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3

How to Handle Weight Gain When You Suffer Loss

How to Handle Weight Gain When You Suffer Loss

White flowerWhite flowerWhite flowerDear Alexandra and Kymberly: I just lost my husband, Julian to cancer. Due to all the hospital appointments, my eating habits also got lost! I have put on a lot of weight, but feel so tired and lethargic I can’t get into the mood to do exercise. I have damage to my neck, knees, and lower back (due to a fall) plus my midriff and waist have become “large” and I have lost my waistline. At 69 years young this is depressing me. I am also worried about a “ledge” at the bottom of my tummy and scared it will be “resting” on the top of my legs when I sit down!!!

As well, I look after my 96 year young Mum, who has no balance anymore due to cancer and other problems. So she is only able very slowly to get from one room to another downstairs. I get to bed about 1:30am once my Mum’s medication kicks in and she falls asleep. She usually wakes me about 7am to go to the toilet, then goes back to bed until 10:00. (She is in a hospital bed in my living room so isn’t able to get up by herself). I have been looking after my Mum for 3 years and my husband for the last 2 and half, so have had little sleep etc. which may be the reason I feel tired. Since Julian died, I am still running around for Mum, but not doing the right things to lose the “middle” weight.

I need all the help I can get!! I appreciate other people’s input so have included my name. Kindest regards, Patricia of Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Dear Patricia: Wow! Talk about the perfect storm for changes to your body, mood, and energy levels! We’re amazed and honored you have time to write to us for advice. Fortunately, we have some practical suggestions that may help you and other widows, post menopausal women, and caregivers gain energy and lose weight. (Check out what we told caregivers who wrote to us with similar concerns: A Workout Plan to Lose Weight When You Are a Caregiver)Exercisers vs non-Exerciserspicmonkey_image Exercisers vs non-Exercisers

First, Deal with Your Diet

  1. Get back to your (implied) healthier eating habits asap. To reduce pounds you have to focus more on calories in (food and drink) than out (exercise and movement). (Yes, we know the UK measures in pounds, just like we crazy North Americans across the pond). While exercise will help keep any lost pounds off, diet is what will jump start your weight loss in the first place.
  2. Try to eat at home as much as possible using ingredients instead of processed food that comes in packages.
  3. Start your day with breakfast, maybe right after you help your mom back to bed. Not knowing more about your eating habits makes it tough to give specific advice, but the above changes will start to whittle that waistline towards the worry-free zone.

Starlights at RanchStarlights at RanchStarlights at RanchStarlights at RanchStarlights at RanchSecond, Sleep More

  1. Find time to get more sleep. Whether you nap or adjust your nighttime sleeping schedule, you need to snooze between 7-8 hours per night in order to avoid more weight gain and to help drop what you’ve already put on. Doesn’t that seem counterintuitive AND too good to be true? In general, people who get fewer than 6 hours’ daily sleep tend to eat more as they are awake more. And hormones that regulate appetite are thrown into disarray with the sleep-deprived. Take a look at our post, 3 Stealth Saboteurs of Your Weight Loss to help you prioritize guilt-free naps or going back to bed briefly after breakfast. (That’s a lot of Bs in a row, right?)Meditating woman - artwork
  2. According to research from the University of Michigan, an extra hour of sleep each night can help you drop 14 pounds per year. Reading our past posts on the subject of sleep and stress (such as Do This if You Want to Get Fit, Lose Weight, Live Longer, and Destress) should not put you to sleep, however.
  3. If you cannot nap or extend your nighttime restoration hours, engage in short, daily bouts of mindfulness, meditation, or guided visualization. If you enter “Meditation” in our search bar you will find several posts on ways and whys to get started.

Third, Move to Manage Your Middle

  1. Doing a side plank on the Ranch bridgeFinally we get to our favorite part–Movement!! When you are sitting with your Mom/Mum, don’t sit! Stand, walk in place, go down the stairs then back up then back down then back up whenever you check on her. This last suggestion will take only an extra few minutes, especially if you add some speed to this action. Then you will also get some High Intensity Interval Training benefits (mentioned in Best Workouts to Burn Fat for Women Over 50).
  2. 20140825_134356Doing a side plank on the Ranch bridgeDoing a side plank on the Ranch bridgeKnowing how hard it is to get moving when tired, can you work in some strength training exercise early in the day? Early morning exercisers tend to be more consistent and successful with reaching their goals. Maybe some mornings you snatch a few more minutes of sleep after helping your mom go the bathroom; other mornings you do some lunges, push-ups, squats, and side- or knee-planks (easier on your back) before the day zaps your energy. Once you start moving more you will actually find your energy levels going up.
  3. If you watch tv with your mom, use the commercials as time to move. Walk in place; press yourself from from your chair, standing then sitting a few times; lie down and whip out a few ab exercises. If you know you are committing to just a few minutes during the ads you may be more able to find the energy to get restarted.
  4. When you are feeling particularly fatigued, ask yourself what the LEAST activity you could muster up is. Even a little bit of movement will propel you towards success. And a little success begets a little more success.
  5. As well, take a look at past posts of ours that offer solutions to the fat attracting combo of stress, eating habits gone awry, loss, insufficient sleep, and minimal movement.

If you have a weensy bit more time and energy, then click over go to our YouTube Channel where you can find exercises just right for your goals and capabilities.

Let us know how you fare and feel free to comment below, especially once others share their tips and support. We offer our condolences on your husband’s death.

TransformAging posterANNOUNCEMENTS: For more on restarting your fitness program, keep your eyes, ears, and mind open for our upcoming webinar, TransformAging. Coming in late May, handpicked experts in midlife wellness for women will offer practical solutions and the most relevant answers to popular questions on how to age better than any prior generation! Hosted by us at no cost to you!

Doing a side plank on the Ranch bridgeTransformAging 1

Webinar attendees will also be the first to get the details on our first ever, brand new, fit-tastic workout program specifically designed for women over 50 who want to (re)start active lives.

5

Brownie Alert – 80 Calorie Brownies now Exist

Alexandra Williams, MA

Raise your hand in the air if you love brownies. Exactly. Millions of hands just went up because EVERYONE loves brownies. Or they should. Now raise your other hand if you want a brownie that’s tasty AND under 100 calories. Say “heyyyyy.”

picture of Special K brownies on a scale

Special K sent us some brownies (how did they know I have a son who has chocolate brownies as his preferred food group?!), and I guess they have angels working in their chocolate department, because the brownies are named Divine Fudge and Heavenly Caramel. Whether their status is due to the fact that they have real cocoa in them, or are only 80 calories per brownie, I don’t know. I just know that they were a yummy afternoon snack and I didn’t feel guilty about eating one. And yes, it is possible to satiate the desire for a sweet treat with just one.

In 1908, when the chocolate bar was introduced, it was .6 ounces. By 2002, the smallest version of that chocolate bar was 1.6 ounces. In 1995, the average serving size for a brownie was 3.2 ounces. In the past twenty years, the typical brownie serving has doubled in size. But our bodies want us to live in the past. In other words, we can satisfy our chocolate cravings by eating a Special K brownie that goes back to 1908 by being only .7 ounces. The good news – no corsets involved.

I’m currently studying for my nutrition specialist certification, and know that the majority of the population will indulge in a sweet snack nearly every day. I also know that the majority of the U.S. population is weight-conscious. The 80 calorie Special K brownies might be the solution for you, just as they were for my son.

picture of Special K brownies on a pillow

Better than a mint on your pillow

And if you’re expecting guests, you can put one on the pillow instead of a chocolate mint. About the same size; about the same calories, but without the melty mess. Not speaking from personal experience of course – cough, cough.

For further info about both the Heavenly Caramel and Divine Fudge, visit www.specialk.com, or find them on Facebook or Twitter. And of course, you can always just head to your local grocery store and check them out for yourself.

For further info about getting chocolate mint stains off a pillow, ask your mom. Don’t ask me – I wasn’t successful.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K Brownies.

26

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Alexandra Williams, MA

Christmas display in Pacific Grove

Everyone has great ideas for avoiding weight gain during the holidays. Our ideas actually work. How do we know that? Well, I have been in the fitness industry for over 30 years, I know (and write professionally) about healthy eating, and I have a Master’s in systemic counseling. More importantly, we use these tips ourselves.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

To make it easy to share (and because I want to increase my Pinterest skills), I made a nice easy pin of our 10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain that you can access at the next big get-together.

10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain graphic

Let us know which tips were most helpful to you. And please follow us on Pinterest: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

24

Lose Weight Doing House Cleaning

Alexandra Williams, MA

retro picture of woman who hates house cleaning

Ever wonder if doing the house cleaning burns enough calories to make a difference? I got to wondering how many calories you could burn after I did a bunch of house chores when my P.R. friend Tom sent me a bunch of cleaning tools by Butler Home Products.

As we’ve mentioned before, if you incorporate more movement into your daily activities, you can successfully lose weight (or keep weight from jumping on to your body in the first place). So it sure would be nice if house cleaning fell into the “watch those kcals just fall off my body” category, wouldn’t it?

Good news for all of us who have worked up a sweat changing the bedsheets, vacuuming the rugs, and dusting the ceilings (please don’t say I’m the only person who does this) – according to a recent study in the U.K., a good spring cleaning can burn more calories than running a marathon. Since I hate to run marathons, this is welcome news indeed!

According to the study (done by promotionalcodes.org.uk), a good spring cleaning burns 3,655 kcals, while a marathon burns 2,500 – 3,500. Yes, it will take you longer to do the cleaning than the running, but look on the bright side – you didn’t have to run. This is the breakdown:

Vacuuming (1 hour) 238 calories
Dusting (2 hours) 340 calories
Emptying, cleaning, repacking cupboards (4 hours) 952 calories
Scrubbing the floor (1 hour) 258 calories
Climbing up and down stairs (20 mins) 181 calories
Turning mattresses and making beds (1 hour) 136 calories
Moving heavy furniture (2 hours) 476 calories
Cleaning windows (3 hours) 612 calories
Cleaning external doors (1 hour) 204 calories
Deep clean bathrooms (1 hour) 258 calories

The Extra Sticky got the hairs off the mini-trampoline

The Extra Sticky got the hairs off the mini-trampoline

Quick math tells me that’s 16 hours of work. And I see no category for jumping onto the mattresses when you discover spiders lurking under the bed. I’m sure there’s a high calorie burn for that. I can testify that my heart rate was definitely in the “Working Very Hard” range.

Cleaning external doors isn’t my thing, though I do scrub down the area by the doorknobs. I’d also love to see the calorie count for scrubbing all the kitchen cabinets plus the stove hood and kitchen walls, mainly because I want credit for these chores. Does sweeping count as part of scrubbing?

Yup, they make things that don't have a motor.

Yup, they make things that don’t have a motor.

So, who’s up for 20 minutes on the stairs? And who thinks this is good news? I know I’m excited, though I doubt I’ll pull on my Lorna Jane gear and put out a 16 hour house chore workout. And how many calories did I burn getting all the dog hairs off the mini-trampoline?

In case you’re interested, the links to the cleaning tools are in the pictures. These are not affiliate links; I get nothing if you click. I’m just making it easy for you.

Love these plant-based Twist products

Love these plant-based Twist products

 

12

I’m Only Losing 1 1/2 Pounds Per Week on my Diet; Is that Enough?

Alexandra Williams, MA

pic of woman exercisingThis question came up in a group I’m in: “I’ve been working out 5 days a week sometimes twice a day. I’ve been healthy eating and only losing 1 to 1/2 a week. Being a person in her mid 40s my metabolism SUCKS. Is there anything I can do to hypercharge it?”

The answer is always yes. It’s also “It depends.”

In the group thread I read lots of good advice for this frustrated woman, with people recommending various diets and types of workouts. Yet if we back away from the question, and ponder the underlying assumption, it’s possible she doesn’t need to make any big changes. If she wants to KEEP the weight off once it’s lost, she might just be right on track with her 1 to 1 1/2 pound weekly loss. I’ll make a leap of faith and assume keeping the weight off after her weight loss program is over is her longer-term goal. Which means losing 1 to 1.5 pounds per week might be best.

A few years ago we were asked whether it was safely possible to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks, and we essentially said it’s reasonable, sustainable and realistic long-term to lose 1.5 – 2 pounds per week if you combine intense cardio with resistance training and a nutritious diet. Of course, that is hard for menopausal women, and our fitness pro colleague Tamara Grand has some spot-on suggestions and resources for staying the nutrition and fitness course once midlife changes everything!

In this post we wrote about the differences between losing weight and maintaining weight loss, you can see in the chart that to LOSE weight, reduced caloric intake is the easiest way for most people to achieve negative energy balance, while to KEEP it off, physical activity is the strategy to prevent weight regain.

As my sister points out in her post about choosing the “right” diet, it’s far easier for most people to cut out a 500-calorie drink than to exercise strenuously for about an hour.

picture of woman eating apple

An apple a day keeps the, er, cowboy hat on!

So our advice to you (and the millions of other people with this same question) is to perhaps focus more on your intake than your output. Once you reach your weight goal, you can switch that around (to a point – the fluffy, puffy, whipped creamy coffee drinks are still an issue). If you want an in-depth explanation about what does and doesn’t work for fat loss, listen to our radio interview with Dr. James Hill, member of the NIH Expert Panel on Obesity, author of “State of Slim,” co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, and co-founder of America on the Move, a national weight gain prevention initiative.

While I’m at it, I’ll throw in my occasional mantra, “Never give up. Never surrender.” It’s from a movie that cracks me up. [youtube]http://youtu.be/9fdcIwHKd_s[/youtube]

Two bonus items for you:

1) We have a giveaway ending in a few hours that you should enter. You could win either a Foot Note shoelace or bracelet motivational fitness charm from Momentum if you have a U.S. address, so head to our fan page right now!
Blue Diamond almonds used in Hello Dolly bars
2) As part of a campaign with Blue Diamond I did a twist on the traditional Dolly Bar recipe that incorporates their Toasted Coconut Almonds. Easy recipe. Quick to make. Delicious to eat.

If you’re wondering what could be better than a galaxy quest, it’s a quest for accurate, successful and engaging fitness & health info! And that’s what occurs when you:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit or

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Photo credits: Woman walking – GaborFromHungary; Woman eating apple – Mensatic.

9

Best Workouts to Burn Fat For Women Over 50

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Be Low Fat or Burn Fat?

pic of running uphill in San Luis Obispo

Secret to Fat Burning: Run Up Hill. Let Rain Rinse off Fat Sweat. Walk Down Hill. Have a Beer. No, Don’t. Water Bottle is Best.

Do you have a goal to be lower fat? Did you know you don’t have to burn predominantly fat in order to lose fat? Whoa. What just happened there??!! Thanks to our recent radio show guest, Dr. Len Kravitz, you get the most accurate fat burning advice directly and subcutaneously!

In our recent episode, Fat Burning for Women Over 50: Be on Fire, Dr. Len walked us through the sometimes confusing realities of killing off kilocalories. Once we appreciate the role carbohydrates and fat both serve in providing fuel, then we can understand how to select the “best” workout programs.

Go Into Deficit to Win as a Loser

First, the goal is to have a caloric deficit to lose any weight. That deficit comes from the age old energy balance equation: take in fewer calories than we put out (eat less); put out more calories than we take in (move more). The entire weight loss picture is far more complex, affected by a myriad of other factors. For more on losing weight and fat, check out Burn a Myth to Burn More Calories (post) and Fat Loss; What Does and Doesn’t Work (radio episode) . Professional alert warning system activated – it’s not just about cals in and out, though you do have to start there!

Carbs vs Fats, Welcome the Relatives; Count the Absolutes

Second, is that we break down carbohydrates 40 times faster than fat, with carbos supplying most of the fuel (energy) to power our exercise. Distinguish between absolute and relative numbers when thinking of fat loss. When you exercise with some intensity, you use a higher percentage of carbos compared to fat as the fuel source. However, the highest total of burned calories is what you are going for. For that, you need to suck it up and add some effort.

picture from Pound workout

Drum that Fat Off Your Body with a Sweaty Workout. Don’t Poke Venus Williams with your Drumstick!

Higher intensity exercise burns more calories; however, a long, slow approach is better than what most of the adult population is doing — uh, as in better than not much or nuffink! But a workout with some oomph to it at a higher pace will use more total energy (calories) than the lower intensity plan. Absolutely!
So forget needing to be in a “fat burning zone” when making cardio equipment or fitness tech choices. Get in the calorie burning zone, which is also a high carbo burning zone.

4 Best Programs for Fat Burning; This Girl is On Fire!

Third, thanks to Dr. Len’s practical tips, you now get led into the exciting, proven, no-magic-required realm of the four best training programs to maximize calorie burning and become lower fat! He recommends we try all 4 methods.

  1. High Intensity Tree Training

    HITT: High Intensity Tree Training

    High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    Select a cardio activity you enjoy, such as cycling, running, walking, using a row machine. Go as hard as you can for about 30 seconds. Then recover at a self-selected, variable pace for about 3- 4 minutes. Complete 4-8 rounds for a total workout time of about 30-45 minutes. Dr. Len recommends changing up the mode workout to workout, especially if you have several favorite cardio activities.

  2. Tempo Training
    This fat burning workout has you going at your hardest, fastest tempo for 20 minutes max. Pick a pace you can sustain for this shortened duration and give it your all! Recovery is at the end for as long as you need. That’s it! Simple and hard at the same time.
  3. Split Training
    Ready, set, go for 10 minutes as hard as you can at a pace you can sustain for the time, but no longer. Take a recovery break for as long as you need, up to around 5 minutes-ish. While you can stick with one mode for this method (such as all jump roping), Dr. Len gives the high five to alternating between two activities: treadmill for the work interval; elliptical for recovery, for example.

    Listen to Lenny

    Listen to Lenny

  4. Steady State Training
    Go with this approach when you need a low- to moderate intensity recovery day. Walking is a great activity for the Steady State workout. You want to move comfortably for 30 minutes to one hour at a constant pace that allows you to sustain a conversation. If you launch into a long-winded monologue, pick it up a bit. If you are panting out a few words then having to grab your breath, ease up a bit.

And if you forget all this, simply recite the Kymberly mantra: “Go as hard as you can, as long as you can, as often as you can.” I hear the sizzle of calorie burning already!

Make it easy on yourself to get the best and latest fitness, movement, and healthy aging advice:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

 

13

7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Just a few days till Thanksgiving. Want to avoid Thanks-gorging? Follow these 7 tips to avoid the holiday feast trap.

Mini pumpkins: good-looking and healthy; just like you!

Mini pumpkins: good-looking and healthy; just like you!

Make it the Season of Giving, not the Season of Sitting & Eating!

You’ve just spent ten and a half months exercising and eating healthfully. Now Thanksgiving is a few days away, which signals the start of the “Eat Too Much; Move Too Little” time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We all know we should stick to our healthy habits, yet it’s sooooo hard! So we’re sharing Seven Seasonal Suggestions to help you make it to January with your intentions intact.

Easy Tips to Avoid Weight Gain

1. Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

2. Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories when dinner is served. By the time that occurs, you’re likely to be so hungry that you’ll overeat or choose whatever is closest.

3. Sort foods into 3 categories:

  • Food I love and will probably have two helpings of;
  • Food I like and will take just one helping of;
  • Food I don’t need to eat at all.

Planning and paying attention have a definite effect on how much you pile on your plate.

4. Use a salad plate instead of dinner plate.  You’ll be inclined to eat less. Most of us are visually triggered, so we stop adding food once our plate looks full, regardless of plate size.

Stop Eating Before you get that Greasy, Queasy Feeling

Stop Eating Before you get that Greasy, Queasy Feeling

5. Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you once you’re done. Also, put food away right after you’ve finished dinner or you could end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. If you feel you’re being impolite, just say, “I’m putting stuff in the fridge now so I don’t feel tempted to overeat. Anyone who’s still hungry is more than welcome to help themselves.” Not only are you letting people know why you’re putting food away quickly, you’re also making yourself accountable by stating your goal to not overeat.

6. Use your mind to decide what matters. When loading your plate, ask yourself this question: “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” No right or wrong answer exists; it’s simply that the awareness of your choices will help you make a considered decision as you realize that you are in control, not the food.

7. Go for a walk. What better way to spend quality time with your family or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside? Need more motivation to move during the holidays? Give a listen to our radio episode, “Be Motivated to Move Through the Holidays.

Get outside for a Walk

Get outside for a Walk

What tips would you add to this list? 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits: morgueFile

Don’t be a Turkey: Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

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Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

26

Reducing Obesity – What Does and Doesn’t Work

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Pass the Expensive Fat Please

Alexandra at strawberry fields

Sleeping Beauty in her Field of Lean Dreams

Many want to lose weight, yet few manage to reduce fat despite billions of dollars and years of dedicated effort. What is it about eating healthy foods and working out that proves so elusive and off-putting? Unless you’ve been in a Sleeping Beauty coma, you know that obesity has skyrocketed in the last 30 years. Simultaneously, sedentary behavior has plopped itself into a deep couch into which we are sinking deeper and deeper. Pass the remote will ya’?

As Dr James Hill, Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, author of State of Slim, and leading world authority on obesity bluntly tells us “our lifestyles are killing us. Selling deprivation has not been successful.” Let’s face it; who wants to embark on a journey of calorie deprivation and lifelong struggles against temptation to keep fat at bay? Many launch; some arrive; few stay at the new destination. If you are on a weight loss or weight maintenance journey, we have news for you and you and you.

What Has Not Worked Yet

James Hill, PhD

Dr. Jim Hill = State of Grin

Dr. Hill and his colleagues point to three decades of what does NOT work to lose and keep off excess weight:

  • restricting calories. Did you fully ingest that tidbit?!! Calorie restriction DOES NOT WORK. Excuse the yelling but this is kind of big.
  • taking entire food categories off your “ok to eat” list. (Such as no more sugars or no more fats)
  • depending on willpower
  • being told to work out intensely and often to achieve exercise benefits
  • thinking that “eat less; exercise more” will work (surprised by this one? So were we. Keep reading Also click this link to our post on step one for losing weight).
Inflamed Foot

From Fat to Foot to Fit

What Does Work (Dare Us to Prove It!)

After attending sessions at the recent FitSocial conference  keynoted by Dr. Hill, we want to share with you strategies he has proven WILL work.  These strategies are evidence-based, peer-reviewed, and thoroughly researched. No gimmicks, no quick buck to make: no random anecdotes.  If you go through the suggestions quickly they seem usual and obvious. If you put them into a context you notice they have twists to former “truths.”

  • Move More; Sit Less  – Replace “Eat Less; Exercise More” with this revised mantra;
  • Match your diet to your exercise habits (not in the sense that being inactive matches eating cheese fries with gravy on them);  Ewwwwww
    Products from NPEW

    Loads of Healthy Choices to Make Automatically

  • Eat a high performance diet (for details on what this really means read the recently released book, State of Slim;
  • Strive for physical and cardiorespiratory fitness;
  • When moving, make decisions in this order: Aim first for Amount of movement; Next for Type of activity; then for Intensity of exercise level. (Again, this surprised us as other research suggests looking first at high intensity exercise to burn fat or lose weight. Dr. Hill and his colleagues were very clear – if your goal is to KEEP weight off, then the order of Amount, Type, Intensity is most efficacious. ATI people!
  • Use multisyllabic words such as “efficacious.”  Ok, I made this one up to check who’s paying attention.
  • Make healthy decisions automatic. As the day progresses, willpower diminishes. Like a muscle, willpower fatigues with a lot of use. Decisions require willpower. So reduce the need to make healthy decisions by setting yourself on autopilot for adding in movement and foods that fuel you.

Did you catch our post on ways to successfully make permanent lifestyle changes? If nothing else, remember this young grasshoppers (and fellow baby boomers!): Willingness, NOT Willpower is the Key!

Got an event that could use a twin pack of movement and great fitness info?

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

9

What’s the Best Morning Workout?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Lake los Carneros view early morningKymberly: This morning Alexandra and I got our baby boomer booties up and out early to power walk with our dogs. What motivated us? Three things: we wanted to beat the heat; Alexandra had a class to teach after which she was heading to LA for the day; and we wanted to mull over a question we get asked by our group fitness participants:

“What is the best morning workout?”

(In a peek behind the scenes of fitness questions that come our way, we also get asked about exercises to prevent droopy boobs. Yes, it was worded just like that. We loved that question too).

Back to the best movement routine to start your day — Any guesses? Bueller? Bueller?  For a million or few calories, the answer is … the one, or two, or however many you will actually do. All the studies and recommendations in the world won’t matter unless you actually get up and giddy up. In the real world (the one where Alexandra and I often reside), people will stick with what they enjoy. And they will run down faster than black mascara after a sweat fest from un-fun activities.

Still, some suggestions are in order. But first, let’s address the implied assumption in this question:

Is Morning the Best TIME to Work Out?

Interestingly, research is all over the place when it comes to determining a “best” time to exercise. One study found that physical activity performance was generally improved in the afternoon or evening, compared with morning. Another study  suggests that exercisers best combat weight gain from high calorie, fat rich diets if they work out before eating, specifically “before breaking fast.”  Other variants exist, but what does come out clearly is that consistency is key.  Especially for high-intensity exercisers, whatever time you choose to do whatever routine you like to do, try to do it around the same time each day. Got that? Whether morning, noon, or night, you may reach your workout goals best if you stick with your preferred time. Whew!

Alexandra: I like to walk in the morning, before it gets too hot and before the black flies come out (yes, Santa Barbara has flaws). I’ve found that my regular morning routine consists of waking up around 6:30 (which I hate, but I’m a light sleeper), then going through the messages & emails on my phone while lying in bed. So I don’t actually get up until 7:30 or so. What a waste of the morning! So if I prep my clothes the night before, and ask my son to come get me, I know I’ll go. I’m back in the house by 8, happy and full of energy.

What Are Those “Good” Morning Exercises?

Grove at Mesa during mid-morning power walk

Best view of the Mesa grove during morning walk

Kymberly: If your workout time is the morning, can you benefit more from a specific type of exercise? Whether you walk, swim, ride, jog, mosey, lift weights, shuffle, do a yoga pose, or dance routine — you are best served to

  1. be consistent with when you go
  2. choose what you love or at least like
  3. vary your program every so often finding several activities you enjoy
  4. incorporate some cardio, strength, stretch and mind/body moves into each week

The Best List of the Best Posts on Best Exercise Choices

That’s it. Really. Ok, not really since you will find more on the subject of “what’s best” in the following posts, which we suggest you click on. Then lord it over your workout buddies that you know only the best.

For instance, want to know the best cardio workout?  Or which is better–jogging in place or running through space?

How about going outside to find the best exercise surface?  Lastly, is it best to do strength or aerobic training first? So many good, better, best questions.

Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference, or to write your blog posts.  Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Morning, noon or night, it’s never too late to subscribe to our fitness-related YouTube channel. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

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What Food is Healthy? And a Whole Grain, Wholly Amazing Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!

Alexandra Williams, MA

“What food is healthy?” This is a question we are asked quite frequently, mostly by our university students, but also by our 60- and 70-year-old students.

bean flourThe answer is quite simple at first glance, yet in practice deceptively difficult. For years I’ve told my students “the closer to the ground the better,” yet many of them found this answer confusing, and over the years it’s required more explanation (yes, kind of sad).

First off, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian (although I can spell “dietitian” without looking it up). What I am is a good researcher and writer, including this list of articles about food and health that I’ve written. I’m also a good eater and all-around healthy person.

I’m tempted to say that the answer to the healthy food question is, “It depends,” but that’s probably due to my counseling studies, when I learned that it’s the answer to most questions! My new response is to answer with my own question: “Does it (the food) help or harm your body?” For example, I have a friend right now who’s pregnant and dealing with gastroparesis. She cannot eat veggies without getting quite ill. She can, however, keep down sno-cones and pierogies. For her, leafy veggies are unhealthy.

For my sister, it’s possible that she is now allergic to some foods that were perfectly fine for her for decades. As identical twins, we are usually quite similar in our medical issues, so I’m curious to see what she discovers as she eliminates, then reintroduces, certain foods. Kind of a canary in the coal mine thing. She is the canary in this scenario. At present, she is testing out a wheat-free diet. We wrote about some of the research for and against in our post “Is Wheat-Free Better for You.” Bottom line: Eat whole grains. Stay away from genetically modified organisms.Wheat silo

For many of my women friends, a glass of red wine in the evening is possibly a heart-healthy dose of resveratrol. But for me, it’s just a drink that makes me turn red and get a headache. Other friends need to live by a gluten-free diet, while some thrive on organic whole grains.

Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, GF, clean eating, pescatarian, omnivore, high-carb, low-carb, restricted-calorie, intuitive, timed – the list of eating categories goes on and on. And every single one of these eating styles is healthy – for someone.

So I think my new answer is a good one. If it helps your body (chemical cravings for Ben & Jerry’s “Americone Dream” don’t count), then it’s probably healthy for you. If it harms, then why would you eat it? Rather than give advice, I’ll share what works for me.

* Whole grains
* Organic or at least pesticide-free
* Cooking & baking from scratch
* Few processed, packaged foods
* No soda, energy drinks, or high-sugar drinks
* No meat
* All ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable
* If it shouldn’t go in my (or my kids’) mouth, it doesn’t come into the house
* Reading research and books. At present I am reading “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and I love anything by Michael Pollan (did you know he’s Michael J. Fox’s bro-in-law?)

Bob's Red Mill Gift CardIn a further spirit of sharing, I’m also going to give away a $100 gift card from Bob’s Red Mill. I wholeheartedly endorse their tagline “Whole Grain Foods for Every Meal of the Day.”

Reasons you should love this company:

* Their mission is to bring good, healthy foods to as many people as possible
* They have given millions of dollars to support healthy nutrition and wellness, and address the issue of pediatric obesity
* Owners Bob and Charlee Moore gave the company to the employees in 2010
* They sell a complete range of whole-grain food products (not foodlike substances), including organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and kosher
* Their prices are extremely fair (example: $5.79 for 5 pounds of organic white whole wheat flour, compared to $8.95 from their closest competitor)
* The food is delicious

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

So what will you choose if you win the $100 gift card?
* Flours & Meals
* Grains, Beans & Seeds
* Cereals
* Gluten Free
* Mixes
* Baking Aids
* Oats
* Books
* Entrees

The SuperFine print: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Yes, my Canadian friends, you are included!!!! That is just how generous Bob’s Red Mill is. The winner will be chosen on Monday, August 5th at midnight PST. We will notify the winner via email and other social media forums. If that person doesn’t respond within 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

This is a truly amazing gift, so you will want to do all the amazing entry options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Got an event needing edu-taining speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Get whole-body goodness, including great exercise and active aging advice by subscribing to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credits:  Grain & Silo –  Frank Kehren; all others – Bob’s Red Mill

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