Monthly Archives: October 2011

I was going to work out today, but I’m too tired after work.

I’ve been there. You, reader, have probably been there before. Where is “there” you ask? It is a place I like to call “You-think-you’re-too-tired-but-probably-aren’t Town.” I lied. I don’t call it that. I just made that up.

Sorry for lying. That’s my bad.

But, alas, this fictional town I made up as I typed, is still very meaningful. I am referring to the fact that most of the time you think you are just too tired to work out, you probably aren’t.

We all work very hard. We need to pay the bills! We want to perform well at any task that we work on at our jobs, day in, day out. Whether you work an office job, or work outside with your hands, or travel often because of your job. Working is tiring! For sure.

All of this is true and I completely agree. But. BUT!!! And trust me on this one. More often than not, once you get started on your workout, even if you were exhausted from work, you will get through your workout just fine! Most of the time, all you need to do is get going on the workout and you will realize you just might make it through alive.

It sounds crazy enough to work. And it does.

Just start the workout. Even if you have to drag yourself to the gym. Or even if you have to drag yourself to set up that pull up bar. Or even if the workout is just as home, just start it. You’ll see what I mean.

Plus, after a workout, we all know how good we feel. Very rarely would you think to yourself “man, I feel so great right now, I regret that workout that made me feel this awesome and improved my overall health.”

Ok. Ok ok ok. SOMETIMES the entire workout we had planned before sounds like it might take a bit longer than we think we have in the tank. That happens.

My advice for that, is to sacrifice the duration of your workout, not the intensity. If your workout was going to be a half hour. Just go hard for fifteen or twenty minutes. You will be done sooner and will have been more efficient with your time spent.

Of course, if you are sick or injured, that would be a good time to skip a planned workout. Making an injury worse, is never a good plan. Pushing yourself while really sick, may make you stay sick for a longer period of time. If your head is stuffy but your body still feels energetic, I would say, go for it. If your body feels so run down and low on energy that you don’t want to move, in that case, skip the workout, champ.

Recap:

Most of the time, when you think you are too tired to work out, you probably aren’t. Just get yourself to start. You will feel great and proud that you got through a workout you may have otherwise skipped. Your body will thank you for it. And so will your bf/gf/wife/husband  😉

Yup, I went there with the emoticon. Nothing wrong with dropping a good wink on em’ from time to time.

Try “cheat meals” instead of a “cheat day”

 

 

I don’t claim to have invented this idea. Many fitness/nutrition enthusiasts have shared such an idea. However, I think it is a great way to frame “cheat” foods.

 

A “cheat” food or meal refers to something you know you probably shouldn’t eat very often, as it is not very nice to your body. You’ll often hear people say “Oh, it’s okay that I eat this or eat here because it is my cheat day.”  They are implying that their diet would otherwise be healthier than what they are currently about to indulge into.

 

I am not opposed to treating yourself to something you shouldn’t eat too often, from time to time. A small slice of pie. A couple slices of pizza. That cupcake you have been thinking about for weeks.

 

My focus of this post, though, is to consider a “cheat meal” instead of a “cheat day.” Meaning, just because you decided to indulge in that meal or food, doesn’t mean you have to continue to eat not so great for you foods, the whole day. Assuming you have been working your way to making smarter nutrition choices on a more consistent basis, this may be a way to, in the long run, eat more nutritious meals/foods as a whole. Mathematically, say you had four “cheat days” in a month. Say that is three meals each specific day. That is 12 cheat meals in one month! C’mon mannnn! Conversely, if you had “cheat meals” when you deemed appropriate throughout the month, that might be a total of 5 or so. Or, maybe more. But my point with this mathematically genius of an example, is that, overall, you may eat less not so great meals that month with this strategy.

 

I know. That was an amazing showing of my mathematical ability. I clarified that twelve is more than five. I’m really, quite proud. Sometimes, I wonder why I’m not a mathematician.

 

I’ll give you a moment to soak it in…

 

 

Ok, let’s continue.

 

If you meet your friends at a local breakfast spot on sunday morning, that doesn’t mean you have to continue to nutritionally punch yourself in the face the rest of the day. It’s perfectly okay to bounce right back to your usual nutrition routine for the rest of the day.

 

How often you have these “cheat meals” will have to be up to you. Ideally, as time goes on (if you have many of them on a consistent basis), you will have them less and less often.

 

This has been a strategy I have been following and it seems to work really well. Give it a shot, and let us know what you think.

How will this benefit me?

 

 

Eating healthier would be so much easier if we only needed to eat once a day. If all we had to do was make a couple choices about food a day, most of us would have awesome diets.

 

Actually, if you only ate once a day, some people might make that one meal fried stuff with heavy sauce stuff with really sweet stuff.

 

Hmm, never mind that part.

 

My point is, each day we make many different choices about the food that we eat. Between meals, snacks, desserts, we are constantly deciding what we eat throughout the day.

 

So what hope do we have, to keep making consistent smart food choices?!

 

There is lots of hope, my friend! One way to help out, is the following way of thinking…

 

How will my body benefit if I eat this here food, I am thinking of eating. Or, in a more concise way that doesn’t try to be phrased humorously and is easier to remember and pronounce “How will eating this food, benefit me?”

 

It’s a very simple question, but it can make a difference because it takes you out of the craving moment you may be in. It reminds you to think about what you are planning on eating.

 

Asking yourself this question takes you from (Homer Simpson drool sound/face “gaawwwwrrrrwwrwrw” to  a light bulb going off in your head, like this “DINGGGG!!!”

 

Say you are at work and you see a pink pastry box full of doughnuts. Before you go all primal on the box and rip it to shreds to get the doughnut out, stop and think, “How will this benefit my body?.” The answer is, it won’t. You know this. We all know this. Not only will it not benefit your body, it will hurt it. Now think about that bag of oatmeal mixed with cinnamon that you can cook real quickly and add some fruit to. How will that benefit your body? It will in many ways. The oatmeal and fruit combination is a great mix of vitamins and fiber to keep you full and nourish your body.

 

It also helps to picture how what you choose to eat will affect the fitness or wellness goals you have for yourself. Will getting that fast food hamburger with fries and a shake help you reach that bathing suit body you were working so hard for? Will cooking with frozen pre packaged, preservative filled dinners, day in and day out set a good example for your family? Will eating those chips help you get in better shape to have more energy throughout the day so you can tackle all the goals you have set for yourself?

 

No. It won’t.

 

On the flippity flip side. If you were to contemplate eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables throughout the week, along with lean meats and nuts and seeds and then ask yourself the same questions, you would have a different answer.

 

For this system/strategy to work, two things need to happen. First, ask yourself what the benefit of that food will be. Second, you must have quality food options to defer to. The whole point of this, is for you to be able to make a smarter choice. In order to be able to make a choice, you need to have a different option other than what you are thinking about, or staring in the face.

 

I’ve given ideas about this in previous posts. For example, if you were about to buy some chips for lunch and asked yourself how they would benefit you, you might put them back. You might walk over to the plain popcorn and ask yourself the same question. Popcorn is a great snack with some fiber for your day, that won’t nutritionally punch you in the face like conventional chips would.

 

Try it out, and let us know what you think by commenting on this post. Today, I put this exact idea to practice. I drove by In n Out and started to salivate. I asked myself how eating that would help my body. Once I answered, I mentally constructed a quick meal I could have at home. Turkey, half an avocado, string cheese, half a tomato and a tall glass for vegetable smoothie. Mmmm. I was able to hold off on the fast food. Along with a low sugar granola bar I had in my backpack, which really helped, I continued my errands without nutritionally punching myself in the face.

 

 

How will eating this food, benefit me?

 

Try it.

We know that soda is, fail sauce in a can

 

 

Yes. This we know.

 

However, many of us like it. Bless our hearts, we like soda. The fizzy goodness that feels like it’s biting you back when you take a sip. The flavor that is so much more interesting than the water we are told so often to drink more of. It is no mystery that drinking too much soda plays a big role in the deteriorating health of our country, and, more specifically, ourselves.

 

Eliminating not only soda, but many of the other high sugar high calorie drinks that are easy to get carried away with, is a huge step in living a healthier life.

 

BUT!!!!!

 

My goal is not to get too preachy or lecture-y with this website. From time to time, it is important to point out what we have already been told, if for no other reason, as a nice reminder that important nutritional information will not somehow stop being so important and applicable to our lives if we ignore it.

 

back to my BUT!!!! (not butt, sicko. That would be an entirely different blog)

 

Instead of citing a bunch of studies and articles that say soda is bad, I will assume we are thoroughly convinced of this matter and move on to a solution.

 

Of course, you will be the one to decide how often you will allow yourself this indulgence, if it is one for you. To help you make that less and less often, allow me to propose an option…

 

 

Drum-roll please!!!!

 

 

(prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) Hmm, that sounds more like a cat purring than a drum roll.

 

 

Let me try again

 

 

Drum-roll please!!!!!

 

 

 

TADA!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it! Pour yourself a nice glass of sparkling water and add just a splash of juice. That’s all it takes. You end up with something that feels just like soda but isn’t full of ingredients that your body is arch enemies with since it can remember.

 

 

I still recommend drinking more water throughout the day, but this is a great option for a meal when you think water may just not do the trick.

 

In a future post, I’ll share ideas of how to drink more water if you are having a trouble with the bland taste.

 

For now, try the sparking water and a splash of juice idea out. Let us know what you think.

I know I should eat healthy, but I love food too much

On my way to the gym, I had a little conversation with myself.

Well, not out loud…

…this time.

This was more of an inner dialogue. I have had conversations with people about the whole idea of eating better and trying to make smarter nutritional choices throughout the day or week. After many a chat of this nature, I have felt a sense that some feel that they love food too much to try and eat healthier. Or, that they don’t want to stop enjoying food, therefore, they would rather not adjust the way they eat. They feel that what they like to eat tastes so good that they would be deprived if they moved away from some of those foods. Therefore, changes can’t be made.

Some of us may feel this way, or maybe to a lesser degree. But let’s be honest, are we scared of adjusting how we eat?

If you have felt this way, or do feel this way. I understand and don’t mean to harp on you. But allow me to propose a rebuttal.

(clears throat)

Learning about where food comes from. Educating oneself about the magic, straight up magic (er, science), of how food can make us live a stronger and longer life. Learning how food can help us achieve life goals. Learning about how the combination of different foods in different ways has a positive effect on our bodies. Studying how to improve illnesses or things that don’t seem quite right in our bodies, with food. Learning how foods can help us get off of most if not all of medications we take.

These are all examples about the love for food.

I was thinking to myself  “Wait a minute, if your idea of loving food is wanting to continue to often eat food that of which you have no idea what all of the ingredients it has, then my examples are even MORE of a love for food!”. Then I told myself  “Wait, Isaac, wait. This isn’t a competition. Though you would totally win, it’s not a competition of who loves food more. This is just an example of different schools of thought.”

I am not trying to tell you what you do or don’t love. That is not up to me. My point in all of this, hopefully somewhat humorous (otherwise I come off as some crazy person who’s posts you wouldn’t want to read) and extreme example, is to challenge how we think. Many times, people can get caught up in thinking that eating healthier requires sacrifice in how much we enjoy food. Yes, adjustments may need to be made. And yes, our taste buds can adapt to different foods. My point is, I challenge people to stop focusing on being scared of having to stop enjoying food and or being scared that we will hate what we need to eat to be healthier. We need to stop  and realize, that’s not true. If anything, you can learn to love food even more.

To be clear, I enjoy a good indulgence in food that isn’t the best for me, as well. Every once in a while, that is okay. However, that is not what this is about. This is about the ongoing choices that we make.

I’m won’t sit here (actually, I’m standing, but I started sitting down, until I got serious about the topic) and make it seem like this transition is easy for everyone. Because it’s not. It takes effort and commitment. I simply propose a challenge to how we think about food and the decisions we make about how we feed ourselves and our families.

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I don’t know where to start…

Wanting to eat a more balanced diet is the first step in living a healthier life. If you have made that decision, or even have entertained the idea of making that adjustment, I commend you. It is not easy to decide that you owe it to yourself and to your family to treat your body better.

The tough part is getting started. You know more or less what you should do. You have seen a bunch of recipes that seem great individually, but how do you put it all together to get through a whole meal, or a whole day?

I have been treating this blog kind of like a jump start guide for someone who would like to make gradual sustainable changes in their life. I have been going at this pace on purpose because we all know what it’s like to get bombarded with advice and still feel like it’s all so advanced and foreign that we don’t know how to apply it to our own lives. I intend to do the opposite of that. I hope to continue to write and explain simple ideas that are easy to actually apply to our own lives.

In the past I have given examples of separate food ideas that maybe on their own weren’t enough for a whole meal.

I’ll also share ideas of whole meals so that if one were to not know where to start if they wanted to have control of a complete balanced meal, they could follow along here.

Yesterday I shared a simple recipe for a real easy Quinoa salad. But is that enough for a whole meal? It can be, depending on the serving size and if you wanted to add anything else to it. Last night for dinner, I combined that salad with some baked chicken and kiwi. It was delicious.

Which brings me to my next point.

Cooking food ahead of time is a great way to save time and take back control over your diet. In the picture above, I just sliced up some baked chicken that I had prepared earlier.

Below is an example of chicken that I baked and sliced up for the next few meals. It sounds silly to even share this because you might think, duh, I know about chicken. And, no, I’m not trying to act like I invented chicken. But if you have been going out to eat most meals of the week, this is a great place to start.

All I did was buy chicken breasts at Trader Joe’s. I put some seasoning on them and put them in a covered pan in the oven on 350 degs for 30 mins. That’s it. You now have chicken for the next few days, regardless of the meal. You can chop it up into smaller pieces and combine with some tomato and spinach in some scrambled eggs or omelet. You can make a chicken sandwich. You can pretty much add chicken to anything and will make the meal more filling.

So there you have it. If you don’t know where to start. Just do this. Do exactly this and let me know how it goes. The salad recipe is on the post previous to this one and the chicken is explained in the paragraph above. Add some random fruit that you like and you have yourself a hearty nice meal.

Enjoy.

P.S  Here is an example of the previous food ideas packed for lunch for the next few days.

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