Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Shop the Grocery Store

I know that a lot of my posts during Weight Loss Month have been about diet, but that's because diet is one of the biggest reasons that Americans are overweight.  The American diet is centered on fast, easy, and unhealthy.  Along with avoiding fast food and making your own dinners, you need to know how to shop at the grocery store.

You see, grocery stores are smart.  They set up the junk food that tastes really good and stimulates the pleasure centers in your brain in the middle of the store and by the cashiers.  There's a reason all of the candy is sitting right next to you while you're waiting in line instead of the vegetables.  You're more likely to impulse buy a Butterfinger than broccoli.  You're also more likely to roam the middle of any store than the sides and back.  That's why, if you think about the grocery store you go to, most, if not all, of the processed, chemically enhanced, packaged "food" is in the center of the store.  That's where most of the people shop.

So, if you want one quick way to start shopping healthier, avoid the center aisles as much as possible.  Now of course, there are some very healthy necessities in the center of the store.  For example, eggs are in the center of the store I shop at.  But they are also right next to the sugar loaded, hormone filled yogurts. 

Another good rule of thumb is to try to avoid buying anything that's in a package.  Yeah it's typically faster and easier to make something in a package, but that also means that there are usually preservatives and other chemicals to help it stay "fresh".  When you prepare your own meals instead of throwing one in the microwave, you know for sure what is going into that meal and, for instance, you know that the chicken is actually going to be chicken and not chicken flavored chicken byproducts.

If you follow these 2 simple suggestions as much as you can, you will find yourself buying healthier food and preparing more homemade meals that can fit into your weight loss diet a lot easier that the stuff in the middle of the store.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Exercising Without Even Knowing It

Exercise can be a lot of different things to people.  For someone, it could be a great release of stress and tension accumulated throughout the day.  For another person, it could be their chance for some alone time.  But, for most Americans, it's just a hassle.  It's just too much work.  But it doesn't need to be that way. You can increase your exercise and activity load 10 fold by just doing your normal, daily routines a little differently.

I'm going to give you a list of some small things that you can do throughout your day that will increase your overall activity level which will increase your overall health and wellness.

#1 - Park further from the door.  When you park as close to the entrance of wherever you're going, you're robbing yourself of valuable walking time.  Yeah, it takes a little bit longer, but who doesn't have an extra 20 seconds here and there to spare.

#2 - Mow the lawn with a push mower.  I know that riding lawn mowers are faster and paying the neighbor kid $20 to mow your yard is easier, but this give you the perfect opportunity to burn some extra calories and get outside to breathe in some fresh air (not to mention save $20 every couple weeks).

#3 - Chew your food more than you're used to.  It's true that this won't do much for exercise or burning calories, but every little bit counts.  Not to mention that digestion starts in your mouth.  When you chew more thoroughly, the rest of your digestive system doesn't need to work as hard.

#4 - Add a little spice to your diet.  Cayenne pepper has been shown to have fat burning qualities.  This is typically in larger amouts, but if you add a little here and there, it won't be doing any harm.

#5 - Take the stairs.  Instead of always opting for the escalator or elevator.  Use the stairs.  Even if you work on the 37th floor, take the elevator part of the way and the stairs for the last 2 or 3 floors.

#6 - Rake the yard.  Just like # 2, you get outside, you get your body moving, and you get to enjoy the brisk autumn air.

#7 - Swap your bad-posture-inducing home desk chair for an exercise ball.  You will need to rely more on your core muscles and the other muscles in your body that don't get enough attention by sitting on an exercise ball.  If you do this at work, you will probably want to only do this for part of the day to start out.

#8 - Start a garden.  Once again, you get outside and you're getting some good movement into the joints of your spine and body.  Plus, you will be growing all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices that will be much more flavorful and healthy than what you find in the grocery store.

#9 - If you have kids, play with them!  Wrestle around, play catch, kick around a soccer ball, play dress up, and whatever else your kids want to do.  It's gets you moving around and burns a couple calories here and there.

There you go.  A little extra exercise doesn't need to be time consuming, monotonous, or too much work.  By slightly changing your daily routine and habits, you can burn off some extra calories and have fun doing it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Detox Diet

Continuing with our Weight Loss Month theme, I figured I would talk about a healhty way to cleanse your system and even lose a few pounds along the way.  There has been a lot of talk about famous, fit celebrities and their miracle diets.  When you actually look into most of them, they are starving their bodies of essential nutrients when they go on these diets to lose weight drastically.  That is not the point of this detox diet.

The Detox Diet focuses solely on giving a cleanse to your system for a short period of time to rid your body of toxins and waste remnants from all of the junk and chemicals that are in our food, drink, and air.  If you do the diet, you may notice that you lost some pounds and there's nothing wrong with that.  Also, after the Detox Diet is complete, you will most likely feel more energized, has fewer digestive issues, have clearer skin, and clearer sinuses to name a few.  I will tell you, you NEED to consult some sort of health professional before doing this Detox Diet as it is not for everyone.

So, here it is.  3 easy steps to follow and it lasts only 1 week.  (I'm not going to lie, it's not easy and it can be downright miserable in the first step but you should feel cleaned out and energized when it's all said and done)

Step 1:  "The Fast" - On days 1 & 2 of the 7-day Detox Diet, you will not eat any solid foods.  (Sounds crazy right?)  Drink at least 8, 8 oz glasses of water during the day.  With 2 of those 8 oz glasses of water, mix in 1 Tablespoon of psyllium husk (fiber).  The purpose of not eating solids, drinking tons of water, and taking fiber is to clean out your digestive tract.

Step 2:  "The Cleanse" - On days 3 through 7, you can add in some solid foods.  Try as best you can to limit yourself to fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  If you feel the need for some meat, stick to fresh, wild-caught fish in 4 oz servings once a day.  Also, continue with the 8, 8 oz glasses of water per day, 2 with the psyllium husk.

Step 3:  Once you've finished with step 2, you're done!  But that doesn't mean you can go to McDonald's and gorge because you've been so good for the past week.  This is the perfect opportunity to start eating a more healthy, balanced diet.  For the first few days, avoid any dairy, wheat, fatty foods, and processed foods as mush as possible and slowly add back in the foods that you eliminated during the detox.

Quick Bits of Info: 
 - It's essential to drink enough water during the detox to keep your body hydrated, especially during the fasting portion.
 - You may want to plan to start the detox during the weekend so you aren't fasting while at work which culd lead to more crabbiness toward co-workers.
 - Get plenty of rest (at least 8 hours of sleep) and don't do any strenuous exercise (limit yourself to a brisk walk) during the detox.
 - During the fasting step, you will most likely experience fatigue, irritability, and hunger.  They should subside once you start step 2.

Finally, remember to talk to a health professional before beginning the Detox Diet to make sure it's OK for you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Flip your Diet Schedule

Gone should be the days of no breakfast and enormous dinners.  But, that's just what our American lifestyle has led us to.  We're usually so rushed in the morning that it's just easier to grab a cup of coffee and breakfast bar.  Then when we get home from a long day at work, it's just nice to sit down and have a filling, large meal right?  These habits might seem correct for your schedule and and your personal apetite, but they are not good for your overall health. 

So here's the deal, since most Americans have their diet schedule all backwards, I may as well give some tips on how to turn that around.  The easiest way to remember what meal should be the biggest is as follows:

Breakfast - Eat like a King
Lunch - Eat like a Prince
Supper - Eat Like a Pauper

Now, of course this doesn't mean that you can only eat bread and butter for supper and have a 7 course meal for breakfast.  It simply means that you should get the majority of your calories for breakfast.  And it also means that you should get good calories for breakfast.  That means more protein, fruits, and vegetables.  Protein in the morning has been shown to increase energy, not only in the morning but throughout the day.  That means less of a crash at 11 am.  Some good sources of morning protein are eggs, nuts, quinoa, and lean/unprocessed meats (NOT sausage links). 

The same standards go for lunch.  More calories than supper but not as many as breakfast.  You need a pick-me-up in the midday to get you through the strenuous afternoon hours.  Sandwich rolls (meats and veggies) are a perfect way to get protein and vegetables in at lunch.  Also, a trail mix can be a perfect side dish for lunch or an afternoon snack.

Now comes the biggest difference, no more huge suppers.  The reason is that you don't need all of those calories at the end of the day.  The more calories you eat at night, the more calories will be going toward storage.  And, calories are stored as fat in our bodies.  So, one quick way to help you start to lose weight is by sticking to the Pauper Supper method.  Of course this doesn't mean that you can only eat nuts and berries for dinner, you can still have the same meal, just scale the portion sizes way down.  Try eating about 1/3 of what you would typically eat at night.  Now, if you're thinking, "I'll be way to hungry to only eat that much", you shouldn't be if you eat a large breakfast and medium sized lunch.  Plus, you'll have homemade leftovers to bring for lunch the next day.

So remember, a Breakfast fit for a King, a Prince's Lunch, and Pauper Supper.

October is Weight Loss Month at Cascade Chiropractic & Massage so all of the posts this month will focus on some type of strategy to aid you in your weight loss.