Aha Fitness

Discover Your Power!

How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right

For just a minute (or however long it takes you to read this blog), I would like for you to think about calories as a type of currency.

How are you spending your calories?

When it comes to your bank account, you know there are some things you need to fit into your budget.  Most of us have to pay rent or a mortgage.  We have to put gas in our cars, put food on our table, and even allocate our funds for toiletries.  While many of us would like to take our paycheck and head off on a vacation or to our favorite store, we understand that we must make sure our needs are met before we can spend money on our wants.

When it comes to calories, are you making sure your nutritional needs are being met?

 

Now, when we go to the grocery store, all of the food items have a price tag just like everything else.  Yes, there is the actual cost of the food, but the real value of foods is given in the nutritional label.  Some items are super high in calorie cost, but low in nutritional value like ice cream and potato chips.  Conversely, some items are lower in calories but high in nutrients, like anything in the produce isle.  There are, of course, other items with different cost/value ratios.  The problem, as I see it, is many of us are becoming more conscious of calories, but we are ignoring the nutrient value of foods.  This is mostly because we know if we eat too many calories, we will gain weight, but we don’t think about, and some people don’t even know, that if we don’t meet our nutritional needs with certain foods we will develop poor health, disease, and absolutely hinder our abilities to reach and maintain an ideal weight.

Our bodies require a certain amount of necessary vitamins and minerals to survive.  We need adequate amounts of protein and essential fats.  We thrive on foods that are free of preservatives, pesticides, and genetically-modified and artificial ingredients.  Yes, we need to watch our calories if we want to be at an ideal weight, but if we want to truly be successful in taking care of our health, we need to ensure we are spending our calories wisely.

So how do you make sure your nutrient needs are being met?  One option would be going to your doctor and ask for a test to find out if you are deficient in any nutrients.  Restoring your deficiencies is very important!  Consider how many people these days have found out they are low in Vitamin D.  I could write a whole other blog on the “low Vitamin D epidemic,” but nevertheless, people taking vitamin D supplements is as common today as people using mouthwash.  If, however, people were paying attention to how much Vitamin D they were getting from natural foods (and the sun), would they need to supplement with a pill at all?

Another way you can find out if your diet is lacking in necessary nutrients is to track your foods.  There are websites like Lose It! and Fit Day.  which make this very easy.  You record the foods you eat using a database, and the website adds up the calories and nutrition for you.  Note:  Make sure you don’t just use it as a calorie counting log.  LOOK at your nutrient scores and make note of nutrients you consistently don’t eat enough of.

Finally, be smarter with your calorie budget when you are grocery shopping.  Read the nutrition labels for more than just the calorie information.  Don’t just see how much something costs, take a look at its value.  How much sugar does it have?  Does it have any trans fats?  Go a step further and READ the ingredients list.  Does it have more than 5 ingredients?  More than 20?

There is a new book that has just come out calledRich Food, Poor Food by the Caltons.  You know, I only encourage you to buy products I believe in, and I tell you, this book is like having a financial adviser for your calories at the grocery store.  Listen, would you buy toilet paper that was made from the anal glands of beavers?  Well, guess what?  After reading this book, I found out good ol’ beaver butt is used to make raspberry flavoring in many food products.  So it really can be worth it to have some professional advice about what you are paying for (and eating).

However you decide to become savvier at managing your calorie budget, I hope my little blog here has motivated you to do so.  For the last time, it’s not just about calories in and calories out.  I can spend my entire paycheck at Macy’s and not overdraw my bank account, but what will happen at the end of the month?  It’s amazing how when we take the focus away from calories and start thinking about how we can get better nutrition, everything seems to fall into place. Our energy improves, our food cravings go away, we feel more satiated, less hungry…we just feel better.

There are so many delicious nutrient-rich foods available to you.  Give your palette a taste of wealth, and you will buy yourself a lifetime of good health.

Now, it’s your turn.  How do you keep your diet nutrient-rich?  Do you sometimes slip into eating poorly?  Let me know your “two cents” on eating right!

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I wrote this on purpose

This week I had a medical procedure that gave me just enough recovery time to contemplate on life.  As I lay in bed, thankful to have survived surgery, I reflected on how much of my life I was living and how much of my life I was really living.  I think all of us can get caught up in the routine of life, going about the motions, and not paying much attention to what we are doing and why we are doing it.  There’s a popular Christian book called, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and while I like to think I am following my purpose in life, I must admit there are some areas that are passing for productive, but not necessarily helping me achieve my highest purpose.

Now, I want you to know that I believe in my heart Aha Fitness is part of my bigger purpose.  One of my life missions is to help people take better care of themselves, and I know I can do that through helping people discover their own power.  It might just look like push-ups and sweet potatoes, but trust me, fitness gives people power.  It is just the beginning!

I want to be honest on this blog; however, and I admit there are other areas of my life that I am not living so much on purpose.  My intentions are good, but I am staying in a position which holds me back from fully giving all I can towards my purpose.  And why do I stay.  F-E-A-R.

You see, fear is what holds so many of us back from living on purpose.  I can’t tell you how many of my clients have a goal of achieving a number on the scale or a performance marker, and whether they know it or not, it is their fear of success that keeps them from achieving their goal.  We know that if all of our actions are driven with purpose, we will meet our goals, yet somehow the fear of success prevents us from taking such direct action.  Take for example, my client who desperately wants to lose the rest of her weight but eats the bag of potato chips.  If you think it is just because she likes the taste of potato chips, you are mistaken.  In that moment, she didn’t forget her purpose.  She denied herself of moving towards her purpose, because she was afraid.  Of being attractive?  Of not having “being overweight” as an excuse?  Of what it doesn’t matter, the point is her potato chip-eating moved her away from her purpose and made her feel bad because we always feel bad when we are not living our lives on purpose.

So where does this fear come from?  If we start to live on purpose, we will have to let go of the excuses, we will have to stop putting off all those things we are putting off until we reach our goal.  We will have to start actually living.  It no longer is just about wishing, praying, manifesting, visualizing.  We will be actually living on purpose.

And that my friends, is where I am.  It is time to take Aha Fitness to the next level, and I know in order to do that, I must make follow my purpose in all areas of my life without constraint.  Stay-tuned!  My life is about to change as I strive to live my whole life with the conviction of my purpose which I hold so dear to my heart.

How about you?  What is your purpose?  Is there something holding you back?  How will you persevere?

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Two Hearts are Better Than One

Recently I shared with an acquaintance that one of my life goals is to write a book.  I hadn’t shared this goal with many people as the task seems daunting and I realize the odds of it getting published are small.  To my surprise and awe, this woman shared with me she has always wanted to write a book as well, and in fact, she had already started the process.  She just wished she had the time and discipline to write more regularly.

That night, I had a dream, or actually, I had a vision of this woman and me writing together.  There we were nestled in the corner of a coffee shop with our ideas brewing and my heart warm with joy as we created our best-selling fitness book.

The next day, with albeit hesitation, I e-mailed the woman to tell her my dream.  I was nervous how she would take it.  Was I being too presumptuous?  Would she even want my help?  It took her a few days to respond, but when I saw her message in my inbox, my heart leapt.  “Yes,” she said.  “I would love a writing partner and you are the perfect person to help me with it.”

Since then, she and I have had several writing sessions together, some of them in a coffee shop that looks dreamily familiar, (ah ha) and I am so thankful I had the courage to ask.  The reality is I probably wouldn’t have started a book on my own, and she told me without me, she didn’t know if she would have taken this book we are writing to its completion.  We both agree we needed the Accountability, Support, and Belief of each other to make our dream of writing a fitness book come true.

My message to you then on this post Valentine ’s Day is to reflect on what you love (or used to love) and ask yourself who you can ask to help you with it.  Do you have a forgotten hobby you’ve become too busy to do?  Do you have a dream you’ve almost given up on?  Maybe your love is you.  Are you doing everything you can to love yourself?  Are you making the time to eat right, exercise, or even just play?

If you are struggling to keep that thing you love in your life, please consider asking a friend, family member, or a coach like me J to be your partner in keeping the love alive.  Have the two of you come up with a plan.  Tell him/her what you need.  Ask what you can do for them in return.  It works.  I promise you—two hearts are better than one.

Now tell me about your love?  Have you already accomplished something in your life thanks to the support of another?  Come on and leave your comments below so we can all share the love!how to draw a dragon heart, dragon and heart step 1

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Unhinge with Uttanasana

You don’t have to go to a class or stand on a mat to do yoga.  The physical branch of yoga (the poses or asanas) can be done anytime and anywhere.  Yoga is about putting your body in different positions, which put your spirit in a different place as well.  This means you can use a quick yoga pose at any moment in your day to help you calm down, reduce your stress, lift your mood, etc.

One my favorite “go-to” yoga poses is Uttanasana, a forward bending pose that relieves tension in my neck, lower back, and nervous system.  After two or three minutes of Uttanasana, I can think more clearly and breathe more deeply.

Here is how to do Uttanasana:

1.  Stand with your feet forward, hip distance apart.

2.  Bend forward at the hips and let your upper body just hang.

3.  You can cross your arms and hold onto your elbows or place your hands on either side of your feet.

4.  Let your head drop away from your shoulders.  Unclench your jaw and shake your head gently from side to side.

5.  Inhale and every time you exhale, sink more deeply into the pose.

 

uttanasana

Your turn.  Got a “go-to” yoga pose?  How does your pose help change your body, mind, and spirit?

 

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