Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making Changes

If you haven't checked out my previous post about the Six Components of Wellness, head on over there and get yourself caught up.

So you've found an area that you'd like to do better in, and you're asking yourself, "Where should I begin?"  Making the decision to change an aspect of your life can be daunting, time consuming, and down-right difficult.  But when it comes to bettering your fitness and wellness, there can be no greater undertaking.  Taking the steps towards a more balanced lifestyle will lead you to having more energy and seeing the world in a more positive light.  Soon you will be jumping out of bed in the morning ready to take on the world!

Here are some tips and tricks that will be sure to make change stick:

Set Realistic Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
This is an essential part of making change.  What is the overall expected outcome of the changes your want to make (you probably already know this), and what are the smaller steps you are going to take to achieve this larger goal.
      For example)  Long-Term Goal:  I would like to lose 5% body fat.
                           Short-Term Goal:  I will weight-lift three times each week.
                           Short-Term Goal:  I will cut out unneeded munchie-snacks when I am not truly hungry.

Create a Contract
Include your goals, plans for changing your behavior, and have it signed by you and a close friend or relative.  Make sure that person supports your change and will keep you accountable!

This involves analyzing your actions to help determine what unhealthy behaviors and patterns may be modified to help you lead a more healthy life.  If you are looking to lose weight or exercise more, there are many helpful online calorie counters or fitness trackers.  I personally like and the Daily Mile.  The use of a journal can also help you identify harmful triggers that reinforce unhealthy behaviors.

Making Substitutions
Replace an unhealthy behavior with a healthier choice.  Instead of keeping salty, fatty chips in your cupboards for snack time, swap them out for pre-cut veggies or in-season fruits.

Treating Yourself
Develop a system to reward yourself when you meet your goals.  This may be a trip to the mall for a new pair of running shoes, or perhaps a relaxing afternoon at a salon or spa.  Try to avoid using food as a reward!

Making a List and Checking It Twice
Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of the behavior you want to change.  Most likely the positives will outweigh the negatives.  Keep this list for times when motivation is lacking.  A quick peek will remind you of the wonderful things your are doing for yourself.

Preventing Relapse
If you have been self-monitoring, this part should be easy.  Identify triggers that spur on unhealthy behavior.  Develop a plan to counteract or avoid these "high-risk" situations.  For example, you are headed to a friend's house for a party.  There will be sugary cocktails and tons of appetizers.  Have a plan set before you even step inside.  Make sure you eat dinner before you go so you aren't starving by the time you arrive and gobble up all the high-calorie foods. Make your first drink water, and have a set limit for yourself (1 or 2 drinks) to keep inhibition and calories consumed in check.

Go and Do!  You can achieve whatever you put your mind to and your body will most definitely thank you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What is Wellness?

Yesterday was the first day of a summer course I am taking at RIT.  The class is called Sports Physiology and Life Fitness.  I waited until now to take this specific lecture so I could listen to the beloved Professor Brewer.  He's the best!  So smart!

We discussed the Six Components of Wellness, and I thought I would share them with you so you can do a little self-check to make sure you are living a balanced, healthy life.

Physical Health
Includes physical fitness, proper nutrition, performing self-exams, and practicing personal safety (e.g., wearing your seat belt).  This is the cornerstone to maintaining a high level of wellness.

Emotional Health
Also called Mental Health, and includes social skills, positive interpersonal (intimate) relationships, self-esteem, and the ability to manage stress

Intellectual Health
Keeping your mind active through life-long learning, stimulating your brain with input and allowing yourself to have a form of output

Spiritual Health
Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life.  Note:  This does not necessarily mean you must be religious.  People can find meaning in their lives through community service, meditating, spending time in nature, relationships with others, etc.

Social Health
Developing and maintaining meaningful interpersonal relationships (friends), communication skills are crucial in maintaining strong social networks

Environmental Health
The influence of the environment on your healthy, and your behaviors that have an affect on the environment, i.e., Do you recycle? Do you keep healthy foods in your home?  Do you have athletic equipment that would allow you to workout out when you so choose?  Or, is your home or workplace filled with junk food?  Do you drive a gas guzzling vehicle?  Is the X-Box the focal point in your home?

The goal is to have a balance in all areas to achieve a high level of well-being.

Are there areas that you could work on to achieve a healthier lifestyle?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

HOW TO: Baked Sweet Potatoes in 10 minutes

This is SO easy! If you can use the microwave, you can make this! WOOHOO!

I give you...
The Sweet Potato!

Sweet potatoes are Nutritional SUPERSTARS!

They are filled with carotenoids (an antioxidant), Vitamin C (another antioxidant), FIBER, iron, and potassium!

And at only 160 calories, it just can't be beat!

I. Love. Sweet Potatoes. I want to marry them. Yes, I love them that much.

Okay, that's enough talking, let's get cooking (and eating!).

First, scrub that lil' tuber clean.  Get any dirt and grime off, but DON'T peel it! You want to save those nutrients!

Next, place your sweet potato in a microwave safe bowl and poke that baby up, down and around.

Play nice...

Now stick the bowl in the microwave. I usually top it with a paper towel just in case we have an accidental explosion. So far, so good though...

Cook for 5 minutes. Flip. Cook for another 5 minutes. You may hear a hissing sound, but don't worry, that's normal.

Give the little guy a squeeze now. Be careful, it's hot! If it's still a little hard, blast it again for another 2 minutes.

Let your sweet potato sit for a couple minutes, then slice it open and add toppings!

I like a little unsalted butter and cinnamon.

To die for.

Dig in and ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Field Trip to the Public Market

Yesterday I took a trip to...

It was an absolutely beautiful day.

I strolled down produce filled lanes.

Admiring the bright colors.

Celebrating the low prices.

Comparing vendors.

Smiling because it seems like spring is finally here to stay.

Don't you just want to lay down in this beautiful bed of herbs?

Oh no? That's just me? Pshh, whatever.

I got really excited when I saw this:

Too bad I don't have a need for sparkly scrunchies or drill bits. They had an abundance of those.

After picking up my produce, I checked out the shops and cafes surrounding the market.

Next time I come hungry.

Lots of character.

Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed. Like this one.

Don't you worry. I'll be back for the big show on Saturday to feed the cheese monster.

My other inner demon ("the bread beast") caught a waft of fresh baked goods and led me to this lil' beaut'.

"Ahhhhh!" (Angels singing)

I. Love. Fresh. Bread.

I'll take one of each, please.

It was at this point that I decided it was time to go before I got out of control. (Next time I must bring a friend to hold my drooling-self back from the poor store clerks.)

My prizes:

All of this for only $5.50!!!

Later that day...

A BLT with the tomatoes I bought, plus some cantaloupe and kale chips on the side. (The Tempeh bacon was EXCELLENT, by the way!)

I topped my kale chips off with a little Nutritional Yeast. It's a great source of B Vitamins for all you vegetarians out there. Plus, it tastes like CHEESE! (Oh my god, I need help.)

And for dinner...

Salmon burgers on the buns I purchased, a side of roasted summer squash tossed in a little Wegman's Basting Oil, corn topped with parmesan cheese and Cholula Sauce, and cantaloupe.


Everything was so fresh, juicy, and full of flavor. I love buying local.

I encourage all of you to check out your hometown farmer's market!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick 'n Delicious, Healthy Eats

Remember this picture from yesterday?

See all those delicious grains in the corner there?  Well that is what fuels my addiction for this:

Heaven sent, I tell you.

I think I may have a problem.

Blueberry Blast Oatmeal
  • Superhero Oatmeal
  • 2 T Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 C Kashi Go Lean
  • 2 T Coconut Shreds
  • 1 T Honey
  • BIG handful of delicious blueberries

 The deciousness continued into lunch.

Health is happiness.

  • Slice of Marathon Bread topped with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Baby Carrots
  • Peach Chobani Yogurt

  • 2 C Organic Spinach, Arugula and Radicchio Blend
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • 1/4 Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 T Goat Cheese
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinaigrette

I was craving sweets, so I incorporated that into dinner.

  • 2 Slices Multi-Grain Bread
  • 2 T Sunbutter
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 T Honey Drizzle

Life doesn't get much better than this?  Is it wrong that food makes me so happy? I don't think so. :)

Happy Tuesday!  I'm off to the Public Market!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's In My Shopping Cart

Hi everybody!

I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing, and rejuvenating weekend!

I was active, but rather passive.  I did a little lifting at home in these bad boys, logged a few hours of yoga, and went on a short run.

I've decided I really need to up my weight-training --especially my legs.  I've been having some knee issues lately.  My hope is that strengthening those muscles, in conjunction with the knee strap I bought, will help alleviate the nagging pain.

I am really disappointed in myself that I slacked off so much in the lifting department during marathon training.  I'm pretty sure if I had kept up my lifting routine I would not be in this situation.  I was too worried about keeping my legs fresh for long runs, and not concerned enough with warding off injury.  Lesson learned.  But so far, this seems to be doing the trick!

I also made a trip to the grocery store.  I love going to the grocery store.  I could browse for hours and hours, looking at labels, making faces at the ingredients list, rejoicing when I find something new and (hopefully) delicious.  Just talking about it makes me want to go back for more!

So what did I get?  Let's take a peek:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Organic Spinach, Arugula, and Radicchio Blend
  • Pineapple
  • A BAG(!!!) of Chopped Kale (Baked Kale Chips anyone?!)
  • Baby Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Loaves of Wegman's Baked-In-House Bread (Multigrain and Marathon Bread)
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Strawberries
  • Blueberries

  • Kashi GoLean Cereal
  • Organic Turbinado Sugar
  • Crofter's Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread
  • Sunbutter
  • Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
  • So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Humbles Baked Hummus Chips
  • Newman's Own Organic Spelt Pretzles
  • Tempeh Bacon
  • Newman's Own Organic Cinnamon Hermit Cookies
  • VitaCoco Coconut Water (Pure and Acai and Pomegranate)
  • Bob's Red Mill Organic Chia Seeds

I may die of happiness.

Humbles was a new find.  How could you pass up baked hummus chips?! Olive Oil, Lemon and Feta Flavored.  They are delicious, and may or may not be gone already. ;)

These cookies are my absolute favorite.  If you haven't tried them yet, do yourself a favor and go buy some. They are a little pricey, but you can't beat the soft, chewy texture, real ingredients, and most importantly, they contain no trans fat.

BLTs are DEFINITELY in my future.

If you ever hang out with me you will soon discover I will do anything for a little goat cheese.  That includes paying a million extra dollars at a restaurant to substitute boring cheese for creamy, heaven-sent, delicious goat cheese.  Oh, how I love you, dear goat cheese.

Ever since my friend Katie did a presentation on the benefits of Coconut in one of our classes, I have been on a mission to try everything coconut.  I LOVE coconut water.  SO great for re-hydrating after a sweaty workout due to it's natural electrolytes.  You know I am a fan of coconut milk from my post on Coffee Creamers.  I haven't used the coconut oil yet, but I think it will be great substitute in baked goods and a welcome change for the traditional olive oil during the summer months coming up!  I'll let you know how it goes. :)

If I was stranded on a desert island, the three things I would bring with me are Sunbutter, Crofter's Strawberry Fruit Spread and Chobani Yogurt.  They are just that good.

Full refrigerator = Happy Stephanie.

Have a great week!