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And The Winner Is....

...push ups!!!

I've decided to incorporate some daily push ups into my routine, as my fitness New Year's resolution.

In order for me to be able to stick with it, there has to be only ONE exercise. I cannot fall prey (as I have in previous years) to the trap of "oh, that was easy, what else can I do?" and then adding more exercises, and then having a tired or busy day were I don't do them all, and then giving up completely. (Welcome to my world ;)

I decided on push ups because they can really work your core, in addition to your arms and chest. If I'm only picking one thing, it has to accomplish as much as it can.  I've also discovered that there's more abdominal involvement if you place your hands further above your head.

I'll do twenty every morning while my coffee is brewing, and I'm starting with wall push ups, because on the floor I can do maybe three, tops. I'll let you know when I move up to twenty on the floor ;)

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What Are Your New Year's Resolutions?

Traditionally, New Year's resolutions have been a set up for failure for me. I make them, and never stick to them. I don't know if a simple date on a calendar is motivation enough to make life changes that require will power and discipline.

Still, they're fun! Why not start each year with renewed ambition and optimism? So every year I make resolutions, regardless of my success or failure with them in the past.

This time around, I am in the enviable position of approaching the magic date on the calendar with one of my goals (weight maintenance) already achieved. I have new and improved dietary habits, as well as kept up with regular cardio exercise. What next?

Muscle toning is an area that I don't make time for at the moment. I think this is something I can resolve to start in the new year.

My plan is to choose ONE, and only one, exercise (to start with). In the past I've planned out a whole routine, and given up after a week because of the new time constraints involved. This year, however, I'm going to choose ONE activity that takes about five minutes, and insert it somewhere into my routine. Push-ups before brushing my teeth? Sit-ups while dinner is cooking? Not sure yet, but I will let you know what I come up with.

Time to put my thinking cap on!

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There Are No Excuses

A friend of mine has lost 26 pounds on the Dr. Bernstein weight loss plan.

She (with their support) is taking a three week break over the Christmas season. She knows she will "cheat" over the holiday season, and why pay for a plan she's not following?

Initially I thought how wise and realistic, both on her part and the part of the Dr. Bernstein staff. Let's not set ourselves up for failure, what with the festive season upon us.

But then I thought... isn't that the problem with weight loss programs, and with weight loss in general? There will always be a festive something or other around every corner. It's kind of like waiting for the best time to quit smoking, or the right time to get pregnant. There is no perfect time for anything - no time that things will be easy or free from the potential for setback.

There will always be a tomorrow, but if we want to accomplish our goals, we have to work on them today.

What about me - should I take a break? I'm about four pounds away from my target weight. Can I get through the Christmas season without gaining back some of the weight I've lost? Can I maintain my current progress, or better still, carry on towards my goal?

Of course I can! Just because there are more temptations around me doesn't mean I have to cave every day. Will I count calories on Christmas day? Nope!! Will I count them the day before and the day after? You bet. It's all about new habits and a more self improvment based lifestyle.

Here's to not letting the holiday season be my latest excuse!

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6 Carb Curfew Tips

I've been doing the carb curfew plan for a few days now, and here are some things I'm finding that work for me: 
  1. Have a consistent plan. I start my curfew after dinner. The time varies, depending on when we eat, but I usually start my no/low carb time anywhere from 5:00 - 6:30 pm.
  2. Plan for indulgence. If there's a food item with carbs in it that you were looking forward to (i.e. homemade cookies, hot chocolate, etc.), make sure you schedule it in before your curfew starts. I had a Rolo ice cream bar, for 130 calories toward my daily caloric allotment, by setting a timer for 3:00 pm. Later on, after my carb curfew started, I didn't feel deprived.
  3. Have no (or very low) carb food in the house that you can eat, in case you're really hungry in the evening. Last night I had 1/2 a pepperoni stick (100 cals) and a cheese string (60 cals), both somewhere between 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
  4. Make a point of eating healthy carbs earlier in the day, so that when the evening comes, you have some proper nourishment behind you. In the mornings I usually eat a banana, some yogurt, an apple, some carrots, etc. All containing carbs, and all important for good health.
  5. Don't stop eating when your carb curfew starts. (They keep telling us that fasting slows down our metabolism, so to not eat anything from 6:00 pm until breakfast the next day probably won't help!)
  6. Keep lots of sugar free gum handy to help conquer any evening sweet cravings that might make you want to cave and carb out ;)
Here are some links to pages that list the carbohydrate value of certain foods:

 Carb free food
 Carb counter

 Another carb counter
 Carb counter chart

Good luck and have fun!

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Carb Curfew Diet (No Carbs In The Evening)

The theory behind the carb curfew diet is that because carbs are used for energy, if you eat them later in the evening when you're less active, they won't be used and therefor stored as fat.

I've never been a fan of diets that eliminate carbs altogether, but I do believe that many people (including myself) probably consume too many. The carb curfew diet is a simple way of reducing your carb intake without depriving your body of this essential fuel.

Some people have enjoyed great success employing this method, and other say carbs are carbs, no matter when you consume them. I think the beauty of this method is that even if it won't work, there's no harm in trying it (unlike cutting out carbs altogether).

I'm going to try it! I'll start tonight (if I remember ;)  I'll do follow up posts of my opinions as I form them, and any tips or advice I can think of.

Stay tuned!

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28 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism

Everyone wants to do it - speed up your metabolism!!! (Me too ;)  There's a million web articles and blog posts about the subject, and here's mine. Enjoy!

In no particular order, here are some things that are said to help increase your metabolism:

  1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  2. Build muscle mass
  3. Drink more water (and make it cold!)
  4. Eat spicy food
  5. Fidget
  6. Eat a good breakfast
  7. Eat enough calories to avoid "starvation mode"
  8. Exercise for shorter periods, but more often
  9. Boost your EPOC "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption" by making your exercise higher intensity
  10. Eat more fibre 
  11. Eat more protein
  12. Exercise in the morning
  13. Drink green tea
  14. Increase your low fat dairy intake (to increase calcium intake)
  15. Get enough sleep (to regulate hormones)
  16. Reduce stress (to regulate hormones)
  17. Cut down on refined sugar, salt, and refined grains
  18. Cut down on caffeine (which increases insulin levels which tells your body to store fat)
  19. Limit alcohol intake
  20. Eat fruits and vegetables
  21. Eat yogurt (for the probiotics)
  22. Take a multivitamin
  23. Eat fish
  24. Don't yo-yo diet
  25. Eat fewer trans fats
  26. Try calorie shifting (so that your metabolism cannot predict how many calories it will have to burn)
  27. Avoid fad diets
  28. Be too cold or too warm (shivering and sweating increase your metabolic rate)

I'm sure there are more... stay tuned for a "part 2" post!

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