Fitness

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Seven Daily Habits Help to Keep Slim and Fit

I have had been fortunate to have a fit body for most of my life. As an avid exerciser, bodybuilder and fitness competitor for most of my younger years, I developed good habits and a strong commitment to personal health that have served well now that I am a mom of three .

I don’t have the time for the gamut of exercises and strict diet I had back in my “glory days.” But I maintain seven specific habits that have played a critical role in my staying slim, healthy, and strong. These are the real reasons that I maintain good fitness and health.

  1. I move my body whenever I have the chance. I get up from my seat and walk around the house, the yard, the grocery store, and when I do I perform isometric exercises throughout the day. Walking from my car indoors, I purposefully contract my bottom muscles with each step, standing in line I contract my stomach muscles or bend my leg back and contract my hamstring muscles (muscles in the back of the thigh), sitting down I extend one leg out at a time and flex my quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh), and many others – which will be the subject of a vlog coming very soon.
  2. I seldom eat after 4:00 in the afternoon. At dinner with my family, I just have a glass of water or Perrier while we sit together and enjoy one-another’s company. Sometimes I have a small bite of something here and there.
  3. I drink black coffee first thing in the morning. I happen to love the taste, and caffeine revs up the metabolism, suppresses appetite, and is very satisfying
  4. I begin each day (after my coffee) with a homemade green smoothie. I add carrot juice, almond milk and about 1.5 cups of raw lettuce, like a spring mix, and sometimes broccoli, kale, spinach or whatever greens I have in my fridge. This makes me feel full in the morning, but more importantly, it packs an enormous punch of nutrients and fiber with a very small number of calories. This comprises at least three servings of vegetables in one sitting. Important note: I don’t do this for the taste. This is almost like taking medicine sometimes. Drinking this helps me look at food as fuel and nutrition as opposed to purely pleasure.
  5. I drink lots of water throughout the day. There is a reason we are constantly being reminded to do this by fitness magazines, doctors and wellness professionals. Distilled water is ideal, although not necessary. Drinking about two quarts of water a day will keep you hydrated as well as help to quickly flush out excess sodium, and with that, excessive bloating.
  6. I perform deep breathing and meditative practice throughout the day. I belly-breathe as often as I think of it – and always when I feel stressed. I try to use any menial or repetitive chore throughout the day as an opportunity to concentrate my attention in the moment and fully experience the task without allowing my mind to race into the future or linger in the past. Doing this is very freeing and creates joy.
  7. If I take a bite of something, especially if it is high in calories, and it does not taste good or as good as I had hoped (like a hunk of chocolate) I will spit it out (discretely and in private, of course). There is no reason to ingest the calories if it doesn’t taste really good. This practice also discourages me from takin the second bite.

There you have it. They are pretty simple and easy to follow. It just takes practice and diligence to incorporate some or all of them into your life. If you change nothing else in your life and do these things, you will be slimmer and healthier at the end of the year.

This entry was posted on January 6, 2017. Leave a comment
Increase Exercise Pre-HolidayThe Holidays are officially here – and so are an extra ten pounds on my stomach and hips. This time of year I find it nearly impossible to avoid eating sweets. I am eating sugary everything – cookies, candy, desserts. Even sugary, creamy coffee (I usually drink it black). Even though I get caught in the cycle of eating then craving sugar, then eating more and craving more, almost every year, I still find it a distressing byproduct of holiday cheer.

The fear of gaining so much weight that none of my clothes will fit is less worrisome than the mood swings and sleepiness the additional sugar bring on. Sugar truly is poison – and as addictive as alcohol or cocaine. It is nasty unhealthy stuff disguised as a harmless jellyroll.

One way I alleviate some of the distress of this bad habit during the holidays is to begin stepping up my exercise routine around the first week of December. Specifically, I increase my weight bearing exercise to gain additional muscle on my body. More muscle I increases our metabolism – so by having more muscle, I burn more calories just sleeping.

Also, I find that getting a head start on regular exercise before the new year,naturally helps me want to continue positive change in the new year. It is like creating a new and healthy cycle.

Finally, exercise improves my mood and reduces stress. These benefits really are huge for me this time of year.  This strategy has helped me get through the holidays without losing my mind – or gaining (too much) weight.

Fitness is Bliss

Training with weights builds and strengthens muscle. Training with weights strategically sculpts your body. We all have ideas in our minds how we would like to reshape our bodies to conform to some standard we have in our minds. For me, when I was very young, it was Barbie – a slightly unrealistic ideal.

For instance, for those of us who have pear-shaped bodies, we usually want to balance our bodies by slimming our hips and butt, and increasing size in our shoulders. That helps create symmetry. For those of us who have rounder bellies and thinner legs, we want to shrink our bellies, bring our waist into an hourglass shape, and perhaps add some shapely muscle mass to our thighs. If you have skinny calves, you may want to increase the size of your calf with specific strength training exercises for this area.  All of these reshaping attempts are called body sculpting, and it can be a powerful ally in helping us look and feel more beautiful.

If we want to trim some extra body fat, we can add walking, jogging, jumping rope, swimming, dancing, tennis (singles), bicycling, stair climbing, elliptical exercises, or rowing machine. Those are all exercises we do at a sustained level for an extended period of time. Walking for ½ hour is a good start, working up to an hour, then add jogging. The above exercises, work our cardio-vascular systems (strengthens the heart and blood circulatory system) and are key for your overall health. They also burn body fat – helping you to lose weight, quickly.

We don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get and look fit and fabulous. That is a myth from the ‘80’s. I wrote a book describing in detail my personal 12-minute full body workout. It works, and can truly be completed in 12 minutes. There are other sources of good information for quick and effective weight training exercises for body sculpting and general fitness. There is no lack of information stopping you. Adding the cardio-vascular exercises, at least ½ hour three times a week, you will steadily lose weight and reshape and tone your entire body.

My 12 Minute Full Body Workout EBook is available here:  12 Minute Full Body Workout

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