#HEALTHYHAPPYBODY: HEALTHY EATING HACKS

Fact: You can’t exercise off a cheeseburger. I mean, you could TRY, but you would have to run at 10mph (!!!) for at least an hour. That’s a a whole lot of exertion and sweating for ONE cheeseburger – not counting everything else you’ve eaten during the day. (Those few glasses of wine you also consumed at dinner? They require an additional hour of intense cardio to burn off.)

This is why, when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, you must eat a nutritious diet AND exercise. A lot of people want to believe they can eat a Big Mac and work it off at GoodLife the next morning. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. For successful weight loss – in addition to gaining more energy and reducing your risk of chronic disease – you need a combo of a nutritious diet and a well-rounded exercise regimen.

In fact, when it comes to dropping the pounds, eating well has been proven to be more successful than exercise. Almost a thousand weight loss studies have shown that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat healthy over working out harder.

But people are super protective of their eating habits. It’s harder for some of us to put down the bag of potato chips than it is to take a brisk jog around the block. If you constantly cave to cravings but want to stay on top of your weight loss goals, try these simple healthy eating hacks:

Drink More Water

Chances are you aren’t drinking enough water, and water is life. Literally. The human body is about 60% water. The general rule of thumb is to have eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about two litres (or half a gallon) per day. If you’re exercising, you need to increase that to three litres to help beat dehydration. Water intake can reduce appetite and increase metabolism, which is why I tell my clients to drink a glass of water thirty minutes before a major meal (in addition to their two litres a day).

If remembering your water is tricky, try the rubber band method: Fill up your water bottle and each time you finish off a litre, you wrap a rubber band around the top. That way you can easily keep track of your liters. Think water tastes boring? Add a few slices of lemon or cucumber to perk it up.

Add More Protein at Breakfast

Mom was right: breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. It wakes up your metabolism and gives you the energy you need to start off your day. Even though it sucks because it comes so damn early in the day, you still gotta do it and do it right.

You should add protein to your breakfast because not only does it help space out your protein intake throughout the day (so you’re not inhaling it all at dinner), but it also keeps you fuller so that you’re not reaching for a donut at 11 am.

Some quick and easy ideas: Sprinkle chopped nuts on your oatmeal, add a tablespoon of peanut butter to a banana, or add a ½ cup of cottage cheese to a piece of fruit.

Fill Half Your Plate With Veggies

If you automatically fill half your plate with vegetables, you’re already increasing your fibre intake (which helps you feel fuller longer) and decreasing calories. Aim for more alkaline veggies like spinach, celery, carrots and zucchini, which help boost vitamin absorption and lower inflammation.

By sticking with these easy hacks, you should notice a difference in your body composition and energy. And remember: eating healthy does NOT have to be bland or boring. It can be fun and delicious!

Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer for She Does the City and a personal trainer and healthy eating coach in the GTA. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook, and you can check out her free Beginner’s 4 Week At-Home Workout series here. Check out the rest of her series here.

Read the original article here.

#HEALTHYHAPPYBODY: HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED & ACHIEVE YOUR FITNESS GOALS

With summer weather finally arriving, along with the inevitable “Beach Body” inspo barraging our social media feeds, you’re probably feeling the pressure to work out now more than ever.

Because the health benefits of exercise are numerous – including improved strength and mobility, better sleep, and increased levels of energy and happiness – everyone knows they should start a workout program; however, sticking to one is a whole other story. It’s pretty common to go out and buy the new Lulu pants, the Nikes sneakers, and the Hydro Flash Double Insulated Water Bottle, only to sputter out on your new exercise routine within a week or two and resume your go-to position on the couch.

I get it. The couch is super comfy. Give me the newest House of Cards season with a glass of red, and I’ll snuggle up right next to you. But no matter how inviting your couch is, deep down inside (maybe wayyyyy deep down inside), you really want long-lasting change when it comes to improving your fitness.

What’s preventing you from achieving your goals comes down to the big M word: Motivation. Unfortunately, you cannot take a swig of motivation and victoriously push your way through the finish line. More often than not, a tweaked mindset and a few simple tools fuel motivation. Below are a few easy practices that have helped me and my clients stay on track to achieve our individual fitness goals.

  1. Know Your “Why”

Knowing why you want to start working out is key for sticking it out. Your why has to be YOURS and yours alone, so it helps to get really clear and super specific with it. Is it to increase your energy because you’ve got two babies under the age of two that you need to keep up with? Is it for a health reason, like depression?

Your why has to serve your highest good, and it should reflect how you want to FEEL. That means, don’t work out to get a Kardashian/Jenner ass, or abs like J. Lo. Those ego-inflated reasons often leave you frustrated, dissatisfied, and ultimately listless. Once you get crystal clear with your why, you’re able to easily navigate around obstacles and naysayers and create the healthy lifestyle you desire.

  1. Schedule a Regular Workout Time

Most committed exercisers get up really early or work out at night (usually once the kids are in bed). I do both, but I prefer exercising first thing in the morning. That way my workout is out of the way and I am able to enjoy the rest of my day without worrying how to “squeeze” in a sweat session.

No matter what time you choose, commit to it like your life depends on it. Schedule a 45-60 minute workout into your weekly planner like it’s the interview for your dream job. Not committing to a regular workout time makes it really easy to forget it or make up excuses to skip it for something “more important.” But honestly, there’s nothing more important than your health and sense of well-being. Right?

  1. Set a Goal

There’s no better feeling than achieving a goal. Whether you’d like to complete a 5K run or fit into your skinny jeans, having a goal is an awesome way to stay motivated. Once you define your goal, plan a realistic schedule for it that also includes celebrating the small milestones throughout your journey.

Often times big goals take upwards of a year to accomplish, which can feel so daunting that you might want to give up mid-way. NOOOOOO! This is why if you plan for a sweet mini-reward halfway through your progress (like a weekend spa vacation), you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel.

  1. Make it Fun

Exercise can be fun. Seriously. Of course it all depends on your attitude, but it also helps if you spice up your exercise routine. Whether you join a barre or boxing class, or trade in the treadmill for a trail run, mixing up your routine will keep it both effective and enjoyable – which means you’ll be less likely to stop it.

Remember: make sure to do activities that interest YOU. For example, if you hate Pilates but are paying for a Pilates class because you read Miley Cyrus does Pilates, then for the love of Malibu, skip the Pilates class. It’s important to do activities that you really love so that you’ll be having sooo much fun you won’t feel like you’re working out at all!

  1. Make it Cost You $$$

Shameless plug? Maybe. But, let’s put it this way: if you’ve already shelled out some bucks to a personal trainer, you’ll be less inclined to stay in with pizza and America’s Got Talent and more motivated to hit the gym as you’d originally planned. Plus, a personal trainer is not only paid to create routines for you (so you can turn your brain off and not get overwhelmed with equipment), but she’s also there to motivate you with tons of support and affirmations – especially when the going gets tough. It’s an investment that will pay off in more ways than one. You’re worth it!

Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer for She Does the City and a personal trainer and healthy eating coach in the GTA. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook and check out her free Beginner’s 4 Week At-Home Workout series here.

Read the original article here.

Boxing classes taught me so much more than a right jab

Last January, I became one of those people — one of the many people who join a gym as soon as the remnants of the holidays have been devoured and digested, and almost instantly regretted. Because I work from home and despise the winter, I decided I needed to leave the house. And because I had indulged in a number of regretted but enjoyed proseccos and tiny quiches basically every day for a month, I decided I also wanted Gigi Hadid’s abs.

Boxing was something that had interested me on and off throughout the years because I knew it would be unlike any of my Tracy Anderson or Ballet Beautiful DVDs. It would be demanding and essentially kick my derriere — something I knew I needed on both a fitness and a personal level. So I decided to join a boxing gym.

A year later, and I’m still working out at the same boxing gym. Not only did I stick with my New Year’s fitness intentions (I’m all about setting intentions rather than making resolutions), but I also learned a lot about myself throughout the process.

If you’re considering taking on a new activity or sport in 2017 as part of your New Year’s fitness intentions, here are some words of wisdom I can pass on that I learned from my year of taking boxing classes.

You are stronger (physically, mentally, emotionally) than you think

I’m gonna be real: Boxing is hard work. Learning combinations and throwing punches is challenging — especially when you have as little upper-body strength as I do. I mean, prior to boxing, I found opening a jar of pickles sweat-inducing.

Suffice it to say it didn’t come easily to me, and I hated that. I like things that come easily because I also hate doing things “wrong.” There were so many times when my inner perfectionist wanted to quit, but I knew on a very visceral, life-changing level that I couldn’t bob and weave myself out of this test. I would have to, literally, muscle through it.

More: Women’s fitness: Get lean, mean results with boxing

That’s not to say I loved every minute of boxing. I most definitely didn’t. But I soon learned to love the challenge of it, and soon I was finding success in the smallest of victories, whether it was successfully memorizing a combo or doing 15 push-ups without stopping. I discovered that I was a lot stronger — physically, mentally and emotionally — than I had given myself credit for.

Lesson learned: Keep pushing through because the reward of conquering old fears, thinking and patterns is priceless.

You are more than an outdated label for yourself

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t identify myself as an artist. In high school, I lived in my bedroom, writing stories. Throughout my 20s, I was a struggling actor, putting on plays in black box theatres (read: fancy basements). Now, I make my living from freelance writing, while I dabble in screenwriting on the side.

Despite being an avid exerciser for most of my life, I never thought of myself as a “jock.” To me, jocks were greased-up bodybuilders or those show-offs who always placed first at high school track and field while I was rewarded with a participation ribbon. Even bendy yogis who thrived on green juice and macrobiotic diets were more athletic than little ol’ me.

But by pushing and persevering through boxing class — by being able to both keep up and compete with some of the top athletes in class — I realized that I was actually athletic.

Boxing forced me to admit — to give — to myself this vital side of me that I had denied and suppressed due to an old (and, let’s be honest, probably toxic) belief that I was only “artsy” and not ever a “jock.” Embracing this new me has pushed me to finishing my first-ever 10K race, as well as pursuing an entirely different career path as a personal trainer.

Lesson learned: Don’t restrict yourself from evolving and growing into your true potential based on who you thought you were or what you believed about yourself so many years ago. Believe that you can be this and that and so much more — and you will be!

You are a kickass woman, inside and out

Like many women, I have struggled with my fair share of self-esteem issues. Boxing forced me out of my physical comfort zone, which in turn, helped me to love and appreciate my body more. Now I see my thighs and butt as something awesome because of their powerful abilities rather than something to be so critical and judgmental of whilst in a poorly lit changing room.

Lesson learned: Be a body-appreciative person rather than a body-cognizant person, and remember you are not alone in your journey.

Oh, and one more thing: I did end up getting those Gigi abs, after all.

 

To read the entire article, go to SheKnows.com where it was originally published.

Why I Threw Away My Scale

From my August 2015 article at She Does The City:

I threw out my scale last week. I’ve had it in my bathroom since I was a kid. I don’t really know why. It was one of those things that everyone had in their bathroom in the 80s, like Jacuzzi tubs and tiny heart-shaped hand soaps.

I decided to throw the damn thing out because, you might say, it was weighing me down. One day, as I was probably peeing, I looked at it and saw what it represented to me over the years – despair, depression, elation – and then I immediately hated it. So I promptly put it out with the trash, and I’ve never felt better about my relationship with my body and all of our past and present poundage.

I was 14 when I started giving a shit about how much I weighed. This is the age in which my hips spread and my years of eating McDonald’s caught up to my thighs. Stretch marks appeared around what was now my dimpled bottom, and cellulite quickly became the bane of my existence. Unsurprisingly, this was also the year I became obsessed with weighing myself on my bathroom scale.

At the time, my friends were all Twiggy-like with those annoyingly lucky eat-whatever-they-want metabolisms. Their stick legs and tiny tushes were hugely irritating/harmful to my self-esteem. I wanted desperately to look like them and all of the “heroin chic” models and actresses that graced my favourite entertainment magazines. When a friend of mine remarked that I was “curvy,” I nearly had a heart attack.

So I worked out. A lot. I took kickboxing classes and ran on my mom’s treadmill religiously after school. I didn’t like to discuss my workout schedule with my friends because I was embarrassed. Teens didn’t really exercise in the 90s unless they were jocks. My body made me feel “less than” and unattractive. I was ashamed that I had to work at my body. I couldn’t see the positives of my strong thighs or bodacious behind (God, how I would have looooved to have Beyoncé around in my day) – I only saw that my thighs stuck out from my Le Château dress while dresses always hung nice and neatly straight on my friends.

Throughout my high school years I’d weigh myself almost daily. At one point in grade 10, when my weight was at its heaviest, my mom told me, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” I immediately stopped my daily runs and weight lifting. I didn’t care whether what my mom said was true or not – the scale’s opinion of myself mattered more.

To read the rest, click on over to She Does The City where it was first published. 

It’s OK to Rest, Girl.

This is a picture of a stubborn woman who has finally thrown in the towel and is resting her bod. Fuck. I don’t like resting. I especially don’t like resting when I have a 10k coming up in four days. But here we are: sweaty, messy hair, days old pajamas, in bed, resting with a head cold. I fought against it initially, as I usually do. Went hard at boxing class on Monday, throwing a middle finger at the cold virus. I talked myself up to running 5k last night… only to collapse in bed at 5pm, bury myself under the covers and watched Riverdale instead. I don’t like giving in and giving up. But I’m learning that resting is actually anything but that. Resting is a GOOD thing. It’s the body’s way of telling us that we’ve been going too hard, neglecting our needs — physically, emotionally, spiritually — and often times the resting time is used for us to gather our energy for the next big phase/movement/change in our lives. It’s like our body is this amazing fortune 🔮 teller who knows what’s in store for us, so it’s all, “Shut up and go to sleep because if you knew what’s around the bend, you’ll be glad you did!” I’m slowly getting it. I’m appreciating the rest time, little by little. So when it happens, I’m like: “OKKKKKK. I guess I will!” So I’m getting it. Slowly. But first fighting it all the way, tbh. It’s a process. 🙈😂😷 #wednesdaywisdom