Tag: life

Trick or Treating is for Our Kids Right?!

During the Halloween season we either have our own kids to take trick or treating or will have kids knocking at our doors dressed is scary costumes. This usually means our kids coming home with pillow cases full of candy and/or stocking up on candy to hand out to the cute little goblins. Inevitably this leads to us trying out our favorite candies because of their smaller size we do not worry too much about the calories (even if you eat 20) and their high saturated fats; there is so much around at this time of year that it is hard to avoid. Here are some Halloween candy tips to get you through our sweetest holiday without gaining any weight:

  • Don’t have the candy bowl in sight, if we can see it, our mouth usually wants to eat it.
  • Eat properly before you indulge, don’t come home from work and snack on candy because it’s there, do make a healthy snack first.
  • Purchase candies that you don’t like, that way if temptation sneaks up on us, there is no reason to indulge. These usually include gummy textured candies and sour candies.
  • Buy hard candies such as suckers, its takes more time to eat one and are usually lower in calories.
  • If you must indulge, look for old fashion candies which are usually made of cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup.
  • If you must have your chocolate, take a look at the list below and choose ahead of time the one that you want to burn off the extra calories at the gym later (so choose the one with the lowest calories).

Here are the calories for some Halloween candies:

  • Butterfinger – Fun Size 1 bar= 100 calories
  • Hershey Chocolate Bar – Fun Size 1 bar=90 calories/ 5grams of fat
  • M&M’s – Fun Pack 1 bags=90 calories
  • Milky Way – 1 snack size bar = 90 calories
  • Almond Joy – 1 snack size bar = 90 calories
  • Snicker’s – Fun Size 1 bars=80 calories
  • Reese’s Cup – 1 cup=80 calories
  • Twix – Fun Size 1 bar= 80 calories
  • Milky Way – Fun Size 1 bars=75 calories
  • York Peppermint Pattie – 1 pattie=70 calories
  • Nestle’s Crunch – Fun Size 1 bars=70 calories
  • Tootsie Pop – 1 pop = 60 calories
  • SweetTarts – 1 treat size pkg. = 50 calories
  • Kit Kat – Fun Size 1 bars=50 calories
  • Twizzlers – 1 treat size pkg= 45 calories
  • Peanut M&M’s – Fun Pack 1 bags=40 calories
  • Milk Duds – 1 treat size box = 40 calories
  • Tootsie Roll – 1 small roll = 13 calories

Stress, Hormones and It’s Effects

Beginning our day with a calm relaxed mind has many advantages as we all know. But in order to see these advantages we need to understand the drawbacks and workings of a non-calmed mind. In essence, a non calmed mind is a stressed mind. Stressors happen daily, whether it is subconscious or conscious and the way that we deal with these stressors can have a big impact on our body, especially when we are attempting to reach a certain goal. When the body is stressed it cannot perform optimally, and many of its thoughts will produce negative reactions and responses to various stimuli within our body which a calmed, stress-free mind would otherwise be able to handle in a more controlled and logical fashion.

The interesting fact is that stress actually changes your body’s chemistry. Trying to put up or deal with stress results in a chemical change that may be quick to pass or could possibly take many weeks, depending on which way your body wants to fight it. In the struggle to gain strength, lose weight or perform at our optimal level, stress is a major factor that needs some consideration. Understanding how to handle stress is very important to achieve the fitness level and physique that you desire.

During stressful situations our body releases two hormomes; fast-acting Adrenaline and long-lived Cortisol. The short term response to body stressors is the release of massive amounts of Adrenaline; which acts to increase your heart rate and breathing like when you are scared or surprised. For our long-term reaction to stress that occur on a daily basis, the body uses a hormone called cortisol, which enters our bloodstream at a slower pace. Once cortisol is present in our body, it slows our metabolism down and may take months or even years to remove its excessive effects. One important fact to know is that cortisol is closely associated with belly fat, which leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health related issues. Life is becoming more and more stressful as an American and in return our bodies are producing more and more cortisol. People are eating more starchy processed foods only contributing to the obesity epidemic we are facing today.

Its not only our daily stressors that affect us, we even stress when we sleep, making it more difficult to function the next day. Several hours before you get up in the morning, a very tiny portion of your brain, sends a signal to stimulate your adrenal glands which causes a slight rise in adrenaline. And further more after you have awakened, cortisol levels begin to rise. Most heart attacks and strokes occur between 6 am and 8 am in the morning and are often related to the increased rise of cortisol. It is obvious that getting cortisol under control is of a major importance for a healthy fit individual.

Cortisol is usually at its highest level a few hours after you wake. Over a period of time through the day, your levels decrease. This can answer the age-old question of the when is the best time to exercise. Mornings are optimal as your cortisol levels are high and you have the best chance to suppress them at this time. Nothing like releasing a little tension by lifting weights or taking a class!

We all have specific goals we want to achieve, and a general direction we want our lives to head in. If we are running around stressed, frustrated, dishonest, with forced anger and violent actions pressed on others, how can we remain focused and calm enough to accomplish our own life’s goals?

This becomes more important when trying to achieve physique related goals. Anytime a goal is set with a stressed or disorganized mind, you can expect to struggle whether you know it or not. Some of the obvious steps to controlling stress are associated with simplifying your life. Putting too much on your daily schedule is a sure way to make life too difficult. There is no question that some people seem to handle stress much better than others, but it is a constant work in progress. Life is too short to walk around stressed out, so try taking a look at your daily habits by organizing your day. Try adding things to help combat stress can help fight these effects; taking a quick vacation, exercising, taking a nap, or doing anything that helps you to relax and feel good, will likely result in a decrease of cortisol!

What is the Healthy Steps Program?

Healthy Steps with The Lebed Method is a not just an exercise program, it is a celebration with pizzaz. Participants progress toward better health while having the best time imaginable. Fun, easy to follow steps coordinated with great music allow class members to work within their personal parameters, and have fun while striving for wellness.

Healthy Steps with The Lebed Method was designed by two physician/surgeons and a dance movement specialist in 1980. This experienced and dynamic team effectively integrated dance movements, and physical therapy based exercises with music to form a distinctive program that delivers. The musical component is a key factor as participants are shown to move more freely when awareness is directed away from discomfort and limitation through musical stimulation. Props such as top hats, canes, boas are often incorporated into a routine to further stimulate a sense of imagination and play.

Numerous studies validate the Healthy Steps Program’s effective benefits for persons with conditions that limit upper and lower body movement, range of motion, and balance. Individuals recovering from accident, injury, surgery, athletic performance, breast cancer, other cancers, or suffering with chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, M. S., diabetes are shown to thrive. Seniors and those newly beginning an exercise regimen flourish. It is safe for pregnant women through the third trimester. Certainly this is a program for anyone. The class can be done standing or seated.

Since 1980 this program’s therapeutic benefits have proven beneficial to many of those struggling along the, oftentimes difficult, road toward wellness. This unique, sensitive, international program, validated by numerous studies and published in a medical journal, promotes well-being, and joy. Class members are often transformed from survivors to thrivers while gently being launched to higher levels of lifestyle wellness than they would have dreamed.

Join the Healthy Steps Class because your quality of life will be improved. If you, or someone you know, are staying away because of any of the following think again. Just remember the Healthy Steps class is the place for you even if you:

  • Have two left feet
  • Lack experience
  • Are not athletic
  • Are not in the best shape
  • Pregnant
  • Are recovering from a illness or accident
  • Are living with a chronic condition
  • Want a gentle full-body workout without beating yourself up

The Life Curve

As someone who makes a habit of eating healthfully and exercising regularly, from time to time I find myself defending my lifestyle choices. I am sure many of you who are reading this have experienced this as well. People are often interested, and sometimes appalled, to hear that I would rather spend my Friday night in the gym than at happy hour, or that I would gladly choose some dark green leafy vegetables over a side of bacon. In effort to explain (and perhaps justify, depending on the audience) my lifestyle choices, I have tried out many different lines of reasoning. Nothing I have come across does a more effective job summarizing my overall reasoning than the concept of the life curve.

I have noticed that generally we think of our lives as a s*tring with a definite beginning and an end. Your life begins when you are born, and it ends when you die. When you think about your life this way, it leads you to consider health in a one-dimensional fashion. Most health-related matters eventually boil down to whether or not they will immediately sever your lifeline. I am sure you have often heard someone lament that a particular activity or food “is not going to kill you” implying that if death is not a likely outcome, then it is without consequence. This sort of thinking also makes healthful eating and regular exercise somewhat easy to dismiss because, let’s face it, your life could end abruptly at any moment. And it seems reasonable to conclude that since “life is short” you may as well have a good time while you can and not worry all the time about extending your lifeline, right? That all seems logical given the information that we have, but perhaps there is more to the story.

The concept of a life curve expands on the idea of the lifeline by adding a second dimension, and it looks something like this:

In the above illustration, the x-axis represents how long we will live, just as it does in the one-dimensional representation of your life. The y-axis represents our quality of life. The higher up the life curve is on the y-axis, the better the quality of life. Here ‘quality of life’ represents many things. For example, immune system strength, bone density, body composition, energy levels, the ability to concentrate, and how long you can run are all examples of quality of life. The list is seemingly endless, and can best be prioritized by you.

‘Quality of life’ is a relatively abstract term, but this concept can significantly change our thinking. Length of life is no longer paramount, but secondary to how we will feel each and every day while we are alive. And believe me, all of our actions matter. Everything that we eat, all of the exercise that we do, how much sleep we get each night, and our overall level of stress, among many other things, all impact quality of life. Our behavior has real and tangible consequences that will be felt not only in the short-term, but in the long-term as well. Everyday decisions that we make have the potential to impact the rest of our lives.

The next time that someone is giving you a hard time for choosing water instead of wine, spending an extra fifteen minutes on the treadmill, or forgoing the cheese on your sandwich, encourage them to add a second dimension to the way they consider their lifeline. You may just have an easier time justifying your position.