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Keep On Keepin’ On…..

iStock_000018191976XSmallIt happened again. I blinked and here we are on the last Motivation Monday of January! Four weeks into 2017, I offer big kudos to everyone sticking with those plans to make this your healthiest year yet.

If you feel like your motivation is starting to wane, here’s a boost to keep you going. In only a couple of weeks, some of the new things you started will feel like part of your daily routine. If you’re discouraged about the number on the scale, forget the numbers and think about how many of these non-scale-related wins you’ve experienced so far this year:

  • Do you have more energy?
  • Do your clothes fit better?
  • Do you see a new glow in your skin?

Remember, healthy living isn’t a sprint. It’s a lifelong marathon and there will be days when even the most disciplined among us stray off course. It’s part of being human. To help you stay on track, I offer three tips to keep in mind for the days, weeks and months ahead:

  1. Start your day with the right fuel. I believe in the power of a healthy breakfast, but I’m also highly aware of how little time many of us have to even think about scrambling some eggs or waiting around for Ezekiel bread to toast. That’s why I love starting my days with a chocolate Isagenix shake. It takes the guess-work out of determining what will give me the nutrients I need, and I can either make it in the blender or use my portable shaker. Not a shake person? Grab a hard-boiled egg or non-fat plain Greek yogurt. Bonus Tip: adding fresh fruit to your yogurt is a lower-sugar option to the flavored varieties. All of these protein-packed options will keep you full longer than starchy, sugary items like frozen waffles or pancakes.
  2. Never leave home without healthy snacks. There’s nothing worse than going grocery shopping with a rumbling stomach or being greeted at the shopping mall with the scent of cinnamon tempting your nostrils from the food court. What will you find in my bag? Either a bag of almonds or KIND bar. I love these snacks because they’re yummy and because they contain no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols and provide a balanced combination of healthy fats, protein and complex carbs.
  3. Out of sight, out of mind. Sure, I’m all about moderation. But I also have a hard time not going overboard when certain temptations are lurking in my kitchen cabinets. That’s why I don’t keep things like cookies or candy in the house. I freely admit I’m incapable of eating just one cookie or one piece of chocolate. (I envy those who can!) If you’re like me, then seriously, just don’t buy it. For the parents out there, it’s never too early to get your kids started on healthy snacking. Push the apple slices and peanut butter snacks on a normal basis and save the treats for special occasions.

Here’s to wrapping up the first month of 2017 on a positive note and to welcoming February and all the new chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Keep It Simple

iStock_000018191976XSmallI think it’s safe to say most adults will agree with the old saying “timing is everything.” In fact, I credit good timing as the inspiration for this Motivation Monday post featuring some simple ways to make healthier choices.

Not too long ago, I wrote about the importance of taking small steps when trying to lose weight. That post included some easy ways to cut approximately one hundred calories from your meals. A few days later, the social media team at Chobani reached out to me about their new Simply 100 Crunch line. If you’ve been looking to spice up your snack options, these yummy yogurts can help you satisfy your sweet or savory cravings with a variety of protein-packed flavors.  Since I’m always promoting small changes that can add up to big results, I thought this Chobani connection happened at a perfect time.

The final piece of the puzzle in this perfect-timing scenario? Chobani even put together a dozen fun ways to help everyone “crunch the numbers” and burn 100 calories. Since I knew my writing time would be limited because of a business trip, I was happy to get some solid material to share with my readers! Before you jump into the fun graphic below, here are a few other quick tips to live a little lighter:

  • Drink up: It’s easy to remember to hydrate during the warm-weather months, but drinking water is important all-year round. The dry, forced heat in offices, schools or apartments can also make your skin dry, so drinking water can help – along with some good moisturizer, of course!
  • Keep a food journal: I started doing this in Weight Watchers years ago, and as a lifetime member since 2012, I continue to write down what I eat. Having the information on paper can help you see where you slipped up and make better choices.
  • Put fitness plans and progress in writing, too! Did you book that group exercise class for two days from now? Be sure to put a sticky note on the fridge or set a reminder in your smartphone so you get there. Also make notes when you add time to your cardio circuit or increase weight or reps during a class or weight training session. Seeing progress is one of the biggest motivators of all!

I hope you have fun with the ideas below and don’t be shy about letting me know some of the ways you’re living lighter in 2016! For recipe ideas and other tidbits, check out  thelightthatsright.com  Thanks again to Chobani for reaching out at the perfect time. There’s nothing like a little teamwork to help more people on their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

chobani_100cal_12version

Small Changes That Add Up

photo-29And just like that, here we are kicking off the last week of January! How are those healthy resolutions holding up? If you’re starting to think about throwing in the towel, I hope this Motivation Monday post helps you get back on track.

The key is to think big but keep those day-to-day changes small. If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, remember, you want to aim to lose a healthy rate of 1-2 pounds per week. To reach that goal, try to cut 100 calories from each meal. Does that mean giving up your favorite foods? No way! Here are some ideas for small adjustments to your eating routine:

  • Eliminate that slice of cheese from your sandwich. If you do have cheese, swap out the Swiss for mozzarella. (You’ll save nearly 105 calories!)
  • Skip the fries and have a baked potato. Better yet, have a baked sweet potato for a healthy dose of vitamins A, vitamin C and B6 along with potassium, dietary fiber and niacin. (And swap out the 320-calorie cup of light sour cream for the same serving of 130-calorie nonfat plain Greek yogurt.)
  • Eat skinless chicken breast.
  • Love sweets like me? Consider these ideas: Try 1.5 oz. of fresh grapes instead of 1.5 oz. of raisins. Instead of strawberry ice cream, have 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream instead.  When you want the real thing, skip the cone and have your scoop in a cup.
  • Skip the sugary drinks and stick with water. Remember even 20-calorie drinks can add up if you have several in a day.
  • Watch the sugary coffee drinks.
  • Watch the booze intake. My repeat readers will know the every-other-drink rule is how I keep the cocktail calories in check. Have a drink, then follow up with water or seltzer before throwing back another libation. By the time you’re ready for it, you may be not want it anymore!

Now stop, smile and pat yourself on the back for all the positive changes you’ve started to  incorporate into your lifestyle. Day by day, you’re trekking along the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Family, Friends & Fitness

iStock_000018191976XSmallCongratulations! This second Motivation Monday of 2015 brings you 12 days into the New Year. That means you’ve done your best to stick with your health and fitness resolutions for a whole dozen 24-hour cycles!

If you’ve had one or two “bad” meals or even days since we kicked off the New Year, don’t sweat it. Nothing great is ever achieved without facing a few obstacles along the way. If you’re struggling to stay on track, here’s an idea – activate the buddy system! How?

  • Lean on a fitness friend: Pencil in some quality time with your bestie by planning a couple of morning or evening walks; shooting hoops or signing up for the same group exercise class. Sometimes knowing you have a friend waiting for you at the gym is all you need to show up.
  • Cold-Weather Hater? Try sweating through a fitness DVD or online workout with your spouse or significant other right in the comfort of your den.
  • Tech Support: Set the DVR to record your favorite show(s) and go ice skating with the kids or take the dog for an extra-long walk.
  • Friendly Competition: Instead of hitting the bar for happy hour, find a few co-workers interested in de-stressing with a barre workout or other group activity. Here in New York City, there’s a great place called Chelsea Piers which offers everything from hitting golf balls to organized group events for games ranging from dodgeball to sand volleyball.
  • Ask a Pro: Have no idea where to start? Treat yourself to a few sessions with a personal trainer to get you on the right track toward injury-free fitness.

In addition to exercise, talk to your family about embracing healthier food choices together. I’m not expecting your kids to start asking for kale and brussel sprouts, but they probably wouldn’t mind building their own colorful and yummy non-fat Greek yogurt parfaits with berries, almonds and honey drizzle. I know a lot of parents keep cookies, chips and other treats in the house and often end up eating more than the kids. Think about this: if you’re making meals at home, you’re the one ultimately shaping your kids’ idea of what a “normal” diet looks like. Packing healthy snacks for lunch and after school activities while saving sweet or salty treats for special occasions can instill healthy habits at an early age. Here are a few portable kid-approved snack options that taste pretty good to grown-ups, too:

  • One serving Wheat Thins with one “Laughing Cow” cheese spread wedge
  • Baby carrots and celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with honey
  • Low-fat string cheese

Remember, embracing healthy habits and maintaining them is a lifelong journey. Aren’t trips more fun when you have company? While it’s great to find support from the huge #FitFam presence here in the blogosphere and on social media, never take for granted the strength you can gain from the people you love most to help you stick with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Grind!

Happily Saying Good Bye to the Summer of 2013 - and Ready for a New Season!

Happily Saying Good Bye to the Summer of 2013 – and Ready for a New Season!

I won’t lie. I’m beyond ecstatic that this summer is unofficially over and done with!

While I always do my best to stay upbeat no matter what’s going on, to be blunt, this summer was a big test for my psyche. (New readers, click here to see what I’m talking about.) Still, I passed the test and now that September is here, it means a new month and new beginnings. If you dealt with your own challenges these past few months, now’s the time to wipe the slate clean and start over.

Parents are dealing with the responsibilities of getting the kids back on track at school. That means new teachers, new schedules and perhaps new after-school activities. If you’re like me and you don’t have kids, there’s still an uptick in the overall pace of life with the end of summer Fridays and the beginning of new projects and deadlines. Whatever new items are on your agenda, it’s the perfect time to get your health and fitness goals in serious shape. As you focus on getting a daily routine established for you and maybe the whole family, don’t forget to fit some fitness into your September routine. Sound impossible? Think again!

Here are some tips to make things a little less overwhelming:

  • Put it in writing:  If you drive your kids to school or drop your spouse at the train station, figure out if there’s time immediately following a drop-off or right before a pick-up for a workout. This could mean hitting the gym for a group exercise class, driving a few more blocks to the park for a run or meeting a fitness friend for brisk walk or game of tennis. Typing it into your smart phone calendar or putting it in your planner will also give you a visual boost to make it happen at the allotted hour.
  • Ten minutes of something is better than zero minutes of nothing:  With our time-crunched lives, there are more and more workouts geared toward maximum results in less time. Click here for a link to a previous post where I offer a 10-minute circuit I like to call the “one-minute-wonder.” If you only have 15 minutes, add a few stretches before and after and you’ll feel like you worked. If you have up to 30 minutes, you can repeat the circuit two or three times and really get your sweat on! (Another plus: you can do this circuit anywhere.)
  • “Fall” into healthy eating habits: If you pack lunch for the kiddies, why not add a few minutes to the prep time and make some healthy snacks or meals for yourself.  I spend about 30 minutes every Sunday slicing and dicing veggies including peppers, celery sticks and carrots and then pack them in reusable containers or individual plastic bags.  Now, they’re ready to grab as a side to a turkey sandwich or healthy snack.  Some of my other favorite snack ideas include almonds, apples and non-fat plan Greek yogurt.
  • Wardrobe Prep:  If you plan to exercise first thing in the morning, put your workout wear in the bathroom the night before. It’s usually the first room we visit when we wake up, so if your clothes are staring you in the face, it may be harder to skip the workout. If you’re exercising after work, pack your gym bag the night before and leave it by the door to grab on your way out.

Finally, it’s important to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Getting fitness on your schedule and healthy foods into your fridge are two big steps toward a healthier and happier you. If you indulged in more ice cream or margaritas than you planned over the summer, don’t sweat it. It’s a new month, a new season is coming and there will be plenty of chances to get your butt in gear so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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