Monthly Archives: November 2013

Find What you Like and Just Move!

I recently had a conversation with the ladies that I work with at my office about different types of activities that we like to do for exercise. It’s funny how each of us were so different. For example, one lady likes to run on the treadmill for cardio, the next one said she preferred water aerobics, another said she hated water aerobics and I mentioned how I like exercise classes but hate solely running on the treadmill. All completely different responses! What one person likes, the other hates. This got me to thinking again how it’s important to not tell someone what to do, but let them find what types of activities they like and to stick with it. There is no rule stating “Thou must run on the treadmill to gain benefits of exercise”. You just have to move! Just because you like to do something, doesn’t mean your spouse, friend, sibling etc. will like it too. I could (and have) promoted zumba until I was blue in the face, because that’s truly an exercise I love. This same exercise I love could be torturous for the uncoordinated and socially nervous individual.

What’s my point? If you’re trying to help someone become more active, DO NOT and I repeat, DO NOT tell them what to do. Sure, you can make suggestions because there may be activities out there they have no idea about (i.e. intramural sports, community centre facilities, bootcamp classes at the park, snowshoeing clubs, mall walking clubs etc.).

Time and time again I have read and learned that when it comes to exercise, no one likes being told what to do. We all like to be autonomous and make our own decisions about our lives. We like being in control. If you want to hear more about the psychology behind it, check out the Self Determination Theory (created way before my time in the 70’s-80’s 😉 I wasn’t even thought of at that point). Here’s a quick example: If you’re a smoker, don’t you feel super defensive if someone tells you to quit? It’s not as simply as:
Person A: Quit Smoking.
Person B: Okay.
If that was the case, I’d be telling you all right now, “Go out and get at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous activity”. How many of you are up and off your bums right now? Believe it or not, if you tell someone what to do, the exact opposite will happen. They’ll think of reasons why they don’t want to do it and they won’t do it. Why? They are controlling their life by saying no. They are making the decision to not do what you just told them to do instead of complying to your request.

I may be naĂŻve in thinking that everyone must like something in order to be active, but I feel as though it has to be true. Please, find what you like and just move. Make this newly Registered Kinesiologist happy and try different activities so you can get the benefits of exercise. There are countless of benefits exercise for health and it also helps boost your mood and look your best.

Yes it’s hard, but JUST MOVE!

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Good News for Over-Eating in the Holiday Season

Do you overeat during the holidays? I do too. There are just so many good foods that are enjoyed during this time of the year. Some of my favourite: Candy Cane ice cream, mashed potatoes with cream cheese, stuffing and short bread cookies. Apart from the food being so delicious, there is just SO MUCH of it!

I read an article from the New York Times called the Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise (You will see the link for it at the bottom of my blog). This article examines a study published by researchers in Bath England that looked at exercise when you’re over-consuming calories. Here are some key points from the article:

– Participants in the study were told to reduce their physical activity and over consume food for one week (Physical activity was reduced from ~10,000 steps per day to ~4,000)
– Half of the participants were told to exercise for only 45 minutes once per day, moderate intensity and the other half was told to remain sedentary for the whole week

Results:
– Non-Exercise Group: decline in blood sugar control (bad thing), fat cells developed a malicious streak (having a big impact on metabolism)
– Exercise Group: Not similarly afflicted, blood sugar control remained robust and fat cells did not drastically change
– Quote from the article: “Exercise seemed to completely cancel out many of the changes induced by overfeeding and reduced activity,” said Dylan Thompson, a professor of health sciences at the University of Bath and senior author of the study. And where it did not countermand the impacts, he continued, it “softened” them, leaving the exercise group “better off than the nonexercise group,” despite engaging in equivalently insalubrious behavior.
– Quote: “if you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity” — also known as the holidays — “a daily bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes, at least in the short term,” Dr. Thompson said. Of course, his study involved young, fit men and a relatively prolonged period of exercise. But the findings likely apply, he said, to other groups, like older adults and women, and perhaps to lesser amounts of training. That’s a possibility worth embracing as the pie servings accumulate.

BOTTOM LINE:

This holiday season, spend approximately 45 min each day being active and you will greatly reduce your chances of packing on the pounds. Get up, move around, but still enjoy your holiday goodies.

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http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/the-power-of-a-daily-bout-of-exercise/?_r=1&

Yummy Healthier Pizzas

As soon as I saw these recipes, my mouth started to salivate. It’s funny because I hated pizza until I was in grade 8 and now the instant I see pizza (mind you, I like the healthier pizzas with chicken, goat cheese and spinach), I crave it. Here are some great alternatives to pizza recipes I found on Lauren Conrad’s website. The first pizza was made by her and the second was made by Eat, Drink, Smile.

Here’s Lauren’s recipe/comments:

Whenever I get an insatiable pizza craving (and I’m trying to be good), I come up with alternative ways I can enjoy that cheesy, saucy taste sans carbs…

A few weeks ago, I attempted a carb-less version (see Exhibit A) that I kind of made up. Basically, I threw together all the veggies I could find (zucchini, broccoli, tomato, onion, mushrooms) and steamed them. Once they were tender, I mixed them with chunky tomato sauce and poured the hodgepodge of vegetables it into a baking dish. Finally, I layered sliced mozzarella cheese over the top and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (until the cheese melted). To be honest, it was pretty darn good. And it totally hit the spot! After the success of this experiment I did as any good blogger would do and took to the Internet in search of a truly carb-less pizza recipe to share with all of you. And let me tell you, I found a goldmine!

Exhibit A:

Recipe Box: Doughless Pizza

 

It may sound so wrong, but it’s just so right: Cauliflower Crust Pizza. I found the recipe on Eat, Drink, Smile and am really excited to try it. The entire crust is only 434 calories, which is just insane. Usually a single slice of pizza will cost you 400 calories alone. With this cauliflower version, one serving is just 109 calories. Crazy… Anyway, I have posted the recipe for you below. I’d love to hear what you think about it after giving it a try…

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe courtesy of Eat, Drink, Smile.

Recipe Box: Doughless Pizza

 

Serves 2
Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • olive oil (optional)
  • pizza sauce, shredded cheese and choice of your toppings*

Instructions
To “rice” the Cauliflower: Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself. One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

*Note: Toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.
For more tips on making this recipe, check out Eat, Drink, Smile.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive Thinking is extremely powerful. Many times it’s so hard to think positively in situations because it seems so gosh darn difficult to. You feel like your worlds about to fall apart or you feel like it’s unchangeable. Over the past few months, I have really tried to form my thoughts and my words to focus on it being more positive. I am trying to frame my mindset and re-word things to make them better. For example, if I feel like I am getting sick, I used to think “Oh no! I don’t want to get sick! I can’t get sick!”. Instead, I will tell myself “I am happy and healthy” repeatedly throughout the day. I feel that by saying things in the more positive way, I am more likely to remain healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I still take my Vitamin C, Echinacea and Oil of Oregano but I continuously think positively. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it gets easier with time.

Why not think positively? I once heard a quote that said something like (I suck at quotes so don’t quote my quote), “Your brain has room for only one thought at a time. Why not make it a positive one”? So true. Why not? If you had a choice, wouldn’t you much rather think the positive way versus the negative way? Why not choose to see the good in situations, instead of strictly the bad. What do good things do? They make you happy, cause you to calm down and actually think clearly and reduce your heart rate. Thinking negatively will cause you to increase your heart rate, cause you to more likely think irrational thoughts and just make you feel worse about yourself. It’s a lot less likely that good things will come out of thinking negatively versus thinking positively.

From this point on, think positively. Why the hek not? There’s really no good reason to not think positively. Situations — both positive and negative — shape us to who we are today.

Think positively — I dare ya!

The Awesomeness of Grapefruit

I have to admit, I have never been a fan of grapefruit, and I still am not 100% in love with the aftertaste, but I have been having grapefruits more regularly now. Why? There are so many benefits! Here are the benefits of grapefruit based on Tone It Up’s website:

  • Curbs your appetite, creating a full feeling in your tummy!
  • Stimulates the liver to activate fat burning enzymes, that break down fatty acids in the body.
  • Contains a flavonoid called naringin that helps with your insulin levels. It’s the reason for the bitter taste, but we add a littte stevia. Grapefruit is amazing as a weight loss food because it’s low glycemic Index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Naringin also helps with insulin sensitivity. The hormone insulin is released when your blood sugar spikes, causing you to crash, store the calories as fat and be hungrier sooner. Grapefruit actually lowers insulin levels which helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady so the calories are used as energy instead.
  • Naringin also promotes lean muscle growth in an anabolic state (after those workouts when your body is repairing!)
  • Contains cancer-fighting compounds like liminoids and lycopene
  • Packed with over 200mg of vitamin C & has other vitamins such as A, B complex (for hair skin & nails), E & K.
  • Contains calcium, folic acid (eat up prenatal mamas!), phosphorus & potassium
  • Has an alkaline reaction after digestion ~ helping you stay balanced!
  • Contains bioflavonoids that have been found to lower excess estrogen levels and helps to stop breast cancer from spreading.
  • Curbs that sweet tooth!
  • Assists in digestion
  • Helps with detoxing the liver.. after a fun night out with the girls!

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Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Since it’s getting colder outside, a great way to warm your belly and your heart is by having a warm, healthy recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner :). Check out Lauren Conrad’s Recipe on Mini Chicken Pot Pies that have found to be a hit!

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Ingredients:

  • muffin pan
  • 2 rolls of whole wheat refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1 cup diced russet potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup diced green beans
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup roasted chicken, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper for taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth (to make these heartier, use cream of chicken soup)

Instructions: 1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Then, in a large bowl, mix together your diced vegetables, chicken broth, eggs, and shredded chicken. (For the chicken, I just bought a whole roasted chicken from the market, pulled the meat off the bone, and shredded it.)

2. Take your whole-wheat dough and, using your fingers, divide it into the muffin holes, forming a mini crust in each.

3. Fill each muffin hole with your pot pie mixture. I filled mine up pretty full (but not so they overflowed) because I wanted more filling than dough in my pot pies.

4. Sprinkle a touch of salt and pepper on top of each pot pie.

5.    Bake for 25-30 minutes until each one is golden brown.

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For what the recipe looks like step by step, check it out here: http://laurenconrad.com/blog/post/recipe-healthy-mini-chicken-vegetable-pot-pies-lauren-conrad-november-2013

No Bake Cookie Dough Bites by Lauren Conrad

How often do you hear that cookie dough recipes are “heart-healthy”? Well these are!! These delicious No Bake Cookie Dough Bites are guilt free.

Ingredients

Makes 12 LC+Cookie+Bites+w+title

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 scoop Protein
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Âź cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Combine oats and cashews in a food processor and grind into a flour-like consistency.
  2. Add maple syrup, Protein and vanilla; blend again until smooth.
  3. Transfer dough into a mixing bowl and stir in cacao nibs by hand.
  4. Roll the dough into approximately 12 chocolate truffle-sized balls. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for later.

If you want to see what the recipe is supposed to look like along the way, check out the website here: http://laurenconrad.com/blog/post/recipe-box-healthy-no-bake-cookie-dough-bites

Accountability is Key to your Success

Often times while reading my notes, I have found that accountability is key to successfully reaching your healthy goals. What this means is you tell someone, whether it be a family member, friend, coworker or even a health coach, about your goal and they check in with you regularly to see how your goals are coming along. Since you’re having to be accountable, you’re more likely to stick to your goals for many different reasons. It may be because you are embarrassed if you do not reach your goals, maybe you’d be excited to tell someone that you have been achieving your goals or maybe for some other reasons. You can even be held accountable by making a contract with yourself. For example, your contract could state, “I will exercise 3 times per week starting today, November 20th, 2013” or even “I will do one exercise video every night until my vacation”.

I make myself accountable through an exercise group called “Tone It Up”. Tone it Up was created by two personal trainers, Karena and Katrina. K&K have made meal plans, exercise videos and a community where girls can talk to each other, check in by telling others what they were eating that day and writing down their goals. Girls can even ask questions to other girls that are a part of the community. For example, I vowed that I would do one exercise video every night (unless I am able to do a full hour of exercise at the gym or a wellness program) until I go on my vacation. Once I reach my vacation, I will commit to daily walks on the beach and also will want to do some form of activity 3 days of that week.

Make yourself accountable to help you reach success easier. On the days/weeks you don’t reach your goal, it’s okay! Everyone has off days. We can’t be perfect 100% of the time.

The last thing I want to leave you with is this. Someone posted a fun little quote up on their facebook that I wanted to share.

“Wow, I really regret that workout.” – No one ever.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Tone It Up, check out their website here: http://toneitup.com/

Cheap and Easy Ways to do Cardio this Winter!

Winter is coming (boo!) which means the cold weather is coming. Less people are walking outside, which means more of us are sitting on the couch, trying to be warm. Don’t let the cold weather detour you from your goals of living an active life. If you were walking outside because you aren’t a fan of working out in the gym, you don’t have time to travel to the gym and workout or your finances do not allow you to go to the gym, there are many different ways you can be active instead.

There are many different ways to beat the cold, stay indoors and still get a really great exercise in — some are even for free! Here are a list of cardio exercises you can do at home:

1. Run or walk up and down the stairs for 10 minutes at a timeimagesCA6T61J6
2. Jumping jacks
3. Burpees (yeah, yeah… I know… but they are AWESOME for you!)
4. Jumping on a mini trampoline
5. When watching TV, briskly march on the spot on TV commercial breaks
6. Youtube exercise videos (my personal favourites are the Tone it Up videos by Karena and Katrina)
7. Skipping – either with or without a jump rope
8. Running on the spot with high knees
9. Dancing around the house while cleaning/playing with your kids

Remember, you do not have to exercise for an hour at a time in order to reap benefits. Research says that exercising as little as ten minutes at a time can have significant health benefits. Just remember, activities should be moderate to vigorous.

What is moderate and what is vigorous?

Moderate activities: you are able to talk, but you wouldn’t be able to sing
Vigorous activities: you can say more than a few words without pausing for a breath

Want to brace the cold and do some winter activities outside (when the snow gets here, of course)
1. Cross Country SkiingDSC_0026
2. Horseshoeing
3. Downhill skiing
4. Tobogganing (you have to lug your sleigh back up the hill, right?)
5. Skating
6. Building snow forts and throwing snowballs at each other (now, play nice of course)
 
Hope this list helped you figure out some great ways to stay active this winter! What are some of the things you are doing for physical activity? Comment below!
 
Pictures from: http://www.sceniccaves.com/activities/nordic-centre/cross-country-skiing/ and http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/exercises-commercial-breaks-2755.html

Did you know?: The Cold Hard Truth of Being Sedentary

In my perfect world, I would have a job that allows me to be up and moving on a regular basis. My background is in Kinesiology, therefore, I am constantly wanting to move. One day I will have a job that will allow me to do this, but I currently have a desk job. I know about all the risks of being sedentary, but people don’t seem to be bothered by it. Some people are comfortable being sedentary but do you really know the cold hard truth of what it’s doing to your body?

Here are a few potential risks of being Sedentary from my CSEP-PATH notes:untitled

1. Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
2. Increased risk of coronary heart disease
3. Risk of premature mortality (yes, I just said… being sedentary may cause you to die earlier)
4. Increase risk of unfavourable body composition
5. Increase risk of high blood glucose levels
6. Decreased fitness (you won’t be able to carry out those daily habits as easily)
7. Decreased self-esteem
8. Decreased academic achievement

Are you curious to see how active you are? Go out and get a pedometer or download an app on your smartphone which does the same thing. Pedometers are great for tracking the amount of steps you take in each day. You may be surprised at how much or how little activities you do each day. At the end of the day, write down the amount of steps you take and try to increase your step count by approximately 100 steps each day. You can do it!