Saturday, April 14, 2012

Health and Self Esteem: Saturday Show Highlights

Health and Fitness can be a dreaded topic.  It can feel like information overload.  Everyone has tips on what you need to do to slim down or get healthier.  All of those tips are good.  I love to read them and put them into practice when I can, but I think when it comes down to it, we all need to listen to our bodies and find activities and healthy foods that we enjoy.  I know from personal experience, fitness has to be fun.  If I don't enjoy it, I'm not going to do it.  Since last Fall, I've been trying to change my mindset and focus on a long-term healthy lifestyle and not on a set of rules.  It is much easier to stick to that way.  As we go into summer let's just make sure we do two things for ourselves 1) We get healthy and fit for us, not for anyone else and 2) That we make our health and fitness journey fun.  Join a group fitness class (Zumba, Martial Arts, Spinning Class, Sports team, etc), take your dog for a walk, play outdoors with your kids, include movement in your hangout time with your friends.  Make your goal to add more movement to your day, and you'll see progress before you know it.

Food & Fitness Apps:
If you've ever checked out my Recipe Blog, you will quickly find out that I like food, and I really like dessert.  One thing that has been helping me to be healthier on my terms is using a fitness app.  Personally, I use an app called "My Fitness Pal," but there are literally hundreds of great fitness apps for you to choose from.  I love this app, because I can keep track of calories to make sure that I'm within a healthy range, but I can still have dessert if I want.  I don't feel like I have to eliminate any specific food all together, yet I find myself making healthier choices overall.  It also allows me to keep track of how much I'm moving, how much water I drink each day, and the progress I'm making toward my personal goal.  The best part is that 1) it's free, and 2) no one has to know about it unless you want them to.  You can update from your phone and it looks just like you are reading or sending a text.  You can download the app on android, windows, blackberry and apple phones, your ipod or log onto the site online.
For tracking calories, it allows me to look up the majority of foods including restaurant dishes, but if one's missing I can either add the nutrition info myself or add just the total calories I consumed.  Here's an image I found on Google so you can see what it looks like.  If you are a snacker like me, you can add in extra meal categories for snack times.  The exercise tracker looks similar to the meal tracker.  There is also a little graph that will show you your progress toward your weight goal if you are wanting to lose some weight.  I also like the Nike+ app to help me keep track of my movement.  Although, I always seem to forget to put that little tracker thing in my shoes.  So I ultimately use My Fitness Pal for my exercise tracker too.  Another great app someone recommended to me lately is by

Salad Jars - (Make up to 4 days in advance!)
Found this little goodie, and I am in love.  I love salads for lunch, it's a great way to incorporate different veggies into your meals, but if I make them in advance they get gross before I'm ready to eat them.  Also, I love my snooze button more than I should so most mornings I am running around like a crazy person and that day's lunch is the last thing on my to-do list.  These little beauties solve both problems at once.  You can make them up to 4 days in advance, and they are suppose to still be fresh on day 4.  I haven't tested this yet, but I will and I'll let you know.  The trick is to keep maximum distance between the dressing and the greens.  Drizzle your dressing in the bottom, layer your veggies, and top the jar with your greens.  When lunch time arrives, simply shake the jar to distribute the dressing.  If the salad in the image looks tasty, check out the Recipe for Quinoa Salad Jars [here].

Eco Bags and your Health
Thursday, I was reading about a study that some researchers had done on the eco-friendly reusable grocery bags.  In 12% of the bags they tested, E Coli was found growing inside the bags.  It didn't mention whether or not they had found any other bacteria.  Here's what they suggested to make sure that we keep our groceries safe.

1) Designate and label separate bags for meat and produce to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
2) NEVER store your reusable bags in your car.  As your car heats up, bacteria multiplies.
3) Toss your reusable fabric bags in the wash to get rid of any bacteria build up.  The plastic ones could probably just be wiped down with a antibacterial cleanser.

Positive Body Image?
In a Self Magazine article, I read that only 1% of the women they surveyed were completely satisfied with their appearance.  With media and societal influences pressuring both women and men to look a certain way to meet the beauty standard, it can be difficult to maintain a positive body image.  A few months ago, I read about a trend among young girls that disturbed me.  The article said girls are asking people on youtube and other social media to rate their appearance and tell them if they are "ugly."  Another article described the rise in anorexia among teen boys.

As someone who has struggled with negative self esteem, I want to see acceptance and recognition of individual beauty become the norm within our culture.  I especially want the girls and women of our society to realize that they are beautiful just as they are.  You don't have to buy products, clothing, diet pills, or resort to extreme exercise regimes to attain the unnatural and culturally imposed idea of what beauty is.  So what do we do?  How do we create a positive body image and reverse the effect of any negative influences we've already experienced?  The Self article said their #1 tip is to surround yourself with nurturing friends and family that will encourage you.  I agree with this tip; you have to choose your influences and make sure they are positive.  The best things that I've ever done for myself is to surround myself with reminders of all of the good things that God says about us in the Bible, positive quotes, and positive people.  Keep feeding your heart good things and you will start to believe them.  Another good thing is to stop focusing on yourself so much.  The more I focus on helping other people, my community etc, the better my self image has gotten.  We all have something good to offer the world.  You are important and unique.  You are needed.

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