Thursday Quickies

Eating for Energy

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Without getting into the intricacies of nutrition, it’s really important to understand food on the most basic level.

Why do we eat? Outside of cravings, temptations, social customs, boredom etc…Why on earth do we actually consume food?

It ALL comes down to energy people. The hunger “hit” we feel is simply the body’s request for fuel, so that it can produce energy. We are instinctively attracted to calorie-dense foods to most efficiently propel our activities – including mental activities! Even the very definition of a calorie is nothing more than a unit of energy.

So the fact that our modern food choices often make us sleepy, mentally unfocused, fat or even sick, is a huge red flag: there’s something seriously wrwong with what we’re eating.

On the flip side, good food rejuvenates us. Good food supports our activities, keeps us healthy, strong and keeps us at our prime. And with this mind-set – preparing food with sight, smell, taste and energy all taken simultaneously into consideration – that you need to have a pantry filled with the freshest veggies, fruits, seeds and other plant-based foods.

How to choose Dried Fruits wisely?

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How many of us make the mistake of eating a handful of Dried Fruits whenever?Just because it’s fruit, doesn’t necessarly mean is healthy and that you should eat large amounts here and there…

But don’t take me wrong. Having a wide variety of dried fruits on hand is a great way to satisfy sweet cravings while making your snacks continually interesting and exciting.

When you are buying dried fruits, however, is very important to read the ingredients in the package – in fact, not only in dried fruits package – dried fruit should consist of only one ingredient: FRUIT. But, unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Here’s a few tips for choosing the best dried fruits for you.

Watch for added sugars:

Dried fruit is sometimes sweetened even further with extra sugar – buhuuu – exactly the type of thing we are trying to avoid. Make sure you purchase the non-sweetned choices.

Choose fruit sweeteners:

In a couple of cases of naturally tart fruits like cranberries you have to add something to make the dried fruits edible. So what do we do in these cases? Some manufacturers spare us the cane sugar and use apple or grape juice onstead to sweeten. This is a great “natural” way to heighten the flavour to the fruit without adding more sugar than you need.Look for these at the store as well.

Check the preservatives:

Not all preservatives are bad! Ascorboric acid, for instance, is simply vitamin C and extends the shelf life of the fruit.

Unfortunately, dried fruit is often pumped full of some other not-so-nice preservatives – like sulphur dioxide – to make the package items softer.

Sulphur dioxide is not easily digested, compromises the immune system and is often the culprit behind allergies.

Every time I pick up a product at the store and see sulphur dioxide on the package, it immediately goes back to the shelf…and you should to the same!

Xx

30-Day Slim Down Challenge

Just in time for your get-healthy, be-stronger, love-your-body resolutions, our Shape Slim Down Challenge has everything you need. Join us for this exclusive 30-day diet and workout challenge that will give you lasting results.

We want you to feel better than ever this year, and this Slim Down workout-and-eating plan can help you get there. You’ll repeat each exercise weekly, adding reps as you go along. Combine these mega moves with our healthy eating tips that challenge you to make small changes throughout the month, and you’ll be svelte and slim right on schedule for Valentine’s Day!!!

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Plyo Push-Up
Start on the floor in a palm plank. Push into palms to explode body off floor (feet stay planted), clapping hands if possible. Land in start position with elbows soft. Repeat.

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High-Knees Sprint
Run in place, pulling your knees toward your chest and vigorously pumping bent arms.

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Speed Skater Lunge
Standing, jump right foot to right, bending left leg and crossing it behind right to land in a deep lunge with right leg bent 90 degrees and on ball of left foot, leg slightly bent (keep butt as low as possible). Reach left arm across body to touch floor in front of right toes (to make it easier, touch right shin or just reach right). Switch sides; repeat. Continue quickly alternating sides.

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Jump-Switch Lunge
Standing, lunge forward with left foot, bending knees 90 degrees. Jump as high as you can, swinging arms overhead and switching legs in air. Land with arms by sides and right foot forward, immediately bending knees. Continue quickly alternating sides.

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Pilates Teaser
Lie faceup on floor with knees bent over hips and arms extended up with palms facing each other to start. Roll upper body up and extend legs until you’re sitting, body forming a V shape with arms parallel to legs. Pause, then slowly roll upper body back down, one vertebra at a time, keeping legs in the air. When your shoulders reach the mat, return to start position. Repeat. Continue slowly.

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Squat Jack
Standing, drop into a squat, bringing fists in front of chest with elbows bent at sides. Jump feet wide, straightening legs and swinging arms out to sides and up to meet overhead. Continue quickly.

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Burpee
From standing, crouch and plant palms on floor. Jump feet back to plank (keep abs tight), then lower chest and thighs to floor. Press up to plank, then jump feet toward hands. Lastly, jump as high as you can (make sure feet are under shoulders before you launch), clapping hands overhead. Continue quickly.

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Slim Down Your Diet

You can’t have one without the other—to see serious success this month, complete the fitness challenges simultaneously with these tips to get your diet it tip-top shape.

Day 1: Lose the Blame
Losing weight isn’t about blame or shame. So cast those feelings aside right away. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself—that only makes it harder.

Day 2: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Goal setting is crucial to any achievement, but when it comes to weight loss you want to focus on making large goals (and mini ones within that) specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-based.

Day 3: Ditch Added Sugar
Sugar is lurking in unsuspecting places—think juices and dressings, and many people are already consuming way too much. All that extra sweetness adds up to an increased risk for heart disease—say goodbye!

Day 4: Avoid Refined Carbs
Nutritionists suggest being a little stricter with your diet in the beginning, but the truth is, refined carbs are diet disasters you’ll be happy you ditched. These quick-digesting carbs offer none of the fiber and nutrients you’d get from their unrefined cousins, and can cause blood sugar spikes and belly bloat.

Day 5: Put Down the Drink
Don’t freak out! You can slowly incorporate a glass of wine back into your diet here and there, but if you’re serious about results, it’s important to cut out alcohol completely for now—it can wreck your fitness goals.

Day 6: Plan One Indulgence
By planning ahead for your treat or snack of choice each week, you’ll be less likely to overindulge or binge.

Day 7: Allow Spontaneous Indulgence
Cravings happen, and while you shouldn’t give in to every one, you can cut yourself some slack to give in to temptation once a week (within reason of course).

Day 8: Keep Grains in Check
It can be tempting to fill up on whole grains because hey, they’re good for you, but there is something called too much of a good thing. Calories are calories no matter how you serve them. Limit whole-grains to three servings a day.

Day 9: Eat Only When Hungry
Sounds pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how often you mindlessly munch just because you’re bored, stressed, or for no reason at all. Ask yourself if you’re actually hungry next time you reach for the bag of pretzels.

Day 10: Go for a Walk
Speaking of eating out of sheer boredom—any well-intentioned diet’s worst enemy—when you start to feel antsy and temptation sets in, head outside and take a walk around the neighborhood instead.

Day 11: Never Skip Breakfast
Start your morning with a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast. Eating a substantial meal (or at least a balanced one) will set you up for more control and limit overindulging throughout the day.

Day 12: Say No to Junk Food
Even the strongest of willpowers are no match for the greasy junk food black hole. Studies show that junk food has an addictive quality that leaves you constantly wanting more…and more.

Day 13: NOP to Processed Foods
Processed food, which is often high in saturated fat and refined starch or sugar can cause inflammation that disrupts hormones responsible for telling your brain you’re full. A.k.a., you’ll eat a lot more.

Day 14: Shop for Whole Foods
You’re wiping your diet slate clean of junk and processed foods, so fill the void with clean whole foods. Think veggies, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fats. Spend most of your time around the periphery of the grocery store where fresh produce and dairy is shelved.

Day 15: Meal Prep
Whether it’s knowing what’s on the menu from breakfast through dinner or actual prep work like cutting, chopping, and packing meals—planning ahead is your secret to success. You’ll be much less likely to make a pit stop at the vending machine or grab a burrito for lunch.

Day 16: Reorganize Your Pantry/Fridge
Don’t “store” food on the counter—put cereal boxes away and keep bread out of immediate sight. Experts say you’ll eat what you see. On the other hand, healthy snacks and fresh fruits should be kept at eye level or in plain view so they’re convenient to grab.

Day 17: Keep a Food Journal
Jotting down exactly what you eat each day has long-been known to have eye-opening effects on food decisions. It’s a great way to identify nutritional holes in your diet, as well as noticing a late-night snack session that’s setting you back from reaching your goal.

Day 18: Ramp Up Protein Intake
If you’re feeling sluggish or aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for, take a look back at your food journal. You may be falling short in the protein department. Incorporate more lean meats like turkey and chicken as well as tofu, legumes, and leafy greens.

Day 19: Put Veggies or Fruit on Every Plate
Lacking in the produce department? Make room for veggies at every single meal—in scrambled eggs, on a sandwich, as a side dish or main course. Research says the more fruits or veggies make an appearance on your plate, the fewer calories you’ll consume overall.

Day 20: Know Your Healthy Fats
It wouldn’t be called a well-balanced diet without some healthy fats, but the key word here is healthy. Fats from olive oil, avocados, and nuts will fill you up and give you the biggest bang for your nutritional buck.

Day 21: Keep Portions in Check
You know just the right size for a grilled chicken breast, but what about less obvious items? Extra calories from salad dressings, for example, can quickly add up, so instead of thoughtlessly pouring dressing on a bed of greens, portion 1-2 tbsp. in a small bowl first.

Day 22: Track Total Calories
While it’s important to know that everyone’s required calories for weight maintenance and weight loss are different, one thing that’s true across the board if you want to drop pounds: calorie expenditure should exceed calorie intake. Around 1,500 calories a day is an average sweet spot for weight loss.

Day 23: Eat at the Table
Experts say you can easily underestimate daily calories due to forgotten snacks or meals you ate while standing. So even if you don’t have long, take a seat at the table and have a real meal—we promise you’ll enjoy your food so much more.

Day 24: Eliminate Distractions
According to research, eating when you’re distracted results in consuming a significant number of extra calories a day. Turn off the TV and leave the smartphones on silent in the other room.

Day 25: Slow Down
Research found that women who ate lunch more attentively consumed 30 percent less when they snacked later. Tricks to keep in mind: Smell your food. Chew it slowly. Don’t put another bite on your fork until you swallow.

Day 26: Downsize Your Dinnerware
Swap serving spoons for the regular size, and research says you’ll dish out about 15 percent less. Trimming the size of your plate also helps keep portions in check—plus the same amount of food looks larger on a smaller plate.

Day 27: Bust Out the Scale
The scale doesn’t have to be scary. Weighing in every day has been shown to help people lose more weight, and keep it off long term. Aim to step on the scale at the same time each day for the most accurate results.

Day 28: Reduce Sodium
Frustrated because you still seem squished in your skinny jeans? Salt could be to blame. Sodium is bloat’s BFF, and can cause the scale to fluctuate unfairly due to water retention. Cut back, and be aware of the less obvious salt-traps like cereal and salad dressings.

Day 29: Sleep 7+ Hours
Logging less than the recommended seven hours of ZZZs can not only make you irritable and groggy, but lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your weight loss goals. Hormones that control hunger skyrocket, and those that tell the brain your full are suppressed. Double whammy!

Day 30: Cut 100 Calories
In the beginning, you felt lighter and the scale agreed, but now you’re standing stagnant—what gives? Battle the dreaded plateau by cutting an extra 100 calories or so a day—now that you’ve lost some weight, your body simply doesn’t need as much fuel.

Cheers to a Healthier, Fitter and Brand New you!!!There is absolutely no excuse..

Xx

Happy and Healthy 2016!

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We ar 8 days into the New Year Guys! 1 week + 1 day into 2016!!!!

How do you feel?How’s your energy?How’s your motivation?How’s your new Year plans and projects?

I hope you feel as excited and as happy as I am…I can’t simply wait to see what 2016 has in store for me (i know it will be BUSY), my loved ones and for you!!I’m so happy to be posting New year wishes and resolutions  here in Lifestyle in Shavasana for 3 years now?!?Wow!!What a great Motivation!!!Thanks Guys!!

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes and each January, roughly one in three of us (including myself) resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later.

It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. 

I thought I’d start the new year with a blog post about the whole new year, new you thing because it’s a great time to adopt a new routine because a new year is, after all, considered a fresh start by many people – it took me 8 days to post it, even though it was written for 4 days already.

This post is to help you prepare for the year ahead so you can start the year working towards your health and fitness goals since these are the top 5 New Years Resolutions – every year – with a plan that’s sustainable – so you will be more likely to get past the end of January and still keep up the great exercise and healthy eating lifestyle.

It’s easy to think of new year, new you meaning that you need to jump in at the deep end and start hitting the gym five times a week while removing all refined sugars and processed foods from your diet forever. The usual thought is that you have to completely change your lifestyle and while it would be amazing if you could do that and stick with it, for many it’s just changing way too much in one go.

It’s likely you’ll find it easier to adjust to if you make small gradual changes instead; the reason most of us run screaming back to our old habits after a few weeks (or days) is because we tried to change too much at once.

The more you change the more you’re going to miss.

Make small changes gradually instead.

Try making small changes one step at a time – start by going to the gym (or doing whatever exercise you plan) two or three times a week, aiming to gradually increase it over time to about 30 minutes five times a week. Oh, and I can’t stress this enough…find an exercise that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be running or the gym, it could be anything that keeps you active. You’ll be far more likely to stick with it if you enjoy the workout, so try a few different things and see what you like. Mix it up.

If you want to improve your healthy eating then aim to eat generally clean food. If you’re able to clean up your diet completely straight away then that’s amazing! If, however, this is the part you struggle with, take it one step at a time and aim to gradually eat less processed foods and sugary treats, choosing to eat clean instead.

It may not seem like much of an improvement (for example, when you first start) but if your diet consisted of mostly processed foods and sugary treats then it’s actually a huge improvement to even get used to 65/35 to begin with…this means eating clean food 65% of the time and treats 35%.

Take your time and allow yourself to feel comfortable before eventually working your way up to 80/20, (or 90/10 if you want) so you’re eventually eating mostly clean food (I eat 80% clean and 20% treats).

Adopting a generally healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean that you’re on a diet; it doesn’t mean that you need to strictly eat only pre-approved foods and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you eat something that contains sugar.

The best way to approach the ‘new you’ isn’t to find the latest fad diet and attempt to survive solely on soup or smoothies, it’s to aim to make generally healthier choices. The hardest part of this process is learning to rid yourself of that horrible guilt when you eat a chocolate bar, but once you change your way of thinking and accept there is no wagon; it’s just a generally healthier lifestyle, you’ll wish you’d made that change years ago.

Make being healthy your main goal and, trust me, you’ll soon notice improvements.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask for my advice.

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Xx