What Motivates You? Submissions From My Followers


What motivates me to lose weight, eat heathly, and exercise?

A few things…First, I already think I’m attractive and I want to look even better. I’m not sorry for being cocky by the way. I also want to be healthy when I get older, and the best time to make that happen is now. I’m looking toward a career in health, hopefully doing what I do now, which is writing about it and motivating others, so it only makes sense to practice what I preach. Finally, eating healthy and exercising feels amazing. It gives you a natural high, gives you something to talk about, and it can become a hobby and a passion.

What motivates my followers? Here are a few of my favorite tweets.

“my motivation is my children. I want them to know how to stay healthy their whole lives and make good choices.”
-@shrinkingbeau

“to have something to be proud of and good in your life (a nice skinny body) ” -@visiblebones

“to compete in the bikini division of a bodybuilding competition” -@KHoppToIt

“To feel great about myself, be healthy, and have no shame wearing a skimpy bikini this summer! #egobooster #healthyliving”
-@RAVn327

“To look in the mirror and smile because I did it ” -@gabriellaFsmith

“to boost my energy & self confidence, lower anxiety, and to make my future husband’s jaw drop when I walk down the aisle! ” -@FitToBeWed

“confidence, self approval, knowing I am accomplishing something great #motivation” -@alyssa_reichert

“I want to get rid of this huge amount of insecurity I deal with everyday. I want to feel comfortable in my skin”
-@Healthy_change

“biggest motivation is to be in the best shape of my life, to prove myself I can” -@KaliSan21

“my whole family is extremely over weight. I do NOT want to be like that. I want to prove it’s not just my crappy genes.”
-@2MonthsToThin

“To feel confident in my own skin again! Also, to look super hot at my wedding in 414 days.” -@malissarae89

“to be able to wear anything I want and look good without having to worry” -@thinwired

“So I can be HEALTHY & STRONG and live to see my grandchildren get married :)” -@LADY_Probs

Thanks for all the tweets. Whether it’s because of your family, your health, your looks, an upcoming event, or for self-confidence, find your motivation and remind yourself that’s why you’re doing this each day. Oh and by the way, I’m glad none of you said it was to get a guy, because that’s foolish. Do this for yourself, and don’t get discouraged when you hit roadblocks. Your motivation will guide you.

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High-Intensity Interval Training- What is it?


Lately I’ve been reading up on, and practicing, high-intensity interval training on the treadmill. It’s becoming increasingly popular, and I’m constantly seeing info about it in magazine like Self, Shape, and Women’s Health. What is it, you ask? I’ll explain.

Basically, HIIT involves alternating speeds, so for a short amount of time, you might sprint, and there is a recovery period at a slower pace. This is obviously different from simply running a few miles at a consistent speed. If you know anything about exercise, you know that it is important to confuse your body so it doesn’t get used to the exercise. Research shows that running at a consistent speed is not as effective as switching it up, as HIIT does.

Usually, HIIT workouts can be shorter, and they burn more calories. There are about 6-10 sets of a fast speed, with recovery periods at a lower speed in between. For instance, in Self Magazine’s April 2012 issue, they feature a HIIT workout plan. I’ll break down the first week of the plan as example of what an HIIT workout looks like.

Workout 1: Sprint for 8 seconds at about 8mph, or level 8 on the treadmill. Recover for 12 seconds at level 5. Repeat for 15 minutes.
Workout 2: Sprint at level 8 for 90 seconds, then recover at level 4 for 3 minutes. Repeat 6 times for a total of 27 minutes.
Workout 3: Run 2 miles at level 6.

The workout is actually a 5-week long quest, but you can clearly see a sample of the procedure above. Thanks Self Magazine.

Personally, I like to run at level 6-7 for 5 minutes, and then recover for one minute. Or, I like to run the first mile, recover for 2-3 minutes, then work on running the second mile.

The importance is to change speeds so your body doesn’t get too used to doing the same thing the entire time.

Besides the fact that this approach burns more calories not only during the workout but also after, it may also help improve athletic performance in general.

I also found a great article that explains more about HIIT on Oxygenmag.com. You can read the article here.

 

I’m not an expert on fitness or anything, but I really enjoy reading about new workouts, and I have reason to believe that this one is very effective. I have been trying it for a few months now, and I am amazed at how much my endurance and speed while running have improved.
It is also great for beginner runners, because of the recovery periods that allow you to catch your breath. Try it, please! I’ve been saying this every day, but summer is rapidly approaching. Do you want to be the loser that couldn’t succeed at improving her body and health, or do you want to triumph? You decide.

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Quick update on my life


So I haven’t been able to tweet and blog as much as I want to lately, thanks to college and the fact that I’m graduating in a few weeks. So over it. But I figured I’d write up a quick update on how the gym and eating well has been going.

To be honest, I haven’t been eating as well as I was a few months ago. I mean, most days are great, but I’ve been having some slip-ups, probably due to the stress from work and school. It’s not an excuse, but I can’t be perfect. Luckily, I haven’t gained any weight, but I haven’t lost any either.

However, the gym has been better than ever, and I’m doing a ton of classes, cardio, and abs workouts 4-6 times a week. It’s totally my form of stress relief. Nothing feels better than how you feel after a good workout. Interval training on the treadmill is totally the way to go!

After this dreadful week of final projects and tests, I am reevaluating my eating habits and starting new. My goals are to tone up significantly, and possibly lose 3 more pounds. I also am looking to do a photo shoot, but unfortunately you guys can’t see it. I’m also thinking about running a 5k, but I need to do more research.

Summer is so soon, and there is no better time than now. You can do it.

What I Did With my $100 Visa Giftcard from @couponology


So a few weeks ago, I saw a post on Twitter from @couponology asking why you like coupons, and to compose a tweet about it. The author of the best tweet was to be awarded a $100 Visa gift card, so I quickly tweeted them about why I benefit from saving money. I don’t remember my exact tweet, but I know that I mentioned that I’m a 22-year-old college student who has a job and doesn’t really get financial support from my parents. A few days later, @Couponology messaged me informing me I had won. Naturally, I was ecstatic, considering I never really win anything. It felt great to know that something I had written had gotten rewarded. It’s like, the first time I’ve ever gotten paid for my writing, which is awesome because I love writing, even if it was just a quick tweet.

So I waited patiently for my Visa gift card to come, and it came this past Friday. That was probably one of the best times I ever checked the mail, besides when I got a letter about my academic scholarship to college, of course. What did I do with the $100? Well, of course I spent it within 24 hours of receiving it, because there’s nothing like getting money you weren’t expecting. I figured I’d use some of the gift card toward something I need, and the rest of it toward something I want.

Need? Food. Want? Shoes. So I spent a portion of the card grocery shopping. I naturally bought some asparagus, because when do I not need asparagus? I also picked up Luna Bars, which I love because I can eat them at work, and they’re delicious with tons of nutrients. The Cookie Dough Protein Bar is my new favorite. I also got sliced turkey breast, because turkey breast is the healthiest cold cut, and I have a sick obsession with turkey sandwiches on Arnold Sandwich thins with mustard. I got a few other staples, like eggs, yogurt, and cheese.

Besides my obsession with asparagus, I am also developing a shoe addiction. While shopping yesterday, I set my eyes upon a pair of tan/brown Steve Madden sandals. They were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen (that day) and I absolutely had to have them. I think my life has changed in the past 24 hours since I bought them, or at least my wardrobe has.

Anyway, the gift card went fast because I’m impulsive, but I’m extremely happy with how I spent the $100. Food and shoes are two vital aspects of life.

@Couponology not only has a Twitter, but they also have a website with a ton of online coupons for places that all of us totally shop at. Follow them! And visit their site to see if you can make use of their discounts. Right now, they have a Lady Foot Locker coupon code, so if you need new sneakers for the gym, why not save some money?

Thanks @Couponology and Steve Madden for making my weekend a little better!

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How I Stay Motivated


I know I’ve been totally slacking on the blog a little, but I’m graduating college next month and that’s been consuming my life. Luckily, I’m being a loser and staying in tonight, so I have time to write. A lot of you have been asking how I stay motivated, so I figured I’d write a little about that today.

Here are a few ways I keep myself going, and things you might want to do too.

1. Write about your progress. Whether it be in a notebook, in a word document, on a blog, on a Twitter, or even in your phone, write it somewhere. Write about whether it was a good day or a bad day. Write about things you did well, and things you can improve on. Obviously we all make mistakes, but it’s nothing to beat yourself over. Admit that you did something wrong, and move on. You’re allowed to screw up. Try to write every few days, just to keep yourself in check.

2. Besides writing about progress, you should be tracking your calories. And track your fat, protein, carbs, etc. You can download these apps on your phone. Some good apps are My Fitness Pal and The Daily Burn, but there are tons more. I just downloaded My Fitness Pal a few weeks ago and I’m in love. When you track your food intake, don’t lie to yourself about what you ate. It doesn’t do any good. Be honest.

3. Subscribe to healthy living and fitness blogs. Or, use StumbleUpon to browse sights about health and fitness. Read fitness and health magazines. Constantly educate yourself on health and fitness.

4. Join and gym, and go to the classes. Group workouts are a great way to motivate yourself because you’re not just gonna give up in front of 30 people who aren’t giving up. Spend time in the gym. Get to know it. My gym has a lot of benefits because it has classes, trainers, tanning, drinks, and best of all, tons of in shape people. I love spending time there because I feel productive.

5. Don’t restrict yourself all the time. Have some cheat days. Take a day off once in awhile. You deserve it if you’re making progress. But be careful not to reward yourself with food. That is not the answer. But make sure you still enjoy some foods you wouldn’t normally eat once in awhile. Right now I’m eating Junior Mints while typing this. They’re not even that good though, and the sugar is getting to me, but that’s besides the point.

6. Don’t get worked up over how good celebritites and models look. They’re airbrushed and photoshopped, and it’s not realistic to compare yourself to them.

7. Surround yourself with healthy people, and don’t let uhealthy people influence your choices. You are the company you keep, and if the company you keep is constantly stuffing their faces with pasta and a side of chocolate cake, stay away. You don’t need that kind of negativity.

8. Be positive. That is all. And it’s simple.

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Why I Don’t Eat Frozen Diet Dinners

I don’t eat frozen dinners. I don’t believe in them. Why? First of all, they’re disgusting. And don’t go pretending they taste good, because they don’t. I know they only take a few minutes to make in the microwave and that’s convenient or whatever, but in my opinion, they’re not worth it. There’s a few other reasons why I woudn’t eat them.

Besides the fact that they’re barely edible, they’re packed with sodium. Sometimes, they include about half of your recommended sodium intake for the day, which is between 1500 and 2400 mg. Most frozen foods are filled with sodium, which is why I prefer to eat fresh foods instead. Why is sodium bad? It can raise your blood pressure, it can harm your organs, and most noticably, it makes you bloated. Sometimes when I have too much sodium, I’ll wake up the next day and my fingers and wrists will seem swollen. It’s gross.

A lot of the time, frozen dinners have ingredients that we’ve never heard of. For instance, here are the ingredients in a Lean Cuisine Glazed Chicken dinner.

COOKED CHICKEN TENDERLOINS (CHICKEN TENDERLOINS, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CORN OIL, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SALT, CARAMEL COLOR, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, GARLIC, ONION, PAPRIKA, SPICE), WATER, BLANCHED ENRICHED LONG GRAIN PARBOILED RICE (WATER, RICE, IRON, NIACIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID), GREEN BEANS, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS, 2% OR LESS OF BLANCHED WILD RICE, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, SUGAR, SALT, CULTURED WHEY, CHICKEN FAT, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, CARAMEL COLOR, DEHYDRATED ONIONS, SPICES, DEHYDRATED GARLIC, PAPRIKA.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally cook with chicken fat, thiamin mononitrate, and folic acid. Basically, it’s not natural. I’d much rather buy my own fresh chicken and season it with ingredients that I’ve actually heard of.

Also, they’re overpriced for what they give you. Some diet dinners are around $5, and they’re still disgusting. Why pay so much for such a sad example of food?

Finally, oftentimes they aren’t even that low-calorie. For example, a pepperoni pizza Lean pocket has 280 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 43 grams of carbohydrates. How is that even healthy? Not to mention it has 720 mg of sodium.

There are SO many other options to eat healthy. I know there are people who have lost weight from diet dinners, but it certainly isn’t the most healthy way. Once in awhile, if you’re in a rush, these might be a good alternative to something that’s really bad for you, but generally speaking, I’d stay away from these.

YUM Photobucket

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Don’t Starve Yourself- How Eating Speeds Up Metabolism


I constantly see that many women aren’t eating nearly enough calories each day, with ridiculous calorie goals like 300 calories, which is absurd. I’m sorry, but I like eating, and I’d be pretty miserable if I restricted myself from food that much. What’s the point? There isn’t one. It turns out, eating less than 1000 calories a day is not only dangerous, but it also slows down your metabolism because your body goes into a sort of starvation mode with the lack of food. When it finally does get food, it holds onto any calories and fat it can, just in case it doesn’t get to eat again.

So seriously, don’t skip meals. It does more harm than good. You constantly need to refuel your body so it has the energy it needs to get through the day. You should eat every four hours, but personally, I eat every 2-3 hours, even if it is a very small snack. Since I began doing this about two months ago, I feel like a completely different person, and I lost ten pounds.

I eat 1200 calories a day, and I try to eat 5-6 separate times throughout the day. I aim for 200-300 calorie meals, and 100-200 calorie snacks. The best thing about this is that if you feel hungry, you get to eat soon anyway because you’re eating so often. When your body is constantly digesting food, you get hungry faster, but eating every few hours solves this problem. The best part is, you never feel like you’re starving yourself. It’s a lot easier to eat 1200 calories a day when you’re eating every 2-3 hours than it is to eat 1200 calories a day when you’re eating 3 large meals every 5 hours.

As long as you pay attention to calories, fat, protein, and carb intake, eating every few hours will help you speed up your metabolism, and you’ll be a lot more satisfied throughout the day. Protein is especially important. Eating it with every meal is also linked to boosting metabolism, so why not try it?

Here’s an example of what I eat in a day:

Breakfast: Egg whites and feta cheese with a banana (about 170 calories)
Snack: 28 almonds (170 calories)
Lunch: Sliced turkey with mustard on a sandwich thin and an apple with 1 tbs peanut butter (about 300 calories)
Snack: Chobani Greek yogurt with blueberries (about 150 calories)
Dinner: Tilapia with asparagus (about 250 calories)
Snack: Carrots with lowfat Italian dressing (about 60 calories)

Total: 1100 calories, low in fat, high in protein.

I promise starving yourself isn’t going to help you. You may be losing weight, but you’re not helping your metabolism or your health in general. Just eat.

#Dietingproblems Apparel


I made these so all of you can sport these lovely tees at the gym. Click the link, and let me know what you think. If you love it, buy it! http://skreened.com/dietingproblems

My Favorite Dinner For My Cooking-Challenged Self


I’ve said a few times that I’m not the best cook there is, but I think I’m finally starting to improve. I have this blog to thank partly for that, since I’ve become more motivated to eat healthy at home. Since I’m kitchen-impaired, I usually stick to the basics when it comes to food, and I never get too fancy with ingredients. My favorite meal that I’ve been making at least 4 times a week lately is asparagus with tilapia. I’m actually about to make it after this post.

You’ll need:

-As much asparagus as you feel like eating. I usually buy a pound, then separate the bundle in halves or thirds. Asparagus is pretty cheap too, and I’m literally addicted to it. I don’t care how it smells.
-fresh or frozen tilapia filets. I buy the frozen kind because a package comes with a ton of filets.
-olive oil
-cayenne pepper
-pepper
-garlic powder
-any other seasonings/spices you wish to add

This is how I make it. You can adapt it a little if you feel that you know a better way than me. You probably do. I’m not one for following directions to a T.

1.Thaw out the filets if they’re frozen.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Prepare a baking sheet with foil.
4. Cut the hard ends of the asparagus off.
5. Place the asparagus on the foil. Spread some olive oil on them. I usually use 2 teaspoons.
6. Add whatever seasoning you wish to add, including cayenne, pepper, and garlic powder.
7. Place the asparagus in the oven. I usually put it in the oven before it’s even preheated because I’m impatient. When I do this, the asparagus needs about 20 minutes to cook.
8. Place the tilapia filets on a baking sheet with foil.
9. Repeat the same seasoning/olive oil steps as you did with the asparagus.
10. Wait for the oven to preheat this time, then place the fish in the oven. The filets take 8-12 minutes to cook.
11. Once the filets are done, the asparagus should be done too. This is why I don’t wait for the oven to preheat to put the asparagus in the oven.
12. Take it out of the oven and eat it. Add some grated parmesan onto the asparagus if you wish.

Time for the nutrition breakdown. A tilapia filet only has about 100 calories, and it’s low fat and full of protein, which is obviously amazing. Sometimes I’ll make two filets if I’m extra hungry. The asparagus is obviously very low in calories, and it contains tons of Vitamins A and C. It even has some fiber. Finally, cayenne pepper is said to help speed up metabolism, and apparently it’s all the rage with models. So, with the olive oil, this entire meal (if you have two filets) only has about 300 calories, and it’s very low in carbs and fat. If you don’t use any olive oil, it’s even lower in fat and calories. You decide.

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Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Leave You Broke


An excuse that I heard all the time as to why people don’t want to eat healthy or “can’t” eat healthy is because it’s too expensive. Sure, some things are totally out of my price range when I’m going food shopping, but I promise you that it’s possible and easy to eat healthy without spending a ridiculous amount of money. You just have to know what you’re doing.

1. First, I’ll start with what should be the most obvious. Produce really isn’t that expensive. You can get a whole bundle of asparagus for like $3, and it can last you about 3 separate meals if you cook for yourself. $3 for 3 side dishes is a steal. And, if you are cooking for yourself, make sure you don’t buy too much. You don’t need 15 peaches during your shopping trip. You can buy two and be content. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve bought produce and it went bad because I didn’t eat it in time. This can totally be prevented if you don’t overstock your fridge. Sure, the bagged salad might be on sale at 3 for $5.00, but how fast can you eat three bags of salad? And who wants to eat three bags of salad that fast? Anyway, my point is that fruits and vegetables aren’t nearly as expensive as we may think. They’re priced by the pound, and you really don’t need a lot of pounds of food to feed yourself.

2. You should really take advantage of living in 2012. In this year, we happen to have freezers, which are attached to our refrigerators. We can store things in these freezers for long periods of time without having to worry about the food going bad. For instance, you might buy chicken at the store that only has a good date for another 4 days, but this time limit can be extended by freezing the chicken. You can literally freeze anything. Here are a few more ideas.
Bananas go bad fast, but if you cut them up, but them in Ziploc bags, and freeze them, you have instant fruit for a smoothie. You can do this with other fruits, such as berries, if you want to keep them longer to use in shakes and smoothies. This is something I should have taken advantage of this week, since I just threw out two black, rotten bananas.
Bread can also be frozen. If you buy a whole loaf of bread, (which better be whole wheat or multi-grain) it’s hard to eat the whole loaf yourself before it goes bad. If it’s not hard, make it hard, because you don’t need to eat an entire loaf of bread in a week. If you freeze the bread, you can use it to toast at a later date. This can also be done with bagels and english muffins.
Make large portions of food, and freeze the rest to eat during the week. Some good foods that work this way are soups, pasta dishes, and sauces. It will also help you save time during the week, since heating up some soup is a lot faster than making it from scratch. And, you will prevent all your hard work and ingredients from spoiling. I’d say to pick a day, such as today, since it’s Sunday, and make a large portion of something for the week. Today I’m considering making vegetable soup. Let’s see if I actually get it done.

3. Separate or cut fruits and vegetables and place them into personal Ziploc or Tupperware so you can grab them throughout the week. It’s a lot harder to cut an entire stalk of celery to bring to work than it is to grab a bag with already cut up pieces. This will also help you eat more servings of fruits and vegetables, which will obviously help you not let your food go to waste.

4. If you’re not scared of frozen fish and chicken, buy it. I do. And it’s not bad at all. It lasts as long as you want it to, as opposed to fresh fish and chicken. It’s also not very expensive, and the bag usually comes with a ton of servings.

5. Stop eating at restaurants. Seriously, for the price of a sit-down meal, you can go food shopping and get way more for your money. And obviously, it’s healthier. Restaurants taint their food with pounds of butter, salt, and unknown ingredients that you don’t need to risk ingesting if you are trying to lose weight. Instead, go food shopping, and cook your own dinner. At the end of the day, it will be a lot more fulfilling than going out to eat.

Sorry there aren’t any fun pictures in this post, but you all know what fruits, vegetables, and chicken looks like anyway.

So stop making excuses. Excuses get you nowhere.