Saturday, May 31, 2014

Legit Lean finding #1: Oatmeal for breakfast

Last month I mentioned getting the book, The Lean.  It shares 30 simple steps you can take (one new method each day, which you integrate as you progress through the 30 days) to better your overall health.  I am currently reading the book and will be sharing some of the findings I found particularly valuable.

The first is Freston's advice (Day 2) to "have a hearty breakfast."  She shares: "When you eat a good breakfast of complex carbs, like those in steel-cut oats or brown rice or whole grain bread, you get a slow and steady release of glucose that powers your body for hours" (8).  Kathy explains that while eggs have good protein that from a weight loss and health perspective, they have absolutely no fiber, which is not good for your metabolism.  She also shares that "Eating just a cup of oatmeal a day appears to extend a woman's life span as much as if she jogged four hours a week!" (13).  Pretty compelling, if you ask me!

So, I decided to give the hearty breakfast recommendation a whirl by purchasing quality rolled oats, and preparing oatmeal for breakfast a few times this week.  It absolutely has made a difference for me!  For one, I feel satisfied after the meal.  For two, I feel full for a long time.  Third, and even better, I don't feel that icky feeling after eating the meal.  There isn't a big blood sugar rush, digestive issues, or that too heavy stomach feeling you have after a rich egg dish/breakfast. 

I will mention that adding a few items to the oatmeal makes a big difference (the idea of eating plain oatmeal with nothing on it is out of the question for me).  I've tried adding fresh, local strawberry slices, chopped walnuts, brown sugar, and almond milk.  It is SUPER good.  I also am loving adding sliced apples with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little ginger.  Ironically, Day 3 of The Lean is to eat an apply daily - so it's a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone! 

In recent months I had gotten out of the routine of making time to sit down and eat a healthy breakfast, and I've had quite a few muffins and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches on the go.  This is not "bad," but these options ultimately don't make me feel great in the end, and they cost a lot of money!  I am excited to integrate this healthy, small change as much as I can moving forward. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time for a Spring clean!

When you read the title of this post you probably thought: "Yes, I need to clean my home and take boxes of stuff to Goodwill too."  True story for me as well.  However the 'Spring clean' I'm referring to is the cleaning of my body.

I've had a lot of fun since Spring began, but I also have not taken the best care of my body.  Unfortunately, my gym closed down in March and that was a huge bummer for me.  I absolutely loved my gym and truly miss my routine of morning workouts and yoga classes on the weekends.  I also haven't been eating as healthy.  As the weather gets nicer in Seattle, that also means cold beers and white wine for me, which are delicious, but not a tummy tamer.

The other day I told my friend Lulu that for me, health is not about a number on a scale - it's about how I feel from the inside out.  Just like my blog, health is looking at things holistically.  When I am practicing a healthy lifestyle (note: this includes nutrition, exercise, the outdoors, quality time with friends, sleep, etc), I FEEL healthier.  I am more awake, happier, more confident, and more at peace. My skin even looks better!  I feel more inspired to continue being healthy and achieving my goals. 

I also have a strong desire to enjoy this Summer feeling truly confident about my body and being as active as possible.  For my non-Seattle native readers, Seattle is the most beautiful place to live in the Summer.  It is 80 degrees, sunny, with no humidity almost daily.  The days are long and the evenings are beautiful.  You are outside all the time and are always moving, so therefore tend to be at your best, fitness wise.  In short - the Summer months are incredible and a precious time for me.  I don't want to look back after Summer is over and say "I sat around moping and feeling unsatisfied all Summer long instead of living it up and feeling awesome." I have several fun trips planned, including going to Leavenworth and my favorite annual trip to Colorado to visit my cousins.  These trips both involve lots of swimsuit time and being active - ie added motivation.

So, what does the cleaning of my body mean for me?

1.  Education
I always find it helpful to read books about healthy living while I'm focusing on meeting my goals.  You get new ideas, feel inspired, and am more motivated to be healthy.  Recently I started The Lean, which gives awesome, practical daily health strategies (ex: drinking 8 glasses of water each day, eating a heart-healthy breakfast, etc).  I am also going to read The Science of Skinny, which was recommended to me by a friend of mine.  It's all about understanding your body and practicing life-long healthy methods that are not about dieting, and is written by a very well respected author.

2.  Get moving!
As Michelle Obama says, if you want to be healthy you've gotta get moving!  This can be anything - from cleaning my house, going to the gym, going on a power walk, going for a hike, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing some abs on my exercise ball.  I've learned that all the little things DO add up.

3.  Eat like I want to be healthy!
While I am normally a pretty healthy eater, I have gotten a bit off track and haven't been as intentional as I should be about my choices.  I would like to strive for eating more produce, fish, and healthy fats and trying to scale back on some of my not as healthy habits - especially beer, candy, and any processed foods.

As always, sleep is so critical for your success.  I have gotten better about going to bed earlier but would like to continue focusing on this. I am someone who needs 8 hours of sleep - in fact, a vast majority of people do. 

What do you do to practice healthy living?  Is it time for a Spring clean?  If yes, please join me!