A Story Of A Lifestyle Makeover

I think most of us can relate to being overworked, stressed and how that can play a destructive role in our health.  Here is a story of someone who got the message and changed her habits around to get her health and life back on track.  In Kati’s story, she explains how she lost 50 lbs. and kept it off.

By:Kati Bauer

I wish I could say that one day I woke up and decided to change my life for the better.  I can’t.  Instead, I woke up one day feeling ill and, to make a long story short, it turned out I was having a heart attack.  A combination of bad genes, stress, poor eating habits, and a lack of exercise slapped me upside the head just like the V8 commercials that you regularly see on TV.

I was lucky.  I had a fairly urgent (but not life-threatening) wake up call.  A stent was inserted and I began a 12-week cardiac rehab program.  During that program, the therapists taught me better nutrition, how to de-stress, and how to (and how often to) exercise.  They didn’t focus on my weight, but rather on how to change my lifestyle…forever.  I found that once you get with the plan, the weight takes care of itself.

Following a low-fat, low sodium diet isn’t easy.  Drinking 8 full glasses of water each day isn’t thrilling. Giving up caffeine was a headache (literally). Finding the time to exercise an hour a day, six days a week was (and continues to be) a challenge.  However, being a caretaker of others means that I need to be healthy enough to be around to help them.  Being out of shape, overweight, stressed, and eating everything in sight doesn’t help anyone. Whenever my motivation waivers, I think about my husband, my children, and my grandchildren.  I want to be around to see them grow up happy and healthy – so I do what I need to do to make that happen.

After rehab ended, I looked for a variety of exercise activities so that I wouldn’t get bored.  At one of my MHealthy (a healthy lifestyle program for employees at the University of Michigan) circuit classes a couple of years ago, we had a substitute leader, Molly Stamos.  I liked her style and enthusiasm so much that I asked if she ever took on personal clients.  When she said yes, I immediately hired her to help me do more physical workouts once a week.  Those workouts increase my body’s metabolism and cause me to burn calories at a higher rate for days after each session. Plus, I know that Molly makes me work harder than I would by myself.

Additionally, there is a wealth of information available to help.  I have found that the eMeals low-fat menu plan is great (see: http://emeals.com/). And, there are tons of exercise programs, gyms, and consultants around. I personally walk 3-4 days a week on my lunch break or to/from meetings around campus.  I embrace various fitness classes sponsored by MHealthy, I take a water aerobics class once a week, I workout with Molly weekly, and I do my best to stick to a healthy eating pattern using the menus I receive from eMeals.

I love the free app “Charity Miles” (see: http://www.charitymiles.org/). While walking, running, or biking, I “earn” donations for a variety of charities.  So not only am I helping myself, I am helping others by exercising.  I also find the free app “MyFitnessPal” (see: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) helpful for tracking calorie intake and logging my exercise.

I have to admit that I did not think exercise would ever become a habit for me.  But after about 6 months of making myself do it, every day, I actually enjoy exercising now.  I miss it when I can’t get out and MOVE.  I’m not saying it is easy.  But, it is NECESSARY for my own personal well-being.

Now, two and a half years after my “near-miss”, I am down 50 pounds (4 sizes), am able to exercise without panting excessively, I have more energy to play with the grandkids, and I naturally eat a more healthy diet.  In fact, I’ve even caught myself taking fruit instead of cookies from a buffet. Go figure!

 

 

 

 

Squash- It’s what’s for dinner!

SquashesIt’s that time of year again for squash varieties.  My personal favorite is butternut for soups and stews and of course spaghetti squash for my favorite mariana sauces.

Did you know that even though squash is considered a starchy vegetable it helps to regulate insulin and has anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties?

A few more fun facts and fit tips on winter squash varieties are they are packed with more nutrient dense vitamins such as beta carotene and B vitamins than summer squash and contains omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are new to eating squash, check out the link below which has some delicious recipes such as -

THAI SQUASH CURRY

GRILLED WINTER SQUASH TACOS

BAKED SQUASH AND APPLES WITH GINGER AND PECANS

My mouth is watering already just thinking about these dishes!

Here is the link :

https://experiencelife.com/article/winter-squash-recipes-techniques-and-more/

What are your favorite ways to prepare winter squash?  Share below or on FB!

SUPER FOOD – MACA Powder

macaHere is another Super food to add to your shopping list – MACA Powder.  It comes from the radish family and grows at high elevations up in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It’s safe to take in 1-2 tsp. in your smoothies.

There are a plethora of reasons to add this to your daily diet.  For starters, Maca is full of minerals and vitamins which include calcium, zink, magnesium and iron in addition to vitamin C B1, B2, B6 and B12.

More benefits-

Balances hormones 

Increases endurance and stamina

Great for menstrual and menopause issues, such as mood swings, hot flashes and depression.  woot woot!

Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.

Helps with acne and blemishes

Maca taste like malt so it goes great in smoothies, juices or use it in baking.  Here is a recipe using Maca in a smoothie.  For more recipes with maca check out navitasnaturals.com

http://navitasnaturals.com/recipes/9924/Chocolate-Dream-Smoothie.html

If you have tried Maca, share your thoughts below and on FB!

 

 

TGIF- Now don’t let the weekend sabotage your efforts.

weekend aheadIt’s finally Friday!   You’ve been rockin’ your nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep (hopefully) all week long.  So what’s your plan for keeping your healthy lifestyle going all weekend long?  Don’t let you guard down just because it’s the weekend.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t relax and slow down a bit.  After all, you put in a hard week and you deserve to chill.  So many people including myself have no problems staying on course during the busy week, just to let things unravel over the weekend, leaving you frustrated and undoing all the progress you made Monday through Friday.  Sound familiar?

If you’re at all like me, planning your meals during a busy week is a huge reason your weeks go so smoothly.  Here a little secret, you have to approach the weekend the same way – with a plan.  Keep it simple!  We’re still chillin’.   Maybe your weekend starts with meeting friends for a glass of wine/beer after work.  Go head and have it, just sip with a glass of water and some healthy snacks or dinner.  Too much spirits = overeating and it’s only the first day of the weekend.  If Saturday has lots of activities planned such as soccer, gardening, shopping etc.  Make sure you plan what you’re going to eat that day and when.  Pack a sack and take it with you so you’re not famished in some mall or field just to be forces to eat crap.  It’s easy to pack apples, cheese, nuts or even a sandwich.  Keep a tall water bottle in your car so you can keep hydrated.  If you are heading out to a dinner or an evenings out with friends and you know there’s going to be drinks, salty and sweet foods that are going to leave you feeling defeated, plan ahead.  Bring a bottle of sparkling water and a lemon or lime to drink or split with your wine.  Make sure you don’t show up hungry so you can control and enjoy your food along with the evening and stay in control.  Bring a healthy dish to share.  It’s all in the planning just like during the week.

As far as exercise goes, Saturday and Sunday are perfect for taking time to do activities you otherwise wouldn’t have time for, such as biking, hiking in the woods, going for a long walk or run, or maybe a 90 minute yoga class.  Mix it up and do something you can’t fit in during the week.

I’m leaving you with a yummy redo of an old favorite tailgate dish, but with 1/2 the calories or less.  Real food, great nutrition with great flavor.  Perfect to share with friends this weekend!  For more inspiration go checkout the delicious recipes at Skinnytaste and have some fun!  You can enjoy your food and keep it healthy with just a bit of effort.  After awhile, it become your new normal!

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/hot-spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html

What do you do to stay on track during the weekend?  If you can relate to this please LIKE and SHARE!

 

 

 

 

The scale doesn’t tell the whole story.

scale 2Are you frustrated that you aren’t losing weight as fast as you would like?  Have you been working out and eating clean for the last couple of weeks or month and your efforts aren’t paying off the way you want?  A couple of things to keep in mind.  If you are doing everything right with nutrition and exercise, you should be losing anywhere between 1/2 -2 lbs. per week.  Experts say to lose slow and steady rather than fast with crash diets.   Stop obsessing on the number on the scale.  Listen to your body and focus on your energy.   Genetics, metabolism, lean muscle, hormones, all contribute to a healthy weight and the scale does not tell the whole story.  Don’t get discouraged!  Your efforts are working and your body is getting healthier.  Here are just a quick list of changes that are occurring in your body and making a huge difference in your health!

Healthy Heart-  Your HR is recovering faster from vigorous exercise, and your resting HR is lower. You will notice you’re breathing easier which means your cardiovascular system is working more efficiently.

Improve your brain and memory

Lowers Blood Pressure

Increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)

Lowers LDL (bad cholesterol)

Boost Metabolism

Better Sleep

More Energy

More Confidence

Improves Mood

Combats Disease

Relax and Zap Anxiety

 

Amazing list of benefits that you don’t need drugs to solve.  So keep implementing healthy habits one day at a time and you will get there. Just remember your efforts go far beyond what the scale tells you!

 

Breakfast In A Mug – Three quick and healthy recipes!

mug

Looking for something different to eat in the morning?  Here are some quick, healthy and delicious ideas for a warm breakfast, quick enough to make before work or school.

Quiche in a Mug

Ingredients:

1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (substitutes: Choice of non-dairy)
1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 small grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 slice torn pieces of Ezekiel bread
1 tablespoon grated cheese (e.g., cheddar cheese, mozzarella, etc.)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs, plus more for garnish (e.g., green onions, Italian parsley, chives, etc.)

Directions:
In a microwavable mug, add egg, milk, melted butter, salt, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly mixed and egg whites are completely broken up. Add halved grape tomatoes, torn bread, grated cheese, and chopped herbs on top of egg mixture, making sure ingredients are evenly dispersed and have not settled to bottom of mug. Ingredients will stay settled within the quiche mixture better if you do not whisk ingredients into egg mixture.  Place mug in microwave, and cook on high for 1 minute, just until egg is completely cooked and quiche is slightly puffed. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

 

Cinnamon Maple Breakfast Quinoa – (Serves Two)

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for garnish

2 teaspoons butter

milk or cream, to taste

maple syrup, to taste

banana slices

 DIRECTIONS: Place quinoa in water and rinse well.  Drain quinoa, then stir in 1 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon butter. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave 3 more minutes. Remove from microwave, cover with foil and sit 2 minutes. Fluff quinoa and stir in remaining butter. Divide between 2 bowls and top with milk, maple syrup, banana slices and cinnamon to taste.

French Toast In A Mug-

Grab a big cup.

Tear up a slice of Ekekiel bread and place in mug.

In a bowl scramble an egg, 3 Tbs. of milk, a dash of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla. Add this to the bread and let sit and absorb for a minute.  Cook in microwave for one minute and check on it.  From there add 10 seconds at a time until it’s cooked through. Add syrup or berries and Greek yogurt.

Dr. Ann Cuts Through The Carb Confusion!

healthy carbs        Article from Dr. Ann- 

Carbs continue to be a source of controversy in many American’s minds. Are you one of the countless Americans suffering from total carb confusion?  I suspect many of you are, which is a shame because doing your carbs right is the second most powerful nutritional strategy available to you to protect your health.  And when you look at the spectacular body of science related to the topic of carbs and health and carbs and body weight, the situation is crystal clear – meaning some carbs are good for you while others are not.  The purpose of this column is to set you straight on this issue – liberating you from any doubt, confusion or reticence you have towards this vital food group.

Let me establish first and foremost that I’m not an advocate of low carb dieting or low carb living.  I am a huge proponent, however, of right carb living. Have your carbs – and eat them too – just be sure they are the right ones.

Before I tell you about the delicious categories of make-me-healthier right carbs, I have to tell you about the wrong ones:

The Great White Hazards -

There is one and only one category of carbs that I want you to minimize – namely the highly refined, also known as high glycemic “Great White Hazards.”  These infamous foods include: white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, and sugar/sweets.  I collectively refer to these foods as the “Great White Hazards” because we know they can:

  • Promote fat storage
  • Perpetuate appetite
  • Promote cardiovascular disease
  • Increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Promote certain cancers

The teacher in me wants to make sure you understand how these staples of the modern American diet have so many adverse effects in the human body.  The simple answer lies in the fact that these particular carbohydrates are so quickly and easily digested.  We have learned over the past decade that eating rapidly digested carbs results in sudden spikes of blood glucose (sugar) and insulin levels that adversely effect human metabolism and ultimately lead to the health risks noted above.  To stay on the right track, keep the wrong carbs to a minimum.  Remember this simple, nutritional motto – See White, Think Fat, Think Disease!

Now that we have tackled the wrong carbs, I want to make sure you have a firm grasp on the right carbs.  When it comes to your health and body weight, the difference between the wrong carbs and the right carbs is like night and day.  In fact, including more of the right carbs in your diet can facilitate weight loss while simultaneously protecting you from a host of dreaded, chronic diseases.  There are 4 delicious categories of right carbs: whole grains, beans, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables are such an important nutritional topic that I will devote an entire column to them in the future.  For now, I would like to expound on the virtues of the other right carbs.

Miracle Beans:

I consider beans the most underutilized, economical superfood nature has to offer.  They are a nutritional powerhouse – loaded with healthy vegetable protein, high in fiber and teaming with B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals.  Additionally, they are digested more slowly which means they will not spike your glucose and insulin levels like the Great White Hazards.  In other words, they fill you up without filling you out.  Finally, we also know that beans lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease, stabilize blood glucose levels, improve gastrointestinal health, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of some cancers.

When I say “beans,” I mean any of the delicious 24 varieties available – black beans, chick peas, butter beans, field peas, lentils, etc.  Whether canned, fresh, frozen or dried, all beans are tasty, filling, cheap, versatile, convenient and fantastic for your waistline and your health.

“Great” Grains

By all means, I want you to have your bread and your cereals.  Your job is to simply be sure they are always truly 100% whole grain.  True whole grains provide a wonderful package of health promoting nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber and are more difficult to digest than their refined, nutrient-stripped “Great White Hazard” counterparts.  People that eat the most whole grains have greater long term success with body weight and experience less heart disease, cancer, diabetes and digestive illness.

To be sure you are getting only “whole grains” and not refined flour, make sure the label on your bread or cereal products say “100% whole grain.”  If the ingredient list contains “wheat flour,” “enriched wheat flour” or any other grain without the word “whole” written in front of it, it’s nothing more than refined flour disguised as the healthier option!

It is vital to your health and your waistline to swap out the wrong carbs for the right ones.  By eating “miracle” beans and “great” grains in lieu of the Great White Hazards, you will be taking proactive and powerful steps to maximizing your wellness and vitality.

Thank you Dr. Ann for clearing that up.  In addition, I would like to add, if you are an athlete or weekend warrior or want the best results from a workout, carbs are an essential part of your nutritional strategy.  If you want the power to perform at your best while working out and your body to properly recover, carbs have to be in the mix, just  keep to the healthy carbs.

Share and Like if you found this article helpful!

Thanks!

 

 

Avoid Shoulder Injury – Three Key Moves For Strong Shoulder!

Want to look more confident, have your waist appear slimmer, and improve function on a daily basis?  Well than, look no further than training your deltoids – your shoulders. Most movements we use every day include using our shoulders including pushing, pulling or lifting over our heads.

Most of time these muscles are not worked properly or are overlooked.  The shoulder joint is a complex ball and socket joint that is capable of flexion, extension, rotation and more, therefore there are three extinct muscles that need to be trained properly.  The shoulder is made up of the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids.  Most people over train the anterior delts, (the front of the shoulder) and risk injury and imbalances by neglecting the medial and posterior delts.  If you are interested in avoiding the 69% of people who end up with a shoulder injury at some point in their lifetime, add these exercises to your workout 2-3 x per week.  They are easy to do and don’t take up much time at all.

Shoulder Press – Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and core stabilized. With a dumbbell in ea. hand, bring your upper arms up until they are even with the sides of your shoulders.  Press the weights upward until your arms are fully extended overhead and lower back to the sides of your shoulders to finish the movement.

ShoulderPress

 

 

45-Degree Incline Row – Lying on a 45- degree incline bench, let your arms hang straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand.  Slowly lift your arms as high as possible by squeezing the shoulder blades together.  Throughout the movement, the upper arms should remain perpendicular to the body, with the forearms pointed towards the floor.  After reaching the top of the movement, slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

InclineRow

 

Seated Rear Lateral Raise – Sit on the edge of a bench with your feet on the floor.  While bending over and, if flexibility allows, resting your torso on your thighs, hold the dumbbells while the arms are extended under your legs.  Maintain a flat back position as you slowly raise your arms to your sides until your elbows are at shoulder height.  The arms should be perpendicular to your torso, with a fixed elbow position of 10-30 degree angle throughout the movement.  Slowly lower the weights back to starting position.

DeltoidRaise

If you found this article helpful, please Like and Share!  Thanks!

Hydrate To Lose Weight

Most of us have don’t drink enough water or keep our bodies well hydrated so that we can function at our best.  There are many benefits to keeping our bodies hydrated and weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight are no exceptions.  If you find drinking water is boring, try adding some sliced lemon or a dash of real fruit juice to your water bottle to help the process.  Aim for 8 glasses a day or more if you are vigorously exercising. How hydration can help you lose or maintain weight. Water is calorie free Helps you feel fuller longer Gets rid of toxins and helps the digestive system Helps to curve cravings like salt and sugar- thirst gets misinterpreted as hunger. Increases metabolism, dehydration slows down metabolism Helps with headaches, migraines and joint pain. Fruit also works as a good hydrator, so eat fruit as a snack between meals. Directly effects energy levels so workouts are more productive and burn more calories. Staying hydrated plays a critical role in your overall health and fitness levels and helps you to lose weight so start taking action today!

Strong Core – Healthy Back

Core strength is critical to maintaining a healthy body.  It helps with good posture, everyday activity; helps avoid back pain and perform at our best.  According to studies, 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.  This can be avoided with a good core strength program which includes more than just your core muscles, but every muscle between your shoulders to your hips.

Today I am going to focus on just one of them, the Transverse Abdominals. This is the most important ab muscle to strengthen first.  It is the deepest muscle running horizontally under the Rectus Abdominal (the six pack muscles), and if properly worked will support your back, prevent or reduce back pain, and contribute to a flat stomach and improve athletics all around. One of the best exercises to target this very important muscle is the plank.

Try beginning with 30 seconds and work up to a minute.  After that, you may want to hold out one arm for 15 sec, then the other.  Move to lifting a leg for 15sec. and then the other.  Lastly, come back to a standard plank and hold for another 30 seconds.  If you are a beginner this will take time so be consistent and you will notice progression.

One really easy way to strengthen the transverse abdominals throughout the day is practicing “the vacuum”.  I practice this while I’m driving, especially at stop lights. Inhale, and as you exhale, suck in your abs deeply and hold while breathing normally. (do not hold your breath)  Hold for 10-30 seconds.  This exercise trains your muscles to stay pulled in forcing better posture and alleviating lower back pain.  Although this exercise doesn’t burn fat, it will contribute to a smaller waist and flatter abs.  Try doing this 10x a day.  This really works!