Monthly Archives: December 2014

How Did You Rock In 2014?

2015 New year countdown timerToday is the very last day of the year, and with it comes reflection of what has happened in the past, and hope for what might happen in the future. If you’re like most people, tomorrow will involve coming up with goals to accomplish in 2015. But before you do that, I want to suggest you take a second to look back on 2014. Instead of focusing on what you want to do in 2015, why not celebrate what you did in 2014?

What things did you do really well? How did you help and uplift those around you? How many times did you resist french fries and grab an apple instead? Did you exercise early in the morning on a day that you really didn’t want to? Did you accomplish a goal you never thought possible? Were there days you thought the world might collapse around you, yet you made it through a stronger person? These are all moments that have made you a better person, and deserve proper recognition.

If you want, write these things down so you can remember just how awesome you are. On days when you’re feeling less confident, or like everything is going wrong, think back on those experiences to give you perspective and the courage to keep going. You have done great things and will continue to do so! Here’s to an awesome 2015!

Motivation Monday: Setting Goals

I’m a big time believer in setting goals.  I love sitting down and coming up with a plan to help me reach my goals. I know not everyone feels the same way. When I first got married I wanted to sit down with my husband monthly to talk about and set goals. I wanted to have a plan and to have that plan out on paper so we could execute it. Boy was I surprised when I realized he didn’t share a love of goal-setting. I was a little crushed when he did not have goals to write down – ever.

At first, I tried to make goals for him. I would suggest great goals for us and make a plan to execute them. That didn’t go so well either. I was frustrated and felt like we were going to waste our lives away by not having specific goals.

After a while though, I learned that my husband does have goals. He just sets them and executes them differently. He doesn’t feel a need to write them down and create a schedule to keep track of his progress. That just isn’t his style. He would rather just tell me what he’s working on, but not call it a “goal.”

Different people have different ways they fulfill their goals. What does this have to do with diet and exercise? Well, different people have different ways they set and execute their diet and fitness goals.

A few years ago my husband and I decided to run a 5K…a first for both of us. I sat down and figured out how much time I had to prepare. I wrote down a schedule of when I would workout and set smaller goals within that time frame to help me reach my big goal.

My husband made no plan. Sometimes he would go running with me and some days he went at a different time. Nothing was written down and no smaller goals were set. In the end, we were both ready for the 5K even though we took different styles and paths to reach our goal.

As you are setting your New Years’ Resolutions this week, think a bit about what your goal setting style is. Don’t feel the need to execute a goal in a way that you know you won’t be successful. Choose the goal you want to accomplish and find a way to achieve it that works best for you.

Huevos Rancheros

Mondays are my busiest days of the week. It always packed full of meetings, errands and playing catch up from the weekend that I have to make quick and easy dinners. Yesterday afternoon I decided to fit in my holiday baking as well. By the time my baking was done, it was already 5:45, and I needed to get something on the table quick for my hungry children.

huevos rancheros

The answer was Huevos Rancheros. Traditionally a breakfast dish, it can also make a quick and delicious dinner on a night you don’t have time. I love this meal because it’s healthy and filling, but does not require a lot of cooking. The recipe serves one, but it adjusts easily to feed a family. I just opened a couple cans of beans and heat them up and cooked up a few eggs. Our dinner was on the table in 20 minutes! It’s also a recipe that more likely than not, you’ll have most of the ingredients on hand. The only thing you may not have in your pantry are the red onion and avocado, but even without those items the salsa still gives it enough flavor if you’re in a pinch. Next time you need a quick meal, pull this one out and see if it becomes a favorite.

Motivation Monday: Diligence

“The thing about tennis is if you stay off for two weeks, or just three days you can lose your rhythm quickly, so it’s just a question of constant diligence and vigilance.” Venus Williams

tennis ball on a tennis court

There is something to be said for diligence, especially when it come to maintaining and losing weight. Not only is diligence important for playing tennis, but being diligent about eating healthy and exercising will have positive effects that trickle into all the areas of your life. This month we have been focusing on our challenge to Exercise 10 Minutes a Day. This challenge is all about being diligent because you are making an effort to include exercise into your life daily. It can help create a habit and also make each day a little easier to workout.

I know for me that each day I diligently get in my 10 minutes of exercise, I feel more confident in my ability to keep my goals. It also gets easier to keep my commitment and to exercise!

What benefits have you seen from being diligent in healthy eating and exercising?

Winter Veggie Stew to Feed an Army!

Greek Veggie StewThe past few days it has rained almost constantly at my house, leaving me with a desire to stay in my pajamas, curl up in front of the TV and eat some warm and comforting soup. When I finally got off my couch and managed to throw on some jeans, I found a great recipe that fit the bill: Greek Veggie Stew. I bought all the ingredients and decided tonight was the night to give it a try. I chose this recipe because it included about a dozen different types of veggies, and didn’t call for meat or anything dairy. What I didn’t realize was the huge amount of soup it would make.

It did take me a while to chop up all the veggies, but once they were all in the pot, it cooked and bubbled for an hour with very little effort. As we sat down to eat our stew, I was amazed by how well all the flavors had blended, and how wonderfully delicious it was despite using very little herbs and spices. The natural flavors of the vegetables combined perfectly.

I will offer a word of warning. This recipe makes enough for feed 10 hungry adults, and requires the use of a very large cooking pot, or two large sauce pans. I ended up separating the ingredients into two separate pans and it worked fine. If you want a smaller amount, just half the recipe. I plan to freeze some of it and bring it out later for a warm leftover lunch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Winter Activities Calorie Counter

People Ice-SkatingWhen the outside temperature drops, the shorts and sun glasses go away, while the skis and snowshoes come out to play. Winter may not seem like the best time of year to get exercise, but there are several ways you can get your heart pumping with these winter activities. Here are five ways to burn some serious calories this winter season:

Ice Skating = 102 calories for 15 minutes

Cross Country Skiing = 119 for 15 minutes

Downhill Skiing = 85 calories for 15 minutes

Snowshoeing  = 119 calories for 15 minutes

Snowmobiling = 43 calories for 15 minutes

If you don’t own skis or snowshoes, you can easily rent them for the day. Put on some extra layers, get outside and get in a workout!

Motivation Monday: Seasons and Small Victories

Happy Monday!

Two years ago I had more time to exercise than I do now. Taking care of my body has always been important to me, but other responsibilities in my life have made it difficult for me to exercise 30 minutes to an hour a day like I used to. At first this really discouraged me. I tried to rearrange some of the demands on my time to fit exercising in. In the end though, I just could not make it work. I know, you’re probably wondering how this is motivational at all. Let me tell you.

I’ve learned to accept that there are different seasons in life and to celebrate the small victories in each season.

Right now I can fit in an hour of cardio exercise two days a week. While this is less than I was doing before, I have to remind myself that it shows a lot of dedication to what I am able to fit in right now. Instead of being upset about what I’m not doing, I’ve learned to be proud of what I am doing. This past week I decided to take on the December Challenge to Exercise 10 Minutes a Day. So in addition to fitting in my two hours a week, I’ve managed to fit in 10 minutes all the other days of the week. Ten minutes may not sound like much, but for this time in my life it was a real stretch. I think it had been maybe a year since I had worked out those triceps, and I sure can feel the burn today! Every time I use my arms I’m reminded of my small but victorious week of getting in 10 minutes of exercise a day. So remember to celebrate your small victories in your journey as well as the big ones. Do as much as you can to be healthy, but remember to be patient with the season you’re in as well.

What are some of your small health victories?

Keep the Trim in the Trimmings: Holiday Eating Tips

Strawberries  in chocolate sauce on a  white plate.During the holidays there is a lot of food. Many of us have just accepted that we are going to gain weight during the holiday season. But, that’s not true! We don’t have to gain weight over over the holidays. Whether we actually want to eat the pies, cakes, and rolls, or we’re just eating to be social, we have some tips to help keep your weight in check over the holidays.

1. Let people know you’re dieting. Don’t expect anyone to make you special dishes. Just let them know so that when you turn down their pie, they’ll understand why. This will make it much easier to say no to the apple pie.

2. If you’re bringing a dish to the party, make a healthy version of your favorite dish. Use a natural sweetener, like xylitol, instead of sugar. Use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and low fat yogurt instead of sour cream.

3. Take supplements. Acai and vinegar help burn fat and process sugar.

4. Before you leave for a party, load up on fresh fruits and veggies. This will keep you feeling full so you’ll eat less during the party.

5. Allow yourself to indulge, but indulge sensibly. Plan ahead what you want to eat and how much you want to indulge. While you’re eating it, take your time and enjoy it!

Happy Holidays!

 

K.I.S.S. More this Holiday Season

happy girl in winter clothes blowing on palmsSometime when I was in college, and I won’t tell you how long ago that was, I heard a professor use a phrase that’s stuck with me. She said, “Keep it simple stupid.” At first glance this may seem slightly offensive, but when you look at it more closely you realize the truth within. I think many of us make life more complicated than it needs to be. Houses don’t need to be absolutely spotless, meals don’t need to be fancy, spending quality time with the family can be as simple as playing a game of checkers. This time of year it’s more important than ever to keep things simple so we can really enjoy time with our loved one.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you simplify your life. Instead of worrying about huge festive dinners, buy some frozen munchies, heat them up and serve. Chances are your kids might even like them better and you get to avoid a culinary headache. If you want to host a holiday party, plan it potluck style so you don’t have to do all the cooking. Everyone loves to share their famous recipe and you don’t have to wash all their dishes. Last, but not least, don’t over schedule yourself. Set aside some nights on your calendar to just hang out at home and spend time with your family. Play a game or watch a favorite family movie as you cuddle on the couch. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

Motivation Monday: Finding Success

Happy Monday! I know that Monday can sometimes have a bad reputation. It’s the beginning of the week, the relaxation of the weekend is over and life gets back to the daily routine. I personally love Mondays. They are my most productive day of the week. Here at DietTools.com we want to send a little motivation your way every Monday. Hopefully it’ll be just enough to add a little joy to the beginning of your work week.

There are many different reasons while people struggle with achieving and maintaining their weight loss goals. Today I want to talk about one of my biggest stumbling blocks and how I’m overcoming it. I tend to fall on the side of being a perfectionist. It doesn’t consume every part of my life, but it does affect many parts of my life. When it comes to fitness and diet, I have to watch myself so I don’t adopt an “If I can’t do it perfectly then why try at all?” attitude.

finding success

Sometimes, I mess up on my goals. I’ll be going really strong with eating healthy, and then one day I’ll eat something I probably shouldn’t have. It takes a lot of willpower for me to return to my healthy eating for the rest of the day. A part of me feels that “I’ve already messed up today.” When those thoughts come to mind, I like to kick back at them with this quote from Mary Pickford:

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

I find there to be a lot of power in this quote. It gives me just enough drive to get back to healthy eating for the rest of the day. Sure, we all mess up now and then with our goals, but it’s no reason to give up. Messing up somewhere does not mean we have failed. We fail when we choose to stop trying. So get up, get out there, and make your successes!