Tag Archives: exercise

Blog Your Heart Out: A Family Tradition

byho

Today marks the last Friday of Go Red for Women Month, so I’m going to share my heart health story with you.

Heart health has been an important issue for me the past four years. (Until then, I was under the impression that my high metabolism was a sign of a healthy heart.) I specifically remember my sophomore year of college, when I had the realization that heart problems were bound to become part of my life if I didn’t take care of myself.

See, a number of my living family members suffer from some heart condition or another. Both of my parents are on medication for hypertension, and my grandmother has had multiple open heart operations. And here was the biggest wake-up call: I also realized that many of my deceased family members–at least two grandparents, as well as two uncles–had passed away due to heart problems. And that’s only the heart health history that I know about. I knew I had to do something to protect my heart, and that something couldn’t wait until I was in my 30s or 40s–I had to make a change pronto.

The first big change I made happened in April 2010, when I decided to cut pork (for it’s high sodium content) and red meat (for it’s high fat content) from my diet–though I do still eat deer meat on occasion, since it has the health qualities of leaner, light meat. I realize this may not work for everyone, but I think it definitely helped me reduce my sodium and fat intake. It’s still worth the harassment I get from burger-, steak- and bacon-fanatics. And I don’t even miss those kinds of foods (most of the time).

Additionally, I try to manage what I’m eating–sodium, sugars, fats, carbs and so on. I try to cook at home more than I eat out to ensure that I know what’s in my food, and I try to make as much from scratch as financially and physically possible. (That’s where my meal-planning comes in handy.)

The hardest part for me in all this heart health business is getting the exercise I need. It’s so much easier to place higher importance on other things like writing or cooking or cleaning than on working out. And, honestly, I often just forget that I need to do it. (Plus, I hate cardio! Darn that evil necessity.) But it is an important part of heart health, and it’s something I’m working to improve. (Right now, I’m focusing on yoga. I know yoga doesn’t do as much as cardio does for my heart, but I figure I have to start somewhere.)

I’m certainly not perfect and I do slip up (and sometimes it takes awhile for me to get back on track, particularly in the exercise department), but it feels good knowing that I am doing something to keep myself and my heart healthy.

Staying heart-healthy is a lifestyle. While you don’t have to completely renovate your diet (as in what you consume–definitely not a fad diet), making small changes to ensure you are feeding yourself good things can make your heart stronger and healthier. (And remember: you don’t have to sacrifice good-tasting food for good-for-you food.) Watch your sodium and sugar intake, and eat good fats (like those in fish) and complex carbs (like whole oats). Get your heart pumping with some fun exercise, and be sure to get plenty of rest (most doctors recommend 8 hours). And, probably most importantly, moderation is key. Too much of anything–good or bad–can be a bad thing.

byhobadge_2013Don’t wait until heart disease has affected you. Make changes today for a heart-healthy tomorrow.

For more information about heart disease in women and what you can do to prevent it, visit goredforwomen.org.

Spread the word about women’s heart health by joining Blog Your Heart Out day today. Speak up: write, tweet and talk about heart health today to increase awareness about heart disease.

(This post is in participation of  Blog Your Heart Out day, part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign and co-sponsored by Fitlosophy, Inc. My intention is to raise awareness about women’s heart health; I am not affiliated with Fitlosophy, the American Heart Association or the Go Red for Women campaign.)

Noms 01.14.2012

trail mixJosh and I made a quick trip to the grocery store this weekend without much time for meal-planning, so the next couple of weeks will likely be quick fixes (grilled chicken or fish, frozen leftovers, sandwiches and so on). I’m not even sure I have all the ingredients for the meals I did plan (and I’m only realizing this today… ugh).

Anyway, here are some of the meals we’ve planned:

I also think it’s important to have some light snacks on hand so we don’t gorge (what a gross word) at mealtime or resort to overly-processed vending machine snacks.

Here are some snacks I have planned:

  • Fruit slices (I’m going to try the salt or lemon trick to keep them from browning, so I can have them ready for us to grab on our way out the door.)
  • Veggies
  • Hummus (I’m debating whether I should make some or just buy it.)
  • Peanut Butter-Yogurt Dip
  • Trail Mix (I make these in single-serve zipper bags so I can customize them to what each of us wants.)

(If you’re interested in how any of this turns out, you can bet I’ll be posting food pics to Instagram.)

yogaWorkouts last week were a bust, but I’m hoping to stick it out this week. (I ended up doing yoga through a migraine Thursday night and Saturday morning, and it was so worth it–for those few moments, I felt at least kind of better.)

I still plan to stick with the yoga DVD for now. I’m really enjoying it, and changing which segment I use is enough of a change to keep it feeling fresh for now.

Are you trying any new recipes or workouts this week?

Noms

yogamatThis holiday season–though it’s already over–has me feeling very… off. Over the past few weeks, I didn’t pay much mind to what I was eating (Sweets for lunch? Sure!) nor did I do much to get moving. So now, I just feel blah.

Actually, I think this gross feeling has been a long time coming. Over the past few months, everything has been not quite normal. My eating habits constantly change, my sleep pattern is all kinds of messed up and I spend a lot more time curled up on the couch (or sitting at a desk) than I do actually moving. It’s really no wonder why I feel so terrible.

Since I decided to make “dedicate” my word of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means. Sure, I want to dedicate myself to writing more and accomplishing more in general, but I also want to make sure I’m taking care of myself. Yesterday, I read Caitlin of HTP’s resolution was pretty much to do nothing. She plans to slow down and enjoy time with her family, to read a good book, to relax in a bubble bath, to get a solid night of sleep–and as I read it, I kind of felt jealous. I feel like I have to try to do more and more and more every day, and I often wonder when that will end (probably never).

mms_pictureSo, like I mentioned, I’ve been wondering what “dedicate” can really mean for me and how it can make me a better person. Yeah, I’ll definitely dedicate more time to writing and job-hunting and other important things. But I also think “dedicate” can mean–NEEDS to mean–that I’m dedicating more time to me.

Of course, that means I need to focus on the simple things: go to bed at a decent hour (I’m aiming for 11 p.m. at the latest), eat well-balanced meals and get moving. But I’m also thinking it probably means less T.V. time (I’ve been noticing I have strange dreams if I watch a movie or show just before bed) and more saying “no” when know that’s what I need to do.

In order to live healthfully, I think I’ll have to take some time each week to plan (Rachel Wilkerson does this, and it seems to help her stay on track). Josh and I already have meal planning down, so I’d like to tackle meal prepping next (an idea I snagged from He and She Eat Clean). I doubt I’ll prep everything at once, but the more I do when I have time, the more likely I am to want to eat a meal at home (and the less likely I am to want to eat out or just stuff my face with cookies). I also want to start planning an exercise routine (what to do and when I’ll do it) to help keep me moving.

Meals:

Workout:

For Christmas, Hilary gave me an extra-thick yoga mat and Josh gave me a 3-part yoga DVD. I’ll use those for the rest of the week and plan further this weekend.

What do you do to keep yourself feeling happy and healthy?