Making The Complicated Simple

2010 Boston MarathonDo you have a favorite sports team? A favorite Athlete? One of my favorite athletes is Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan was my inspiration to join the basket ball team in high school. Every year during playoff season, when the Chicago Bulls were playing, I couldn’t wait to see how Michael Jordan was going to save the day. He had this incredible talent to score perfectly when you thought all hope was gone, that the team was losing. I admire Michael Jordan because it takes incredible focus and discipline to be so consistent.

Year after year there is an athlete that emerges with incredible performance to prove to us that we only set limits for ourselves. Sometimes we take these athletes and put them in a separate category, thinking they must have had every opportunity lined up to make it so far. But when we watch movies or read biographies on how they became so good at what they do, we realize that they are people like us who faced challenges, difficulties and some even had less opportunities than us today. Those movies and books leave us inspired and always propel us to give or best. At times when I don’t feel like I am making any progress or just feel like not giving my best I read about an amazing athlete or watch a documentary to listen to motivating quotes from those icons. I always come out humbled because most of the times I realize that I have more resources and can accomplish more. I also regain strength to continue in the pursuit of my goals.

In today’s post I gathered amazing quotes from great athletes that will motivate you, and encourage you to continue to push yourself in your journey.

  1. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  2. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  3. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan
  4. “If you are going to be a champion, you must be willing to pay a greater price.” ~ Bud Wilkinson
  5. Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” ~ Lance Armstrong
  6. “Winning is about heart, not just legs. It’s got to be in the right place.” ~Lance Armstrong
  7. “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” ~ Herschell Walker
  8. “It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” ~ Carl Lewis
  9. “I Can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ~Michael Jordan
  10. “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”~Vince Lombardi
  11. “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.” ~ Carl Lewis
  12. “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  13. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  14. “The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret” ~ Sarah Bombell
  15. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”~ Jerry West
  16. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  17. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” ~John Wooden
  18. “Hard work is the only way to go. Strive to be the best you can be and remember that when you try your best, you can’t ask any more from yourself, and people can’t ask any more from you.”~Michael Chang
  19. “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” ~ Vince Lombardi
  20. “The something inside me that always fought to win, that never gave into the pain and that accepted no less than 110 percent has never been gone … because that something was simply me.” ~ Julie Krone
  21. “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.”~ Lynn Jennings
  22. “Natural talent only determines the limits of your athletic potential. It’s dedication and a willingness to discipline your life that makes you great.”~Billie Jean King
  23. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”~ Muhammad Ali
  24. “Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” ~ Venus Williams
  25. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”~ John Wooden

Glazed DoughnutsThis is the last part of Beating Sugar Addiction series and I really hope the information provided helped you identified trigger food and create an action plan to kick the habit for good. Part 1 of the series covered addiction to energy drinks, coffee, or anything to keep us going. Part 2 was more about reacting to stressful situation by reaching for sweets. Today Part 3 will cover sugar cravings caused by PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and menopause.

What does sugar addiction look like at that time of the month? (part 3)

  • you are irritable and anxious
  • you feel depressed and unhappy
  • you are bloated and easily weigh up to 10 lbs more
  • your breast are extremely sensitive

for menopause

  • you are tired
  • you experience insomnia
  • you have bad headache, hot flashes and bad cravings

Those are just a few and I am sure there are more symptoms.

Solution (Part 3)

Women experience these wacky hormones situations that cause sugar cravings, binging of high carb foods; a complete mess if you were doing well on your nutrition plan.  There are some steps to take to curb the sugar cravings but in extreme cases it is best to consult your physician.  The solutions involve

  • Getting rid of high sugar foods in your diet especially fat food, processed food, fruit drinks.
  • Getting rid of drinks with sugar substitute as well
  • Choosing food that have a low glycemic index
  • Having more white flour
  • Choosing organic food as much as you can
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Including soybeans in your diet
  • Satisfying sweet tooth with dark chocolate

This completes the “Beating Sugar Addiction” series.  Sugar addiction is real and kicking the habit can be very challenging.  Look over all the series and identify ways that you consume too much sugar.  The suggestions I made are simple changes to make in your nutrition.  For Part 3 you should consult your physician to find the best way to deal with hormonal changes that goes beyond food choices.

Until next time, spread the love…

Creamy Coconut CakeIn part 1 of the series, Beating Sugar Addiction, we discussed how sugar loaded food and  energy drinks were used to sustain energy for a busy person, and how it turns into an addiction with an unbalanced nutrition.  Part 2 of the series has to do with using sugar as a coping mechanism to deal with stress.

What does it look like when you use sugar to deal with stress (Part 2)?

  • Is your life always a crisis?
  • Do you react to everything to cause a chain reaction of stressful events?
  • When faced with a small problem do you turn it into a huge deal?
  • Do you have problem saying no to friends and family, to be stressed out about saying “YES” later?

When you are dealing with any kind of stress you need a sugar fix.  You indulge in one sweet treat after another to wake up one day and realize that you can no longer fit into your skinny jeans.  You beat yourself over it but you can’t seem to stop craving for more sugar.  When you give in to your sugar craving you feel a high and you have more energy to carry on.  You later crash, feel guilty and instead of eating something healthy you eat more sugary stuff.  You have time to prepare meals, but you prepare something you know that is bad for you.  30lbs and more overweight a couple of months later, depression sets in and you just become complacent and stop trying to lose weight altogether.

Solution (Part 2)

Since you reach for sugar in any flight or fright situation, your can set yourself on your way to cut the sugar cravings substantially and possibly end it by

  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Cutting out sugar, caffeine and white flour. Replacing coffee with tea
  • Including high protein in your meals like lean chicken, fish, nuts, eggs.
  • Never skipping breakfast which should consist of protein, veggies and whole grain
  • Having a lunch similar to your breakfast
  • For dinner having protein with non-starchy veggies.
  • Making fruits your dessert and  nuts your snacks
  • Having some protein right before bed to avoid late night cravings.

Sugar cravings – unless it is a diagnosed condition – is always related with a poor diet.  The bad think with consuming large measure of sugar is that the part that is not used as energy in you body turns into fat. This type of fat seats mostly in your mid-section and gives you the NOT so lovely love-handles and extra layer of tissue hanging around your bra.  It will never be both ways meaning if you eat a balanced diet, you can’t possibly be craving sugar all the time.

pastries - boule

Sugar Addiction Part I

Back in the days when most of our food were really organic, we ate sugar that were found in natural food.  Sugar wasn’t a problem then.  Today more than 1/2 of the calories we consume comes from sugar, white flour and tones of other ingredients that we can hardly pronounce.  The kind of food that we are having today is extremely high in sugar, not satisfying, makes us crash and leaves us craving for more while increasing our waistline.

On your journey to a healthy lifestyle it is important to acknowledge your barriers, especially self-imposed barriers like sugar that is responsible for constant self-sabotaging and yo-yo dieting.  To take down the sugar barrier or even seek professional help, you need to understand the different ways you are addicted to it.  Today I will be discussing part-1 of a 3 part series on sugar addiction.

What Does Sugar Addiction Feel Like (Part I)?

Do you know when you eat sugar the most? My sugar list consisted of bread, chocolate mousse cake, mini ice cream servings with apple pie, pastries and hot cocoa loaded with sugar.  This abusive relationship started in college. I was working full-time and going to school at the same time and there wasn’t enough hours during the day for me to complete any task.    I had such a laser like focus on pursuing my goals that most of the time eating wasn’t a priority.

When I ate something it was  pretty much any free food that was available at work or on campus which meant: pizza, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, pasta and bread loaded with butter.  I was always on the run so it was difficult for me to stick to  regular exercise schedule.  When I lacked energy I would load up on Mountain Dew and energy drinks.   With my waistline catching up with my bad habits, when I decided to go on a diet, I would spend a week or 2 on track.  The moment I felt stressed I would eat something sweet, and since I already messed up my diet anyways, it was open season to eat any other sweets I missed the past 2 weeks before starting my plan again on Monday of next week.   This pattern was exhausting emotionally and physically.

I began discussing this pattern with friends and other moms to conclude that some of the people who are addicted to sugar are

  • Stay-at-home moms
  • highly competitive workaholics
  • women juggling school, work and family
  • women who travel a lot for work

Solution (Part I)

Now that I was aware of the pattern, I did some reading on the topic and took a whole-body approach to kick the habit out.  Here are the changes I made

  • Eliminate energy drinks
  • Switch sugar-loaded hot cocoa with water
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep (which took care of the lack of energy problem)
  • Eat whole foods
  • Indulge in 1 small piece of dark chocolate or pastry that I like once a week.  When I discovered Isagenix Isadelight Plus, I was partying to have 1 every day (that’s really all you need especially if you eat wholefoods all day and don’t skip meals)
  • Regular exercise
  • Drinking a lot of water. I drink  at least 1 gallon a day

Your assignment today is to take some time to think about the sugary food that are triggers  for you.  Make a list and think about when you mostly eat them.  If you have them around the house get rid of them (NO EXCUSES ESPECIALLY NOT THE KIDS), replace them with healthy snacks and resolve to create time to prepare balance meals, exercise and get enough sleep.  Being a workaholic doesn’t pay if you are accumulating a fortune to pay doctors in the future to get your health back.  START NOW…

It is important to have realistic expectations on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. To say that you will never eat out or eat at a party is not realistic. Have you ever found yourself stressed out if you are invited to a party when you are doing so well with your plan? Do you turn down a friend’s invitation because you are so afraid of falling off the wagon? You don’t have to dread happy time with your friends and family when you practice cutting calories from your meals. Two ways you can use to cut calories in your meals is to

  1. Eliminating some ingredients
  2. Substitute the recipe ingredients with their fat free and lite version.

Eliminating Ingredients

Let’s take for example Wendy’s Apple Pecan full size salad. I went on their website and searched for the nutritional information on this very popular salad and boy was I surprised. The salad has 580 calories, 27g of fat, 50g of carbohydrates, 39g of sugar, and 38 g of protein. Well if you think you are being good and you decide to have this salad 3 times a day, you are looking at 54 g of fat, and 117g of sugar. Not all salads are created equal and we have to agree that this is too much fat and sugar for a salad. So how do you still enjoy eating out when you are on a healthy lifestyle diet?

The Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad would be much lighter without

  • crumbled blue cheese (1 oz contains 8g of fat)
  • dried cranberries (low in fat but loaded with sugar sometimes added in the drying process of the fruit)
  • roasted pecans (110 calories)
  • 2 packets of pomegranate vinaigrette dressing.
    A tip when you are eating your salad is to dip your fork in the dressing then into the salad. You do that for each bite, you will not consume the whole dressing since you really want the taste and not the added empty calories.

As you see most of the fat contained in this salad comes from the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries and roasted pecans. It may like like an innocent meal but when you add all the fluff that makes the salad a SENSATION, you are left eating empty too much fat and sugar in a SALAD.

Substitute Ingredients for Their Fat Free or Lite Version

I picked Paula Deen’s spinach, bacon and Swiss quiche. Her version yields 8 servings and 1 serving is a whopping 428 calories. One way to enjoy a quiche without it’s damage to your waistline is to prepare a vegetable quiche yourself. I substituted the ingredients for lighter and guilt-free ingredients using

  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cup steamed broccoli florets mixed with cauliflower (you can buy this frozen already mixed)
  • 1 cup asparagus cut in angle
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 4 oz light feta cheese
  • 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 9-inch frozen gluten free pie crust pre-baked for 25 minutes at 325 degrees.
  • Large skillet

Step 1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees

Step 2. Heat your olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add remaining veggies with garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Step 3. Mix together in a large bowl: eggs, feta cheese and salt. Add the sauteed veggies and mix well

Step 4. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool-down for 20 minutes and

VOILA ! A quiche you split into 8 servings with less than 190 calories per serving

One of the many challenges we face when trying to leave a healthy lifestyle is to figure out what to snack on. The usual snack that we found at work are either chips, candy bars, cookies and ice scream from the vending machine or the classic candy jar and free donuts all high in calories and fat. The best way to stay clear of all those saboteurs is to bring your own snack, keep them in your bag, your cabinet or your lunch box. You can get pretty creative with what you have at home or you can buy some snacks making sure that they are low in calories and fat. Here are some suggestions:

  1. 10 Kalamata olives (90 cal, 8g fat)
    Kalamata Olives
  2. Isagenix SlimCakes® (90 cal, 2g fat)
  3. A Medium Apple (65cal, 0g fat)
  4. Half of 1 Ezekiel English muffin (80 cal, 0.5g fat) with 1 tbs of organic apricot orange fruit spread (16 cal, 0g fat)
  5. Celery sticks (15 cal, 0g fat) with 1tsp of Natural Peanut Butter (33 cal, 2.7g fat)
    Shameful binge cycle 10/20/08
  6. Isagenix IsaDelight™ decadent chocolate (50 cal, 4g fat)
  7. 1 fresh grapefruit (69cal, 0g fat)
  8. 1 cup of lightly salted organic popcorn (70 cal, 4g fat)

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Team Spirit, December 2006You’ve made up your mind this time to stick to your plan for good. You have everything lined up, your food is planned ahead of time, your workout  is scheduled  for the week, and you are really excited about the progress you’ve made so far.

In the middle of all your excitements you get the occasional naysayer (hopefully you don’t live with one), the constant doubter, the friend who complains about her weight yet to do nothing about it, and of course the jealous one who belittles every success no matter how big or small throughout your journey.

To deal with this toxic group you need a strong mindset paired with a strong support team. Having a great support system makes a big difference because you are whom you hang out with. The people you surround yourself with everyday, your life is more likely to look like there’s meaning: low-income, low self-esteem, complainer, losers, winners, or achievers. If you want to succeed in your healthy lifestyle, these are the people you should surround yourself with:

  1. A personal trainer (if you can afford one) who has YOUR best interest at heart. Not a personal agenda to push their business and/or services. Your personal trainer should also be a product of their product, how else would you know that what they are selling you works?
  2. An accountability partner. This person is the your go-to person when you feel like giving up, like you are not making any progress. The person you talk to sincerely about your failures. It is ideal if this person has already accomplished what you are trying to carry out. My accountability partner now is Ruby Carter Pikes, this 63-year-old fit mom keeps tabs on me worst than a GPS. But I know it is all out of love plus I get to learn from her ability. Ruby calls me to chat about my day, and urge me to be patient and stay focused.
  3. A workout partner. This person can be the one that gets you ready to exercise only because you already gave him/her your word. So by tagging along just to keep your word sometimes you end up having the best workout ever.
  4. Your family. Make it a family affair by involving your kids in your home workouts. My 3 year-old got so used to me doing cardio in the afternoon that when it’s nighttime he tells me “mommy it’s time to go to the gym” . Get your husband on board, and if he doesn’t want to eat clean YET, ask him to support you by not bringing tempting food around the house.

Your team can be bigger, the most important thing is that they know your goals, tell it to you like it is when you are whining, and continue to love you no matter what.

Your assignment on day 6 is to check your association and decide which one will be part of your fitness support team. You may have to dissociate from some people all together, have limited association with others and expand on your relationship with the rest. The group your expand on will definitely help you shine at the top.

Until next time spread the love….

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

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