Monday, July 30, 2012

healthy habits

i am by no means a health or nutrition expert, but along the way, i've learned what works for me and have tried to instill a few healthy habits.

healthy habits

1. quick cook steel cut oats: this is my go-to breakfast (actually my preferred choice is the trader joe's brand). i have oatmeal almost every weekday and i fix it at work. i use hot water from our office coffee maker, but you can also heat water in the microwave. it's a bit of trial and error to figure out what water-to-oats ratio works for you, but i didn't mind it. i also keep a 1/2 cup measuring spoon to make sure i'm getting the right amount each day.

i love steel cut oats because they're less processed than your standard quaker oats and they don't have any added sugar like those convenient oatmeal packs. it's also a hearty breakfast that will stick with you longer than a doughnut or muffin will. to jazz my oatmeal up, i keep cinnamon and agave nectar in a drawer at work. sometimes i'll throw in blueberries, banana, or raisins. *agave nectar is a low-glycemic sweetener and can be used in anything - margaritas, coffee, oatmeal, and for baking! get it at your local health food store, trader joes, or whole foods.

i've found it's key for me to have healthy food easily accessible, otherwise i'm tempted to grab not-so-healthy options. which means...i have a whole drawer full of healthy food options at the office: trail mix, kashi granola bars, apples, etc. i also bring my lunch to work everyday. it's sometimes a pain to remember to pack it (i usually do it the night before), but i find when i don't, i'm much more likely to indulge when i buy my lunch.

2. jillian michaels: i seriously love jillian michaels and her crazy, screaming ways. i first out about JM by flipping through the exercise videos on video-on-demand. i was so tired of going to the gym for 1 or 1.5 hours and not really seeing much of a difference. i couldn't even do the first 10 minutes of the first JM video i tried. i'm not joking. i thought i was going to die. but i also kind of loved it. if i could get that out of breath in 10 minutes, it had to be effective. then i got JM's "30 day shred" and i was hooked. if you don't know "30 day shred," it's three 20-minute workouts in increasing degrees of difficulty. i couldn't get through the first one without taking a break, but eventually i got to a place where i could finish it, doing the modified (read: easier) versions of the moves. then i got to the advanced versions. before long, i was on to level 2, and the rest is history. the "no more trouble zones" is a beast of a workout that took me several weeks to master, but you will feel like a rockstar when you work up to being able to finish it.

one of the key things i learned from JM's workouts is that you have to be OK with feeling uncomfortable to see real change in your body. unfortunately, i'm not the type of person who can just do that on her own - i need someone yelling at me and guiding me through a workout. i learned that i'm not going to die when i'm out of breath and that when the workout gets REALLY hard, that's when i have to push myself the most. and for me, it's worth it. my stomach is flat after those workouts. my biceps are still contracted when i finish. i started noticing definition in muscles i didn't even know i had. anyway, i'll get off my soap box about JM. i know it's not everyone's style, but give me a 20-min workout that actually keeps me fit and i'm in!

3. water: this one is a no-brainer - we all know how important water is for our health. but all the same, i feel it's important to highlight. i actually feel ill when i'm not drinking enough water, so i have a bottle with me at all times. the mr. recently bought me a kleen kanteen and i love it. it's the first steel bottle i've had that 1) doesn't leak and 2) keeps water cold for HOURS.

4. nike training club: and lest you think i'm obsessed with jillian michaels, i wanted to share my new-found source for workouts. nike training club is a free app (go download it before it goes paid!) with dozens of interval workouts. similar to JM's workouts, NTC has 30 second to 2 minute intervals that are designed to tone and sculpt the body in a short amount of time. the app is incredibly well made, with pictures and videos describing how to do each move. i've been taking my weights to the local park and doing these workouts on the weekend when i need some fresh air.

so, what healthy habits do you have?? i love getting new ideas on how to stay healthy and fit, so please share!