This post is part of a Facebook-Series I will be doing from January 1-10th, 2014 called 10 Days of Healthy Habits. If you aren't already following me on Facebook, get your butt over there! Tips & Tricks, Recipes, Workouts + Motivation - Facebook.com/BrilliantByBrooke. On to the good stuff... Healthy Habit #1: WATER!
"I know I should be drinking more water, but it's so hard" - a lot of people I know (ha ha! :))
- Set your Intentions -> If you can chug a pint of beer when you're out with your friends, you can do the same with water. Picture a plant that is watered each day, and now picture one that has gone a week without a watering can. Our bodies work in much the same way. Water is one of the most key ingredients to health.
- Start Your Day Off Right -> Down 1 Litre of water upon waking. Use a measuring cup to measure out 1 Litre, if you don't have a large enough glass at home, make your mission of today to buy one. Fill this glass with 1 full Litre of water and leave it on your bedside table so that it is the first thing you see when you wake up.
- Know How Much You Need -> My rec is 1/2 to 1 full ounce of water per lb of body weight, per day. Read: Aim for 3-4 Litres a day.
- Pencil Yourself In -> Set timers on your phone! Litre #1 by 9 am, Litre #2 by 12 noon, Litre #3 by 3 pm, Litre #4 by 6 pm. Write it out. Follow through.
- Poppin' Bottles -> Go to 7-11. Pick out one of those big jumbo guys - I never buy water in a bottle smaller than 1 Litre. Buy a fun bottle... I know Fiji water's an extra $1, but when you really think of it... what's $1 if it is the tipping point that helps you build a new, healthy habit?
- Ice, Ice Baby! -> Add Ice to your water. In order to maintain homeostasis (our body's naturally balanced state) our bodies will actually use energy to heat the water up to body temperature. Read: Free calorie burn!
- Sweat Sesh -> Drink 250 ml (1 cup) every 20 mins of exercise. During an hour long sweat sesh, you should go through 3/4 of a Litre of water.
- Sip, Sip, Munch -> Downing too much water during a meal actually does more harm than good. When our belly's got too much extra water sloshing around, the naturally secreted digestive enzymes get diluted and our food isn't properly digested. Read: Gas, Bloating, Not absorbing all of the nutrients from the food. Limit your water intake to 250 ml (1 cup) during meals. The trick is to sip between meals.
1 Simple Step a Day... You Got This! Yours in Strength + Stretchiness, - Brooke xoxo
One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday is cozied up in a Chapters with a big giant pile of books. I just love reading, learning and the endless number of amazing, interesting ideas there are out there.
I picked up Bob Harper's book, Skinny Rules, last weekend and not only could I not put it down, but I was just going bananas with my highlighter. While the tips are habits I'd already built a few years ago, the value I found in this book was that it is such a great guide for someone who is just looking for a clear, detailed place to start. 1. "End the day with preparation for a good start to the next: put a large, full glass of water on your bedstand every night and drink it when you wake up, every morning."
How much of a babe is this guy,
I mean really??! Source: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images North America
-- LOVE this! We sweat while we sleep and of course, that leads to slight dehydration. When you wake up in the morning, your body is just screaming for a big juicy glass of H20 and downing a full litre first thing in the AM will set your bod on "smooth sailing" mode for the rest of the day.
2. "Net carbs are, in short, digestible carbs - the carbs that cause weight gain. The figure is arrived at by subtracting grams of fibre from total grams of carbohydrate. A piece of whole-wheat bread might weigh in at 25 grams of carbs, but when you take out the 10 grams of fibre, you've got 15 net carbs. I'll take fewer carbs any way I can get them." 3. "Just how much protein is enough? ... If you're 200 pounds, try to get at least 100 grams. I'm not saying it's 100 percent scientific, but more and more research shows that consumption of a high-protein diet with reduced high-carb foods results in better weight control metabolism. I'm saying it works. For me. For my clients, my contestants, and for you."
While it will vary for each individual, I personally aim for around 125 grams per day with my clients, but I think as a starting point, 100 grams per day is a fantastic goal.
4. "Eat 30 to 50 grams of fibre a day. ...Eating fibre in the amounts I'm advocating is looking more and more promising as a way to prevent type 2 (diabetes). And I am talking fibre from food, not from supplements."
I used to work with a guy who was overweight, and would always go on about how "I start my diet Monday. Yup, just this one more Wendy's meal then I'm goin' hard. I did an hour of running on my treadmill last night." He would talk a lot about how he had so much trouble going to the washroom but would down a glass of Metamucil and "how much better he would feel." Ya, Metamucil does not work the same way as eating a diet high in naturally-occuring fibre. Don't be like that guy. :-) 5. "We are, as humans, hardwired to seek sweetness. It is a powerful, deeply rooted inclination. We even have specialized taste buds for it on our tongue. Think about it: in evolutionary terms, sweetness, as in berries and wild fruits, signalled something that was safe and edible and high in energy - what cavement and -women needed to run all day. We don't need to run all day. That's why I want you to get away from all added sweeteners." 6. "For many modern eaters, it's hard to imagine a time when fast foods... were a rare treat, but they were. ... But that is how it was - fast-food scarcity! - until three things happened:
(1.) The government encouraged overplanting of crops like corn and soy (to sell to global markets). (2.) Food companies used low-priced corn to make less expensive sugars, allowing them to sell supersized portions cheaply. (3.) A new-style American family emerged, with two parents working and no time to cook."
Think: High Fructose Corn Syrup, soy based protein bars, I challenge you to go check any box of cereal in your pantry and count how many of the ingredients are corn-based. 7. "Harper's Way is not easy. I told you that when we started. The old easy way got you here! If you want to change your life, and not just your lifestyle, you've got to do things differently. Or say fat. Period."
Yes, yes, yes! Amen, Bobby!!!
All of these excerpts have been taken directly from Bob Harper'sSkinny Rules and truly only give you a teeny tiny taste of all the awesomeness he's wrangled together in this read. His book, along with a million other tools, are available on his website http://www.mytrainerbob.com/.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a very easy to understand manual for how to make small changes in your daily life that will lead you to BIG results with your energy levels, your self esteem, your body size and shape, and your health! And really... what a fantastic Christmas present! How awesome is it to be able to give someone a gift that really means something this Holiday season - something that could be that tool they have been looking for, that really just flicks the switch inside of them - and allows them to find their greatness?
Dare ya to try it, I can definitely say it's one of the most empowering and awesome feelings I've ever found!
Tonight's inspiration is absolutely one of my favorite all time quotes ever to be found. You know that feeling you get when you see fireworks? It kinda makes me feel like that, but in my heart. Love this.
"It's never too late to be what you could have been." - George Eliot
1 large container of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
3 packets Stevia (0 calorie sweetener found in Organic section)
a squeeze of real lemon juice
Wash and dry strawberries. Cut off the tops, and also make a cut about 2/3 of the way down the strawberry (see picture above). In the larger part of the strawberry, use a paring knife to cut a little cavity into the strawberry (which you will fill with cheesecake filling).
In a separate bowl, mix together all of the rest of the ingredients and use an electric mixer on a low speed to combine. Using a spatula, spoon out the cream cheese mixture into a ziploc baggy, which you will use as an "icing bag". With a pair of scissors, cut a small hole in the corner of the baggy that you can squeeze the cream cheese mixture through.
Line strawberries up on a large baking sheet, squeeze some cheesecake filling into the cavity of each strawberry, and top with the little triangle piece you initially cut off. The picture I've got above has little black eyeballs, which you can add with either sprinkles you have at home, or by adding food coloring to the icing mixture.
Yours in strength + stretchiness,
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Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning! Only 6 days till Christmas! My gosh, how did time fly so quickly?!
The recipe I've got this morning is seriously so delish it is well worth using up a few of those precious right-before-Christmas hours! While the recipe explains to make them in "bars" or "sticks" I also poured the chocolate mixture into mini muffin liners and made some mini minty macaroon cups - and both ways turned out fantastic!
6 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp almond butter
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
pinch of salt
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c pecans
Fill a medium sized pot with 1-2'' water, and sit a medium sized metal mixing bowl on top of it to create a double boiler. Add coconut oil, cocoa powder, almond butter, honey, vanilla, peppermint and salt to the bowl and allow the mixture to melt, stirring gently, 5 to 10 minutes until ingredients are combined.
In a magic bullet or food processor, chop the pecans up into tiny pieces.
Add the chopped Pecans and shredded coconut to the melted chocolate mixture and stir together to combine.
Pour into a 7 x 5'' dish lined with parchment paper.
Freeze until chocolate is set then cut into sticks. Store in an airtight container in freezer. Recipe from www.livinghealthywithchocolate.com
And to wrap things up... of course! My quote of the day. I really love this one because it shines a light on one of the true keys to success, especially in health and fitness - consistency and dedication.
"Confidence doesn't come out of nowhere. It's a result of something.... hours and days and weeks and months of constant work and dedication." - Roger Staubach
Now, while I definitely do recommend that in search of finding that balanced, happy, healthy life, there are certain habits that will have to go out the window; but I also feel that there are some that are non-negotiables. And Starbucks is one of them - for me anyways! Ha ha :-)
Today, I share a few of my tips + tricks for keeping my Starbucks trips in check! Enjoy :-) Rule #1 - A Single Indulgence is Still An Indulgence
We have all heard that moderation is key - but what does that really mean on a day-by-day basis? One of the rules I've found that really works in the long term is that it's fine to enjoy life and indulge a little - but I like to keep it so a "Single Indulgence" instead of a "Double"!
What this means is that if I am going to treat myself, I choose either a drink or a 'pastry' as an indulgence - never both.
If I can't stop dreaming about Gingerbread Lattes (Mmmmmm) I recognize that the sugary-sweet coffee is my treat - and save the goodies from the 'snack bar' for another time. (I am getting my sugar + calories from my coffee, and minimizing/eliminating extra calories from food).
If instead, I decide that to treat myself to piece of my fav Reduced-Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, I'll order just a normal brewed coffee with just a splash of soy milk + honey. (I am getting my sugar + calories from the banana cake, and minimizing the sugar/calories in my drink).
Rule #2 - Say No to Portion Distortion
During my Business Degree, I got to spend a semester studying and living in Copenhagen and my gosh, I've got to say - what an eye-opener! It's funny, but I never truly realized how incredibly super-sized the whole world of North American food really is until I got to see how other people in the world live. Other beautiful, fit, trim, active, healthy people, that is... ha! (I'm not joking - everyone in Scandinavia looks like a walking supermodel and when you peek inside homes they really do look like a page from an Ikea magazine ha ha :))
So what's their secret?? Their portion sizes aren't distorted like ours! Denmark's "jumbo" sized coffee is the size of our Grande (medium)! Venti cups literally don't exist. I'm pretty sure if you showed a Dane the container that 7-11's "Big Gulp" comes in, they'd think they were on an episode of Punk'd.
My solution to our problem of "Portion Distortion" is simple - Starbucks' Venti, Second Cup's large and Tim Hortons' Large & Extra Large sizes, do not exist. They are not even an option.
To really make this make sense - keep in mind that the average stomach is the size of a clenched fist -- doesn't it seem a like a bit of overkill to consume something that is about 2-3x that volume? I mean, really? If we actually take a moment to think about this, do we reallyneed a LITRE of coffee? Or do we just order that size because we have created a habit that we are so used to, we don't even think twice about it?
This brings me back to a point I have brought up many times before. When I talk about sustained weight loss - dropping the pounds and inches you want to drop - then actually keeping them off, it really is about re-inventing your set of "eating rules" and replacing unhealthy, destructive habits with happy, healthy ones.
By making the choice to remove the "Venti" size from your mind, you are creating a new way of thinking and I promise you, this truly is one of the secrets to a long, happy, healthy life!
Rule #3 - Your New Favorite Word: Mod
"Mod" is the hospitality industry's lingo for "to modify" - or to request a few changes to the menu item you're ordering. In general, the way I look at it is how can I cut calories, sugar and fat from my favorite drinks without having to doom myself to very sad life of never ever tasting another Gingerbread Latte? (ha! Can you tell I've got a weakness for GBL's? lol)
You've probably heard of the whole "half-sweet" idea before - and this one is GREAT! Ordering your latte "half-sweet" means that instead of putting 4 pumps of Gingerbread syrup into your Grande, they only put 2. Yes, it will taste a little different at first, especially if you are used to the 4 pumps, but back to my earlier point - to be successful with health and fitness in the long term we must be willing to change some of our habits and find a way to enjoy our new way of thinking. For example, try telling yourself the Half-Sweet Gingerbread Latte tastes better than the full-sweet version, and focusing on how sneaky you are for cutting all those extra calories and sugar from your diet - and trust me - before you know it, you won't even be able to taste the difference!
Another great little option that I love is the Americano Misto. I like to call this one my secret little weapon. This one's a great little replacement for a Cafe Latte - the only difference is it replaces 1/2 of the milk with water - saving you half the calories and carbs. (Awesome.)
And in closing, of course, my wise words for the day:
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)" - Dr. Seuss