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Spotlight Gesundheit

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August 2015

Filling Voids

I learned in the last year that when I take certain foods out of my diet I have to find healthy alternatives. Every food void is an opportunity to stick an even worse replacement there.

This week has been another teaching lesson for me. I recently cut out sugar unless it was fruit form. I have been using Stevia and honey quite a bit but I had a reaction and totally cut it out leaving a pretty big void in my diet for sweet stuff. I thought I could replace the Stevia and honey with fruit, but I seem to have been going on a trend of eating processed cereal for sweets.

Now we all know how high calorie cereals can be. And I have perfectly good rolled oats that I can eat. But everytime I look in the cupboard I see the processed cereal and convince myself I can just have a bowl. It’s becoming way too frequent.

I will not lie, the processed carbs and sugar tend to make me feel good when I eat them. However, when I get through the bowl and my blood sugar level subsequently drops, I feel horrible. I regret eating the cereal even though it was absolutely wonderful when I was eating it. I feel bad because I’ve eaten up quite a bit of my calories that I could have used for just plain better stuff (like dinner).

So I’ve got to be mindful of how I cut things out and how I move forward in filling that void. I caught myself pretty early this time. It’s only been a week. Thankfully tracking my foods really helps me look at what I’m doing in both the short and long term and helps me see a snapshot of my progress and my relapses.

No matter whether I have to lose 7 or 70lbs it’s still a struggle to find balance day to day and do the right thing. I will be battling this till the day I die but I also know that putting better food in mouth will end in better results for longevity than giving into every food whim I have and living an obese life.

I’m still struggling, but at least I am aware and have the opportunity to change course.

Weighing Advice

Throughout the last year I have heard so much advice about weight loss, training, nutrition and gear. Some advice was sought and the large majority was unsolicited. Here are some tips I use to weed through advice:

1. Will the adviser benefit if you follow their advice? For example, money from a miracle product they are selling, or gaining a diet buddy, or savings on a multi person gym membership? If the advice giver is going to benefit, make sure what they are pushing really fits into your personal goals and lifestyle.

2. Has the adviser accomplished what they are instructing you to do? Have they successfully run a marathon,  gained muscle mass, or dropped 30 pounds? If not, be wary of advice that has no founding in personal experience or professional training.

3. Does the adviser want you to fail? Will your failure make them feel better about their failures? Will your success invalidate their excuses? Are they afraid of losing  you? Are they jealous of the attention your new figure and confidence will bring? These are all very good reasons to disregard any advice meant to change your course or hinder your health efforts.

4. Does the adviser assume their method will work the same for you, irrespective of varying genetics, body type, preferences and dispositions? Does the adviser claim to have the only weight loss and fitness industry product guaranteed to get results the world over? Time to do some research before implementation. The verdict of whether or not it will work for you may be hiding in the fine print.

At the end of the day, no one is going to care as much as you do about your health. And with such a huge responsibility, you owe it to yourself to logically think about all the fitness program, nutrition and gear advice that cross your path.

Plain Greek Yuck-gurt Fixes

Greek Yogurt is my favorite way to get protein into my diet. It’s tangy, sour taste is a great substitute for Sour Cream and a wonderful marinade base. Here is a list of ingredients and alcohol free flavorings to help bring out Plain Greek Yogurt’s full potential:

*Frozen Berries
*Peanut, Sunflower, Cashew or Almond Butter
*Dutch Process Cocoa
*Vanilla
*Almond
*Maple Syrup
*Brown Sugar
*Nuts and seeds
*Jelly and Jam
*Raisins
*Cranberries
*Plums
*Bananas
*Mint
*Cinnamon
*Cooked Apples (and other fruits)
*Nutella Hazelnut Spread
*Lemon
*Tomato
*Dill
*Cucumber
*Garlic
*Pickles
*Curcumin
*Olive Oil

★Amazon has a good variety of alcohol free flavorings.

★A sweetener may be used to sweeten the yogurt base if so desired.

Have an ingredient I missed? Let me know!

Scheduling Struggles

Life is really hectic for all of us. And like me, you’re going to have trouble at some point scheduling your training. From kids, to social obligations, to those nagging home repairs that must be done, there is always something standing in the way of your training, if you let it.

Not too long ago I was frustrated, mad, and fed up with how little time I had to myself. I had scheduled everything and everyone in front of me. I didn’t make time for me. It was absolutely my own doing and I had no one but myself to blame for not making the time.

Looking back, I think my biggest fear was to be thought of as a neglectful mom and spouse. I was afraid people would think I thought more of myself than anyone else. But that was not reality. That was  fear talking.

One day I got frustrated enough; bailed on laundry duty and made a break in the day to train. That day totally changed my outlook. That meant I could find an opportunity almost every day.

Taking time to take train has made me a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend as well. My life transformed when I started training: I started to value my time and effort a lot more. I started making choices based on what was best for everyone (including me).

I can absolutely say with certainty that I feel more empowered now dedicating time to training than I ever did in my life. I’m careful about the people I’m around, the time I spend at places, and where my attention gets focused. I don’t mindlessly go through my day anymore. I look at everything I do as a benefit to me and the people around me. I started including myself inside my support group. Because, I’m the only person who can ultimately make my health a priority.

Choosing Challenging Training Options

In my early attempts at choosing training, I always had the assumption I had to pick one thing and stick to it for a long time. But after reading article after article, I came to the conclusion: I’m not a one trick pony. And there are a whole lot of people out there just like me.

I like a lot of variety and the challenge of trying to master multiple skills. I also like going into a training session knowing I have a choice instead of feeling like I’m forced to do the same thing every time.

Enjoying an exercise also equates to a better mental state and affects performance. Starting training in an excited mental state means winning half of the battle going in. Training seems to fly by. And satisfaction with the time spent training will be higher.

If you are bored, not seeing progress or are tired expending large amounts of time training without feeling fulfilled, I beg you to find new, enjoyable, challenging training options.

Ringing in Weight Loss

ZFsYJxdUMy loose wedding rings were one of the first signs weight loss was progressing. As time went on, I had to employ a few strategies to keep them fitting. Here are a few options I used and others available to remedy loose rings:

1. A jeweler installed ring tensioner was my first attempt at sizing my wedding rings. It was a quick, simple and affordable option (under $10) that would give me a 2 size buffer before I had to seek out other tightening options. I was amazed at how durable this tensioner was. Through gardening, showering and daily life, I could not tell it was on my rings and never had any skin discoloration or irritation. Well worth the price for months of use.

2. Medical grade breathable tape was next in line when coping with loose rings. The Jeweler installed sizer was at the maximum setting and I was not at a good sizing point. I started wrapping the sizer with breathable medical tape and found every week I could adjust by wrapping more or less around. I also found the breathable tape dried out quickly and prevented bacteria. I was impressed by how simple and effective it was. And if you’re like our family, you probably have a roll laying around in a First Aid kit or leftover from past surgery just waiting to be used.

3. Jeweler sizing was my next step. There was only so much wrapping I could do before the bunch of tape started affecting grip and irritating my hand. I decided that 3 sizes difference was the breaking point.

I had moved since my wedding so I had the apprehension of entrusting my rings to total strangers. In the end, after asking friends, here are a few reasons I decided to go with a well established jeweler: if they have been in business decades, the quality of work and service must be good and money flow had to be stable, thus I was less likely to be price gouged.

I waited a week and my rings were done. I picked them up and they were so shiny and impressive. But there was a new issue: my rings were still spinning around my finger. But, sizing them smaller meant I could not fit them past my knuckle. The jewelers had a couple suggestions: have a hinge clasp soldered into the band or increase tension via guards around my wedding band.

4. New guards were the perfect option since I anticipated losing more weight. Once I started looking at all the options, it was hard deciding on guards to flank my wedding rings: do I get a matching band style, the same thickness, keep it simple or bling it up? It was a lot of fun looking at all the different options though!

In the end I choose two simple, taller guards for each side of my original wedding ring (I dropped the original additional wedding band for symmetry sake). The guards I chose were Tungsten Carbide in a darker shade than my white gold wedding ring. I liked the gradient of darker on the outside peaking to the brightest in the center. I was also drawn to the affordable, durable properties of Tungsten Carbide. I hoped taller guards would protect my wedding band against scratching and hards blows. Months later , this arrangement works like a charm and I could not be happier with the performance or the price.

Tamari, Garlic, Onion, Honey Crockpot Meat or Meatless Meal

Here is a really simple, savory dish I get weekly requests for:

★Ingredients:
Tamari
Quartered Yellow Onions
Garlic Powder
Honey
Choice of Meat or Vegetable (Temperature and cook time will vary due to raw or frozen meat. My typical cooking time and process can be found at the end of this blog).

★Directions
1. Pour Tamari in the bottom of Crockpot until it covers the bottom 1/8″-1/4″

2. Sprinkle 1/2-1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder on top of Tamari.

3. Drizzle approximately 20-40 grams of Honey into Tamari and Garlic mixture.

4. Place enough 1/4 cut Chopped Onions to cover Tamari, Garlic and Honey mixture.

5. Place meat or vegetables on top of Chopped onions.

6. Coat top of meat or vegetables with additional Tamari, sprinkle with Garlic and top with additional honey.

7. Cook in Crock Pot without disturbing the layers, until Meat is cooked through or Onions are softened and translucent if using vegetables.

If you do not like Onions, Broccoli can be substituted.

★ I use this recipe often with 5 or more raw, frozen drumsticks at a time; typically taking 3-4 hours on high to cook through. The broth is fantastic over brown rice for Stir Fry.

The Key to Sustainable, Healthy Changes

Early on, I was advised to make one slow change towards fitness at a time. At first, I thought that was terrible advice. I was sure it would slow down my efforts at weight loss and lengthen my time to reach my goal. Thankfully, I gave it a chance and have been following the “slow and steady wins the race” principle ever since.

Taking it slow means I can ease into food exchanges. For example, early on I started substituting treats with healthier versions: ice cream to full fat frozen yogurt then to low fat and non fat frozen yogurt. Months later, I had a bit of full fat ice cream. And, to my surprise, I preferred the non fat frozen yogurt.

The other advantage of making changes slowly is adequate time to research. If I have questions about macros, nutrition, caloric intake or exercise regimens, I allow adequate time to find good informational resources. Extra time also gives me the luxury of breaking down information into smaller chunks; ensuring I truly understand concepts.

The same process of changing one aspect at a time is very helpful for tracking results. I know exactly what results correlate to which change. Giving myself adequate time to interpret those results is key to formulating a solid, educated plan for the future. Essentially, this simple process takes the guess work out of determining optimal diet and training conditions.

In closing, I am so thankful I was given the key to building solid, sustainable, healthy food choices, exercise habits and knowledge about the way my body functions.

Frugal Fitness Finds

During my University days, I was in shock at the semester’s end when all types of furniture: desks, tables, chairs, dressers were thrown curbside like trash. I was really inspired by just how nice used items were (and often for free).

I applied the same resourceful attitude when I became interested in health and fitness. I took the same approach and started looking for ways to save a few bucks (or get items free). Here are some tips I want to share:

Online buying:
eBay has always been my go to when searching for new and used fitness apparel and books. I found an article a year ago explaining the best days for selling items on Ebay. This really stuck with me and I try to bid when the item is statistically proven to sell for less. I have had the best savings on fitness items by picking midday Monday and Tuesday ending auctions and bidding right before the auction ends.

Thrift shops:
One advantage to thrift shopping is previewing the item before buying. I have great success shopping midday the first open day of the week. Also, do some research about how the company is structured. Our Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store is 100% volunteer run so the prices are lowest.

Custom fitness equipment suppliers, fitness repair and maintenance companies:
This is a resource I became aware of this month. They typically take away old equipment when installing a new item, then sell the old equipment for cheap. I have seen anything from power racks to 5lb dumbbells at these places. Unfortunately, most are pick up only, but provide great savings nonetheless.

Digital and newspaper ads:
One of my favorite places to search is Craigslist. Often heavier fitness items will be listed free for pick up in cooler seasons. Can’t find an item in your area? You can always ask about shipping with PayPal payment. To find out of state deals, simply perform a web search for the item description + the word “craigslist.”

Garage, Community and estate sales:
I have the best luck at larger events vs. individual sales. One tactic I have found that works well is combined pricing. Requesting larger items be held so I can continue looking establishes a commitment to buy. Once I have all my items, I ask for a group price. The worst case scenario: they decline and I pay full price.

Have a tip that is not listed here? Please share!

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