Tag Archives: Get to stepping

No Time Like the Present

17 Nov
wine

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When embarking on your weight-loss journey, there are a multitude of reasons to delay your departure. You need to plan out a schedule; you need to figure out what foods to cook; you need to wait for the Saturn’s fourth moon to align with Jupiter.

Waiting to start is just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. The second you decide it’s time to take better care of your health, then take better care of your health. At that moment you can make several small adjustments before taking on a serious weight-loss regimen.

1. Pack your own lunch. There is so much sodium and fat in the foods you buy at McDonald’s, Subway or even Chipotle. And we all love Chipotle. But why not just make a salad and take it with you to work? Steam that pack of frozen veggies that have been sitting in your freezer. Dust off that cookbook your mom got you a few years ago and find something quick and light to eat.

2. Go for a walk. Walking is exercise. Depending on how much you do, it can be intense. Take a walking lunch at work. Park your car further away from the entrance so you can take more steps. Take the stairs. You’ll be challenging yourself to do something different. People regret the steps they didn’t take, not the ones they did.

3. Clean out your cabinets. When you’ve decided to take an active role in your health, you should get rid of the temptation to do bad things. Most of those bad things reside in your cabinets. There you will find all the cookies, chips, sodas, juices and all-around unhealthy snacks that have been doing you harm. They’ve got to go. No one likes wasted food, so donate the unopened packages to a food bank. Take the open ones to work. If your co-workers are anything like mine, the cookies and chips will be gone by lunchtime.

4. Don’t order that fourth glass of wine. I’ve often been out with friends when they’ve decided they’ll get back on track come Monday. In the meantime, “Another Long Island Ice Tea, please!” That’s not doing you any good. If you plan to “get back on track come Monday” (whatever that means), why would you set yourself back even further than where you are now? You can order a lighter dish at a restaurant. You can cut back on the alcohol you consume. Come Monday, it won’t be as hard to make the effort.

bugeyes

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5. Know that your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. As I said before, you don’t have to clear your plate. A lot of restaurants give you way too much food. The stomach isn’t that big. And if you go to a restaurant hungry—or my personal favorite, your grandmother’s house—you’re setting yourself up to overeat. Divide the items on your plate, putting half in a to-go container. Drink some water. If you’re still hungry 15 minutes later, by all means keep eating. But don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s placed before you. That’s why we have refrigerators and Tupperware.

Now’s as good a time as any to take action on your health. Waiting until Monday just gives you more time to come up with excuses to delay your plan. These little steps will help you move forward while you figure out a plan of action.

What small steps do you take to take control of your health?

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End of Summer Vacation

2 Sep
This summer, I could have been doing more of this...

This summer, I could have been doing more of this…

The worst season of all is upon us, but don’t let that get you down. If you’re in New York, you’re experiencing the long-awaited heatwave that was promised at the end of May. Let’s use it to our advantage.

Yes, Labor Day is over. Though the wretched fall season won’t begin until Sept. 23, its’ Back to School and Back to Work for the rest of us. We took the summer off to lay about on the beach, in the grass, by the grill, etc. It was too nice outside to stay in the gym. Working out seemed like a good idea, but there were sooooo many concerts to go attend. Sure, we all ate lots of fresh fruits and veggies this summer, but those bottomless mimosas couldn’t be left alone on the table, could they?

We just have to come to grips with the work that’s ahead of us. So how do you turn off summer brain to prepare the grunt work of fall?

1. Deal. If the first step toward recovery is acceptance, the first step toward getting back on track is admitting you got off track. It happens to all of us. And you. Will. Deal! Don’t beat yourself up about it, just accept you’re at a new starting point.

But this seemed like more fun.

But this seemed like more fun.

2. How’d you get here? Summer days almost require laziness. From brunch to the day party to the concert in the park later that night, you’ve found yourself doing things you wouldn’t make time for in the fall or winter. For me, it wasn’t so much the lack of activity (though I didn’t grind as hard as I usually do during the year) as it was the alcohol. Between the vacations and brunches, I emptied a few cups. Alcohol causes your body to burn its calories faster, leaving the food you eat stored as fat. So, a lot of those omelettes went to my waist line.

3. Remember the fun times. Working out and monitoring your diet can be a drag. It’s no fun being the responsible one. But there had to have been a point in the journey where you not only enjoyed the fruits of your labor, you also enjoyed some of the laborious acts. Is there a dish you really enjoy making? Is there a class you haven’t been to in a while? When was the last time you saw your friends at the gym? One of the easy ways to stay off track is focusing on the negative. This is your journey, and having a negative attitude about it will keep you from doing good work.

4. The never-ending journey. The weight-loss process and healthy lifestyle aren’t just things you’re doing for a little while. Full commitment means understanding this is a life change. And in life you will stumble while trying to make yourself better. You didn’t fall off your diet. You didn’t stop your workout program. You didn’t pay much attention to what you were doing. We’re in the season now of getting it back together. Do that with the knowledge that your focus shifted for a short while on your lifetime journey.

I don’t know about you, but this summer was a fun one, even if it felt a little short. I got to see friends and family I hadn’t seen in a while. I took some awesome trips and met some really great people. I can incorporate this summer’s lessons into my lifetime journey, just as you can. Let’s do it, people!

How was your summer? Did you enjoy it so much you feel you may have gotten off the fitness track? What are your plans for fall?

Every Little Step I Take

24 Jun
Who wouldn't want to go exploring on a day like this?

Who wouldn’t want to go exploring on a day like this?

For the past few weeks, I had been in beast mode. I’d been living off of salads, lean meats and beans. I’d been hitting the gym and the pavement extra hard to keep my body in motion.

And I was dog tired.

All I wanted to do is sleep when I was done. My dog had been getting the bare minimum of attention because I couldn’t keep up with him—and he’s 13. That’s 91 in dog years. So basically I was being punked in the energy department by a nonagenarian. Excuse me while I sweep up my ego.

I know I’ve got to keep moving and watching what I eat in order to maintain my health, but it’s difficult to maintain beast-mode levels of diet and exercise. So what’s a girl to do?

I got to stepping. The weather has been phenomenal in New York. We’ve had sunny skies with warm, breezy temps. It’s been perfect for lounging. But instead, I started walking.

Just keep stepping. Just keep stepping.

GIFSoup

I’ve discussed before on here how I love exploring New York and the benefits of living in a walking city. But when you need to stay active and just keep your body moving, nothing beats walking.

Walking has to be one of the most underrated forms of exercise. You’ve been doing it since you were a toddler. You know how it works. You generally have some idea of where you’re going. And it’s an easy group activity.

So why is it the red-headed stepchild of workout routines? Because of all the reasons I mentioned above, especially the part of how you’ve been doing it since you were a toddler. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

People need to keep moving. We’re like sharks in that if we don’t move, we die. There are actually thousands upon thousands of articles on the web that tell of the benefits of walking, especially getting in the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

Ten thousand may seem extreme, but it can be accomplished pretty easily.

1. Get a pedometer. My hiatus from beast mode has made my pedometer my friend. You’d be surprised how many steps you actually take in a day. If you have a sedentary job like I do, you probably think you take maybe 3,000 steps a day. But what about walking into work? Walking to a co-worker’s desk or another department in your building? The jumping off point to see how many more steps you need to take a day. Who knows? You might be hitting the 10,000 mark on the regular and not even know it.

2. Go on a boo stroll. Summertime is great for cheap dates. And nothing’s cheaper than free. So grab your boo and pull a Jill Scott (take a long long  around the park after dark). You can get to know each other better and burn some calories in the process. It’s a win-win.

3. Walking lunch. Eating at your desk can be a bummer, but so is having to get a wider chair because your butt is expanding. So take that half-hour or so you would to go down to the cafeteria and walk a few blocks around your office. Grab a co-worker so you two can vent about your day. It’s a great mental health break from your job and a fantastic physical health benefit to your body.

4. Park further away/take longer route from the subway. Unless you’re hauling heavy equipment on the regular, there’s no need to park right in front of the office or at the grocery store. A few extra steps won’t kill you. If you’re like me and public transportation is your pal, walk a little further to the next subway stop. Instead of walking the five blocks to my nearest station, I sometimes will walk 10 minutes to a different one. It gives me a small sense of accomplishment.

5. Become a hometown tourist. There’s nothing like discovering something new about your own town. Get off at a stop you’ve never been to before. Drive to a different part of town and walk around. Look up what’s happening in a different area than you usually hang out and go there. See what else your city has to offer outside of your own zip code. You’ll be adding steps in no time.

Keeping it moving is essential keeping your metabolism going. Walking is a great way to do that. And it’s the first exercise you learned. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

How many steps do you think you take in a day?

It’s a Sabotage

24 Mar
Look at that. Isn't it glorious?

Look at that. Isn’t it glorious?

Throughout life, you learn a few things about yourself. I’ve learned that I hate when people are late. I love any activity that allows lounge time. I’m also a bit of a self saboteur.

It’s not something I do on purpose. I don’t seek to hinder my progress. However, I end up doing it anyway, knowing when I’m in the middle of it that I’m headed down the wrong path. For example, I’ve found that I can talk myself into not eating, thereby making my cravings for, say, a three-piece spicy chicken strip meal from Popeye’s that much stronger.

Self sabotage can happen when you’ve gotten complacent in your routine. When you know the rules of weight loss, you know how to break them. What ends up happening is you eventually get complacent in your complacency, leading you to self sabotage. You know this cookie won’t hurt in the grand scheme of things, so you have two more. You know you didn’t work out today, but you’re going to work out extra tomorrow.

Hunger and cravings are two different things. It took a while for me to learn that during my weight-loss journey. But when that clicked—hunger means you need to eat; craving is what you want to eat—it changed the way I looked at food. A spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s will always seem like a good idea when you haven’t eaten in eight hours.

And that’s my problem—taking a long time between meals. Like most people, I can get very busy at work. There have been days where I get to the office at about 10:30 in the morning and don’t leave until about 9 that night because I’ve been doing my daily work and other stuff. It’s a thing that happens to a lot of folks. When those days occur in succession, it can be hard to keep up with any type of meal plan and workout regimen. If you’ve been strapped to your desk for six hours, all your body wants is to not be hungry. Your mind, however, is telling you that there’s a Five Guys down the street that will have your Cajun fries ready in a jiffy.

I know from routine and practice that going to the nearest fast-food spot isn’t in my best interests. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve talked myself into waiting to eat so I can go. I’ll tell myself that having a few chicken nuggets isn’t so bad because I hadn’t had anything else and it will still count toward my calorie count for the day.

The problem with that thinking is I’m not doing myself any good. I’m getting in some calories to fuel my body, but they’re the wrong ones. I’m loading up on useless carbs and fats that will be even harder to work off. It’s not that I can’t ever have these kinds of foods ever again (that’s not going to happen because I love Wendy’s so much). But I can’t keep promising myself that I’m going to do better tomorrow while loading up on Popeye’s biscuits today.

One of the lessons I’ve learned to avoid self sabotage is just to be prepared. Have a box of granola bars in your desk. Don’t leave the house without an apple or a pear. Drink water. Know where the healthy-food options are in relation to the fast-food ones. If there’s a salad shop next to your fave McDonald’s, try the salad shop.

When cravings hit, it’s hard to drown out the sounds of your head and your stomach. But only one is also speaking to the people around you, so why not give it something useful.

What do you do when you find yourself veering off track.

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Beauty and the Beast

24 Feb
The keys to beast mode.

The keys to beast mode.

One of the main reason many people decide to diet and exercise is so they can look good. Is it shallow? Maybe. Does it have its benefits? Absolutely.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to drop a few pounds to be beach ready by summer. Some people want to drop a whole human in order to look good at their weddings. People who take this approach, I’ve found, are very sensitive about their appearance. These people will have a problem with what I call “the beast.”

The beast is what happens to you when you get in a zone in your workout. After weeks of trying, you’ve gotten into the supported headstand at yoga. You’ve completed that fourth mile and are on your way to the fifth. You’re able to peddle through third position in high gear without giving up. You’re in beast mode! Congratulations!

The price you pay for beast mode is sweat. It’s sticky, wet clothes. It’s limp hair. It’s the look of a drowned rat. Yay! You can work out. Boo! You look like you’ve just survived a shipwreck.

How can those of us who take pride in our appearances reconcile the process that does this to us? Here are a few tips to let your pretty girl rock while you sweat it out.

Bright Is Right. One of the reasons so many running clothes are bright is because you need to be seen, especially when you’re running in the dark. One of the added perks to these bright colors is that it can literally brighten your day. Wear that bright tank top to the gym one day. Think of your workout wardrobe as a mood ring. If you want to pump up your energy, wear something red. If you need a perky pick-me-up, try something green or yellow. Color looks good on everyone, so try one to boost your mood.

Post-Sweat ‘Fit at the Ready. I’m a firm believer in preparation, and this tip is all about preparation. If you know you’re going to bang it out on the weights, grunting and sweating all over the place, have your change of clothes ironed and hanging up in the locker room. Motivation is a good way to keep a positive outlook. If the beast comes out in the gym, at least you know she’ll stay there.

Tie It Back. Nothing says keep it moving like a good pony. When I was growing my natural hair out, I couldn’t wait until the day I could just pull it up into a ponytail. A sleek pony will do the trick every time. Right now, I’ve got my hair braided, which was my go-to style when I began my weight-loss journey. Braids can be pulled up into a pony with ease, and it always helps you put your best face forward.

Smell Goods. Your toiletry bag at the gym should be stocked with the following: your favorite body wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and lotion. If you need to wash your hair after the gym (I don’t), an unscented shampoo will work. You don’t want to overload the senses when you walk out. A light-smelling lotion will offer all the whiff you need when you step out.

Confident Strut. One of the reasons ‘Yonce can say she woke up like dih is because she worked her butt off to do so. If you are between ideal weights and still in beast mode, no one will really know but you. So strut your stuff, diva. You’ve worked hard. You’ve put in work. You may not have gotten right where you want just yet, but you are on the path. So get your get ’em girl shoes on and Naomi Campbell walk because you did the damn thing today.

Never let the thought of the beast keep you from embracing it. Getting into beast mode is what will get you to your goal. It’s the fire you have inside pushing you to where you want to be.

Plus, being in beast mode is just temporary. We don’t walk around sweating all day (I hope). No one curls 10-to-20-pound weights all the time. It’s something we do to achieve the goal. And if your goal is pretty, then you’re going to have to deal with the ugly.

How do you reconcile your inner beast with your need for beauty?

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