What if I told you my secrets to maintaining a healthy weight? We all know that “one size doesn’t fit all,” especially when it comes to one’s health, but I’m here to share some tried-and-true tips with you. These are all things I’ve done that have yielded favorable results.
It’s extremely important to note that exercise is JUST AS VITAL as what you EAT and what you THINK. One more little side note: I understand that it’s not easy to exercise and eat perfectly healthy every single day of your life. Things come up. Even for a co-creator of a nutrition blog who’s a healthy foodie like me.
Instead of striving for perfection, aim for being and doing your personal best. There’s no need to compare and ultimately attempt to be someone else other than yourself. Allow what I’m about to reveal to you serve as a guideline, not an be-all and end-all. You can simply adjust/add to it as needed.
Waking up from My Deep Slumber
When I woke up today, I’ll admit that I hit the “snooze” button thanks to staying up late watching the movie “The Santa Clause” starring Tim Allen. But my trusty alarm persisted, so I decided that it was time to wake the heck up and do something good for myself. After brushing my teeth and washing the sleep off my face, I took a few sips of room temperature water. (I usually add some lemon or lime to it).
[Related Post: Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning]
Once I quenched my thirst, I lifted some hand weights (dumbbells). At the moment, I’m using 5 pound weights. I did 3 sets of 10 of the following: lateral raise, two-arm tricep extension, and dead lift. I like to change it up with other variations, but I highly recommend these three.
1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your hips. Make sure your palms are facing each other.
2. Slowly lift your arms out to your sides. Make sure they are parallel to the ground. Hold them in this position for about two counts (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi) before you release them back down to your hips.
Two-Arm Tricep Extension
1. Grab one dumbbell with both hands and hold it behind your head. Your two arms must be bent into right angles. To achieve this, make sure your forearms run along the sides of your head.
2. Gently extend your elbows while lifting your forearms so that they are pointing vertically over your head with the dumbbell. Hold this position for about two counts and then lower your arms back to that right angle position behind your head.
1. In a standing position with your eyes looking straight ahead, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Squat right down by flexing your knees and hips. Do not bend down by using your back. You can injure yourself this way. When you’re doing this, make sure the dumbbells are slightly above the floor. Hold that position for about two counts.
3. Gradually stand back up again while keeping your arms as steady as possible.
I then ran to my freezer to get some frozen fruit & greens and picked two ripe bananas to make Bob and me a smoothie. I also added two tablespoons of hemp seeds to the mix. Once I poured my portion into a glass, I went to my mini trampoline (rebounder) and jumped on it at least 100 times. Then I enjoyed my smoothie. I like seeing it as a healthy reward after my exercise routine. 🙂
[Related Post: Hemp Seed Health Benefits: Little Guys that Pack a BIG Punch]
Luckily, I work from home, so this might be a tad bit easier for me to accomplish…
While drinking my smoothie, I turned on my computer to start working on some freelance projects. Like most days, I got up and moved around in 30-minute increments. Recent studies have found that sitting at your computer desk for hours at a time can be as detrimental to your health as smoking a cigarette. That finding is not to be taken lightly, my friend.
My rebounder is right by my computer chair (same with Bob’s), so I jumped (about 100 times) on that and walked around the house a bit at times. It also helped that I had to do LOTS of laundry today. These “breaks” don’t need to be super long or anything like that. You just need to move every once and a while so your lymph system isn’t stagnating.
If you work somewhere that only allows you to get up and take a break once or twice, the 30-minute increment thing might not be ideal. However, you can easily rotate your ankles, neck, and shoulders a bit throughout your workday. And you can get up and stretch too. I know some people can be self-conscious about doing that, but it’s not like you’re taking your dumbbells and armbands to work. 😀
I’ll keep this section short and sweet. I ate a variation of this: Colossal Salad. Hopefully you’re starting to see a trend here. Healthy food, exercise, healthy food, exercise… One cannot be without the other if you want to maintain a healthy weight.
I continued to freelance write and edit as well as work on this article. The 30-minute movement increments (give or take) still applied.
Bob and I are big on incorporating greens into our meals—especially dinner. Typically, we like to sauté green beans, spinach, or broccoli with lean protein like chicken. That might sound bland, but spices, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil are what give the dish more of a distinct taste. For the veggies, I add garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt, dried parsley, dried oregano, paprika, and black ground pepper, along with a drizzle or two of extra virgin olive oil. As for the chicken, if we’re making chicken legs or thighs, we put garlic cloves under the skin. (We never eat the skin, by the way. But cooking it in the oven with the skin still intact ensures that the chicken comes out juicy and more flavorful.)
I ended up eating garlicky chicken legs with sautéed baby broccoli and a roasted golden potato. All of which were organic. The chicken was free-range.
Just so you know, my diet is *mostly* plant-based. There’s SO much conflicting research out there about meat and 100% plant-based diets that I make sure I don’t overdo the whole animal product thing. At the same time, I don’t want to take it out of my diet entirely. (I tried gradually doing that in the past and it didn’t work out that well for me. To each their own.) I only eat meat a few times week and the rest of my diet is full of fruits, vegetables, rice, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Am I a flawless health nut? Nope! On occasion, I enjoy a “clean” minimal ingredient chocolate bar or cookie… (I’m talking cookies made with rice flour, cinnamon, some kind of natural sweetener like honey or coconut sugar, almond extract, eggs, baking soda—nothing hard to pronounce a.k.a. unnatural preservatives).
Bob and I also happen to love Chipotle, so we eat that about twice a month. Luckily, this Mexican-inspired “fast food” joint has cleaned up their menu quite a bit by using rice bran oil instead of soy oil and organic cilantro instead of conventionally-grown, among other things. The high sodium levels are definitely still problematic, though. But with their nutrition calculator, you can pick and choose the best option that works for you (whether you’re on a paleo, gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, or low-sodium diet).
[Related Post: Is Sodium Bad for You? And How Much of It Can You Eat Per Day?]
You mean you can lead a consistently healthy lifestyle and still have time for… fun?! Absolutely! Whether it’s tapping into my creative side (I love writing poetry and drawing) or watching a favorite show on Netflix (“Friends” anyone?), I allow myself some time to wind down. All work and no play is certainly bad for one’s emotional health and I’d have to say all of our healths are interconnected. You may have heard that depression or stress puts a damper on your immune system. Needless to say, hobbies are a great thing to have in your life!
It’s wintertime now, so biking is out of the question. At least for a freeze baby such as myself. But I like to do about 30 minutes to an hour of bicycling once the weather cooperates.
If I feel slightly hungry throughout my leisure time, I grab a snack. Today’s snack was two hard-boiled eggs seasoned with an array of spices. I also munched on some raw almonds and seaweed chips. Some more healthy snackage I love: kale chips, dried fruit, grass-fed beef jerky, pink lady apples with crunchy almond butter… the list can go on and on, but all this food talk is making me hungry so I’m going to stop right there. 😉
Some More Exercise
I did 3 sets of 30 lying leg raises and the same amount of side leg raises and abdominal bicycles.
I also did some mild stretches and even incorporated some yoga. (I’m a big fan of The Tree Pose!) My favorite stretch is bending my one leg back and holding my foot behind me. I hold each position for about 30 seconds.
[Related Post: 8 Simple Yoga Poses for Newbie Yogis & Yoginis]
Lying Leg Raise
1. Place your hands under your glutes with your palms facing down, keeping your legs straight. I do this on a yoga mat.
2. Slowly raise your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold that position for one or two counts and then gradually lower your legs until they’re flat on the floor. If that’s too rough on you, you can bend your knees.
Side-Lying Leg Raise
1. Lie down on your side and extend the arm that’s touching the floor straight above your head and shoulder. At the same time, bend your other arm with your arm on your hip. Make sure your legs are both extended and stacked on top of each other.
2. Slowly raise your top leg as high as you can without straining yourself too much.
3. After a brief pause, simply return to the starting position.
1. Lie on your back with your head and shoulders raised off of the floor. Your hands should be placed behind your ears and your knees should be lifted up to your chest. Be sure to point your toes.
2. Twist the left side of your upper body while bringing your left elbow and right knee together at the same time. Then alternate to your right elbow and left knee.
Wrapping the Day up with Tea & Contemplation
Drinking tea is often a meditative experience for me. Sometimes, I literally sit down and meditate Zen-style, but tonight, I slowly sipped on some red chai tea (there is no caffeine in the rooibos/red variety) sweetened with a spoonful of raw honey. I then got ready for bed and read a bit. Exercise or eating should not be done RIGHT before bed. That’s why I give myself some time after both activities prior to getting my much-needed shut-eye.
[Related Post: The Thich Nhat Hanh Guide to Drinking Tea like a Zen Master]
So, there you have it! You now know what I’m usually doing each day, unless I’m out and about—in which case, I adjust my health routine accordingly.
Here’s a quick summary of my health routine:
1. Wake up & Drink Water
2. Exercise (Lifting)
3. Breakfast (Smoothie)
5. Lunch (Colossal Salad)
6. More Work (with 30-minute movement increments)
7. Dinner (Protein + Greens)
8. Leisure & Optional Snacking
9. More Exercise (Stretching & Light Exercise)
10. Tea and Relaxation
Anyway, I realize that what works for me as a woman in my late 20s, probably won’t be optimal for a male, let alone a woman in a different age group with different caloric needs.
Again, this is me merely sharing my personal experience as well as various techniques that have worked for me. The primary reason I shared this all with you is so you get to know me a little better, all while seeing that this healthy lifestyle in which Bob and I speak of is something that can be easily achieved. We don’t simply tell you to do things, we try them or at least rigorously research them ourselves before we hit that publish button.
And for the guys reading this, Bob put together an incredible workout routine that we highly recommend. Check it out here: Workout Regimen for Men: Best Gym Program for Fast Results.
What healthy activities do you incorporate into your life? Is there anything I do that you do similarly? I’d love to hear all about it, so please post a comment below. 🙂
1. Here’s What Sitting for Long Periods of Time Does to Your Body.
2. Sitting Is the New Smoking: Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle Is Killing You.
3. “Is Meat Healthy?” – Google Scholar
4. Chipotle Nutrition Calculator.
5. Stress, Depression, the Immune System, and Cancer.