat that makes it okay for them to eat twice as much. Second, in my experience these “healthy” foods usually aren’t as fulfilling as their not so healthy counterparts and not worth a single calorie, certainly not 100 plus.

While I’m very conscious of what I put into my mouth, I’m clearly of the thinking that if you’re going to eat something, it should be the very best of it’s kind available to you. Meaning, it should be fully worth the calories it contains.  With that, I am mindful of the relationship between what goes in my mouth and what has been, or is expected to be immediately burned off.

Example: Yesterday I didn’t do much. I cleaned house, baked cookies, talked on the phone for hours and worked on the computer. Sure, I moved around but I didn’t burn off any extra calories. Due to my low-level of movement I chose to eat foods that reflected how I spent my day.  I had yogurt and fruit for breakfast, a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch with some cherries and a big salad for dinner. For a snack I did treat myself to 3 of those “healthy cookies.” After all, I needed to test them. Today however, I went on a 10-mile trail run and participated in an hour of yoga along with a few other household duties. Due to my extended exercise I allowed myself to eat a little more than yesterday. The AM portion of my meals was pretty much the same as the day before, but for dinner I had a yummy pork chop smothered in a mushroom/onion gravy, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. For dessert, I shared, homemade strawberry shortcake, with vanilla bean ice cream.

Do you get where I’m coming from? It’s pretty simple. Skip the “healthy” cookies, unless you actually like them. Either way, you gotta burn ‘em off. Don’t forget, always choose foods that are freshly made of natural, organic ingredients rather than ingredients you can’t pronounce. Make your eating experience worth the calories and you’ll eat less and feel better.

It’s called The Common Sense Diet.