Friday, December 31, 2010

What's not in my suitcase

So yesterday I packed up my suitcase for 2011. I'm ready to go!  I've got all of my positive people, influences, data, and energy that I'll need next year. But there are some things that didn't make the cut.  Here's what I am leaving behind in 2010:

1. Competitiveness. I am competitive, and not always in a good way.  I want (and sometimes need) to feel like I am the best at everything, and if I suspect that someone is taking my title from me, I get stressed out and anxious.  There are times when being competitive has served me well and helped me achieve goals I wasn't sure I would reach, but I've felt this year like being so focused on being the absolute best has been a detriment to me. I've learned that sharing the spotlight is fun, and I've been warmed by the glow of others. It was weird at first but over time I've gotten more comfortable. I want to leave the nasty side of my competitive spirit in 2010.

2. Jealousy. When you compete, you're constantly sizing up the competition. And when they're better than you, well, jealousy is not far behind.  But I loathe feeling jealous and I want to stop. The intense feelings of happiness that I've experienced this year by taking a back seat has convinced me that there is no more room for jealousy in my suitcase. It's out.

3. Negative self-talk. Body image haunts so many women, and I'm one of them. It's hard sometimes to look in the mirror, see my imperfections, and not feel driven to change them.  But I'm learning that if I want my body to be a partner with me in wellness, I need to be nicer to it. I would never say to a friend what I have said to myself; why would my body want to work with me if I treat it like garbage?  So I am going to leave negative self-talk in 2010.

4. Doubt. I did things in 2010 that I wasn't sure I could do...and they were easy. I did my first triathlon, and I completed my first half-marathon.  Looking back, it seems silly to have doubted that I could achieve those things. I don't see a need for doubt in 2011.

I grew up in 2010. It was an amazing year of growth and the emotional transformation has been immense.  Saying goodbye to these things that used to be part of each day isn't just a symbolic exercise for me...it's a tear-jerking realization that as I snap closed my 2011 suitcase, I truly have everything I need and nothing - NOTHING - can stop me.

Goodbye 2010.  You were awesome.

But I have to go.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Resolution Guide: The Suitcase

I've always wanted a suitcase like this!
So we talked a while ago about our metaphorical fanny pack (and how we were not going to fill it with cookies).  Now I want to upgrade our visual and talk about our 2011 suitcase. I think all of this is a sign that I need a vacation!

But anyway, I've got my 2011 suitcase open and ready to be filled with everything from 2010 that I want to bring with me into the new year.  And as you can imagine, not everything from 2010 will make the cut.  Here's what made it into my suitcase (and what got left in 2010).  And just FYI this is just about fitness stuff so if you're not on the list, don't freak out. I'm not tossing you.

1. My gym family. I love the people I workout with! They motivate me, make me laugh, indulge my motormouth, and prod me into working harder than I thought I could. They are definitely making it into my suitcase! 

2. My clients. Wellness coaching is one of the most rewarding things in my life and my clients teach me something new about the world every time I talk to them.  They make the cut!

3. My gadgets. Data drives progress, and I get a lot of value from my GoWearFit, my new Garmin, and iPod filled with GetFitPod running podcasts. I may look like a cyborg half the time, but I use them every day and they make the cut.

4. My wellness community. In 2010 I connected with a lot of wellness advocates and its been wonderful professionally and personally. I've created great friendships with people who inspire me every day, and that definitely makes it into the suitcase!

5. Last but definitely not least, my actual family. Trust me, life with me is not always (ever) easy, and the amount of patience, tolerance, humor, and love that I get from people who have no choice about having me in their lives is immense. I will need a lotta lotta more of that in 2011.

That's it. Oh, well, also a bunch of workout clothes and shoes and stuff.  But that's pretty much everything I am taking with me in 2011.  I'm leaving some significant things behind...I'll talk about those tomorrow.Yesterday was about positive thinking. I hope that you made your list of positive versus negative influences and figured out which ones you can change and which ones you want to ditch. Put the positive influences in your suitcase today!

See you soon! Have a healthy day!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Resolution Guide: Love it or leave it!

Pssst...come here! I have a secret!  I have a sure-fire way to ensure that your 2011 fitness goals become reality.  Are you ready?

QUIT THINKING ABOUT THEM AND DO THEM.

Ah, easier said than done, right?  I know, I know. But I do have one tip that really will make a huge difference in your odds: being positive.  One of the most powerful things you can do for your wellness is to surround yourself with positive influences, people, thinking, music...you get it!  It's no secret - positive thinking breeds positive actions. It's amazing how much just smiling when you're feeling down can change your entire attitude.

But here's the thing - what if everything isn't positive? What if everything sucks? What if your family doesn't support you or you have to work all the time at a job you hate or you feel like all of that positive mumbo-jumbo is just a mask over legitimate things that legitmately suck?

In my opinion, you have two choices: love it or leave it.  I've done both. I've changed what I can change, and I've left what I can't. That doesn't mean I always love everything or its always my way or the highway. It just means that I decide to love it (accept it / focus on the positive about it / choose my battles) or leave it (change it / ignore it / toss it). 

So what if your family doesn't support your fitness goals? What if they don't think you can do it? Does that mean you toss your family? Not completely, of course, but you might have to "toss" the specific interactions with family members that degrade your goals.  If your family doesn't encourage you to exercise or eat well, find a group of people who do and talk to your family about other things.  When they see you accomplishing your goals, they'll come around. Don't let their temporary negative attitude hamper your progress.

Not everything can be loved, and not everything can be changed. And, positive thinking is not an excuse for ignoring actual problems.  But in my experience, when I've ditched the negative energy, people, places, and actions and replaced them with positive influences, I've absolutely soared towards success.  As you go through your day, make a mental list of behavior influences were positive versus negative. Then, decide which ones you can change and which ones you're going to leave in 2010.

I'm POSITIVE you can do it! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year Resolution Guide: Plan to be successful

One of my 2011 goals (a resolution if you will) is to get faster as a runner. I am doing a half marathon in February and want to do it in 2:10, faster than my 2:18 time from last October. That means I need to run an average of a 10-minute mile. Should be pretty easy, right? I average about 10:15 minutes per mile so I just need to pick it up a bit.


Then I want to get comfortably into a 9:30 mile. And finally I want to complete a half marathon in less than two hours. When I can do that, I'll consider training for a full distance marathon.


That's my SMART goal for running this year: consistently run a 9:30 mile by training for distance events and steadily increasing my speed at each event until I complete a half marathon in less than 2 hours.


Okay, so....I need a plan. "Pick it up a bit," as a training tool only works for about two blocks.  Luckily, my husband got me a Garmin for Christmas so when I've been running, I strap that puppy on and monitor my speed as I run. I learned Sunday that when I start daydreaming, I slow down to about 10:45.  When I snap out of it, 9:45 is easy. And when I'm at 9:26 I feel amazing. But I can't maintain it - that's where the conditioning part comes in. It should be an interesting process.


Here's your New Year's Resolution homework for today - make a plan. Set a goal, make a plan. Dissect your goal into the action steps you need to take - or get other people to take - to see it come to life. Write benchmarks on a calendar so you can visualize when things need to happen. Spend some time visualizing what obstacles may crop up and how you'll deal with them. Write it down, make a plan, and do at least one action from that plan right away.


2011 is going to be a great year!  You can plan on it. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year Resolution Guide: Just say no to gimmicks!

Happy New Year!  Well, almost. How about: Happy New Year Resolution Week!

The Christmas paper doesn't even make it into the fireplace before the weightloss  commercials start playing on television.  Even as I type this, I've heard "skinny jeans" and "little black dress," coming from the tube.  And as we sit surrounded by temptation and every creature comfort that we can buy, we figure that's the solution - on Monday, I'll join up and then it will all be taken care of.

Weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, and Jenny Craig are great for teaching you the fundamentals and getting you into a healthy routine of portion control, being mindful of your eating, and accountability. Thousands of people have had great success with these programs, and if you put in the effort to learn what they're actually teaching you instead of robotically following the instructions, you can walk away with some great hands-on experience for weight maintenance that will serve you well. What I want you to beware of are the gimmicks - the pills, powders, "energy drinks," magnetic bracelets, supplements, and other scams out there that promise quick weight loss with no change to your lifestyle. 

If weight loss is a goal for 2011, sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself about what you're prepared to do to make that happen. You absolutely CAN do it on your own with some creative thinking and hard work. And if you choose to enroll in a commercial program to get started or get to your goal, ask yourself:

1. Is this program something I can do forever? Hint: you can't drink SlimFast forever.
2. Does this program give or teach me anything I don't already know?
3. What does this program offer that I can't get anywhere else?

If it isn't based in permanent lifestyle changes (balanced nutrition and exercise, not shakes), accountability, and real data, think again. And if it seems too good to be true...

well...

keep shopping. I'll have lots of info in the coming week on how to get started losing weight and being holistically healthy, so stay close.  In the meantime, go get a head start and exercise!

Good day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Truth About Your Body

There is no good time to tell you this, but I think you should know something:

Your body doesn't care about the holidays. It doesn't even know it's supposed to be on hiatus until January, much less care.

It doesn't process calories, fat, or sugar any differently because it's Christmastime. It just keeps plugging away.

"Hi ho hi ho, it's off to work I go...taking in all of these yummy goodies and...oooh, eggnog!...why is she eating all of this junk anyway? Whatever, I don't get paid to ask questions, no time to think, just gotta keep processing this food 'cause that's what I do and wow there sure is a lot of it..."

I imagine the above being said in a sing-song voice similar to the ones on the Mighty Machine DVDs that apply human voices to garbage trucks and construction vehicles.  I've watched a lot of Mighty Machines so the voices are pretty much drilled into my brain forever.

Anyway, your body isn't on vacation - it's still open for business.  So even if you've pressed pause on your wellness until next week, your body hasn't.  Sooooo......yeah.  Sorry 'bout that.

I'm glad we had this little talk. :)

I'd also like to get all warm and fuzzy with you (I know, what?!) and say thanks for your readership. I love writing in this blog and knowing that you read it and maybe even glean some value from it makes me merry and bright.  I hope you have a wonderful wonderful wonderful holiday filled with wonderfulness. 

Now snap out of it and get back to being healthy and stuff!  Trust me, you'll love it!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cranberries My Way

A few of you have asked how I make my own dried cranberries.  Well, after wandering the aisles at the grocery store looking for unsweetened dried cranberries (no sugar whatsoever - just plain old wonderful cranberries all by themselves) and coming up empty, I turned to the internet.

Here's what I learned: you can dry cranberries on your own in your oven!  It's so easy! Using a food dehydrator would probably yield better results, but I put a moratorium on any new kitchen gadgets so I stuck with the oven. My husband thanks me.

Here's how you do it. You'll need a bag of fresh or frozen whole cranberries, a pot of water, a towel, and a cookie sheet.

1. Boil a pot of water. Easy.

2. While you're waiting for that, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get out a cookie sheet. Easy!

3. Once the water is boiling, dump in the cranberries. Leave them in just long enough for the skin to pop (about two minutes in my experience). If you leave them in too long they'll get mushy. Trust me on this part.

4. Drain the cranberries in a colander and pour them out onto a towel to pat them dry.

5. Once dry, transfer them to your cookie sheet and put them into the preheated oven.

6. After 10 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the cranberries in overnight.  In the morning, they'll be shriveled up little bits of cranberry that are perfect in your Christmas Day salad! 

Um  *ahem* a bit of a cautionary tale here - don't forget that they're in the oven the next morning until you've already preheated it for something else and then open it to find that you've just burned them. Trust me on that part, too. :)

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fanny Pack

This woman's face hidden
 to protect her dignity.
Are you wearing your fanny pack?  If you ate something you didn't need today, then I am willing to bet you are! 

I was reminded of my fanny pack yesterday when talking about - what else? - holiday weight loss with a friend.  I explained a visual tool I use when I find myself eating something my body has no use for: putting that food into a fanny pack that is strapped across my waist. 

For example, fudge. When my stomach growls and I give it fudge, it's less than grateful. I mean, what is a hungry body going to do with fudge?  So it politely thanks me for the fudge, tucks it into the fanny pack, and then 10 minutes later tries again:

"I'm hungry. The fudge was great but I need something I can work with. Perhaps some whole grains and a little protein?" 

And let's say I give it a Christmas cookie.  My stomach may take that cookie, put it into the fanny pack, zip it up, and say, "thanks, but not really what I needed.  I need something I can use for fuel. Let's try again."  And the cycle continues. You keep feeding, it keeps storing, and you know what happens.  The belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly happens. And in January you look into the mirror and say, "but I only had a few bites!"

Look - when you eat something that is nutritionally bankrupt, your body has no need for it. So it tucks it into your virtual fanny pack and asks for something else.  If you keep giving it stuff it can't use, that fanny pack is going to get more and more full.

Have you ever tried to sit down wearing a fully-loaded fanny pack? I have, both literally and figuratively. It ain't cute either way. I've got too much that I want to do in a day to carry around that extra stuff. 

Take off the fanny pack! Stop putting things into it!  When you get to a table laden with holiday goodies, imagine yourself unzipping your fanny pack, putting all of the stuff inside, and carrying it around with you all day.

It's a pretty darn accurate analogy if I do say so myself. :) So get on with it!

Good day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Healthy Holiday Hint: Eat like a kid again!

Half the time when I pick up my kiddo from school, his lunchbox still has a few cleaneating goodies in it - graham crackers, a cereal bar, these great fig-newton (it's not a cookie! it's a fig newwwton!) thingies I found...just miscellaneous things he didn't get around to eating. And because I am a product of the "eat what you're given and don't complain," generation I ask him why he didn't eat all of his lunch.

And for some reason I am always pleasantly suprised to hear him tell me, "I was just done eating."

He was just done eating. He eats his lunch until he isn't hungry anymore and then he just stops and closes his lunchbox. That's so...healthy. I love how kids do that. They get a bum rap for only wanting to eat junk food but most of the time kids are actually pretty healthy with their eating patterns.  The food they want to eat may not be that healthy, but at least they eat it in a healthy way. :)

So that's our Healthy Heather Holiday Hint for today: eat like a kid again!  Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not hungry anymore. I'll be at a Christmas Eve party on Friday with a buffet full of delicious holiday food, and you better believe I'll be remembering this hint. 

Healthy eating is more than just what you eat, it's also how you eat. Pay attention to your hunger signals this week and listen to them. They won't steer you wrong.

Remember: He sees you when you're eating! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Lies We Tell

Liar! 

Yes, you!  Me too, if I'm being honest.  We all tell lies to ourselves about the food we eat, especially this time of year when there is so much to lie about.  Do any of these sound familiar?

No one saw me eat that (or I just had a tiny bite), so it doesn't really count. Truth: if your body digests it, it counts. If it goes down your esophagus, it counts. Your body doesn't know it wasn't supposed to count. It's gonna do its thang either way.

I've been so good all week, I deserve to have a treat. Truth: you're right! You do deserve a treat! Go get a pedicure! Buy something pretty to remind you of your hard work. Call a good friend and brag on your great week. Treat yourself right...by not ruining all of that hard work.

I'll make up for this tomorrow.  Make that next week. Truth: you might. But when I tell myself this lie, I almost never follow through and if I do, I resent it.  Exercise should be proactive, not damage control!

When I notice that I am telling these little lies to myself, I try to see it as a sign that I am feeling deprived or too restricted in my nutrition. If I was truly happy with my nutrition plan, I wouldn't be looking for ways to rebel (and then try to pretend never happened), would I?  So I relax things a little and give myself some wiggle room until I feel like I am sufficiently indulged.  But this is the clincher - I still log it, I still eat clean, and I still remain accountable to myself for what I am eating and what that means for my fitness. And sometimes I think about those added calories (and the added water weight I will carry as a result) and decide it's not really worth it.  I mean, it's just food.  Food is a temporary situation.

If you hear yourself telling sweet little lies, take a step aside and ask yourself why. Do you need some wiggle room?  Are you feeling left out of the food celebrations? But are your fitness goals bigger than that?  Maybe so, maybe not.  Either way, be honest with yourself and about the reasons you feel that way.

Santa's watching, after all!

Be merry and bright today. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Healthy Holiday Hint: The Feeders

As we get into the thick of the holidays, our resolve begins to wane. Doesn't it? I know mine has. Just turning on the television these days plants visions of sugar plums in our heads...and after seeing them enough times chances are your brain will begin to resent all of that teasing and want to bite into one. 


So it's time for reinforcements. Before you head into the weekend, read up on these Healthy Heather Holiday Hints.


There is an army of sugar plums out there, and they're armed. So, we're going to profile the threats. It may be your mother-in-law, your co-worker, or your neighbor…but you know who it is. That person who corners you and insists that you try their Triple Cheese and Bean Dip. They’re “feeders” and they want to feed YOU!  You can categorize them as such:


The Nurturing Feeder: needs connection and affection, which you can provide without eating pie.  A hug, a shared laugh, an inside joke...all of these things can provide what the Nurturing Feeder needs, but they don't make you fat.


The People Pleaser: needs to feel needed and appreciated, which you can provide by praising their thoughtfulness (but not eating the fruits of their labor).  You can even ask for their recipe...and then "healthify" it on your own. 


The Controlling Feeder: wants to take you down. They may be angry that you are not enabling their bad habits, or they may be jealous of your discipline and success. Regardless, your best line of defense here is to change the subject with haste. 


Feeders aren't bad people.  Well, that last one may have some anger issues.  But for the most part, they're just swept up in what they consider to be celebrating the holidays. If you want to have a healthy holiday, take a deep breath when you see these folks coming (holding a plate of something they want to feed you), remember their real motivation, and celebrate your relationship with them without the extra pounds.


It can happen! You can do it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Earth Fare: A Giveaway!

If New Leaf and Fresh Market ever made eyes at each other over a plate of gluten-free brownies at an office Christmas party, Earth Fare would be their love child.  It blends the uber-healthy inventory of New Leaf with the gourmet stylings of Fresh Market and I gotta say that so far, I can actually see myself shopping there on a regular basis.

I've been to the store twice now: once for a pre-opening tour (thanks Sydney!) and once for actual shopping with my pint-sized food critic.  Each time I got the distinct feeling that Earth Fare is exactly what it says it is: a healthy supermarket.  I'm a healthy gal.  It works.

You can read about Earth Fare's food philosophy, community outreach efforts, and customer savings programs here.  In this entry, I want to focus on a few things I think make Earth Fare stand out as a winner in my eyes.

It's Busy-Mom-Friendly.  As a clean eater, a lot of time at the store is spent examining labels and lists of ingredients to make sure it deserves to be in my belly.  But I'm super-busy just like you, so eventually I get tired of that routine and just buy what I already know makes the list. That means we eat the same things all the time because I don't have a lot of time to research the variety.  Since I agree with Earth Fare's Food Philosophy, I can pretty much go in, grab stuff in a hurry, and not have to worry about reading the ingredients because they already did that.  They have a very large variety - like crazy variety - of kid-friendly stuff that you don't have to wonder about. Note - that doesn't excuse you from being informed about your food. It's just a time-saver. :)

Coupons! Healthy food can get expensive, yo. But most coupons do me no good because I don't buy that stuff.  I've already gotten so many coupons from Earth Fare on things I actually eat, like chicken, to justify heading over there tomorrow to do my shopping for the week.  If you sign up for their Health Journey you'll get coupons galore, plus follow them on Twitter @EarthFareTal or @EarthFare and keep up with their 12 Days of Christmas giveaways. Free Burt's Bees? Yes, thank you!

They say they care and I believe them. Childhood obesity is a a serious thing. These are our kids, people.  Tiny little people who eat what we give them (as long as its covered in cheese, right?) and trust us to be the stewards of their health.  Earth Fare's Itty Bitty Bites program is an initiative to help combat it, and has a weekly Family Dinner Night on which kids eat free with the purchase of an entree from their Grab and Go section. That section happens to have pizza. I happen to like it.

Okay, you get it. I like Earth Fare.  They like you, too - they gave me a $50 gift card to give away so you can try it out!  Here's how you can win it:
  1. Follow this blog by clicking on "Follow this blog" at the top of this page. Existing followers are also eligible.
  2. Leave a comment on this entry to let me know you're following me or want to enter the drawing.
  3. "Like" Wellness Without Pity on Facebook and leave me a comment to let me know you're there or if you're already a fan, that you want to enter the drawing.
Do it all by midnight tonight and tomorrow I will announce the winner!  All followers and friends are welcome, but since this giveaway is intended to be used in my local economy, Tallahassee residents take note!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Whole Wheat Holiday

Yes, I do eat cookies.  Sometimes.  


Okay, hardly ever. But I have Christmas parties coming up and I would be aghast if I offered anyone something I wouldn't eat myself. So I hunkered down in the kitchen to do my darndest to come up with a Christmas party menu that I wouldn't feel like a Grinch about.  Here's what I came up with!  Bon appetit!




Nibbleators (watch your portions!)
Sweet Potato Chips with Mango Salsa
I was going to make these myself but I bought Terra Chips instead.
Green and Red Caramel Apple Kebabs 
they look so pretty!  Then they become a weapon.
Spinach Mini Pizzas
it's actually one big pizza cut into tiny pieces. 


Man (and hungry girl) Food
Turkey Chili
ground turkey breast, tomatoes, onion, corn, black beans, kidney beans, cilantro, and a lotta lotta chili powder!
Whole Grain Jambalaya
whole grain brown rice, chicken, chicken sausage, onion, celery, and other stuff all mixed up together.


What You Came For (the sweet stuff!)
Whole Wheat Pizzelles
my mom told me this was not going to work but she was wrong. 
Flax and Dark Cocoa Buckeyes
a bin of these in my freezer has been tormenting me all week. I had to put a frozen turkey in front of it to block the view. Thankfully they're all gone now.
Carrot Cake Scones with Orange Glaze
featuring real carrots!  And just enough "frosting" to make them seem sinful. But they're not.


Want the recipes? Click on the "Holiday Recipes" tab at the top of this page!  Holiday food gets high marks for being decadent and indulgent, but remember, you can indulge without wrecking your fitness goals.  Do what you can to healthify your recipes and watch those portions.  Lack of portion control is where you get the belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.  Remember...he sees you when you're eating! 


Ho ho ho!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who needs reality? How goals go from crazy to SMART.

Today's blog brought to
you by the letter R!
One more lesson in goal achievement!  Today we're going to hunker down and focus on the R in SMART goals.  As you know already, SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound.  The R gets me every time...my eyes tend to be a little bigger than my stomach when I set goals, so I have a hard time accepting the reality of what my goals should be.

You see, when I sit down to make goals, I almost immediately jump to the physical manifestation of what I want my goals to provide: a totally excellent bod. 

And by totally excellent bod, I mean this:



Yes. I want to look like a comic book character. I'd be willing to bet that most people do on some level, eh?  I realized it a few years ago when actually reading a comic and finding myself strategizing ways to force my body into emulating what I saw drawn on the page: a petite, teeny-tiny waisted, lean and muscular nymph of a girl who balanced the forces of evil and swooning boys all in a day's work. It was a total fantasy, and once I snapped out of it and realized that I was, in fact, not a nymph but actually a 34-year old mom who needed to unload the dishwasher and make lunches for the next day, well I'll be honest I felt a little defeated.

But anyway, back to the goal setting part.  When I started realizing that I was spending a lot of time trying to make my body become something that defies the laws of physics, I started dissecting my goals to make them more realistic without sacrificing what I really knew I wanted. In other words, I refused to take no for an answer but was willing to negotiate. :)  No, I wasn't going to travel back in time and freeze my growth (and metabolism) at age 18, but I could develop some of the attributes of those comics girls that I admired, like strength, agility, and a bad-ass attitude.  I've succeeded!  I may not have illustration-worthy proportions but I do sometimes feel like I can lift a small building or out-run a freight train. 

The point is that while SMART goals are realistic goals, any goal worth pursuing has some basis in fantasy. We're surrounded by inspiration at every turn: media outlets constantly project unrealistic ideals that trigger the creation of unrealistic goals every day.  I suggest that rather than reject that, we build on it.  Swoon over your goals, fantasize about them, and even draw them out on paper if you want to.  Embrace what you really want.  Then, dissect.  Get down to the meat of what that visual goal represents to you. For me, it was strength, speed, and a functional (and kick-ass) body. That's where we get real.  That's where we get realistic goals.
   

You don't have to abandon your goals just because they're unrealistic. That's where incredible goals start!  Think up something crazy today, and turn it into a SMART goal.

Two of my good friends write the brilliantly inspired blog, Girls Gone Geek, which supplies plenty of inspiration for someone in the market for super powers.  Check it out.

I could use a sidekick.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Party Tips: Getting Real About Special Food

I know I told you yesterday that we were going to talk about the R in creating SMART goals but I changed my mind. It's my blog and I can do that!  Instead, since its Friday and I know you probably have parties and whatnot this weekend, I want to shove a few more healthy holiday hints down your throat.  Did I say shove? I meant suggest. Strongly suggest.

Today, it's about getting real about “special” food!

Yall, we are lucky enough to live in a country where food is bountiful. We have 24-7 access to Wal-Mart, which carries every vice you can eat. Sure, your mom only makes her special peanut butter cookies once a year, but what’s to stop you from making it in the middle of July (don't do that)? The point? There is no such thing as “limited time offer” when it comes to food.
So, consider this when you head out this weekend:  instead of placing so much emphasis on the food traditions surrounding the holidays, create memories by interacting with your family in a new way that is not food-related. Institute an annual Christmas jog through the park. Break out the puzzles. Play freeze tag. Whatever, just remember – people are a limited-time offer, not food.

It bears saying again: people are a limited-time offer, not food.


Focus on the people.
 
And have a lovely weekend.  We'll talk about setting realistic goals once we come back to the reality of Monday. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goals: Making, achieving, celebrating!

Let's take a break from the holidays, shall we? Just for a minute, I promise we'll get back to the fun soon.  I want to talk to you a little bit about goals for next year.

I love making goals.  My imagination knows no bounds when it comes to thinking up all kinds of nutso scenarios in which I defy the laws of physics and become some kind of uber-ripped, totally lean, muscle-popping, super-fit machine.  And because I honestly believe that I really can do just about anything I want to, well, I make it a goal!  And I make a plan!

And I execute that plan!

But the plan doesn't work because it was completely ridiculous.

I make the kinds of plans that go something like this: "I'm going to exercise every single day and eat really really healthy and by virtue of my hard work, I will be rewarded with a totally excellent bod that supports everything I want to do every day all day no matter what!" *beam*

Goals are great, ya know?  They're even better when they're based in reality.  You know, goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound.  That R gets me every time.

You can read more about SMART goals here, but the basics are pretty profound: the chance that your goal will be achieved increases exponentially when it is:

Specific: more than "lose weight." Try "lose x% body fat."  Or "reduce cholesterol below 200."
Measureable: you can manage what you can measure...on a scale, through assessments, etc.
Action-based: specifically what will you do to get there?  Put some numbers to it!
Realistic: okay, what specifically what will you ACTUALLY REALLY DO to get there?
Time-bound: give yourself a deadline - a realistic one.

Do you have any goals for next year you can apply this to?  Give it some thought!  It's worth the time it takes to figure this out, trust me!

Okay, we're done.  Back to the holidays. Tomorrow we'll tackle that R word...

Good day! :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

January Beckons...do you have goals?

Okay so it's time to start thinking about goals for next year. Do you have 'em?  I do!  But you knew that.

This was a fantastic year.  I can't seem to wipe the silly grin off of my face when I think of all the wonderful things that happened this year and all that I achieved in my wellness.  2011 promises to be even better, if I can imagine it.  And of course I can!

So here goes!  My goals for 2011!  I can tell you're just dying with anticipation.

1. Get faster. I spent a lot of time racing this year and it was a lotta lotta fun.  But I'm tired of just participating. I want to get better! Faster! Make some PRs and really become competitive.  So, two of my morning runs are coming inside on the treadmill for a while so I can amp up my speed and start getting used to a faster pace. 

2. Get more smarter. Have I ever mentioned to you how much I loathed school as a kid? Well apparently that is not something you grow out of.  But, if I want to pass the exams to get the certifications I want, I gotta hit the books.  Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach certifications are goals so....I'll be needing some flash cards. *sigh*

3. Get certified.  See above. Not only learn stuff, but remember it long enough to pay lots of $$$ and pass an exam, neither of which will be conducted anywhere near my home.

4. Get fun! There are so many really fun events out there to do with friends and I am tired of seeing other peoples' pictures of them. So I am planning on at least one Rock and Roll Half Marathon, the Mud Run, and if I can swing it, the Warrior Dash. 


Have you started thinking of your goals and plans for 2011?  Tomorrow we'll talk more about making sure they happen!


Good day!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Healthy Holiday Tip: Get Stubborn!

Okay yesterday was really long so I'll keep it short today!  Here are a few tips to help you accomplish what we talked about yesterday - achieving a calorie deficit (AKA progress) or break-even if you want to avoid gaining holiday weight when you're at those food-laden parties.


That's right, it's Healthy Heather's Holiday Hints!


The first step, of course, is to make a plan.  Always make a plan. Write it down and stuff it in your pocket if you have to.


Then, channel your inner three-year-old. That's right, dig in your heels and get stubborn!

Learn to say “no” creatively. Save the three-year-old routine for your internal dialogue, however, unless your plan to avoid holiday weight gain is to not be invited to any more parties. Instead, when you’re confronted with something that is not on your plan, use positive language to redirect the attention away from your refusal to indulge. 


For example: 

  • Express gratitude (thanks for offering! that looks delicious!)
  • Acknowledge the effort (it is so thoughtful of you to make these for me!)
  • Suggest an alternative (I’ll have to try some a bit later.)

And then DROP IT. Stop talking. Move on. Drink some water. Smile.  Tell a joke.


Remember – no one can force open your mouth and make you eat something. Well, they can but they won’t. Don’t engage in a debate over whether you “should” or “need to lose weight.” It’s your decision, and they don't want to hear it anyway. 


If all else fails, tell them you are allergic.


Happy holidays!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Weightloss: A How-to Guide

Ha! SO SO SO SO SOOOO not true.
Warning: this is a long one. I'm going to make you think on a Monday.


Okay, so we've been talking (or at least I have) about saying focused on our wellness goals and not gaining the average seven pounds that Americans put on during the holidays.  And you may be sitting looking at your screen saying, "Sounds good Healthy Heather but HOW?  How the heck am I going to do that?!?"  


Well keep your britches on! I'm going to tell you!  You'll need two things:


1. A calculator (yes, there is math)
2. Someplace to accurately log calories.  
I suggest an account on the free food journaling website Fitday.com.


In order to lose or maintain weight during the holidays (or any time of year) you need to know what you're working with.  In other words, you need to  determine your Basal Metabolic Rate.  Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest.  That is, if you were to lie in bed all day watching Harry Potter movies back to back all day long, your BMR is the number of calories it would take for your body to keep pushing the remote control past all the parts with Dobby the House Elf in them. That's your base.  To find out what yours is, use this formula.  Keep in mind this is just an estimate!

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

For example, this is what that looks like for me: 





  • 655 + (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 64) – (4.7 x 34)
  • 655 + 609 + 301 – 150 = 1,415 calories burned AT REST



Okay. Now, unless you really do lie in bed watching Harry Potter every day, we need to multiply your BMR by your activity level.  Use the following descriptors to categorize yourself, and if you're somewhere in the middle of two categories, well, split the difference!






  • Sedentary: multiply BMR x 1.2
  • Light activity (1-3 days per week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (3-5 days per week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard activity 6-7 day per week): BMR x 1.725
  • Extra active (training for a sport full time): BMR x 1.9

Example, for me: 
1,415 calories burned AT REST x 1.725 = 2,440 calories burned on average each day

According to my collected data, this is pretty darn accurate. On average, on days when I exercise, my GoWearFit shows that I burn between 2,500 and 2,600 calories. On rest days when I just walk around doing normal stuff but don't work out, I burn an average of 1,800 – 2,000 calories.  So I trust this formula.

Okay!  Now that we have a good idea how many calories we are using up in a day, we need to know how many we are eating.


Yep.


You gotta write it down.  Everything.   Half cookies count, that little spoonful of peanut butter counts, and food you taste even though you're making it for someone else...that counts.  Food that no one saw you eat, yeah, that counts.  If it is digested by your body, you count it.  It's science people. I can't help it.

Fitday makes it easy to keep track of it all with a ginormous food database, and it calculates everything for you.  Your goal is for the number of calories you EAT to be the same or less than the number of calories you BURN.  


To lose weight, you need to burn more than you eat.  It really is that simple.  If when you enter in your food and you don't like what you see on either end, change it. Either eat less or move around more - your choice.  I think you will see that the cleaner and healthier your food choices become, the happier that scenario begins to look.  However, pay close attention to the number of calories you are taking in; eating fewer than 1,200 calories for women or 1,800 calories for men is not recommended and can do more harm than good.  You have to eat. Again, it's science.  I can't change science. If I could, trust me things would be different around here.


Remember, our goal during the holidays is progress, not perfection. By being aware of your caloric needs and intake, you can minimize the damage done to your wellness and make January a much happier month.  


Do the math!  Do it today!  Make progress!



Friday, December 3, 2010

Wham! Pow!

What a great workout this morning!  I donned my boxing gloves and spent a little time sparring with my trainer, which was a really fun way to start the day.  People say that boxing is a good way to get rid of any frustrations, but I have had such a fun week that I don't have much angst built up.  But it still felt good to hit stuff.


We're coming into the first weekend of the holiday season, so you may be facing parties, baking, and more. Remember our deal - progress, not perfection.  I'm doing some baking myself this weekend and my goal is to weigh the same on Monday as I do tomorrow morning!  The number on the scale is just one small part of our overall wellness, but knowing you're going to be checking is a good way to stay accountable about those sneaky little things like sodium, alcohol, and sugar that will cause us to retain water and feel unhealthy, which will make us frustrated and lead us to be less motivated to stick to our healthy goals.  So give it a shot!


I've also broken out my trusty calendar stickers, and I've been putting one for exercise and one for nutrition on my calendar each day.  November looks awesome!  All of those stickers all lined up means I had one healthy month.  I have the same goal for December: a sticker on five days a week for exercise (real, hard, sweaty, calorie-torching exercise) and a sticker for every day of the week that I have a calorie deficit.  


Take the weekend to think of some small things you can do to make sure you're making progress on your wellness this month.  Then, rest up.  I have a doozy of a post for you on Monday!


Have a great, healthy weekend!  Good day!