Weight Lifting 101

13 05 2010

***Warning – This Post Is LONG***

When I attended college, I was always disheartened by the one credit courses we had to take.  I know a lot of people enjoyed these, but I only saw them as fillers.  I thought they were a waste of time and ANNOYING, especially the ones that were weekend workshops!  My junior year, I decided to take “Introduction to Weight Training” as my course spring semester.  I figured if I could at least get some use out of the material, it’d be worth it.  Plus, it was only 45 minutes once a week. 

The class ended up being a blast!  There were only three students enrolled: myself and two guys (Yes, I went to a very small college).  It was actually extremely informative.  Although I had dabbled in weight training before, I was never formally introduced to it.  In the class, I learned proper technique, as well as how many reps and sets I should be performing to reach my goals.  I think the class piqued my interest for weight training and it’s been a part of my fitness routine ever since.  Now, I’m performing exercises in P90X that I never thought possible.

But, this isn’t about me.  This is about YOU and ALL WOMEN.  I want to dedicate this post to the importance of weight training for women!  I’m sure many of you are familiar with most of the information that’s about to be displayed.  If so, that’s completely fine.  Skip on down to the food :grin:   If you are new to weight training or simply can’t seem to get motivated to incorporate it into your normal routine, please read on!

Why Is Weight Lifting So Important?

Your sweaty cardio sessions are great for cardio vascular health and torching calories up front.  Although weight lifting may burn fewer calories during the same amount of time, it helps you torch more calories throughout the day. 

Lifting weights helps you to build lean muscles, which in turn, burn calories.  To give you an estimate, one pound of muscle burns approximately 25 times more calories than a pound of fat.  Common sense tells us that the more muscle we put on our bodies, the greater amount of calories our bodies burn at rest.  And, the more calories we burn at rest, the easier our healthy lifestyles become! 

Weight lifting may also increase your flexibility and help you feel strong.  While I am an advocate of loving and accepting oneself, it’s worth mentioning that most women we admire for their sexy, feminine bodies lift weights.

Lifting weights also helps to create stronger bones, which is extremely important in women!

Exhibit A:

Basic Facts about Weight Lifting

To burn fat (most women’s objective), you should be performing 10 – 12 reps of 3 sets.  This means that you should perform an exercise 10 times, rest for 30 seconds – 1 min and repeat two more times to complete your 3 sets. 

You should never work the same muscles two days in a row, which allows the muscles to recover.  This will also help prevent injury.  Personally, I enjoy lifting 5 days a week (prior to P90).  This allows me to focus on a different body part each day.  I would also couple two muscles together for optimum performance.  My routine was generally: Back & Biceps, Legs, Chest & Triceps, Shoulders, Legs (I like strong legs!)

If you prefer, you could perform a total body workout.  If you prefer this route, just be sure to rest the body on the off days.  So, for example, you may lift and then decide to perform cardio on the off days.  Since you are working the entire body, you may only have to lift 3 days a week.

Regardless of which routine you choose, you should perform 2 – 3 exercises for every body part.

How to Get Started

Here are some basics to get you started!

From About.com.

Chest:

Barbell Chest Press

  1.  Lie down on a bench, step or the floor. Begin with the barbell hovering just over the chest, elbows bent. Place the hands on the bar a bit wider than the shoulders.
  2. Contract the chest and push the weight straight up over the chest without locking the elbows at the top.
  3. Bend the elbows and lower the weight down until the elbows are just below the level of the chest.

Pushups

  1. Get down on the hands and knees, positioning the hands a bit wider than the shoulders.
  2. Push the knees up so that you’re resting on the hands and toes. Keep the abs engaged and make sure your body is in a straight line from the head to the heels.
  3. Bend the elbows and lower into a pushup until your elbows are at about 90 degrees.

(If this is too difficult, perform on your knees, but keep the same form)

Dumbbell Chest Fly

  1. Lie on the floor, bench or step. Hold weights over the chest with the palms facing each other.
  2. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, lower the arms out to the sides and down until they’re level with the chest.
  3. Keep the elbows in a fixed position and avoid lowering the weights too low.
  4. Squeeze chest to bring the arms back up as though you’re hugging a tree.

Back:

Barbell Rows

  1.  With feet about hip-distance apart and hands a bit wider than shoulders on the bar, bend forward at the waist until you’re at about a 45-degree angle. Keep the shoulders back, the knees slightly bent and the abs tight and look straight forward.
  2. Begin the movement by taking the weight out in front of the knees.
  3. Bend the elbows and contract the back to pull the weight in towards the bellybutton, following the line of the legs.
  4. Bring the elbows just past the torso and squeeze the back.

Reverse Fly

  1. Use light-medium dumbbells and begin in a seated position, bent over with arms hanging down and weights under the knees.
  2. Try not to collapse on the legs but, instead, keep the back straight and the abs engaged.
  3. Lift the arms out to the sides, up to shoulder level, squeezing shoulder blades together.
  4. Keep the elbows slightly bent and only lift to shoulders.

Back Extensions

  1.  Lie face down on a mat and place the hands on the floor or behind the head (more advanced).
  2. Contract the abs and keep them contracted throughout the exercise.
  3. Squeeze the back to lift the chest a few inches off the floor.

Shoulders:

Overhead Press

  1. Using a medium-heavy barbell, hold bar with hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start by bringing the bar up to forehead level, elbows bent.
  3. Slowly press the weight overhead without arching the back–keep the abs in tight and don’t lock the elbows at the top of the movement.
  4. Exhale and lower back to start.

Lateral Raise

 

  1. Sit or stand and hold light-medium weights at the sides.
  2. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, lift the arms out to the sides, stopping at shoulder level.

Upright Rows

 

  1. Stand holding a barbell (or dumbbells), hands close together and palms facing you.
  2. Bend the elbows and pull the weights up until they’re at about chest level or higher, if you have the flexibility.
  3. Your elbows should be slightly above the shoulders and the wrists straight.
  4. Try not to shrug as you pull the weights up.

Biceps:

Dumbbell Curls

  1. Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs engaged as you hold medium-heavy dumbbells in front of the thighs.
  2. Squeeze the biceps and bend the arms, curling the weights up towards the shoulders.
  3. Keep the elbows stationary and only bring the weight as high as you can without moving the elbows.
  4. Slowly lower the weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom (e.g., don’t lock the joints and try to keep tension on the muscle)

Concentration Curls

 bicepconc2.jpg (19746 bytes)

  1. Sit or kneel and hold a dumbbell in the right hand.
  2. Bend forward, keeping the abs engaged and prop the right elbow against the inside of the right thigh.
  3. Contract the bicep and curl the hand towards the shoulder without moving the elbow. You don’t have to touch your shoulder.
  4. Lower all the way down (keep a very slight bend in the elbow to keep tension in the biceps)

Hammer Curls

 bicephammer1.jpg (9634 bytes)bicephammer2.jpg (8932 bytes)

  1. Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs engaged as you hold medium-heavy dumbbells in front of the thighs.
  2. Turn the hands so that the palms face each other and squeeze the biceps to curl the weights towards the shoulders.
  3. Keep the elbows stationary and only bring the weight as high as you can without moving the elbows.
  4. Slowly lower the weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom (e.g., don’t lock the joints and try to keep tension on the muscle)

Triceps:

Kickbacks (You will need very light weight to begin with this one!)

 tricepkick2.jpg (20279 bytes)

  1. Hold a medium weight in both hands and bend over until your torso is at a 45-degree angle or parallel to the floor (more advanced). Bend the knees if needed and keep the abs engaged to protect the lower back.
  2. Begin the movement by bending the arms and pulling the elbows up to torso level.
  3. Holding that position, straighten the arms out behind you, squeezing the triceps muscles.

Tricep Dips on a Chair

  tricepdip.jpg (16646 bytes)

  1. Sit on a bench or chair.
  2. Begin with the hands next to or slightly under the hips.
  3. Lift up onto the hands and bring the hips forward.
  4. Bend the elbows (no lower than 90 degrees) and lower the hips down, keeping them very close to the chair. Keep the shoulders down.

Skull Crushers

 tricepskull1.jpg (11489 bytes)

  1. Lie on the floor or a bench and hold a light-medium barbell with the hands close together, about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend the arms straight up over the chest, palms face out and thumbs wrapped around so that they’re next to the fingers.
  3. Bend the elbows and lower the weight down to a few inches above the forehead or until the elbows at about 90-degree angles.
  4. Squeeze the triceps to straight the arms without locking the joints.

Legs & Butt

Squats (If you are a beginner, you do NOT have to use any weight!)

 

1. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Place the barbell just above the shoulders on the trapezius muscles (i.e., the ‘meaty’ part of the shoulders). If you feel uncomfortable, you can use a bar pad to protect your back.
3. Bend the knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles OR before you lose the natural arch of your back.
4. Contract the glutes and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso.
5. Slowly stand back up without locking the knees and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
6. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!

Lunges

  1. Start with your feet together and dumbbells at your side.
    2. Starting with the right foot, step out in front of you into a lunge.  Your front knee should NEVER extend over your toe.
  2. Push off the back foot to become upright in starting position.
  3. Repeat with the left foot forward.  This completes one rep.

Deadlifts

 

  1. Stand with feet about hip-distance apart and hold weights in front of thighs.
  2. Keeping the shoulders back, abs in and the back straight, tip from the hips and lower the weights towards the floor.
  3. Lower as far as your flexibility allows. You can bend the knees slightly if you need to.
  4. Push into the heel to go back to starting position.

Abs:

As Jessica states so eloquently, ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN.  Read her post to see why I’m not spending time on them here.  Although a strong core is important, I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea that they’ll accomplish a six-pack with ab work alone.

Bottom line: Incorporate weight lifting into your routine to receive the results you want.  Your body will thank you!

Food, food, everywhere!

Breakfast = The Standard.

I bought bulk oats at Whole Foods and they are SO much creamier than the Quaker variety!  As if I didn’t eat oats enough, I think I may be eating them every day.  Seriously. 

Lunch was a GIGANTIC tuna wrap on a Flat Out.  I’ve come to realize that Flat Out is my favorite wrap.  I used to think it was La Tortilla, but Flat Out has become Numero Uno.  Into this Bad Larry went a can of tuna, ~ 2 tbsp 2% Greek yogurt, ~ 1tbsp mango chutney, sprinkle of raisins and lots of spinach.

Oh, Heavens!  This was so good!  Adding that chutney gives the sandwich the slightest sweet touch and the raisins were to die for.  And the yogurt is a fantastic swap for the mayo.  You truly can’t tell the difference.  So yummy and so filling with these carrots on the side!

Snack was the Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabar flavor.  I LOVE how filling these bars are.  They are the perfect snack to hold you over between meals.

I’ve been meaning to tell you that I picked up different flavors at Whole Foods.  I’ve since tried this bar and the Coconut Crème Pie, which was a lame breakfast one day on vacation as I was running out the door.  The Chocolate Coconut Chew has been my least favorite, which surprises me.  It was good, but the coconut didn’t come through enough.  I wouldn’t buy it again unless it was my only healthy option.

The Coconut Crème Pie was ah-mazing though.  It was very sweet, so next time, I’ll most likely eat it in the afternoon.  It was a bit much for breakfast (Or rather..it should not have BEEN my breakfast!).  But, nothing beats the Apple Pie flavor yet!  I still have Lemon and Pecan Pie to try.  As I’ve told you before, it’s my mission to try every flavor and see which is the best :smile:   I’m having fun so far! 

  1. Apple Pie
  2. Coconut Crème Pie
  3. Chocolate Coconut Chew

Dinner was cheesy and greasy.  What can I say?  It goes with NBA Playoffs!  At least mine had veggies on it :smile:

And, Mr. KD suprised me with a coupla’ these for the game :mrgreen:   Best.Beer.Ever.

It has been sports mania in the KD household.  Have to catch the C’s, so I gotta go!!!  Chat with ya tomorrow!

Question of the Day:  Which Larabar flavor do you recommend I try next?





Keeping It Healthy as a Family

12 05 2010

Love bugs! :mrgreen:

I know I tell you a little too often, but blogging is seriously my favorite time of the day.  Makes me so happy :smile:

I hope you all had a fabulous Wednesday.  I had a busy day at work, which is pretty standard these days.  All in all, I’m glad it’s OVAH and I can look forward to the weekend.  This is my short week at work, so tomorrow is my Friday!  Woop woop!

I wanted to put a post together for tonight that involved a little less research than the prior two.  As most of you know, I just had a birthday and turned 27.  My 26th year was spent preparing myself for the future, if you will.  Mr. KD and I bought our house and now live like “grown ups”.  And, ever since moving into the house, my every decision seems to be determined by how it will affect my life as a mom someday. 

Before we continue, let’s make it clear that I am NOT ready to have kids.  I also realize you can’t really prepare for them, as I may have made it sound I’m trying to do in my previous paragraph.  But, I also think it’s important to prepare myself the best I can by adopting certain habits and attitudes that I hope to pass down.  For example, when the alarm goes off every morning, I’m often tired and the thought of the treadmill seems daunting.  So, I have a little trick I use on myself.  I simply say, “Self, when you are a mom, the ONLY time you will have to exercise is this early in the morning.  If you make it a habit now, it’ll be a lot less painful in the future.”  I realize I probably won’t be able to workout as long, but I’ll definitely be able to sneak in an hour before anyone wakes up (assuming we’re at the sleeping through the night stage!).

Where am I going with all of this?   I hope I am not insulting anyone when I say it’s safe to assume that most women either have children or would like them some day.  And, if we choose to believe this assumption for the purposes of this post, it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to stay well in the midst of chaos.  Being a mom is hard work, so the more short cuts available for wellness, the better. 

I thought we could use this post as a way to share ideas/tips for being the “leader” of a healthy family!  So, please contribute via the comments section to share your tricks.  Obviously, since I do not have a family, my list is going to be based on what I hope to do in the future.  So, if you don’t have kids, please also feel free to contribute.  Perhaps, you have no plans to ever become a mom.  Let us know how you stay healthy between work, pets, etc, etc.!  Please contribute!  We can only benefit from each other’s knowledge!

KD’s Tips for Squeezing in a Sweat Session

1.       Realize that anything can be turned into exercise.  I have the annoying habit of thinking exercise has to incorporate some kind of sweaty session.  While these workouts are great, they’re not often convenient.  It’s not always feasible to find time to hit the gym.  On these days, realize that squats performed while vacuuming still count toward your overall health!!  Walking quickly up a flight of stairs can get your heart pumping, so do it during your lunch break.  Any chair can be used to perform tricep dips.  Granted, I don’t do much of this now, but I plan to someday!

2.       Make exercise a family event.  We’ve all heard this before, but it’s true!  When you actively plan to stay active, both you and your family can benefit.  View a trip to the zoo as exercise and daily dog walks as a change to get your heart pumping.  If inclement weather prevents you from getting outside, have a dance party or go bowling!

3.       Schedule an hour into your day for exercise.  As I mentioned above, I foresee very early mornings for a long time coming.  It was the only time I could fit in exercise while in grad school, so I changed my workout schedule.  I haven’t looked back since because it simply works for me.  And while I work out between 1 ½ – 2 hours most days, that is not necessary.  You really only need an hour.  Plan smart, work hard and you’ll find an hour is all you need.  Alternate days between cardio and weight lifting for optimum health.

KD’s Tips for Healthy Eating as a Family

1.       PACK YOUR LUNCH!!!  I cannot preach this enough!  And, I’m not just talking about you, make your kids’ lunches too!  This one I can say for sure: I will always pack my kids’ lunches.  My mom always did for me and I can’t think of a better way to ensure your family is getting the proper nutrition.  School lunches are getting healthier, so they’re okay on occasion.  But, packing your own nutritious lunch is the WAY TO GO!  Plus, it always tastes better :smile:

2.       Make cooking a family event!  I realize this isn’t feasible every night, nor would you want it to be.  But, kids love getting involved in the kitchen!  And, if they had a hand in making it, they’ll generally want to eat it :smile:   Weekends are a great time to prepare meals that can be easily reheated during the week.  There are SO many fun recipes for kids out there! 

3.       Only keep the good stuff at home. I know this is common sense and we’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true.  When I was a kid, my grandparents watched over me after school until my parents were out of work.  We all know that grandparents are notorious for housing splurge foods and mine were no different!  I thought candy bars and ice cream were normal snacks!  After chewing on these, I’d still go home and eat the healthy dinner my mom was making.  Because I learned to “fall in love” with these foods as a kid, it was tough to break the habit as I got older.  And, Doritos for kids = Doritos for mom.  Just remember that!

KD’s Tips for Relaxation

1.      Make bed time a priority even if you don’t fall asleep right away.  Watch some TV or read a book.

2.      Take 5 minutes out of every day to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  This can even be done in your car.  You would be surprised at how rejuvenating this can be.

3.      Do a little something for yourself every day.  Treat yourself to a coffee or paint your nails.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that help our mental sanity.

I could go on and on with tips for my ideal ways of healthy living, but we’ll stop here.  Three in each category is enough.  Don’t ya’ think?  I need to follow my own advice above!  These are only tips that I wish to incorporate into my life as a mom.  And, I find I’m not even doing some of them now!

Again, please share your tips for staying well, while having a family!

Okay, my people, it’s time for FOOD.

Breakfast:

Egg beaters, whole wheat English, ICBINBL and Polaner Strawberry fruit spread applied from the work fridge :grin:

Mid-Morning snack:

I was in training all day today and had to eat my breakfast earlier than normal, so I brought reinforcements.

Lunch:

Leftover pizza casserole (just as good heated up!) and a spinach salad.  I received a coupon for free lunch from my training session, but I only like to use my cafeteria for snacks.  So, I hit the salad bar and used it to dress my spinach.  I topped it with onions, peppers, sunflower seeds, chick peas and carrots.  I also used an organic roasted red pepper vinaigrette.  It was really different and very delish!  I used about half of a standard dressing packet.

Snack:

Leftover from yesterday..hehe :smile:   Isn’t it so cute how the orange is cuddling up to the yogurt?  Aww, puppy yogurt love!

This was my first time every trying a Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style skyr yogurt.  Skyr is very similar to Greek yogurt: The whey is strained from the milk, leaving a thick and luxurious product.  You guys all know I think non-fat Greek is too tangy, but I really liked Siggi’s!  It still has a tang, but it’s not overly tart.  And, it’s much thicker than Greek!  It’s also has an almost-whipped consistency!  I bet the other flavors are actually better, but I wanted to start with vanilla to judge something on the plain scale.  Tina is always raving about the orange ginger.  I will have to try that one next!!

Dinner:

Simple again!  I’m love these simple dinners lately!  When we were at Whole Foods last week, Mr. KD proclaimed he wanted to buy some frozen ravioli for an upcoming dinner.  I was even further surprised when he chose the butternut squash variety. 

I probably should have created my own sauce for this, but was feeling too lazy, so we picked up some Newman’s Alfredo.  The nutritional stats actually weren’t too bad for alfredo.

To incorporate some green, I roasted up some broccoli.  Can you tell I’m obsessed with roasted vegetables these days?!?

One big happy family:

If you haven’t tried Newman’s Alfredo, try it now!  THAT’S AN ORDER!  It was definitely the best alfredo I’ve had out of a jar.  It was so cheesy.  Holy yum!  The ravioli was also outstanding, but the package was small.  I thought adding walnuts would help for satiety, but I ate about 20 minutes ago and my belly is still rumbling.  I might have to go in search of a snack soon!

Here’s to hoping the Bruins can pull it off tonight!!  I’m off to a couch date with my hunny :smile:

Question of the Day: Have you ever tried a Siggi’s?





Super Foods For Women

11 05 2010

Lovey Loves :smile:

How are you on this fine day?

Have I ever told you how much I HATE Tuesdays?  :evil:   It’s true.  I think they’re a useless day and I dread them like none other.  Ick.  But, my Tuesday was as good as the worst day of the week can be.  And, that my friends, is the best I can ask for :grin:

Now that we’ve exchange pleasantries, let’s tackle our Day 2 topic for Woman’s Health Week!  Remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago about confusing health articles?  In my opinion, one of the largest offenders, are all of “super food” lists.  I don’t know about you, but I see super foods lists popping up in magazines, on new shows, in newspapers, etc, etc.  And, no two appear to be the same!

Actually, these lists don’t bother me as much as some of the other articles I read because they are composed good-naturedly, meaning that even if different lists contain varying super foods, it is easy to see why most of the foods made the list.  Truthfully, these lists are encompassing the entire platform of this blog: Eat a variety of all foods to ensure optimum health.

So, I got to thinking.  Scary, I know.  Wouldn’t it make the most sense to look at a variety of these lists and pluck out the foods that appeared on most – if not all?  And, wouldn’t it be beneficial to scour super foods for women and find similarities among those lists?  In addition, wouldn’t it be great to understand why these foods were so beneficial to women?  :shock:   Genius!!  Please.  Save your applause until the end of the post.    

I checked out a variety of lists and settled on three: Health, WebMD and Oxygen Magazine

Without further ado…

Top Five Super Foods for Women

1.       Salmon:

  1. a.       Why should you eat salmon?  Ever heard of a little something called heart-healthy omega 3’s?  Of course you have!  Salmon not only contains the omega-3 acid ALA, which can be found in walnuts and flaxseed oil, but also contains two other types known as DHA and EPA.  While ALA is certainly good for you, DHA and EPA can be used by the body directly.  This means that the body soaks up all the good stuff right away without needing other nutrients to facilitate a conversion process.  Think of it like protein vs. a complete protein.

2.       Oatmeal:

  1. a.       Why eat oats?  As if being one of the first foods to be recognized by the FDA as a heart-healthy food wasn’t enough (they help to lower cholesterol), oats are loaded with fiber!  Fiber = full belly and regular digestion.  Check!  Since regular oats devoid of added sugar are the best, visit my recipe page for some delish oatmeal recipes!

3.       Low-Fat Dairy (Especially Greek Yogurt):

  1. a.       Why eat low-fat dairy?  Let’s break this up into two categories:  1) Low-fat yogurts contain probiotics, which help your body in a variety of ways.  Some are a little too graphic for this post, but just trust me when I say they help you :smile:   Greek yogurt is often preferred because it contains a significant amount more protein, which will help keep you feeling fuller longer.  2)  Low-fat milk contains Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium is often deficient in women.  The body also absorbs Vitamin D via sunlight, but more women are working and, therefore, spending less time outside.  The lack of sunlight coupled with use of sunscreen prevents the body from getting enough of this nutrient.  And, speaking of calcium, all low-fat dairy products are a great source.  While Sally Field looks cute selling Boniva to us, you won’t be so cute when your bones start to crack.  Just sayin’!

4.       Blueberries:

  1. a.       Why eat blueberries?  Where can I even begin with this one?!?  If you eat nothing else, EAT BLUEBERRIES!!  They contain antioxidants, which will help fight wrinkles!  I knew that’d get ya! :wink:   They help to produce the anti-cancer nutrients, anthocyans, which help in cell repair.  In addition, they are loaded with vitamin C and folic acid (crucial for your baby-making years!).  If blueberries become too expensive during winter, buy them frozen.  You won’t regret it.  They are SO FUN to eat frozen.   Scout’s honor!  (Sidebar: It’s official that none of the American readers have ever tried a boysenberry, but FoodLovingPolarBear says they’re very popular in Finland!)

5.       Beans (Particularly Red Beans):

  1. a.       Why eat beans?  Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you….save money?  Beans are one of the cheapest healthy foods out there, ladies!  They are considered to be both a vegetable AND a protein, which means you get double the bang for your buck!  They not only contain a high protein content, but also other nutrients like folate.  In addition, new research is being done on the type of fiber in beans, including “resistant starch”.  Here we go with the research again, but it deserves mentioning that this type of starch may have the ability to control blood sugar levels and help you feel fuller longer.  Red beans contain a significant amount of resistant starch, so that is why they’re receiving a shout-out.

Foods Deserving Honorable Mention:

These foods were listed on one, but not all of the lists.  Pretty hard to argue with any of them!

  • Sweet potatoes (White potatoes rock too, but sweet potatoes have added nutrients)
  • Spinach (Just ask Popeye!)
  • Broccoli (Well, duh!!)
  • Tomatoes (Love me some lycopene)
  • Dark Chocolate (It really is good for your heart!  But, in small doses, my loves!  The rule with chocolate: Keep it small and keep it dark!  I’m talking about chocolate…get your head out of the gutter)
  • Olive Oil (The Queen of healthy fats.  Again, a tsp goes a long way!)
  • Walnuts (The King of healthy fats and just about everything-else-that’s-good-for-you.  Eat a handful a day)

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?!?

Now it’s time to talk FOOD.

Breakfast:

Kashi puffs, raisins, and dried cranberries swimming in an ocean of almond milk.

Lunch:

Flat-Out Wrap loaded with organic chicken, laughing cow, spinach and Frank’s Red Hot.  Baked beans and an apple on the side, yo!

Snack:

Unpictured.  :oops:   It was supposed to be a Siggi’s yogurt and an orange.  But, a co-worker of mine may have brought in leftover birthday cake, which may have been carrot cake.  I may have eaten a slice for my snack and saved my healthy stuff for tomorrow.  I guess you’ll never know, since there are no pics allowed at my work!  Muwahahahaha!  And, if I did eat it, I’ll just say that there were walnuts in it.  Which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, are a super food :mrgreen:

Sadly, because of this supposed scenario, I didn’t pick up my free iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts like I had originally planned.  Why, you may ask?  Because I have a secret.  Don’t tell anyone, but I like my iced coffee with REAL sugar.  The horror!  I enjoy stevia products in my hot coffee, but can’t do it in iced for some reason.  I didn’t think it would be necessary this evening.  This is my first time EVER not getting a free coffee on this day!  It hurt my heart a little.

Thankfully, dinner was quick, easy and healthy.  Love that!  We had Easy Chicken Caesar Salads.  Generally, I don’t use anything to “stick” the mixture to the chicken, but tonight I decided to use egg beaters.  Oh.Em.Gee.  One of the best decisions of my life!  The cheesy coating browned up and the chicken stayed so tender.  Holy deliciouness!

On the side with some ICBINBL

That’s all she wrote, folks :grin:   Chat with you tomorrow!!  And, obviously, GO CELTS!

Question of the Day: Do you enjoy flavored coffee?

I do :smile:   But, I also love a good ol’ regular cup of Joe.  It just depends on my mood!





Kickoff Of Women’s Health Week & Recipe!

10 05 2010

Loves!

I’m baaaaaaaaaack! :mrgreen:

HOW ARE YOU?!?  I feel as though it’s been so long since I’ve chatted with my favorite people!!!  Vacation was needed and well-deserved, but I was starting to feel a bit lazy toward the end.  I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the whole work thing, BUT I WAS looking forward to having a routine again. 

And, I was most certainly excited for my normal blogging schedule!  I felt so out of the loop this past week!

I was even more excited when I realized I was coming back to National Women’s Health Week!! 

What is National Women’s Health Week, you ask?!? 

According to its website:

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. With the theme “It’s Your Time,” the nationwide initiative encourages women to take simple steps for a longer, healthier, and happier life. During National Women’s Health Week, communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases.

I LOVE this year’s theme!!  As women, we are always looking out for everyone else.  Aren’t we, ladies?!?  Whether it’s children, a spouse, or another girlfriend, we often find ourselves immersed in someone else’s problems or triumphs.  While this is admirable, we must also take time for ourselves!  I believe this year’s theme truly encourages this belief.  It’s encouraging a brief selfishness in us, so that we take the time to pay attention to our own health and well-being!  Without our health, we cannot be the fabulous, strong women our confidants have come to depend on :grin:

I thought it would be fun to discuss a different aspect of women’s health each day for the remainder of the week!  So, sit back, fasten your seatbelts grab your glasses and let’s discuss Women & Heart Disease.

Did you know that Heart Disease is # 1 killer of women in America?  Mm hmm.  While we often spend a lot of resources discussing women and breast cancer (and, rightfully so), there is a secret killer among us.  The heart is obviously vital to our existence and it is so, so, so important to ensure it stays as healthy as it can be.  Read on to learn more facts about this deadly disease.

All information was derived from here and here.

Women & Heart Disease Quick Facts

  • Of the total number of women that die each year, one in four dies of heart disease.
  • Nearly five times as many women will die from heart attacks than will die of breast cancer.
  • Why is this number so astonishing?  A study in 2005 showed that only 8% of primary care physicians and 17% of cardiologists (if you make it that far!) knew that heart disease kills more women than menI found this statistic on a number of sites I researched!!!

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a broad term used to describe problems that affect the heart and blood vessels of the heart.  Here are some of the most common types of heart disease:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): This is the most common type and leading cause of heart attacks.  CAD causes the arteries to become hard and narrow.  Due to this, the proper amount of blood cannot reach the heart.  CAD can lead to:
    1. Angina: This is chest pain or discomfort caused by the heart not receiving enough blood.  It often feels like a pressing pain in the chest, but can sometimes also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back.  It can also feel like indigestion.  While angina is not a heart attack, it generally means you are more likely to have one.
    2. Heart Attack: Heart attacks occur when an artery is severely or completely blocked, and the heart does not receive the blood it needs for more than 20 minutes.
  2. Heart Failure:  Contrary to popular belief, this does not indicate the heart stops!  Rather, this occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently through the body.  Therefore, other organs that rely on the heart for blood, do not receive enough.  Typical signs of heart failure include:
    1. Shortness of breath
    2. Swelling of feet, ankles or legs
    3. Extreme tiredness
  3. Heart Arrhythmias:  Arrhythmias indicate a change in heart beat.  While these “flutters” may have been felt by most of us at one time or another, they cease to become normal when coupled with any of the symptoms mentioned above.  If you ever experience heart flutters AND any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, call 911 immediately!

Risk Factors of Heart Disease:

  • Age – The older a women is, the greater the risk of heart disease
  • Family history – Those with a history of heart disease by a blood relative have a greater risk
  • Race – African-American and Hispanic women are at greatest risk for heart disease
  • Previous History – If you’ve had any of the aforementioned symptoms or types of heart disease, you are predisposed to have them again.
  • High Blood Pressure – Years of high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels of the heart!
  • Living With Diabetes – Those with diabetes are often at greater risk for heart disease than those that are not.
  • Those With High Cholesterol – High cholesterol can clog your arteries and prevent the proper blood flow to the heart.  Know your levels, so that you can determine whether you are in the proper range
  • Smoking
  • Being Overweight
  • Stressing Too Much

While all of these statistics seems grim, there are steps YOU can take to prevent heart disease from sneaking up on YOU!!!  I’m now kicking Research KD to the curb and coming at’cha with the I-Don’t-Want-To-Hear-Excuses-KD!!  GET READY :wink:

  • First, stop stressing over the mindless stuff and take time out of your day to do something relaxing for YOU.  Your heart is worth it :smile:   Whether it’s a good book, trashy TV, a bubble bath, etc, you should make it happen.  Like, tonight.  I’m not kidding!
  • Secondly, get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked once a year.   Know your numbers, ladies!  If they need fixing, WORK ON LOWERING THEM ASAP.
  • STOP SMOKING.  Seriously.  Right now.  Or, we can’t be friends anymore. It’s 2010, ladies.  You can’t give me a SINGLE good reason why you still smoke.  I know it and you know it.  If you need help quitting, ask for it.  But, take the steps to kick those nasty suckers to the curb.  I believe they’re running $7.50 a carton right now too.  Just think – if you stowed away all the money you were blowing on sucking tar into your lungs, you could be on the beach in Bora Bora in no time!
  • Lose the excess weight and eat well.  Ahhh, this is the toughie.  Isn’t it?  America certainly doesn’t make it easy to eat well.  But, we’re smart and can outthink the corporate foodies!!  We’re too smart to fall into the trap of a diet full of mostly processed foods, right?  We all know that we have to limit our saturated and trans fats and that we should be concerned with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats for heart health (Think: peanut butter and avocados).  We are all aware that we should be eating low-fat proteins (turkey, chicken, fish, beans, tofu, egg whites, low-fat dairy) and limiting red meat consumption.  And, we all know how important whole grains are to a healthy heart (Not the mention energy levels!).  Most importantly, we are all aware of the never-ending benefits associated with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.  So, we’re all eating as many servings as we can on most days.  Right?!?

Heck, I know it’s hard.  I definitely gained a few pounds on vacation and even ate ice cream for lunch one day.  It happens.  It’s life and you only get one.  So, eat ice cream for lunch on occasion, but stay true to health for your heart and eat a salad on most days.  Capeesh? (P.S. I cannot figure out how to move this paragraph over and it’s making me CRAZY :evil: )

  • Exercise to keep your heart strong.  The cardiovascular benefits of exercise are endless, so lace up those sneakers!  I know you’re tired after work.  I get it.  I really do.  But, exercise is an integral part of health, so make time for it like you would make time for anything else of importance in your life.  You can always find 30 minutes in your day.  Always.  You may have to set the alarm earlier and curse my name a few times, but it’ll all be worth it when you notice improvements in yourself!  And, I encourage you to find what works for you!  We weren’t all built to enjoy running, so take out your bike or the kayak or play tag with your kids!  Anything that gets your heart rate up will do, ladies!!

That was such an exciting post to write! :grin:   I hope you were able to take something out of that.  Does it make me a nerd that I enjoy researching these topics and then sharing them with others?  Probably :oops:   But, I’m okay with it!  I shall be a nerd at your service!

I was soooooo happy to eat like myself again!  Eleven days of vacation is a long time.  And, even though we didn’t go anywhere, we ate out A TON.  I was stoked to get back into the KD food routine today, even if it meant going to work in addition :sad:

Breakfast:  Standard oats.  I’m obsessed with Whole Foods’ 365 crunchy peanut butter.  It’s crunchier than most I’ve had and I’m in Heaven!

Lunch: A bed of spinach topped with organic chicken breast, dried cranberries and goat cheese, which was all accompanied by HALF of the gigantic sweet potato I packed up after going out to dinner on Saturday night.  Look at how huge that Bad Larry is!!

Snack: Carrots & Ranch and some fruit salad.  Yummy in my tummy.

Dinner: Kelly’s Pizza Casserole.  This was a no-brainer to make when I saw the recipe!  I followed everything exactly, but omitted the olives.  I don’t dislike olives by themselves or in a salad, but they do NOT belong on my pizza.  :smile:

PIZZA CASSEROLE

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8oz) package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (4oz) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 (15oz) jar pizza sauce
  • 5 oz. turkey pepperoni slices, cut in half
  • 3-4 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (I used gluten-free macaroni noodles)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Brown beef, onion, garlic over medium high heat. Drain off excess grease. Add mushrooms, olives, pepperoni and pizza sauce. Cook until heated through. Mix in pasta.

Pour into a baking dish sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves: 6

357 Calories; 13.3g Fat (4.3g saturated fat); 72.9mg Cholesterol; 658mg Sodium; 29.4g Carbohydrates; 6.0g Fiber; 0.2g Sugar; 27.8g Protein

Obviously, this was DELICIOUS.  How could it not be?!?  This will be SO comforting in the winter!  It’s also a great recipe for kids.  Don’t you think?

Served with a side of roasted brussels.

Quick workout update:  I’m continuing to run and do my normal cardio routine in addition to P90X.  I’m LOVING P90’s second month of workouts.  Mr. KD is looking STELLAR and I can totally see a difference in him.  I think I have gotten slightly more toned in the shoulders and back, but am not seeing the significant changes that he is.  I think this is for two reasons: 1) My diet was always better than his and now that he’s really cleaned up his food, he’s seeing an even bigger change.  2)  I’m continuing to do cardio, which negates some of the muscle I’m building.  I’m totally fine with this and am not feeling discouraged at all.  I’m just sharing my thoughts :smile:

But, since my workouts are sort of the same hum drum thing to read about every day, I’m not going to post them on a daily basis.  However, when I am able to run outside with the Garmin (obsessed), I definitely plan to share my progress.  Laugh at me all you want, but I think of you guys when I’m running, especially when it gets tough (read: ALWAYS).  It helps to power me through, so even if you don’t like reading about it, let me post it.  It helps me feel better :grin:   I knew you’d understand!  This is why we’re friends!

CAN’T WAIT to chat tomorrow!  xoxo

(Random) Question of the Day:  Have you ever had a boysenberry?

I saw a sign today that indicated they were a good companion for blueberries.  I don’t think I’ve ever had one!  Do tell!  What are they like?!?