5 Tips to Stay Healthy at the Beach

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DSC_0364Living in Florida means I have to count on being in a bikini year round. No more hibernating in the winter and getting back on track in the spring 90 days before Memorial Day…uh uh! It’s full time, baby! Especially with a pool in my home! So, I keep rigid with my workout routine and eat healthy.

Going to the beach, though, is another story. We all love to indulge in the giant bucket of french fries, chicken fingers, hamburgers fully loaded and a huge cup of ice cold soda. Oh, and don’t forget the extra large ice cream cone for dessert, right? WRONG! That is not going to make your sexy body stay sexy during the day…but here are a few tips that will!

Five tips to stay healthy while at the beach:

1. Bring your own food and snacks like nut mix, fresh fruit, healthy sandwiches (use wraps instead of bread or sub rolls) or veggies and hummus and put it in a backpack cooler to keep it cold.

2. Drink lots of water with fresh lemon. It fills you up and keeps you hydrated.

3. If you must eat food from the boardwalk, seek out a healthy alternative. Many places are offering salads, veggie burgers and some fresh grilled fish tacos…but beware of fishy sushi.

4. Take long walks along the water. Sitting down at your blanket can get boring and boredom leads to eating (not to mention a nasty sunburn if you fall asleep for a while) You can collect seashells. All the squatting and bending down will give your muscles an extra workout, and you will add some pretty shells to your collection…and maybe give you some extra time with your kids.

5. Go for a run along the water. The sand provides not only extra cushion, but resistance to strengthen your calves.

Of course, we all know that swimming in the water is great exercise, especially when it comes to fighting the waves and the current. The beach is not only a great place to retreat to when you need to relax. It’s an amazing place to get healthy.

Cheat or Treat?

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Two words that are synonymous in the diet world are cheat and treat. It’s time we change that stream of consciousness. It’s important to “treat” yourself without feeling guilty. When we go on diets we always eliminate too many things that we truly enjoy. Then the feeling of deprivation sets in. Once the initial excitement of being on the diet disappears, we start to indulge in things we aren’t supposed to…food that is not on the diet. And then we feel guilty. We have cheated. We have committed a “diet sin”. Remorse about what you have done starts to settle in, you begin to question your devotion to your health, and ultimately you give up on your “diet”.

Cheating insinuates that you are doing something wrong. Let’s begin to change that mindset and think of it in more of a positive way. When you do something good, like get a promotion at work, what is one thing you like to do? Treat yourself, right? Do you go out and buy the Coach bag you have wanted forever? Do you get a manicure and pedicure? So, why is it so wrong to treat yourself with food? A “treat day” ultimately celebrates you. The key here is that you don’t want to declare treat days every day. It would totally negate the idea of what a “treat day” should be. The best way to do this is to decide on, say, 3-4 days a month (ideally it should be one or two days, however since we are first starting out, let’s make it a little easier on you. You can adjust the amount of days when you are ready). Some great days to declare as treat days could be the 1st and the 15th of the month, birthdays, parties, holidays, paydays and full moons (this is one we use in my family). It allows you to look forward to something without feeling as though you are suffering. Just think about it. If you are watching what you eat, staying way from junk food, yet know that in a week and a half there is a full moon, and on full moons you allow yourself to enjoy a blizzard from Dairy Queen with your kids, wouldn’t the strength to see it through be worth it? And it’s not like all your hard work will go to waste, because it won’t. You are simply celebrating the joy of being successful in your dietary lifestyle change.

Stop feeling bad about enjoying a treat. Now is the time to acquire a healthy mindset and reward it. It’s ok! I say so!

10 Alternatives to Movie Theatre Popcorn

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Going to the movies and having a delicious snack could get a bit boring and dull after a while. So I came up with  some suggestions to change it up a bit. Enjoy!
10 Things To Replace Movie Theatre Popcorn
 
1. 3 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese
2. 12 sticks of butter
3. 2 McDonald’s Big Macs
4. 1 1/2 packages of bacon
5. one pound of baby back ribs, slathered with bbq sauce
6. 9 hot dogs with ketchup, relish and onions
7. Half of a Kentucky Fried Chicken
8. 5 large bags of Lay’s Original Potato Chips
9. 1 1/4 dozen eggs
10. 10 soft chicken tacos from Taco Bell

Each numbered item is the equivalent to a large bag of movie-theatre popcorn. Shocked? I would be, too! I don’t think I have a picnic basket big enough to hold any of that, and to be honest, I’m rather disgusted by just thinking about the nastiness of the 1200-calorie ridden food on the list above. But I want you to think about the food on that list. Appetizing or have you lost your appetite? 
I’m not going to stand here and preach to you about all the benefits of homemade popcorn versus the crazy amounts of saturated fats in the movie-theater popcorn, nor am I going to judge you. Who am I to do that? But I will tell you this. My family and I bring our own popcorn to the theatre in ziplock baggies. We make it at home so we know what’s in it…simply prepared with sea salt, and a little extra virgin olive oil.  Yes, we are those people and to be honest, I really don’t care. I would rather be healthy than regretful!! Why not??
I agree that there are times when it’s nice to eat like a kid…and yes, that’s ok. Every once in a while. But I could NEVER imagine eating so many hamburgers or bags of potato chips at one time…and yet it’s so easy to stuff our face blindly with a bag of buttery movie-theatre popcorn.
So what are some HEALTHY alternatives to popcorn?
 
There are so many options that can give us the same type of pleasure that movie-popcorn gives us…minus the calories and saturated fat. It just depends on your tastebuds (and allergies, if any):
1. Raw Almonds: provide protein and a bit of a crunch. If you want a flavor to them, you can get wasabi almonds. They are incredible.
2. Pistachio nuts: This may seem like a weird snack, but my husband and I have done it a few times. Just make sure to get a container from the concession stand to put the shells into. And get them unsalted, if you can. They are better that way! This is a great crunching snack!
3.  Nut mix: Create your own at home with peanuts, raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins/craisins or any other dry fruit you prefer, and raw sunflower seeds.
4. Grapes: OK, so there is no crunch factor with these, but they are still a delicious treat and healthy for you.
5. Roasted Edamame: These come in a bag and are flavored or just plain salted. They have a crunch to them, are healthy and very delicious.
6. Pretzels: Regular or gluten free. They are crunchy, tasty and low in calories and fat!
7. Apple Slices: These are amazing. Crunchy, sweet and healthy! If you are bold enough, bring a small container of almond butter to dip the slices into. YUM!
8. Baby Carrots:  Just be careful to avoid crunching into them too much during a movie.
9. Celery Sticks: Coat them with peanut butter and you not only have a great veggie, but some protein to go along with it.
10. Food Should Taste Good chips: crunchy, salty and delicious!
 
What’s my point?
 
Just this. Life is a balance in which you should thrive. Going to the movies shouldn’t be a calorie fest, nor should it be time to deprive yourself. But if you have the opportunity to create your own treats that are both delicious and nutritious (and save you a few bucks, too), go for it! I am all for that! Maybe you can go out for a great meal afterwards, instead! There are certain things to stick with that make you feel incredible, and then there are things that are just plain awful for you. Find those in your life. This is a place to share…what treats are in your bag?

 

Start Again…

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Imagine this. You are on vacation. You decide to let go and not stick to your everyday dietary lifestyle, yet you maintain a normal workout routine. You drink pina coladas, sip delicious wine, enjoy some sweet chocolatey goodies and give in to certain temptations. Then you return home. Your routine is off because you are still in vacation mode, there are so many things going on at home that your exercise falls to the wayside and you are stressing out like crazy. How do you get control back?

You first need to understand something. It’s perfectly fine that you splurged while on vacation. You are allowed to live! You “treated” yourself…not “cheated” yourself. Remember the difference? There is nothing to feel guilty about…especially being that you worked out while on vacation everyday. You also need to remember that life is going to happen to you.It doesn’t stop because you are on vacation and it certainly won’t slow down so you can catch up when you get back. In order to achieve a level of peace, I am going to give you the gift of a quote that has recently helped me out:

“You can always start over”

If there is a moment in your day that isn’t going the way you wanted it to, a time that you did something that you weren’t quite proud of, something you ate that you feel you shouldn’t have eaten…you can just start over. It’s that simple! Holy cow! What if you applied that to everything in your life? Every piece of your healthy mindset? Can you imagine how much more fulfilling your days would be? How much clearer your mind would be? How much stronger your relationships would get because you have a greater level of acceptance for your life? How much better you would physically feel because you are not making yourself suffer?

I am in no way saying that you should sabotage your life and declare, every hour or so, “I can just start over.” It is, however, a way to take a bad moment and make it better. It is a way to make your day a new one at any point, after any mess up or mistake. When you have a healthy mindset, one thing to fully believe is that it’s ok to screw up. It’s perfectly normal to not be perfect all the time. It’s healthy to not be healthy every minute of every day. You are only human.

Although your days may be filled with complete peace or chaotic moments, I want you to know that this next minute can lead you to a new beginning. So make this moment that new start. Get focused and become determined to maintain your healthy mindset and lifestyle. Start over. Realize that you are able to enjoy yourself and not lose track completely. And most importantly…do not punish yourself over it. It’s when we punish ourselves over it that we give up completely.

There will be times in your life when things don’t go as planned. Then there will be times when you will plan your entire day, your entire week, and they go swimmingly well. Both are ok. Both are acceptable. Both give you a reason to start over in a bad moment…a bad choice, or a moment of weakness. It’s when you don’t move forward and take the next step that the failure begins to set in. So don’t let it. You can always start again!