Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Actual Amount of Fruit and Vegetable Servings We Should Get Daily and Here's Why

Fruit and Vegetable Servings
Fruit and Vegetable Servings image courtesy of Pixabay

Remember the old food pyramid? That old thing that used to tell us the right foods and quantities to eat for a well balanced, healthy and nutritious diet? For those that can not recall, or maybe are too young to remember, in the early 90’s the United States Department of Agriculture released the first real traditional food model specifically focused on dietary consumption and provided within it were the recommended values of the varying food groups. The pyramid put a big focus on whole grains and the inclusion of fruits and vegetables and dairy products for a healthy, well balanced diet.

Throughout the 90’s as dietary fads grew, carbohydrates began to become more feared and the diet went through all sorts of transformations from being turned upside down, made into circles, squares, and all kinds of new trending shapes. One thing however that did not seem to be changing was the amount of servings of fruit and vegetables that should be present in a well balanced diet. Until recently the recommended amount was consistently four to five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and was treated only as a supplement to main, carbohydrate and protein-centric dishes rather than being the bulk of our fiber and carbohydrate intake.

So are we getting enough fruit and vegetable servings in our diet with four to five servings a day?

Info on Fruit and Veggie Intake Quality and Quantity

The thing about the intake of fruits and vegetables is that they can offer fullness through fiber content, a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals, and provide a lighter feeling throughout the digestion process, all while not destroying your daily calorie count as you munch away. The main things to consider in eating your 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables a day is sugar intake and variety; you want to shoot for a ‘produce-rainbow’ and avoid overeating the same fruit multiple times.

For instance, bananas are power packed with potassium and and B-6 but are also on the higher side when it comes to sugar and carbohydrates, now while these natural sugars and carbohydrates shouldn’t be treated like processed sugars and carbs as they digest faster and provide healthy regeneration of energy stores necessary for physical activity, you still don’t want to overdue your glucose intake by eating 4-5 bananas a day.

An Example of a Good Day's Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

In the following I will provide a normal day's intake of fruit and veggies as an example of how to eat and when. For best digestion, all fruit and vegetables should be eaten first with any meal; avoid eating any acidic fruits after other foods as this complicates digestion and can lead to stomach ache.

Here's what a normal day's diet looks like when shooting for 7-8 servings:

  1. First serving: Morning Coffee with Banana and Oatmeal - (Pros: Potassium, B-6/ Cons: 12-16g sugar)
  2. Second and third servings: 10 am Carrots and Grapefruit - (Pros: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, low sugar content, energizing/ cons: prep work)
  3. Fourth serving: Something Green With Lunch - Kale/Broccoli/Spinach (Pros: Calcium, Iron, Fiber)
  4. Fifth serving: Mid Day Snack - Berries and mint leaves (Pros: refreshing and energizing, heart health, focus)
  5. Sixth, seventh and eighth servings: Dinner should be 70% Veggie 30% other. Finish your day off with vegetable based carbs and avoid large meals or bread right before bed. Think beats, tomato, chard, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, sweet potato.
Why the Fruit and Vegetables? As a vegetarian, I am always asked if I think it is worth it to diet my whole life in some weird attempt at trying to live forever. In response I offer that it is not about living forever, but rather about being able to use my body to the fullest extent while I am here. As you phase more servings of healthy fruit and vegetables into your daily routine and diet you will not only notice a difference in energy stores and alertness, but you will also be helping yourself to lower your blood-pressure and strengthen your heart.

At the core of our cardiovascular issues as a human race is poor diet and exercise, if you up your raw fruit and vegetable content to 7-8 servings per day you are doing your due diligence to ward off disease by creating a strong immune system and building a powerhouse of antioxidants in your body.

It is not easy to go from zero to 100 in fruit and vegetable consumption, especially if you do not know where to begin. I encourage trying to take on the dietary change with a friend and doing as much further research as you can to learn how to add variety and zest to your diet.

Eating beautiful raw fruits and vegetables should be one of the joys of living on this wonderful earth, so do your best to get as many of the proper servings a day and you will feel light and invigorated, your skin will look beautiful, and you will be on your way to a healthier you!

By  IWrite4U!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Commitment: The Key to Successful Weight Loss

While losing weight and keeping it off is almost like a living mat equation, with the calories you eat and activity you expend equaling either your weight loss or gain, according to the Mayo Clinic, the key to successful weight loss starts in your mind.

Weight Loss image courtesy of MorgueFile

While weight loss success or failure is linked to how well you implement dietary and exercise changes, it starts with your commitment to lose weight. 

If you've struggled to lose weight in the past, only to end up with unsatisfying results, first, give yourself a break, then get your mindset ready to move ahead. Obesity, stress, and depression are so tightly linked that pushing ahead with weight loss without finding a way to cope with the other emotions is practically setting yourself up to fail. But, it doesn't have to be like that...

The Energy Imbalance Equation Behind Weight Gain

The NIH sums up the cause of the human body storing excess fat with an equation, and it's pretty simple as far as math goes.

Energy In ≠ Energy Out

What that simple equation means is, if you take in more calories (consumed or energy in) than your body burns (energy out) then your body still has to DO something with that excess energy, so it turns it to fat to burn later. But, as you've probably noticed if you're here, reading this, once it turns to fat, it's hard to get rid of, and that's where your mindset becomes the key to your weight loss success.

6 Tips for Creating a Weight Loss Mindset That Works

The excess weight you carry is going to hang around on your body until you are ready, in your mind, to let it go. This can take a lot of self-analysis, and it can take years to get it right if you're going it alone - but every step is one step closer - and even steps that feel like setbacks can be successes if you let yourself learn from the experience.

  1. Think of losing weight as a long term goal, but set smaller goals that let you measure success in increments.
  2. Expect it to take a while to lose excess weight, after all, you didn't gain it all in one day or even a week, so it isn't going to go away in a single day or a week either. 
  3. Expect to have 'bad' days, when you just absolutely NEED that hot fudge sundae, chips or whatever your comfort food is - and know that indulging isn't failure - plan for it ahead of time and make it a reward so it feels like part of your success
  4. Experiment with new recipes. Have fun with it and let it be a good experience. You'll find that some of your favorite comfort foods are perfect for you just as they are - and that's okay but you may need to reduce the quantity of those to meet your weight loss goals. And, you'll find there are some foods you can make more diet-friendly without wrecking the flavor with the addition of things like high-fiber chia seed or flax. 
  5. Keep a food journal that details what you eat, what you're doing when you eat, and how you're feeling both before and after eating.
  6. If you're surrounded by invasive, nosy, critical, or toxic people, you'll want to find a way to do these things while keeping those people out of your weight loss efforts. Using the food journal as an example, you may want to create a password-protected document in your computer or a password-protected blog that only you can access.  
Create a real commitment to yourself and your health, so when the occasional setback occurs, which it invariably will, you will be able to keep forging ahead and succeed with your fitness and weight loss goals.

Other reading material:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Image of fit, strong abs courtesy of Pixabay

When it comes to fitness, there is a wide variety of options for workout plans that are often tailored to the desired results of the individual. Whether the goal is losing ten pounds or a six pack stomach or toned legs and glutes, there are countless programs available on the market today for whatever your fitness goals.

Among those programs, what may not be taught and is often under-explored, is one of the most important and simple ideas to getting that abdominal tone and definition that needs to bellowed from hilltops far and wide - ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!

You can spot train all you want, doing dangerous crunches for hours that contort and hinder your spinal health but the lack of results is due to a simple formula that abdominal training follows and that is that ab definition consists of a delicate formula: genetics + muscle +body fat + diet = shredded tummy. A trimmed and defined six-pack can be revealed through the simple addition of healthy alternatives to some of the most over-consumed foods that we will look at below.


Flax seed bread and veggies image courtesy of Pixabay
While cutting out carbohydrates altogether is very dangerous, particularly for more active people, the consideration of healthy alternatives will leave you feeling energized and looking lean. Although whole-wheat is a good emerging option to the standard white bread, it is important to inspect labels for ‘enriched whole wheat flour.’ Enriched whole wheat flour is a variety of carb production where the actual natural nutrients we require from our carbs are removed and added in a chemical compound form on the back end of the food creation.

For example, milled whole grains used to produce the necessary food compounds needed but by upping production and lowering costs companies found a way to essentially create a bread void of any required nutrients that they added through a chemical compound in the baking process. This can cause the carb stores to be misplaced in the body (i.e. sit on the stomach) and also leave you with digestive issues. For all carbs, reach instead for buckwheat alternatives. Buckwheat is an ancient grain that has the most bang for buck on healthy proteins and carbohydrates. This brittle pasta, found in most international sections of your grocery store will leave you with a lighter feeling of fullness and not fill up heavy stores around your stomach region. Quinoa is also an option of ancient grain that supports high levels of protein and needed fibers and makes a good addition to any meal.

Fruits and Veggies for Fullness

Snacking in between meals can be a healthy way to keep your metabolism churning if done correctly. Avoiding processed foods and designing your caloric intake in between meals to consist of mainly fruits and veggies will leave you feeling full while avoiding unwanted food stores around the waistline.

Hummus image courtesy of Pixabay
Some options for healthy snacking include:

  • Tub of hummus and assorted veggies: buy a two-pound tub of hummus (make sure first ingredient is chickpeas) and heads of bok choy, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Nature already provides a perfect dippable delight with these foods so simply clean the raw vegetables and dip and eat with the hummus
  • Nuts: although the overall amount of consumption should be monitored, mix an assortment of nuts in a Tupperware or big bag and keep it handy in your desk or car for a quick bite on the run. Avoid processed ‘trail-mix’ as the sugar content is always more than needed
  • Peanut butter and Banana: ensure that you have correctly processed peanut butter (ingredients should just be peanut butter and salt) and spread it on banana slices for a filling and delicious snack

Healthy Fats and Sugars

Kombucha tea image courtesy of Pixabay
While we need healthy fats and sugars to support brain functionality and energy, as a culture, we consume too much of, or the wrong fats and sugars altogether. Put down the Gatorades and soft drinks and the stores of fat around your stomach will begin to dissipate. If you must have a sweet drink throughout the day reach for a kombucha tea and check the ingredient list for a low sugar content (this will also provide awesome cancer fighting antioxidants).

Replace cooking oils with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for a healthier fat option and aim to get all of your sugars naturally from fruit and vegetables.

The pursuit for trimmed six-pack starts with a conscious focus on ingredient lists. Be sure to keep your sugar and fat content down and aim to avoid processed foods by all means. One of the easiest ways to start is to write down a list of the foods you like and piece together a diet based on the raw ingredients rather than processed foods. Fruits and veggies should be your best friend on the way to a toned core!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Healthy Dessert Ideas for Summertime

Looking for those perfect healthy dessert ideas to keep the waste-line thin and the body feeling refreshed and healthy in the summertime can be a bit of a chore. Read on for five delicious, easy, and refreshing desserts to try that won't wreck your diet.

Healthy Summertime Dessert image courtesy of Pixabay

5 Healthy Summertime Dessert Ideas

Here are five ideas for hot weather dessert to keep your taste buds and your beach body happy and smiling.

Honey Lemon Gelatin

Take your desired powdered gelatin and add the zest of fresh lemon, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and add a few drops of local honey, let it settle in the fridge and serve with a small dollop of homemade whipped topping. Also great with lime or tangerine.

Berry Parfait with Greek Yogurt and Golden Flax

Combine your choice of fresh picked summer berries, drizzle them with honey and layer them in a small glass dish with low-fat Greek yogurt and whole-grain oats. Sprinkle some golden flax seeds on top and you have yourself a perfect blend of protein and sweet to add to your summertime dessert idea book.

Angel Food Cake and Blueberries

Already a light and airy sponge cake, add zest of lemon or orange and serve with chilled berries. The fruit adds color and an amazing sweet-tanginess that makes this a great summertime treat.

Melon half with Strawberries and Mint

Carve and de-seed your melon of choice. Fill the center with diced strawberries, top it with fresh mint leaves and serve chilled.

Cherry- Mint Lemonade Slush

Take your frozen or fresh cherries, blend them with fresh squeezed, sugar-free lemonade and ice for a refreshing, sweet drink. Zest a lemon or add fresh mint to put this joyful summertime treat over the top!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

I was recently researching a customer service job that requires eight hours a day - on the phone - at a desk - emailing - normal office stuff basically. My big concern about the job is that signing up to do an extremely sedentary job would make getting fit an even bigger challenge than it already is - and that's what inspired this article about weight loss tips for people with sedentary jobs.

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs
Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

Make it easy on yourself to fit fitness activities into your work day by putting a small set of dumbbells near your computer or under your desk. If you're allowed to decorate, put up a poster showing some basic dumbbell exercises and seated stretches. This is a great way to remind yourself to get in a few exercises or stretches when websites are loading and when break time rolls around. Stretching and using different muscles to do a few DB presses also helps reduce muscle strain and repetitive stress injuries, so it's an all around good thing.

Track what you eat and drink. At first, you might want to eat and drink normally because that gives you a baseline assessment of how many calories you're consuming each day, but if weight loss is your goal, you'll need to plan to reduce the calories you take in. If you feel like you need large portion to feel full and comfortable, one way to eat a bit more is to take advantage of the fresh vegetable section of your supermarket. For example, a couple hundred calories of potato chips only gives you a few chips to enjoy but you could crunch on a whole bunch of carrots or celery for less calories.

Drive Your Metabolism Up

To boost your metabolism, which is what you need to do if you want to lose weight when you have a sedentary lifestyle, you need to eat, you need to hydrate yourself, and you need to exercise - more specifically - you need to build muscle. The trick is, you need to eat smart (and I confess, I don't always do this, but I keep trying to improve) drink enough water, and pick up those dumbbells and take advantage of what they can do for your body and metabolism. As you get stronger and build muscle, your metabolism starts to climb.

Schedule in regular workouts, whether it's walking, a powerhouse bodybuilding program, or whatever activity you enjoy. Just don't underestimate the value of those mini DB and stretch sessions at your desk, because they give you a boost throughout the day and even short bursts of exercise add to your overall health and ramp up your metabolism.

Thanks for reading, comments are always welcome, and be sure to look for Fat and Cranky under the moniker F&C on Facebook.

By Laure Justice

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

This short list of features that make up the best fitness tracker is here to give you some ideas of features you might like when you are ready to shop for an activity tracker or a fitness armband to give yourself a bit of extra motivation in your workouts and fitness efforts.

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker
Features of the Best Fitness Tracker image courtesy of Pixabay

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

By: Laure Justice

Fitness tracker style: First, these trackers come in a variety of styles, like big-faced watches, slim wristbands, and clip-ons you can hook on a belt or zipper pull. The one that's best, is the one that's most comfortable for you. One interesting feature with the Fitbit line is that you can have more than one device linked to your smartphone app, so you can choose from different styles to match different outfits with a Fitbit.

Heart rate monitor: A device that tracks your heart rate during workouts and also when you're at rest provides information you can use to make your workouts more effective, and also that you can share with your physician or personal trainer when you have questions or need professional advice.

GPS tracker: GPS tracking records how fast you walk, run, or bike and how much distance you have covered. You can then use this data to ramp up your workouts or reduce them as needed, and it's especially useful when you combine the data with info on your heart rate during your workout sessions.

Sleep tracker: Since lack of sleep has been linked to weight loss struggles, as well as many other ailments, sleep tracking can help you determine how well you are actually sleeping, and can help you pinpoint things that are keeping you awake. 

Syncs with smartphone: This feature adds value two different ways. First, it lets the activity tracker send data to an app in your smartphone to track all the data about your workout and sleep. Second, it lets your fitness watch display call and text alerts, so you know if you're getting a call or text you want to take or respond to, without stopping your workout to check your phone.

Floors climbed: If you're climbing the stairs on your lunch break instead of sitting in the break room, this feature is nice because it records your stair climbing efforts.

Time and activity statistics displayed on watch face: Even a really basic fitness tracker, like the Series E Action Tracker that I reviewed a few weeks ago should offer this feature, though the more basic bands only show the number of steps you've taken, because they're basically pedometer. This is an important feature, though, because it lets you glimpse at least some of your data without checking your phone or mobile device.

Interchangeable bands: This is a nice feature if you want to switch your tracker unit into different bands to match different outfits, instead of switching to an entirely different tracker with each outfit change.

Guided breathing sessions: As far as I know, this feature is unique to the newer Fitbits. In my opinion, it would be great for the warm-up period yoga postures, and the stretching period after a hard workout, though if you have other ideas how to use this feature, please ring in and share.

Waterproof for swimming or showering: If you're working out, you're most likely going to sweat at least when it's hot out, so this is a great feature for any fitness band or activity tracker.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet
Soup so creamy it's like comfort food
A thick, creamy soup, like Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup, might seem like an unlikely thing for someone talking about diet and weight loss to recommend, but there are some reasons, including the sheer convenience of heating a can of soup for a quick meal, that it can be a great part of your healthy diet.

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

By Laure J

I'll start with my opinion of the soup as far as flavor and texture: Good... and good...

The flavor was satisfying and pleasing = like a very satisfying potato soup. It's a touch salty - but I like that and so far anyway - I'm lucky enough I don't have to watch my sodium intake - if you do - I believe there's a low-sodium version of this.

The texture is a blend of hearty creaminess that is "pure comfort food" combined with chicken bites that have the texture of freshly roasted chicken and vegetables that are soft but still have that slight pop when you bite them that you would get from fresh veggies in homemade soups.

Progresso Chicken Pot Pie Soup Nutrition Info

First off, I don't believe in ruling out any food from a healthy diet, but that is not counting people who have allergies and dietary restrictions imposed by their doctors - because those of course have to be acknowledged.

Now, for why you can add this soup as part of a healthy diet:

Calories: Each can contains 2 servings at 150 calories each. So, even if you eat the whole can, you are only actually taking in 300 calories.

Fiber: While this soup isn't super high in fiber at 2 grams per serving (or 4 per can), it does at least have some, and you could feasibly add some ground up chia seed to it in order to up the fiber without changing its taste or texture.

Protein: This Progresso soup does a bit better on protein (compared to fiber) at 7 grams of protein per serving or 14 grams of protein per can.

(I put the image of the label so you can check the details of any other nutritional facts you are tracking for your healthy diet.)

I bought my Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup at my local Kroger's store - it was on sale and I thought it sounded interesting. It's actually MUCH better than I expected, and I'm pleased that it delivers both a satisfying meal option and the "comfort food experience" without being a 'diet-wrecker.'

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast
I bought this Simple Truth Organic Instant Chia Oatmeal at Kroger's because I'm always looking for healthy, nutritious things that taste good and that I can share with my readers here on Fat and Cranky.

Plus, I really like everything I've read about chia seeds and I look for ways to add it to my diet because it's such a great way to get more fiber.

I picked the maple and brown sugar flavor because the 'kid in me' screamed, "That one!"

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast

I'll start with my opinion first, then I'll add my tips for ramping up the flavor a bit, and finally I'll cover a bit more of the nutrition info, but that's also shown in the image at the side.

How it Looked

When prepared according to the package directions, this product looks like pretty much any other instant oatmeal. In fact, it matched the inside of my beige microwaveable bowl so well I didn't bother taking a picture.

How it Tasted

For flavor, and this is the important part, in my opinion, it didn't really have a lot. It tasted very much the way I would expect organic oatmeal to taste, There was only a mild, almost indiscernible sweetness from the maple and brown sugar flavorings. Still, it was okay, just not quite exciting or pleasing.

Additions to Improve the Flavor

This product is so high in fiber, I REALLY wanted to enjoy it and keep it as a part of my regular diet, so I decided to look for ways to ramp up the flavor without adding TOO many extra calories. So, I added a lump of brown sugar, a pat of my favorite diet synthetic-butter, and a couple dashes of cinnamon. Adding these three things turned a VERY plain, bland breakfast into a really tasty meal.

How Was the Texture?

Okay, oatmeal isn't exactly known for its texture, and I rarely eat it because of that, but I have to say, the addition of chia seeds really helped! The chia added a texture similar to that of tapioca and an occasional crunch as well, to the mushiness of the oatmeal.

Nutrition Info on Simple Truth Organic Instant Chia Oatmeal

Just to sum up the basics, from the package, if prepared with water, this product provides you with a light breakfast (or snack) with 170 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.


Overall, I really like this chia oatmeal product, though I prefer it with the additions I mentioned to give it a bit more flavor. Even with the pat of butter and brown sugar lump, it still provides a low calorie breakfast that is quick to make and convenient, too.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Why You Need to Give Yourself Permission to Be Magnificent

Just in case no one has told you today, you should just go ahead and do something positive for yourself, and completely, and totally, give yourself permission to be magnificent.

Be Magnificent! Magnificent red-tailed hawk image courtesy of Pixabay

Be Magnificent!

There is no benefit to staying in your 'safe' place if it isn't a physically and emotionally healthy, happy place!

Be honest with yourself about the things that are holding you back, and give yourself permission to be magnificent!

When you let go of the things that are making you unhealthy and holding you back, and these will typically be emotional things that are deeply nested inside of your spirit, it opens new doors to an almost imaginably happy life, and sure, not every moment will be bliss, but you'll see a lot more bliss than you'll ever see if you don't act.

So, go ahead, BE MAGNIFICENT!

Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Jump-Start Your Diet

Starting a new diet plan can be hard, but there are some easy things you can do to get started and to give yourself a bit of inspiration when you want to lose weight - whether you are just getting started or you feel like you've already tried everything.

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Jump-Start Your Diet
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Jump-Start Your Diet image courtesy of Pixabay

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Jump-Start Your Diet

Starting your fitness quest with a few simple things gives you small successes to feel good about, and those successes make the next steps easier, too.

  1. Start a Fitness Journal: Experts claim that people who keep a fitness journal see more results, and it's such an easy way to get started on your weight loss journey. 
    1. At first, you don't even have to do anything different, just record your dietary intake and activity levels for a few days to create a baseline. 
    2. A fitness journal can be as simple as a notebook where you record what you eat, what you drink, exercises you do, and how you feel. 
    3. It can also be digital, or a fancier journal specifically created for people trying to lose weight. 
  2. Get a Water Bottle: If you don't already have a water bottle you can keep handy all the time, find one that fits your hand and has a sealing top so it won't spill easily. 
    1. Then, do the rubber band trick, to help you track your water consumption without even having to write it down till the end of the day. 
      1. The Rubber Band Trick: You know you need eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, according to most weight loss experts 
        1. - so - say your water bottle hold 16-ounces - that means you need to fill it four times per day 
        2. - so each morning, fill it and put 3 rubber bands around the center 
        3. - each time you refill it - remove a rubber band 
        4. - when you take off the last band and finish the water - you have consumed the day's minimum amount of water (but you can always have more than that.) 
  3. Take a Walk: This is a good way to sneak in a bit of fat-burning cardio. A 10 to 20 minute walk energizes you and gets your blood pumping. Walk at your own pace, or just fast enough to get a little out of breath. 
  4. Choose a Fiber Supplement: This is a great way to reduce your appetite naturally. Look for fiber-rich foods or choose a fiber supplement to take, and increase your water intake to help the fiber swell in your stomach so you don't feel as hungry. 
  5. Add Some Weight to Your Workouts: Grab some dumbbells and add a few presses, curls, and squats to your workout time to get faster results. 
    1. If you don't have access to dumbbells, grab a couple of cans of soup and use them for a bit of resistance. 
      1. This lets you try resistance workouts without buying anything - just in case you don't like it. 
I really don't like to use the word diet when I'm referring to healthy lifestyle changes and fitness plans, but no matter what you call it, following these simple starter tips can help you get started on the path to achieving a healthy weight. Laure J

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Much Protein Do I Need Each Day to Lose Weight?

When you eat right, it cuts a LOT of the work out of losing weight, and since everyone has to eat, making smart food choices is an easy way to successfully lose weight - but how do you know which food choices will help you reach you reach your goal?

How Much Protein Do I Need Each Day to Lose Weight?
How Much Protein Do I Need Each Day to Lose Weight? image courtesy of Pixabay
In my last post, I talked about how much fiber you need to consume each day in order to lose weight, and now, I want to add a bit of info on how much protein you need daily for weight loss.

How Much Protein Do I Need Each Day to Lose Weight?

While the actual number of grams of protein you need for weight loss varies by the number of calories you consume daily, a general rule is that 30-percent of your daily calories should come from protein.

That means, for example, if you are on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, you should be consuming about 600 calories of that, or 150 grams, from protein. 

If all the calculations - and counting calories - and checking labels makes your head spin, one simpler way to get where you need to be, according to Shape, is simply doubling your current protein intake. (Just make sure you're reducing your simple carbs, taking in plenty of fiber, and drinking plenty of water.)

What Is Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient, which is kind of a fancy way to say it's a large molecule made up of amino acids, that your body needs to build muscle mass. More than what it is, however, you need to know which foods deliver it to your body.

What Foods Are Protein-Rich?

Protein is usually found in animals and animal by-products, but there are non-animal sources you can turn to if you prefer. Some common protein sources, according to WebMD, are:

  • Meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy
If you struggle to consume enough protein to help you lose weight, try to stick to the lighter and less filling lean protein sources, plus you can add protein powders, drinks, and bars to your daily diet. 

Thanks for visiting Fat and Cranky! Laure J

Why Increasing Dietary Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight

When you start researching ways to lose weight, increasing the amount of dietary fiber you consume comes up a lot, and there is a lot of validity to it - here's why...

Why Increasing Dietary Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight
Why Increasing Dietary Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight image courtesy of Pixabay

Why Increasing Dietary Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight

Dietary fiber helps you feel full faster and that sense of satisfaction lasts for a longer period of time, so by reducing your hunger, it helps you eat less, and you don't feel deprived or like you're missing out on anything. 

What Is Dietary Fiber?

Fiber is a carb, but it's not like the starchy carbs in potato chips or pasta that pack on the pounds quickly. It tends to be crunchy, making it satisfying to chew, and it's more like the firm outer part of fruits and veggies, the parts you might have peeled off and thrown away, like apple peels and potato skins.

How Much Fiber Do You Need in Your Diet Each Day to Lose Weight?

While you should ideally discuss this detail with a nutritionist or your doctor, here's what I found when researching:

  • 25 grams per day for women
  • 38 grams per day for men
These are the figures cited by WebMD for women under 50 and for all men, and it is noted that some experts recommend even larger doses of daily dietary fiber for weight loss. 
  • No recommendations were offered for women over 50, and I wondered if your body weight would also influence how much you should ingest, but I didn't find any better info on it, so for me, I am experimenting - starting with 25 grams daily as a goal and will increase or decrease based on how I feel. 
  • As I write this, I'm eating a lunch I crafted solely in the basis of its fiber content - Peanut Butter and Chia Seed. 
    • I mixed 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and two tablespoons of chia seed for a lunch that packs 12 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. 
    • It didn't look like much when I started eating, and I thought I needed bread or crackers or some celery, but I am eating it right off the spoon without any of that, and I'm full enough I'm having a hard time finishing it.

What Foods Are High in Fiber?

Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are all rich in fiber. 

  • Berries are one type of fruit that's extra high in fiber.
  • Nuts are also good on fiber content and add protein, too. 
  • Legumes, like soup beans are high in both fiber and protein. 
  • One of my favorite ways to add fiber to foods that are low in it is to mix in chia seeds, like I did with my peanut butter today. 
    • Chia has very little to no flavor, so you can use it to add fiber to anything without messing up the taste. 
    • Plus, you can use it crunchy and whole, grind it up so it's fine, you can soak it so it's soft like tapioca, or you can use it in cooking to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies. 
    • Chia seed is a very flexible fiber source, and it delivers its fiber and other nutritional benefits while letting you fully enjoy your food. 
  • Flax seed - you can use this whole in baking or, like chia seed, you can grind it to sprinkle on or in other foods.

Are There Nutritional Supplements I Can Take Instead of Eating Fiber-Rich Foods?

If you have a hard time eating enough fiber-rich food each day, but want to gain its weight-loss boost and health benefits, you can also add fiber to your diet with supplements.

Fiber supplements are sold under names like Metamucil and Benefiber, or under the more generic name of Psyllium Fiber.

I also found information on dietary fiber reducing the risk of heart attack and some cancers, if you would like the links to that info, just leave a comment below and I'll share more on that.Laure J

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why Does Menopause Make it Harder to Lose Weight?

If you're approaching menopause, menopausal, or dealing with weight gain after menopause, you've probably noticed that it gets harder and harder to lose weight as you age. (And, it was already pretty stinking hard!!) Understanding the causes of menopause weight gain can help you make a plan to get control of weight, so read on for some details that can help you out.

Why Does Menopause Make it Harder to Lose Weight?
Why Does Menopause Make it Harder to Lose Weight? image courtesy of Pixabay

Why Does Menopause Make it Harder to Lose Weight?

There are two main physical reasons why menopause makes it harder to lose weight: hormonal changes and changes in insulin resistance. 
Changes in Hormone Levels: As you go through menopause, your hormonal levels drop, as noted by The Beauty Insiders, and it's a double-whammy, too, because both estrogen and testosterone drop.

The drop in  estrogen packs extra weight on the center of your body and your hips, and the drop in testosterone takes away your drive, energy, and your body's ability to create lean muscle mass (which you NEED if you want to lose weight.)
Supplements, either prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal deliver a way to help your body regain a healthy hormonal balance as you go through menopause, and that balance can help your weight loss efforts.
Changes in Insulin Resistance: As your body progresses through menopause, the way it processes food changes, so you're not getting the same nutritional value and the soda, snacks, and sweets you were able to enjoy freely - or at least more freely - now take up residence on your frame.

Why You Need to Change Your Habits to Counteract Menopausal Weight Gain

Because your body begins to process the things you eat differently and because nature is working against you by packing weight on your body at the same time your energy is declining, you need to make some changes if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

  • Restore your hormonal balance. This can be done with supplements or prescription medications, and it's always a good idea to discuss your options with your doctor before trying anything new. (Even natural supplements can interact badly with other medications you are taking, and it's better to be safe.)
  • Cut sugar intake. If you  really have a sweet tooth, substitute processed sugar for fruit as often as possible - you need to be eating those fruits and veggies anyway. 
  • Cut fried and greasy foods. I know they're yummy, but they are heading straight for the body parts where you don't want them. You can still have some, because going cold-turkey feels like punishment, and if it feels like punishment, you're probably going to rebel and get a bunch of large orders, right? But really, reduce how much fried food you get - like - if you normally hit the drive through for a large order of fries a few times a week, make it a small order once or twice a week. 
  • Eat more light protein. WebMD recommends fish, and it makes sense, as long as the fish isn't fried, because fish is a great source of light, low calorie protein. (I throw eggs and peanut butter in this section, too.)
  • Get regular exercise. I bet you knew I was going to say that. Be creative, and look for activity that you enjoy, and look for ways to make the things you already do more active. I wanted to add that, because if it's fun, you're more likely to stick with it. And, if it's convenient, you're more likely to keep doing it. 
I know life is busy, and as human beings we like our comfortable eating habits and existing activity levels because change can be so darn hard....

I know nobody has time to fit anything else into the day, but you still need to do some exercises, so crank up the radio and jiggle around the kitchen to the music when dinner's cooking, or do some mini squats and lunges while you're doing the dishes. Fit in stretches while you're waiting on the last few minutes of the wash cycle to finish. Grab a pair of dumbbells and do some presses while you're waiting on a webpage to load. Anywhere you have a moment extra, you have a chance to increase your fitness level.

For me, cutting back on sugar and fried food is a challenge, even more than getting more active, and I don't like admitting that, but it's just a fact. Which parts of managing your weight are hard for you? Laure J

Will You Lose More Weight if You Keep a Fitness Journal?

It's been a long-recognized fact that tracking your food intake is a key component of effective weight loss for many... most... overweight people, and now the importance of tracking activity in a journal has also been acknowledged. This type of holistic tracking looks at the big picture, and it creates a tool you can use to help yourself lose more weight (faster) and it's called a fitness journal!

Will You Lose More Weight if You Keep a Fitness Journal
Will You Lose More Weight if You Keep a Fitness Journal image courtesy of Pixabay

Will You Lose More Weight if You Keep a Fitness Journal?

A fitness journal gives you a place where you can compile the information from all your fitness efforts, and then add details about the experience, like your mood, what you were feeling when you ate different foods - and after you ate them, how you felt during and after you exercised, and you can even just record if you were having a lousy day, ate a whole chocolate cake, and skipped your workout routine.

The advantage of having place where everything is compiled to show the picture is you can look at it any time, and after a few days or weeks, you'll start to see trends in your behavior. Sure, you might already know you eat too much pizza on movie night with your significant other or your kids, but seeing it in writing helps make it real and gives you a place to start the work of changing that behavior.

Easy Ways to Track Your Diet and Fitness Efforts

Notebook: SparkPeople notes that a fitness journal can be as simple as a spiral notebook where you record your personal information. Because I enjoy the feeling of making handwritten notes, this is my preferred method of journaling.  I do, however, tend to hold back on my feelings when I write in a paper journal because people in my house snoop (you know who you are), and I like my innermost feelings to remain private rather than things to discuss at the dinner table.

Digital Documents: A password encrypted document is a great way to journal if you want to avoid prying eyes - whether you are keeping your emotions private or simply don't want your family to know you ate four Almond Joy candy bars for lunch instead of your salad. The problem I have with the digital journal format is that it is inconvenient for me. I've tried entering things from my phone, but it scrambles and autocorrects them until I can't decipher them.

Blogging: If you're cool with others reading about your efforts and emotions, a blog is a fun way to keep a fitness journal. It's actually what I do and am beginning to expand on, with the exception of leaving out things about being angry at people and stuffing myself with junk food as a result - no good can come of making someone else feel bad - so I record those thoughts in private documents.

Smartphone Apps: Apps make it super easy to document activity and food intake. Some apps, like the S-Health app, record your steps and how fast you walk or run so you don't even have to do it yourself. If your app doesn't record everything you want to track, you can still get the advantage of using it and then transfer info from it into your fitness journal.

Fitness Trackers: If you get a very basic activity tracker, like the one I wrote about here, you upload the info in its compatible app. If you get one that syncs with your smartphone, it will save you work by transferring the data for you. Then you can update your fitness journal, whether you use paper or one of the digital formats, as you want.

A fitness journal is a handy tool you can use in your fitness quest, and if you make full use of the information you collect in it, it can help you lose weight faster, and it can help you keep the weight off for good.

Thanks for visiting Fat and Cranky! I hope you found this post interesting and helpful, and I encourage you to browse around the site. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section under any post on the site.Laure J

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Activity Tracker Precautions You Need to Know About

How do you know if your activity tracker is working properly?

Activity Tracker Precautions You Need to Know About

This post is based on my Series 8 activity tracker, which is admittedly a budget-priced tracker with few features - but it's good to remember to test the effectiveness of your fitness watch from time to time no matter what kind of tracker you have.

Activity Tracker Precautions
Activity Tracker Precautions

What makes it record your activity? 

Using the Series 8 as an example, some trackers are basically a pedometer that calculate distance and calories in addition to your steps. But - it's not actually your steps it's tracking, it's the motion of the arm you have it strapped on, so if you don't swing your arms as you walk - guess what - no steps get recorded.

How do you check a fitness band to see if it is recording?

This is actually unbelievably easy, once you know you need to do it - you just look at it while you're walking. If you realize you don't swing your arms enough while walking to make it register, either focus on swinging them more - it burns more calories anyway, try attaching the tracker to your ankle because it swings with each step, consider a tracker that combines GPS with the step counter, or download a fitness app to your phone to get activity data from your phone.

How long did you walk?

If your step counter is not recording properly, you can also make a note of how much time you spent walking, and make a note of that in your fitness journal or add it to a fitness app in your phone.

Thanks for reading, and I hope if you're relying on an activity tracker for your fitness data, that you're having better luck with it than I am. Laure J

Monday, January 16, 2017

Walking With a Step Counter

A step counter, or pedometer, can be a useful tool when adjusting to a more active lifestyle and also when setting goals.

Walking With a Step Counter Pedometer
Walking With a Step Counter Pedometer image courtesy of Pixabay

Walking With a Step Counter

I knew I live a sedentary lifestyle due to being a writer, but I didn't realize just HOW sedentary it was until I strapped a fitness tracker on my wrist - and that is the inspiration for this post. (I am guessing I didn't notice because I never really thought about it, because, well, I was busy working.)

I read that 10,000 steps per day is the ideal goal for heart health and physical fitness, so of course I set my personal goal as 10,000 steps per day - seriously expecting to breeze right through it. Wrong! I barely broke 3,000 steps my first full day tracking - and I made sure to do extra walking around just because I knew the tracker was recording my steps.

Don't Get Defeated or Overwhelmed

I admit, I feel a little bit lousy about falling so short of my goal, and a little overwhelmed at how hard it is, too. But, in keeping with the 'you can do it' theme of this blog series, I'm not going to let a little setback ruin my efforts, and if you're trying to get more fit along with me, I hope you will stick with it, too, even when it doesn't go the way you expect.

Should You Adjust Your Goals?

Even when you don't reach your goal, measuring and recording information on what you did achieve lets you adjust your goals, and that can be a great idea. If your initial goals are too hard, temporarily lowering them and replacing them with goals that are hard but achievable lets you taste success. It also gives you a chance to strengthen your muscles and make time for more activity in your day. It also shows you where you can work harder to reach your goals.

If you're struggling to reach your goals, don't use it as a reason to give up. Let it motivate you to try harder, and be sure to let me know how it's going for you.Laure J

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Getting Back to a Fitness Routine After 3 Slacker Days

The past few days have been exactly the type of thing that usually throws me off track with a new fitness routine, so I wanted to share some tips on getting back to a fitness routine after 3 slacker days.

Getting Back to a Fitness Routine After 3 Slacker Days

Everyone has those days sometimes - where you're super busy and you don't fit in a proper workout, but those days don't have to derail your fitness goals.

I actually managed about five to ten minutes each of the three days that I slacked off, but my goals were to increase my workouts at this point, so it felt like a failure when I had reached the end of the day and didn't have time for a full workout.

So, even though it was bedtime, I grabbed my dumbbells and did five minutes of upper body work the first night, then six minutes of leg work and light cardio the second. The third day, I just got in a ten minute walk (which was great because I was testing out my Series 8 Action Tracker to review here on the site.) And, that brings me to today's workout.

Today, I walked for ten minutes at a fast pace, and I added ten minutes of upper body dumbbell work, with three pound weights. Then I stretched and cooled off until the soreness in my shoulders eased off, but I didn't time the cool-down period today.

So, I apologize for the brevity of this post, but I wanted to share in the hope it can inspire you if you feel like you haven't met your own goals, and that it reminds you you haven't failed as long as you don't give up. Never, ever give up, just keep trying - it's worth it.Laure J

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review of the Series 8 Action Tracker

I've wanted a fitness tracker for a while, and I've been researching the features I want and comparing prices. The cost kind of held me back, but today I found a Series 8 Active Tracker at Five Below and decided to test it out.

Series 8 Action Tracker Fitness Band
Series 8 Action Tracker

I've never had a fitness watch before and I wasn't sure I would keep using it, partly because I am allergic to a lot of watch bands and partly because it seems like something that might be a nuisance after a few days, so I wasn't comfortable spending a lot. So, even though this particular activity tracker didn't have all the features I want, I decided it would be a good model to wear for a while to find out if I like wearing one, plus I get to review it here on Fat and Cranky for you.

The Series 8 Action Tracker

The Series 8 Action Tracker is a Five Below exclusive fitness tracker, and it's kind of bare-bones model, but for five dollars, it does a lot and seems to work exactly as described. My first impression of it is that I really like it.

Features of the Series-8 Action Tracker

When you pull this fitness band out of the box, you set time, your weight, and your stride length, ideally before you put it on.

  • Tracks four key fitness details: It tracks your steps, the number of calories burned, the distance you have walked, and it shows you the time. 
  • Smartphone app available: You can download the Series-8 Action Tracker App from the App store or Google Play, set and track your goals, and enter the data provided by the watch in your phone - this lets you share or compete with your friends via Facebook. (I opted out of that part because it struck me as a little odd, but if competition and sharing inspires you, it's an available feature you can use.)
  • Long Band: I have a fairly large wrist for a woman, and the adjustable band allows for a custom fit, and I could still go more than an inch wider if needed, or much smaller.
  • Easy to See: The LCD display is actually big enough to see without squinting.
  • Latex-free: The strap is sweat-free and latex-free, so it won't make anyone with a latex allergy break out or get sick. 

What the Series-8 Action Tracker Does Not Have

For five dollars, this activity tracker is great and it delivers the basic information you need, but there are features it doesn't have and I want to cover them, too.

  • Does not sync with smartphone: While there is an app that you can use in conjunction with the Series-8 Action Tracker, you have to enter the information yourself. It's easy to do, and not a big deal, but it is a detail you should be aware of before buying.
  • No heart rate monitor: If you work out at a high-intensity level, or if you're new to working out, a heart rate monitor can help you ensure you are working out in the safe - but effective - zone of intensity - but if you check out the Borg perceived intensity scale you can use that, or you can learn to calculate your own heart rate by using the integrated clock.
  • No sleep tracker: A sleep tracker can help you understand how well you sleep, and how long, and it adds to the total fitness information you may want, but its absence in the Series 8 is no big deal. Given the low cost, it isn't going to have every feature that a pricier model delivers.
  • Band is not interchangeable: The tracker is built into the band, and is not interchangeable, so you can't match a band to each outfit. However, at the price, you can buy several for less than many interchangeable bands cost. Updated to add that I found the tracker pops out very easily, but I suspect it is so you can change the battery as I haven't found replacement bands for it anywhere. 
  • No Bluetooth or messaging: Some pricier fitness bands let you know when you have an email, text message, or phone call coming in, and those features are not built into this Series-8 model. 
All-in-all, the Series-8 Action Tracker works well and delivers everything it promises, and it's a great basic fitness tracker.

Series-8 Action Tracker Removed From Band
Series-8 Action Tracker Removed From Band
Thanks for reading about my experience with this fitness band, I hope you find the info useful; and I'll be back with more info on it after I've used it for a few days to let you know how it holds up on an ongoing basis. Have you  ever tried one of these Series-8 trackers, or any kind, if you have and would like to share, I would be thrilled to hear about your experiences.Laure J

Easy Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

If you've spent any time at all reading about superfoods that help you lose weight while bolstering your health in numerous other ways, you probably already know a bit about chia seeds. If you haven't, well, it's time you get the info on this super-food!

Easy Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet
Easy Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet image courtesy of Pixabay

Chia seeds deliver omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium to your diet, and they have practically no flavor, (many people say they have no flavor, but I can taste them in certain things, and while it's pleasant enough as a flavor, to me, it doesn't go with anything) but they are great because you can add them to almost anything. 

Easy Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

Chia Pudding: Soak them overnight in milk, sweeten with honey, and top with fruit for a creamy dessert. You can also do this with chocolate milk, but they do seem to require a longer soaking time. Note, however, that you can grind them before soaking and this reduces the soaking time.

Sprinkle Chia Seeds on Salads: Chia seeds are a great addition to a chef's salad, just sprinkle them, either whole or ground, on top of the salad dressing. It's eye-catching and the seeds add a pleasing texture.

Chia Seeds Turn Comfort Food Into Health Food: Sprinkle a generous layer of chia on top of mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, chicken and noodles, or pretty much any carb-rich comfort food to add fiber and protein. You can also add the seeds during the preparation if you want them to be less obvious.

Chia Seeds on Your Fast Food: That's right, you can sprinkle chia seeds on your favorite fast food burgers to make them a little healthier to eat - so you don't have to worry about your favorite grease-burger ruining your diet. One easy way to handle this is to keep a (sealed) salt-shaker filled with ground chia seeds in your purse or in the car so you have it with you whenever you want to eat out.

I've tried all of these, and liked them all. My favorites were the salad with whole chia seed sprinkled on top and the biscuits and gravy with ground up chia seeds sprinkled on top. My least favorite, while still pleasant enough, was the chia chocolate milk pudding. It had a 'green' taste to me, but everyone else who tried it said it was good, so, if you try it, I would love to hear what you think. Laure J

Friday, January 13, 2017

Discover the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Discover the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds Discover the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
By Roxanne Rodrigues
What are the benefits of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds may just look like your everyday seed, but don't let appearances deceive you. Packed full of nutritional goodness, various chia seed benefits have seen this small seed become the latest sought-after "Superfood". Chia foods are by no means a new thing, in fact this nutritious seed goes as far back as the Aztec warriors who would eat the seeds as part of their battle preparations. Chia health benefits are documented as far back as the Indians, who supposedly survived many a forced march, which were usually 24-hours long, on just one small teaspoon of the seeds. The Chia seed, no doubt, have the Indians to thank for being dubbed as "running food", although there are many other chia seed benefits too.
Energy Boost
Whether you want to improve your stamina in the gym or simply have some extra get-up-and-go for your work day, this amazing superfood has a perfect blend of nutrients to give you it. Packed full of carbohydrates, the seeds can absorb up to ten times their own weight in liquid. Due to this super-absorbency, these seeds have little to no effect on a person's blood sugar. This is what prevents the carbohydrates, which chia are packed full of, from being broken down quickly by the body. This not only prevents a person experiencing the jitters of a sugar crash, it also helps to sustain a good energy level to help get you through the day.
Slimming Down
One of the most popular chia food benefits is the fact they can help a person to lose weight. Again this has much to do with the seeds absorbency and nutrients. Carbohydrates in the seeds are absorbed slowly, this is due to the seed expanding in the stomach, and so does the soluble fibre that lies around the seeds' outer layer. This not only helps to suppress a person's appetite, it also helps stabilize the blood sugar for longer. A 2009 clinical trial focusing on chia food benefits found that the middle dose of seeds is enough to reduce a person's appetite anywhere up to 47-percent. Individuals given the larger recommended dose of chia seeds experienced at least a 33-percent reduction in their glucose level. Interestingly, for the study the chia products were used in white refined bread, which is often too linked to weight gain and blood sugar imbalance.
Bone Strength
It can be hard to figure out how much calcium you are getting and, most importantly, if you are getting enough. If you are not a big lover of milk, chia seed products could well be your answer as they actually contain more calcium than milk does. Add to this the fact the seeds enhance the absorption of the calcium and it is fair to say this is one of the major chia health benefits. The calcium in chia seeds is much easier to digest than that in milk, making the seeds an ideal alternative to those people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Mental Health and Brain Power
Omega 3 has long been touted as natural "brain food". However, what is less publicized is the positive affects Omega 3 and 6 has on individuals suffering from mental health conditions such as, depression. Chia food products support a person's nervous system, which affects a person's brain function. Improved brain function leads to a better transmission of the nerves, which leads to an improvement of a person's mood. However, chia seed benefits do not stop at improving brain power and mood. Essential fatty acid found in the seeds has been linked with improving and maintaining, liver function, cholesterol, joints, stabilizing blood sugar levels and cognitive function.
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry completed studies that linked chia seeds to building insulin intolerance, as well as helping to prevent heart and liver diseases. Chia superfoods make a great supplement, especially if your lifestyle means you are not always getting the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. It is said that chia seeds contain more flax seed and Omega 3 oil than salmon, so it makes a great substitute for those who do not like eating oily fish.
Muscle Building
If you're vegan or gluten intolerant, Chia can also be a great source of protein. According to nutritionists, these amazing superfoods contain more protein than other grain alternatives. If you are looking to build muscle and need to increase your daily intake of protein, chia superfoods are the best choice when you also consider the other benefits associated with them.
Chia food benefits also cross over into other medical areas. Because the seeds are gluten-free, people with conditions such as Chrohns disease and gluten intolerance and celiac disease will be able to take them with no adverse side-effects. Various studies have also proven that people with various nut allergies had no serious side effects from taking the seeds.
These amazing seeds are such little powerhouses, that there is way too much to cover in this one short article! I have been writing many more detailed articles about chia, and also making some cool little videos showing you how to prepare the seeds, and the best ways to use them in your diet!
Roxanne Rodrigues is a young, free spirited individual who has amassed a wealth of information about nutrition and raw foods. To learn more about the Chia Seeds Benefits and also how to use them to their best effect, you can see further articles and videos by Roxanne at ChiaSeeds.co.uk
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Roxanne_Rodrigues/1313670

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Walking Is a Great Lazy-Day Exercise

After a hard workout yesterday, I wasn't feeling it to do another today, but I know myself well enough to know I would most likely quit completely if I start skipping days, so I decided on a light, lazy-day workout - a walk.

Why Walking Is a Great Lazy-Day Exercise image courtesy of Pixabay

Why Walking Is a Great Lazy-Day Exercise

There are so many great reasons to take a short walk for exercise, starting with its cardio benefits.

Walking is also convenient because you don't need a lot of extra gear to enjoy it.

You can walk indoors or out, so the weather doesn't effect your ability to enjoy it.

Walking is an instant mood-lifter.

It's easy to fit in fitness bursts of walking because you don't have to spend as long warming up and cooling down, though you certainly can throw in some stretching if you have time and enjoy it.

You can burn as much as 100 calories in a ten minute walk, and you can slip in as many ten minute walks as you want per day.

I actually did my Day 10, short walk with a fairly high intensity level, though I started with every intention of slacking, because once I started moving it was enjoyable and kind of fun. So, How are your fitness goals going so far? Laure J

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How to Find Weight Loss Motivation That Sticks

Sometimes, starting a new  weight loss and fitness regimen is the easy part - because you're fired up and ready to taste success instead of junk food, but a few days in - that excitement and sense of success can fizzle.

How to Find Weight Loss Motivation That Sticks
How to Find Weight Loss Motivation That Sticks image courtesy of Pixabay

That's when it gets harder to find motivation, and THAT is when you need it most!

How to Find Weight Loss Motivation That Sticks

To succeed at anything, weight loss included, you need to know WHY you are doing it.

  • Psychology Today recommends having a long list of reasons you want to lose weight, and then pulling it out to reread whenever your motivation lags.
  • While a long list is great, I would personally alter that to suggest that you don't need a long list if you have one or two crystal clear reasons. 
  • Maybe you want to avoid a heart attack. 
  • Maybe you want to look good for a class reunion or some other event. 
  • Only you can choose those goals that inspire you, and any reason you have for improving your health and fitness is a good one.
  • For me, I want to be healthier and I want to be able to do active things without getting out of breath. 

In addition to knowing why you want to achieve your goals, remember to reward yourself frequently.

Rewarding yourself for your successes is a suggestion from WebMD, and if you acknowledge the small successes, it's super easy to find things to celebrate.

  • Instead of focusing on your total weight loss goal, if it's a lot, focus on the first five pounds, and when you get there, celebrate that success. 
  • Or, focus on completing your workout, water drinking quota, or dietary goals each meal, and let yourself feel good about every single success, because the more little successes you achieve and celebrate, the closer you are to your ultimate goal.
Understanding why you are exercising and changing your eating habits, plus giving yourself a lot to feel good about, makes it easier to stay motivated. 

Everyone has blah days that make it hard to workout, but - FYI - powering through feels twice as good on those days, so don't give up, and find your inner motivation. You can do this!Laure J

30-Minute Fast Walking, Dumbbells, and Stretching Workout

I decided to up the intensity for my workout today, and while I was doing it, I noticed two things, one, it was the first time I broke a hard sweat since I started this, and two, it wasn't a painful or unpleasant experience.

fast walking dumbbells and stretching workout
30-Minute Fast Walking, Dumbbells, and Stretching Workout image courtesy of Pixabay

30-Minute Fast Walking, Dumbbells, and Stretching Workout

I think the reason it wasn't hard to transition into this more intense workout is totally because I spent the first week or so adjusting to working out with shorter, less intense fitness bursts.

  • Warm up then fast walking for cardio: So, I started with about three minutes of stretching to warm up, then went right to fast-paced walking to get my heart rate up. I held that pace for 20-minutes before switching to the dumbbell portion of my workout. 
  • Dumbbell workout: I did two sets of ten reps on my upper body dumbbell (presses, bicep curls, hammer curls, tricep extensions, shoulder shrugs, and side lateral raises) workout, along with squats and toe raises. 
  • Cool down then meditation: I finished up with a few more stretches, and I threw in five minutes of meditation in the lotus yoga pose, which by the way, gives a great outer thigh and hip stretch, but I didn't count that in my workout time. 
  • Drinking water: I still struggled with this goal today, only made it to four glasses, so tomorrow I need to add some extra focus on my goal of drinking water.
How about you? What did you do for your health today? Are you ready to ramp up your workouts and start seeing some results, too? 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or anything you want to share.Laure J