Why Diets Fail You

Before we get to the weird sweet potato photo…….

Often one of the hardest parts of writing a post for my blog is nailing a title. The idea for the post can come effortlessly and then the only thing remaining is a clever, witty, thought provoking title to draw in you, my 4.5 readers.

And that I can often spend more time pondering than you know….

Therefore, when I have ideas come to me that present me with the title first, I’m thrilled. I then quickly save it into my working folder as an idea to bounce on.

This is one that’s been patiently waiting in that folder. I figured I’d drag it out, dust it off and do something with it 😜

For the love of diets

If you’ve hung around me for awhile, you know I’m kinda “anti diet”. This is not to be confused with “anti weight loss”.

Why anti diet?

They just don’t work.

Oh now wait. I can hear you ready to tell me about Karen at work and how her keto plan has the weight falling off her.

Or maybe it’s someone else working Paleo or any one of the other current trendy things to follow.

There are lots of “vehicles” to get us started on weight loss. The more troubling issue is, which vehicle can get us to our destination and still be usable for us when weight goals have been attained? Which one can we follow for the rest of our life?

Calorie Deficit

I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row. There is no magical, miracle wonder diet that makes you lose weight. There are lots of programs to help you lose your money but you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to lose weight.

It’s simply science.

Expend more calories than you take in through exercise and what you eat, i.e. create a deficit, and you will lose weight.

You could do it with Oreos and milk but I don’t recommend it.

Sustainability

Diets don’t work long term because the large majority just aren’t sustainable. And by that I mean it’s not a plan you can or will do the rest of your life.

I cannot tell you the times I’ve heard someone reference looking forward to a “cheat day”. This means falling off plan to eat the things they have been withholding from themselves. It’s a grasp to feel “normal” and enjoy things that have been on a forbidden list. If you’re on a plan and you spend to much time looking forward to having restricted foods, you may need to rethink it.

For me, that’s not how I wanna live, and really, most people don’t.

It’s why they toss the towel on a plan that withholds enjoyable things.

Deprivation

When people think of diets, no wonder feelings of deprivation come to mind.

Eating less food, not having favorite foods or treats, not getting to have birthday cake, being hungry, eating boring flavorless foods….the list could go on.

No one, not a single one of us, wants to feel deprived which is another reason diets fail.

Lack of balance

Many popular diets totally cut or eliminate food groups. Where there are some people who need to for food allergies or health reasons, the majority of us don’t need to remove healthy and nutritious foods from our daily diets. However, demonizing food groups has become cool in some circles.

Demonizing food isn’t cool.

We love routine

Maybe you have certain things you like to grab for breakfast or you do your coffee in a special way. You have foods you enjoy. It’s all like….comfy…right? None of us want to give up our familiar routines. Diets really upset that apple cart.

Diets offer a quick fix…sorta

Let’s face it. How many times have you started a structured diet and were already longing to get back to normal life? You bite the bullet thinking you can get 6-8 weeks done. You jump into it, get excited over your big “loss” of water weight the first week and prepare for week 2. You’re all on fire and are excited for the weight you’re going to lose.

And then just like that…you’re done. Maybe a week to 10 days into it, you’ll take your few pounds you lost and call it a day. This wasn’t as fun as you thought it would be.

Sadly you’ll gain that weight back with a few more pounds too.

Now about the weird sweet potato pic…

I had gotten in from a sesh of physical therapy and dove into dinner prep. One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is to cube them, add some onion and a bit of olive oil and roast till they are soft with crispy edges.

Heaven.

Anyway, I had started writing this post earlier in the day and had the ideas bouncing around when once again I was reminded of this simple truth.

Diets will almost always fail.

However if we make our daily nutrition about eating real foods, preferably single ingredients or close to it, we will not only be satisfied but will provide our bodies with optimal nutrition. Eating real food is satisfying. Eating real food allows for special occasions and treats and removes feelings of deprivation.

By the way…. I did write a post called “The Single Ingredient Diet” a few months back be sure to check it out…

When we focus on each day, making healthy food choices, eating in balanced ways and allowing for treats, we don’t need to diet.

Learning to create a small calorie deficit in our day will lead to slow and steady weight loss.

Living this lifestyle is not only balanced, sane, and allows you to build your own routine, it is also long term sustainable which will lead you to lifetime success.

Tell me. Have you had success with a particular diet? Or do you find yourself back where you started when you get off it? Have you figured out now how to make it your lifestyle and not diet?

The Joy Of Eating

I did it again to myself. No one to blame but me.

It was a morning I was running at 90 doing a million things before I left the house for the day. Now it was lunch, I was hungry and I pulled out my less than stellar salad I’d hurriedly tossed together.

Hungry, with food that would feed my hunger, but not necessarily bring me joy.

Ugh.

My favorite goof up was tossing salad in my container one night thinking I’d add protein to it in the morning along with a few more veggies.

Imagine my delight when lunch came and I had forgotten to add that and all I had was mostly dark leafy greens.

Go me.

It’s ok to feel good about eating

When I’m hungry, I shamelessly love my food. When my stomach is growling and let’s me know it’s time to eat I want to enjoy my meal.

In the diet obsessive,weight loss focused world we live in there is often an unspoken idea that really, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t enjoy eating, you should obsess or feel guilt, you should eat food that is unexciting because ya know, gotta lose weight.

You should feel deprived and a bit miserable in the process.

Listen, whether you’re working on weight loss or not, you should feel good about eating. Hopefully, you’re making good food choices, but even if you aren’t at that meal I hope there aren’t feelings of guilt that go down with it.

Unfortunately many of us may have grown up with negative behaviors with food, not been shown good eating habits, or used food as a coping mechanism/drug as we grew up.

Working to develop good eating habits, even if it’s slowly, will help you learn to feel good about it.

So about that “joy” of eating

Back to my opening lines. I don’t have much joy when I’ve been haphazard or lazy about putting my food together. When my lunch is ok and basically takes up stomach space, it doesn’t give me joy.

It makes me annoyed I didn’t take the time to put together food I would appreciate more.

We should enjoy our food, we should have food that not only offers our bodies the nutrients it needs for good health, but it should be satisfying to our souls.

Think of things like Thanksgiving or if you were fortunate, amazing Sunday dinners your grandmother whipped up.

Those are often times we may think of that are joyful eating.

True, not every day is like that. Reality might be a sandwich on the run between meetings or whatever we can grab in a busy day.

Joyful eating

I’m surrounded by a lot of men in my family. Men have this tendency to wolf food down. They love teasing me about my “little bites” and being the last one left eating.

I simply inform them I like tasting and savoring my food. 😉

I like taking my time and not rushing.. nothing wrong with that is there?

Some tips for joyful eating

* Be mindful. Really, be in the moment of what you’re eating. Lose the phone, don’t stare at the TV and really focus on enjoying your food.

* Be aware of textures and flavors, appreciate how it all tastes and smells.

* Take your time. Honestly you may have to practice slowing down if you’re used to eating fast. You’ll have a better appreciation if you do.

* Savor the meal and learn to savor the relationships with those you have around the table. Over good food I’ve learned much about my family.

*Prepare foods you really love. Double win if you prepare foods others love as much.

* Leave any guilt you have at the door. Food and guilt have no place together.

* Look for new recipes that give you joy in cooking for you and your family meals.

Tell me…how do you view eating? Is it a joyful thing or one that is mindlessly accomplished ?

Wedding Bells And Adventures

Today’s post boys and girls is brought to you from 35 thousand feet in the air.I’m pretty sure it may be quite a long time before I’d write a post again while I’m flying.What adventures have I been up to?Hubby’s daughter, my step daughter, got married this weekend in New York.Our entire family group went which made for a noticable tribe moving through check points at the airports.There were like…24 of us.Other than both flights going up there being delayed and dragging into our hotel at almost 4 in the morning ( have mercy that was a lonnggg day) the travel went well.My husband is from beautiful parts of New York….Albany area…although he grew up in Roundlake.We all made a field trip there on Saturday and my kids got to see his childhood home and hear stories from “back in the day”.I’m always amazed at the beauty of tall forest trees, old colonial styled homes and a calmer and peaceful atmosphere there.Small towns are “villages” and I found a sign that stated as such..Don’t ask why but I thought it was cool.It was fun to visit the places of his life from his earlier years. He still has family there and some made themselves available for us while we were there to visit and catch up on our lives.The weddingAh yes. Let’s get to the good stuff :)Weddings are always sweet, beautiful and full of hopes, promises, and new dreams.I always admire the new couple and think of them starting this journey of marriage.I think about the roads I’ve traveled on mine in 35 years.I wonder if they will have all it takes to withstand lifes ups and downs once the honeymoon is over.For a writer and a people watcher like me, weddings are perfect fodder for my reflective, wandering mind and thoughts.This was the first marriage for my husband’s daughter. She is strong, beautiful, hard working, clever, and fun.She is 42 and found the man of her dreams ( we all like him alot too 🙂 )I’d say she has had plenty of time to consider all she would want her wedding to be….and it was beautiful. She was a glowing, stunning bride and as best as I could tell everything went perfect.Of course the reception is the time when everyone can relax and have fun.And have fun, we did.With a DJ that was a ball of energy, there wasn’t a dull moment.Ok dear readers, I need to admit it here, but yours truly loves to dance.And I did and by the end of the night the heels were off, my feet were tired, my makeup had faded and my flowers had wilted, but gosh, it was a fun night.But it was one song that took me to that deeper introspection.He had all the couples on the floor dancing and they dropped out as he called out years you were married.It felt good to be one of the half dozen left standing when the years topped over thirty, then 35…that’s when we stepped off floor with only a few left.The grooms parents took it with 50 years.I thought about all the years of life lived with a person and all that goes with it.The good, the bad, the ugly and beautiful.And by damn….awards should be given!It takes a whole lotta work to get to that point in your life.Work. Sacrifice. Giving. Taking. Laughing. Crying. Inside jokes and getting each other in ways no one else on planet earth does. Years of being poor. Years of having plenty. Kids. Dogs. House payments. Sickness and health. Hogging the covers and taking over the bed. Learning to embrace and accept each other’s weirdness and idiosyncrasies.All of these thoughts rolled through my head as I danced with my husband, my partner in crime.I thought about his daughter and how she would learn these things too.You think you know your partner on your wedding day and you do.But you know them so much better year after year than you did that day.And it’s just the day in and out of life that you learn these things.They will learn too. They will travel down the road of life together and realize a few years from now they know each other better than they did on this amazing day and there is such a beautiful sweetness in that.Now back to regularly scheduled lifeWe’ve all experienced it right? The fun comes to an end and its back to doing life again that got left behind while you’re off having fun.And here I sit, high above the earth as darkness creeps into the cabin, the passengers quiet as the plane speeds us closer home, waiting to resume life again at home.The wedding was sweet. The time seeing the bride and her new husband was precious.Seeing a few family members let us catch up on life.The time away and having all our family there on a big trip was a first.The ages ranged from my new born granddaughter to us old people Haha and everything in between.Life is precious. But it’s the people in it that make it that way. As I come home tired and ready for my own bed, I’m reminded again of how truly blessed I am in my life.And I’m already plotting and planning when we can go on another adventure again.Have you been on any recent adventures?

Monday Musings

Hello world and hello Monday.

Didn’t we just do this??

Is anyone else appreciating that the days are slowly getting a bit longer and for us, warmer as well?

So I’m feeling a bit victorious...

Why you ask? I’m coming off a 9 day stint of taking care of my very active, busy, precocious 2 year old granddaughter while my son and wife were in Ireland.

Rough for them I know 😛

Anyway, I dusted off my 24/7 mom skills and thankfully they were still in place. And it should be mentioned, being fit has payoffs in keeping up with a non stop 2 year old.

Thankfully she enjoys being busy and enjoyed running and going places with me.

She loves being outdoors with the sun in her face and wind in her hair. She wants to explore and is open to new adventures. She’s fearless and doesn’t hesitate from jumping into things.

She’s my spirit animal, seriously.

We went to the park one day. And of course she wanted me running up the hills with her, and then climbing up the big slide. She delightedly waited at the bottom for me to slide down squealing in joy. We got on the swings, her in my lap holding on to the chains thrilled we were sailing into the trees.

***me…attempting to bend all 6’0 under the slide over hang***

It was all fun and games till she let one arm go. I was trying to keep her on my lap while the swing was twisting wildly and I’m internally freaking out ’cause I’m terrified I’m gonna break her little arm. When I finally get the crazy swing under control and stop us, she turns to me and says “Nanny come on, do it again!” While my heart is still pounding out of my chest…

I got to climb bars, swing from them, and all kinds of other things while well behaved moms in yoga pants sat chatting watching my antics.

It’s the cool thing about being old. You just do what you want and you don’t care if anyone may or may not be approving.

There’s a crazy amount of freedom in that.

And you know something? It is true…what people used to tell me…that grandkids are awesome and blah, blah…I thought they were just running their mouths

You love them in this crazy, awesome, different way from your own kids. They are the reward for not eating your own offspring 😜

They own your heart in ways you can’t explain.

I have 6…and a 7th due in less than a month…another little girl to own my heart. My first born son expecting his first born. I can hardly wait to see him in a daddy role to his baby girl.

I just hope he doesn’t pass out during the delivery….

So yeah, grandbabies are kinda cool.

Then one day, we’re in my car hitting the highway. I drive a Charger and it never gets old letting it open up, hearing the engine kick in, and that swift feel of rapid speed. It’s a head rush.

I do love it.

Then from the backseat I hear….”Whoa!” Followed by a wild delighted laugh. I glanced back to see her with this big smile on her face.  It appears she may enjoy it too…

This was us “driving” later. I may be ruining her for her dad hahaha

The next morning as we were going to car she runs for drivers side and I hear…”Nanny are you ready?”

I spent a whole lot of time laughing. 😂😂

Her parents returned home after a fun trip and collected her.

I missed her sleepy little face that first morning they were back, waking up, calling me and giving me morning hugs and kisses.

We had been partners in crime.

Fortunately they live next door so I don’t have to go to long before I get those again.

Later, I got to enjoy my coffee in a cool cup. Pretty sure not many people have a coffee cup like this around Texas….

Oh yeah, aside from busy 2 year old care, I had time to work on lots of projects for my business. That has kept me running too. I love all the creativity that comes with it.. I find it quite relaxing in a weird way.

I finished this cool antique table this week. I’m excited it has sold already.

Look at those claw feet. I’m a sucker for those.

I repurposed an ugly vintage suitcase…

Look at it now…

And I turned a boring brown table into a clock table which I love…

I’m on a black and white kick….

And one other thing. Check out this super cool antique radio cabinet I scored. I’m totally repurposing it for something else…I can hardly wait to start it.

In other random stuff….

I was running through the store the other day and spotted this.. .

Like…what the heck Barbie?? I know times are a changin’ ya’ll but.. this isn’t the Barbie I knew and loved.

I love the glamorous Barbie even if the world thinks she’s unrealistic. What’s wrong with fantasy and fun play? I like my Barbies with crazy long legs and unrealistic waist sizes.

She had amazing clothes, cool cars and equally spiffy boy friends.

I don’t want a thick Barbie in mom jeans.

I know that may not be politially correct to say but it’s my personal opinion. Childhood is short, why can’t you have something wildly fun and non real to enjoy before you have to grow up?

Maybe there is a market for the mom jean Barbie….I prefer the Barbie who knows how to dress and has the cool car.

Your turn to weigh in…what do you think about a modern looking Barbie? What new projects or adventures have you been up to this week? How will you spend longer days?

Monday Musings

I’m not sure how this has happened but here we are on another Monday again. Did the week sail by and I missed it or what?

Or… is it true.. the older you get the faster time goes?

And I’m getting older..  but more on that later…

In this weeks news we finally had rain! True it came in on the afternoon of July 4th and probably shut down lots of outdoor celebrations but it’s hard to complain when the grass has been crunching under foot for over a month now.

But then we had rain the next few days too so that’s a total win.

*** And in a side note as I’m preparing to launch this post, it’s been storming here since early morning hours. Am I the only one who loves waking up to the sound of a thunder and rain on the roof?

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Can you go wrong with a pink rainy hoody? I think not.

And rain means getting to break out those rainy day garments that mostly hang out in the closest… for a girl who likes fun clothes and gear… it’s a win/win thing.

Speaking of fun stuff….

I kinda have a birthday later this week. Due to logistics of getting all the fam together we had the big celebration this weekend but I plan to milk the upcoming week for all it’s worth 😉

Hubby surprised me.. totally caught me off guard with his gift….. check out what I got.

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Why yes, that’s a GoPro. Now I gotta figure out all the operations of it.

I’m not sure but he may have been worried about me trying to make a video while holding my phone, flying off a hill on my bike, or the fact I’ve talked about paddle boarding and having my phone out on the open water 😛  I love that he supports my adventurous nature.

Anyway, I feel fairly certain you’ll be hearing more about this in the future…  once I read all the directions 😛

On the topic of reading….

When I’m not flying down the road on foot or bike or flipping furniture or just doing life, I really do like to read.

I’ve always loved words and I’ve always enjoyed reading. One of my favorite things I did during the summer as a kid was go to the library and drag home bags of books to read.

Once I had kids, it was something I enjoyed taking them to do during the summer.

My kids are grown now but I still love going. There is something about walking in and seeing rows and rows of books, and that “library smell” that whisks me back to earlier, simpler days of my life when I could get lost for hours in a book without a care in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still read for hours but gosh, adulting often comes calling and I have to abandon reading till those things are done.

I love all kinds of books but I really love books I can get lost in with a good story line that don’t demand anything from me but that I enjoy them.

Summers really are meant for carefree days spent reading, aren’t they?

Summers are also meant for easy foods right?

I made this new baked bean recipe recently and it was a huge hit. Note it makes a pretty good amount so you can feed a lot of people.

I also experimented on the fam with this dinner recipe last week. It was easy and well liked so it may get used again….

During the summer I’m all about what I can put together easily, what feeds lots of people and is nutritious and tasty too.  The longer days have me involved in projects and I like having meals that don’t take forever to put together.

Oh and on topic of food… if you missed it….  a post over the weekend was on food, eating and guilt.  Something many struggle with and is a part of our dysfunction with food.  If you missed it you can find it here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/

Speaking of projects….

you know I’ve gotta tell you about some of my furniture adventures, right?

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Vintage harp back chairs

So I got this group of 4 chairs yesterday, and how nice, someone has actually sanded them and made new board seats which speeds my work up 😛 I love old chairs to flip, each one is a fun project unto itself. I can hardly wait to see what clever ideas come to mind for them.

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Petite Vintage Vanity

I got this cute little vanity with a stunning mirror about a month ago. I just finished it’s transformation. I love how simple and clean it looks now.

 

 

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There are some pieces I really want to keep…. this is one of them… but hopefully it will be going to a new home soon.

I also got this super ugly, sad piece a few weeks ago… you can see it here in this post….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/25/monday-musings-16/

I’ve been busy at work on it and can hardly wait to show you… it’s going to be so gorgeous! Nothing feels more rewarding than transforming something ghastly into something beautiful and usable again.

Moving along…..

My week ahead will be full with all the usual life stuff and in the mix of that finding time to read, write, and work on my projects that is slowly becoming a fun little side business.

My birthday is actually Wed so I have plans to do things that I love doing and to enjoy the people in my life who make me happy.

I was reading the other day that we all move through our life doing things that we (personally) enjoy and we learn to make room for doing those things that matter to us.

I try and take care of the “necessary” stuff in life ( ugh like cleaning) but get it done quickly so I have more time for the things that make me happy and give me joy. I hope you have time in your days for doing things that bring you simple joy.

Now tell me what adventures you’ve been on this week. Have you got any good reading suggestions for the summer?  Tried any new healthy recipes? What are things you do in your life that bring you a simple joy to do them?

No Exercise Required

It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.

For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉

I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…

I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land.  I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha

And can I take a moment to say thank you?

However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write.  I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.

I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.

Now, where was I?

Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.

Sweet heavens.

It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.

All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.

Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”

I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.

I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.

Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.

I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.

Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.

oxygen

 

It’s just not.

Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more.  Exercise can just support those efforts.

Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉

In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.

Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body.  For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.

Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.

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Remember, your heart is a muscle that needs work too 😉

 

 

So…get this…..

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.  Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.

I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.

Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.

It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

Is that enough evidence for exercise?

Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.

Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.

It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement.  So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.

What exercise has taught me

ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and  then start doing “something”.

I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.

I did it enough it turned into a new habit.  One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…

Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.

That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.

When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.

I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.

Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.  This translates far beyond what I do on  the road.

The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.

Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.

I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor.  My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”.   So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉

I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.

It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of.  I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically

Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.

So yeah, you do need to exercise

So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on.  Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.

And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.

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I love and anticipate my workouts now, physically and mentally.

 

Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?

Spotlight On Watermelon

Here in the south summer has arrived with the vengeance of  a mother in law that has swept in for a long staying vacation.  It means light foods, pool time, sandals or flip flops as main stay foot wear, plastic kiddie pools and blow up inflatables ( am I the only one who loves the smell of that cheap plastic and sniffs it like a dog sniffing a bone ?? haha)  shorts, and an endless tan till November.

Summer “officially” doesn’t start till Thursday but I guess no one told the weather that. We are  now in days of endless blue skies, sun, temps dancing in the high 90’s and “don’t sit on plastic furniture or you will stick to it” kinds of fun.

I really don’t like having to cook meals when it gets so warm, but my body does dig eating, so I’ve had to come to a happy balance of food, but light foods.

Todays spotlight is on one of my favorite summer treats, watermelon.

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Get a fork, I’ll share

 

Cool, sweet, refreshing and you get an arm workout lifting and tossing them into your basket, it is total win on all levels.

Sweet and healthy

Who says sweets aren’t good for you?  Check out some of it’s vitamin and mineral benefits

As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries.

A cup (154 grams) of watermelon has may other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI

Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.

Watermelon is also loaded with anti-oxidants.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals. Not surprisingly, watermelon contains a hefty amount of vitamin C – 21% of the daily recommended value – that helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight disease. There’s also a 17% daily value of vitamin A, boosting eye health and preventing such diseases as macular degeneration and cataracts. The vitamin B6 content helps form red blood cells and assures your nerves will function as they should. Your body uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins, so the more protein is consumed, the more vitamin B6 is needed. Potassium, although a relatively small amount is in watermelon, helps balance fluids in your cells. (Low potassium levels sometimes cause muscle cramps.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.

Lycopene

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that doesn’t change into vitamin A. This potent antioxidant gives a red color to plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon, and is linked to many health benefits.

Cucurbitacin E

Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.

Let’s not forget one really big important factor, watermelon is made up of 92% water so it makes a perfect fruit to help keeping you hydrated.  Also, A high water content is one of the reasons that fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.

Nutritionally, while vitamin A and C content is significant, it’s the lycopene that takes the prize for what it does for the body, which includes anti-inflammation bone health and an ability to neutralize harmful free radicals.

The nutritional break down

Nutrition Facts

Watermelon Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, balls (154 g)
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 46
Calories from Fat 2
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Potassium 171.21mg 5%
Carbohydrates 11.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 9.5g
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 18% · Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1% · Iron 2%

 

Can we eat now?

One thing about watermelon, it requires nothing fancy to eat it. Just chill, cut and serve. If it’s for a picnic it can be cut and sliced and eaten right off the rind. Although messy, it’s one of the more fun ways to eat it, just have plenty of napkins on hand.  If you’re going for a more civilized way of eating it haha, it’s cut off the rind and served in a bowl where you can use utensils to dine on it ( I prefer the outdoor method, sun in my hair and juice on my face with plenty of napkins version ’cause well, that’s what summer’s about right?)

Watermelon is a very non-fussy food which perhaps in my estimation makes it perfect for laid back summer days.

Sweet, hydrating, packed with awesome invisible vitamins and minerals that are amazing for your body and crazy low in calories, all while satisfying your sweet cravings?

I think that’s a total win.

But wait…. wait a minute….

Do you know watermelon is not actually a fruit but considered a vegetable?

SAY WHAT?

We think of watermelon as a fruit because of its sweet flavor, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.

So… there’s that. I know you’re shocked.  Fruit? Vegetable? Let’s just call it tasty.

A few fun facts on melons…..

Seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified. They’re actually a hybrid watermelon created by crossing a watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a watermelon with 44 chromosomes. The result is a sterile watermelon. These watermelons produce immature white seeds that are perfectly safe to eat. Seedless watermelons were first created over 50 years ago.

Watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians depicted watermelon in drawings on the walls of tombs and even left watermelon with their dead to nourish them as they journeyed through the underworld

Because watermelons are native to Africa, they need hot, sunny conditions to thrive. Some varieties need up to 130 warm days to ripen. Most watermelons mature in 85 to 100 days

Watermelons usually have red flesh, but some watermelons have white, yellow, orange or even green flesh

A watermelon will not grow in your belly if you eat the seeds. In fact, the seeds are actually quite nutritious with high levels of magnesium, zinc and protein. Chew the seeds before swallowing for optimum nutrition ( all the times your mom told you that story of watermelons growing in your belly, right??)

The Japanese grow square watermelon. How? They place square glass boxes around a growing fruit so it becomes square as it grows. The Japanese like them because they’re small and don’t roll around. They fit neatly in a refrigerator. The downside? These watermelon cost about $82!

And the recipe board……

You may not think of eating watermelon in other ways than it’s easy natural form. I thought I’d add a couple recipes that showcase this great summer fruit.

 

Oh, and can you go wrong with ice cream or sherbet for a cool treat? Check out this two ingredient healthy option.

 

And of course, let’s not forget cute ways you can play with this fruit….uh…vegetable?……too 😉

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A fruit shark??

 

Tell me, is watermelon an enjoyable summer fruit for you? Do you have any preferred ways of eating it or interesting recipes using it ?