Monday, December 16, 2013

HATING on Fit Working Parents?

Initially my first post back was supposed to be about my adventures at AIT, but this is a topic that really struck home with me.

Many people struggle with their weight. Around New Year's Eve each year people usually tell themselves that they'll start eating better and exercising. They usually take the wrong approach, expect overnight results, lose all hope....and eventually quit. They make excuses, return to their sedentary lifestyles and continue to make poor decisions about food consumption.

I struggled with my weight. I've tried numerous diets and workout plans, and expected immediate results. I was just like everyone else. But one day it hit me. I wasn't getting any younger, and enough was enough! I got on the health train and never stepped off. Of course it's hard. It requires hard work and dedication. But that is what I find so admirable about those who get on board this train.

I write this because of the hateful remarks people are saying about Maria Kang

She is just an average working mom, who just happens to take her health and fitness very serious. But what is so wrong with that? Everyone should take their health and fitness seriously. Without it, you will eventually become useless. Sure, it's a harsh thing to say, but we all know it's true. When your health is poor, it not only affects you...but your family as well. It can take quite an emotional and financial toll on you and your family. With just 30-60 minutes a day, you can help prevent that. And THAT in itself is worth it.

image via

I'm a working mom. Heck, I wear quite a few different hats, but my main full time job is in software. I get up around 5am and workout for about 30-60 minutes, 5-6 days a week. I also cook breakfast for me and my son EVERY morning. Then I take him to school and battle an hour long commute with traffic. Several days a week, I use my lunch break and work on our family business. I commute back home in the traffic once again and pick up my son from my mom's. Upon arriving home, I cook dinner and help out with homework. I clean, prepare meals for the next day...and again, work on the family business. And if my husband is home from the shop, then I spend time with him. It's a vicious cycle, but I make time for my health.

Maria is helping to bring health awareness to anyone who will will listen. Obesity is such a norm in our society, it is scary. NEWSFLASH: Kids are overweight. I've never seen so many "husky" sized pants in the boy section, until a few years ago. That size didn't exist when I was growing up. But again, it's the norm and most don't think there is anything wrong with this. Maria's posts on her blog and facebook page are made to inspire, but people LOVE to twist things around. And in turn, say rude things. 

Check out her blog and facebook page. You be the judge.
And if it's not for you, then carry on.

What's your excuse? - Maria Kang

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

If you go to any blog, or read healthy and fitness articles, they all have something in common…get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. It is true that sleep is required and beneficial to your overall health goal.

Your body repairs itself when you get ample rest, your muscles grow, and it aids in weight loss. 

                 Don’t believe me?  Do a simple google search.

But like many others, and probably yourself as well, I lack sleep. I used to go to bed at 10:30pm and wake up at 5:30 in the morning. I got a good 7 hours of sleep and I did feel good when I woke up. But life happens. You see, my husband’s a machinist, and has been one for about 20years. He’s done projects for others during his free time. He then decided to start his own machining business. Of course it’s a family affair, so I do my share as well. 

This keeps me up late at night. For me, the only time I can work on it is during those odd hours when everyone else is asleep. There isn’t much time, so when I really get into it, I end up staying up pretty late. That of course is not what we want. Not to mention the increase in cortisol levels which in turn does not help with weight loss.

I average between 4-5 hours of sleep per night. That obviously is not enough. But now that I’ve grown accustomed to this schedule, it really is hard to return to getting 7 hours of sleep a night. Recently I’m starting to feel more established with our online presence, the shop is busy with lots of orders, and I feel it’s time to back off from working on the business a few days a week. It's time for me to get some good sleep in. It’s not the perfect schedule, but it is much better than it was.

How much sleep do you get each night?
If you’re running a business, does it throw off your sleep schedule as well?

Did I Just Have a Cheat Meal?

What is a cheat meal anyway?
A cheat meal is commonly known as a single meal that does not line up with your normal healthy diet.

BUT....this could mean different things to a lot of people. 

-Some may have a moderate sized cheat such as a burger and fries, or a few slices of pizza, or a single bowl of pasta or chow mein.

-Some do it big and hit the Chinese buffet which results in a ginormous and long winded helping of countless calories.

-And some just do it to simply satisfy a craving for that one thing whether it's a Snickers bar or a cone of ice cream.

Is a cheat meal required?
Most of the articles I have read, state that a high percentage are all for cheat meals. 

A single cheat meal once a week could aid in weight loss by "shocking" your metabolism. Giving you a little insulin spike so your weight loss does not plateau.

Mark Sisson also mentions that it may be required to regulate leptin levels.

Reading numerous articles during my research, I've only found a couple of sources that are against it.

1) If you have quite a bit of weight to lose, then a cheat meal could hinder your progress. If done weekly, it could easily hinder your progress as those bad habits may resurface and get you off track.

2) If you're already eating good and healthy food which satisfies your taste buds, then a cheat meal is not required.


So what does one do?
I'm not an expert so I can only state what has worked, and what is currently working, for me.

While living a paleo lifestyle, I prepare flavorful foods for myself. For the most part, I don't often feel the need for a cheat meal. And by the time I'm ready to have a cheat meal, the craving has either diminished, or I rethink eating it and change my mind.
Honestly, my cheat meals are pretty darn healthy. Like I might go crazy on a huge bowl of fruit. (But I've noticed that too much fruit actually gives me a headache due to the large amount of sugar consumed in a single sitting.)
Or I might have a plate of Chinese food. But even so, I am so used to eating a lot of veggies that I still load up on a ton of veggies during that cheat.

Here's an example of a cheat meal I had this past Saturday.

Trader Joe's sells these frozen breaded chunks of chicken.
I had 2 of those, covered in spaghetti sauce and a large helping of string beans and asparagus sauteed in coconut oil.

I have not measured my body fat composition, but I have shed quite a bit of fat and built some lean muscle. I personally feel like I still have a ways to go, mainly in my mid section.

YEP, you got it, the dreaded abs. Even my love handles have reduced in size, but they are still noticeable. Just keepin' it real here.

There are many different programs out there and you really just have to find out what works best for your body and lifestyle. Eating bland food all the time is a sure fire way to go hog wild on a cheat meal.

How do cheat meals work for you?
What diet/healthy eating lifestyle are you most happy with ?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Miss Stairs

Earlier this month I went to Nashville, TN for my cousin's wedding. He and his bride opened up their beautiful home to a bunch of us. It was really a nice home. One that would you see in a Better Homes and Garden magazine. It was a 2-story home, so yep...there were stairs. YESSSSSS!!!!!!

Our previous home was a 2-story home and the stairs never bothered me. I always ran up the stairs. Not sure why. It was fun for some reason, and it secretly assisted in providing a tiny dose of activity during the day. We now live in a single story home. I've noticed that my cats are not as active since we no longer have stairs in the house. They are both big cats to start with, so they could use all of the activity they could.

I didn't really realize it until I stayed at my cousin's home, how much I missed having stairs. Again, I was running up the stairs just like I used to in my old house. I even did it purposely for exercise one day while playing with my son and his cousin. They were tossing socks (grenades) down the banister and I'd run down to get them. It was fun!

Fortunately the parking garage at work has 8 levels, providing 7 flights of stairs to enjoy. I use them at least once a day, on upwards to 3 times a day. I have walked up them, but that's...

 "so boring" my son would say. So you guessed it, I run up them. It provides an awesome workout. Do that twice and it provides an even better workout. Sometimes I'll even throw in some jumping jacks and lunges afterwards. Then a walk around the block once or twice provides a nice cool down.

Even at the mall or at a subway station, I would always take the stairs instead of the escalator. Those tiny changes, repeated over and over again, can help make a difference.

A set of stairs I'd love to go up are these at Graceland. But Elvis always kept the 2nd floor off limits, which is understandable.

So yep...I miss stairs. They can help you get your heart rate up, wake you up after sitting in a cube all day long, and assist in adding in more activity in your day. So the next time you dread the stairs, think of the tiny health benefit it gives you.

Do you include stair climbing in your workouts?

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Survived a Day of FUN Without Cheating

Family time is very important to me. I have a pretty big extended family. I have A LOT of cousins; 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, etc. Heck, it seems like everyone is an aunt, uncle or a cousin. But I love it.

My weekends are usually full of chores, meal prepping, and doing homework with my son. But I try to include some fun. 

    What's the purpose of life if you're not enjoying yourself?

If I do have plans to have some fun, all of chores are compressed into a single day. This past weekend, my fun day was on Sunday. Breakfast and then a birthday party. 

I know right? 
This can't turn out good.

Knowing that I might "cheat" on my diet, or consume a larger amount of calories than normal, I scheduled my early weekend run on Sunday. I hit the weights the night before, working my upper body (arms and shoulders). Got a good night's sleep and went for a 2 mile run at 6am.

By 8:40am I was parking in front of Chop Bar in Oakland. They don't open until 9am, so my son and I decided to go for a walk and explore. Doing that is much more appealing than just sitting in the car and waiting. Plus, I got to take a view awesome shots of the architecture.

Knowing that we were going to come here for breakfast, I checked out the restaurant on yelp. Yes, I use yelp often. I found a brunch menu in their photo section and had an idea of what I was going to order. In order to stay on track with your health and weight loss goals, this is a really good way to assist you.

I ended up ordering the pork belly with cheese and onion frittata. It sounded delish and it looked good too.

Instead of the fries I asked for fruit. I had about 3 blueberries. My son and grandma ate the rest of my fruit. The bread looked good, but I easily avoided it and offered it to someone else. And I had 1.5 cups of coffee with a splash of milk.

I was full, but not completely stuffed and I enjoyed my meal. Not to mention the awesome conversations we were all having.

Afterwards, we all walked over to the Jack London Square. To get across the train tracks, there was an elevator and stairs at each end.


Can you guess which route I took?
Yes, the stairs.

We enjoyed the view and each others' company before parting, and then walked back to our vehicles. That get together was done and I don't feel guilty about my meal choice, and happy that I got to include even more physical activity in my day.

Now it was time for the birthday party...

This is where most people fail.
I feel like I started my day off on the right foot, so I continued to stay positive that I would continue to make healthy decisions for the remainder of the day. It was a child's birthday party at a park. They BBQ'd which was a total score for me.

I had a garlic sausage with some mustard, 2 bowls of chili, a water and a small cup of coffee with half and half. I really didn't sit much, I stood the whole time while conversing with relatives and other guests.

My son got to play with his cousin, so they were running around like crazy, which is awesome. Instead of a birthday cake, my cousin made some appetizing cupcakes.
Aren't they cute?


I was quite satisfied with all I had just consumed that I really didn't feel a need to cheat with a cupcake. And surprisingly, my son didn't want one either. He opted for watermelon, and then some marshmallows. I am pretty strict with his diet, and he was burning a crazy amount of calories by running around....I let him have the sugar.

So that was my family fun filled day of eating out.
Just goes to show you that even though you go out, you can still plan it in a way where you don't drift from your diet. If you think about it, there are things you can do to help you stay on track.

How are you when it comes to family gatherings?
Do you find it difficult to stay on track?
What tips or tricks do you use?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: Paleo Fitness by Darryl Edwards

I enjoy reading. I often read articles regarding fitness and healthy recipes from pages I follow on Facebook. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to read books, which really needs to change. But thanks to Darryl Edwards, the Fitness Explorer, I read a book! His book, Paleo Fitness.

I’ve been following Darryl‘s posts and blog for a while now. I love his approach to nutrition and fitness. Basically…keep it simple

Eat REAL food and PLAY outside. 

He takes a lot of the info from his blog, along with other research on Paleo and functional fitness, and combines all that together in his book.

He reminds us of what humans used to eat and how physical we used to be. And that we really haven’t evolved as much as we thought we did, which is a good thing. He stresses how we should return to the way it used to be because that is what is good for our bodies, and it is also what our bodies crave. We were designed to eat real food and move a lot, instead of eating prepackaged convenience “foods” and sitting most of the day.

His book provides info on the history of our ancestors, and studies performed by experts, to help show the importance of eating real food and moving as much as possible. By embracing this, we can help rid ourselves of obesity and many other ailments. We really do become what we eat.

Also in his book, he provides a meal plan, several recipes, and demonstrates a range of functional body weight exercises. YES! You can do all of this at home, or at the park. No, you don’t need a gym membership. That is the beauty of these movements. They are simple, yet very effective.

This book is definitely a good read. It typically takes me a while to read a book from cover to cover, but since this book contained something I am very interested in, I was able to finish it in no time.

Have you read the book?
What are your thoughts on it?
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