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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Matters of the Heart

I started the process of discovering my fitness when I was 23, but you could be discovering yours at 33, 43, or even 53. Age does not matter, but your health does. Health and fitness include so much more than what you, or others, can see. It is not simply being able to run a mile or having defined abs. They literally go deeper than that to your heart and beyond that to a cellular level.

While I was perusing the latest issue of Family Circle, I came across an article detailing seven things that you can do for your heart right now.* The list is broken down into three categories — 30s, 40s, and 50s — and each of those categories has 7 things to do. I’ve chosen to list the tips and suggestions that I think are universal.**

30s:

  • Master the Basics

You probably weren’t thinking about your ticker in your 20s—really, who does?—so now’s the decade to start following some cardiac rules. Do: Find a workout you love (at least for 30 minutes a day) to keep your weight in the normal range and your blood pressure in check. Don’t: Smoke, indulge in fast food, or skimp on zzz’s. “The more tired you are, the likelier you are to make poor food choices,” says Sarah Samaan, MD, a cardiologist at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Plano, Texas, and author of Best Practices for a Healthy Heart.

  • Spot Secret Stressors

Sure, juggling carpooling duties and credit card bills can tense you up. But don’t forget more subtle sources of pressure that need taming, like preparing your household for a big snowstorm or being ignored by a store employee. Whether you turn to massage or a manager, find positive ways to avoid or get rid of anxiety. Stress sparks the release of the hormones cortisol (which increases blood sugar levels) and adrenaline (which can raise your blood pressure).

40s:

  • Learn Your Calorie Burn

It’s one thing to count calories coming in—through your meals. It’s another to track calories going out—particularly when you’re not exercising. “If you know how many calories you’re burning overall, you can create a more accurate calorie budget to reach your weight-loss goals,” says Holly Parker, PhD, a lecturer in the psychology department at Harvard University and a certified personal trainer. Visit livestrong.com to estimate your burn rate.

  • Don’t Push Through Pain

Christine Wanamaker, a 49-year-old mom of two in Laguna Niguel, California, and an American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign spokesperson, had ongoing leg pain for four months before the day her life changed three years ago. “I was doing playground duty at my kids’ school and was carrying a lightweight table when I felt intense radiating pain in my chest,” she recalls. “That, along with the pain in my left arm, told me something was wrong.” When she arrived at the ER, she was immediately given four baby aspirin. Ultimately, she had a quadruple bypass. Leg pain can be a warning sign that you’re at high risk for a heart attack. Don’t self-diagnose—ask your doctor.

50s:

  • Go Fish Twice a Week

Aim to eat fatty fish, like wild salmon, which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help decrease inflammation and control cholesterol levels, suggests Taub-Dix. Make a marinade by blending 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 finely minced garlic clove. Place salmon in a bowl and cover with marinade for 10 minutes. Transfer salmon to a baking sheet and cook (skin side down) for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

  • Watch Underlying Conditions

By this decade, it’s even more risky to ignore irregular test results. Viviann Ferea, 62, an education program assistant in San Jose, California, had hypertension for a decade before she got checked and was put on medication. “Although taking meds is no fun, my prescription recently changed to a two-in-one pill,” says Ferea, who cautions against ignoring this silent killer. “I take it with my vitamins and feel like I’m doing something healthy instead of viewing myself as someone with a condition.”

These are things that I think I will start doing now (I say it’s never too early or too late to start), and keep doing as I go through life. I will keep researching other things to do to maintain a healthy heart because it is so important.

Well, that’s enough for me today. You guys enjoy your Thursday!

 

Until next time,

Carolina

 

 

 

 

*This is not a sponsored post.

**I’m not a doctor, registered dietitian, or fitness expert nor do I claim to be. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness, and life as I go through my own journey to get fit—not to dole out advice and therefore it should not be taken as such. When it comes to your health and fitness, consult a doctor or health professional first. Any action you take because of this blog is at your own risk.

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Weigh-In Wednesday Week 08

Time is passing way too quickly. I’ve decided that I’m not liking it. It’s another Wednesday so that means it’s another weigh-in for me. This past week was rather good. I had no personal challenges to deal with. Mentally and emotionally speaking, it was one of my better weeks so I’m very thankful for that.

Alright, enough of that. Let’s get to the numbers.

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Just posted my first video in regards to weight loss!

I recently came across a wonderful blogger, Cyrus, and his story as he tells it in Hoomy’s World (hoomysworld.wordpress.com). Over the course of two and a half years, he’s lost 140 pounds. Today I’m sharing his video because I believe there is something to learn from his experience. A true inspiration, he emphasizes the importance of being mentally and emotionally healthy when embarking on a self-improvement and/or weight loss journey. Watch his video and check out his blog. I can’t imagine you not being inspired by him.

Hoomy's World

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Rewarding

It’s been almost two months since I’ve restarted my journey, but not once in that time have I rewarded myself for any of my accomplishments. I can’t say why I haven’t because honestly, it wasn’t intentional. I’m all for rewarding yourself when you’ve done something good, especially if that something good is health related. For someone like me, who loves food, the problem arises when I want to use food as a reward. I’ve done that countless times throughout my life. Got on the distinguished honor roll? Let’s go out to eat! It’s my birthday? Let’s go out to eat! Got on the dean’s list? Let’s go out to eat! Got a job? LET’S GO OUT TO EAT! Heck, just last year when I initially lost 50 pounds, I decided to celebrate with, you guessed it — food. It’s a difficult habit to break, but I’m working really hard to not do that this time around. Instead, I’ve decided to reward myself a little more creatively.

My 25 pound loss has come and gone, but I still decided to “celebrate” by painting my nails today. I chose a gorgeous midnight blue for the occasion. I haven’t painted my nails in a long time. Actually, it’s been almost a year. The last time I can remember painting them was in April, while I was in the beginning stages of my depression. This reward is a little more symbolic than simply weight loss. It’s another thing that I’ve regained since that dark period last year. This makes me really happy right now. My 30 pound loss milestone is coming up and a list of things to reward myself with has sprung up. I’m thinking of seeing a movie or doing something fun for it. I’m not sure yet, but I do know it won’t involve food.

In other news, I’ve been reading all of our participants’ posts and there seems to be a common theme among them. We’ve all been having difficult weeks recently for several different reasons, including, but not limited to illness, injury, emotional and/or psychological struggles. The thing I’ve found, as time has passed, is that you guys have been bouncing back! 😀 This journey is going to test us multiple times before we’re finished, but the only thing that matters is that you keep going. You guys have inspired me so much these past few weeks and I’m so proud of each and every one of you. Keep up the good work that you are all doing — it can only benefit you. Thank you for making this whole experience the best reward. 🙂

Until next time,

Carolina

Challenge Bio

Today’s featured bio belongs to Jacque, also known by the pseudonym Nacho, author of gutbusterblog. An eccentric writer, Jacque, brings to life the story of her journey. A devoted mom and proud military wife, she shares her times of hardship in an unequivocal, yet relatable, manner. After encountering more setbacks than some of us will ever see in a lifetime, she is still working hard for her goals. Her strength and resilience makes me confident that she’ll reach her goals. Read her bio, and other posts, to get a better understanding of this amazing woman we’re lucky to have as a participant.

My weight loss journey

I am participating in the Sprint To May Challenge over at Carolinas’ blog NewFoundFitness. Part of the Challenge is to write a bio about yourself. So, here’s mine.

 

I was always a slender person, never weighing more than 160 when I wasn’t pregnant, which is about 15 pounds from my teenage years. I never had to work out, or think about what I ate. I never had to count calories, restrict what I ate or drank, never worried about any of that because I knew that I would just work it off somehow. I’m not sure how I did it, but, I managed to stay fairly skinny and ate literally whatever I wanted. My sister used to tell me all the time “You better be careful, one of these days all that is going to catch up to you and you’re going to have a giant @$$!” and…

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