Read a variety of posts on health & fitness, green living, clean eating, seasonal tips, & much more!

RSS

Blog posts of '2015' 'February'

Kick Your Sugar Habit to the Curb!

You can’t miss the health craze that’s happening all around you. The good for you choices are gaining popularity and many more of you are working to improve your health. While I’m more than thrilled with all of this, I also feel like there’s a little confusion. If you follow me on social media, you know that I’m an advocate of organic food choices. However, I feel like that’s where we are getting things wrong. I'm all for organic choices, as it reassures you that your food is grown without harsh chemicals.  But stop right there!  While you're staying away from toxins, you aren't always clear of one thing that will also make a huge difference. That one thing I’m talking about is SUGAR.

Take your standard organic granola product. Turn the box to the nutrition label on the side. You'll notice most granola products are packed with SUGAR! So while you think you're choosing a healthy food option, it really may not be as healthy as you thought after all. One of the first ingredients you will find in most processed foods is SUGAR. Yes, this includes the organic choices too. The fact of the matter is, sugar really affects your health. Let me break the process down for you. When you consume sugar it's converted into energy which may be why you reach for the candy bar during your afternoon energy crisis. That energy is also known as calories. When those calories aren’t burned quickly after consumption, it’s stored as FAT.

This might explain why you aren’t getting the results you’ve been looking for. I say it’s time to check the ingredients in your food and really get a better understanding of what you're eating. Sugar is a sneaky ingredient, to say the least. You'll be surprised to know that it’s in more products than you would think. For example many condiments, breads, and salad dressings are packed with sugar. This is not good! Why? Well, this may be hard to believe, but some studies suggest sugar can be as addictive as cocaine. What? Yes, I said it! If you’re experiencing cravings, weight gain, or acne prone skin then your body may be trying to tell you something. It's time to cut your losses with the white crystallized goddess. I'm telling you the unhealthy sweetness just isn't worth it.

So, what can we do about it? We can start by buying more whole foods, rather than packaged foods. The less boxes and pre-packaged bags we have in our grocery carts, the less sugar you’ll most likely be consuming. Next, really get to know your nutrition labels, or at least check the ingredients in your packaged products (even when it’s organic!). If you see added sugar, I would look for something else. Last but not least, get comfortable using healthy alternatives to sweeten your baked goods and dishes. It will take a little time to adjust, but I think you will be quite satisfied with how delicious your food will taste when switching from sugar to honey and maple syrup. I know you're busy, but planning ahead to make homemade treats and goodies will be much better for you and your family.

(photo from the internet, not JennaLento.com)

To sum it up, sugar is in everything, and it affects the way we look and feel. Consider cutting sugar out for at least one week to see how you feel. Find healthy alternatives to bring that sweet taste to your lips. If you still aren't convinced, we say you're too sweet to be anything but healthy!

Five Ways to Stay Motivated

Don’t let the leftover paczkis from Fat Tuesday distract you from staying on track with your health and fitness goals. You’ve got your eye on the prize and you know what you’re working towards. That is until the excitement of making healthy choices become repetitive and boring. You think to yourself the start of living healthy always goes well, but within a couple of weeks your drive is diminished with the box of chocolates you devoured on Valentine’s Day. Before you throw in the towel, we’re offering you five fun and refreshing ways to stay motivated.

1. Mix it up: If you find yourself bored and distracted with being healthy, it may mean that it’s time to change what you are doing. Start by changing up your food. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Pick one new fruit or vegetable each week to try, and then choose a new way to cook it. Get friendly with spices, as it can be the secret to delicious healthy dishes. If you want to keep things simple, rotate meals every two to three days. After you’ve tackled the food, it’s time to change up your workout. Consider trying a new fitness class, or rotate what you’re doing throughout the week. Once you’ve tested our a few workouts that feel good, continue changing things up each week. Remember, if you aren’t having fun or enjoying this, then you need to continue searching until you find what works for you!

2.  Partner up: Grab a buddy to share this journey with. You can check in with each other each day, to make sure you’re both staying on track, and encouraged. Ask your friend to meet you at the gym, try a new workout class, grocery shop, and prep your food together. You can send each other encouraging texts, keep charts, and hold weekly meetings with each other.  Ask her to hold you accountable all throughout this process. Don’t be afraid to ask a group of friends to join in. It’s kind of like a book club, but for health, and fitness!

3. Share what you’re doing:  Consider sharing your healthy journey and progress on social media. You can post pictures of your healthy food choices, accomplished workouts, healthy products, or quotes that motivate you and others. You can even create your own hashtag, so you can look back and reflect on the progress you’ve made. Living a healthy lifestyle is something that should be celebrated. Not only will this encourage you to keep going, but you could also be inspiring others to get healthy too!

4. Create a Vision Board: A vision board is a collaboration of photos and words that inspire you to reach your goals. You can cut pictures from magazines or the internet, and then paste it altogether on a board. If that sounds like too much work, you can copy and paste pictures on your computer and keep the board on your desktop. Each time you open your computer, it will remind you of what you are working towards. Another option would be to create a Pinterest board, where you can pin motivational pictures, helpful information, and ideas. Keep your vision board posted somewhere where you can see it each day.

5. Reward Yourself: Each week decide what you’re going to accomplish, and then offer yourself a reward once you’ve reached your goals. This will help motivate you, as you will have something to look forward to. If you ate healthy, worked out, and did everything you’ve set out for, be sure to reward yourself for your hard work. A few rewards could include purchasing new music for your workout, a new outfit to wear while working out, a cheat meal, or a relaxing massage. You can set smaller weekly goals, and then quarterly goals, where you can set rewards ahead of time once accomplished.

The bottom line is that living a healthy lifestyle takes work, and you constantly need to motivate yourself to keep going. If you find yourself in a “healthy girl rut” then consider trying a few of the suggestions listed above. Remember, this lifestyle should feel good, inside and out!