Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry This Christmas!!!

A lot of people put a huge emphasis on weight gain during the holidays. It’s all we hear about. We see ads on the TV, and radio; even billboards make us think about weight gain. Most media sources make it seem as though we’re gaining 7-10 pounds during this time of year, but it’s just not true. On average most people gain just a few pounds while they’re decking the halls. Regardless, pounds are pounds and nobody wants any extra.
There are things that can be done to deter gaining excess weight while stuffing your stocking. You just have to use your noggin.

When it’s time to eat decide what its worth. Scan the buffet before making the final pick of what you’ll indulge in. Nobody is saying stick with the veggie tray. Just pick out your most favorite dishes and leave your least favorite for somebody else to add to their waistline. Don’t leave the veggies out of the picture completely though. A little roughage is good for everybody, and it’ll serve the purpose of filling you up so you only take one piece of Aunt Mary’s lemon meringue pie instead of two.
Don’t try and diet or lose weight during the holidays. Do it if you really want to, but don’t drive yourself crazy. It’s a better idea to just try and maintain your current weight if possible. Save losing weight for a New Year’s resolution.

Remember what the holidays are about and stop focusing on Nana’s marshmallow fluff!!! Try and take the focus off the food. Although this is the time of year when people crack out their best recipes, it’s still about so much more. Keep that in mind while preparing to go to somebody’s house or when waiting for the arrival of guests.
Speaking of things to do before hand, maybe snack a bit. Have a little fruit tray or container out while going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house. DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT attempt to skip eating any meals with the bright idea that you’ll consume less calories if you only eat one big meal. It’s the same thing as going to the grocery store when you haven’t eaten all day. It’s just a bad idea. You’ll end up feeling like Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that tries to eat everything in sight. Don’t be that guy!

Everybody has a signature dish that they like to take to a get together with friends and family. Why not try and experiment? Turn that decadent dish into a healthy one instead. Use egg whites instead of the whole egg or evaporated milk instead of heavy cream. Fruit is always reliable when dressing up a dish. Decorate the final masterpiece with fruit or colorful veggies to make it more enticing to the eaters.
I also have one word for you….soda. People drink tons of it on a regular basis, but during this time of the year it’s something that can be easily overindulged. So maybe take something fun like flavored sparkling water. It costs about the same, but is a healthier choice. It can even be served in fancy glasses for the kids. At thanksgiving I served apple juice in wine glasses for my niece and nephew and they thought it was way fun! By doing this it teaches them good habits while creating fun memories at the same time. Something little like that makes them feel fancy like big kids.

Okay….now let’s say you eat too much. It’s completely obvious. What do you do?
·        Well..stop eating for starters.

·        Maybe try and eat fewer calories during the next meal.

·        Go for a walk if the weather cooperates.  I bet that there’s a friend or family member that would love to join you that’s feeling the same way.

·        Even if it’s snowing out what a great time to test your sledding skills and maybe burn some calories with the kids.
It seems like people stress about eating from Thanksgiving all the way to New Years but you don’t have to. Just be smart about it. Enjoy your time, because that’s what it’s all about.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is Yoga For You?


This is our niece. Isn’t she a doll? I decided that I wasn’t ready for the world to see a picture of me getting my yoga on just yet. So I was thankful when I remembered I had this one of her.

When I took this picture we were camping and discussing things we liked to do. I named off yoga as being one of the things that I enjoyed and she immediately said, ”Like this? Ommmm…” and went into this pose. Who knew that a 5 year old would be in touch with her inner yogi?!?!

I enjoy doing yoga, but it means different things to different people. Some use yoga to tone and strengthen, others use it as a form of relaxation or to help with focus. There are also those that use yoga as a way to get in touch with their spiritual side. There’s a plethora of reasons that people practice yoga. The list goes on and on.

I recently watched a documentary called “Enlighten Up.” It’s about a woman that believes that yoga can transform anybody’s life. She found a subject to help test her theory, and did a documentary on it. I think it helped that he was a complete skeptic on the idea. I enjoyed seeing all the different forms of yoga and how an average guy responded to it. It was somewhat entertaining seeing him try to position himself in the various poses at first. I wasn’t entertained because he was having trouble, but because I remember what it was like when I first started.

Yoga can be frustrating to begin with, but as poses are perfected, balance and focus are gained. While I’d like to think that my poses are perfect, I’m not really looking at myself to know. Ryan is always sure to tell me if I’m not doing the pose like the instructor on the video though. He’s so helpful…..

Another thing that I found to be interesting in the documentary is that as her subject traveled the world and discussed the meaning of yoga with teachers and gurus, all of them had different answers. I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t a specific meaning at all. Yoga is about interpretation.

For me, I don’t have a specific reason that I enjoy it. The reasons that I feel I “need” to practice is when I’ve had a stressful day to release tension, but I enjoy doing yoga that has strengthening poses as well. It kills two birds with one stone that way. Not only do I feel like I’ve released “bad energy” when I’m finished, but I’ve also sweat and got my workout in. I picture the cute jeans that I’m going to wear as I feel the burn while holding the poses.

Some of you are probably saying, “Tam…forget it. I hate yoga. I tried it, and I hated it.” I’ve got a friend that thinks yoga is COMPLETELY boring. She tried taking a class and just couldn’t get into it. If you’re not about it….okay…that’s cool, but there are many different types. You may want to expand your yoga horizons and try a different kind to find the one that’s a better fit for you.

Here are a few different kinds of popular yoga that you may have heard of:

Hatha – common form of yoga; slow-paced gentle basic yoga poses.

Vinyasa - based on a series of poses called sun salutations where movement is matched to breathing.

Ashtanga – fast-paced, intense style. It’s a series of poses always performed in the same order. It’s extremely demanding physically because of the constant movement from one pose to the next.

Iyengar – is based on bodily alignment. Your body should be positioned in each pose to gain the maximum benefits of yoga.

Kundalini – concentrates on breath with the physical movement for the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and moving it upwards. It helps with controlling breathing.

Bikram (aka Hot Yoga) – practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room for the purpose of loosening up tight muscles and to cleanse the body by sweating profusely.

The other benefit of yoga is that you can do it anywhere. Memorize a series of poses that suit your needs, and then create your own workout or relaxation/meditation time to do wherever you want. Some yoga poses are just simple stretches that could even be done at your desk at work if you’re overwhelmed and need to rejuvenate.

With the cold weather approaching this may be a way for some of you to release tension or “bad energy” and to help with cabin fever too. So, give it a try….who knows you might like it.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Exercise Balls In The Workplace


For some reason, Exercise Balls have been a hot question for me lately. So, I decided to type up a "little blurb" about it in case there were others out there that were curious, but afraid to ask.
During the day at work, I sit on an exercise ball in place of an office chair. I also have co-workers that do this, as well. There are a lot of articles out there that list the benefits of it, but I'm going to let you know what my experience has been. I actually did somewhat of an experiment on my own to see how, or if it even affected me. I found that it did in a big way. It allows me to have more energy – and I'm definitely more alert, that's for sure. This is probably because I have to balance myself and doesn't really leave room for napping unless I want to tip over and crack my head on a filing cabinet.

When I sit on my office chair my back gets stiff, I am tired by the end of the day and my focus is in multiple directions.  By sitting on my ball there's more give under my rump. It's not such a hard surface. It's like sitting on a pillow. Let's face it even the cushiest of chairs isn't all that cushy after 8 hours of sitting.

Ergonomically speaking, my posture is better because it requires me to sit forward, straight, and upright, which is definitely good for strengthening my core. If I'm sitting on my chair, I slouch and sometimes will curl my leg under my bum, which I know isn't good for my back.  I also am able to enjoy the occasional stretch or sit to break the minutes up and then it's right back to work – all without even getting up from my desk.

I have coworkers that have made the switch with me and won't go back to the dark side of office chairs. One of them even has back trouble and she notices a difference in how it helps with her chronic headaches.

If you're considering joining the "ditch the office chair club" try sitting on one while watching TV to see if you feel comfortable. Also make sure that you get the right size exercise ball that allows you to have your feet flat on the ground while still sitting high enough that you're not reaching for your keyboard. You should be looking straight ahead at your monitor without tilting your neck all around. That gets uncomfortable and can be straining on your neck and shoulders.

Although I personally recommend this – it’s not for everybody.  If you are looking for a change or have issues with sitting for long periods of time, it certainly won’t hurt to try it. 

Word of warning, there's always the occasional joker that walks by and says "Man that's some hemorrhoid". You have to appreciate creative humor like that. It has spread like wildfire at my office, so there are a good number of people that were skeptics and now love it. When you can't beat ‘em join ‘em, right?

To be on the safe side, be sure to ask your human resource department if exercise balls are allowed. Blow it up before you go to work, too. It takes a while to blow it up and it can tend to be a noisy process. Did I feel like a dork carrying a blown up ball through the parking lot? Yup! But, who cares if it makes your time at work more comfortable? Go in earlier if it's that big of a deal to you, or drop it off on the weekend if less people are in your office.

I hope this is helpful in some way. Let us know if you made the switch and what you think. We'd love to hear feedback. Have a great day and happy bouncing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bike the Drive Chicago

This past weekend we participated in the 10th annual Chicago Bike the Drive. It's the one day of the year when Lake Shore drive is completely shut down from traffic and open to cyclists. The fun started at 5:30 in the morning. We got there about 6 am. Unfortunately this year is was a bit foggy, but that didn't stop the thousands of people from biking including Ryan and I. It was organized extremely well and fun no matter what riding level of experience you were. Two thumbs up to some of the kiddies that ate their Wheaties that day and completed the journey. It made me smile to even see kids with training wheels pedaling their little hearts out.

There were certain checkpoints and rest stops for those that needed a break. Thank you to Clif Bars for sponsoring our breakfast during the ride. What a fabulous pick me up to help us make it through to the finish line.(Love the white chocolate macadamia nut and blueberry crisp flavors)

When we finished our journey.....our butts were super sore, but that didn't stop us from going from tent to tent where there were a bunch of freebies and information on more rides.

This is definitely going to be one that we try and do again next year, it was a lot of fun. Hopefully next year the weather will be a bit better for taking pictures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The weather is going to start getting nicer out, and you’re going to see people walking, jogging, and enjoying the outdoors. Sometimes it’s difficult to get motivated, but I’ve got good news! This is the time of year when the walkathons happen. I am sure there are many of you that have causes that you feel strongly about. So find out if there’s a walk that you can join to show your support. Or walk with a friend for a cause that they’re supporting!

If you’re like me and you sign up for something you commit to it. So then there’s no excuse. They’re counting on you to be there, and you’ve volunteered your time. What’s the worst that can happen?… get exercise and you support a great cause.

I have signed up for two walks so far this year. One is the March of Dimes walk and a walk in my area to honor nurses in our community.

There are plenty of other great organizations that need participants. Here are just a few:

Cystic Fibrosis


Breast Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer

Lung Cancer

MS Walk

There’s a ton more out there, but this should get you started on your journey if you’re interested in participating and don’t know where to start. I hope it helps. Feel free to share your walk or run that you’re going to participate in.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

After too many weeks (OK months) of being inactive, and using the  cold and snow as an excuse (and our dog looking more “sausage” than Beagle), we decided it was time to quit making excuses and start making good use of the snow and cold.  After a little bit of research we decided to buy snowshoes.  Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and actually get active in the cold/snowy months. 
Why Go Snowshoeing?
  • Snowshoeing can help improve or maintain your cardiovascular fitness
  • Snowshoeing can burn 500-1000 calories per hour  (which can be more than 45% more than walking at the same speed.)
  • It gets you (and your fat dog) out of the house!
Our Snowshoes:
Tammy purchased the Tubbs Couloir 21 Snowshoes.  She bought them from REIOutlet and since they were last years’ model, we saved over $130 on them (compared to 

  • The bindings are pretty easy to get on, and VERY easy to get off. 
  •  The Full Step Rotation makes it easier to walk/maneuver and helps with traction.

  •  Price – these are on for $249.95

Overall:   Couldn’t be happier.  Great fit, great bindings and got them for a great price.  

Ryan went with the Redfeather Alpine Ultra 35.  We purchased an older model on clearance and saved about $100 on these. 
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver
  •  Price – MSRP is $249.99
  •  Bindings – difficult to put on and take off (much more so than the Tubbs shoes Tammy has)

  • Compared to the bindings on Tammy’s Tubbs, the Ultra bindings of the RedFeather are FAR inferior.  She can have both shoes on before I get one on.  Hopefully with more use, I will become more adept!