How to Indulge Without Overindulging on Thanksgiving.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

I have been repeatedly asked if I skip Thanksgiving or only eat the healthier foods on the table. My go-to answer is that it’s a holiday and take the day to enjoy yourself. Enjoy a little of everything you like and stop when you’re full. Skipping foods you love and only get to have once a year leads to resentment. Life is too short.

That said it is possible to indulge without being overindulgent. If you have a weakness for your mom’s sausage stuffing.  take a helping of it. It doesn’t need to be a huge portion in order to feel satisfied. Are there healthy options on the table that you enjoy? Add them to your plate as well but don’t make yourself to eat something you hate because it’s good for you. I despise green beans in all forms and never add them to my plate.

Make smart choices. Appetizers can add up to a lot of calories quickly. Take a small plate with your favorites and savor it. The same goes for dessert, take sample sizes of a few pies or one slice of the cheesecake you love. If you’re not a fan of dessert don’t feel forced to have it because it’s Aunt Carol’s famous pecan pie recipe. If you do feel pressured, simply say you’re too full, maybe later.

Keep your drinking in moderation and have glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. Many cocktails are very high in calories and sugar so try to stick with wine, beer, or use club soda with a splash of fruit juice as a mixer.

I also recommend getting some exercise, especially if you will be sitting most of the day. Not because you need to burn a bunch of calories in order to “earn your food” but because you’ll feel more energized and happy from the workout. Run or walk in your local turkey trot, go for a bike ride, play football in the backyard, or do whatever activity you enjoy best.

Finally, when it comes to leftovers take the turkey and some veggies but pass on the heavier sides. The holiday is Thursday, not the entire weekend. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you want more tips, recipes, and workout ideas? Follow me on Facebook.

 

Not So Challenging Fitness Challenge

cropped-running-with-dog1.jpgIt can be challenging during the holiday season to fit workouts in. There are a lot of fitness challenges out there right now to help motivate you. Run streaks, 21 day yoga, 21 day Fit and the Do Something Challenge. I happen to like the concept of the last one, even if I don’t love the exercises.

I’ve participated in an arm workout challenges, yoga challenges and a run streak. I loved my arms after the first challenge, ended up doing my own yoga practice (and that’s not a bad thing) and was close to hating running at the end of the run streak. (You can check out my blog on why I would never do another one). What I can say proudly is that for the last 15+ years I have exercised regularly.

I do some form of fitness at least 5 days a week, usually 6, whether or not I belong to a gym. So my challenge to you is to do some form of exercise for at least 15 minutes a day, every day through New Year’s Day. Yes, I want you to move on New Year’s Day – it will help the hangover.

There are no other rules. Activities could be walking, dance, yoga, Pilates, Cross Fit, running, strength training – or whatever else floats your boat. You can mix and match your activities. Do something gentle on days before or after a hard workout (if you choose to do one) to let your body recover. My goal is to get you to move during a time when you think you are too busy. Holiday shopping? Walk a few laps, take the stairs and park your car a bit further from the mall. There, you got your activity in.

Seriously, I don’t care what you do – just move. You can hashtag me on Facebook or Twitter with #notachallenge and let me know you got your fitness in. Add a picture if you like!

How Thinking “I’m Taking Care of Myself” Gets Results

NappingI sent out a tweet the other day that seemed to resonate. Whether you’re working out or losing weight focus on “I’m taking care of myself.” This will lead to better choices and decisions. Being healthy is a choice, not a punishment.

It works for eating, exercising and self-care. When choosing a meal, snack or treat think about how it’s going to support your commitment to taking care of yourself. Even a splurge can be made healthier or kept to a small portion. For instance you might say, I’m going to eat bacon but I will choose nitrate free and keep it to a piece or two.

A meal should keep you satiated for a few hours. Choose a meal that has a balance of protein, healthy fat and fiber. Lean beef, a sweet potato and a vegetable is a healthy choice, as is a hearty lentil stew. Neither meal looks like the other but both would help you take care of yourself.

When it comes to working out or sitting on the couch and watching tv – what is going to help you take care of yourself? Generally speaking it will be some form of exercise. On the other hand, if you have been doing strenuous workouts for several days in a row and are physically exhausted you may need the rest.

With exercise it’s best to listen to your body. If you’re telling yourself you’re too tired to work out, that’s your brain. Ignore it. When you’re feeling achy and sore, that’s your body speaking. Listen to it!

Self-care is another important component. Make some time to do things you enjoy and nourish your soul. That could be a simple time out for meditation. It could be taking a bubble bath or doing a beloved project. It might also be meeting a friend for a catch up.

A few weeks ago I realized I hadn’t been reading for pleasure, all my choices were work oriented. I’ve made time to pick some things out just for fun and entertainment. It’s a great way to start or end my day.

What choices do you make that could use a few tweaks when it comes to taking care of yourself?

Do you need help in making better choices or in figuring out where to start? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a 30 minute power session.

 

Rest Days and New Workouts

WeightLiftingRest days, I love them. I know fellow runners and fitness fiends who hate a rest day. I see it as an essential part of training, it’s the day my body repairs so I reap the benefits of my training. If I go too many days in a row without a rest day I tank.

I pushed it too much last week. I ran, walked around Universal Studios, worked out, and shoveled ice two consecutive days. Thursday was supposed to be a run or workout since I like to keep the day before my long run as a rest day. It would have been the 7th day of working out and I just could not do it. My back was sore and I was tired. I took the much needed rest day.

Normally I might have taken Friday off as well but I was feeling restless and I decided to work my upper body. I just started Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix so I knew I could choose the Upper Body Fix and not have if affect my legs for running. It was 30 minutes, worked arms, back, chest and abs – perfect! I worked but didn’t go crazy.

I have to say I really like the workouts that I’ve tried so far. They’re not crazy long and I can do two if I feel I need more exercise on a particular day. My legs tone fast but my arms take longer. I’m liking the exercises since they’re effective and simple to follow.

I belonged to a gym for nine years and I got tired of it. I now prefer working out at home. I am not motivated to go to the gym and wait for equipment. It drives me crazy. I like taking classes once in awhile but for the most part I like being home and doing my long run with friends.

I like Beachbody’s workouts and their Shakeology so much that I’ve decided to become a coach for them. Shoot me an email,  janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, if you’re curious about the workouts or want to try the shake.

I added spinach and cherries to vanilla, hence the odd color. It tastes like cherry vanilla.

Do you prefer working out at home or the gym?

Do you run alone or with others? (I do both. Some days I need to be alone and work stuff out. I like doing my long run with others though).

 

How To Motivate Yourself When You’d Rather Log Couch Time

treadmillA friend asked me how often I exercised and when I replied 6 days she seemed a little taken aback. She asked why I did it – did I enjoy the way I felt afterwards or the results from working out. The truth is I like all of it. I like the movement, the sweat, the sense of accomplishment and the way my muscles build.

I usually like the way I feel but anyone who does endurance or intense sports knows that sometimes you feel beat up. There is pride in knowing that I can do something I never thought possible and that only about 1% of the population actually does. I know if I can run 13.1+ miles I can pretty much do anything.

My friend doesn’t really like working out and sees it as something she has to do but would rather not. When she asked how she could motivate herself I ended up asking her the same thing. What would motivate you to adopt an exercise routine? Is it your health, the way you feel or the way you look? There is something very cool about seeing your body get stronger, fitting into a skinny pair of jeans or lapping someone younger than you.

Yeah, there are days I’d much rather sit on the couch than run or workout. Those days I make a deal with myself – I will run a mile or workout for 15 minutes and after that I can stop. It’s very rare that I stop but I know I have the option.

You won’t see me doing classes or workouts I hate either. I will check out new routines and workouts when they come out but if I don’t like them I don’t force myself to go back. I like riding a bike but can’t stand Spin.

Make a pact with yourself – 4 days a week you’ll start with 10 minutes of an activity you like. Then just build the time up from there. It becomes a habit after that and one you miss if you skip.

Need help on building health habits? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to schedule your complimentary power session.

Will I Never Learn?!

Poison ivy plant isolated on black backgroundI was having a very productive day around the house on Monday. I got side-tracked when I took the dog outside and decided to do some yard work while I was out there. It was beautiful out and the weeds were wild so I couldn’t help myself. I also figured an hour of yard work was more fun & effective than working out to a video. I’d take care of two things at once!

I was yanking weeds with abandon and I didn’t put on gloves. I also had on a tee-shirt, bad move. I now have a rash that’s itchy as hell. Last time I had this I was told it’s contact dermatitis and was given some cream that didn’t really work. Nothing worked until my cousin took pity on me and had another cousin give me a tube of heavy-duty cortisone cream.

This time I went to the dermatologist and found out it’s not contact dermatitis, it’s poison ivy. I also have some eczema that now has poison ivy on top of it. I’m found out I’m not supposed to put the cream on with my fingers but with a Q-tip. That (and the scratching rubbing) would explain why every day I wake up with a few more spots.

It’s not the worst case of poison ivy but it’s still uncomfortable. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself while working out in the yard. Even better, learn what poisonous plants look like before you end up touching them!

Want more health tips? Sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter and you’ll receive a copy of my top 15 snacks to have in your desk drawer.

It’s 3 pm, Are You Running Out for a Pick Me Up?

drinkcoffeeWhen I had an office job I fell into the rut of grabbing a muffin, juice and coffee for breakfast. Lunch was either what I brought from home, salad or yogurt & fruit from our cafeteria. I would need more coffee mid morning because I was exhausted. Around 3 I’d be hungry and need a snack or something sweet.

I know that I’m not alone here because the coffee places have lines between 10 – 10:30 and again around 3 – 3:30. Do you feel like your energy tanks around those times too? It is most likely what your eating. A bagel with cream cheese, muffins, cold cereal and energy bars don’t offer up enough real nutrition to keep us energized. Even plain oatmeal, while definitely a better choice, needs some help.

What’s wrong with the salad or the fruit and yogurt? What I was adding to my salad wasn’t enough to keep me full and there wasn’t enough nutrients to keep me energized. The same thing with the yogurt and fruit – I simply wasn’t eating the right things. Fat-free artificially sweetened yogurt is more of a franken-food (food like substance masquerading as food) than something your body recognizes as nutrition.

Simple changes can make a big difference. A full fat plain Greek yogurt has protein and fat to keep you full, add in berries and you have a much more balanced meal. Adding nuts and blueberries to your oatmeal ups the protein, fiber and vitamins which helps keep you full and alert.

Do you want to feel energized and have more pep? I am co-leading a free Energy Boost workshop on May 14, at 7pm. Jason Serapiglia, Owner/Coach of Pique Fitness, and I will teach you which foods and exercise can have the spark back in your day. The class will be held at Pique Fitness and you can register by sending me an email at: janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

 

Why I Stuck With Running Even When I Despised It

marathonI hated running when I first started out. It hurt, seemed boring and the thought of running for 13 miles seemed like sheer ridiculousness. So why did I stick with it? I signed up with Team in Training and committed to a half-marathon. If I say I’m going to do something I do it.

I made friends on the team which made the long runs seem not so tedious and let me commiserate with others when the speed and hill work sucked. I slowly got to appreciate the sights around me rather than focusing on how much I didn’t love what I was doing.

And then one hot and muggy Saturday I had a really great run. While everyone else was bitching about the heat and humidity I felt good and, oddly, it was one of the easiest runs I had. The weeks after that went up and down but I still had the memory of that great run in my head.

Still I didn’t start to like running until I finished my half-marathon. There was something so empowering about being able to run 13.1 miles on a ridiculously little amount of sleep that made me think I could do anything.

Now running gives me time to think, time to plan and dream. It was while running that I decided to go back to school and change careers. There are days when I curse the run, but more often than not I love running and the feeling of accomplishment when I’m done. Now if I could just get someone else to do the laundry!

Curious how small changes can have a big impact on your life? Email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com to set up your complimentary 30 minute consultation.

 

If It’s Not Fun Why Bother?

hula hoopI’ve been speaking a lot about food the past few blogs and this week I’d like to talk about moving your body. I don’t want you to think about exercise as punishment or something you have to do. It should be something that makes you feel good, you enjoy and look forward to. The only way that’s going to happen is if you pick something that you actually like to do.

A friend of mine recently completed a 90 day body challenge and she looks fantastic. Truth be told I wouldn’t do her routine, to me it feels like punishment. Trying to fit that in or make it work with my running schedule gives me a headache. My running mileage has her saying I can’t; I think she could and she thinks I could do her routine. But if you don’t like it what’s the point?

You don’t have to have a major goal in mind. In the beginning the point is just to get you to start moving. Catch up with a friend on a walk, go for a bike ride with your kids, try roller skating again or put on fun music and dance for a while.

What did you enjoy doing as a kid? You’d be surprised at how much fun it still is to hula hoop, play tag, have a pickup basketball game or to play handball. Bring a friend or borrow some kids if you don’t have any. You’re body will thank you and you may surprise yourself with how good you feel after.

Need help getting motivated? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a complimentary 30 minute power session. I work via phone or Skype as well as in person so location is not an issue!

February & Hearts, Not Just for Valentine’s!

e_may_photo_1February is Heart Health month. Heart disease is the biggest cause of death in both men and women. For women heart disease causes more deaths than all forms of cancer combined and it’s something that is largely controllable.

According to the American Heart Association, the number of deaths linked to high blood pressure rose 53 percent between the years 1991 and 2001. Contributing to this is an aging population, a rise in obesity and a diet that is high in processed foods and sodium. Sadly, one-third of the population remains unaware that they even have high blood pressure.

So what can you do to prevent this and stay healthy?

Know your numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. If you have not visited your doctor recently go and get tested.

  • Healthy blood pressure is: 120/80 or less
  • Desirable total cholesterol is: less than 200
  • Desirable LDL cholesterol is: less than 100
  • Desirable HDL cholesterol is: greater than 60
  • Fasting blood sugar: less than 100

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight losing even 10% of your body weight can make a big difference in your health.

Know your genetics. A family history that is high in heart disease plays a strong role in your own heart health.

Eat a diet that is high in vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Minimize your intake of sugar, salt and white foods. (such as white breads, bagels, cookies, cakes, rice & pastas)

Sleep well consistently. Rest lets your body repair itself, decreasing inflammation and blood stickiness.

Manage stress and anger. Deep breathing, exercise and meditation can all help keep stress levels low.

Get cardiovascular exercise regularly. Walking is a great way to relieve stress and maintain heart health. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t need fancy equipment.

Do you need help maintaining a healthy lifestyle? I would love to support you on your journey to better health. Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary consultation. Together we can come up with a plan that works for you and  your busy lifestyle.