7 Small Daily Tweaks to Improve Health

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When new healthy habits form and old detrimental ones fade away, progress happens. I've been adopting some new techniques and tweaking my routine here and there to build upon the foundation of healthy living I've built for myself. I've been a fitness buff and a health food fan for a long time, but there is always more I could be doing to get better every day. I do have some bad habits that need to be broken, some eating patterns that could be cleaned up, and some new goals I would like to achieve. Let's explore some of the tiny techniques that I've been using that have made a huge difference toward health improvement:

1. Yoga Breathing Breaks: Throughout the morning, I've been known to sneak away for a few yoga breaks. I don't do any full yoga routines, due to the logistics of working in an office. But I do sneak in some yoga breathing exercises. I usually perform the first part of a sun salutation over and over, breathing slowly through my nose, until I feel relaxed, usually about 5 minutes. I am not a very good seated meditator, but moving with my breath through a few stretching exercises feels amazing. I'm not only actively meditating, but I'm also limbering my body and practicing mindfulness without even thinking about it. The simple act of movement becomes a  great distraction to bothersome thoughts, making quieting the mind a whole lot easier than when sitting. And the benefits of meditation any which way you do it are phenomenal. Besides that, the habit gets me up out of the seat I sit in 8 hours a day and gets my blood moving.

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This is the book I use for my daily meditation/relaxation needs.

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I perform the first part of the sun salutation through and through: 
mountain, backbend, swan dive, forward bend, return to mountain pose.

2. Trade in Diet Soda: Without really trying to, I have successfully cut out diet soda from my diet (apart from the highly occasional fast food run). I have long cut out regular soda and sugary juices from my diet, but I still always had a diet soda every day with my work lunch. To cut costs for a few weeks, I cut soda from the grocery list and didn't miss it as bad as I thought I would. Now, we’re saving a bit of extra money every week and I’m not killing brain cells. Seriously. Aspartame + Caffeine = Dead Brain Cells. After watching Hungry for Change, I decided to maintain this healthy habit and keep my brain for awhile. Water it is!

3. Work out in the Morning: Now, I am not a fierce proponent of morning workouts. If the only time you have to work out is in the evenings, that's quite alright as long as you follow through. However, I myself have made the successful transition to working out in the mornings (I will discuss how I did it in a future post). This way, I get to spend the entire evening with my family, and I’m not running off the gym after work (not that I think this is wrong, it just causes severe mommy guilt). I also get the bulk of my workout done before my day even starts. In addition, working out in the morning before breakfast actually creates up to a 20% increase in fat burn. I'm all for that!

4. Eat Clean, Eat Clean, Eat Clean: As I've stated before, eating clean is the only "diet" that intuitively makes sense to me for long-term lifestyle implementation. It makes sense to get your nutrients from "as-God-made-them" sources and to stay away from processed foods. That's a scientifically sound idea. I've been eating so healthy lately that whenever I have a not-so-healthy meal, I don’t feel good afterwards. It feels sort of like a hangover with a lingering "bleh" feeling and sour stomach. Quite the incentive to continue eating healthier, right? I know that French fries are going to give me stomach pains, so I don't eat them.

Source: indg.ca via Krista on Pinterest

5. Don't Cut out Stretching: When crunched for time during a workout, the easiest sacrifice to make is to skip the stretching, right? Bad move. By doing so, you are robbing yourself of the benefits of stretching, which include better posture, easier recovery, increased mobility, enhanced performance, enhanced exercise form, etc. I have recently started incorporating foam rolling (aka: self-myofascial release) into my stretching routine, based on the recommendations from my NASM studies. I just use a foam swimming noodle right now, which you can find at the dollar store, to massage out my knots. It feels sooooo good. I hear a lot of people saying that if it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right. Either I don’t feel pain like most people or I’m a masochist, but I love the feeling (but I'm a lover of deep deep-tissue massage and have a super-high pain tolerance). And it really is working, making me feel less stiff, increasing my range of motion, and ironing out my exercise form.

6. Eat Breakfast a Little Later: I always eat breakfast. As you probably know, skipping breakfast is a cardinal sin of healthy eating. However, I've found that eating a little bit later in the morning helps me to eat fewer mindless snacks throughout the morning. I can make it to lunchtime without a problem if I eat at 9:30 instead of 7:00. Plus, I don't actually start to feel that hungry until after 9, so it's really not necessary to eat before leaving the house. Such a simple concept, but it really is making a huge difference! I've been good about planning my meals in advance so that I can prep them at work. Microwave scrambled eggs really are a miracle.

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7. Try New Foods: I've discussed before the different foods that I've tried as part of the goals I set for myself last summer, and I'm setting intentions to continue this goal. This past week, my family was subjected to bulgar wheat for the first time. It was a success! Even meat-and-potatoes Hubster found it to be a good alternative to rice. He does like quinoa, and bulgar has a similar consistency. I tend to fall into really bad food ruts, so picking up new foods to try always helps me climb out. I will be adding bulgar to our regular rotation of whole grains. You can find it in the bulk section at your grocery store for super cheap. It's really easy to make too much (see below), so freeze the leftovers for an easy grab-and-go option on rushed days. It's always helpful to have a healthy mixture of food options to choose from, and adding more to the repertoire is great for giving your body a healthy variety of nutrients.

I hope these small tweaks that I've made in my own regimen inspire you to change a thing here or there in yours. Just try implementing one idea at a time and really pay attention to the difference it makes. If it doesn't work, pitch it. If it does work, adopt it. Either way, keep moving onto the next step and see what happens. I'd love to hear back with your results. Good luck!

Personal Trainer Interview 3: Bree Bond

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This personal trainer interview series has given me so much pleasure and insight already, that I can think of nothing better than to continue the series with my next interviewee, the lovely Bree Bond. She works both as an actress and an NASM-certified personal trainer.

In fact, if you want to train with Bree herself, online or in person (in the Los Angeles Area), you can contact her here:

"Every time I am a student, I leave being a better trainer."

1. What was the driving force behind your decision to become a personal trainer?

Throughout my life I've dipped in and out of different sports, never really staying committed to any of them. Whether it was cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, soccer (didn't even make it to my first practice haha), basketball (laughed out of tryouts) or track, I was never the most athletic child or even teenager at that but I never had any weight problems. Then my senior year of high school rolled around, and I became very self-conscious about my body. I was a junk food junkie and like I said, not very committed to any physical activity... It started to show. When I went to college I ended up gaining about 20 pounds and I was determined to get it off. I found Tone It Up and their nutrition plan changed my life. I started doing their online workouts and soon I found myself using what I was learning and creating workouts of my own and really enjoying the process of training and being active. I ended up losing 30 pounds and changing not just my body, but my entire life. God so lovingly used my situation in gaining weight to show me what I was passionate about: health, wellness and fitness. Getting my certification was really just the next step in advancing what I was already doing and gave me the ability to share my love with others.
2. How did you choose which personal training agency to certify with?
I asked around at several gyms, trainers I trusted, and did plenty of research. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) was hands-down the winner for me and I am so thankful that's the agency I went with. The test is harder than others (so I've heard) and I wouldn't doubt it, because it was certainly a challenge. But I am thankful for the great education I received through it. About 90% of the gyms that I had applied for when I was first searching for a gym to work for asked me if I "had my NASM", and some told me they wouldn't hire a trainer if they didn't. Whew. I highly recommend NASM to anyone looking to get their certification.
3. How did you prepare for the exam? Any tips, tricks, or best practices?
Read. Read. Read. Read. Flashcards. Notes. Repeat. I read my book close to 3 times and had skyscraper-sized piles of flashcards. I didn't just memorize my flash cards though, I made notes on them about how the term or idea was applicable in real life training in a way that would help me not only remember it but actually know it. NASM has great online supplements like videos and online quizzes that I used also.
4. Did you take a personal training workshop? If so, how did it help you prepare for the exam?
I didn't take any workshop, but I think it would have a been a great idea. You always learn so much from watching others.
5. I know you are also an actress. I’m interested in how acting and fitness might meld together. Will you be using your acting skills in the fitness world or vice versa?
I find that the two cross over perfectly sometimes. I have to be in good shape for acting and I have to be in great shape for training so that always goes hand-in-hand. I've gained a confidence because of personal training that I don't think I had before and that's helped me in my career as an actress. The fact that my job as a trainer is so flexible and I am so blessed to be able to work from home creating online plans for my incredible Instagram/Twitter followers is how I'm able to go on auditions whenever they pop up too. The two careers really complement each other and the people I get to work with and meet through both of the industries are awesome.

6. I am a Twitter follower of yours and can see you've built quite a following. How are you using the web/social media to build your online presence as a fitness professional?
Thanks for following :) When I first made my Twitter and Instagram accounts, I had no intention of building a following. It was always just a personal account and it still is, but my personal life and professional life aren't much different. I've "met" and developed relationships with the most amazing people through social media and I think that's how I've built the following I have now. Investing in people, talking with them, answering questions and just being passionate about what I do. Nothing is ever forced or a "follow me" competition. I pray everyday that God will use me to spread the glory and love of Jesus Christ and I think that he's just chosen this platform for me. I can't take any of the credit honestly. I'm just really grateful for where He's brought me and the people He has put in my life through social media and outside of it because of fitness.
7. Any health and fitness resources/research publications that you read daily or recommend? How else do you keep up with PT trends?
I wouldn't say I keep up with PT "trends", I'm not into fitness trend-hopping. There is nothing that will get you results like moving more, eating healthy/whole foods, lifting things, running, sweating, smiling and loving yourself. I love Tone It Up to motivate the hell out of you, Blogilates when coffee just doesn't perk you up enough, @StuftMama to make you laugh and realize we're all awesome, capable human beings, Livestrong.com for info on tons of things, DailyHIIT for intense home workouts, @HeatherWaxman when you need a little love, @PowerCakes when you need some inspo or food ideas and @BreeLovesBeauty for breath of fresh air. And if you creep through my Instagram followers you'll find really awesome people too. I could go on and on about how many inspiring and cool people there are. I also just pay attention to what people are posting about. I'm always learning what's going on in the fitness world by just paying attention to what people are doing and what they're saying about it.
8. These days, there are a variety of places/ways to train—at a studio, in homes, in offices, and even online. What has your personal training experience been like? Or where do you see this certification taking you?
When I first got certified, I was just at home in Houston training my friends and myself. I didn't have clients haha! I moved to Los Angeles and immediately started looking for a job. I got hired at a gym and started training there. I loved my clients, LOVED, but the gym environment I was in wasn't for me. I ended up leaving that gym and realized I had been given something huge with my following on Instagram and Twitter, so I just put the idea out there and asked them what they thought about online training and I had a great response. I have a few people that I've met that I train in person and I love doing that, but until I meet more people, that part of my business is slower compared to online trainees. I never ever saw my certification taking me where it has today, so I'm not sure if I can even say where I see it taking me in the future! Again, God is in full control. He always comes up with better ideas than I do anyway, so I just like to leave it up to Him ;)
9. What are your plans for using your certificate in the future? Any personal training goals for this year?
Ideally I'd love to just grow my business into whatever God has for it, keep loving on people, learning, challenging my clients and myself! I'd like to get certified in many other things, but that takes a lot of money haha. So while I am striving for that, I'm just trying my best to be faithful with what I've been given today. I think the next certification I'd like to get is Corrective Exercise Specialist. So many people, including myself, suffer from chronic pain and injuries and it's such a frustrating thing to live with. I'd love to help people be free from their physical limitations and I can probably make that certification happen by the end of the year. I would love to study nutrition sometime in my life too, I think I am just as passionate about that aspect of health as I am the sweaty part of it. My next personal fitness goal is to get my pull ups! :)
10. Has your personal training experience influenced how you yourself workout now? If so, how?
Definitely! In fact, I think I worked out more when I wasn't a trainer than I do now. And that's not a bad thing. I was overtraining and I see now why I wasn't getting the results I wanted. Educating myself on exercise progression, volume, intensity and all the other variables that come into play with training has improved the effectiveness of training myself. I'm always trying new workouts that I've designed before I put them on my girls' plans too. I'd never ask them to do something that I couldn't/wouldn't do--unless they were just stronger than me and needed that challenge, which has happened ;) I also love looking to other trainers now too. Everybody has so much insight and perspective in this industry and I love learning those things. I never want to be too proud to admit that I don't know how to do a certain lift or answer a question. I love training at the gym I do because I'm constantly being humbled, challenged and learning. Every time I am a student, I leave being a better trainer.
11. What advice would you give to someone like me who is just starting out and studying for the CPT exam?
Do not wait until the last minute to study and study well. Like I said earlier, really focus on what you're learning and how it's applicable, not just memorizing a bunch of ideas and terms. Get up from your desk and do the moves, try out what you're learning and enjoy the process. You'll never be finished learning, so just keep that in mind and use your better judgment about everything you read or what someone tells you. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.     Thanks so much for your insight, Bree! I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you in both acting and personal training. Your positive energy and attitude certainly radiate through your posts and words. It was a pleasure doing this interview with you!

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, March 25, 2013

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  • 30 min run in AM
  • 25 min circuit training at lunch with friend
  • 45 Zumba after work
  • 30 min walk at lunch with mom
  • 55 min Xtend Barre workout
  • 20 min circuit training at lunch
  • Rest
  • 45 min interval run in AM
  • 55 min run with intervals
  • Rest
My week started out strong and tapered off a bit as I started to feel ill later in the week. In fact, on Friday, I felt ok running in the morning, but went home a little early from work as I started to feel nauseated later in the day. I was in the middle of a meeting, trying to coax myself not to hurl, but I had all the waste baskets scoped out just in case. Saturday morning I felt good enough to do my long run after a bit of coffee. I took it a bit slower than normal though. Our whole house is still recovering from a whirlwind of illness.

Unfortunately I was not a winner in the Diet Bet, which came to its conclusion on Monday. I did lose 4.2lbs, so I guess some good came out of the experience anyhow. Although those 4.2 that I originally gained were the consequences of a bad weekend. See, I told you weekends are my Achilles Heel. Working on that. I did pretty good this past weekend, if I don't say so myself. I always plan my meals for the week but rarely advance plan into the weekend. This will change.

This weekend was filled with memories. I was baptized into my church on Sunday morning and I really feel renewed. I also got my hair chopped, which feels refreshing in itself. Such simple things with such profound results. I just feel like grinning today.

What are your favorite ways to "refresh" and change your outlook?

Book Pages: Patternless Fashions

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I don't think I've ever used this book except to help me dream (yet!!). I always thought a book about patternless fashion would make a great starting point for an e-course or blog tutorial or something. Growing up, I always hated sewing with patterns. I learned how to sew with fussy patterns and grew annoyed with sewing itself because of the rigidity. Once I realized I could make things without a pattern, I felt so free. Novel idea, huh?

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This book has the cutest little hand drawings that our modern books lack, but that give books a little extra character. They give you a glimpse into the hand-work put into the book by real live people. I think it's endearing. I mean, the descriptions are enough to make me gush, "awww, cute!" Basic School Dress with Yoke and Gathered Skirt, anyone?

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Sweet little ribbon-tied girl. Sometimes I wish I could have a girl to dress up like this.

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Cutest father/son duo ever (besides my guys of course:) Looks like a Leave it to Beaver family portrait, doesn't it? Love it!

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When's the last time you heard the word "slacks" and it wasn't coming from your grandma?

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There really are great tips and pointers in this book for making real clothes today. The original book was created circa the 1950s, and the styles are pretty true to that era. However, you can tweak a little bit here and there or even use some of the patterns just as they are. Many of the styles are fashionable again today, depending on the fabric that you choose. Some of the instructions just give you guidelines on how to use clothing you already own to fashion new items. This totally translates to today's world, if ya ask me.

If you're a beginner, you might want to try a project that is a little less involved first, like a pillowcase or curtains or something. Once you get the hang of sewing basics and techniques, you can always refer back to this book. This book also doesn't work for people who need the structure that patterns provide. My grandma taught me to sew using patterns because she prefers them herself, and that's just fine. I just operate a little differently and enjoy the freedom of patternless sewing. I have also always had an affinity for completely original clothing, and this book puts that idea at my fingertips.

If you're interested in this little gem, there are a few copies on Amazon.

Baby English Muffin Pizzas

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

As promised in a previous, I am sharing my recipe for my family's mini English muffin pizzas. Since they're made with a whole wheat "crust," piled with veggies, and come with insta-portion control, they're a great meal to add to your family's lunch or dinner rotation.

  • 1 pkg whole wheat English muffins
  • 1 small can marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1 cup or so of part-skim cheese
  • Toppings of choice: sliced olives, spinach, chopped mushrooms, sausage, bacon bits, artichokes, etc.
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • basil to season


1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

2. Spread the English muffin halves on a baking sheet.

3. Spread a spoonful of sauce over each muffin and sprinkle with the desired amount of cheese.

4. Sprinkle with toppings of choice. Try to pile ingredients in thin layers. Thick toppings will cause the mini pizzas to heat inconsistently and weigh them down.

5. Season with chopped garlic and a pinch of basil. The garlic really makes a difference for the mouth-watering factor. Take my word for it.

6. Heat the pizzas in the oven until the cheese melts and the bread starts gently browning, about 10 minutes. Serve with your choice of side.

We have these mini pizzas on our weekly family menu quite often. They're so simple to make, pretty darn healthy, provide a great opportunity to sneak in extra veggies, and each family member gets to customize their pizza to their liking. They're a much better alternative to greasy overloaded delivery pizza--and quicker too! Plus, it's a fun little meal to put together as a family. My four-year-old loves helping me make these.

And just for kicks, I had to show you the litter that our knucklehead pit bull just had.

Weekly Workout Rundown

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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  • 20 min circuit-style workout with friend at lunch
  • 45 min Zumba class after work
  • 40 min run before work
  • 15 min walk to work
  • 35 min interval run before work
  • 20 min circuit-style workout with friend at lunch
  • 20 min Shiva Rae Daily Energy yoga after work
  • 45 min interval run before work
  • 60 min long run in AM
  • 35 min strength workout
  • Rest

This week I was able to squeeze in a short burst of yoga on one of my typically "rest" days. I like to think of this as "active rest." As I stated last week, I have a standing goal to include more yoga into my weekly rotation. This week--mission accomplished!

I have also been regularly running on Saturday mornings lately. I'm trying to increase my pace and potentially shave time off of my 5k PR. Hubster and I have our annual 5k date coming up, so I want to see if I can push even harder this year. We're even signing our Peanut up for the associated kids' run. My own little posse of runners...I love it!

What does your typical week look like?

Weekly Workout Rundown

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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  • 45 min interval run in AM
  • 25 min circuit training with friend on lunch break
  • 30 min run in AM
  • 30 min slow/mod walk with mom at lunch
  • 30 min run in AM
  • 20 min circuit training with friend on lunch break
  • Rest
  • 40 min run in AM
  • 20 min circuit training with friend on lunch break
  • 65 min run/5 miles
  • Rest
This week was pretty top-notch as far as training goes. I did almost everything I wanted to, except injecting a little yoga or stretch workout in there somewhere. This week, I'm going to make sure I get it done. It always makes me feel so much better, even just 20 minutes of it.

I cannot post my meal plan this week as it is top secret. I made all  my preparations on Sunday for the week. All my breakfasts and lunches through Friday await me in the fridge. This has made life in the mornings so much easier. I literally grab my food and go, which is even more convenient than fast food! Today I even had enough time to walk to work and run for 40 minutes. Now, if only I planned enough time to dry my hair...

My friend and I, whom I have been training with on lunch breaks, decided to try out this Total Body Transformation from Chris Powell. Instead of doing the program over the course of 12 months, we are narrowing it down to 12 weeks. I am also training from a top-secret workout. More deets to come, when I can:) I am beyond stoked! But the suspense is killing me, friends.

I will meet you back here for my WWR next week! My Diet Bet comes to a close this weekend, so I'm pushing hard for good numbers, folks.

Paper Airplanes and Map Bunting Banner DIY

Friday, March 8, 2013

This travel-themed banner was created for a male in my department at work. I didn't want to use any of my girly frilly banners for him, of course. I wanted to make something a little more fitting. So, I came up with the map bunting and paper airplane banner.

The paper airplanes were created from scrapbook paper that I already had on-hand. Here's how I made them, but really you could fold them however you like:

Cut out a rectangular piece of paper. I think this was about 2x3.

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Fold the paper in half with the pretty patterned side on the inside.

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Fold one corner back, flush with the folded side.

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Do the same with the other side:

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Now, fold that same side of the paper down again on both sides:

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Here's your airplane. Make a bunch of them until you have enough to form a small air force.

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Use your string of choice for the banner. Just glue the open center of the airplane around the string. Elmer's works fine.

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Here's the finished paper airplane banner:

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To make the map bunting, I just cut up an old road atlas. I used some of my son's triangle blocks as a template for the triangles. I used a stencil and a black Sharpie to color in the letters. Then I stapled the triangles to some ribbon. That's it!

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You put them together, and you have a unisex "Happy Birthday" banner. Pretty cute, huh?

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For even more DIY banner ideas, check out the other birthday banners in this series:

Skip To My Lou

I'll Bet You $20: The Research Behind Diet Bets

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I just put $20 down on a bet that I will lose 4% of my body weight (around 6lbs) in four week. I'm participating in this Diet Bet hosted by Erica House. Diet Bet claims a 90% success rate, which got me to thinking about why it works so well. Let's explore the research and psychology behind diet bets briefly, shall we?

1. Monetary awards motivate dieters: As this article explores, financial incentives seem to be quite effective for weight loss goals. Competition that involves money seems to spur people to action--at least more action than they would perform if going it alone. It seems to work for participants on The Biggest Loser, doesn't it? Of course, the fame and high dollar amount attached to those winnings differ significantly from throwing $20 in a pot with a few coworkers. But that doesn't mean a few extra bucks in your pocket isn't effective.

2. But only in the short term: The long-term effects of diet bets are a bit discouraging though. Since bets are typically temporary, the motivation to continue the weight loss plan is temporary too. Studies have shown that the effects may not hold up long term. Even though people are successful at losing weight with diet bets, many people gain the weight right back once the bet is finished. The immediacy of money earned creates a stronger reaction than the long-term effects of healthier living. Once you're done with the bet, you must transition from external motivation back to intrinsic motivation unless you want to keep signing up for bet after bet. Or you need to find a way to change your "diet" mindset to a "lifestyle" mindset. Diet is temporary. Healthy living must become a complete lifestyle change.

I have an example of these concepts living right under the same roof with me. Hubster lost an impeccable amount of weight about a year ago with a Biggest Loser Challenge hosted by his employer. Hubster won not only the team component, but also the personal component, taking home well over $100. The weight stayed off for a few months until Hubster went back to his old ways of eating and not exercising. Now he's back to where he started. The monetary incentive was definitely effective in the short term, but without carrying those new habits into the future, the weight loss won't stick.

3. Use bets for habit formation: Speaking of habits--habits are generally said to be formed in 21 days (or 66 days by some). If you're really committed to working out five days a week and planning out meals for each week, you could make your newfound habits stick. According to Psychology Today, you should also incorporate triggers (keeping running shoes by your bed) and rewards (money, new magazine, etc.) into your new routine to make it habit-forming. However, if you're of the mindset that this "diet" is just temporary, you will likely have trouble once your bet is over. Diet bets are an amazing premise for healthy habit formation, but only if your intentions are set for the longer-term.

4. Peer encouragement can have a profound effect upon your results. When you're committing to something like a diet bet or a lifestyle change, consider making it public. Tell your Facebook friends, shout it out on Twitter, let your friends know at brunch and get your family in on it. Heck, why don't you just blog about it? The more people you tell, the more deeply entrenched you become in the healthy cycle. Peers are great for keeping you accountable. Participate in the friendly chatter on the betting sites. Find a few pals on your diet bet site and keep in touch after the bet is over. Research shows that the more you log on, the more successful you'll be at hitting your weight loss goals.

5. Positive vs negative reinforcement: Positive reinforcement seems to be the winner for creating long-term changes in behavior, although negative reinforcement is effective in the short-term. Diet Bet offers positive reinforcement for weight lost--a bigger dip in the money pool. However, on the betting site stikK.com, if you lose the bet, your money is given to an anti-charity (a democrat donating to the republican party, etc). Whichever form of reinforcement you choose, be sure it is something that really pushes you to make changes. If you're passionate enough about the outcome, you have more chances of succeeding.

6. Diet bets really keep you honest. On Diet Bet, for example, your entry must be officially verified by a live person. You take a picture of yourself in "airport" apparel (no shoes, belts, etc) and a picture of your scale reading with a password. You can't cheat yourself out of the results. And I think that is one of the reasons why participants' success rates are so high.

Ready to make a bet on your weight? Here are some betting websites to check out and get started:

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, March 4, 2013

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  • 35 min AM run
  • 30 min Jillian's Shred It with Weights in PM
  • 30 slow/mod walk at lunch with mom
  • 45 min run in AM
  • 40 min Tone It Up DVD (arms, abs, long and lean) in PM
  • Rest
  • 30 min slow/mod walk at lunch with mom
  • 20 min circuit training at lunch
  • 60 min run/walk in AM
  • Rest

Last week was a little bit off-kilter. I was not feeling well toward the end of the week and on Tuesday I turned my alarm off instead of hitting snooze. The universe was telling me to take a break. That's my story anyway. This week, I'm ready to push it again though. I've got money placed on my success, and that's a fact!

I also have some super exciting news that I don't think I can make public yet. It will require me to workout and eat even more keenly than I am now for about 5 weeks, but I am stoked about it. I will let you know when I know more.

I won't have a food breakdown this week as Hubster failed to grocery shop. I'm left with frozen leftovers and good ole PB&J until further notice. Still trying to keep it clean though. I had some clementines and baby carrots to work with, so I should be good.
How was your weekend? What do you usually do when you've missed a few days at the gym?

What to Pack in Your Gym Bag

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Whether it's your first time at the gym or you're just curious what other gymgoers are carrying around in their bags, I present to you the contents of my gym bag. Each item is pertinent to my workout habit. For practical reasons, I do not keep anything in my bag that I don't use regularly.

Like my cute Oakley bag? Me too! The mesh on the side pockets airs out my towel and shoes and the front pocket stores my workout logs. I sound like I'm advertising the thing, don't I? Turns out, describing products like this is my job.

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I bought a cheap-o towel at the store because I didn't want to haul around one of my plush ones from home. It's much more portable and I don't have to worry about how I treat it or anything.

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Also, I carry Avon body wash in case the gym soap dispenser is out, Jergen's lotion to soothe stripped skin (two showers a day will do that to you), Garnier hairspray and face towelettes, and travel-sized Dove deodorant. A friend and I have been hitting up the gym on our lunch breaks, so we don't have time for or really need full-body showers, just "rinses" as we like to call them and a change of socks and underthings. I sometimes carry Suave dry shampoo too, but rarely end up needing it.

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Isn't this mini clipboard just the cutest? I think I got it in the dollar section at Target. I like to keep my workout index cards on it. I wrote out many of the workouts from Supreme 90 Day so I can do them at the gym instead of being confined to only the TV.

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I got this cutie purple water bottle from work. It has a buckled lid to keep me from splashing myself and little notches on it to track water intake. If I take ANYthing to the gym, it is this precious reservoir.

If you're wondering what to pack for your first foray into the gym world, I would recommend most of the items above, depending on whether or not you'll be "rinsing" at the gym. Other than what's pictured, and your workout clothes (of course!), I would also recommend a good lock for the locker room, a magazine for the treadmill (if you can read and run), and a good playlist and headphones. A hand towel for dripping sweat is also pretty handy. I like to bring these pretty mantra towels when I remember them.

What are your main gym essentials? Any other gym packing tips?