No more excuses

no-excuses1Why do we wait for Monday to start things? Why can we not make a commitment to change something, anything, and it start that day or the very next morning (for those late day revelations)? What does a clean week have to do with anything? Life is not set up in nice organized rows stacked on top of each other. It’s a long line with one day after another. Seems to me that if you want something or you know you need something, that starting or making those changes are necessary now vs later. Monday is not a special day. Now is the moment. You are motivated now, you made your declaration, so waiting seems counterproductive. Makes me wonder if there is a bigger issue. Do we really want these changes? Are we saying what we think others want to hear? If you have been saying you want something, anything, any change, adding or deleting something from your day or life. Do it the minute you state it. Feel the power of acting on your proclamation. It’s a great feeling! Yes, there is fear, but use it to propel you not stop you.

I am an action person. I do not hear others state a proclamation and not hear their excuses too. Excuses are just that…excuses. They are not reasons for not doing something, they are just excuses for not acting. Other forces in this world are not keeping you from your goals, you are. You and your excuses.

Think about what you have been wanting to change for a while. Just one, you can think about all of them, but land on one. Now take it and act. No excuses. You want something, then make it happen. Only you can do this. Only you can make a change. If you came up with even one excuse, then you need to work around it. The rest are just excuses.

Don’t have the time? Make time: get up earlier, skip the tv time, do short burst of moves instead of one long workout.

Don’t have the money? Walking, running, jumping jacks and other body weight movements are free. There are countless videos and Pinterest workouts, also free.

Too old? No such thing. In fact, there is no person too old to exercise. Walking, water walking, chair yoga, etc.

Kids keep you from it? Oh, this just an excuse because there are countless moves that can be done with kids either holding, keeping them close or with them joining in.

Back hurts? There are plenty of moves that help the back. Also, plenty of back friendly workout plans, no one said you had to squat your body weight or start running. Yoga, Pilates, stretching, Thai Chi, etc.

Too overweight? Pounds are never an excuse. You need to start slower, consider walking, swimming, etc.

Already thin? Weight is not the only reason to workout. Health is why one should exercise. You can be thin and unhealthy just as you can be overweight and healthy. Thin does not equal health

No more excuses, act!

Not a fan of counting calories.

I don’t typically count calories. I do have one exception: if the container provides them. I primarily dine on plant based foods and there are no calories printed on broccoli, spinach or tomatoes. I buy bulk and those items don’t have labels once I get them home; such as quinoa, beans, nut butters, nuts, oat grouts, etc. The items that have labels include eggs, cheese, coconut oil and avocado oil which I know to consume in smaller quantities.

I base my food portions for what I am eating. If I am eating a healthy item (read plant based and not processed) I give myself a healthy portion. If it is a more processed version, then smaller portions of it. If it is a known caloric item such as nuts, nut butters, cheeses and oils; then I use sparingly or know that my general caloric intake will be higher for that meal or day.

I am not a fan of counting calories, I think that if we eat healthy we shouldn’t have to count our calories. We as a society are stuck on counting calories and I understand why with the horrifying rise of obesity in our nation. But often what we choose to eat and the number of calories we allow ourselves put us in problematic cycles of starvation and depletion of nutrients. You also cannot expect to get all your nutrients if you pick processed foods with high calorie counts and limit your intake of total calories. But that is another topic for another time.

This may sound like a simple idea, but I understand that it is not. We want easy, fast and healthy. Sadly, we cannot have all three. It can be easy and fast but it won’t be healthy. And healthy takes time to prep so it’s not always fast and easy is often up for debate. My suggestion is take all the energy you put into counting calories and put into creating meals that are made from fresh ingredients. You just might stop stressing over what can you eat and start getting excited at what you get to eat!

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To Lunge or Not to Lunge

One of my favorite moves for toning and strengthening the lower body is the lunge. I love the lunge. I like walking lunges, curtsy lunges, reverse lunges, lateral lunges…and the list goes on. It is excellent for leaning out the upper thigh, toning the glutes and even brings in balance and core. The only problem with the lunge is that some of us may have knee problems, thus making the lunge a troublesome move. And for those of us with knee discomfort we need to strengthen the legs using other moves. Today I give you a list of lower body moves that I suggest in place of the lunge.

imagesSquat – this is my second favorite lower body move. Great for building the quadriceps, gluteals and core. I personally prefer weighted squats but if you have knee discomfort, you need to start with body weight only. Focus on form vs depth at the start. Standing tall with feet hip joint width apart and sit the heels back as if you are sitting into a chair. Your weight will move primarily to the heels, if you are feeling weight in the toes you are not sitting back and putting unnecessary pressure on your knees. Go down as far as you can comfortably, being mindful of knee comfort. Then press through your heels and return to standing. 12-15 reps. untitled

Wall sit – If motion is a problem, then take it to a sturdy wall and stand with your back to the wall. Walk your feet out while keeping entire back on the wall (from hips up to shoulders). Your goal is to walk out to a 90 degree angle on the knee. Most people need to work their way to this level. You can keep feet/knees hip joint width apart or wider to find that happy place for your knee. Hold for 20 seconds, building up to being able to hold for a full minute.

untitled (2)Step up – Start with the bottom stair or small bench. Facing the bench/stair, step up with one leg followed by the second and step back down followed by the other leg. Pick a lead leg, so that whichever leg goes up first also down first. Do this move 10-20 times on one side and then switch lead legs so each leg has its turn leading the move. As you feel stronger and knee is not a problem, try higher step heights.untitled (3)

Bridge – lie on the floor, bring your feet in toward the hips, feet flat on the floor with knees pointing to ceiling and hip width apart. Push down through your heels as you lift your hips up and lower in a smooth, slow and rhythmic motion. To add difficulty, feel free to lift one leg to the sky and pushing through one heel. This adds more weight to the pushing leg. 12-15 each leg or total.

untitled (4)Standing leg extension – Start by standing near a solid support (wall, counter, railing). Stand on one leg and lift the knee so the upper leg is parallel to the floor. Holding that position, slowly extend the leg so it is straight and return to folded leg. Be mindful that you are not lowering the upper leg. Now, not everyone is flexible enough to extend the leg fully while elevated. This you will work up to. If you are able to do the extension fully, try adding balance by moving further away from solid support (close enough to grab if you wobble but far enough you are forced to balance while extending and lowering leg. Do 10-15 each leg.

Knee health is so important, unless directed otherwise by a doctor, you need to incorporated strengthening moves in your weekly fitness routine. Avoiding moves that aggravate the area while determining the moves that strengthen it.  Great addition to your current strength program especially is you are avoiding legs due to weak knees.

 

There are no shortcuts in health eating

We live in a world where we want the work done for us. We call them shortcuts. Unfortunately, with healthy eating, shortcuts are not so healthy. You need to do the work to get the benefit. Quick packaged meals and snacks are not the best option. Your body needs real food as often as possible. Not factory manufactured foods that tell you they are good for you. I am a firm believer that it the package has to tell you it’s healthy…it is a lie. Have yet to see an apple telling me it’s good for me or asparagus tips toting their many health benefits.

If you want to be healthy. Really healthy, feel good, happy body and mind healthy, then you need to feed it healthy foods. They are natural, not manufactured and you have to prepare them either by slicing, dicing, and many times cooking them. They are not in a package that you slide in the microwave and can eat in 45 seconds. There are plenty of great healthy meals that take hours to prepare, but there are many more that can be ready with a few minutes of your time. You need to create your list of quick meals and have ingredients around for weekly meals. You also need to plan out meals and have a day for meal prep. Busy schedules are why meal prep is vital to healthy eating, you need to come up with meals and prepare them in advance for quick access on busier days and for lunches.

There are no shortcuts. Don’t look for shortcuts. You have to do the work if you want to eat healthy and be healthy.

Stay tuned this week for some healthy prep-ahead meal ideas to keep your busy schedules from sidelining your healthy eating goals.

Reconsider the New Year’s Resolution

I think everyone should ditch the old way of doing New Year’s Resolutions. I think you should instead incorporate a monthly ‘promise’.

Here is how it would work: Each month you have a promise. It can be anything you want…walk the dog more, exercise 3 times per week, go meatless during the week, start meditation, eat or drink less of something, etc. Any change you feel your life needs. And I wouldn’t even plot out each month in advance, just make a list of changes you want to see for yourself. Before each month starts, pick a promise and write out realistically how you can incorporate it during the month. You are only promising to do what you picked for that one month. Towards the end of the month note what worked and what didn’t and decide if it’s something worth keeping in your life. If it is something that worked, then keep it, tweak it and decide how it works going forward. If it didn’t work, ditch it or even come up with a different promise for the list, especially if it was a change you really wanted. The idea is that you set these goals in smaller bite sized pieces and in a short time frame that has a very visible end. There are twelve months in the year and plenty of time to start new habits. I have even ‘revisited’ one month’s plan later in the year with a new plan for that same promise as I too have my struggles. But I wouldn’t do it two months in a row unless you think that is how you operate best.

Each month you do repeat the process. Pick a promise, make a plan and you have that one month to execute it. Each month is a fresh slate, each month can be the determining factor for what you pick off your list. If a months’ promise worked, then leave it as a regular part of your life. If not, pat yourself on the back for making the attempt or trying something new. The idea is that you have these experiences and they are more pleasant and rewarding.

Happiest and Healthiest New Year to you!