Spotlight on Daikon Radishes

Today boys and girls we’re gonna be talking about something interesting called a daikon radish. It looks a lot like a big white carrot but it’s actually a part of the radish tribe.

Ok but before I dive all into this, I want to share how I found them.

About a month ago I came across one of those ad’s Facebook delights in stuffing into our newsfeed, but this was one I was REALLY interested in, as opposed to some of the nonsense they think I wish to see.

It was for a company called “Imperfect Produce”.¬† A quick read on it educated me that they are about reducing wasted produce that otherwise won’t make it into your local store.

I guess I never really gave much thought to the fact the fruits and vegetables you see are all generally similar sizes, shapes and attractive in appearance.

I never really thought about¬† things being “to big” or “to small” or “to ugly”¬† or “imperfect” to sell.¬† It can also be to an over abundance of a certain food as well. Only so many zucchini can go on a store shelf……..

This company buys¬†food from farmers and it’s kind of a win/win. The farmer makes some money on what might have gone to the pigs, it’s not being needlessly wasted, and you get a cool produce box that’s an interesting variety each week.

When I checked into it, by checking my zip code, I was already thinking they wouldn’t deliver in my area.

Well, imagine my surprise when they showed my area was a part of delivery service. For 4.99 they bring you this interesting box..

20181217_213546

My first box came about 9:30 at night. They text you to let you know it’s on it’s way, and when they are close to you. I was really impressed that the box was so attractive and it was so pretty inside…..

20181217_213830

not only that, it’s delivered in a chilled (uh… not like “chill” laid back and calm¬†“chill” but cold.. hahaha) ¬†van so everything is nice, cold and fresh. It really impressed me… which I guess is why I’m starting my fourth order this week ūüôā

Basically, you can choose all veggies, all fruit or mixed. You can choose from organic or regular produce. You can take the box the send you, or customize your own. You can also pick weekly service, or bi-weekly. I opted for a mixed box.

20181217_213728
For instance this “tiny” sweet potato. I don’t have little hands.

Not only all that, whoever does the marketing has a wicked fun sense of humor so I related to that as well.

Now back to our original story…..

20190123_130014
Carrot or radish?

When they showed Daikon radishes as being available, I figured why not give it a try? And like you, I knew nothing of them. So let’s get a little established on what they are.

The daikon radish looks like a white carrot. It’s a root vegetable, but instead of having a potent, peppery taste, it’s sweet, crisp and mild.

A part of the radish family it grows much larger than it’s counter parts, upwards of 20 inches long and 4 inches wide!

Unlike other radishes, it’s as good cooked, as it is raw.

On a nutritional level, they are full of vitamin A, C, E, B6, potassium, and other minerals, radishes can give your whole body an immunity boost.

Try them baked or boiled in stews and soups or in a stir fry. Also try them lightly steamed with olive oil, salt or lemon juice for flavor.  Slice daikon radishes and eat raw with a dip or peanut butter or add shredded raw Daikon radishes to salads.

Daikon radishes are very popular in Asian dishes.

Daikon is quite perishable, so if serving it raw try to use it within 4 days of purchase. If cooking daikon, it can be stored up about a week. Keep it in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Let’s eat….

So I looked for recipes and there are quite a few to be had. I liked the one that makes like fried “potatoes” out of it.

https://www.gnom-gnom.com/keto-faux-tatoes-radishes

Oh and hey, if you think Imperfect produce sounds like something you might want to check out¬†to see if they’re in your area, go to http://www.imperfectproduce.com if you decide to do it, please use my referral code when you do http://imprfct.us/ltIQM

Tell me…have you ever heard of daikon radishes?

 

 

 

There Is No “Try”

There are many words or slang in the English language that either annoy me, bother me or trouble me.

I thought if I had to see or read a post with “Bae” in it one more time, I’d vomit. If there was ever a contest for dumbest slang words, I’d nominate that one.¬† There are of course others that could make the list.

Then there are clever¬†words that were kinda amusing as I watched my daughter in law use the word “clutch”

She would use it in a situation and ask my son or myself, “did I use it right?”¬† that alone was entertaining.

( for the record, it means exactly what you need, exactly when you need it)

Slang.

Then there are normal¬†words that trouble me when I go to write them ’cause I feel like a first grade kid again having to think them through….. “Am I spelling it right???”

Restaurant, Wednesday, February,¬†Rhyme, Rhythm and a plethora of others make me slow down my typing skills. ( for the record, I just had to very carefully, methodically, type those out ūüėČ )

And they let me have a blog………

But there is one tiny little, easy to spell, almost innocuous word that can always trouble me.

Try.

 

star-wars-do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try-yoda-quote

 

It’s defined as …. “To make an effort or attempt to do something

Now you’re probably sitting there tossing down your morning coffee rubbing sleep from your eyes wondering why I’m over here hating on such a tiny word.

Try.

Maybe because when I hear the word used it comes along with conditions.

I’ll try to be there…..

I’ll try to get the time off…..

I’ll try to call…..

I’ll try to make the meeting….

I’ll try to come by…..

I’m going to try and go to the gym….

I’m going to try and get up earlier to workout….

I’m going to try to eat better…..

Are you seeing it? when you use the word “try” you’re leaving yourself an out, a way to commit but still escape responsibility or follow through if you decide you’d rather not.

If someone tells me something and they use the word “try” in it, I’ve already dismissed them as not being serious about what’s being discussed.

They are giving themselves a way out.

They are going to “attempt” or “make an effort” to do something but there’s a strong probability it won’t happen.

Hey, I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve used it before too. Maybe that’s why I can say this, maybe I see it a bit more clearly.

Do or Don’t.

Do or don’t. Skip the “try”.

Yes, I understand it requires commitment to go in one direction or another but at least it’s decisive.

But let’s take it out to our commitment to ourselves.¬† When we say we are going to “try” and eat better, start an exercise plan, go to the gym, get to the doctor¬†etc. we are giving ourselves an out, a way to escape from the self inflicted torture we are setting ourselves up for.

Exercise can be work, hard work.

Losing weight involves making different choices and learning to eat better foods and perhaps leaving some behind.

Going to the doctor who is going to tell us that we are over weight and need to lose some for our health convicts us. Well, hopefully it does and you listen and take steps to change things.

The whole process promises to make us… uncomfortable.

No wonder we throw in the word try when it comes to lifestyle changes.

To try something is to accept the possibility of failure. If you set out to do something, the possibility of failure doesn’t enter your mind.

I remember after I had finished my ( I think, third, half marathon) the thought came to me that now was the time for a full.

At first, I dismissed it as craziness and endorphins from running my best half yet.

The idea persisted. But gosh, that’s a full 26.2 miles of hoofing it along on my own two feet!

That’s a pretty long way.

It didn’t take much for me to commit to it. I knew it was time. I knew I was ready.

I signed up and found the training plan I wanted to use.

It hit me one day not long into my eagerness to pursue this new adventure.

The dialog went something like this….

“What, and I mean WHAT are you thinking?? 26.2 miles!” ( this would be my logical brain speaking)

My free spirit , not sane part of my brain responded, “Yeah, I know. I get that. It’s pretty long. I can do this.”

Logical brain… “you’ve not really thought this through. You are trying something you’ve never done. It’s long. It’s hard. What if you fail? What if you can’t do it?”

That brought me up.

I was trying something I’d never, ever considered in my life. I must be insane. Who signs up for a 26.2 mile run???

What if I couldn’t do it? What if logical brain really WAS right?

You know what I did?

I stomped logical brain down, never let myself consider again that I couldn’t do it or would fail at it, trained my butt off, and ran my first marathon that year on one of the hottest November days Texas had seen.

It was brutal. But I finished with the goal to do one again the next year.

I had never been more physically wasted, tired, drained ( physically and emotionally) ever in my life.

It was exhilarating.

Taking on and training for a marathon, it gave me the confidence I could do anything, that I can try anything and that I can take on the world.

I did another marathon, and then a 50k. If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know I also have gone on to do a duathlon and am training for my second this year.

20180701_092752
When you remove “try”¬† you can do big things

I would have accomplished none of that if I hadn’t been determined and just set out to do it.

I never allowed the idea of failure to come into my mind again.¬† Training and then doing it made me victorious no matter what. It really comes down to our “state” of mind, what we believe, what we focus on.

I never approached it as I’m going to “try” because that would give me an out, a way to say, “hey, this is hard, I’m old, I don’t have what it takes, but at least, I tried!”

No. I know I would’ve hated myself for caving into such things.

I would challenge you to remove that word when you approach new or challenging goals or plans in your life.

Contemplating a new exercise or a new goal? Maybe you are going to find healthy recipes or join a class.

Think of how you use¬† the word “try” in general, but specifically when it comes to new challenges. Don’t allow “try” to be your escape hatch.

With a different perspective you might find yourself removing obstacles and doing amazing things you never thought you’d accomplish.

 

Have you thought like that before? Have you thought you’d “try” something fully knowing you might not commit to the process?

 

 

Spotlight On Eggs

In todays food spotlight we’re gonna talk about eggs boys and girls.

The incredible, edible egg.

I know… it’s not a fruit or veggie but they are such a wonderful, complete food source I though we’d take a look at these little gems the chickens offer up to us.

20180501_152109
Jumbo eggs are where it’s at ūüėČ

 

They are frequent visitors to my breakfast. The solid punch of protein not only keeps me feeling satisfied, it also keeps my blood sugar levels even and keeps me from having that crash I sometimes can get with more carb type breakfasts like pancakes or cereals. Eating eggs with a healthy dose of veggies also keeps me full and energetic for hours without thinking about food or getting hungry.

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

One large hard boiled egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbs. It also contains high levels of cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, and folate.

But aren’t eggs bad for you?

there has been talk in the past that eggs caused cholesterol problems, that they are high in cholesterol and therefore would cause individuals to have raised levels.

But did you know…. eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol?¬† The cholesterol in eggs actually helps regulate the two cholesterols found in our bodies.

Eggs offer a crazy amount of health benefits

  • Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
  • Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
  • Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
  • A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and seliniumare key to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
  • Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
  • Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
  • Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
  • Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.

That’s a pretty long list of reasons to add eggs into your daily nutrition plan!

Eat the whole egg!

Seriously, eat all of the egg. The yolk contains tons of minerals and vitamins that are good for you.

egg-benefits

 

Egg yolks contain more vitamins, and larger quantities of those vitamins than egg whites.  Egg yolks are actually one of a handful of foods in which Vitamin D is naturally found.

Other good stuff in the yolks…

A typical egg contains around 1.3 grams of phospholipids, and most of that is in the yolk. Egg phospholipids have benefits for…

  • Cardiovascular health. Egg phospholipids may affect cholesterol and inflammation levels in beneficial ways.
  • Metabolic health. One study¬†found that phospholipids from egg yolks helped decrease blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Memory and cognitive function. Phospholipids may protect against Alzheimer‚Äôs Disease, although it‚Äôs always worth mentioning that rat studies are not human studies and this is still pretty preliminary.

Ok besides all that healthy stuff, they just taste good! Right?

Of course, we’d all agree they are pretty tasty in cakes and cookies haha Fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, in a scramble mix¬† however you cook them¬†they are good. ¬†But there are so many ways they can be prepared that makes this perfect complete protein a tasty meal or snack.

How about a few tasty egg recipes?

 

So that’s a quick review on the humble egg, the complete protein food. ¬†Eggs should be a part of your healthy daily nutrition plan and eating them only has positive health benefits for you.

Tell me, how do you like to eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes?

Life Beyond The Weight Loss

It hasn’t taken long for me to realize through media, talking to people, and my own personal interactions that there is a whole lot of time spent focusing on weight loss, losing weight, ways to lose weight, how fast we can lose weight, and trendy diets to help us lose weight.

The weight loss/diet industry rakes in billions of dollars a year so we could even assume from those numbers people are hungry to accomplish this goal. ( oh I just made a cute pun, appreciate it ūüėČ )

Many will set out with good intentions only to always be on some kind of diet track or have the idea always on their mind they “have” to lose weight.

Many just give up and quit.

Others, others will get it. They will find the thing that works best for them. The “thing” that allows them to slowly, steadily drop weight, live life, not feel deprived and it will be sustainable long term.

They will cross the bridge that leads them to a lifestyle change. This is the only permanent thing that will last. They will find a healthy balance of all foods, learn the right amount they need to lose, then maintain that loss. They will have figured out that a their favorite meal or a treat here and there isn’t going to end their success, in fact, they will have figured out it can lead to their success.

This month marks my 8th year since I crossed over “the bridge”.¬† 8 years of ¬†not just losing it, but keeping it gone. It’s my celebratory month of figuring out what worked for me and getting out of the hamster wheel diet mentality/trap. I’ve learned so much about myself in these past few years. I’ve learned a lot about food, nutrition and exercise too.

Of course, just because this is the month I started the¬†process doesn’t mean it’s when all things connected for me. That took some time, some patience, and some strong willed perseverance. It took a willingness to learn and experiment. To stumble and get up again.

Eventually, I hit a point where losing weight wasn’t such a focus anymore. I stopped my weekly check in’s with the scale. I stopped thinking or worrying every bite was gonna land on me like a ton of bricks. I stopped worrying about what size label my clothes carried.

I was in a good place.. the land of maintenance.

So what about those who “get it” who cross over into that understanding that the only thing that works forever and long term is a lifestyle change. It’s about losing the old¬†lifestyle and mindset that got you there in the first place. ¬†This means mentally, physically, and emotionally. An entire changed perspective on how to approach food, our relationship with it and finding the balance of eating just enough but not to much. It’s a better awareness on taking care of yourself.

Where do you go after weight loss?

In the beginning you’re so focused on the numbers changing, whether it’s your clothes or the scale it unwittingly becomes your main focus on the journey. Once you hit that point of being comfy you realize you need to have a new focus.

I’d say where I am now, as to where I was then, I’ve learned a lot more about food and nutrition.¬† Yes, you can lose weight¬†with almost any foods as long as you are creating a daily deficit.

Losing weight comes down to having a negative expenditure each and every day. It’s just learning what to eat ( in a positive way) to contribute to the weight loss.

But there are things that start to happen in this process, in the “after” part of losing weight…

You really start to prefer healthy, nutritious foods

I was never a horrible eater¬† but I probably snacked on stuff that didn’t support my health and fitness goals like I do now. It has been a ongoing learned process, to intentionally select good foods over fast foods or some junk type of food.¬† In time your body really does begin to crave the good foods and you lose your taste for a lot of the things you used to find so desirable. I often eat salads now simply because I enjoy them, I crave the veggies, and it leaves me feeling energetic and not sluggish for my day.

By the time you get to a maintenance mode, you’ve learned more about the foods that got you there and don’t view eating that way as being deprived or missing out.

So yeah, you’re much more tuned in to how to eat and what to eat and you feel better not only physically, but mentally too when you do. Making good choices just makes you feel good all over.

You don’t dread those morning workouts anymore

I try and tell people this when they are wanting to start exercising. They seem to not believe me. I’m telling you, do it enough, it becomes a habit. And it turns into a habit you WANT to do. You anticipate them and you might even find yourself up for some new challenges you never thought possible. And you’ll get all kinds of energy from keeping at it. Not only that it builds your confidence, clears your mind, helps center you and gives you a new appreciation for what your body can do.

Speaking of energy

it’s fairly obvious, the less you have to drag around on your body¬†during the day, the more energy you might have. Of course, if you’ve been exercising along the way that has been building your entire cardio system so you’ll feel more energetic in your daily tasks without huffing and puffing¬†so much¬†and as well during your purposeful exercise.¬† I just love having the energy to still hang with my young 20something kids if we’re up late ( they freely admit I have more energy than they do) or to be able to play in the pool with my grandson catching him ( over, and over, and over ha) as he comes off the water slide. And in a weird way, energy seems to breed energy, so the more you do the more you seem to produce. It’s a good feeling.

Clothes shopping anyone?

ok I’m a girl and it goes without saying, I can be drawn in by lots of pretty things. It’s even more fun when all the pretty things fit great and look good ( hmmm maybe that isn’t a good thing) it’s just an enjoyable experience.¬† I really do love fun,¬†trendy¬†fashion, a lot. There were times in the past I didn’t want to shop¬†nor did I find it nearly as fun as I do now.¬† Shopping is just much more enjoyable when you are rewarded with fitting into smaller clothes for your efforts.

You might find yourself inspiring others or giving advice

In a weird turn of events, what started off as me doing my own thing to lose weight and get on a healthy lifestyle change has morphed into being here talking to you ( my blog) as well as sharing things on my other social media sites, and encouraging/helping people who ask me questions on everything from nutrition to how to start running and all things in between.¬† I think that’s like, a super cool thing. My desire always is that if someone can see I’ve done it, they can do it too. There’s nothing I love more than seeing someone “get it” and start on their own journeys.

The rest of your life

I guess it goes without saying, being at a healthy weight, exercising to keep your body strong and fit and eating good foods to support that will go a long way to letting you live a full, healthy life. Hopefully without diseases or ailments that can plaque people who carry extra weight or lead a sedentary lifestyle.   Being a strong, healthy you means the ability to live a active life to enjoy your family and all the adventures you want to have with them.

Strong. Healthy. Fit. Energetic. Active.

I’d say those are some pretty good goals to have in the long run far beyond the¬†weight loss.

 

20171018_222215
Celebrating 8 years of  living a strong, fit, healthier lifestyle

Food Choices Deprivation Or Empowerment

Pass Junk food

 

“Don’t you miss eating fun foods?” I was asked that question one day…. this person obviously didn’t know my eating habits super well or they’d know my weakness for some occasional chocolate, powdered sugar donuts,¬†or better yet, French fries.

Years ago as I embarked on my health journey, that may have been my mentality. It would’ve have been my mentality if I had banned foods or put them off limits or treated them like I’d never, ever get to have them again.

Not making foods “good” or “bad” has helped me be successful, and stay successful on this path.¬† I think this theory will work for the majority of people wanting to be healthy.

Oh, in the past I can remember parties or get togethers and “abstaining” from whatever foods/desserts I thought I shouldn’t have.

Let’s be honest, that kinda stuff flat out sucks.

But here’s the weird kicker. What starts out in the beginning as something that feels out of your routine, or daily habit, can slowly be transformed into a new habit and permanent change in our lifestyle.

If you eat “junk” food and it’s your thing to go to, then your taste buds have definitely been trained to eat that way. I’d like to think all of you were raised by moms who attempted to feed you good, healthy food in the beginnings of your life.

As a free willed individual, you grew up and did your own thing. That might involve not eating what mom tried to get you to eat but instead opting for other less desirable choices.

You get it… you train yourself to eat foods that support your health and give you energy or you’re comfortable eating foods that satisfy your emotions and mouth and offer no or minimal nutritional value.

It does make me sad when¬†people make jokes¬†about eating foods that support good health and they don’t participate in eating that way. I’m over here thinking… “that’s your body your living in, the only one you get!”

A mental shift has to occur for anyone to be successful in weight loss and eating in a manner that supports good health.

If you view not getting to eat “junk” food as deprivation, you will not move forward. If you view eating well as punishment, you will not move forward.

We all face temptations when it comes to foods. I have my own that are best for me to stay away from.

I know what it’s like to be in the store, hungry, and all those things I know I don’t need seem to taunt me to buy them.

After all, I’m hungry, right?

But then there’s the stronger part of my mind and body that knows better…. I know how empowering it is to know it’s there and leave it. I know how empowering it is to make good food choices and how I feel after the fact.

And yes, if you are hungry in the store ( a practice I do not recommend ūüėČ ) there is a plethora of foods that can help you that are healthy to snack on…. really. You don’t have to be drawn in at the candy when you are checking out.

It all takes practice. And determination. And failure.

Yes. I said failure.

You aren’t going to nail this each and every time. In the beginning it will be a struggle. With repeated efforts of success and failure you will eventually have more success than not ( this is where determination comes in… and a bit of stubbornness doesn’t hurt either)

As you practice this you will develop new strength, new strength is empowering when you walk away from something. It gradually turns into something you will just automatically do.

Assess what it is. Think about if you really need it. Think about if it will support your health and fitness goals.

Make a choice.

And you know what, sometimes, it’s ok to get that candy bar.

I had done a long endurance session recently and by midafternoon my body was wanting just all out pure sugar. I’ve come to know this feeling occasionally since I’ve become involved in endurance sports.

I intentionally bought a candy bar. I can’t tell you the last time I had one. It was delicious. That feeling went away after. I haven’t wanted one since.

FB_IMG_1505962322803
It was good…

 

No guilt.

I fully knew I could’ve gotten a “healthier” treat. I also made a mindful decision that I wanted to get that candy bar.

It is empowering when you are in mindful control of making choices regarding what goes in your mouth and how you eat.

As you learn to make eating healthier a priority, you not only feel better and are¬†more energetic, your tastes for the lesser quality food really will diminish. In time, you will find those desired foods will have less pull and it becomes quite easy to ignore them and never have them, and yeah, you won’t feel “deprived” either. You will however, feel empowered.

A successful healthy lifestyle will involve balance. Good days and bad days. The key to success is to keep moving forward. Learn to enjoy how you feel when you make more aware choices of what you eat and when you choose a better option.

In time, it will come almost effortlessly to you.

Tell me was there or has there been a time you’ve felt deprived because you didn’t think you could have some type of food? How do you feel when you make a better choice or a more purposeful decision in what you eat?

In Pursuit Of The Ideal Weight

ideal-body-weight

 

“I want to be the weight I was in high school!” says the middle aged¬†woman… “I want to weigh what I did when I played football” declares a man

These are weight ideals that men and women have¬†every day. When they begin to focus on a goal for weight loss for some reason,¬†the weight they were in the past and¬†they felt like they were “their best”, becomes the new and current focus, even if they haven’t seen this weight in decades.

Where as there’s nothing wrong with this, it could also just be an unrealistic goal based on¬†where you are today in¬†your life.

Perhaps there’s a sense that once that “ideal” weight is reached there will be a¬†feeling that you’ve “arrived”. Or it could be an assumption if you got to that weight again you’ll¬†be really happy. Maybe you view it as your body will finally¬†be how you want it.

I guess the reasons could go on… however… it just might not be where you need to be… today.

Our bodies are beautifully designed to live in a perfect balance of a weight that is “good” for us. Yes, we can have times of our weight being lower but it might take a lot more work and attentiveness to our diet to just be able to¬†maintain those numbers on the scale.

It certainly could be an unwanted burden to bear if you have to be constantly watchful of everything you eat to stay at that perceived “good” weight.

That perceived weight goal you have might not be where you need to be at today in your life.

You might have a different job or more activities to keep you moving. You might have health issues or be on meds that don’t allow you to move to that goal. You might not “look” healthy if the weight is a bit to low for you.

But let’s not over look the fact that our bodies¬†often have a preset weight that they can¬†stay at and you can easily maintain and it might not be your predetermined goal weight.

Let’s establish this:

First there are a lot of factors that can determine our “ideal” weight.¬† Your height, age, gender, frame size, muscle to fat ratio, and body fat distribution all play into your ideal weight.

You could be the same height as your friend and maybe trade off borrowing clothes, but I can guarantee your body composition will be very different.

There are several “tools” that doctors/health care professionals use to help determine an “ideal” weight. But again that is so subjective based on many things. Let’s take a look at a few ways supposed ideal weight could be determined.

One of the long time used meters is the BMI (body mass index)

Your BMI is calculated on your height and weight and a scale is used on what “normal” body weights are for the gender/age/ etc.

You can figure your own by looking it up on an online calculator. You can also do it as a math problem, but that makes my head hurt, so I prefer the handy online calculator to help with it. I already know mine, but maybe you need to figure yours out.

This can give a base line of “health”.

Standard numbers are less than 18.5 you are underweight, healthy weight 18.5-24.9, overweight 25-29.9, and obese 30 or higher.

This is a good tool but not a good indicator if a person is carrying a more “muscle to fat ratio” as their numbers can come in higher, although they are technically more fit and more lean muscle mass is definitely preferable to a higher fat ratio.

BMI is a surrogate measure of body fatness because it is a measure of excess weight rather than excess body fat.

BMI uses your weight in the formula but it doesn’t distinguish if it comes from an abundance of fat or lean muscle tissue. Athletes and body builders¬†who carry a great amount of muscle¬† can come in with a higher BMI, which does not distinguish muscle mass carried.

Because BMI does not directly measure fat it can miscategorize people as healthy  who have a normal weight for their height when they are actually carrying to much fatty tissue.

You can see just using a BMI has negatives in both directions although it offers a guideline as a basic health screening.

Another more accurate tool is body fat percentage.

I learned a lot about this a few years ago. My doctor told me I fall more into the category now of figuring body fat than the standard BMI due to my¬†lean muscle mass. ¬†Many experts say that body fat percentage is the best way to go as it is the best way to gauge their fitness level because it’s the only measurement that includes the bodies true composition.

Using the body fat percentage would not make the couch potato seem more fit than an Olympic athlete as the case with just using BMI.

There are several ways of determining body fat percentage and although none are 100% accurate it will give you a close enough estimate.

Examples include near-infrared interactance, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, and bioelectrical impedance analysis.

I’ll give you one other example.. that should be enough to over load your mind for today …

Waist to hip ratio

A waist-hip measurement is the ratio of the circumference of your waist to that of your hips. You measure the smallest circumference of your waist, usually just above your belly button, and divide that total by the circumference of your hip at its widest part.

Less than 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women is considered low risk for cardio problems

0.9-0.99 for men and 0.8-0.89 for women moderate risk of cardio problems

1 or over for men  and 0.9 or over for women is considered high risk

The WHR of a person is commonly said to be a much better indicator of whether their body weight is ideal and what their risks of developing serious health conditions are, compared to BMI.

The biggest problem with WHR is that it’s just not a good indicator of overall health, it doesn’t accurately measure the persons total body fat percentage,¬†or their muscle to fat ratio. It is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI.

So… your ideal weight…does it exist?

Your “ideal” weight is as unique as your daily dietary needs are for health and wellness.

A few things to consider about it…

Know roughly what your body weight range should be. If you are outside of that or know you are carrying extra weight ( and we all know when we have extra fat on us), a sensible plan will help you steadily knock of those pounds to get to a more normal healthy range. The ideal weight charts sometimes can give you a close estimate and some are ridiculous ( as in one that told me I should weigh between 108-112. Yeah, I laughed over that. At 6’0 those are ridiculous numbers) I do know what my “range” is, but for me that’s pretty loose because again, it doesn’t take in my lean muscle mass, my activity level, or any other unique aspects of my physical person.

Your ideal weight won’t necessarily be your high school weight or whatever other magic number you have in mind.

Once you are in a healthy weight zone, allow for a 5 lb. limit to swing back and forth in. Trust me. It’s freeing. Ladies, this is especially important depending on where you are in your cycle. I know that a few extra pounds that might show up mid cycle will go away as some water weight. If it’s water, things will balance out again.

Depending on your level of physical activity ( and I mean workouts most days of the week or specific weight training) you will build lean muscle mass. This level of body fat you have to lean muscle mass is your body composition. The more lean muscle you build, the better. Muscle isn’t “heavier” than 1 lb of fat, it’s just that fat takes up more volume or space then muscle. Muscle is more dense.¬† Understanding this, if you are doing very purposeful exercise all the time you can gain lean muscle but the scale might not change a lot on you.

Your ideal weight will become easy enough to maintain based on your daily food intake and purposeful exercise.

If you have to go hungry, restrict meals, workout more than usual, or do any other crazy thing to stay at a given weight, that’s your wake up call. Your body isn’t going to stay there unless you are constantly diligent and practicing those¬†methods to keep it there.

Your ideal weight will allow you to do the things you love, to take care of your family, pursue active endeavors, or take on your daily purposeful exercise with lots of energy.

It’s great to have an ideal weight in mind, but having a happy healthy weight that’s sustainable for your life is even better.

Do you or have you strived towards an ideal weight? Have you found a place of balance with a happy healthy weight?

 

 

 

Sweet Sleep

sleep

Sleep. Sometimes we get more of it. Sometimes we get less. Often there are things that distract us from resting peacefully. Sometimes we sleep like the dead.

We know we need it, yet we tend to burn the candle at both ends. I am more of a night owl than anything. Yet my alarm and rise time is 6’ish each morning and I know that. I’ve disciplined myself whether it’s a weekend, school is off or on, or whatever, to get up at the same time.

So when I make choices to stay up late, I understand I am eating into my rest time.

Sometimes, I don’t care ūüėõ

Another way to understand your need for rest? Turn into an endurance athlete and you will welcome pillow time ūüėõ ¬†I have my deepest sleeps after long training days.

This is how I’ve learned to consider “rest and sleep” as valuable as how I eat or train. Sleep is crucial for our bodies, athlete or not. I’ve learned if I’m going to train well, I need to make sure my body has proper rest to heal and recover from what it goes through. Sleep is as important to health as eating well and getting exercise.

First of all, what IS sleep?

Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine‚ÄĒyou spend about one-third of your time doing it.¬† Quality sleep ‚Äď and getting enough of it at the right times — is as essential to survival as food and water.¬† Without sleep you can‚Äôt form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it‚Äôs harder to concentrate and respond quickly.

Stages of sleep.

There are actually two basic stages of sleep.

REM (rapid eye movement) and non-rem which has 3 stages. You cycle through all stages in a night with increasingly longer REM periods closer to morning.

Stage 1 rem sleep is the change over from wakefulness to sleep.  It is a short period of relatively light sleep.

Stage 2 non-rem sleep is a period of light sleep before entering deeper sleep. You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.

Stage 3 non-rem sleep is the deep sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning.  It occurs in longer periods during the first part of the night. You are so relaxed this is when it would be very difficult to wake you.

REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.

Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.¬† Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.¬† Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.¬† Most of your dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep.¬† Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams. ( Isn’t that freaky?! I always just thought it was a weird feeling I had)¬† As you age, you sleep less of your time in REM sleep.¬† Memory consolidation most likely requires both non-REM and REM sleep.

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep and sleep patterns change and vary as we age and there is no “magic number” of sleep that works for everyone. We are all different and have different needs and requirements. Most adults need 7-9 hours a night. A few may get by on less and do fine. Others require more.

Cutting your hours during the week thinking you can “make it up on the weekend”? No… there is no making up sleep. Try to get adequate rest during week so you don’t feel a need to make it up.

Getting good rest is vital for your overall health and wellness.

Below are a few suggestions for a good nights rest:

Set a schedule ‚Äď go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.

Avoid eating big meals.

Relax before bed ‚Äď try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine.

Create a room for sleep ‚Äď avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room at a comfortable temperature, and don‚Äôt watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.

Don’t lie in bed awake.  If you can’t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.

See a doctor if you have a problem sleeping or if you feel unusually tired during the day.  Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

Of course there are lots of “smart” ways people are tracking their rest time now days.¬† Smart phone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable devices ( like smart watches, fit bits etc)¬† all give us a look at how our rest time goes. I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR and for almost a year now I’ve been able to track my sleep patterns ( among a lot of other things!)¬† seeing my data can convict me if I feel I need more rest, or confirm that yes, I did indeed rest well last night.

Sleep is one of the essentials we all require for a healthy productive life. Make sure you are taking steps to get adequate amounts to have strong, alert, energetic days, every day.