5 Easy Ways to Be More Healthy… Today!
- Write down at least 3 days of eating, minimum. Don’t censor it. A bite of food is a bite of food. When I did that I learned that I was tasting everything I made as I was preparing and cooking, up until the time I served the meal. I also ate my kids leftovers, and wasn’t counting that as my food intake either. It will be eye-opening, do it!
There’s an app for that. My Fitness Pal or Lose It. After you do the 3 day food journal, start using one of those apps. Why don’t I have you do that from the beginning? Mindfulness is a beautiful thing. YOU should be thinking about your health, not letting a program do it for you. Learn about you first…why you eat, when you eat, and what you eat.
Become an ingredient reader. When you buy food, the label will state how good the product is. Don’t believe it. Read for yourself. Trans-fat free is not so if it has hydrogenated oil in it, but it can be labeled as such if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans-fat per serving. Terms like whole grain, all-natural, and fat-free are all deceiving. Read the ingredients.
Don’t dress for dinner (or lunch). Most bottled dressings are made with cheap vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup, and chemical preservatives. Lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar, or house made dressings are a best bet. Ask what dressings are made in-house. If you do get any sauces or dressings, ask for them on the side, and measure, as each tablespoon is approximately 100 calories. For sandwiches, ask for avocado in place of mayo or dressing.
Veggies, veggies, eat them up…yum! Make vegetables part of your food intake as often as possible. Try to include at least 5 different items in your meals whether the meal is a smoothie, salad, side dish, sandwich, or pizza. For example: Try spinach, broccoli rabe, peppers, onion, mushrooms, on pizza. For side dishes (sauté veggies with quinoa or brown rice) and salads, there are so many options: carrot, spinach, bokchoy, daikon, cilantro, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, sweet potato, peppers, jicama, peas, onions, fennel, celery, cucumbers, and more. Be adventurous and try different veggies in different combinations!
Taking steps like these will increase your health, well being, and happiness factor. And studies show that by taking action, you can positively influence your friends and family too. Pretty cool, right?
To your health and happiness,
Tami Racaniello, CPFT-HFI, President of It's Time to Get Fit, Inc. & Yummilicious Creations, Incorporated, is a certified personal trainer, holistic health coach, reiki master, nutritional consultant and raw food chef. At the age of 40, Tami realized she was on a destructive path and changed her mindset and lifestyle, leading to a weight loss of 130 pounds. Her techniques and teachings have helped many people achieve better health and better quality of life.
All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
What’s a Beatles song got to do with health and wellness? Everything!
Loving others is important, but loving yourself can make a huge difference in your life.
People may take advantage of you and your time… causing stress
You may feel depressed or overwhelmed…causing anxiety
Your self esteem drops…causing lack of confidence
What effect would this have on your daily life, work, and your health?
When you love yourself:
You respect yourself enough to say no, or not now.
Negative situations are easier to deal with.
Your happiness level is increased and you feel better about yourself.
Self-love helps you be more resilient to life changes. It helps you make better choices for yourself, because you will understand what your needs are. You will be healthier, because you will not gravitate towards unhealthy behaviors.
Start now… say one positive thing to yourself about yourself, or smile at yourself in a mirror. Say one positive thing as soon as you get up in the morning, and if negative thoughts enter, clear your mind, and make a positive statement. If mind clearing is difficult, see my previous article on TimetoPlay.com, “Yay! It’s Time For Recess!”
The light that shines within me, honors the light that shines within you.
Now give yourself a hug. Love is all you need. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Namaste and love,
YAY! IT'S TIME FOR RECESS!
Studies show that children who receive more recess in school, behave better and are likely to learn more. Recess also helps to keep children healthy and helps them manage stress. As an adult, having unstructured break time offers the same benefits!
Let's face it...sitting at a desk all day, or in front of a computer, can be draining, boring, and cause eyestrain. In addition, repetitive keyboarding can cause pain in the fingers or wrist. Before the "Is it time to go home yet?" whine sets in, a break is definitely necessary.
For the break to be effective, the brain needs to disengage from work. Thinking of the next thing on your to-do list, will totally defeat the purpose. Trust me…whatever you have going on will still be there after your few minute break, but you will also come back more focused and more creative.
The best thing would be to get out of the office setting completely and go for a walk, but if not there are some great apps to help clear your mind.
The following apps offer various types of meditations, and they are free. I have an Android, but these apps, or similar ones, are available for the iPhone as well.
Buddhist Meditation Trainer: A 3-minute timed meditation with a thoughtful quote and picture to focus on.
Zen Garden Lite: Make your own Japanese garden, rake the sand, and place objects like rocks and statues.
Satify Mindfulness Meditation: Set meditation length from 5 – 30 minutes. Pick starting, ending, and background sounds, such as babbling brook, ocean, wind, or no sound at all.
Take a Break from Stress by Meditation Oasis: A choice of 2 timed, guided meditations.
Reinvigorate yourself and your mind… Add recess to your workday, every day.
Workplace Wellness that Works Everywhere: Snacking
Mindless eating can sabotage the best weight loss efforts, and healthy intentions.
Look in the break room of your office, or on the desk of your fellow co-workers. Any cake, cookies, chips, or candy around? I’ll bet the answer is, “yes”.
Foods that are creamy, crunchy, salty, and sweet are considered comfort foods or craving-type foods, which we turn to when we are stressed or unhappy. We also tend to use these foods when our blood sugar starts to drop, and we need that afternoon pick-me-up.
Many of these foods are high glycemic, and offer a quick spike in blood sugar levels giving you a momentary boost in energy. When the insulin kicks in to combat the sugar spike, your blood sugar level crashes, along with your energy levels. Then you’re looking for the next thing to get that energy level up again. If you’re thinking that sounds like an addiction, it is. Your body becomes dependent on it to function. And guess what? Any sugar your body can’t use, gets stored as fat. Since we sit an average of 9 hours a day, I can pretty much guarantee your body won’t be using it. You may be one of those seemingly lucky people that say, “I can eat what I want, it has no effect on me.” That means your activity level is probably high, and you may also have good metabolism. Chances are good that you are also nutritionally deficient, because the calories you are putting into your body lack nutritional value. Therefore not only are you not functioning at your most optimal level in the workplace (or anywhere else, for that matter), but in a few years, you will be one of those people that say, “I don’t understand… I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted”.
We can take steps to prevent ourselves from being a victim of workplace weight gain. Some ideas follow:
End Mindless Eating - Give thought before putting food into your mouth. Ask, “Do I really want this?” or “Why am I eating it? Often we eat because others are doing it, and it becomes social. Business breakfasts, lunches, and dinners happen often, and because we’re focusing on the program offered, or trying to network, we pay no attention to what we eat, or how much. Watch portion sizes, and limit trips up to the buffet.
Stop the Party – Celebrations are fun! New baby? Cake! Birthday? Cake! There are offices that will bring in a cake for just about any reason, and if you work in a large office that could be a few days a week. It’s okay to participate in the celebration and say no to the cake.
Move the Food - proximity and convenience are two main factors when it comes to snacking. If it’s in front of you, move it. If you keep more than a portion size close to you (like a whole bag of chips), portion it out, and put the rest in a place that you need to make some effort to get. If the food is directly in front of you, and you have no control over that, you move. Walk away, talk to someone or go get a drink.
Be Prepared – Carry an energy bar that has a small, easily pronounceable ingredient list. They come in great flavors, and can ease snacking temptation. Bring some hummus and carrot sticks into work. Find a kale chip recipe online, or buy them. Airpopped popcorn is preferable, but for convenience, get organic, natural, microwave popcorn. Add some sea salt, & a spoonful of coconut or olive oil after it’s popped. Organic plain Greek yogurt with some walnuts, or pistachios is also a great snack. Sometimes it’s more about the texture than the food. And the right snack will satisfy the salty, crunchy, chewy, or sweet cravings, while giving you best nutrition you need to be at your optimal best.
Workplace Wellness that Works Everywhere: Coffee
Coffee, java, cuppa joe, the elixir that gets many of us going, and keeps us moving. Statistics vary on cup consumption, but if I average all the research I found, it would be 2 cups per day. Whether we buy it per cup at our favorite coffeehouse, drink it by the pot, or fancy one-per-cup machine, we drink it, so I’m offering up a cup or two of healthy advice to go with that coffee.
Do you need that cup of coffee to wake up, or to keep you awake in the afternoon? Your body should be able to function naturally without external stimuli. If you’re not fully functional until that 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd cup of coffee, that’s not a good thing, and it’s time to look into sleeping patterns, activity levels, and what you feed your body. I’m not saying to give up the caffeine, just don’t make it the kickstart for your body.
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant, and can increase the heart rate. Caffeine is found in other things besides coffee, so if restless sleep, or problems falling asleep are concerns, look at other sources of caffeine, like sodas, tea, and chocolate. Caffeine is also dehydrating, and dehydration can cause sleepiness and lack of focus, so when you have that coffee, follow it with a glass of water. Some medicines and herbs may interact with caffeine, so check that with your doctor or pharmacist.
As far as caloric content, if you go for a latte or specialty drink, ask how many pumps are in the coffee. At Starbucks, pumps can vary from 1-8 depending on size and type of drink, and each pump has 30 calories. For each pump you drop, you will save on calories and sugar. While I tell clients to cut sugar out of their diet as much as possible, it is the lesser of two evils where artificial sweeteners are concerned. Choose real food over chemicals every time, and yes those pumps do have artificial flavorings, so the more you can cut out, the better for your body.
The key is learning to listen to your body, to provide it what it really needs. You are the best advocate for your health!
ARE YOU REALLY BREATHING?
We don’t consider it, but breathing is important. Now you’re thinking, “What’s up with this chick? Of course breathing is important!” I’m referring to conscious breath, awareness. Just like our heart automatically beating, we often take the breath for granted.
Deep conscious breathing has many benefits, including:
Forcing your lungs to take in more oxygen, while expelling more carbon dioxide.
Expanding the diaphragm muscle, which helps stimulate your lymphatic system, which helps rid your body of toxins.
Stress reduction and help with weight loss.
Creating awareness in the body.
Try an experiment: Inhale and exhale. Now stand, take an inhale, and as you are inhaling, reach your hands up towards the sky, and down to your side in a circular motion. Repeat this again, except as you bring your hands up, think of bringing the energy of the room in towards you, as you bring your hands to prayer position in front of your chest. Now lower hands to the floor, palms down.
Notice a difference between all of those?
How are you feeling now?
Pretty darn good, I bet. Energized, focused, and centered. That last breath can be found in yoga, tai chi, and numerous other practices.
So before you go get your energy from a cup of coffee or a sugary treat, take a breath.
To your health and happiness,
SPRING AHEAD: FAST FORWARD
Years ago, when there was a time change, we would change the time manually, but not by pushing a button. There was a tactile involvement required; we moved the hands gently into position, or we gingerly pulled the tiny metal knob on our wristwatch, just until we heard that click indicating we could now rotate the hands to the correct time.
Now our mobile phones, televisions, and other devices, change time almost without us even noticing.
How has that had an effect on you? While we used to be more mindful of things like that, we no longer have to think about it. I remember the feel of rotating those hands on my watch. It was a thoughtful process. Our electronic, fast-paced world is making us more automated as well. We work harder, keep longer hours, connected 24/7 thanks to technology. We talk fast, move fast, drive fast, and eat fast food. I think we’ve almost forgotten how to slow down.
Even in the workday, it is completely possible to take a moment for a deep breath or stretch. It’s so hard to convince people of that, though. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that will happen if I slow down for a minute, or even 30 seconds?” Just for tomorrow, turn your clock slowly. Allow yourself to get up and stretch. Go for a short walk outside. Try a counting breath, (what I call the 10 second meditation): Inhale to the count of 5, then exhale to the count of 5. Read an inspirational quote. Doodle on a piece of paper. Make an effort to be mindful of the food you eat, and plan your day so you don’t have to rush as much. Do all or any of the above, but try it.
Don’t let time pass you by without noticing. Reducing stress, learning to balance work and play, and finding time just for you, is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
To your health and happiness,
Tami Racaniello, Workplace Wellness Expert & Health EmPOWERment Coach
CAN YOUR OFFICE BE A PAIN IN THE NECK?
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, your desk is your space, your haven, for however many hours you spend there (and I'll bet it's many). Not thinking about it that way? Time to change the mindset and make your work space help you be healthier and happier.
As a workplace wellness expert, I also do ergonomic consultations. I make your space work for you, instead of you trying to fit into the space. Chair height, placement of items such as the computer, keyboard, and phone make a huge difference in how you feel at the end of the day. Incorrect placement of these items, or not adjusting the work space to your body type, may cause stress, back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain.
I have a client that I've been working with for a while, but when we first met, she complained of constant lower back pain. After assessing her medical and injury history, I asked her to show me how she sits at her desk. Because of her leg length, she always needed to reach for the floor, causing her to have poor sitting posture, which was putting pressure on her lower back. Since her chair couldn't go lower because of the desk height, I suggested a foot stool. My client no longer has the back pain.
Sometimes the fix isn't as easy, but most of the time, it's 1 or 2 simple adjustments that can make your work space a healthier place to be.
Health and happiness,
# # #
ARE YOU OVERESTIMATING YOURSELF?
At presentations, I ask the group to raise their hands for "How many people think they eat well?, and "How many people are very active during the course of their day?" I generally get a lot of hands for the eating and a few for activity. I tell them that we tend to overestimate on both counts. Recently one woman said, "You mean we're legends in our own minds?" An amusing way of saying it, but it's true. We want to believe we are doing the most for ourselves, so we are convinced it is so.
There was a study that was published fairly recently in a psychology journal. When a fast food chain placed healthier choices on the menu, people that considered themselves health-conscious still ordered the burgers and fries. Having the healthy food items on the menu, created a perception that the restaurant was now healthier, and the perception of health seemed to be enough.
In my own experience with clients, I find the same thing. A client will tell me they eat a salad for lunch everyday. A salad is a great choice when it's an assortment of veggies, but then add cheese, processed meats, bacon bits, croutons, and pour dressing over the top, and there could be 500 calories or more of food that doesn't have much nutritional value. Even with tuna salad or egg salad, the mayonnaise used to prepare it can add a staggering amount of calories at 100 calories per tablespoon.
Start by writing down what you eat. My clients give me 3 days worth, and that's enough to get an idea. Working with someone that can really guide you is the best, but if that's not possible, review your daily food list and look for a variety of food groups at each meal, more whole foods in their natural state than processed foods (a good ratio is 80% natural state foods to 20% processed), and take note of skipped meals. There are also online programs or phone apps that can help guide better food choices by calculating nutritional values of foods as you log them in, so you can see if you are getting a good balance every day. There are many programs, but they are not all accurate. I've found myfitnesspal.com to be very accurate, and it counts full nutritional value as well as calories.
Log activity level as well; how often you stand vs. sit, and amount of walking done (a pedometer will help calculate steps). Next week we'll talk about how to get more activity into your day easily.
If you have any questions, connect with me, and I'll be happy to help!
Health and happiness,
# # #
Pick Your Mix Smoothie
A smoothie is great for a quick nutritious breakfast, or a healthy pick-me-up anytime during the day. They are also a yummilicious way to satisfy cravings, and get more greens and fruits into your day. Pick one or more items from each section, and blend with ice. These are just some ideas to get you going. Use your imagination, and you can make some fabulous creations! For example:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie - 1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin, 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 banana, pumpkin pie spice, 1 scoop vanilla rice protein.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: 1Tbsp raw cacao powder, handful baby spinach or scoop of greens powder, banana, 1 Tbsp organic peanut butter, 1 cup coconut or other non-dairy milk. Add a date for extra sweetness.
Carrot Cake Smoothie: raw carrot (puree with water), 1 Tbsp walnuts, 1 cup coconut milk, ½ tsp vanilla, cinnamon, ½ banana, 1 Tbsp raisins or 1 date, 1 tsp coconut oil.
For more ideas, email me: email@example.com
Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Soy Milk, Brewed & cooled green tea, Water
Fruit and veggies: (can be frozen or fresh, and adding banana or date with other fruits acts as a natural sweetener)
Berries in any combination – Acai, Blueberries, Goji, Raspberries, Strawberries
Mango, Banana, Melon, Oranges (just peel & take out seeds, throw in whole to get the most nutritional value), Dates, Pomegranate Seeds, Pumpkin, Carrot
Kale, Baby Spinach, Greens Powder
Hemp, Rice, Nut butter or raw nuts
Flax, Hemp, Chia
Cacao (raw cocoa powder), Vanilla, Cinnamon (or other spices)
# # #
DON'T WORK. . . PLAY!
I was recently on a ferry, traveling to Connecticut, and I noticed a young boy repeatedly lifting and lowering himself between two tables that were close to one another. He was having a great time! Look on any playground, and you’ll see children running, jumping, climbing, and having fun. Most adults doing the same things take them more seriously (how many smiling joggers have you seen?). When did play become work, and why can’t a work out be a time to play?
Remember what it was like to be a kid, and make exercise fun. Don’t think reps, sets, or how long you’re doing it. Just move; and move as often as possible during the day. While gyms can provide tools, body weight is all you need. Thinking out of the box, and keeping an open mind on exercise will give you options in places you may have never even thought of. The boy on the ferry saw two tables, and made an activity out of them. There are options for exercise and movement all around you.
Movement is only fun if you enjoy it, so find something you like. Try things like interval walking (walking done slowly, then quickly, in repeated, timed sequences), running, bicycling, hiking, swinging on a swing, balancing, push-ups, pull-ups, squats or climbing.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and challenge yourself. Something you didn’t think you’d like, or didn’t think you could do, could be your next favorite exercise. You never know if you don’t try. There can be a frustration factor when you do something that you’ve never done. Your body needs to find its way, and learn the mechanics of the movement. If the movement takes more than a couple of times to get, let it go, and try again next time. Usually the mind remembers, and it’s easier and less stressful the second time around. If it’s a balance exercise, you may fall or have difficulty holding the pose. It takes time to develop coordination and balance, but well worth it.
With any form of exercise, visualize the movement, and envision yourself doing it. Most of all, laugh and have fun. Before you know it, your workouts will become play, and you will be reaping the benefits, both mentally and physically.
# # #
INSURANCE PLAN FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
What we do today has a direct impact on our tomorrows. We can give ourselves an insurance plan for a better quality of life, no matter what the age. Exercise, eating well, making health a part of a lifestyle for the long term, can be challenging for some, but what if I told you it could be easy, and fun?
Personally, I used to despise exercise, and my idea of eating well, was that bag of cookies I had just picked out at the bakery. I was also 100 pounds heavier than I am now. I grew up with no idea of health, or healthy food. Tuna and corn chips, bologna sandwiches, and meatloaf with potatoes, cheese, and vegetables were just a few of the meals I ate. We did have lots of veggies at my house; unfortunately they all came out of a can.
When I was turning 40, I saw too many people around me struggling with health complications, and I decided my tomorrow was going to have a different end. I started to educate myself on exercise and nutrition. At the beginning it was boring and difficult, and since I was getting conflicting information from things I read, and people I spoke to, I wasn’t really sure where to turn to get the best, most accurate advice.
It’s my honor to be that source for you! Having experienced the frustration of not getting the answers that I sought, I became a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness, Yoga, and Pilates Instructor, a Wellness Coach, a Healthy Cook/Raw Food Chef and a Nutritional Advisor. I’m still furthering my education, and take courses continually. My goal is to be the best resource possible for you! And through my experiences, I learned how to make it all fun, and I can show you how to make it fun, too!
I am your cheerleader and your Health Empowerment Coach, so talk to me, let me know about you, and ask questions. Together, let’s create a wonderful community of support, information, and play!
Health, happiness, and positive energy,