Exercise is so important in living a healthy lifestyle! It's not just for losing weight or "gains." It should NOT be something miserable that you dread everyday. It should be something you think is fun and you look forward to! I mean it's inevitable that some days you just really don't feel like hitting the gym, but if you push through those days and complete your workout, it makes you stronger and feel so much better in the long run! It's all mind-over-matter!
Do you find yourself getting bored with your workout routine? If so, try something new!! I love running, but I need to do more than just run (especially in this heat!!) For me to become a stronger runner, I cross train... I lift weights, I go to spin classes (which I LOVE), and recently I took a couple of boxing classes at Title Boxing! I never imagined myself enjoying that, but it was SO much fun! It was a great workout, and a great way to release lots of energy! PLUS.. Burns LOTS of calories! Of course that all depends on how hard you push yourself too!
And remember this (for those trying to lose weight)... the 80/20 Rule! 80% diet. 20% exercise. 80% of weight loss is what you are eating; if your body isn't getting proper nourishment, then weight loss will be harder to achieve. Second thing to remember, less is NOT always more! Eating less does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is the BEST way to achieve weight loss. Starving yourself will only make weight loss an even tougher challenge! Your body will go into starvation mode and want to hold onto its stores because it has nothing to replenish those store with once they are used, making you retain the weight instead of losing!
If you are just trying to maintain weight, then remember, calories in need to equal calories out! You need to burn as many calories as you are fueling your body with that day in order to avoid weight gain. Keeping track of calories can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have a hectic schedule. There are great, easy to use apps for this to help (I use MyFitnessPal and love it).
My advice... find an exercise or workout routine that works best for you and that you enjoy! Even if you are running short on time one day and only have 15 or 20 minutes, it's better to take advantage of that than do nothing at all! Something else I recommend is working out in the morning. That can be challenging for people who have to be at work super early, but if you can get up 10-15 minutes earlier and try to get a very short workout in (or even just some stretching!) to just get your blood flowing and wake your body up, you will be amazed at how much more awake your body feels throughout the day. And it helps give a little boost to your metabolism too!
It doesn't matter what type of exercise you like, just as long as you get moving!!
Eating out can be a challenge for many people… especially those who are trying to be mindful of what he/she is eating. With the all the delicious foods and variety of restaurants offered in New Orleans, it can be even more of a challenge. Part of that is because our culture is heavily influenced by food… the way food is prepared, the spices used, and the people we share these meals with! It might be difficult for everyone in your party to agree on a place to go, and even more difficult to find something on the menu that will fit your diet/lifestyle! While sharing a meal between 2 or 3 people is a good idea (especially if you are at a restaurant where the servings are ginormous), you may not be eating a “balanced meal” because you are not consuming all the nutrients your body needs. My recommendation for making healthier restaurant/menu choices is eating at restaurants that are supported by Eat Fit NOLA!
Eat Fit NOLA allows you to eat out and not have to think about what you are ordering! Registered dietitian Molly Kimball collaborates with restaurants to analyze their menus and determine which items would fit Eat Fit NOLA guidelines or could be adjusted to fit these guidelines to allow you the benefit of eating a nutritious meal without the guilt! To know which restaurants are teamed up with Eat Fit NOLA, check out Molly's website (www.MollyKimball.com and www.EatFitNOLA.com ), Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram! There are SO many great restaurant options to fit everyone’s appetite! And remember to look for the Ochsner-approved seal on the menu to know which items are Eat Fit NOLA (because not all of them are!).
I have personal experience with working on analyzing menu items for some of these restaurants. I interned with Molly last summer and learned so much! I gained so much experience that really helped me in my last year of college. Even if I am eating at a restaurant that is not collaborated with Eat Fit NOLA, I have a better eye of what to lookout for when ordering!
So I mentioned Eat Fit NOLA has guidelines that menu items must meet to be considered “Eat Fit NOLA.” They are very specific, so if you order one of these menu items, you can be assured you are eating a healthy meal!
Don’t forget to Like the Eat Fit NOLA Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram!!
This is a very controversial issue... So many people hear about this supplement and that supplement... Truth is, if you eat a well-balanced diet (and are not at a nutritional/disease risk), and you are taking vitamin/mineral supplements because you heard it was "good for you" then you are just going to have expensive urine! A well-balanced diet is called a "well-balanced diet" for a reason... it provides your body with ALL the nutrients it NEEDS! (This is why having variety in your diet is important) The human body can only metabolize so much at a time and whatever it can't store or doesn't need is excreted. There are countless supplements on the market and it's hard to know which ones are good and not so good. Before taking supplements, it's important to know if you really need them. So talk to your doctor/dietitian before taking them.
The thing about taking supplements is that our bodies do not metabolize nutrients the same way when in supplement form. It metabolizes and utilizes them BEST when they come from our FOOD! Lets say you take a calcium supplement that has 1000mg of calcium; your body will NOT metabolize all 1000mg. It depends on how much calcium your body needs at that time, and if there is room to store any extra, if only 500mg are needed, then 500mg are going to be excreted.
Some people, however, do need supplements. Not everyone eats a well-balanced diet. These people may be at nutritional risks and should see a dietitian to determine exactly what they need. Not just guess or try a new fad product seen on the drug store shelf!
I was asked about supplementation for triathletes. Even if you are eating a well-balanced diet, you may need supplementation depending on how hard you are training...However, this is all individualized. One answer does NOT fit all! But if you are following a well-balanced diet that is meeting YOUR nutritional needs, then you probably do not need supplements. The only supplementation you may need is electrolytes, due to a high loss while sweating. Electrolytes are essential to replace to maintain normal body functions, so many people turn to sports drinks for this. Sports drinks can be high in sugar, so unless you need those carbs, try a lower-carb option. It's important to maintain your energy during training/racing, but if you aren't pushing yourself as hard one day or your training for a particular day is lighter than others, then definitely go with the lower-cal options (at least for that day). You can even make your own electrolyte water to avoid calories/carbs if you need to (it may not taste too great, but there are ways to fix that!) Again, a lot of this is based on the individual. It's important to know what YOUR body needs. Set a meal plan that will allow you to meet those needs, and if it is difficult for that person to meet his/her needs, then supplementation may be needed.
I'm sure as kids most of us were told we are going to "turn into..." whatever it was were were eating. It was silly and it made us laugh, but it's SO true!! You literally are what you eat! If you fuel your body with potato chips, candy, and highly processed foods... those are the nutrients that will make up our bodies. Your body will metabolize everything you fuel it with to obtain maximum nutrition, that's why it's important to provide it with nutrient dense foods! Eating lean protein, complex carbs, and unsaturated fats will do exactly this!
Our bodies are very efficient in metabolizing nutrients, but the important thing to realize is that in order for our bodies to metabolize nutrients efficiently, certain nutrients must be present to do so. For example, you can drink all the milk you want to get Vitamin D, but without sunlight, it will not be activated! Another example... Vitamin C: Most people associate Vitamin C with building immunity and take extra when they are sick or on an everyday-basis to prevent from getting sick. Truth is... our bodies are only going to absorb what it needs. So taking a little extra when we are sick can help, but if our bodies have reached maximum capacity, it's just going excrete whatever isn't needed. Fun fact about vitamin C... it has a LOT more roles (like most vitamins and minerals) than just protecting our immune system, including carnitine biosynthesis, which helps maintain the elasticity in our skin, which mean preventing age spots and wrinkles!! Most vitamins and minerals (and other nutrients) rely on one another to maintain proper functioning, so eating a diet that contains a wide variety of foods is optimal!
Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables is a great way to do this! And can be beneficial to your wallet too!! Check out this great website that tells you what is seasonal for your area!! It even offers great recipe ideas! http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/
Fueling your body with a variety of foods to obtain maximum nutrition is one of the best things you can do for yourself. There are so many ways to incorporate these nutrients into your daily routines and meals. Tossing extra fruits and vegetables into your salad is so easy, and can make for new, exciting flavors! Or boost your nutrient intake by adding a handful of spinach to a fruit smoothie... most people probably think "Ew. Gross." But you won't even notice with the sweetness from the fruit! For quick on-the-go smoothies, try the Naked smoothies and juices. Watch out because some may be a little higher in calories than you may want, so remember to read the nutrition facts label!
More to come on incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet later this week!!
Staying motivated is crucial for anything you do, especially living a healthy lifestyle! Half the battle is in your mind... you are more than capable of doing anything! The key to staying motivated is staying organized!! The important thing to remember is that everyone has his/her own way of keeping organized, so what works for me, may not work for everyone, but I'd still like to share how I keep myself organized and my motivation up!
It's that time of year where I needed to purchase a new planner and I had heard so much about Erin Condren life-planners, so I decided to order one. I absolutely LOVE it! It's so personalized and easy to use! I also ordered the budget planner and wellness journal! In order for me to stay on top of everything, I have to write everything down... Every time I write something, I remember it! I can't use my phone for this... It must be hand written and in a place where I will see it... So I have sticky notes everywhere as little reminders too! That might seem a little overwhelming to have little bright colored papers everywhere, but that works for me!
Towards the end of the week, I start planning for the following week. I make a list things I have to do and my own personal goals that I wish to accomplish that week. I also will write little quotes that keep me focused with these goals in mind. There is even a designated spot for that in my planner... It's great!! This helps me keep track of my work schedule, workout schedule, and whatever else I have to do that week. It's crucial for me to manage my time wisely because I tend to get overly stressed about things, but keeping organized makes me feel in control of the things I want to accomplish, and in turn, keeps me motivated!!
I am a little bit of a Pinterest addict, so looking at different workouts, recipes, and healthy tips helps motivate me too! Same thing for Instagram... I see pictures and success stories of people pushing themselves and improving their lives on a daily basis and it drives me to do the same. It makes me want to push myself harder than the day before to set that same example for others!
Another way I keep my motivation up is by reading! I love to read. I enjoy leisurely books that I can get lost in, but I also enjoy books that challenge me to think. I recently read "The Overworked Person's Guide to Better Nutrition" by Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND. AMAZING! I would highly recommend it! It's easy to read and it's not a book you have to read cover to cover. Even with a crazy schedule, it's easy to pick up, read a couple sections, and continue about your day. Especially if you are getting stressed about something at work, school, etc. it's a great reminder about how we can better manage our nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.... and the secret to that is staying organized!!
The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to do what works best for you, not someone else. I've read a lot of different ways that people stay organized and motivated... everything from Pinning, reading, finding a workout partner, even only washing your hair on the days you workout (kinda gross, but great motivation to hit the gym!!)
The sweltering heat of the summer is upon us and it can be quite miserable! I feel like I'm constantly trying to cool off. A favorite treat of New Orleanians is, of course, sno-balls! We all have a favorite flavor and favorite sno-ball stand... Even if that means standing in long lines in the heat to get one! My personal favorite is the wedding cake flavor from Ro-bear's. It's sort of a tradition in my house that we have Sunday dinner as a family and then get sno-balls. The only problem is there is so much sugar in them... so that means lots of calories too! But most places offer sugar-free options.
Another favorite (and much healthier) snack of mine during the summer is frozen grapes! Just put the whole bag (or how ever many you want) in the freezer and you have a nutrient-packed, cool, refreshing snack! I especially love them for a snack on the beach. And it doesn't have to just be grapes... you can freeze whatever fruit you enjoy or buy already frozen fruit! It's a great way to take in all those vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals we need!!
This is a big controversy, but also one of my favorite topics... Should I choose sugar over artificial sweeteners? What are the long term effects of artificial sweeteners? Are those chemicals bad for my body? There are so many questions asked and so much research, but answers vary. People are becoming more concerned with the long term effects of the use of artificial sweeteners, but there is limited scientific evidence because not enough time has been available to know for sure. However, there are eight non-nutritive (artificial) sweeteners that have been Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA: Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame-potassium (Ace-K), Sucralose, Neotame, Advantame, Steviol glycosides, and Lou Han fruit extracts. The FDA website is a good source for learning more about those! So not to worry! These sweeteners are safe for consumption.
The main difference between sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners is CALORIES! Artificial sweeteners are great for those trying to watch carb/sugar intakes. The problem most people have though is the taste. People want the taste of sugar, but not the calories. I personally enjoy putting sugar in my coffee and tea occasionally, but I usually use Truvia (comes from Steviol glycosides) to avoid the added sugar and calories. My advice for those trying to watch added sugar intakes, blood glucose, carbs, etc. is to try different sweeteners because some taste better than others and it is all about personal preference. Artificial sweeteners are also MUCH sweeter than sugar. They can be 200-400 times sweeter, so a very small amount is usually sufficient.
Calories from sugar can add up quickly, so it's important to monitor your sugar intake because sugar is naturally found in foods, and when eating processed foods with added sugars it adds up calories! Using artificial sweeteners in cooking/baking can be tricky, but definitely something to consider! The artificial sweeteners can alter the taste, appearance, and texture of foods, so it may take a little experimenting to find what works best! From experience, granulated Splenda works well; Splenda also makes Sugar Blend, which is half Splenda and half sugar. I've never tried it, but it may be worth a shot!
I really enjoy sweets, but I don't eat them all the time because I don't need/want the extra calories or added sugars but I don't restrict myself from eating them occasionally. Everything is about moderation, right? Yesterday I was really in the mood for something chocolate so I decided to make some brownies. Yes, they were gluten free and low fat. I was nervous as to how they would come out, but they turned out MUCH better than expected! I thought they weren't really going to have the chocolaty flavor I wanted and the texture wouldn't be acceptable. The texture was different, as expected, but it was still moist, just not as cake-like, but still pretty good! As I was reading the directions before baking them, I saw on the box there was a low-fat option, so I figured I'd try it out because I already had the ingredients I would need. Instead of using butter, it called for Greek yogurt! I was slightly skeptical, but I have good experience with trying things like this from my Experimental Foods class. For those of you looking for a guiltless option, I would highly recommend this! I don't know if they will come out the same with regular brownie mix, but it's worth a shot to try it out!! Be on the lookout for a new recipe of guiltless brownies to follow!!