Monthly Archives: May 2011

I’m Walking on Sunshine – and don’t it feel good!

My husband and I decided to go West for a week where we hoped the sun would be plentiful (it’s been missing a lot recently in Michigan), and the sites would be many. Upon deciding to visit the Grand Canyon I knew there would be a lot of walking and I wanted to know how much walking I could actually do when it wasn’t a “required exercise time” for me.

So I put on a pedometer and we walked and walked and walked taking in the vast, expansive landscape and appreciated the sunny, crisp cool air as we hiked along enjoying each others company.

To my surprise we walked just a little over 12,000 steps. I was amazed, partly because it seemed so effortless and partly that would explain why my legs felt the way they did! I don’t have the high elevation issues at home, nor do I tend to walk up hill so much as we did but it was by far one of the most beautiful walks of my life.

Well I was delighted to find out that walking 10,000 steps is the approximate equivalent of walking 5 miles but I have to admit I don‘t know how someone figured that out, or what is considered “the best“ or “the right“ amount of steps you should do everyday. I did however find the following information that you might find helpful:

Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke has been studying pedometer walking and released an opinion in the January, 2004 issue of “Sports Medicine.”

Based on the best evidence as of the end of 2003, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke recommends the following:

Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a “sedentary lifestyle index”
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered “low active.”
3) 7,500-9,999 likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered “somewhat active.”
4) 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as “active”.
5) Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as “highly active”.

I was inspired by the amount of activity that we did and there’s just something about being out in the fresh air that seems so revitalizing. So after a night of resting up we’re off to do more exploring over in Nevada (primarily Las Vegas), and I KNOW you can do a lot of walking around there – my goal, is over 12,000 steps a day! Even when I get back home. What is your goal?

7 Ways to Help a Depression Diet

There IS a connection between mind and body, and a healthy ‘diet’ can be part of an overall wellness plan (according to Howto.com). Here’s some ideas to kick off your depression diet:

#1: Cut back on caffeine. Anxiety can be depressions ugly cousin and drinking too much caffeine can make you feel anxious or nervous. Drinking less caffeine can help you sleep better too. Good sleep habits are important so back off the caffeine.

#2: Get physical. Exercise helps improve your mood. Forget the 30 minute exercise class if that’s not you but JUST MOVE. It doesn’t matter how, just pick something you like to do (gardening, swimming, riding a bike, walking) and do it until you start to increase your activity levels, and continue doing it.

#3: Sunlight – vitamin D. It’s true, those darker colder months effects us differently. Light therapy or the natural sunlight is healing for our mental health.

#4: Finding pleasure, exploring other outlets. Try photography, wood working, painting, journaling/writing – do something to explore your feelings on other activities in which you get to express yourself

#5: Mental Mindfulness. When you are overwhelmed and feel too stressed, consider ways of relaxing your mind. Use prayer, music, deep breathing, warm baths – anything that helps you refocus on the healthy path you want to take.

#6: Volunteer. Helping others helps you feel good about YOU and can give you a sense of purpose and involvement.

#7: Continue with a treatment plan. Even when you have bad days and don’t feel like putting one foot in front of the other, remind yourself how far you’ve come. You’ve created an “awareness” (that’s a good thing), now slowly keep working on the “action” part of your plan by working with a friend, pastor, counselor – and of course, all of the things above.

Weekly Wisdom

“…they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint….” Hoping to renew my strength this week with lots of walking and I hope lots of sunshine (that wonderful Vitamin D stuff) – I hope the same for you this week!

Weekly Wisdom

Confucius says “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

9 Foods to Avoid!

You’ll be bopping your head and tapping your foot along with this 1 minute 44 second ‘music’ video. Just another reminder of the foods we need to stay away from. Go ahead….watch it two times!

I Quit!

Do you ever feel like giving up? Do you ever feel like ‘the challenge’ is too big, and you can’t win anyway, so why keep trying?  You could probably equate that feeling to so many areas in your life but the bigger question (for me) is why does someone keep plugging away at a challenge that has seemingly very little reward. What is it that keeps nagging at you to “keep going,” to try one more time.

For some it’s an internal optimism that you have, or a faith that sustains you, or a positive attitude that surrounds you. There’s something within you in which you purposely chip away at “the mountain,” you actually like the challenge of a challenge and you shrug your shoulders at life’s speed bumps and don’t consider them road blocks.

For some the alternative of consistently trying is quitting and that’s not who you are. Your sense is if you quit or give up, you’ll be worse off then where you’re currently at, so stopping is not an option. Your personal fortitude won’t allow you to give up – so you keep plugging away at a goal, a challenge, or a hurdle. You know the rewards are few and far between, and the struggle seems harsh some days, but you have your eye on the prize.

If life is about the journey, know that the journey can get hard sometimes and doesn’t make sense at other times. It’s normal to feel like you want to quit and to give up when the going gets tough but when you feel stuck, know that we all have within us the ability to change based on our optimism, faith and attitude!

Kicking Your Metabolism in High Gear

Can the way you eat really have an effect on your metabolic rate? Are there types of foods that will burn fat more efficiently than others? The answer to both questions is yes.

Beyond the calorie in-calorie out theory, you can help control the timing of your eating and how your body responds to food. Check out the following guidelines to see if you are practicing any of these healthy eating habits. If you’re not, it’s time to start.

Eat lots of small meals

Split up your calories between breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Don’t make dinner your largest meal.
Eat every three to four hours. Your body works hard to digest and absorb the food we eat, and your metabolism revs up in response.

Don’t skip breakfast
Eat a healthy breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism.
Have breakfast within two hours of waking. Studies show that if you do this, you are more likely to control your weight.
Don’t let coffee ruin your appetite.

Never starve yourself
Don’t skip meals. It’s like going on a mini-diet. Going long periods of time between meals each day may slow your metabolic rate so that you burn calories more slowly.
Stop dieting. The same metabolic slowdown that kicks in when you skip breakfast also works against you whenever you drastically cut back on the amounts of food you eat.
Don’t take in too few calories or your body will try to store more fat.

Don’t eat late at night
Your metabolism is slowest in the evening, so don’t overeat then. Give your body at least three hours before bedtime to digest.
Remember, you are going to eat within one hour of waking up.
If you do shift work, your metabolism will fall in line with your eating and sleeping schedule, not the clock.

Eat protein with almost every meal/snack
Eating protein boosts your metabolism more than carbohydrates or fats.
Eating enough protein will help you maintain and build muscle mass.
Keep protein intake anywhere from 0.5 gram to 0.8 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Use the higher end only if you exercise vigorously.
Good sources of low-fat protein include lean meats, turkey breast, skinless chicken breast, fish, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, tofu and beans.

Balance your other nutrients
Choose whole-grain carbohydrates instead of refined. That means oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, barley, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, beans, etc.
Eat enough healthy fats. These include avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, natural peanut butter, ground flax seeds and fatty fish.
Round out your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. The more color and fiber, the better.

Exercise!
Exercise to burn calories and speed up your metabolic rate.
Move your body to stimulate fat-burning enzymes to break down fat.
Do aerobic exercise (at least 30 minutes) four or five times a week. Your metabolism rises every time you work out.
Do strength training at least twice a week. Lifting weights and doing push-ups or crunches will help you increase muscle tissue, which burns slightly more calories than fat.

Sample Meals
Breakfast
Cottage cheese or yogurt with fresh fruit
One or two eggs and a slice of whole-grain bread
Lunch
Turkey burger on a whole-grain bun and a salad
Salad with grilled chicken and small amount of dressing
Dinner
Fish with vegetables and a baked potato
Shrimp and vegetables over a small amount of brown rice or pasta
Snacks
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on a large rice cake
A pear and a piece of low-fat string cheese

(Information provided by Jane Harrison, R.D., healthAtoZ.com)

LOST: High Energy Metabolism – If Found, Please Call

A friend asked the pertinent question the other day – where has my metabolism gone? I thought that was a fair question, especially when you hit a certain age!

As I shared with you recently, I just found out my thyroid is not fully functioning and I’ve been struggling with a slow (very slow metabolism). But we all know that as we get older our metabolism slows down too, and there are ways of stoking the fire again so our ‘internal fire’ burns more efficiently. But it can get extremely frustrating when you feel that you’re doing all the right things – such as changing your diet and exercise – and yet you’re always sputtering and fluttering along. Nothing seems to change.

The flip side of that is you know you’re not doing everything you should – such as changing your diet and exercise – and you’re just struggling to get through some days because of stress and life circumstances. And then there’s always ‘health issues’ that can cause your metabolism to slow (or stop).

Weirdly enough our metabolism can get stuck whether we’re really trying (and nothing is happening with the scale), or life is so stressful and you’re not doing anything about your weight situation.  So I thought it might be helpful to look at what metabolism is and what it does (health line.com).

Metabolism is simply how many calories you burn in a day. Your Resting Metabolism makes up the majority of your total metabolism.

Total metabolism for the day is made up of:
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the number of calories it takes to keep your body going without any movement (brain function, heart, lungs, muscle, etc)
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): the number of calories that your body actually burns digesting food
Physical Activity (PA): the number of calories you burn moving around all day during your normal activities
Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): the number of calories you burn doing planned exercise

Most people’s total metabolism each day is about 1800-2200 for women and 2200-2600 for men. The more you move, the higher your metabolism.

Factors that influence metabolism:
Gender: Men tend to have a faster metabolism (burn more calories) than women. Ladies, do you think this isn’t fair? What do men have more of than women?
Muscle Mass: The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn all day long. Muscle is metabolically active 24 hours per day. If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories while you sit at your computer reading these blogs, drive in your car, and most importantly, you will burn more calories while you sleep. How awesome is that?
Age: The number one reason people’s metabolism slows as they age……..they lose muscle.
Heredity: Some people are just genetically gifted with a faster metabolism than others. They can eat a lot more calories than most people and not gain weight. If you are one of these people, thank your parents for good genes!

Don’t Diet!

Having a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy body weight. The research has consistently and conclusively proven that being over-weight increases your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. An interesting fact about weight gain and heart disease involves your waistline.

Research indicates that a waist size of less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women lowers cardiac risk. Focus on making your waist smaller than your hips.

Avoid the temptation of jumping on the next diet bandwagon. Healthy, long-lasting weight loss requires dietary adjustments that you can live with for a lifetime.

When you combine a healthy diet with consistent physical activity, you are well on your way to naturally controlling cholesterol while helping to prevent the No. 1 disease killer of our time – heart disease.  Remember, your day-to-day diet and lifestyle choices have a colossal effect on your long-term heart health.  Keep everything in moderation so you can enjoy a longer and more enjoyable life. (brought to you by better nutrition.com)

Weekly Weight Loss Wisdom

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Are you living the life that you have imagined? If not, what small thing can you do this week to start changing that? Start to visualize what that dream is and HOW you’ll go in the direction of it. May you have a powerful, successful, healthy thinking thin week!