Portion Control Catastrophe

I decided to stop by Starbucks this morning on my way to work today.  There’s something wonderful about a one hour drive to work with a nice hot cup of coffee in hand to get my head straight for work.  So, I walked into the little coffee shop and ordered a latte.

As the barista was making my drink, he turned to me and politely asked in his sophisticated English accent, “Would you like something to eat with this; perhaps a big, fat bacon breakfast sandwich?”

I politely declined; the sound of a “big fat bacon breakfast sandwich” sounded delicious, of course, but I already had breakfast.  It wasn’t until I was almost to work when I started thinking more about the barista’s offer.  Why did he use “big, fat” to describe the sandwich to me?  What is it about these words that would have appealed to me and made me want to buy the sandwich?

I think we might all know the answer here.  When it comes to food, Americans love anything that sounds like they will be receiving a lot of whatever they are ordering.  If he had just said “bacon breakfast sandwich”, it would have still sounded delicious.  However, adding in “big, fat” might have been just what the majority of the American public would have needed to cave and give in to the barista’s offer.

It is something that is being worked on in this country but when I think about the average portion size of a meal in other countries, it is mind-blowing.  This article is just one example of how Americans compare to different countries with the sizes of drinks at McDonald’s.  I was overjoyed when restaurants began to list the calorie count on their menus and other nutritionals.  Many restaurants also have this information online which I occasionally like to glance at before going there for a meal.

I just wanted to mention this and see what everyone has to say about the portion sizes in America.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think America will be able to have similar portion sizes to other countries?  Do you think the larger portion sizes in America contribute to the obesity problem we have?

Stay healthy and be strong!

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Three workouts to a celebrity-status body

Who wouldn’t want a body like the celebrities?  Naomi Watts, Jennifer Anniston, and Scarlett Johansson dished out their favorite workouts to keep in shape.

Naomi loves to keep her arms toned with her triangle pushups, which is a similar move to the narrow pushups that I introduced in my previous blog post, found here.  To do these, begin in a plank position and form a triangle with your pointer fingers and thumbs beneath you.  Bend your elbows and lower to the ground.  Once you reach halfway to the ground, rise up to straighten your arms again.  Naomi repeats this for ten reps every other day and works her way up to 30 reps total.

Jennifer Anniston is all about the abs, and she keeps her abs toned from Boat Pose and the V-raise.  For Boat Pose, sit upright on the floor with your knees bent and in front of you.  Lift your feet off of the floor and straighten your legs upwards.  Point your arms straight out and hold in this position for eight breaths.  For the V-raise, begin lying down with your hands by your side and your legs out straight.  Sit up while raising your legs into a Boat Pose.  Complete eight reps about four times a week.

Scarlett Johansson revealed her favorite full body workout as the Front Sprawl.  Begin in plank position and then jump your feet up to where your hands are.  Jump your feet backwards to the plank position and do one pushup.  She recommends doing this workout for 20 reps about three times a week.

For those who watched the Oscars, you would have seen these three beautiful women working the Red Carpet with confidence.  Incorporate these workouts into your own workouts and see the benefits!

Stay healthy and be strong!

“Forget the risk and take the fall. If it’s what you want, then it’s worth it all.”

I was searching the internet for inspiration for this next blog post when I fell upon this quote:

“Forget the risk and take the fall.  If it’s what you want, then it’s worth it all.”

Perfect.

This is a wonderful quote and I hope it inspires more than just me.  These two sentences encompass the meaning behind everyone’s journey.  Whether you are working hard to lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, become stronger, or you want to keep up with your kids at the park, this quote says it all.  No matter what your goals are, go for it.  This is your life, your body, and your health.  If you have your eyes on an end result, then go for it and do your best.  If you reach your goal, the feeling of accomplishment will outweigh the risks you had to take and all of the sacrifices.

This quote doesn’t even have to apply to your health, either.  About a year ago I was faced with the inevitable task upon graduation: finding a job.  I was originally applying to grad school but once I didn’t get in, everything flipped upside down and I decided to start post-graduate life with working instead.  My ultimate goal became to find a job and find a place to live in the area I went to school.  The entire semester became centered on job applications, networking, resume-fixing, interviews, tears, panicked calls home, and stress like I could never imagine.  Words could never describe how crazed I was the entire five months of the semester.  However, in the end, I accepted a job a few weeks before graduation and found a place to live soon after.  On the second day after graduation, I received a phone call for a better job offer, and was even happier!  I put everything aside and focused on my priorities every waking moment of my days until I got what I dreamed of.  Despite the stress, the constant worrying of failure, and the rejections of countless companies, it was all worth it.

I’m sure everyone has a similar story, but I just thought this was a really great quote that everyone could relate to at some level.  Wherever you’re at in your life, whatever your goals are, don’t give up.  Put everything you have into achieving your goals and it will be all worth it in the end.

Stay healthy and be strong!

Debate Day: Vegans vs Vegetarians vs Pescetarians vs Omnivores vs ?

I want to spark some debate today.

I have never been a vegetarian, pescetarian, or vegan in my life.  I have always truly felt that since humans are technically omnivores, our bodies were meant to process and be in need of both meat and vegetables.  That’s how we were built, so I never saw a reason to stop eating meat or any animal by-products.  Also, that’s simply how I was raised.  Meat and other animal by-products have always been a part of my life.  I understand that some people feel bad for the animals or feel that animals aren’t treated right at farms.  However, having worked on several farms and studied the industry for years, I have learned that not every farm operates inhumanely.  Of course there are the farms that have poor conditions and treatment towards their livestock, but that does not mean that is how every farm operates.  Also, having graduated with an Animal Science degree, I have a respect behind the science and practices that go into growing healthy animals to feed the world.  In addition, I have witnessed how chickens will lay eggs every day whether you want them to or not and cows will lactate after calving whether you want them to or not.  I would hate to have these nutritious by-products go to waste.  So, I choose to eat them.

I just wanted to skim the surface there on my point of view.  I completely respect everyone’s opinions and choices in what they eat; please don’t take this as me bashing anyone who thinks differently than I do.  I also understand that some people choose certain diets due to medical reasons which, of course, is understandable.  I simply want to spark some debate and see what others have to say.  Please keep your comments respectful towards others or I will unfortunately have to remove them.  Now, let me hear what you have to say!

Are you mentally healthy?

I talk a lot about healthy foods, maintaining the right diet, and exercising.  These are all great aspects of life to learn about and try for yourself but if you aren’t in the right mental state, it will be harder to keep up with your physical health.  Mental health can truly make or break a healthy lifestyle and your physical health.  It may be one of the most challenging parts of being healthy and it may take the longest to grasp completely.  However, there are some tips to follow than can help improve and maintain your mental health:

  1. Talk about your feelings. This is definitely not always easy but it could be one of the most satisfying ways to relieve stress and built-up emotions.  If it is difficult for you to open up to someone right away, try starting a journal where you write about your emotions.  Even though you aren’t saying anything to someone who can react, releasing your feelings on paper can be just as satisfying, at least from personal experiences.
  1. Eat well. Try to choose foods that nourish your body.  Eating clean and healthy will leave you feeling refreshed and may even give you more energy throughout the day.  In return, you will feel more motivated to go about your day.
  1. Be active. Exercising is one of the most effective activities that keep me at a good mental state.  When I work out, I feel good about my body and my mental health is at its best.
  1. Surround yourself with good people. Be honest with yourself about the people in your life and keep in touch with true friends and family members who make you feel good.  Positive, uplifting people will transfer their energy to you.
  1. Do something you are good at. If you’re good at drawing, hit the sketch pad.  If you’re good at baseball, grab your glove and a ball.  If you’re good at the guitar, play your heart out.  Doing something that you’re good at will boost your self-confidence and leave you feeling more positive about yourself.

Of course, this list of guidelines isn’t the magical recipe that will instantly cure poor mental health.  If you are genuinely concerned for the mental health of yourself or of a loved one, I recommend consulting a doctor first.  However, I truly believe this is a good list to get started.  Be confident in yourself and work on emitting as much positive energy into the universe as you can.  You are your biggest cheerleader and it is up to you on how you want to keep your body healthy.  You only get one body in this life, so do whatever you can to treat it right.  Whether your goal is to lose weight, be stronger, or even get a new job, start with being positive first.  This will be your foundation for success.

Stay healthy and be strong!

The two-ingredient pancake recipe that nobody should miss out on. Nobody.

Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods.  Who can’t resist fluffy pancakes with sweet maple syrup drizzled over them?  However, I never have the patience to make them from scratch and forget to buy pancake mix.  However, I have recently discovered a pancake recipe that only requires two ingredients and is absolutely delightful.

These pancakes in which I speak of are banana egg pancakes.  I learned about this recipe from one of my favorite women out there, Cassey Ho, the Blogilates creator.  I have mentioned before how she has countless workout videos on YouTube that are extremely fun and extremely difficult but she is so motivating, I couldn’t imagine working out without her.  Cassey also has many other YouTube segments including ones about food, cooking, and meal plans.  I heard about these pancakes several months ago but could never believe how they could actually substitute your average pancakes.  How could a banana mixed with eggs provide the same satisfaction?

Well, this morning I was amazed.  The recipe only calls for one banana and two eggs, making for a healthier version of pancakes.  You mash them together and pour them in a frying pan as you would with regular pancake batter and within minutes you have a mountain of pancakes before you.  Just for fun, I added some chocolate chips to mine and topped them off with some sugar-free pancake syrup and I was in heaven.

Cassey, you have done it again.  These are so simple and so delicious, I might just make them again tomorrow morning.

Watch Cassey’s video below on how to make this delicious breakfast:

When you are sick: sweat it out or sit it out?

I have always been a firm believer in nothing but rest when I get sick.  As much as I love a good workout, I would not push my body to work while I am sick.  This weekend, I had a lot of head congestion, between my nose and sinuses.  I haven’t worked out since Friday because of this, but I decided to look into this a little more to see if I was actually right and I was surprised by my research! sickWorking out while you are sick can be okay!  There are some precautions, however.  It is only okay to work out if your symptoms are above the neck.  If you have a stuffy nose like I do, a light workout can actually help open the airways and relieve congestion.  If you are feeling achy in your muscles or fatigued, it is very important to not push your body through a workout and allow yourself to rest.  If you are feeling like you are coming down with a cold and you are not sure if you should work out, it is recommended to talk to a doctor before any physical activity and if you feel lousy after ten minutes of your workout, do not continue working out and focus on rest. Some workouts during your head cold can include:

  • A walk might be one of the most beneficial methods of opening the airways and relieving congestion.
  • Try jogging lightly as long as it is part of your regular workout routine and you only have a mild head cold.
  • Yoga–this is one stress-relieving workout that will help the body fight off your cold.  The stretching involved with yoga can also relieve aches related to colds and sinus infections.
  • Dancing is another stress-reducing workout that will aid in strengthening the immune system.   Low-impact dance won’t put too much stress on your joints and may be the perfect workout while feeling sick.

  There are several workouts that are specifically not suggested when feeling sick, however:

  • Endurance running. If you are training for any kind of race or marathon, it is best to skip this week’s run.  Keep in mind that workouts while sick should be kept very low impact and lighter than your usual routine.
  • Weight machines at the gym. Lifting weights may put more strain to your muscles and force your body to work harder when it is already using a lot of energy to make you feel better.  Lifting weights may also increase your risk for injury since your body is weaker than usual while sick.
  • Swimming and biking. For some, swimming and biking works as long as it is low intensity, but others find it harder to breathe well during these activities.
  • Outdoor activity in the cold. Cold and dry air can constrict and irritate your air passages and cause a runny nose and coughing.  Again, be aware of the messages your body is sending you.

Even though some workouts are acceptable during a head cold, be sure to keep in mind that it is suggested to lessen the intensity of your regular workout and reduce the amount of time of your regular workout routine.  During these workouts, be aware of your body and if you feel like you are pushing too much, don’t be discouraged; simply listen to your body and give it rest if you aren’t feeling well enough to work out.  A couple days rest from working out won’t affect your usual performance, just gradually work up to your regular regimen as you feel better.

Tonight, I might look up some yoga videos on YouTube and see how I feel!  YouTube is my favorite go-to for workouts—the videos are free and there are so many people who post workouts for exactly what you need.

Stay healthy and be strong!