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Thanking your Jedi Master, From Apprentice

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Over the past couple weeks I have had “writers block.”  Part of the reason for this is because I do so much writing and editing for work and also school.  Currently my class is British literature, the era long before our 21st century hype regarding nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, and lately my writing has been geared towards middle English rather than modern English.

Anyway, recently I have been thinking about my coach.

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This is not her, but truly she is my Jedi Master, I am her apprentice.

I want to dedicate this blog especially to her this morning.  Laura, thank you!  You have inspired me to do what I never could have done alone, and was literally failing to accomplish traveling solo.

I do not believe my path crossed accidentally with Laura’s.  I was at a place in my life where I felt one last glimmer of hope and one last strength to reach out.  I honestly cannot even remember how I found Laura, but I am thankful every day for that moment.  I knew I needed some type of additional support and accountability to change my lifestyle, and she was that link.

Do you have a fitness/nutrition/life coach?  Just that extra hand to hold or shadow to follow can make all the difference, trust me.

The most important thing I believe I have learned from Laura is that I am not alone in my struggles or my desires to leave an unhealthy lifestyle.  I have also had to let go of some of my stubbornness  and independence.  She has shown me the importance of “rinse and repeat.”  Consistency is the pot of gold.

Have you been involved in an accountability/challenge group?  The strength of others, similar mindsets and inspiration found in such a group has changed my life.  We are all so very human and there truly is strength in numbers.  Out of these groups I have learned correct ways to eat and count calories (not approximate!), how to make exercise and fitness part of my everyday life (not a chore!), the importance of water, I have been introduced to Shakeology (the healthiest meal of my day and responsible for the disappearance of most ALL of my RA/fibromyalgia pain), and I have lost almost 20 pounds the healthy way!

So, I want to say thank you again, Laura.  You have been such a blessing in my life.  You are the product of the product, and because of your realness, gentleness and also firm reminders, you have so inspired me and been one of the most important reasons for my success today.  I love you, dear Jedi Master!

Will you consider being an apprentice?  Think about “rinse and repeat.”  Also, choose to make a healthy step today if you have been full of doubt or hopelessness.  Join a Challenge Group.  Give Shakeology a try.  I stand behind the Beach Body fitness programs because my life has been changed as a result of being the product of the product.  Now I am here in hopes of inspiring and serving you, just like Laura has done for me.

May the Force be with you.

Star Wars Light Saber Lamp

With love,

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Craving salt?

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I have to admit, salt is my weakness.  I love salt and extra-extra salt!  I have found the older I have gotten the more salt and spicy foods I crave.  This led me to do some research.  There is indeed a valid reason behind this: as we age, like all the other cells in the body, those special sensory cells that make up the taste buds eventually wear out. As we get older, the taste buds begin to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth, leaving taste buds mostly on our tongue.  To avoid excessive use of salt, I have added a few more spices into my diet, cooking and as toppings.

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Here are some great salty healthy snacks I am sharing with you salt lovers to start your week:

Tip:  Remember to drink an 8-ounce glass of water with your salty snacks to reduce water retention and bloating salt can trigger.

1.  How about a handful of low-sodium pretzels?  Pretzels are every dieter’s best friend, a light and crunchy snack food.

2. Nuts.  Most nuts are high in fat, but eating just a small serving of walnuts, peanuts and almonds can keep your cravings under control and even serves as a source of healthy fat. They are also high in protein.

3. With movie or without popcorn! Instead of buying microwavable popcorn, why not try making your own with coconut oil?  Add a variety of toppings for fun.  Popcorn is a great way to steer clear of unhealthy foods and get your salty-food fix. Snacking on popcorn is a great replacement for potato chips or other unhealthy food and is a good source of fiber.

4. Soy crisps/crackers.  Soy crisps are very low in calories and available in a variety of flavors. You can eat these just like regular potato chips and do it without the guilt!  My husband and I especially like the Trader Joe’s thin soy crisps.

5.  Low-fat crackers.  Enjoy a handful of Triscuits, Wheat Thins or other low-fat crackers that contain less than 150 calories per serving. These crackers are also great with salsa and other fat-free dips if you want to further satisfy your craving.

6.  Cheese!  My favorite snack in the world, but requires self-control!  How about reaching for a low-fat string cheese when you’re having strong cravings for cheese. String cheese is packed with protein and can take care of almost any salty craving; plus, most types of low-fat string cheese contain less than 100 calories per serving.

7.  My next favorite salty snack: roasted pumpkin seeds!  Pumpkins seeds are a great source of fiber, and also contain a significant amount of iron, magnesium and protein. Add these to your daily menu to enjoy a low-calorie, guilt-free snack and get through any diet day with ease.  Stick to the “small handful rule” and put that bag of seeds away!  These are very easy to consume by the bowl-full!

8.  How about edamame?  Edamame are whole green soybeans that are rich in fiber, potassium and other essential vitamins and minerals. These are a great low-calorie snack food that can take care of those salty cravings in a jiffy.

9. Veggie sticks and hummus.  Hummus comes in a variety of flavors, or even try making your own.  Hummus is a spread or dip that’s made with a base of chickpeas and some olive oil, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats.  Pickles and olives are also wonderful salty dip tools!

10. Chips and salsa.  Try baked chips, blue tortilla chips, or pita chips.

Bonus: Have an avocado!  Just add some sea salt, pepper and other spices if you wish.

Have a great Monday!

Wendy

Desk Do’s

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Do you have a desk job?  How many hours in a day do you spend in front of a computer?  How many hours a week do you spend sitting on your rear end?

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I know for me, some days can be 12 hours long.

Sometimes it seems impossible to step away from your desk.  Our jobs are important to us and some people worry about getting fired for missing a call, an email, or taking too long a lunch.  However, the truth is we cannot get fired for standing up, going to the bathroom, or getting more water from the cooler. If your workplace is not completely rigid, switching your chair out for a Swiss ball a few times a day can make a huge difference in your posture. If you work from home, flexibility is even better for implementing more movement throughout your work day.  Even just standing up next to your desk can give your back the break from compressing that it desperately needs. So stand up, roll your shoulders back a few times, and breathe deeply. Go fill up a water bottle, which will give you even more reasons to stand up, as you will need the restroom.  And set a timer to go off once an hour, so that you remember to do it.

Moving and stretching once an hour should be priority for your overall health and well being.

Keep water at your desk!

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Besides the previously mentioned reason to drink water (getting you out of your chair), hydration in an office setting is sorely overlooked. Your body requires a lot of water, even if you’re stuck in a chair. Being well hydrated keeps you mentally alert, flushes out toxins from air conditioning, and will sometimes help with food cravings. So drink up.

Additionally, you can stretch your entire body in a cubicle – a lot of it while sitting down. Here are some stretching options, which will release lactic acid buildup and help with structural alignment.

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  • Neck: Lean right ear to right shoulder until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck, hold for 10 seconds, switch to the other side. Lower chin to chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck, hold for 10 seconds. Lift chin toward ceiling, until you feel a stretch along the front of your throat, hold for 10 seconds. Look over your right shoulder, hold for 10 seconds and then over your left.
  • Shoulders: Extend both arms over head, interlace fingers, turn palms, and push up. Then interlace fingers with palms up behind back, lean forward slightly from waist, and lift arms away from your body.
  • Arms: Extend arm straight across your body, grasp forearm, and pull extended arm toward your body. Repeat with other arm. Then sit up in your chair, open your knees, and place your palms flat on the chair between them, with your fingertips facing you, and thumbs toward your knees. Push down on your flat palms.
  • Chest: Lift both arms out to the side, creating a “T” with them. Bend at the elbows, so your hands are going straight up to the ceiling, and you resemble a football goalpost. Pull your elbows back and hold.
  • Back: Sit up as tall as you can, and pull in your stomach muscles to your spine. Extend one arm across to the opposite arm of the chair, and twist. Hold for 10 seconds, and switch to the other side.
  • Quadriceps/Hamstrings: Stand at your desk. Bend one knee behind you, lifting your foot off the floor and catching it with the same hand. Don’t lock your supporting leg; hips tucked under, and both knees together. Switch to other leg. Then place one foot on the desk in front of you, keeping the foot flexed and the knee straight. Put fingertips on leg, or desk, and with a flat spine, lean forward. If that isn’t possible, flex one foot on floor in front of you, and lean forward with a flat spine.
  • Calves: Stand arms’ length away from your desk, both toes facing the desk. Step forward with one foot, and bending the knee, keeping the back knee straight and pushing down in the heel. Switch.
  • Feet: Remove shoes if possible. Stand in front of desk. Form a “V” with your feet, heels together and toes pointed out at slight angles. Bend knees first, then lift up your heels, and hold for 5 seconds. Straighten knees and lower heels. Repeat 5 times.

Guess what I am going to do now?  Yep, my alarm just went off!

Lastly, if you can work in walking during your lunch hour a few times a week, trust me you will feel wonderful.  Even a 20-minute brisk walk will leave you feeling refreshed and being outdoors will clear away the cubicle cobwebs!

Remember to stretch by the hour today, drink your water and Keep Choosing Consistency during your work hours,

Wendy

Does the 8 x 8 ounces rule still apply?

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Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.

How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Health benefits of water

Functions of water in the body

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink eight glasses a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: “Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

Although it’s a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying safely hydrated

Generally if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or light yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise.

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.

Reference

Water: How much should you drink every day?  Mayo Clinic, Oct 12, 2011.  Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283