The Pursuit of Healthiness

The Pursuit of Healthiness
Your Guide to Getting Healthy

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Listen to Your Own Body and Do What's Right for You!

Here's a lesson that I learned recently. My friend started going to Yoga class and I thought I won the jackpot. I practice yoga at home all the time and I love it. I love how it increases my flexibility and how my entire body just feels so relaxed afterwards. I'd been waiting for one of my friends to get into yoga to do it with me and I was eager to start going to classes with her. So I signed up.

Now don't get me wrong, the moves were fairly simple since it was a beginner class, but I learned something about myself. I hate to be told what to do. Yes, that's probably stubborn and childish but I hate it so much. And yoga class was no different. I don't like going at someone else's pace; I have my own, why do I have to match yours? It made me so mad when I would go into Triangle pose, get all relaxed, want to stretch out in that position for a beat more, and the instructor would be giving me death glares for not going into Warrior Two again. I hate Warrior Two, I like Triangle, let me stay in Triangle for another second, I'll go to Warrior Two eventually. Occasionally, I'd close my eyes in a comfortable position, letting myself relax, and she'd actually call me out in front of the class. And if you ever met me you'd know I hate having the attention turned on me. She also kept going around and standing over people and adjusting them, which I had two problems with.

1. I do worse with someone standing over me. When I'm writing an essay in class, I actually stop writing when a teacher is behind me until they go away. It's just an unconscious thing. But  you can't just stop yoga when a teacher is behind you.

2. I'm not a touchy person. I don't want a stranger's hands on my hips or pulling on my legs to adjust them.

All in all, here's what I've learned. I like yoga. It makes me feel good, but I have to do it at home. So I guess it was a waste of thirty bucks to try those classes, but hey, at least I know now. My friend can go on with out me. I'll go back to working out alone. I like it better that way.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ten Hut: Ten Pounds Down?

So yesterday I decided to try something new. I found this diet online called the 3-Day Military Diet and was hesitant to try it, but I started it yesterday morning and I'm still going. Here's the trick: for three days, you eat food listed for you and for the other four days, track your food, but you don't have to go as hardcore as the other three days. On the first day, you can drink coffee in the morning with your listed breakfast and then you have to have coffee or tea with your lunch as well. But that's the last of the coffee you can have for the three days. In fact you can't have any caffeine at all so that's where a lot of people drop out, so I wouldn't recommend it if you go through caffeine withdrawal. If you can withstand the caffeine withdrawal, the diet itself isn't so bad. I personally like having my diet already planned out. I like not having to worry about writing down everything I eat for once, I have to admit, because it is an annoying process. It's nice to have it already planned. I am pretty hungry because there are little fat and little carbs in the diet. The diet plans on boosting the metabolism which relies on protein, which is the basis of the diet. Tomorrow is my last day and my weigh in day. The 3-Day Military Diet promises a 10 pound loss in the 3 days. They promise a 40 pound loss in one month  so I'm game. I'll keep this up for a month and see where it takes me. The only other warning I'm giving you and for myself is that energy does not replenish the same while on the three days. The first day I went on the bike for forty minutes and went all out. The night before I did an "Incredible Abs" workout with Cindy Whitmarsh. My abs still hurt and I'm just now getting the feeling back into my legs. I'm not saying don't exercise. I'm saying save the hardcore stuff for the other four days. After all, it's a military diet. The military definitely works hard for their bodies. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I'll be ten pounds down.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sleep Time

Today I want to talk about something that gets a lot of oversight in the world of health. A lot of people think that staying up in the hot summer nights, squeezing in an extra workout in the wee hours of the morning, is the trick to losing weight. But the truth is that our bodies require a lot more than just a increase of exercise and a decrease in food consumption to lose weight and stay healthy.

See, I've always had trouble sleeping. Ask my mother. When she put me down in the crib, I would protest for hours. Unfortunately, that habit translated to when I aged. Now, I know I need nine hours every night. That's the general formula. But when I'm in school, I'm up until midnight or later and waking up at five or earlier. I thought it was just because of my workload with school. When I'd crawl into bed, I'd toss and turn for a while and sleep would just overtake me. Then I'd wake up seemingly minutes later and the cycle would begin again. Now it's summer and I'm trying to fall asleep at around one or two every night. Problem is I can't sleep. My thoughts start racing and suddenly I'm tossing and turning just like during the school year. All my problems come flooding back and I can't think straight. My mind just keeps going a mile a minute. Then suddenly I'm looking up at the clock and it says four.

I never used to think much of my sleeping habits. I knew they weren't great, but I figured they could be worse. But I read something recently that made me rethink it. Turns out, you can be classified as an insomniac if you can't fall asleep for over a half an hour. Well, that's every night for me. So now I'm thinking it's really time to make a change.

I've always noticed that the higher my stress rate goes, the less I sleep. I'm sure you're all thinking, "Well duh. We all knew that." But it's lowering the stress that's the problem and the thing that almost no one has the answer to. I think everyone, if you're going through similar circumstance as I am, needs some "me" time. Make some time in the day, even if it's just for a few minutes, to do something you enjoy and that relaxes you. For me, it's swimming. The feeling of the water against m soothes me to a lull and relaxes me to the point that I don't need to think of anything but the water and the sun beating down on me. Find what does the same for you. Another thing that can be very helpful is to write a list of the things that are on you're mind. If you write them down, you are mentally confronting them. Since you are acknowledging them, they can't sneak up on you in the middle of the night and cripple your sleep.

However, if you have done all you can think of and you still can't sleep, go see help from your doctor.

I hope this helps you and your sleep. Tonight, try and use these couple of tricks and tips and hopefully you will be catching up on your Zzzz.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Eat Right, Eat Happy

I've been eating so crappy lately and I hate to admit it, but it's true. I've been skipping breakfast, having only Luna bars for lunches (if I eat lunches at all), then I come home and home a spoonful of peanut butter. I usually expect to eat a healthy dinner of some sort (grilled chicken, steamed veggies, etc.) but lately I've been shoveling down burgers and fries like it's a lifeline. At least I haven't had pizza in weeks.

Tonight I'm having a salad and last night for dessert as my parents were forking ice cream sundaes I mixed up a light "cocktail" and all the water in it filled me up. I poured in ice, seltzer, and orange juice and made a light Orange Julius and it was so good. More importantly, I felt better in the morning and less dehydrated. Today, I had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Felt awful. For lunch I had turkey and cheese. Much better. Then I had a banana. So much better. There is a direct correlation between mood and meals. That's the truth. Your body knows when you're eating badly. It wants the vitamins and minerals and healthy (if not so tasty) parts of veggies and proteins and fruits. If you go long periods of time without them, replacing them with, essentially, crap, you're only hurting yourself, in the long term and short term.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cleanse the Soul, not the Body

Just to clarify I don't look to lose weight because I want to look like a Victoria's Secret model. I know my body wasn't built to ever look like that and I've come to terms with that. But sometimes I forget that just because I put on a few extra pounds, it isn't a reason to hide my body.

I do well in school, not valedictorian good but good enough to get me into the Italian National Honor Society, the English National Honor Society as VP, and the Honor Society. My parents came to see me in the English National Honor Society induction ceremony and as part of the rules provided by my teacher I had to wear a dress. All I could think of as I got such a prestigious honor was Oh God, my legs look awful. These girls all look so pretty. Why do my ass and my legs have to be so huge? I spent the hour pulling my dress as far down as it would go without ripping off the sleeves and exposing my breasts.

After the ceremony, my dad asked me why I looked so uncomfortable. I just shrugged and said I don't like dressing up, which is true since I am more of a jeans and tee type of girl. He told me that I looked like I was trying to contort myself, trying so hard to hide myself by curling into a ball where no one could see me. I hadn't even realized I was doing that.

A part of this blog is meant to be even more than physical health. It's also emotional health because everything goes hand in hand. It's hard to work up the courage to lose weight or take care of yourself when you don't even like yourself. It's difficult to do, I know, but you have to try to look at yourself and remind yourself what you do like. If it helps, write a list and look at it when you need the support. Me, I love my curves and my eyes. I think they're my two best features. Try to think of your own best features.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

There's No Excuse Anymore: Just Workout Whenever!

So I know it's never easy to get up in the morning and start a workout. All this week I've been setting my alarm a half an hour early to exercise. I did everything I could think of to make me want to get up: sleeping in a sports bra, setting a magazine open right where I would see it first thing when I woke up to a workout of the month, even bargaining with myself ("Okay, exercise now, and I can have a Dove chocolate!"). All that ended up happening was me hitting the snooze button, several times. If anything I'm sleeping later than usual now which, in retrospect, isn't such a bad thing. I got nine hours of sleep Thursday night, which is more than I usually get in two nights put together, which is kind of fantastic.

But what I'm getting at here is that it really doesn't matter when you exercise: morning, noon, or even night. When you exercise in the morning, you do set your metabolism humming for the rest of the day, but noon and night exercising have their merits too. In fact, the New York Times printed in December that exercising in the afternoon might actually be the best time. It helps right our circadian rhythms, which can decrease the risks of obesity, cancer, diabetes, memory loss, and depression (More info). But working out at night isn't nearly as bad as people have always said. In fact, people who do a hardcore workout at night, working up a sweat and getting their heart pounding, are sleeping better than those who don't. Makes sense; after a workout like that you're so tired you can sleep straight through the night.

So I think for now, I'll stick to my midday workouts, along with my weightlifting regime at night. And in the morning, I'll be cuddled up under a blanket for half an hour long. Not a bad deal there. How about you? When do you workout?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Have a Family Night!

When I was a little girl, family night happened every Wednesday, no excuses, and involved a game of Scene It, Yatzee, or Monopoly. It usually ended with my sister and I fighting and all of us having a bowl of ice cream.

This is not the type of family night I'm talking about. These days, most nights at home are spent on the couch, my parents indulging in a decadent dessert and flipping through the channels complaining that there's nothing on. It's taken weeks, months even, for me to try to change this behavior that's only increased their risk for heart disease and waistline over the years.

Two years ago, my mother bought me a Wii for Christmas, with WiiSports and WiiFit. We spent most of the day and the following days playing the games, my parents actually enjoying getting up and golfing, bowling, boxing. Then they got bored. Then they sat on the couch and had dessert.

In the past few months, I've been trying to get that to change. Little by little, I got them up. I versed my mom in a series of tennis games, until it became an all out grudge match, a Wimbleton. I boxed my father, who hates to lose. They ended up exhausted and my dad ended up changing the channel back to watching horseracing.

But hey, it's a start!

So how are you "family nighting?" WiiSports marathon? A basketball game of kids verses parents? A Just Dance dance fest? Sound off and share some of your own ideas!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playlist of the Week!

Here are the top tracks I've been listening to in order to power through a workout lately! (I usually give you five but I feel guilty for not posting these in a while, so I'm giving fifteen)

How to be a Heartbreaker- Marina and the Diamonds
Howl- Florence and the Machine
Prelude 12/21- AFI
In the Next Room- Neon Trees
Ghost in the Machine- B.O.B.
Brave New World- 30 Seconds to Mars
Demons- Imagine Dragons
Whispers in the Dark- Skillet
Jumper- Third Eye Blind
Who I Am Hates Who I've Been- Relient K
Amsterdam- Imagine Dragons
Thrift Shop- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (beware it is explicit but it's just so much fun!)
Cool Down: Jesus Christ- Brand New
Shattered- Trading Yesterday

How to Make Your Workouts Longer and More Efficient

I'm sorry I haven't been on in so long, but somehow I actually ended up with more members! I'm so excited that more people are following and I'll do my best to help.

I've been trying something a little different lately, in which I've been extending my workouts. Now hold on here! Don't stop reading because you read "longer workouts." I haven't missed a workout in days and I can thank SDABHHFAN4LIFE of that. She makes videos on Youtube and they are incredible. For me, my favorite workout is biking. If I go running, I get bored, get tired, and give up. If I dance, it's fun for a time, but again I get bored. Now, I know this probably proves I have a short attention span but the only way I can work out for longer periods of time is to have my eyes occupied. So I tried watching TV, but that didn't work because I'd lose track of my speed. Without music motivating me, my speed would fall from 13 or 14 mph to 10 or 11 mph, which wasn't giving me the same results. Just out of curiousity, I decided to get the Youtube app for my I-pod touch and I'm so glad I did. I found SDABHHFAN4LIFE, who created videos with clips from Degrassi, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and American Horror Story, all set to a wide array of music, all motivating. I go on the bike planning to do half an hour, but I always end up saying, "Ah, one more video," until I'm doing double that.

Not a Degrassi or Supernatural fan (or just don't ship Eclare and Destial), there were over 800 million Youtube users last year. Just type in what you like, click on a user with the same interests, and play their playlists. You'll be working out, singing along, all while enjoying your favorite characters and scenes. You won't want to get off the bike. Good luck!

Side note: I'm going to be more diligent on this blog this year, that's my resolution to you. And I check my emails daily, so if you have any questions or need some advice, I'll get back to you as soon as possible and will do what I can!