New Year’s Resolution Check-In

Alright, so it’s been a month since you made that New Year’s resolution focused on reaching a healthy weight. How’s it going? Be honest with yourself. Have you been staying strong, trying a little bit or completely forgotten about it? Maybe it’s time to revisit your goal.

 

First, evaluate why you aren’t sticking to your resolution. Are you unmotivated? Is there something in your way? Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit for you in the first place? While the start of a New Year is good time for starting new goals doesn’t mean it always has to be like that because you can start a new goal literally any time you want. Stop saying tomorrow and start simply say today.

 

Maybe you are unmotivated. That’s okay. It happens. But now let’s focus on how to get and stay motivated. Consider an accountability partner is what you need or a reward system. How about telling everyone you know? The more people that know, the more accountability you will have.

 

Consider what obstacles are standing in the way of you achieving your goals. Are they obstacles that you can change yourself? If so, why haven’t they been changed yet? If not, is there a way to make sure they don’t negatively affect you?
You may feel a little overwhelmed with all the questions asked but it’s necessary to be honest with yourself in order to make change. Remember, if you ever need help or a little motivation, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone!

Workout Apps to Meet Your Fitness Goals Anywhere

If you’re stretched for time and can’t make it to the gym for a workout, try one of these apps and start sweating at home.

Nike Training Club
Nike Training Club is a free app with workouts ranging from 15 – 45 minutes depending on the time you have. Workouts also range depending on ability and focus on losing weight, adding definition and building strength. The app can also create a four-week workout plan based on your individual needs and includes videos to help learn form.

Couch to 5k
This app is great for first-time runners. The app will train you by doing intervals of walking and jogging three days a week for eight weeks and by the end you will be running a 5k!

Hot5
This is the perfect app if you struggle with having no time to workout. You can do a quick high intensity workout in 5 minutes with this app including exercises from Crossfit to Pilates taught by real trainers.

Simply Yoga
The free version of this app is more for beginners but it is worth trying before getting the paid app. Any yoga app is worth looking into. It is a great exercise for stretching and relaxation.

FitStar Personal Trainer
This app gives you workouts tailored for you by asking questions after each workout in order to keep the workouts challenging but not impossible for you to accomplish.

New apps are created everyday, especially for fitness. Explore and find the ones that work best with you and don’t let time be an excuse for not working out. Technology has made it possible to work out from almost anywhere now. Take advantage of it!

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

The New Year brings hope and promise of being a better year, which motivates many people to make resolutions. Making the resolution is the easy part … keeping them is the hard part. Here are some tips to help you stick to your goals.

  1. Write your goals on sticky notes and put them where you’re most likely to see them everyday: on your laptop, on the bathroom mirror, on that box of cookies in the pantry that stares at you every day. When you’re constantly reminded of your goals, you’re more likely to stick to them.
  2. Monitor your progress in a journal. Whether you had a good or bad day goal-wise, write it down. Being realistic with your goals and seeing your progress over time throughout the journal will help you commit.
  3. Get an accountability partner. This could be your significant other, best friend or coworker. Someone who knows you well enough to ask about your progress and help keep you accountable.
  4. Make it measurable. While you may have a large goal, try to break it down into smaller goals. This will help it seem more manageable and help you to keep to a schedule as well.
  5. Reward yourself along the way. You’re doing a great job, so an occasional treat won’t hurt.

Keeping Active in Winter

Just when we think the snow has gone away for good, Mother Nature blows it right back in. However, it’s important to stay active during the colder months too in order to maintain a healthy body weight and healthy blood pressure. Not only that, but it helps improve your mood which is often affected by the weather. Here are some simple tips you can incorporate to your everyday routine:

1: Take the stairs instead of the elevator

2: Put on some music and dance while you’re making dinner

3: Walk around the mall (and leave the wallet at home)

4: Swim in an indoor pool

5: Pop in a fitness DVD at home

6: Shovel your driveway

7: The treadmill is your friend, not your enemy

8: Yoga

9: Take advantage of sunny days & go outside

10: Get a step counter to motivate you to walk more

11: Try an outdoor winter sport, such as ice skating

12: Deep clean your house

13: Run in place or do pushups while watching television

14: Park farther away from work

15: Play with your kids and pets

Healthy Lifestyle: Looking Past the Diet and Exercise

If you want to improve your lifestyle, you’ve probably already tried changing your eating habits (for the better) and exercise. However, you still may not feel fulfilled.. Why is that? Mental health is just as important as physical health. Oftentimes when you feel good first, looking good naturally follows.

First you need to find out what is truly standing in the way of your happiness. Is it a dead-end job, a sour relationship or the same monotonous routine? For some, this may be easy to pinpoint. For others, this may be a challenge. Don’t hesitate to ask a person close to you for his/her opinion.  

Now you assume I’m going to suggest that once you find the problem you have to change it. Not necessarily. Some large decisions could be in the way: your kids, your extended family, your situation. I totally get that. But there could be some other things you can change to make those tough times seem not so bad.

Plan a weekend getaway. This doesn’t have to be extravagant or far away; it could just be to a local hotel or to a woodsy cabin. But when you get out of your familiar environment, you can take time to breathe and get your thoughts off of the things that have been occupying your mind.

Try something you’ve never done before. Have you always wanted to go skydiving? Or maybe your adventure level is more along the lines of trying that new Thai restaurant. Do it! What’s holding you back besides yourself?

Take as much time for yourself as you give to others. This is a foreign concept for many people in today’s fast-paced world. Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert or somewhere in the middle, you need to take as much care of yourself as you take care of others. And you are the only one who can determine what that looks like.

Develop a life plan. Sometimes the thing that gets us down is that we don’t know where we’re going. Determine what you truly want to accomplish in life and work towards it.

Slowly but surely, your mental health will start improving. And once that happens, everything else will fall into place.  

Give Hiking Another Try

Hiking is great … the sun up above, the aroma of sweet flowers, the firm earth beneath you … until you start going. The sun gets hotter, the trail seems to go for miles and all of a sudden, hiking can be difficult. Hiking provides so many health benefits, as well as mental relaxation. So before you give up hiking for good, try some of these tips on your next adventure.

Take your dog along with you. They need exercise too and they keep great company!

Plan to a picnic stop along your route

Try easy paths, then work your way up to the harder ones

Take a first-aid kit. There’s nothing worse than hiking, getting hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

Get the right shoes first. They can make all the difference.

Train for it. Hiking seems easy but it takes a lot of power!

Bring the right snacks. Think protein.

Sunscreen. You often think about it when going to the beach but not when hiking. Take the time to protect your skin.

Make it a goal to go to all the major parks in Indiana.

Hiking may be difficult at first, as with any physical activity but with the right gear and training – you will have a great time!

Eating Healthy While on a Budget

Many people think eating healthy is sticking and that it won’t fit within their budget. Well, I’m here to bust this myth. It’s definitely possible to be budget conscience and find food that will fit your diet.

Have you started with the source aka where you shop? A vegetable is a vegetable whether you shop at Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Aldi or the farmer’s market. You don’t have to go to the high-end stores to buy your veggies. Compare prices online or from advertisements and go to the store that offers them the cheapest.

Or better yet, grow your own veggies! This could be a fun stress-relieving project for you, a teaching moment with your kids or a new adventure with your spouse. If you provide your veggies with the correct environment, you’ll have more fresh food than you know what to do with (which is where freezing and canning come into play).

Fresh berries can get expensive, especially out of season. Instead of buying fresh and then throwing out the rotten ones (which is like throwing your dollars straight in the trash), buy frozen berries. They are just as nutritious and last much longer.

Vegetable chips may be delicious but are more expensive AND way more calories than making your own. Grab some kale, slice it up, add some sea salt and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. At only 50 calories per cup, you’ll love how they treat your wallet and your waistline.

Instead of paying a lot to get fresh fish, try going back to canned tuna. You still get your omega-3s, it’s friendly on your budget and they make convenient lunches.

By combining these tips in addition to being proactive with your budget and grocery list, you will quickly find that eating healthy and saving money go hand in hand.

Four Weight Loss Myths Revealed

Single food diets really work.

Companies love to hype up juice diets and weight loss programs that force you to eat only one food or one type of food for a certain amount of time. Truthfully, most of these regimens, especially if they are exaggerated or not completed correctly, can actually end up being less healthy for you than your original eating pattern. The majority of these diets are based on the assumption or belief that your body can’t handle taking in multiple types of nutrients or foods, leading to digestive complications and weight gain. However, the opposite is actually true. There are very few foods that only contain one type of nutrient, so finding foods that consist of, for example, only carbohydrates or only proteins, would be virtually impossible in the first place. Not to mention, your body was designed to take in multiple nutrients at a time and to use those nutrients in conjunction with each other to keep your body functioning properly. Eating foods that help you achieve a balance of each of the five nutrients — carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals is the key to a healthy diet.

 

Fast weight loss is the best weight loss.

Programs that promise intense weight loss in short amounts of time are often leading you astray in your quest to lose those extra pounds. Although it is extremely tempting to adopt regimens that give you fast results with minimal effort, keep in mind it is almost always unhealthy to rapidly lose weight and that these methods are frequently unreliable. The only exception to this rule is a process of rapid weight loss that is prescribed by doctors to patients whose weight is causing them serious health problems and even then, these diets are closely supervised by medical professionals and the weight lost is often difficult to keep off. Losing weight quickly can often cause you to lose water weight or muscle as opposed to burning fat because it is difficult to burn fat in short amounts of time. Adopting a weight loss regimen that gives you a goal of 1-2 pounds lost per week is a realistic and healthy method to losing weight and developing habits that will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.

 

You should never eat fast food or “junk food.”

It is true that fast food is unhealthy overall – there is no disputing that. However, you don’t have to completely stop eating McDonald’s or Taco Bell just because you’re trying to lose weight. Eating well can be hard at first but it doesn’t have to be completely devoid of enjoyment. Now, if you previously ate a Big Mac during every lunch break or stopped to get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch daily, those habits need to be broken. But getting the occasional order of fries, isn’t going to break your healthy lifestyle. It’s only going to satisfy your craving and make it easier to stay faithful to your regimen later. Control your portion sizes and the frequency with which you eat unhealthy foods and you’ll find yourself enjoying your new healthy lifestyle while still reaching your weight loss goals.  

 

Watching what you eat is enough – exercise isn’t necessary.

We know — It’s hard to find time to get to the gym and it’s harder still to find the motivation to push yourself through a hard workout once you get there. While you will most likely drop pounds through healthy eating, you’ll miss out on a lot of health benefits if you don’t combine your smart food choices with exercise. Exercising helps you keep the weight that you lose from coming back, plus it improves mood, helps with sleep and can aid in disease prevention. It is recommended that you participate in 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise most or all days of the week. Thirty minutes daily helps with disease prevention. Sixty minutes daily helps with weight maintenance. Ninety minutes daily can take care of both, plus it’ll burn more fat and helps you lose even more weight. Developing a regular exercise schedule can also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and build healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Studies show those who were active when they were younger and stayed active throughout their lifetime developed fewer health problems and lived longer than those who were sedentary most of their lives. If you really hate traditional methods of exercise, find ways to get your daily dose that are enjoyable to you.

Dieting is a Mindset

When many people think of dieting, negative thoughts come to mind. It means giving up your favorite foods for a certain period of time … but it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of thinking “diet,” think “lifestyle.” Consider: What do you want to do to improve your lifestyle?

A good way to go about this is gradually. It’s tough on your mind and your body when you completely uproot the lifestyle you’ve been grounded in. A good first thing to try is portion control. If you go out to eat, cut your burger in half first thing so that you know how much to allot yourself to eat. Take the leftover home for lunch tomorrow at work! If the cookies in the cookie jar are calling your name, limit yourself to one a day. Rejoice in the fact that you have self-control to only have one cookie instead of the whole jar. Oftentimes, we think that our minds are in control of our body but in reality, our stomach controls our body. By starting off limiting portion sizes, it will become easier to gauge when you’re actually full and will feel satisfied.

Along with portion sizes, cut out certain foods gradually. If you’re like me and LOVE grains, start out limiting your intake. Carbs can often leave you feeling hungry, which causes more weight gain from not feeling satisfied. Only have pasta once a week for dinner. Try mixing some greens in with your sandwiches. In time, you’ll be able to successfully limit your intake and will feel fuller longer.

Start changing your mindset from “I can’t do this” to “If I do this, I’ll be healthier.” We all want to live a long healthy life, but that’s easier said than done. If you start with your biggest weakness (your mind & thoughts), you’ll slowly begin to realize that this maybe isn’t as tough as you thought it would be.

Moral of the story: this process takes time. Be patient and be kind to yourself. You can do it!

Patient Takes on Triathlon

Training:

I won’t lie. Participating in my first sprint triathlon, the Tri-Indy, wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty but I had to start somewhere. After making the decision to tackle my first event where I had to swim, bike and run, I turned to good old Pinterest to find a training schedule. The main problem I had with following these schedules is that I wasn’t always able to swim on days I should have because of the limited hours at the pool I was using. But I did my best to fit the workouts to my schedule.

The best part of the training process was having people to train with. I couldn’t imagine doing it by myself. Having friends with me motivated me more to make sure I got my workouts done. We held each other accountable and that was really important.

I think it’s fair to assume that everyone will have a weak area when it comes to a triathlon. For me (and many others), that was swimming. Most triathlons have the swim take place in open water, which is very different from swimming laps in a pool. If I could go back and change one thing in my training it would have been to swim more and try swimming in open water.

As far as biking and running, I felt more confident training for these parts. Biking in downtown Indianapolis is a bit difficult with a lot of stopping at intersections so I trained to go farther than the necessary 12.5 miles of the race. I have also run in plenty of 5Ks but never immediately following a 500 yard swim and a 12.5 mile bike ride. Knowing it would be difficult to switch muscle groups quickly, I felt it was really important to practice the transition from biking to running. Even if I only ran one or two miles after a bike ride it was still good to get my legs used to the change.

Race Day:

Probably one of the most interesting parts about Tri-Indy was that the swimming took place in the downtown canal. I received two responses when telling people. “That’s pretty cool,” and “That’s disgusting.” But it really wasn’t gross at all. I mean, I definitely swallowed my fair share of canal water and got trapped in an abyss of green growth at the bottom!

Swim:

The officials let each individual jump in and begin their race every two seconds. Even with this staggered start, it was still crowded as people were passing, splashing and bumping into each other. This section, I HATED. About three minutes into my swim, I felt under prepared. I should have definitely trained more but it was a little too late. I finished the swim…slowly…but I did it! Then I wobbled out of the water giving a thumbs up to my friends cheering me on.

Transitions:

I had already laid out my towel, shoes, socks, shirt and shorts next to my bike, but let’s be honest, this was my first triathlon. I was NOT going for time, just completion. I got myself put together pretty quickly as I think I was just excited to be done with the swim!

Bike:

My legs definitely felt a bit like jelly at first from the water to cycling transition but everything was fine once I caught my breath. The biking was only a bit of a struggle when the wind was against us going uphill.

Run:

Finally, the last part of the race. I put my bike and helmet up and started to jog to start of the run. I felt like (and probably also looked like) a newborn baby giraffe so I paused to stretch a little bit. Trying to get a better time isn’t worth pulling a muscle. When I started to run, I realized just how worn out I was. I was EXHAUSTED. Even though I didn’t feel like it, I grabbed water from every station because I knew my body needed it. This run was probably the slowest I’ve ever ran, which was okay because I didn’t quit. I kept running – or shuffling would probably be more accurate.

One thing that is truly amazing during races like this is how positive and friendly everyone is. If I passed someone running or someone passed me, compliments and words of motivation were always exchanged. “Keep it up.” “You got this.” “Almost done! You can do it.” It was so great to see everyone so supportive of each other.

I crossed the finish line and almost ran right to the water table where I immediately downed three cups. The worst thing to do after a race is to immediately stop or sit down. I kept walking around the transition area for about 10 minutes before going to get my bike and talk to my friends that came to support me.

Yes, at the end I was tired and I couldn’t wait to shower, eat and take a nap. But an even greater feeling I had was pride. I was and still am so proud of myself for setting a goal and completing it. I may have finished 409 out of 417 but I FINISHED.