Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Time Off for Weekends?

Some diets give a "day off" each week from the plan so the dieters don't feel too locked in.  I've never known if that was helpful or not.  It's nice for the brain to not feel trapped into something completely.  But if you are trying to get your body away from a food you are addicted to, once you get that food back into your body, it can make it harder to keep away from it again.

I remember reading Alissa Cohen's book "Living on Live Food" for the first time (half reading material, half recipe book -- great raw recipes!)  She said that when she first looked into eating a raw food diet, she and her friend said, "Let's just eat raw during the week and we can eat cooked foods on the weekends."  She said that never worked for her because she needed a high commitment level to stick with the raw eating.  Once she let go of that on the weekend, it was difficult to get going again on Monday.

I've found the same to be true for me with whatever healthy eating goal I have.  If I let go on the weekends or over the Thanksgiving holiday or Christmas weeks (yes, they turn into weeks!), then it's so tough to get my brain and body back in gear to be where it needs to be to commit again.

Not only that, but let's do the math.  "The weekend" isn't a small portion of the week.  It may feel like it at first, but it's almost 1/3 of it!  That's like 2 steps forward, one step back.  And if you have a hard time getting back to your goal on Monday or Tuesday, it may even be closer to 1/2 off, 1/2 off.

So what's the solution?  Do you still need a break from the restrictions of totally healthy eating all the time?  Then perhaps letting up just a little with allowing bigger portions or something sweet, but not refined sugar -- taking your "cheating" a few steps up from what it's been in the past AND just letting it be for one meal or one event -- not a WHOLE weekend, vacation, or holiday season.  And remember, if you're addicted to sugar like I am, if you let a little sugar back into your body, it will just cry for more.  So be cautious with your choices and you'll continue on your path to a healthy life.  TTFN!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Better than Chewing Gum!

Move over gum!  Make way for plum pits!  Really.  I'm serious.  Plums are one of my very favorite foods and I've found that leaving the plum pit in my mouth for awhile afterward is really great.  You're never really able to get all of the plum off of the pit, so it provides for another 20 or so minutes of flavor and teensy bits of chewing as you go.  Just be careful not to inhale too deeply so you don't choke on that pit.

The very best plum in my opinion is the Santa Rosa Plum (pictured above).  Those teensy plums that grow on plum trees around town are also pretty wonderful.  I just saw some the other day while walking across a bridge that I first thought were cherries, but the insides were definitely plum-like.  Super yummy!  

The Pluot (plum/apricot hybrid) is another huge favorite of mine.  They're sometimes known as Dinosaur Eggs, which my kids think is fun.  Pluot pits provide for tastiness after eating, too!

Try it and let me know what you think.

P.S. (Notice I didn't post any photos of plum pits?  They just aren't all that pretty :))

Friday, July 27, 2012

Working Out in the Morning

I used to work out late at night after my kids went to bed -- long, long ago.  I didn't see it working in the morning with babies and little ones.  But then I read a book (Bob Greene's first book that he co-wrote with Oprah on fitness) and one of his steps was to exercise in the morning.  He advocated cardio more than strength training at that time (this was in 1996 right after I had my 4th child).  He said that when you do cardio, it raises your metabolism at that point and you burn calories at that rate until you go to bed and rest.  So if you work out at night, your heart rate and metabolism rise, but then it only lasts at that rate for an hour or so until you go to bed.  If you work out in the morning, you get the benefits of that higher metabolism all day long.

I'm not sure how true that is, but I adopted it at that point and put up a baby gate on my bedroom doorway so my little ones couldn't come in while I exercised.   When my last 3 children were babies, I'd feed them first thing in the morning, then would go work out.  As they got older, I'd wake up before they did.  It's become the most peaceful part of my days.

I've found over the years that if I don't work out first thing, interruptions come.  Whether it's the phone ringing or too many things going on that day, it's SO much harder to fit my workout in later on.

I just bought a Smart Phone last week (I'll even show you a picture of it!)  I've known that it doesn't help me to turn on any TV news or to check my e-mail before I exercise because my brain will be full of those thoughts and I'm likely to get distracted away from my workout.  Even when I start my workout with those things in my brain, I don't focus as well and want to go do something else.

I'm realizing now that I can't turn on my cell phone either.  Texts are one thing.  But now I have access to the internet on my phone and it has taken me twice to 5x as long to get some of my workouts in this week because I leave and do something else (thankfully not on the cardio workouts, but I did break up my strength training works a few times too many).

So my new goal?  No technology before my workout is done.  NONE!  This should have been obvious from the start, but it can be so tempting.  I guess I'm a little too much like Kip!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cardio and Weight Rotation

It isn't anything fancy, but I've just begun another video fitness rotation that I thought you might like to try.  It's a 6 week rotation with 4 days of cardio and 4 days of weights.  I know that sounds like I have 8 days in my week, but 2 of the days have cardio/weight circuits.  Here's how it looks:

Monday -- Cardio/Weight Circuit
Tuesday -- All Cardio
Wednesday -- Total Body Weights
Thursday -- All Cardio
Friday -- Lower Body Weights
Saturday -- Cardio/Weight Circuit (going light on the lower body)
Sunday -- Rest (or light yoga)

I also tend to add in some yoga at the end of my workouts, too (or at the end of the day).  My goal for this rotation is to have each workout be at least 45 minutes long, but they're really more like an hour or more.  I just wanted to give myself some room for lighter workouts, especially as I start out (since I didn't exercise much earlier in the month with my oldest daughter getting married and some traveling afterward).

So far I've been using Cathe Friedrich's workouts.  I have almost all of them and seem to reach for them the most.  She has lots of pre-mixes on her dvds and on Monday I did a circuit pre-mix from Step, Pump, and Jump that was tougher than I realized it would be!  But I did it!  On Tuesday my room had too much laundry in it to be able to do a step workout, so I did her Cardio Core Circuit, which is a HiiT (or High intensity, interval Training) workout.  If you're familiar with Shaun T's Insanity, Cathe's HiiTs are similar and super tough.

Yesterday I did a timesaver pre-mix from Muscle Max (the original is over 70 minutes long -- the timesaver is just 56 minutes).  (Scroll down a bit to my post on Cathe's Hardcore Series -- I went into a little more detail on Muscle Max).  It's a heavy weight workout and even though I prefer doing high rep / low weight, muscle endurance workouts, I feel like I need the heavy weight work right now.  I can get the endurance work on a circuit day.

Today I did IMAX 2, which I think is my very favorite interval workout.  I'm not nearly as strong on the intervals right now as I usually am, but I'll get back if I keep working at it.

Tomorrow, I'm thinking I'll do Legs & Glutes.  Or maybe I should do Bu##s and Guts (we don't say that B word in our house :)).  I've never actually done B&G and I need to try it out.  I tend to reach for my favorites and forget to try some others at times.  I also love Gym Style Legs, but I think I'll save that for another week.

On Saturday, I'm not sure --  probably Cardio & Weights.   I'd like to do Terminator again, but I need to get a bit stronger before I can do that one again.  It's brutal!  I've been setting out 3 or 4 dvds each night this week to choose from the next morning.  Usually I can commit to a workout the night before or even at the beginning of the week.  But I seem to be a bit more wishy washy this week.  At least I'm working out!

My eating is spot on, too.  I'm back to eating raw and can tell I'm detoxing a bit.  I'm requiring more sleep, which is unusual for me.  But I'm listening to my body and I am finally losing weight.  Yay for that!