Tag Archives: health

5 Reasons Why Your Weight Loss May Be Slow

5 reasons why your weight loss may be slow

Weight loss is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. For some of us, it’s been an entire life of hating the scale and for others, it’s only been since bringing a beautiful little baby into the world. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled, there are basics we all know… like we need to consume fewer calories than we burn in order to lose weight and that the habit of stopping for drive-thru needs to stop. Despite this, there are times when you’re doing all the right things, but that weight loss just won’t happen as you hoped.

So what do you do?

Well… when this happens, you need to dig a little deeper and look outside of your exercise habits.

Here are 5 reasons why your weight loss may be slow going.

1. You’re Stressed Out – Between work, taking care of children and making sure your home is clean, how could you not be stressed, right?! Stress releases something called Cortisol (also known as “the stress hormone”) and in today’s society, excessively high Cortisol levels are all too common. Cortisol encourages the storage of body fat (especially around your midsection), and it has been linked to other health issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems and heart disease.

Solution: Try limiting the length of your workouts to 30 minutes (long workouts can place unnecessary stress on the body), surround yourself with positive people who focus on being happy, practice yoga or meditation (stop laughing…it works!), and make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep.

2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough – This ties in directly to stress. Not getting enough sleep can raise levels of Cortisol in your body because it stresses the body out. When you get the proper amounts of sleep each night, your body produces Growth Hormone, which has the opposite effect on the body of Cortisol. Growth Hormone encourages fat loss, supports a healthy immune system, and helps to keep your organs functioning properly. Making sure you get enough sleep will also help you to cut back on calories. Many times we are eating out of boredom or because we are stressed.

Solution: Cut out caffeine filled drinks after 12 noon, unplug from electronics (including television) 1 hour  before bedtime. Electronics/tv can be stimulating and they emit a blue light that mimics daylight and stops the body from producing melatonin. Try doing some yoga before bed to calm your mind and reduce stress.

3. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water – You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about how important water is to your health. Despite the “nagging” on this topic, most people still don’t drink enough of it.

There are so many benefits to drinking water, one of which is proper kidney function. When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly and your liver has to pick up the slack. This is bad because your liver is responsible for the metabolism of fat, which means fat cannot be metabolized as properly when your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins. See where I’m going with this? So next time you want to roll your eyes when someone asks if you’ve been drinking your water, don’t!

Solution: Drink more water….of course! Start each day with a glass of water and make sure you always have a bottle of it nearby. Also, before reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water. Chances are you’re dehydrated and not actually hungry.

4. You’re Not Eating Enough Fiber – Here’s another one you’ve probably heard a million times. Fiber aids digestive health and helps to create a sense of fullness, which makes consuming less calories easier because you don’t feel hungry.

It’s estimated that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber. 5%!! Most people think they’re getting enough fiber from grain-based products like bread and cereal, but the reality is these highly-processed foods have been stripped of their nutrients as well as their fiber.

Solution: Eat more fruit and vegetables, and choose whole grains, like brown rice and steal-cut oatmeal, instead of their processed counterparts.

5. You Have Poor Digestion – This is a lesser known issue, but it’s becoming more talked about.  The gut is incredibly complicated, and scientists are only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding how gut bacteria actually works. But one thing is clear: whether you want to improve your ability to lose fat, boost your immune system, clear up your skin, or even just feel better on daily basis, it all starts with your gut health.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize their gut isn’t functioning properly until there is a major issue. However you can take steps to help prevent poor digestion today.

Solution: Reduce stress, minimize the consumption of legumes, grains, sugar, processed foods and pastured dairy (I’m sure you’ve heard of Paleo or Whole30, which are different nutrition lifestyles that many feel make for a healthier gut and incorporate some of these principles), and take time to properly chew your food. This allows saliva to begin breaking down food and makes it easier for your body to digest.

Did you have any ah-ha moments while reading this? Think some of these could be to blame for your slow weight loss? Share your thoughts or game plan below in the comments.

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{Slow Cooker Meal} Jerk Chicken

Yesterday afternoon, I was doing my workout and began debating what to make for dinner. I remembered I had a recipe for Jerk Chicken that I wanted to try. So as soon as I was done, I ran downstairs, mixed some recovery drink and began prepping my spices and chicken for cooking.

Now the recipe I found wasn’t a true Caribbean style jerk chicken, but it has spice and looked really tasty, so I had to give it a try.

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken
Recipe from Ancestral Chef
Serves 6

jerk chickenIngredients:
12 chicken legs
4 teaspoons of salt
4 teaspoons of paprika
1 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (add more or less depending on how spicy you like your chicken)
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of thyme
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoons of black pepper

Directions:
1. Mix all of your spices together in a bowl to make a rub for the chicken.
2. Rinse your chicken legs in cold water, then place into a bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with the spices and rub them into the meat thoroughly. Make sure you try to get it under the chicken skin, too.
3. Place your rubbed chicken into your slow cooker (no liquid is necessary to cook this dish)
4. Set the slow cooker on low heat and cook for 6 hours or until the chicken meat falls off the bone (slow cooker times and setting vary so adjust accordingly).
5. You can serve the chicken on the bone, or remove them since the meat falls off so easily.

This recipe made my kitchen smell amazing and was very moist and flavorful. I used the full teaspoon of cayenne pepper and didn’t find it to be very spicy, but feel free to use less if you are sensitive to spicy food. You could even substitute with other spices that are more traditional to the Caribbean style if that’s what you prefer. Play with it. Have fun! That’s what cooking should be about!

I served the chicken with some mashed cauliflower, and steamed snap peas. Everything was simple, quick and healthy, which is so important to me.

What kind of recipes do you tend to gravitate to? Do you like to try new things or do you tend to stick to what you know?

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September is National Yoga Month!

AthletaYoga

Leave it to me to run a 30 Day Yoga Challenge the month BEFORE National Yoga Month. I’m going to view it as being a trend setter. Maybe being a bit ahead of myself? Okay…okay…I don’t pay enough attention to these National “_____” Day lists, lesson learned!

Thankfully the wonderful folks over at Athleta sent me an e-mail sharing a series they have put together with YogaGlo, which starts today! They’ll be offering a series of FREE on-line yoga classes beginning today, September 1st through the end of the month!

Anyone can enjoy the classes by visiting www.Athleta.com/YogaMonth and pick from the 3 practice levels available:

– Level 1 class to kick start your day
– Level 2 class for recovery after a busy day
– Level 3 class designed as cross-training for athletes

Additionally Athleta will be hosting special events at both the Upper East Side and Upper West Side stores throughout the month! Please visit www.Athleta.com/Stores for details on events and free classes happening at both stores as well as the other NY locations in Scarsdale and Manhasset.

If you participated and enjoyed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge I hosted over on my Facebook Page in August, or missed that but wanted to try a month of yoga, I definitely recommend checking this out. I love that they are offering three different levels of yoga to fit your needs, as well as special in-store events!

Also, I’ll be running a Couch to 5K Accountability over on the Facebook page this month! If you have always wanted to try running but didn’t know where to start, now is the time to give it a shot and have a group to support you on your new journey. If you’re local to me, I’ll also be hosting a live group three times per week. Leave a comment or hop on over to my page to let me know you’d like to join. I’ll be posting more info this week as our start date will be September 9th!

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{Wordless Wednesday} My Week In Fitness So Far

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Filed under Fitness Inspiration, Health & Fitness, Running

Fuel Your Body Right

I hope you are enjoying the quick tips, workouts and fitness motivation I have been posting. I love searching Pinterst for fitness inspiration, and hope that the stuff I find, inspires you as well.

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Healthy Baking Substitutes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means many of us will begin baking for family events, holiday dinners, office parties, cookie exchanges and quite honestly, just because it makes us feel festive.

That sweet tooth and favorite cookie recipe doesn’t have to be ignore this season. All you need to do is change your perspective on food and make a few improvements on those sugary, overly processed ingredients our recipes normally call for.

Here’s a handy list I found on Pinterest:

It’s amazing how much sugar and how many calories you can save with these simple substitutes. What’s even more amazing is that you can’t even tell you changed anything with most of them.

Do you have any healthy holiday baking tips?

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{Workout} Shapely Squats

Once again, I’ve been trolling around on Pinterest and I stumbled upon this workout that I thought you guys might like.

I love doing lower body workouts when I’m short on time. They work so many major muscles, that you really feel your heart-rate increase and know that you are working hard, even if you are short on time.

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{Fitness Friday} Let’s Talk Apps

This week I have been focused on getting back into my fitness routines. Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy brought the hubs and I to a halt last week, when she slammed into the East Coast leaving us without power or heat for almost a week.

Monday I restarted the third week of Phase 3 for P90X. I use the official P90X app to track my progress (I forgot to take a screen capture of it and to be honest, I’m being lazy and don’t feel like doing it now to insert in this blog. Yeah, I know, I’m a slacker…get over it!)

I also decided that I wanted to give running a shot again, so I downloaded a Couch to 5K type of app, laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement. I have always struggled with pacing myself and endurance, so following an app seemed like the most logical step for me, and I really like it.

5K Runner: 0 to 5K run training. I love that I can use it with RunKeeper and it prompts you over whatever music you’re listening to as to when to run/walk. Well worth the $2.99

I addition to the this app, I use RunKeeper which I LOVE. I enjoy being able to set goals (which I honestly end up forgetting about and not hitting, but I’m work on that, ok people! Don’t judge me.) I like that I can post my runs to social media, look back at all of the ones I’ve completed and link up with people I know on my “street team”.

RunKeeper – If you walk/run/bike, etc, I highly recommend this app! It also has a coaching feature which I haven’t tried.

Another app I started using this week is Daily Yoga. I heard about it yesterday from the lovely Jac. She started using it and just happened to tweet about how much she liked it, just as I was logging on to ask for yoga DVD recommendations. Talk about timing, right?!

Daily Yoga – I have to be honest, the accent of the person instructing you makes me giggle. I have only done one routine so far, but I like this app. There also seems to be a routine difference between the iPhone and Android platforms. Droid users seem to have more FREE routines. Sigh.

Last but not least comes MyFitnessPal. I have blogged about my using this app before, but consistent, I am not. (Human I am, which is why I am not consistent.) I started using this again today, because of the success I have had in the past. Also, thanks to Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy and the lack of power, eating healthy became a slight issue and I am trying to correct the small cravings I have since developed thanks to Pop-Tarts entering my house again. (Hey, there are just so many non-perishable food items to choose from, especially when people are attacking the shelves like the world is going to end. Which it clearly wasn’t, the Mayan’s said we until late December for that…duh!)

MyFitnessPal: Because if you dont track what you eat, your ass will!

So there you have it. A glimpse into the apps I use, to try and keep my fitness-ADD-having-self on track and motivated! I’d love to hear of any apps you use to stay on track and record your progress. Be sure to let me know if I’m missing out on something by commenting!

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Filed under Fitness Inspiration, Health & Fitness, P90X

Sunday Funday

Normally in this house, Sundays are as lazy as it gets. There is usually a late start to us getting out of bed, breakfast, looking through the Sunday paper and then we watch the NFL RedZone channel all day while yelling at the TV and checking our Fantasy Football scores. Yesterday, however, I didn’t feel like sitting home. I don’t know if it is because the Broncos had a bye week or if it was just the nice weather calling to me, but I wanted to be outside.

To start the day off, the hubs and I got dressed and headed over to the Englishtown Auction. At first I was thinking we should go for a run, but I’m happy we decided to just walk around there. We were able to have some alone time, talk and just enjoy being together. Neither of us had been there in quite some time so we just walked, soaked up some sunshine  and checked out what the vendors were offering.  I always forget that they have great local farm stands there. They are not organically grown, but sometimes my budget doesn’t allow me to stick with all organic stuff, and to be quite honest, I’m okay with that these days. I scored some beautiful strawberries and amazingly large sweet potatoes while there. I really should have picked up some more stuff, like eggplant, peppers and cauliflower but to be honest, I didn’t feel like carrying them around with me and the sweet potatoes were heavy enough to be considered a workout.

A sample of the farm stands at the flea market. Most items were between $1 – $3 per basket. You can’t beat those prices!

After walking around the market, we headed home, and my son decided it would be fun to go bowling. It was nice to go out as a family, especially since my daughter has reached that age were she is too cool to hang with us and is usually running around with her friends instead. It was also nice to get my son away from the video games and have both kids being active without the aid of an electronic device.  I’m not going to say this excursion was all laughs and giggles, but it was nice to be out as a family and enjoy some time together.

Our afternoon of bowling. Top left: Matt who was happy he got to choose want we did today. Top Right: Maddie bowling, Bottom Left: Me hoping for a strike, Bottom Right: Maddie & Mike Instagraming or checking FB. lol.

These days, we all tend to be so busy. Between work, workouts, school and chores, there just never seems to be enough time for everything. Yesterday I realized that there are certain things you just HAVE to make time for and family time is one of them.

What kind of activities do you like to do as a family?

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Baked Ranch Chicken Fingers

Football season means finger foods, chips, salsa and beer! It also means a lazy day in my house, but I don’t like to toss out all of the hard work I’ve accomplished all week, nor do I like to give up all of the foods that I enjoy. I’ve been avoiding the beer and trying to keep the finger foods on the healthier side, which can be tricky, but I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It’s not picture perfect, but when compared to the deep-fried ones you might normally pull from your freezer and heat up, or order at your local sports bar, they are a gift from heaven. Plus, you can feel like you are cheating without all of the guilt!

Baked Ranch Chicken Fingers
(Makes 6 Servings)

Baked Ranch Chicken Fingers – served with baked sweet potato fries and bbq sauce.

Ingredients:
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (sliced into strips) – or a package of chicken tenderloins
1 cup corn flakes (crushed)
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 egg

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.

In a shallow dish combine crushed corn flakes, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, and dry ranch dressing mix.  In a small bowl beat together eggs and milk.

Dip each chicken strip into the egg/milk mixture and then roll in the crushed corn flakes/ranch dressing mixture. Repeat until all of your chicken strips are well coated.

Place chicken onto your coated baking sheet and bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through ( internal temperature 165 degrees).

This recipes is really quick and simple, plus it goes great with some baked sweet potato fries. I have made it a few times already and even my son, who is a VERY picky eater LOVES them!

What are your healthy football snacks?

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