Sitting is the new smoking…

Many of us have heard the saying that “Sitting is the new smoking.” In other words, a sedentary lifestyle is just as likely to kill you as smoking. As our economy has shifted from largely farming, manufacturing and manual labor jobs to more service oriented occupations with longer commutes, Americans spend more time sitting than ever before.

As one of the millions of Americans who sit behind a desk all day, this was really brought home to me recently when my partner gifted me with a FitBit Charge 2. I set my daily goal at 10,000 steps. I was completely stunned at how little I was moving during the work day. Thanks to the FitBit, I receive a gentle vibrating reminder every hour between 9:00 and 5:00 to get up and get in 250 steps for the hour. Often I am startled that another hour has passed without having moved from my desk.

The best thing the FitBit has done is raise my awareness of just how sedentary my work day really is. Even though I work in New York City and have more opportunities to walk than many office workers in other cities (to and from subway stations, train platforms, etc.), it just isn’t enough to get in those daily steps without a real concentrated effort.  Before the FitBit, I just assumed when I arrived home tired each evening, that all of my running around the office was enough to get me to the magic number of 10,000 steps.

If you have a sedentary job, I strongly encourage you to get some type of fitness tracker – especially one that will remind you to get up and move. I do my best to get up each hour and get the required number of steps. Just one small thing I can consistently do to improve my health. Tracking my steps has been invaluable to me and once again, I have my loving partner to thank.

Modified Keto Diet

My partner and I have started a modified version of the ketogenic diet. The keto diet is a low carb/high fat diet. While a high fat diet does not sound healthy, it is actually larger portions of good fat including nuts, coconut oil, avocado, chia seeds and other good fats – (as opposed to deep fried portions of meats) and lots of vegetables. The carbs are pretty restrictive in this diet, but we have decided to follow Dr. Axe’s advice to slightly modify the diet.

The modified version incorporates carb-cycling, which is where you incorporate some good carbs in your diet on days that you lift weights, and keep the low carb diet on those days when you do cardio, calisthenics or rest. For more information on carb-cycling on the keto diet, click here:  https://draxe.com/hub/keto-diet/#modifiedketodiet

According to Dr. Axe, the three biggest benefits to the keto diet are starving potential cancer cells, faster weight loss and effectiveness in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Now for real talk. It is Day 2 and I am starving! I returned from a midday run and all I can think of is food. We are still working out the proper portions and amount of calories we each need as we follow this diet with an active lifestyle. We are beginners so I know we will settle into a groove and get it figured out.

I can say that not having many carbs, including my customary after lunch piece of chocolate, has cut way down on the cravings for those things. I look forward to the day when I am excited to eat my vegetables and do not miss crackers and bread.

Best of luck in your fitness journey!

Accountability in a bag…

On Monday of this week I started a food and fitness journal. Throughout the years, I have often logged my food and/or exercise, but have never logged the two together. My partner is a big proponent of fitness journals…and still has many of his from previous years. (Once again, he is my hero!) I jokingly say that I am “consistently inconsistent,” as I will try something and do it for a while and then slowly let it go. (Food journals often get axed after a bad day of mindless eating.)

As the saying goes, “If you change nothing, nothing changes.” So I have determined to keep plugging away at my food and fitness journal. As my friends and family can tell you, I have always been a list maker. Lists not only keep me on track for what I need to accomplish on a daily basis, but they also provide great personal satisfaction when I complete an item and check it off the list.

Fitness experts are also big fans of lists…as it relates to food and fitness. Fitness/food journals help hold you accountable for your workouts and nutrition, help motivate you to keep exercising and eating well and serve as a stepping stone toward your goals. How can you get where you are going, if you don’t know where you have been?

Another benefit I have found to keeping a fitness journal is variety. It helps me keep my workout routines from getting repetitive or stale. When I am working out at 5:00 a.m., my brain is not always fully functional, so having the ability to look over the week and see what I have done, the number of reps and the amount of weight used is extremely helpful.

I encourage you to get some accountability in your bag! I keep my little red fitness journal in my purse and take it with me wherever I go. But yes…I recognize this is also 2018, so you can also keep a digital journal on your phone or tablet or use a variety of apps to help track your progress. One of the most popular, and one I have used myself is MyFitnessPal, which is free in the app store.

Get some accountability in your bag! I would love to hear about your progress. Best of luck in your fitness journey.

 

It is health that is real wealth…

Gandhi said “It is is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold or silver.” I just returned from my physician’s office where he provided results of several recent tests. It reminded me of the blessings of good health and to pause for a moment to be thankful for the good reports.

So often I am focused on improving the areas that concern me the most. Trimming fat here and strengthening there, that I sometimes take my health for granted. I wonder how critical I would be of that extra five pounds if I were given bad news rather than good. So many would welcome the opportunity to have a clean bill of health with or without an extra few pounds or a little cellulite.

It was a sobering reminder to me to be thankful for my health, to treat my body with care and to dial back on the daily criticism.

Best of luck in your health and wellness journey!

“Winey” Weekends

There is something so relaxing about a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day – to sip while cooking dinner. The problem with this approach is that it is so nice and relaxing, that one glass usually leads to two. At a range of about 100 to 150 calories per glass, you can easily derail your fitness goals before that first bite of dinner.

So…one of my fitness goals is to limit my wine consumption to just on the weekends – what I am calling “winey weekends.” Taking this small step could save me several hundred calories per week and get me one step closer to my goal.

No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad—and there’s a reason. A study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat…” 
Dr. Edward Miller Wine & Health

So while wine itself is good for you, the extra calories ingested coupled with the enhanced cravings for salt and fat, make “winey weekends” a healthier choice for me. (I will just have to stop convincing myself that the weekend starts on Wednesday!) 🙂

Best of luck in your fitness journey!

The best-laid plans of mice and men…

Happy Monday! This is my first official blog post. My goal was to get my blog up and running by end of the first quarter (and candidly, I am also avoiding preparing my taxes)! So….one goal reached today!

However….my second goal – and reason for this blog – to jump-start my fitness goals – did not go so well. I got up at 4:30 a.m. with my partner, put on my workout clothes, did some things around the house and was on a roll. UNTIL…I decided to go back to sleep for one hour before going to the gym. One hour turned into an hour and forty minutes and thus I slept through my workout on the first official day of my blog. 😦

So…the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. My first instinct is to beat myself up for not going to the gym this morning, knowing that this blog awaits to hold me accountable. The kinder side of me says today is not over and I have opportunities for some exercise at work (squats, walking lunges and crunches in the office), and perhaps a little time this evening after the grocery and dinner.

My partner inspires me daily. He has a “no excuses” workout plan which spans from the simple and quick, to the long and complex. Making time for some form of exercise everyday, even if it is just some pushups and squats. So today, I will take my cue from him and do the best I can even if it is only for a short time. Consistency is the key.

Best of luck on your own fitness journey today!

The Journey Begins

cropped-allyson2.jpgThanks for joining me! My name is Ally and I am originally from the Midwest. I live in New York City and am 47 years old – the mother of two grown children and two grandchildren. I have a very busy life consisting of a long commute, working and spending time with my partner and his young children.

The purpose of this blog is twofold:  to hold myself personally accountable for reaching my fitness goals; and to encourage others (especially those in middle age like me) to reach their own goals. To prove that age is only a number and goals can be accomplished through discipline and consistency. To encourage others (and myself) to keep going through the various challenges and setbacks of everyday life.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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