Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ready for Different Results with Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Think about the necessity of changing your mind before you attempt to change your body. Do you agree that lasting change begins on the inside? If so, I want you to think about how you can start achieving success this week with your weight loss goal.

First of all, it is very rare that you attain success (with anything) without some roadblocks, sucker punches, and hard work.  Successful people have been knocked down a time or two, but most don’t stay down. Determine in your head that if you do hit a roadblock on your road to success, you’ll use some strategies over and over again until you get it right.

Several other things you can do is start collecting data about yourself so you can use it to get different results!

Slow down and eat. How often are you setting aside time to eat?  I don’t mean grazing all day long on unplanned bites of food here and there.  We’re in too much of a hurry and we’re always shoveling food in our mouths.  Be a mindful eater. Set aside a time – at least two meals a day – where you spend 10 minutes (just 10 minutes) with your food.  Look at your food. Smell your food. Taste your food. Enjoy your food. But whatever you do, start to be mindful of what you’re eating.

Thirdly, remember calories add up fast!  For five days, write down everything you eat. Yep, everything.  You just might shock yourself.  The best thing about doing this is it helps you to gauge how much you really are consuming.  Ever have one of those days where you think, “I really didn’t eat that much today” – and the scale never moves down?  Well, a five day food journal can really open your eyes and help you to trouble-shoot those tough moments in your day.

Finally, be aware of your excuses. Nobody is going to lose weight for you but YOU. In order to start to do that, be aware of how many times a day you let your negative thoughts derail your efforts.

Maybe you just now read some of the above suggestions and you’ve already said something like “Yea, right, I tried that before and it didn’t work,” or “That seems like too much work.”  Don’t use excuses.  Just don’t.  If you’ve tried something before, look at it in a whole new way this time.  Renew your mind.

If you can attack weight loss in a different way, by learning and practicing skills, the outcome will be so much more realistic and you will be on your way to healthy long-term weight loss!

Easy Chicken Recipe

I’m not a creative cook. In fact, the easier the better. So when I run across something that even I can bake and make, I want to pass it along. (Got this recipe from momswhothink.com)

Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
3 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 cups tomato pasta sauce (from 26-oz jar)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (4 oz)

Directions:

1. In shallow dish or pie plate, mix Bisquick mix, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

2. In another shallow dish or pie plate, beat egg. Coat chicken with Bisquick mixture, then dip into egg, and coat again with Bisquick mixture.

3. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

4. Cover; cook 8 to 10 minutes longer, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove from skillet to plate.

5. Add pasta sauce to skillet. Add basil, oregano and garlic to sauce, stir well. Heat for 1 minute.

6. Place chicken on top of sauce. Sprinkle with Mozarella. Cover; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Spring into Exercise!

Spring always seems like a good time to reset our thinking about exercise. Probably because of longer days of light (yea) and nicer weather (double yea), it’s a natural thing to start thinking of those days of wearing shorts, short-sleeved shirts and maybe a sundress or two.

In case you haven’t noticed, in the world of health and fitness, goal setting is very important. And there’s good reason for that. So whether you just want to relieve stress or truly get your body back in tip top shape, have a goal in mind. Decide how long you can exercise, and how many days a week, and be realistic about your goal.

In working with people through the years with their weight loss goals, I remind them that you shouldn’t put down a goal of exercising 5 times a week if you really can’t.

The goal is to SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. If you can only set aside time (this week) to exercise 2 times for one hour, then for this week work on attaining that particular goal.

Some other helpful hints are to find a friend or a co-worker who can go to the gym with you or  on a couple power walks with you. Having someone exercise with you can motivate you and help you to commitment to your workouts.

Also, find several activities that you like to do, and change up your exercise routines when you feel yourself getting bored with the same old thing.  Mix it up with Kickboxing classes, long walks, biking, yoga – lots of different activities!

3 Things to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

The mind is everything – what you think, you become.
You are what you believe.

Have you heard these phrases before? Well it’s true. Your thoughts, your mind is a very powerful thing. Here are some of the many things that get in the way of us logically changing our thinking whether you’re dieting or starting an exercise routine or trying to eat better.

1.  Fear. Sometimes people can become so afraid of the unknown, of change, that they stay right where they’re at – emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. They would rather stay stuck in the present because sometimes the future is too scary. Maybe you’re thinking that “change” requires too much work to move into the future, so you do nothing at all.

For example, think about going to a gym for the first time. Not only is it overwhelming to walk through the doors of any fitness center, but when you don’t know the first thing about how to use any fitness equipment or what is expected at an exercise class, you may have a tendency to shut down and not do anything (I always say, don’t forget about the tan, size 6 females that are in cute little workout clothes – that’s enough to put fear in to anyone!!)

Making change easier: Having a sense of what is required of you and a plan as to how you can make change happen is extremely helpful in moving forward – no matter what you look like!

2.  Prior failures.  With a track record of very little dieting success, it’s easy to think of yourself as a loser. After all, if you’re not winning at something then you must be a loser. And when it comes to weight loss you tell yourself all the time that you’ve tried everything in the book and nothing has EVER worked. You base any future dieting expectations and possible successes on prior failures and you talk yourself out of putting forth effort.

For example, if you’re already thinking that you won’t have any control over your eating at this upcoming Holiday because every Holiday you over indulge, then you set yourself up for failure based on old information.

Making change easier: Actually, turning around your thinking about prior failures will be very helpful for your future success.  You now have a whole book yourself of what works, and what doesn’t and the beautiful thing about it – the book is about you. Re-read that book again and discover how, where, and why you can do things different this time.

3.  Negative thinking: You are your own worst enemy. When you think you can’t do something long enough, your actions WILL follow what you think.  The thinking always proceeds the behavior – so if you’re thinking you can’t do something, if you automatically think you have no willpower, no follow-through, no abilities, then it goes without saying that your actions (your behaviors) will follow your thinking. The outcome will be exactly what you believe, what you think.

For example, you think it might be a good idea to try to do something about your body size. You’re sick of feeling fat and out of control but you put forth a half-hearted effort toward change because you remind yourself that you usually only “diet” for 4 or 5 days and then life just gets in the way, and you stop “dieting.”

Making change easier:
Does it make sense that if you “feed” your mind negative thoughts about yourself all the time – and actually believe those negative thoughts – that you then can “feed” your mind with positive, inspiring and encouraging words – and start believing those positive thoughts?

How about if you do things different this time – how about you start that new lifestyle diet and this time if you stumble along the way, you have a phrase or an attitude that will help you to get on course again and realize that stumbling is a normal part of change.

If we are what we believe, then you need to fill your brain, your mind with affirming statements. About your possibilities. About what you do do right. About your progress. About your successes.

A book I read frequently is full of wisdom and in one of the Chapters it reads “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” think for a minute how true that is. With everything you go through on any given day, the power of our thoughts will determine death or life in how you conduct yourself, how you handle successes, and how you attack your goals.

If you are what you believe, then start believing BIG for yourself today.

Weekly Wisdom

If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to your mountain, MOVE! And it WILL move…and NOTHING will be impossible for YOU!  Matthew 17:20

Whatever your “mountain” is, may you have faith, stamina, and motivation to keep gaining control and overcome that obstacle.  May you have a powerful, successful, healthy Thinking Thin week!

A “Healthy” Twist to Cinnamon?

I’m not promising these don’t have some calories – but hey, they do have cinnamon in them. And remember my post from yesterday and how “healthy” cinnamon can be!
Cinnamon Butterscotch Blondies

Cinnamon Butterscotch Bars

(by Reeni)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1 package butterscotch chips, 11 ounces
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
a dash of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2 baking pan. Line with parchment if desired and lightly grease again.
2. In a large bowl beat the butter, both sugars, and cinnamon together until creamy. Add the vanilla and eggs; beat well.
3. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet mixture 1/3 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts. Spread in pan.
5. Bake for 30 minutes until center is set and top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
6. In a large bowl beat all the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting until light and fluffy about 6-7 minutes.
7. Frost bars and refrigerate an hour or two before slicing. Slice into 1 or 2-inch squares, wiping the knife after each cut if needed. Store in fridge or in a very cool place.
Recipe provided by Reeni at www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com

Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

I’m always on the hunt for creative ways to eat healthier and to eat more naturally. I was poking around recently for more information about cinnamon as I heard it had healthy benefits and can really help some aliments that individuals deal with.  Well, at www.health diaries.com I found some of the following information:

Studies have shown that just ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.

It has also been found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

Get this….a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

The amazing benefits of cinnamon go on and on – who knew!!

Try some cinnamon sprinkled on a banana, in your applesauce, on your oatmeal, or my favorite – cinnamon roll flavored yogurt. It is delicious.

3 Reasons to Exercise and Fight Stress

I recently had the opportunity to have some time off and I had a list of  work-related “Things to Do” and a Kick-Butt Attitude in which to accomplish everything.   At the beginning of the week I rubbed my hands together in excitement about all the tasks I was going to conquer, and I had a game plan about how I was going to plow my way through each thing.

Then the first day came and went and I didn’t quite get to everything I wanted to. I tried reminding myself of the importance of being flexible, and maybe I needed to start my week of tasks the next day. But the next day was starting out the same way!  Whoa. I had to take a step back when I realized that my shoulders were up to my ear lobes all the time and I was carrying around a slight headache.

Stress was building and my joy of time spent doing the things I needed and wanted to do was slowly dwindling.  I had to start taking my own advice that I dole out to others and distress. For me that means MOVING because MOVING helps me think differently. Information given by the Mayo Clinic tells us that exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. (I needed some pep in my step for sure).

Exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits:

1.  It pumps up your endorphins: Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.

2.  It’s meditation in motion: After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain clam and clear in everything that you do.

3.  It improves your mood: Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can east your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

So I started walking. I started going to exercise classes everyday at the gym. I started moving.  In spite of a very cloudy and chilly week, I got in front of my stress and gained control.  Did I accomplish EVERYTHING that I wanted to? NO, but the time off made me recognize the value of friendships, the importance of time spent with family members, and that my work will always be there (in fact it multiplies at times) but nothing is more important than taking care of yourself first.

Healing Benefits of Sunshine!

I’m wondering how many people are feeling the effects of yesterdays 80 degree weather day here in good ol’ West Michigan.  And by “effects” I mean aching body’s and sunburn faces from all the activity and warm gorgeous sun that graced us all day long.

What a welcome change from a long, dull winter – it always is. I saw faces in the neighborhood for the first time since last Fall. I saw houses with the windows wide open. I saw bikers on the roadways. Lots of bikers. There were people walking their dogs. And people in their convertibles, with their hair whipping wildly in the wind. I saw motorcyle riders, and lots of people golfing.

The sunshine seems to bring instant psychological reprieve for those of you who struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The sunshine brightens moods of people who deal with depression, it can lift the spirits of those who feel at their lowest. Sunshine is also an important source of vitamin D – and for those of you who struggle with low levels of vitamin D (like myself), you know how that effects your energy and motivation.

There is something very healing about sunshine. I can’t describe it but I know that internally you feel what you see around you externally. Everything seems brighter. Cheerier. And you feel you can conquer things differently. Sunshine makes you want to move, and exercise releases chemicals in the brain – you know, those “feel good chemicals” that help you physically and mentally.

So today may be a lot “cooler” than it was yesterday – and that’s okay. For right now, I can live on the thoughts that better days are a comin’ and until they get here I can enjoy the day I’ve been given to me today. Sunshine or not.  Although I prefer SUN!

Weekly Wisdom

In Proverbs 3 it says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

When you have a hard time understanding the “why” of life, lean on Him. May He direct your path this week at your work place, in your fun, with friends, and with your personal goals. May you have a productive, healthy, thinking thin week!