Motivation Monday: 8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.

Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight.

How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.

In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber.

A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very little among people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.


Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?

Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight.

Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.

Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.



Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.

What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later.

Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.

When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some.

Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.


Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.

Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking.

While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems.

A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.

Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors.

The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits.

Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.

Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.

 

Source:

BY: SIDNEY FRY, MS, RD

How to eat healthy while still enjoying graduation party season

Food & Nutrition, Holiday Fast Track, Humor, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement

graduation gif 2.gif

 With the end of the year and warmer weather comes celebration. And celebration often means delicious, decadent food and lots of it. Whether it be at a graduation party, family reunion or backyard barbecue with friends, there always seems to be a scrumptious spread calling your name. And let’s not forget the dessert table.
Overindulging at one celebration might not be so bad, but what happens when you have three parties to attend in one weekend? Before you know it, you’ll find yourself feeling tired, bloated and a perhaps a few pounds heavier—just in time for swimsuit season.

So how can you keep your body happy and healthy without missing the fun that summer celebrations bring? Read on for nine tips on how to enjoy parties while still keeping your health in mind.

1. Eat before you go.

Heading out to a graduation soiree where you know there will be killer desserts? Try eating a light, healthy meal before you go. You won’t be hungry for the main event like fatty fried chicken and instead will have room for that slice of cake. Even the smallest snack can help when it comes to having control over the buffet table. Just remember, no matter what you do, don’t go to a party starving. You’re likely to enter a “see-all-eat-all” mentality and go overboard.

2. Bring a healthy dish to pass.

By bringing a dish to pass, you’ll at least know there will be one healthy option to eat. Serve yourself a portion of your healthy contribution and supplement it with smaller portions of a few more indulgent items. Not only can you keep your diet in check, but you’ll also enable others to enjoy a lighter option.

3. Taste test.

The first time you visit the food spread, take a little bit of everything you want to try. Give it all a taste and decide on your favorites. Then go back and dish up what you know you will truly enjoy. This will prevent you from eating foods that are just so-so to your taste buds but are also high in calories and fat.

4. Distract yourself.

After trip one to the dessert table, walk away. Don’t stand or sit near it, as this can increase the temptation to make a return trip. Instead, offer to help the host out with dishes, take a break from the party to walk around the park or venture to the backyard to check out what else might be going on.

5. Be active.

graduation gif

After eating, don’t just sit around. Instead, get up and join in that slow-pitch softball game, round of cornhole or sand volleyball match. You might even burn enough calories to warrant an extra piece of cake!

6. Be mindful of your beverages.

Sure, nothing says it’s a party like a cold Spotted Cow or a fruity margarita. And by “a,” I mean one. Calories from beverages — whether it be from beer, mixed drinks, lemonade, punch or soda — can add up fast. Guzzle down two cans of Coke and you’ve just consumed 280 calories and nearly 80 grams of sugars. That’s about 20 teaspoons! Bottom line: it’s just as important to choose your beverages carefully as it is to choose your eats. Stick to one beverage of choice and then switch to water, diet soda or unsweetened tea.

7. Pack along a piece of gum.

After you’ve finished your first plate, whip out this little lifesaver. Choose a minty flavor to curb any cravings for another piece of chocolate cheesecake and to help take your mind off of food.

8. Balance your plate.

Just as you would for a typical dinner around the table at home, try to balance your plate. Load at least half of it with fruits and veggies, a quarter with lean protein, and the other quarter with grains. (Whole grains are best!)

9. Use a dessert plate.

Swing by the dessert table first before hitting up the food, but only to snatch a smaller, dessert-sized plate. Ditching an oversized dinner plate in favor of a smaller plate aids in portion control and will prevent you from overindulging right off the bat.

Now, I’d have to admit that part of the “party” is definitely the food, and that it’s perfectly okay to indulge every once in a while. But for all those other times, stick to these nine tips and you’ll be on your way to celebrating not only the occasion but also your commitment to a healthier lifestyle!

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Workout Wednesday: You’ve Lost Weight, Now How Do You Keep It Off?

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday
You’ve Lost Weight, Now How Do You Keep It Off?

Losing weight is one thing, keeping the weight off is another. We’ve all heard about yo-yo dieting, know a friend who yo-yos and have probably bobbled ourselves. But it is possible to stay at your new, lower weight — and the more you’ve lost, the more likely you may be to maintain, according to a new study.

In this 2017 study, researchers split 177,000 adults into four categories: those who lost less than 5% of their BMI, those who lost 5–10%, those who lost 10–15% and those who lost more than 15% after six months. At the two-year follow-up, the people in the last group — the “high weight loss” group — were least likely to regain more than half of what they’d lost.

Here are four ways to help maintain your weight loss:

1. UNDERSTAND IT’S A LIFETIME COMMITMENT

“Weight loss isn’t an event, it’s a process,” says Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, a clinical psychologist and behavioral health director at Duke Diet and Fitness Center. “It’s not only about food and exercise — it’s about behaviors, emotions and our way of thinking. People who keep the weight off are able to stay focused and commit to prioritizing their health.”

This commitment may include staying active, watching fewer than 10 hours of TV a week, getting adequate sleep and eating breakfast, according to researchers with the National Weight Loss Registry.

2. PLAN REGULAR WEIGH-INS

“You have to continue the behaviors that helped you lose weight in the first place,” explains dietitian Georgie Fear, RD. “We look forward to being able to liberalize our diet and ease up on workouts after losing weight, but you can’t go overboard.” And that’s exactly why the changes you make while dieting need to be ones you can live with for life.

Another habit both the National Weight Loss Registry and experts recommend is continuing to weigh in on a regular basis. “I discourage daily weigh-ins because then you’re too focused on the scoreboard and not on the plays going on the court — what you’re choosing for lunch and dinner,” says Fear, who, along with Rydin-Gray, recommends getting on the scale once a week.

If you notice a significant gain, ask yourself why this happened — you likely know you were stressed, skipped your morning walks and turned to mint chocolate chip rather than calling your friend to talk it out. Then reflect on what helped you lose weight before. Refocus and recommit to those habits, and you’ll get back on track.

3. REMEMBER WHY YOU WANT TO BE HEALTHY

If it’s hard to return to healthier habits, take some time to recall your motivation for losing weight in the first place. “You can’t just be motivated by the scale,” Rydin-Gray says. “You really need to drill down and have frequent reminders of why this is important for you.”

Know that life may not be what you expected when you decided to lose weight. “Sometimes during the weight-loss phase, we have this idea that, ‘Wow, when I get to my goal weight, things will be better in my life — better at work, my romantic situation, I’ll have a great social life,’” Rydin-Gray says. “Then when we get to the maintenance phase, we realize life is pretty much the same as when it was when we were heavier.”

4. TURN TO YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK

One thing that can help all of us maintain an optimistic outlook and manage stress — and keep weight off — is a strong support network. Having people you can turn to provides accountability and helps you stick to your healthy lifestyle. “You need supportive people who can lift you up and bring you back to feeling confident,” Rydin-Gray says.

It’s particularly essential that anyone you share a kitchen with is on your side. “It’s so difficult to overcome a cookie habit when the person you live with has cookies every night,” Fear says. Beyond that, your support system can be anyone from friends and coworkers to dietitians and online communities. “Many people don’t have an in-real-life circle of friends that encourage them to be kind to themselves or try a new vegetable recipe,” Fear adds. So if you can find that virtually, take advantage of it.

No matter what, know you can keep the weight off. “There’s a mindset shift where taking care of yourself feels better and more important than giving in to any cravings or slacking off,” Rydin-Gray says. That may sound crazy when you start the weight-loss journey, but once you reach your goal and feel how good it feels, you’ll know it’s better than any ‘high’ a food can give you.

Source: By Brittany Risher

Motivation Monday: 5 Tips to Lift You Up When Working Out Feels Pointless

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
5 Tips to Lift You Up When Working Out Feels Pointless

Have you ever felt like you’ve been working so hard to achieve your health and weight-loss goals but, no matter what, the people you want to notice just aren’t recognizing your slayage? You are not alone.

One of my group chats was all abuzz the other day about actress and SNL comedian Leslie Jones’ recent Instagram gym selfie:

While it took a lot of courage for Jones to express her vulnerability on social media, her caption got me thinking about how common these feelings of unworthiness about our bodies may be. Her comment made me reflect back to when I was 30 pounds heavier, struggling with my own feelings of failure, asking myself, “What’s the point in trying?” Heck, I’ve had those thoughts when I’m at a healthy weight and just not seeing the results I want, think I should be seeing or the results I want the world to see …

Leslie followed up with a post later in the day with the following caption:

“Hey!! I want everyone to know I post my real feelings cause I am a real person!! And I know I’m not alone. That being said I’m also 50 years old and know that life is life! And some days we are low! But the good thing is I know I’m loved by God and I’m good!! It’s important to respect your feelings as long as you don’t live there!! God bless!!”

Regardless of your religion or beliefs, Leslie’s thought is a powerful one — no matter who you are, some days you have low feelings, just don’t live there and know that you are loved.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, and images of perfect, happy couples everywhere, I want to leave you with a message: Stop trying for others. Start doing it for you.

Even if you are paired with a loving partner, you may still have those “What’s it all for?” moments.

Next time you wonder what’s it’s all for, take a look in the mirror and say: “Me.”

And yes, I know this can be hard. For example, maybe you’ve been regularly checking someone out at spin class with zero glances back, maybe you want your spouse to give you a hug when you get home from the gym, maybe you just want your work crush to notice you’ve lost 7/8 of a pound or maybe you just want someone, anyone to comment that you look damn good.

Drown out the need for external validation and just keep putting in work in the gym, keep logging (and sticking to your goals) and keep yourself top of mind — you will see results. Here are some self-love tips to help you along your health and fitness journey:

1. FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE

Like most people, I love that post-exercise glow, the endorphin rush I feel just after leaving the gym, but I’ll be honest: I don’t always love the workout itself. So think about a workout you truly love. For me, it’s working out with my friend Alex. We always have the best time crushing stress in the gym. So, identify that thing for you. It could be a Zumba or dance class. Maybe walking, yoga or tai chi is your thing. Or, you may surprise yourself by trying something new like rock climbing, biking or even golfing.

2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO LIFT YOU UP

I was taught at a young age that you really just need one good friend. To this day, it still rings true for me. Your group of friends doesn’t have to be big, but it should include people who lift you up and make you your best self. Reach out to friends who can help motivate and encourage you along the way. Try to get yourself one good friend who can support you on your health and fitness journey. My friend Deesha recently started doing 6 a.m. bootcamp workouts and she’s started sending a note to to let me know she was on her way to her session. Some days I’d wake up at 6:15 a.m. to a text from her saying she was going and that was all the motivation I needed to get out of bed to do my own workout instead of hitting snooze. The same thing goes for food — you might want to avoid a meal with a friend who’s known to go crazy at dinner (real talk: sometimes I am that friend) … but that friend might be the perfect fit for a movie or walk around the neighborhood.


3. REFLECT ON HOW FAR YOU’VE COME

If you’re in the middle of reclaiming a workout routine or tracking your food intake, remember that time you could barely lift the current dumbbells you are using. If you’re at the start of your wellness journey, think back to the time when you were too intimidated to even start. The fact you’ve made the commitment to start eating better or exercising is progress from where you began. I often get a rush of self love when I think about how I used to be terrified of the sled at the gym and now I run up to push it — loaded with weights — across the gym like a pro.

4. IT’S OK TO REACH OUT FOR HELP

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad or stressed, reach out to friends and family for support. It can be a text or a phone call. Better yet, tell the people that matter to you what you need from them: maybe it’s as simple as your spouse giving you a hug or high five when you get home from your run. The MFP community can also be incredibly supportive- check out the community message boards for inspiration from other users. You can even introduce yourself and ask for words of motivation. But if those tactics are not helping or not providing the level of support you need, then don’t hesitate to get help from a professional who is better equipped to help you explore the root of your sadness, stress or lack of self worth.

5. DO IT FOR YOURSELF

No matter what your health, fitness or weight-loss goal is, you’ve got to make the change for yourself. You can be motivated by others, but at the end of the day if you aren’t doing it for yourself you will be let down. Stop focusing on the number on the scale and the external praise, instead shift your focus to your increased energy and how much better you feel physically when you are a few pounds lighter.

Source: by Kirby Bumpus, MPH

5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

There’s a saying that if you’re new to lifting weights, any program will make you stronger. While it’s true that “newbie gains” can be attained doing just about anything, experienced lifters will often tell you that in hindsight, they wish they’d known what they know now when they first started lifting.

There are a handful of common mistakes fitness novices make all too often when starting a training routine. Rather than accepting that anything will work, it’s best to learn the basic principles of strength training so you can ride out the progress of your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Here are five mistakes to avoid and how to fix them:

Beginners are often introduced to strength training through body-part splits, which are exercise routines that dedicate an entire day to a specific muscle group. For example:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms
Saturday and Sunday: Rest

While this may be effective for experienced bodybuilders, for beginners it’s like drinking water through a fire hose and here’s why.

Beginners need to learn how perform basic exercises like squats, pushups and deadlifts. These exercises take lots of practice, and you don’t get good at anything by only practicing it once a week. Second, beginners rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that smash a single body part with so many sets and reps that your muscles feel like they’ve been put through a meat grinder.

Beginners are better off with either three full-body workouts per week or four workouts that are split between upper- and lower-body. For example:

3-DAY FULL-BODY WORKOUT

Monday: Full body
Tuesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Wednesday: Full body
Thursday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Friday: Full body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body
Wednesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Thursday: Upper body
Friday: Lower body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

Beginners are often encouraged to use machines because they’re easier to learn than free weights. While this may be true, free weights build more strength and coordination in the long run.

It’s best to learn proper technique with free weight exercises while you’re still in a novice stage. That way, as you get stronger, your technique will be on point, and you’ll be less prone to injury. A strong lifter with lousy technique is like a racecar with no brakes, so get your brakes tuned up early on to set yourself up for a lifetime of safe workouts.

You can still use free weights and machines (because they’re both awesome), but if you’re new to working out, trade these common machine exercises for their free weight equivalents:


READ MORE > SHOULD YOU LIFE WEIGHTS TO FAILURE?


Many beginners avoid using a full range of motion during some exercises because they either haven’t been taught proper form or they heard some old wives’ tale that an exercise is dangerous. Examples of such myths include:

  • Deep squats are bad for your knees.
  • Touching the bar to your chest on the bench press is bad for your shoulders.
  • Locking out your joints keeps the stress on your muscles.

These myths are born from dogma and misinformation. They’re often spread by people who haven’t learned proper technique or have hurt themselves by using poor form.

In reality, research shows that proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion results in more muscle and strength gains than using partial range of motion. So the next time you’re tempted to cut a rep short, remember that full range gets better results and is perfectly safe if you use proper form.

A “no pain, no gain” approach to lifting weights might sound cool in theory, but doing too many sets to failure may be holding you back. Overzealous lifters often like to take every set of every exercise to the point where they can’t complete the final rep, but turns out you can make the same gains with far less pain.

A 2016 review in the Journal of Sports Medicine tells us that non-failure training results in slightly more gains in strength and muscle than failure training. After looking at eight studies, it appears that you don’t have to go to failure, although you have to do a few more sets to make up the difference. This is important because stopping each set shy of failure means you’re less likely to use improper form, reducing the likelihood of injury.

The takeaway? Stop most of your sets at least 1–2 reps shy of failure. The heavier and more complicated the exercise (i.e., heavy barbell deadlifts), the further you should stay from failure, while lighter single-joint exercises (i.e., dumbbell biceps curls) can be trained to failure with less risk.

As the saying goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Heading into the gym without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map (or a GPS, for the youngsters who don’t remember maps). Sure, you may get somewhere interesting, but you’re more likely to get to your destination with a specific route to follow.

Rather than flying by the seat of your pants, find a tried-and-true workout program that suits your goals. There are plenty of them right here on MyFitnessPal, including:

While a premade program may not be tailored exactly to you, it keeps you accountable and on track toward a more specific goal than just “getting a workout in.”

Smarter, Not Harder

Just like any new endeavor, you don’t need to know everything about lifting weight to be successful. But a little knowledge goes a long way in helping you get stronger, so avoid these five common mistakes to ride out your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Source: by Tony Bonvechio

Finish Strong Friday: Can Apple Cider Vinegar Fix All Your Problems?

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Fix All Your Problems?

Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets. After months of cold weather and cravings for rich meals, our bodies deserve a reset. Thanks in part to an ever-expanding selection of health drinks, this question burns as intensely for some as a teaspoon of ACV on a sore throat. Rumors are its health benefits include everything from increased energy and weight loss to improved digestion. Yet many of the claims associated with it remain unproven, so let’s to take a closer look at the trend.

Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is rich in enzymes and probiotics, much like other raw fermented liquids such as kombucha. Probiotics aid digestion, keep us “regular” and prevent bloating (as yogurt commercials have informed us for years). Yet those benefits only are gained if you ingest the raw stuff sold by all-natural producers such as Bragg, because pasteurization kills probiotic strains. You’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot when you see cobwebby strands of the “mother” floating in your bottle of amber liquid. If you’re looking for a way to wake up and energize your digestion, a morning shot of apple cider vinegar might make sense.

Raw apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid, which research shows can help block starch absorption. This can directly benefit pre-diabetics because blood sugar may be less likely to spike if you consume vinegar before a starchy meal. A related claim is that vinegar “increases energy levels” by stopping blood sugar spikes cold — but for the general population, however, this is a bit of an exaggeration. Scientific evidence shows only a very slight beneficial effect on non-pre-diabetic subjects. Likewise, studies have shown ingesting apple cider vinegar helped protect mice from the ill effects of high-fat diets by improving blood-sugar levels and cholesterol. Unfortunately, replicating these results in humans has been elusive.

As a key feature of many cleanse diets, apple cider vinegar is also touted as a great way to combat “toxic overload” — a vague diagnosis which purportedly threatens all of us who enjoy happy hour, dessert or both. However, the claim that apple cider vinegar cleanses the liver of “sludge” or toxins is more anecdotal than scientific. Similarly, the notion that apple cider vinegar can melt fat or promote weight loss isn’t backed by hard facts. It’s certainly plausible that adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water can suppress appetite — but one study concluded this resulted mainly from nausea caused by consuming highly acidic vinegar. (It’s also worth noting that drinking 8 ounces of plain water before a meal can dull appetite as well, with zero vinegar added.)


ACV TASTE TEST

“Sour” is one of the more polite words that can be used to describe drinking undiluted raw apple cider vinegar. But that’s exactly what fans of the stuff have done for years, taking a spoonful straight, every single morning. A gentler option is to mix it with 8 ounces of water, lemon juice and a bit of stevia.

Does this mean you should start guzzling? Probably not. Most health experts caution against overdoing it with apple cider vinegar, since it has the potential to negatively affect tooth enamel and irritate your stomach lining. In small doses, however, it might be well worth integrating into any healthy lifestyle.

Source: by Kate Chynoweth

Wisdom Wednesday: What Makes a Person Successful at Achieving Their Goals?

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Music & Motivation to Boost your Workout, Uncategorized
What Makes a Person Successful at Achieving Their Goals?

What makes someone successful?

In 2006, Carol S. Dweck, PhD,  published 30 years of her research answering the question: What makes someone suc­cessful? She theorized people contain two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Choosing one over the other alters the success you find in life.

In the book “Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers,” these two mindsets are discussed:

FIXED MINDSET

This is the belief we are born with a set of abilities and intel­ligences and we cannot move beyond what is inherent within us. People who choose the fixed mindset avoid taking risks, lose out on life’s adventures and look at failures as endings rather than opportunities to learn and try again.

GROWTH MINDSET

This is the belief hard work and determination can provide you with endless opportunities. No one ever reaches their full potential because you can always keep learning and growing. People who choose a growth mindset take risks and never mind making mistakes. Rather, they view mistakes as positives because those mistakes are a gateway to growth.

5 ACTION AREAS OF THE MINDSETS

To explain further, Dweck identified five action areas in which the two mindsets diverge: challenges, criticism, success, effort and obstacles.

Here are examples of each mindset. Think of what sounds most like you. Are you someone who thinks with a fixed or growth mindset? If you are in a fixed mindset, it is time to start switching your thought process.

Challenges  
Fixed mindset – avoids failure: “I will not sign up for a full marathon because I don’t think I can do anything longer than a half-marathon.”
Growth mindset – sees failure as opportunity: “I did not finish the full marathon and had to stop. But I’ll try again because I love the idea of challenging my body and pushing it to its limits.”

Criticism      
Fixed mindset – rejects feedback: “My coach is wrong. I know what is best for me.”
Growth mindset – learns from feedback: “I will ask my coach questions during and after our training sessions and take notes to remember what I am told.”

Success of Others   
Fixed mindset – gets insecure: “I am jealous of my friend who qualified for the Boston Marathon.”
Growth mindset – gets motivated: “I need to spend time doing speed work to qualify for Boston like my friend did. To do this, I will hire coach who can help me get faster and stronger.”

Effort  
Fixed mindset – thinks trying means you are no good: “I am already a good cyclist. I don’t need anyone to help me get better.”
Growth mindset – puts in the work: “I’m up at 6 a.m. to train. I can always get a little stronger.”

Obstacles    
Fixed mindset – gives up: “I could never run a marathon. I am not a runner.”
Growth mindset – tries: “I think I could run a marathon. Today I will look up running groups in my area and join them for their next session.”

To better see a growth mindset in context, here are a couple of examples:

“Reflecting on past lifestyle changes or personal accomplishments that I previously believed were beyond my ability really helps me keep a growth mindset and trust that I’m capable of more than I think. Once you prove yourself wrong a couple of times, you learn that ‘I can’t’ is a lie, and the only way to ever really know your limits is to step out of your comfort zone.”

—Runner Jen Delucchi

“I spent most of 2017 rehabbing high hamstring tendonitis and not running nearly as much as I have in the past. When being a runner is part of your identity, it’s devastating to not be able to do the thing you love. After successfully rehabbing my legs … I gave myself permission to take the pressure I was putting on myself out of the equation and just have fun out there. By making running fun again, with minimal training miles, in the month of January alone, I’ve almost beat my half-marathon PR, and I’ve run 52 miles.”

—Runner Jenny Nakamura

“The most successful athletes train their mind to have a ‘champion’s growth mindset’ (as I call it) which applies to both trainers and athletes. [This] includes a positive, optimistic attitude,” says personal trainer Kira Stokes.


CONCLUSION

Fully switching from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can take years, if not a lifetime. But you should practice training yourself to have a growth mindset every day, like you practice your sport every day — it will be worth it. You will view endurance sports not as something so data and results driven but instead as something in which you enjoy the journey.

by Jennifer Purdie

Motivation Monday: Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

fitness, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

If you don’t like the gym, can’t stand running and never took to cycling, well … that’s still no excuse to sit on the couch all day. There are plenty of ways to exercise beyond traditional methods. In fact, we can count at least nine.

Take a gander below for unique workouts — plus their estimated calorie burns — that are guaranteed to get your heart racing and might even put a smile on your face.


READ MORE > 6 WAYS TO BURN 300 CALORIES IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS


Sure, it could elicit some odd looks if you’re hula-hooping while not concurrently 8 years old and on a playground. But who cares? It’s a fun way to burn calories — and easily something you can do in the privacy of your own home. It’s a great core workout and will have you breaking a sweat in no time. Want more of a challenge? Try a weighted hoop.

Spinning underwater isn’t just some nautical fantasy — it’s a real thing that was developed mostly for rehab reasons due to its low-impact nature. But find a gym near you that offers it, and you’ll be pedaling through water. The pace is much slower, obviously, but due to the added resistance, you’ll be working hard from start to finish.

The gravity-defying art of trapeze is for more than just circus performers. Local training centers and ropes courses offer classes, where you can fly high to test your strength, flexibility and mental fortitude — all while getting a great workout.

Bike polo is exactly what it sounds like, assuming you think it sounds like playing polo — a sport typically reliant on horses — atop a bicycle. Look online for leagues, clubs or friendly pickup games nearby, and you’ll soon be knocking balls into a net using a wooden mallet while balancing on two wheels.

This highly-Instagramable activity is serious exercise, requiring participants to move between a series of poses while suspended from the ceiling by a fabric hammock. It’s a total body workout that promotes core strength and flexibility and is a fun take on traditional yoga classes.

More than just a fun backyard activity for kids, trampolining is an official Olympic sport. But you don’t have to be a kid nor an Olympian to partake. Check your city for local trampoline gyms, and go bounce around for awhile. The more comfortable you get, the more you’ll be able to incorporate flips, tricks and other cardio-friendly moves into your repertoire.

Once relegated to the outdoors, the proliferation of this sport — thanks in part to “American Ninja Warrior” — has spawned dedicated gyms all over. Break a sweat while jumping, rolling, swinging and climbing on natural or man-made obstacles like you’re the star of your own action movie.

The fast-moving game of Ultimate Frisbee is a fun way to get some cardio. Join a league, or just gather a few friends in the park. The short sprints and near constant movement mimics soccer and will have you gasping for breath.

If you like some friendly competition and don’t mind getting dirty, try a mud run. They’ll take you over, under and through obstacles across a variety of distances. And with events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Savage Race and others scheduled in cities across the country, there’s no shortage of options for the aspiring mud runner.

by Kevin Gray

10 Simple Things to Do Every Day to Lose Weight 

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

You’ve made the decision to lose weight, and you are so pumped right now! Great — so how do you begin? What should you eat? How should you work out? Here are the 10 healthiest, most effective things you can do to lose weight . . . and keep it off.

Set Small, Realistic Goals and Have a Plan

Even if you have big weight-loss goals, set mini weekly or monthly goals to act as stepping stones to get there. “Lose one pound this week” or “exercise five times this week” are great specific goals you can work on every day. Get out a notebook, your calendar, or your laptop and set a weekly plan. Write down your meals for the week and include your workouts, too.

Eat These Three Things Every Time You Eat

In order to feel satisfied and stay full longer, aim to eat protein (20 to 30 grams), carbs (40 to 75 grams), and healthy fats (six to 25 grams) at every meal. Go for lean or plant-based protein, such as grilled chicken or tofu, and choose complex carbs like baked sweet potatoes rather than processed carbs. And eat whole grains and unsaturated fats like nuts and avocado.

Keep a Food Journal

It’s important to know how many calories you should be eating each day so you can figure out how many you need to stick to in order to lose weight.

Just remember to tally every single thing you eat for accuracy — taking photos of what you eat can help you remember. It’ll not only allow you to track your calories and your macros, but you’ll also be able to see if you’re eating healthy most of the time.

Do These Two Types of Workouts

Commit to exercising every single day. Five days out of the week should be 45- to 60-minute workouts that include a mix of calorie-burning cardio (especially HIIT!) and muscle-building strength training. And the other two days of the week can be active rest, like some light yoga or going for a walk.

While cardio will burn fat, weightlifting boosts your metabolism and will allow you to gain more muscle mass, which lets you burn even more calories. Aim to strength train three to four times a week.

Drink Mostly Water — and Drink a Lot of It

Skip the soda (yes, even diet!), juices, and milk, and make your go-to beverage plain, refreshing water. With zero calories, it not only hydrates you and prevents bloating, but it also fills you up. Many times thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so aim to drink water throughout the day, around 70 to 100 ounces. If you hate plain water, add fresh lemon or grapefruit slices for flavor.

Eat Veggies at Every Meal

Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition says there’s one simple thing you need to do to jump-start your weight loss and start seeing results: “eat more veggies.” Aim to eat them at every meal, even breakfast. Since they’re low in calories and high in fiber, they’ll fill you up without using up a ton of your daily calories.

Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain. It lowers levels of the hunger-regulating hormone, leptin, while raising levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Studies show that women who don’t sleep enough eat an average of 300 more calories than those who get enough sleep. So snuggle into bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep.

Keep the Hunger Scale in Mind

Counting calories is one way to lose weight, but this is going to be a lifestyle for you, and you can’t always count calories 100 percent of the time. That’s where the hunger scale comes into play when it comes to practicing portion control. Don’t eat unless you’re hungry, and eat until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.

Live by the 80/20 Rule

Eating healthy most of the time and allowing indulgences every once in a while, known as 80/20, is a lifestyle you can maintain forever. This means that 80 percent of the time, you eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, and that you cut down on the sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Then, 20 percent of the time, you get the green light to enjoy some chocolate, a glass of wine, or some french fries. Knowing you can indulge a little satisfies cravings so you never feel deprived.

Monitor Your Progress

Find a way to keep track of your progress. The scale can be a great measure of how much weight you’ve lost, but don’t rely on it as your only method. Take photos of yourself every month, have your body-fat percentage measured. How you feel is also an excellent judge, so if you feel great and your clothes are fitting better, you might want to ditch the scale entirely!

For more information on Meal & Workout plans, send us an email:  bricksbybk@gmail.com.

 

Find the Workout that Matches Your Personality

Built Like A Brick, fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
There may be no “best” workout for getting fit, but there definitely are right and wrong options for everyone. With so many gyms and boutique fitness studios opening around the country, how do you know what workout fits your lifestyle best? We developed a quiz to give you some ideas for the workouts and activities you will enjoy the most. Here’s what you will actually look forward to doing — therefore giving you the most success.

Add all of your answers to find your most common one then find your workout type below:

You are most likely a classic introvert, meaning you enjoy quiet, introspective moments. Yoga and Pilates are both meditative practices that require you to focus on the mind-body connection. Though barre classes are often done in a group setting, you will enjoy the structure and small, pulsing movements of the exercise that can often be calming (even though yes, it totally burns). Should you be looking to hit the gym, working with a trainer one-on-one is your best option — with a ‘cheerleader’ type versus drill sergeant — who can coach you through moves and help you learn your way around the gym, which can be intimidating for newcomers.

These are all great fitness options that will not only get you outdoors, but can be done either solo or in a group, offering some flexibility. All of these have a meditative quality your introverted side will enjoy — whether you are swimming laps in the pool, paddling through the water watching the sunrise or focusing on your breathing as you train for a 5K. You’ll also get some great aerobic fitness along the way.

You love being around people and these group, full-body workouts let you get fit with your friends. These activities are great because they offer some adventure but still allow you to talk and socialize during the process. You won’t be too out of breath to congratulate your friend as they execute the perfect right hook or take a water break together after a game in your tennis set.

You are hardcore. You want adventure and you crave extreme challenges. These high-energy, loud workouts are perfect for you and you won’t get bored thanks to the constant change-up from workout to workout. If you are the competitive type, CrossFit lets you compete against others (and yourself) — or if you prefer to get outdoors, rock climbing will give you an adrenaline rush as you rappel down from a high peak. Mix it up with a spin class for some high-energy moves and music and to add cardio to your routine.

BY ASHLEY LAURETTA

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