February 26, 2009

Down 2 More!

I was looking forward to jumping on the scale today.

I had noticed that my jeans didn't feel quite as snug, so I was hoping for the scale to prove it.

It's only 2 pounds, and even though it doesn't show, I can feel it in my jeans.

And it has made my day!

February 24, 2009

Yawn for Oxygen

Yawns - most of Mother Nature's creatures are caught yawning at some time.

Cats, dogs, birds, and lots of different wildlife all yawn, and I have even observed a pet fish yawning.

In the animal kingdom it can be considered a warning, but in the human race, it is an expression of tiredness, boredom, or just plain uninterested.

But there is a real reason for yawning that I have recently discovered.

Oftentimes yawns are contagious - when someone next to us starts yawning, it seems to trigger something in us to yawn too - and it is all done unconsciously.

I did a post a couple of weeks ago about the benefits of taking deep breaths for better health.

It is not always easy to remember to breathe correctly, and I try to remind myself several times during the day to do so.

Well, come to find out, one reason for yawning is to replenish the body with oxygen.

When our oxygen levels get really low, we feel tired, have no energy, and could so easily just nod off for a cat nap.

I can remember when I worked in an office, by mid afternoon, I could hear the yawns starting, and sure enough, they were contagious.

Yawning makes us take a deep breath, successfully delivering the much needed oxygen to our starved systems.

If we pay attention to this signal from our body, it can help us to remember to breathe correctly.

When we hear or see another person or animal yawning - it can also help to remind us.

Anything that helps me to remember is a good thing.

And what's even better, sometimes all one needs to wake them up is a few good deep breaths of air - not the mid day sugar or coffee fix.

And while we're taking a few deep breaths - a few steps around the office wouldn't hurt either!

February 19, 2009

1 Down, 38 to Go

Finally - the little butterfly has left the starting gate.

One pound has been lost and there are thirty-eight left to go.

It feels good to finally see some action on the graph below.

Only got about 3000 steps today. I will say though, that trudging through the heavy wet snow made it feel like double that amount.

I have been coming down with a cold over the last couple of days, and the cold air felt good as it helped to clear my head a bit.

Hard to keep on an exercise routine feeling this way, but it does take the mind off it once you get moving.

And loosing a pound helps a lot too!

February 17, 2009

Up to 3500 Steps

The steps have been increasing on the pedometer. It is slow going, but just to see them increasing is a good thing.

I was averaging about 2500 steps a week ago, and now it is up to 3500, and sometimes, 4000.

We had some really nice days this past week, so getting out for a real walk felt good.

All winter long, my boys have cleared a path around the house so I could still get my steps in when the weather permitted.

Once around, my path gives me about 400 steps. Not very much, but after a few times around at a good pace, you do begin to feel it.

Another snow storm is coming tomorrow, so getting steps these next couple of days won't be easy.

But I will be making up for it in moving all the snow around - it all counts in the end!

February 15, 2009

Keep It Moving

Keep it Moving

two people walking in a field

Working from home on a computer each day really takes some motivation to get moving sometimes. How easy it is to continue working as the time flies by.

I have found over the years though, that just sitting is not the way to go. The legs can only take being in one position for so long - then they get twitchy.

So, I have learned that before the twitching starts, I need to get up and take a walk around.

Perhaps the laundry needs to get started, or I need to refill my water glass, water the plants, or just take a minute to step outside the door for a breath of fresh air.

Just five to ten minutes every hour or so really makes a difference.

I feel more attentive and awake when I return to my desk and keyboard.

The blood is flowing, the legs certainly feel a lot better, and the attitude has improved also.

Of course this is in addition to the daily exercises and scheduled walks that I try to accomplish.

By nature we are an active species - all these modern conveniences rob us of the activity that has kept past generations in a more fit condition.

Time for me to go stretch the legs again and get the blood flowing.

Keep it moving - it's nature's way!

February 9, 2009

Water, Water, and More Water

We have all read or heard about drinking eight glasses of water each day. And each one of those glasses contain 8 ounces for a grand total of 64 ounces, or 2 quarts of water daily.

I usually manage about 5 glasses each day. I also drink 2-3 cups of tea which when added to the water makes the recommend daily fluid amount.

Food also contains water, and that can be counted towards the daily total.

Some of them are obvious, like watermelons and tomatoes.

But did you know that a banana and an egg each have the same percentage of water in them? Surprisingly, the banana is 75% water and the egg is 74%. That is a lot more that I would have guessed.

Even whole grains and cooked legumes contain water which can be counted towards the total.

The human body is considered to be 60% water. The muscles contain 75%, the blood contains 95%, the bones contain 22%, and the fat contains 14%.

I was surprised to find that the fat cells don't really contain much water - the fatty areas on the body seem so jiggly - like they have more water. No wonder it is so hard to get rid of this solid stuff.

If you find it hard to get your water each day here are a few suggestions:

  • keep a glass or bottle next to you at all times
  • when you go out, carry a bottle with you
  • get it through the foods you eat

To make it more appealing, you can add a spritz of lemon, lime, or orange.

Gelatin counts too, as do soups and milk.

Sugar filled sodas and fruit juices are not worth the fluid that is in them.

All natural juice and sugar-free soda would be a better choice.

By drinking cold water, it forces your body to use calories to warm it up to your body temperature.

Anything that burns calories is all right by me.

One word about water though - it is possible to drink too much. The blood stream becomes diluted with too much fluid which puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels.

It also forces the kidneys to work overtime, putting undue stress on them which causes damage.

Using common sense to sip water through out the course of the day is what nature intended for our bodies.

And remember - keep it cold!

February 6, 2009

Abs In, Back Straight

Keeping a straight back is a hard thing to do - especially when sitting at a computer all day.

It starts out with good intentions, and before you know it, the shoulders start to sag, the back becomes a bit hunched, and the abs get really tired of holding themselves in and just let it all go.

There are many health benefits for making correct posture a part of life and making it second nature will eventually be the norm once you get all the muscles trained properly.

It does require thinking about it and doing it. That is really all the cost to it - no extra time to squeeze in a new routine and no cash payout for another unneeded exercise gadget.

And the benefits are tremendous.

That deep breathing that I talked about a couple of posts ago, well it actually helps to promote it - you want to take a deep breath to feed the working muscles with fresh oxygen. So now you are doing two exercises at once.

This next problem really hits home with me - indigestion and heartburn.

Keeping the correct posture actually aids in digestion - keeps the food moving down using that dreaded gravity that we all hate to think about as we get older. At least it works for something.

And here's one of the best reasons to sit straight and keep the abs in - it uses calories.

It doesn't burn a lot of calories, but over time it will add up and it will make a difference when trying to loose the extra weight and tone things up.

You will feel better as you walk and sit taller. It will affect your mental and physical heath in a positive manner.

It really does feel good - give it a try. Back straight, abs in, and breathe deep.

It only takes a nanosecond to remember to do it - that's it.

And did I mention - it's free!

February 4, 2009

A Pedometer

The Pedometer

a manual step counter pedometer

My pedometer has become a permanent fixture in my pocket.

For years I used a manual step counter like the one pictured above, and it was hard to keep it attached to my waistband.

It was always falling off and I almost lost it a time or two. And I couldn't just slip it in my pocket - it wouldn't work.

In April, our family signed up for a new cell phone plan and we received new phones with it.

I chose one of the Sony Walkman ones, and it has been one of the best choices I have made.

It has a built in pedometer in it, and it records every step I take all day long - all from my pocket.

It doesn't fall off the waistband and it is not annoying.

This phone has a music player in it and to switch to the next song, you just have to give the phone a little shake.

The technology that powers that is what is used to track each swing of the leg to count each step.

Once it is calibrated to the length of your stride, it also calculates the mileage you put on with the steps.

I try each day to get at least 2500 steps in. I know this is not enough to loose weight - I have been doing this for months now.

I have read that getting 10,000 steps does work.

I will try to increase my number over the next few weeks. Once winter starts to wane, it will be a lot easier.

February 2, 2009

Set Calorie Limits

After evaluating what I have been eating over the past four days, I have made some changes to the default values that are set at the Calorie Counter website.

For my age, gender, and height, they determined that I needed 2000 calories a day. I changed that to 1200.

I also lowered the fat intake from 65 to 50 grams a day.

I don't seem to have too many problems with the fats - I don't eat a lot of those to begin with and I have not reached the daily limit yet. Lowering them was not a problem.

Salt is not a problem either. I do not add it to my food or eat things that have high salt contents. I consistently stay under the recommended values.

The biggest problem I have is with the carbs and the sugars. I consistently go over the default values everyday. I will adjust them, but not until I get myself below the defaults.

I tend to be a grain eater - bread, rice, pasta, and crackers. All of my grains are the whole wheat variety, yet I never seem to make the required 25 grams of fiber intake for each day. I am lucky if I even hit 18 grams.

To get the recommended fiber count, I need more grains - yet more grains puts me way over in the carbs and sugars.

I am going to need to do some research on what veggies have for fiber counts. Fruits have good counts, but once again, it increases the carbs and especially the sugars when I eat them.

In the past I have tried one of the Low Carbs Diets, and I did loose some weight.

But sticking to that diet for the rest of my life is not practical.

I like bread, and I love rice and I feel the necessary benefits they offer far outweigh the carb concerns.

I will discover a balance between them over time and will track everything to evaluate what I can consume for my body.