Saturday 29 March 2014

Set the Bar - Then Fly Over It!

One of the best ways to get started on the footpath to better health is to set a goal, then fly past it on our way to something greater!

When we have an objective like Tough Mudder, a Spartan Race or the Edmonton Marathon, having a goal is the most effective way to start putting one foot in front of the other.  It helps to get us out the door on days we don’t feel like leaving the house.

Just wanting to lose weight and be fit isn’t always enough for us to get up and get after it.  Many of us need a goal - a starting line - something to work toward so that our fitness and weight loss targets are about more than looking and feeling good.  Feeling more alive and energetic is a great side effect, but we have to be careful about training based on our feelings, because our feelings don’t always serve our best interests.

So I would encourage you to make a goal for the month of April.  Set the bar and take a step to reach it.  Then another… then another… then one more!

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Looking for a Diet? Try Real Food.

A recent study looked at several modern diets, some with devoted followings in popular culture, trying to understand out which one was the best.  These days it really is difficult to figure our which method of dieting is the best when much of the information is circulating in contradiction.  Everyone knows that what we eat is important, but just what is best for us to eat?

I found this article when a story about it in The Atlantic was re-tweeted by Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food.

While there are several books by celebrity authors advocating low carb, high protein, vegan angles etc, the study concluded that in reality, the truth of what we should be eating is very simple : "(a) diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants..."  This turns out to be our best shot at disease prevention and the promotion of good health.

If we eat food the way it was meant to be eaten and prepared (as naturally as possible), the whole concept of dieting really goes out the window.  We don't need to worry about what's been added to our food if we don't process it with stuff that shouldn't even be there in the first place.  

Michael Pollan had it right: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Monday 17 March 2014

The Four-leaf Smoothie

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day and my Irish heritage, I’m going to talk about a green nutritional trend that has been getting a lot of attention.  Green smoothies and juices are one way that people are choosing to take in their vegetables these days. And let’s be honest, as much as we may care about what we put into our bodies, it can be tough to creatively ingest several servings of broccoli, kale and spinach in one sitting.

 So here’s what my husband and I put in the blender many times during the week and share:

1)   A mitt-full of organic baby spinach

2)   A couple stems of organic baby kale

3)   A few stems of organic broccolette

4)   A few leaves of romaine

5)   2 mini cucumbers

6)   Half of an avocado

7)   2 organic bananas

8)   A spoonful of Greek yogurt

9)   A couple of blueberries

10)  Half a cup of orange juice

11)  Half a cup of almond milk

12)  Protein powder

13)  As much filtered water as needed for consistency

Any of these items can be substituted depending on what we feel like, or what’s in the fridge, but you get the idea.  Don’t be put off by the colour – it’s ‘magically delicious.’

Saturday 15 March 2014

Health in the Age of Video Games

Yesterday, I had the cool opportunity to visit a Junior High and talk about fitness to a gym full of students.  The engagement was great and everyone had a good time, but it made me think about how much we need teach the next generation some good habits for health.

Kids today have so many digital distractions: smartphones, video games, Internet etc.  Are the days of moving around outside and using imagination gone forever?  If not, we can at least say that the outdoors has some real competitors for our attention.

We can’t get rid of YouTube, iPhones or Xbox - technology is here to stay – and I’m as big a user of it as anybody.  So with a world full of technological convenience, why do some stay fit and others let their health fall by the wayside?

I think it comes down to education.  We need to teach the next generation why it’s important to move around, take some breaths of fresh air and eat more vegetables.  Convenience has become the enemy of health.  And when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we could all use a little discipline.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Diets Work?

Can you lose weight on a diet?


Can you keep the weight off afterwards?


I was walking around a bookstore the other day and I noticed how many different diet books there are.  How can we keep it straight in our minds which plan we are supposed to follow?  Especially when the latest diet fads seem to contradict each other?

Low carb?  Low fat?  High fat?  No meat?  All meat?

The truth is when we shop for these books, we aren't looking for what works... we are looking for what works FAST!  Because we are sick of where our bodies are at, and we make an emotional decision that we need to change RIGHT NOW.

Don't get me wrong - this is a good place to be.  There is huge power in getting to the point in life where we know that something has to change. 

Diets work, but they are hard.  And they usually don't last.

So we could go on a diet and lose weight fast... or we can make a lasting change to our eating and exercise habits and never have to go on a diet again.