Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Habits of Successfully Fit People

While compiling interesting articles for a monthly health and wellness newsletter I manage at work, I came across these 10 habits of successfully fit people. I immediately nodded my head in agreement upon reading number one because I knew this to be true. Year ago a friend from work was married to a fitness buff and I remember her rehashing his boring weekday meals–baked chicken, brown rice, and green beans. He splurged on the weekends but was faithful to his weekday meal. Ironically, another friend dating a similarly fit guy spoke of the same thing. Led me to quickly wonder why do I make this thing so hard.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that out of this list of 10, I’m good for more than 1/2! Read through it and let me know where you stand in the comments.

check list

 

1. They Tend to Stick to the Same “Daily Menu”

The majority of fit people say they eat virtually the same meals every day, mostly the same breakfast, same lunch, same dinner, and when it comes to snacks and beverages . . . well, you guessed it, very predictable food. To clarify, they did not suggest that they eat exactly the same entree for every meal, but they often chose from three, maybe four things that they like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There are three possible reasons behind this shared habit among fitness professionals, individuals who have succeeded at taking off 100-plus pounds and keeping it off for years, and those who have been trim all their lives.

First, it allows “careful” eaters to predict their daily calorie allotment without much effort. Second, perhaps the most fit among us are entrenched in habit, including the habit of taste. Third, effortlessly fit folks are in tune with the energy and calorie needs of their bodies. When they find foods that deliver what they need and that they enjoy, why look further? Keep in mind, there’s a fine line between careful eating and disordered eating. The careful eater’s diet is a habit and not a matter of control or obsession.

2. They Eat Breakfast (My favorite meal of the day)

This one common characteristic is nearly universal in statistical studies of people who have achieved and maintained a large weight loss. Eighty percent of those who have been able to maintain a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least a year report that they always eat breakfast. Research has consistently shown that the people who successfully lose weight are the ones that wake up and eat! Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral status and eat fewer calories from fat. Experts agree that the majority of people who struggle with overeating are those who undereat during the first part of the day, specifically those who skip breakfast. So it seems that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

Why does eating breakfast help people lose and ultimately maintain a healthier weight? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger throughout the rest of the day, therefore decreasing the likelihood of overeating and making poor food choices at lunch.

3. They Drink Water (All day at work, Needs improvement outside of that)

Not soda. Not iced tea. Just plain old water. This is the biggie. Drinking enough water is a vital part of any conditioning program because it keeps your body functioning in homeostasis and aids every aspect of bodily function. Highly successful fit people drink at least six to eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day, plus more as needed during exercise. Note: It’s possible to drink too much water, which dilutes the body’s electrolytes (potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium). Don’t drink more than a gallon a day unless you’re also replenishing your electrolytes.

4. They Eat Small—And Often (Sort of, definitely not an over-eater, though)

Most people know that small, frequent meals are absolutely the only way to go. Why? Because when we go longer than 3 hours without eating, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. And high cortisol levels signal the body to store fat in the abdominal region. Keep in mind too that people who skip meals have the highest cortisol levels of all!Eating small meals more often reduces cortisol levels, research suggests. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who ate six small meals a day for 2 weeks, as opposed to three large meals containing the same total number of calories, reduced their cortisol levels by more than 17 percent! They lost belly fat, too.

When you eat small, frequent meals long term, the body becomes efficient at keeping cortisol levels low, which helps both men and women reduce belly fat.

Eating throughout the day also makes you less tempted by the monster-size buckets ofpopcorn and supersize fries and drink containers that include triple and quadruple servings. Guided by their nutritional needs and deeply rooted habit to eat small meals throughout the day, the superfit stand steadfast, even in the face of a delicious, jumbo chocolate-chip muffin.

5. They Eat Whole Foods First

Successful fit people tend to eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies, and whole grains (and products made from whole grains). Certainly they enjoy the occasional treat, but 80 percent of the time or more, their preference leads to whole foods.Whole, natural foods—apples, steel-cut oatmeal, broccoli, salads, brown rice—are what food researchers call low-density foods. That is, they take up a lot of room in your stomach because they contain lots of fiber, which satisfies hunger with few calories. High-density foods are the opposite; they are things like butter, oils, candy, or ice cream. Think about how much frosting you could pack into your stomach if you really tried. (Okay, don’t think about it—it’s too gross.) Eating mostly low-density foods is the easiest way to keep your weight in check without feeling hungry or like you’re depriving yourself.

6. They Know Their Foods (Maybe not exactly, but I am knowledgeable  of caloric content & serving size)

This characteristic is truly universal among fit people: They know, generally speaking, every food’s calories and approximate protein, carbohydrate, and fat content. It’s not a case of being idiot savants but rather of having an understanding, a knowledge of food that allows them to make an educated guess. Their assumptions are almost always spot-on. This gift affords them the skill of making better food choices on a moment’s notice.Just as important: They know what one serving of said food really looks like. You can show an effortlessly fit person a whole grain cracker, and even without looking at the label, he or she can accurately predict how many crackers count as one serving. It’s not a gift, actually. It’s a skill, and all habits are skills you can master.

This skill is easier to acquire than it sounds. A couple of weeks of label reading is all it takes. There are even apps for your phone and Web sites that provide this information quickly and for free.

7. They Eat Their Favorite Foods—Carefully (I eat my goodies infrequently)

Despite knowing everything about their foods and tending to stick to the same foods day in and day out, fit people rarely report eliminating foods. If it’s something they crave, they enjoy a little taste. They know that simply eliminating foods they absolutely love will only set them up to fail when the temptation is too great. Instead, successfully fit people know that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. They savor those moments instead of sucking down the food as if they’re afraid it’s the only time they’ll ever see it again.

8. They Don’t Keep Red Zone Food in the House (The best change I made to my kitchen)

If you look in a successfully fit person’s fridge, pantry, or cupboards, you won’t typically find cookies, crackers, chips, chocolate, full-fat ice cream, or soda. Why? Because they don’t crave these things. They also know you can’t eat ’em if you don’t have ’em. Smart, right?

What’s interesting about these trim types is that they don’t have the same inner battle of healthy versus junkie foods that the average person who struggles with weight might have. They can walk past the aisle with chips and sodas and think nothing of it. Either they never developed the junk food habit or they kicked it.

9. They Close the Kitchen after Dinner

Unlike most Americans, successfully fit people eat their final meal at a reasonable hour, as opposed to eating dinner followed by a lavish 10:00 p.m. snack and another dessert. Most often they go to sleep, not hungry, but on an empty stomach. This allows them to wake up feeling thin, rested, and hungry for breakfast. It may take a little effort, but going to bed earlier and going to sleep without food awaiting digestion in your stomach keeps your body’s metabolism in a fat-burning state. Instead of digesting, which causes restless sleep, your body can focus on other things—like repairing cells!

10. They’re Resourceful and Politely Picky at Restaurants (Been doing this more often)

Successfully fit people find healthful alternatives to selections on any menu, from a five-star restaurant’s to Wendy’s. They know that it’s the food choices, not necessarily the restaurant choices, that help them to stay slim and healthy.They generally steer clear of fried meat, poultry, and fish. Instead, they order their protein broiled, steamed, stir-fried, or poached. They also speak up in restaurants, politely making special requests like asking that their dish be prepared with little or no butter or sauces and with dressings on the side.

 

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/healthy-eating-habits

 

Posted in Family, Inspiration, People

LA’s Summer Recap

Wow! Where has the summer gone? Mine, at least. Most of you have a few weeks left. Since my son started school a few days ago, I consider mine as good as over. What was supposed to be an easy, relatively stress free summer has been anything but.  I decided against a summer-long day program for my son. Not only is he 13 years old but the summer would have felt the same as the school year with dropping him off and arranging for someone else to pick him up thanks to the working -parent unfriendly hours.  The only one lucky enough to go on a vacation for a week–Boy Scout camp–was my son. I was so jealous.

My summer was supposed to be a break from writing–as if?–and taking a 10 week Project Management certification prep course, study on the days I didn’t have class, and enjoy some days on our local beach with my husband. I bought a new swimsuit and everything!

As it happened, I was busy with so much more than class and didn’t make it to a beach–not one time.  Searching for a house, doctor appointments with my husband, and unexpectedly, yet gladly, making some necessary moves for my writing business. Namely, doing a photoshoot (preview on my FB page) investing in having my website professionally designed, and a couple of girls’ night out events.

Before I knew it the whole month of July had passed and it was time to get my son ready for school. If I didn’t make a move quick, I was going to lose the short window I had left to enjoy some summer sun. So I combined a few vacation days with the weekend for the most consecutive days I’ve had off all summer. It was only then that I finally got to wear my new swimsuit and sit under the sun. Not at the beach but at the waterpark that I promised my  son to take him to before he went back to school. I made it with a few days to spare! Don’t want to be that parent that breaks promises. Kids remember those things.

Vacation or no vacation. Stress or stress-less. This has turned into a great summer. Not only did I successfully complete the PMP prep course, find a house (closing at the end of the month), I’m all set to officially release my new novel on schedule! Can’t ask for much more than that.

How was your summer? Did you do all you set out to do or more? Tell me all about.

Posted in Family, Lifestyle

Hello August

I haven’t been this excited to flip a page on my calendar as I was today. Yes! August has arrived. Nope, it’s not my birthday month. Nor I am that ready for my son to go back to school–yes, poor baby starts before September. Lord knows the school year will bring about even more activities that I’ll have to participate in. But this past month of July had me on what felt like a runaway train.

train.png

My summer was supposed to be easy breezy. A few months back I pushed a project management certification course from the February class to the June class because the school year was in full swing and I wouldn’t have the time to focus on the material. With my son out of school in early June, I was confident that summer would be the best time for me. The time for class was working out fine. Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8pm. An our with a mentor during the work day one day a week. I was managing everything fine, even  carving out some time for studying a few days outside of class time. And then July came.

Though I’d been looking for house off and on over the last 2 years, I didn’t know just how stressful that could be until I started getting closer to what I wanted and more anxious about moving. It didn’t help that summer is peak time for home buyers. Before I knew it Mondays and Wednesdays I was rushing home to get to my computer to join the class session and on Tuesdays and Thursdays rushing to meet my real estate agent at a house of interest.

Then came the offers. After the accepted offers came the home inspections. When one home didn’t work out, I was back on the merry-go-round with another house. I did this with three homes before God led me to the right one. Glad to say that I’m in the closing process now and hope to be moving in September.

In the midst of class and home buying shenanigans, there were three doctor appointments for my husband, an hour drive after work to and from family night at my son’s summer camp, a girls’ night out bus trip to see the movie Girl’s Trip and another girl’s night out to enjoy a summer concert on the Detroit Riverfront. Add a little business to the mix, I met with my web designer one Saturday afternoon and did a long-overdo photo shoot for my website on another Saturday.

All in all, the busyness of July was not in vain. It was fun hanging with the girls and satisfying moving towards a couple of my business goals but, nonetheless, busy and overwhelming. By  the end of the month, I was mixing days up, thinking that the fourth Sunday was the third and the fifth Sunday was the first. Mix-ups like those are a clear indication that I was overloaded

Whelp…today, August 1st, a fresh start. Of course, there are already a few things on my calendar–family photo shoot, my own doctor appointment, my son’s school orientation, family camp for my son’s boy scout troop. Oh shoot, school shopping time, too. Okay…seems like a lot, already, huh? Still, it’s gonna be less hectic than last month…I hope 🙂

How’s your summer progressing? Have you been running yourself half crazy like me?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Men’s Health Month


June is Men’s Health Awareness Month. It’s a time where community health groups encourage men to tend to their health and for the women in their lives to help them. Clearly, men not making their health a priority is a problem if a month has to be set aside to increase awareness.

I can personally attest to this problem. In the five years that I was dating my husband, he never went to the doctor until he began experiencing symptoms he couldn’t ignore. My dad, though he was always a fitness enthusiast, bike riding, jogging, etc., he, too didn’t go to the doctor regularly until he developed a condition which required him to. And even with that, he still avoids going until an incident forces his hand.

It really makes life hard for a woman to have to put that on her plate along with everything else. But this post is not a griping session. Our men need our help. Whether it’s making appointments I do for my husband or dropping reminders about needed follow up to my dad, or letting them know about local health fairs which may be less intimidating for them, it could be just the bit of encouragement they need.

I urge you to find out what’s going on in your community to support this initiative and let the men in your life know. Make a date of it. 

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Uncategorized

Spiritually Speaking–An Expected Gift

img_0810For the last few weeks, maybe more, I’ve been participating in this Victory Prayer Line conference call on Sunday mornings. One of my sorority sister’s is the event moderator and had been posting it on her FB page. Finally one day I told her that I wanted to join but kept forgetting when the morning came. She was kind and enterprising enough to schedule a reminder text and automatic phone call for me a few minutes before the calls. Talk about no more excuses.  The first call I joined I was in serious need of prayer. If memory serves me correctly, my husband and I had had an issue and I asked for prayer for him and our marriage. I’ve been joining since then with a missed call once or twice in between.

The calls are different than what I expected. I thought it was going to be an hour of prayer. That’s how the intercessory prayer line at my church operates. These calls, however, include 30 minutes of teaching followed by 30 minutes of intercessory prayer. The ministerial staff alternate teaching and any of them volunteer to pray for whatever was requested on the call.

Like I said, I’ve missed a call or two. I would have missed more but the Holy Spirit interceded. Each time that happened, the teaching that went forth was exactly what I needed. One time the teaching was on forgiveness and the day before I was hurt and disappointed with my sister and was struggling with wanting to hold on to anger. The next time it was about overcoming fear and walking in God’s purpose.

It happened again this morning. I was so tired from not getting enough sleep last night and tossing and turning worried about my hair which I’d just gotten done that morning. My phone was somewhere under the covers. I knew that phone call was coming in a minute and I debated if I wanted to join. At 7:58 the call came in.

I’m not feeling it this morning, I groaned in my head but reached for the phone anyway and answered.

The prophetess teaching this morning stating that the Lord put it on her heart to teach about the gift of speaking in tongues. And how the gift is for any of God’s children who want it because the Holy Spirit already belongs to His children.

I would have fell off the bed if I was close enough to the edge, my spirit was so moved. This was nothing but the Lord confirming my desire. I have been wanting the gift of tongues for quite some time but I haven’t been steadfast in pursuing that desire. Part of the reason is that I rationalize that I hadn’t received the gift because God didn’t intend for me to have it. I Cor 12: 7-11 goes through the gifts of the Spirit explaining that everyone doesn’t have the same gifts. I took that to mean that having the gift of speaking in the Spirit (tongues) wasn’t something that I needed. Nevertheless, I’ve always known that power exists in speaking in the Spirit and I want that power in my prayer life.

The teaching was awesome and just what I needed. For a minute I was scared because she said at the end of  the call she wanted everyone on the call to speak in tongues. And I was thinking, “Oh Lord. Did you hear what she said? Are you down with that?”

Nervous, tuned into the teaching, familiar with all the verses of scripture that she referenced. While she taught and as prayer went forth at the end of the teaching session, I prayed for God to remove the fear and any other inclination preventing the manifestation of this gift within my Spirit. I am guilty of wondering how others will view me, specifically my kids and my husband, even my church members. “Lord, help me”, I said throughout the call.

Before the end of the call, another prophetess solicited for anyone who wanted that gift to speak up so that prayer could be given over them and I did. Admittedly, I was scared to speak up. Scared to openly admit that I was lacking something that I wanted and they all had it. Plus, I feared them trying to force it but they didn’t. They prayed over my desire for it, declared that it would be in the name of Jesus, and shared their experiences for being where I am. I appreciated it.  My assignment for net week’s call is to positive report on my testimony of receiving the manifestation of the gift that already resides in me. So for the rest of the week, I’ll be praying, fasting, and opening my mouth for that gift to pour out.

What are you expecting from God in the immediate future? Share in the comments below.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday–Health Walks for Fitness & Fun

This past Saturday was the Detroit Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. As the chair of a Health Awareness committee through an Employee Resource Group of the company I work for, I created a team for the event. I must say, it was a struggle getting to the event as I partied hard with my sorority sisters the night before ( no drinking involved but lots of dancing), but I was so glad I did. Fond memories of yearly participation in such walks as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Sister Strut ( breast cancer), March of Dimes (for premature babies) came flooding back. Why did I stop participating, I can’t really say. Between my job and sorority, there’s always a team I can join. Even if there isn’t a team, I can always go solo. I’m sure to  run into someone I know right when I’m ready to play some music through my earbuds.

Health walks are great way to support worthy causes and get in a lot of steps. The heart walk yielded me approximately 5k steps at 3 miles. By the end of the day I hit my daily goal of 12k steps. If I didn’t have to pick my son up from camp on Sunday, I would have gone to the Kidney Foundation walk at the Detroit Zoo. I keep missing walking opportunities there. I must take advantage while I live so close (3 miles away).

These events are a lot of fun too. Sponsors provide bouncy houses for kids, face-painting, and other activities. At this walk I was super excited to get my jump rope on with my team. 

Had I arrived at my intended time, an hour before the walk was to begin, I could have participated in Bowkwa and/or Yoga, too. Activity coordinators do a great job making the event fun-filled for the whole family.

This was my first time leading a team and I did not do as well as I could have 😞. I met my individual goal of $100 and was $15 short of my team goal of $200. Considering I didn’t really solicit donations until the final hour, I won’t beat myself up too bad. But imagine how much I could have raised if I’d been diligent from the start six months ago. I won’t make that mistake again.

I plan to soak up some summer sun with more walks for health causes but I’m saving my next fundraiser endeavor for a cause newly dear to my heart, lung disease. The Lung Association sponsors a walk called Lung Force. It’ll take place in my hometown of Detroit in October 2017. Hmm, that’s actually not that far away from a fundraising perspective. I better get busy, huh?

What health walks do you support and why? I’d love to hear.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Women

Wellness Wednesday–Loving the Skin You’re In

There’s a fine line between working to change your body and loving the skin you’re currently in. I’ve often wondered if these two ideas can coexist. I want to workout the most when I feel dissatisfied with the physical shape of my body. And the days when I engage in some good self-love talk…”Girl, you look hot in these jeans!” or “Girl, your legs are as toned as when you were 25!” I don’t press myself about going to the gym. In a world that perpetuates the myth that a woman body is supposed to not only carry and birth children into this world and go through the aging process without looking like it, more often than not is has been less of the latter.

However, thanks to my 41 years of living, I’m finally learning to merge the two together into a marriage that works for me. First, I know that the body is not meant to be sedentary. We are supposed to move every day. And not for the 30-60 minutes that fitness experts say because in actuality that is nothing in a 24 hr day! You know it’s true, too. There are times in my work day that I am comfortably planted in my chair doing my work or chatting through our IM system with a coworker when I should be standing up and moving my body while I work. After all, that is why I fought tooth and nail to get this standing workstation so I could do just that. But when everything you need is at your fingertips it takes great strength and resolve to get off of my butt and walk over to talk with a coworker in person or walk around for the sake of walking.

Second, I know that the shape of my body has more to do with what I put in my mouth and genetics than it does exercise. If I had better eating habits (less pastries, no late night eating of buttery popcorn while watching Scandal, and drinking 8-10 glasses of water), I’d easily be down 20lbs. Can I get a “Amen!” You know I’m right.

This is not a spiritually speaking post, but no where in the word of God does He describe beauty by the size of a woman’s waist and the numbers displaying on a scale. Our beauty is defined the purity of our hearts, being kind to others, loving and honoring our husbands,  taking care of our children, using the gifts that He gave us. All that 36-24-36 standard of beauty is from fallen man and we keep falling for it.

Excuse me, I digressed.

I’m not that different from most women. I get green with envy when I see women in my age with slamming bodies. But I remind myself that they are likely blessed with great genetics which neither of us can do anything about. And they probably don’t exercise any more than I do. Well…some do. Some also have surgery to create those fabulous bodies and keep that to themselves. Believe that!

When I’m finished with that I remind myself of how beautiful I am. I look down at my belly,  and instead of frowning, I smile. This is the same belly that housed two beautiful children for 9 months, both born by C-section  surgeries. And guess what, I survived those, surgeries. We take for granted that some women don’t so how dare I be mad about a scar or some loose skin??? Sure,my breast aren’t as firm or perky as they once were but they’re cancer free (hallelujah!) and look awesome in the right bra.

I don’t waste time browsing through clothes that won’t compliment my current figure. Talk about depressing. Instead I look for clothes that are flattering to my extra pounds, accentuating my toned legs and small frame. You can’t help but feel good in clothes that are cute and fit you right.

In the meantime, I will still exercise. Always will. Regular exercise is good for overall health.  It doesn’t have to happen in the gym either. Some of my favorite places to exercise include the staircase in my office building, in a Zumba or with a hula hoop in my living room. For you it might be in a pool, a ballroom or hustle class, or in a park. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.