Proven Ways To Jump Start Your Metabolism

Metabolism is like the frequently heard word these days. Health enthusiasts like it. Fitness coaches want you to speed it up. But how do you jump start your metabolism?

Start your day walking.

Walking at a moderate pace in the morning as soon as you wake up can prompt your body to start burning calories. And did you know moderate pace walking on empty stomach can burn fat? Aside from that, you can enjoy sunshine and get your daily dose of vitamin D.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

Throw the bagel in the bin, and just eat oatmeal and egg. Yes, you need energy in the morning, but don’t just get your calories from any food. That cinnamon roll packs a lot of calories, but it’s all carbs. A balanced diet in the morning helps fuel your day without adding unwanted calories.

Take the stairs.

You have no idea how great an exercise climbing the stairs is. If you’re working on the fourth floor, maybe you can take the stairs and skip the elevator. Climbing the stairs works some of your major muscles–glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Working these muscles boosts your metabolism.

Stand up and walk around each hour.

Working at your desk for 8 hours a day doesn’t have to mean sitting down all day. That’s a sure way to slow down your metabolism and prompt your body to store fat in the midsection. Chronic sitters tend to have belly fat. Belly fat is not good aesthetically and health-wise. Break your period sitting down by walking around for 5 minutes each hour.

Add sprints to your runs.

Running is a great fat burning activity, but your body adapts to your running pace, and soon your body becomes efficient in using up fuel for running. You can evade the dreaded plateau by adding short bursts of super intense sprints into your regular running routine. If you haven’t started running yet, then begin jogging and build your endurance for running. Then do sprints.

Lift weights.

Weight lifting is much more than a muscle building activity. People don’t just lift weights to look better. They do so to improve their fitness. Lifting weights builds stronger muscles. Bigger and stronger muscles are one key to better metabolism. The bigger your muscles, the faster your metabolism. So get to a gym and start building strength on compound workouts–bench press, dead lift, weighted squats, and lat pull downs. Lifting weights tears your muscle fibers. Repairing torn muscle fibers require energy. Thus, you keep burning calories after your workouts. Thus, your metabolism is raised after workout.

Do push-ups, chin-ups, and squats.

You can’t go to the gym? No problem. That’s not an excuse. You can work out with minimal equipment. All you need is a pull-up bar. But even a horizontal tree branch is good enough for chin-ups. You don’t need equipment for push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges. These bodyweight exercises build muscle and strength. Get stronger at these exercises, and watch your metabolism skyrocket.

Why You Should Eat Avocados Regularly

Avocado is one of the most nutritious fruits. That’s just the simple reason why you should have one daily, and it doesn’t matter whether you juice it or eat raw.

avocado

Did you know it controls your blood pressure?

Avocados are rich in potassium and magnesium. These minerals help lower your blood pressure. Compared with bananas, avocados are richer in these two micronutrients. If only people around the world ate more of this fruit, perhaps the cases of high blood pressure would plummet. But very few of them know they have the condition and very few of them know they can lower their blood pressure by eating a piece of avocado a day.

It promotes good brain health.

The natural compounds in avocado improve blood circulation, and good blood circulation is beneficial to all of your organs. But the brain benefits from it like no other organ in your body. The brain performs a complex set of processes, and it requires a good supply of oxygen and nutrients to carry out these processes. Avocados help slow down and even curb cognitive decline.

It reduces the risk of certain types of cancer.

Avocado may have been regarded as fatty, but much of the fat you find in this fruit is monounsaturated. That means you get a lot of good fat. One type of fat is the oleic fatty acid, which is known to prevent certain types of cancer. It is also rich in tocopherol, which halts the growth of prostate cancer cells. Avocado is rich in vitamin E too! Vitamin E blocks cancer generating agents.

It lowers your chances of getting eye defects.

Avocados contain a lot of carotenoids. Lutein, a carotenoid found in avocado, has been known to protect against eye disease. The tissues inside your eyes are quite delicate. Frequent exposure to radiation causes gradual deterioration of these tiny structures. Lutein helps slow down this deterioration, thus helping you preserve your clear vision longer.

It helps you manage your cholesterol.

This is the tricky part. Avocados are fatty. So you would expect that you’d get elevated levels of fat and cholesterol from consumption of avocados. But research has shown this isn’t the case. The good fat in avocado helps lower bad fat and bad cholesterol in your body. In addition, folate in avocado helps you avoid heart disease.

It helps you lose weight.

Avocado is rich in fiber, so there’s stuff in it that adds to the bulk of what you’re consuming without adding more calories. A regular piece of avocado has about 7 grams of fiber. Not only does fiber fill your stomach without introducing calories to your body but also does it help digestion and facilitate excretion of waste. Oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat in avocado, also helps make you feel full. This good fat makes you eat less.

Almond Milk vs Coconut Milk – Best Healthy Choice

You’re probably looking for an alternative to dairy milk if you’re lactose intolerant. Two of the most talked about alternatives are almond milk and coconut milk, and you might have come across people debating which one is better.

The Case for Almond Milk

Many people prefer almond milk to any dairy substitute. Taste is the major factor. They say it’s smooth and it tastes good. Almond milk is not a good source of protein though. It may have nutrients, like calcium and some vitamins, but these not inherent to almond milk and are only added to it during production. Some manufacturers add lecithin and thickening agents to their almond milk products to improve texture and consistency.

Almond milk is, of course, made of ground and toasted almonds. One of the best things about this dairy milk substitute is the low calories it packs. A cup contains only about 30 calories. Compare that with conventional milk, which more or less has 150 calories per cup. Plus most of the calories from almond milk comes from good fats.

Just like conventional milk, almond milk is easy to prepare. Blend it with water, hot or cold, and drink. Enjoy your low calorie drink. Those are some of its benefits.

What About Coconut Milk?

The coconut milk tastes, well, like coconut. It is a great choice nutrition-wise. Coconut is renowned for its medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid, which the body easily burns. MCTs have many health benefits. If you want the low-calorie version, just opt for the unsweetened coconut milk. Like almond milk, it’s also low in protein and calcium. So it’s not your alternative to dairy milk if you’re looking to add more protein and calcium into your diet.

Another gripe about coconut milk is that manufacturers have to add artificial flavors and thickeners to get that natural milk consistency and texture. That means you get more stuff in your drink than necessary.

You can make your own version that is devoid of unnecessary additives by blending a cup of dried coconut flakes in two cups of boiling water. Strain afterwards. Take note it’s still low in protein and calcium. And those are some of its benefits.

So which is better?

Before you think about buying dairy milk substitutes, consider the processing of these products. They are most likely over-processed with many unneeded additives–sugars, preservatives, and texture enhancers. Of course, the purpose is to make their shelf lives longer and mimic the consistency of natural milk.

However, manufacturers have also fortified milk products with vitamins and minerals, so you get more for every calorie of the product. Nevertheless, the substitutes still pale in comparison to dairy milk when it comes to protein and calcium.

Eventually, the battle becomes somewhat a stalemate. Neither almond milk nor coconut milk is actually better than the other. You get two contenders whose qualities are not up to par with the conventional. If you’re not lactose intolerant and if you don’t have problems drinking regular milk, continue doing so. If you’re lactose intolerant, just consider other sources of calcium, like kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, which are excellent sources of this mineral. You can always get your protein from lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and legumes.

Must-Have Fruits & Veg For Your Smoothies

There are different ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables. If you don’t want to eat them raw, you can have them in smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to consume nutrients and fiber without having to trouble yourself with messy kitchen preparations. Preparing them is a no-brainer. You’re wondering what fruits and vegetables to put into your blender for a nice smoothie?

Berries

Popular berries include blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. They are rich in antioxidants, which keep cholesterol and free radicals at bay. Antioxidants are the reason why a lot of health and wellness experts consider blueberries and strawberries as superfoods. They are also rich in vitamins A and C. Fiber, potassium, and magnesium are also some of the good stuff that you find in these fruits.

Bananas

You can combine bananas and blueberries in a simple smoothie recipe. Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium. Together with blueberries, you come up with a nutritious drink that you can drink anywhere–on the train to work or at the office. Banana smoothies are a great post-workout drink to replace lost potassium.

Pineapples and lemons

Citrus fruits are not only great to eat but also great to put into a blender for a delicious drink. Pineapples, oranges, and lemons are rich in vitamin C and minerals, which boost your immune system and help you burn fat.

Carrots

Orange vegetables, like carrots and pumpkins, are rich in iron and vitamin A. As much as possible, buy fresh produce, and stay away from canned pumpkin or squash. You are better off without the added stuff in these canned goods. Just make sure you rinse and peel them before you put them into your blender.

Spinach

Green vegetables are good news in the wellness department. You can’t go wrong with the green stuff. They are very rich in different vitamins and minerals. Think of spinach, kale, and cabbage. They have Vitamins A, C, and K. Plus they have iron and calcium. The downside is maybe the taste. So you may want to add citrus fruits when you’re juicing them up.

Ginger

Ginger makes a great smoothie on its own, or you can blend it with banana, carrot, or orange. It adds a different texture to your smoothie and spices it up. Not to mention, it has dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium. It’s low in calories too! Moreover, ginger has been lauded for a number of medicinal properties. It has anti-inflammatory properties, making it good for people with osteoarthritis. It also lowers the blood pressure and cholesterol.

Papaya

This is a popular tropical fruit. More than that, it’s loaded with nutrients. A hundred grams of papaya contains 101% of your daily requirement for vitamin C. It also has potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium. On top of that, it only has 43 calories! Papaya makes a cool smoothie on its own, but you can make dozens of smoothie recipes with it and other fruits, like banana and strawberries.

Mango

Mango is one of the most delicious fruits. It’s hard to miss out on this one. It’s not only rich in vitamin C. It’s also rich in vitamins A and B6. It has copper, magnesium, and potassium. A mango smoothie may just be what you need to lower your cholesterol, aid digestion, regulate diabetes, and prevent cancer.

High Fat Foods You Should Be Eating

high fat foodsFat has been a subject of many misconceptions. Many people think all fat is bad and should be avoided altogether. Contrary to what you might have heard, your body needs fat. Your tissues need fat. Absorption of certain nutrients is impossible without fat. Fat also cushions your internal organs. However, you need to get fat from the right sources.

Avocado

A piece of avocado contains roughly 30 grams of fat, two-thirds of which (20 grams) is monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is one of the best types of fat. It helps lower bad cholesterol and keeps belly fat at bay. It has great benefits for you.

Coconut

The fat in coconut does not result in plaques in arteries. That is contrary to what medical experts used to say about it. More than half of the lipid content of coconut oil is saturated fat, and that raised worries about its effects on the cardiovascular health. Latter studies, however, revealed that this saturated fat is lauric acid. The tricky thing about lauric acid is it raises good cholesterol levels. Good cholesterol is good news for your heart and arteries.

Almonds

All nuts are great sources of fat, but almonds are probably the best because of their low calorie content. An ounce of almonds has 14 grams of fat. More than two-thirds of it is monounsaturated. Another great choice is walnuts. Both almonds and walnuts make for great in-between snacks. You sprinkle them on your salads or baked chicken. Both are also great sources of omega-3 fat and protein. If you must help yourself to nuts, eat them raw, not roasted in oil.

Salmon

The best source of good fat is salmon. Aside from the fact that it is rich in protein, as other fishes are, it is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. More than half of the fat you find in salmon is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. On top of that, you get a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids. You don’t need to eat salmon every day. Two servings per week are good enough. If you don’t find salmon in the market, other options are tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, and sardines.

Olives

Your salad can benefit from olives, and you don’t need too many. Ten large olives give you 5 grams of fat, 70% of which is monounsaturated. That makes olives one of the best sources of monounsaturated fat. You don’t like olives? Pour in olive oil instead. Just a bit of olive oil is enough. Note that a tablespoon of it has 13 grams of fat. It’s very good fat though, the type that lowers blood cholesterol and LDL. In addition, studies show that olive oil aids in proper blood clotting, regulates insulin, and controls blood sugar. So trade your butter and margarine for olive oil.

Flax

You know you can always toss flaxseed into your salads and smoothies. A tablespoon of it has 4 grams of fat. One gram of that is monounsaturated, while another three is polyunsaturated.

Eggs

You didn’t think eggs would be part of the list. A large egg has 5 grams of fat with 2 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat. That is aside from the fact that eggs are rich in protein, B-complex, and choline. Your heart and brain will thank you.

Finding Motivation To Workout

I am really motivated to get healthy. Yet, I am having the hardest time motivating myself for exercise. I know that it sounds silly, but it is true. I mean, I know all about the benefits of exercise when trying to lose weight and get healthy. And I know that I can start out taking it slow, but man, just actually getting started is proving to be a real pain the ass for me.

I have been thinking a lot about this over the past few days. And my conclusions is that maybe I am going about this thing all wrong. You see, my apartment complex has a pretty nice gym that I can use for free. And it has good hours that make it available at pretty much any time that you’d want to use it – even on Sundays. The only problem is that the building with the gym is rather far from the building where I live. No big deal, right? Easy way to get in a walk before working out, right? Well, that is a great thought except it is freezing here and it actually snowed a few days ago!

basically, there is no freaking way that I want to be walking out in the snow and freezing cold to go workout for a half hour or so. And, that is the exact reason that I have been so not motivated to work out at all. I mean, who would want to go through that to get to the gym. And yeah, I could drive over to it like a wimp, but I don’t have a garage so my car would also be freezing cold. Pretty dumb, huh?

Well, once I realized that was the thing holding me back last night. I decided that I needed to come up with some type of solution, at least until the weather is a little better for me walking over there. So, after doing some looking around online, I realized that there are some things that I can actually do at home to get fit without actually needing to head over to the gym. I mean, sure, I could get a much better cardio workout if I could get over there and use some of the machines to really get my heart pumping. But, I can boost my heart rate a little bit right here in my own apartment. All I have to do is move around some of the furniture in the living room so that I have more space.

So, today, I will end my streak of telling myself that I will workout and not actually doing it. Instead, I will get my workout going on right here in my living room. Hopefully I don’t hurt myself! ;)

Are Your Weight Loss Goals Realistic?

Back when I was losing weight the first time around, I had one goal. Actually is was more like one focus as it wasn’t exactly a goal. Maybe it was really an unhealthy obsession now that I think about it. I wanted to get down to 120 pounds and be skinny. Think about it – what is that magical number that you always hear people talking being the most attractive or perfect weight for women? Yup, it is 120 pounds and that is why I wanted to reach that number on the scale.

Well, guess what folks? When you start out weighing over 200 pounds, it is damn hard to get down to 120 pounds. What’s more is that depending on things like your height, your muscle mass and even your genes makes how much weight that you can lose and even look healthy vary from one person to the next. In fact, some of us just are not designed to get down to 120 pounds. And I am one of those people, which is probably a good thing because it would not be a very healthy weight for me. Fortunately, this is something that I know now and will not be focusing on here in round two of my weight loss journey.

So, how does one come up with a healthy goal weight? Well, look at it like this. Plenty of doctor’s out there say that about 1 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy way to lose weight. Granted, those first few weeks of weight loss will likely see you drop a lot of pounds – the heavier you start out, then the more you will lose quickly at the beginning. But for the long haul, really aim for this one to two pounds per week as your max weight loss. If you notice that you are losing more than that and are well into your weight loss adventure, then make some adjustments so that you can be healthier with this thing.

You can read more on this here.

Getting Skinny, The Sequel

weight loss inspiration

Well, if you have been here before, then you might have noticed that this site looks a lot different from the way that it used to. You see, a few years ago, I set up this site as a way to track my progress with a weight loss goal of “getting skinny.” As you might have guessed, I ended up meeting my goal weight and getting right where I wanted to be on the scale.

I managed to stay that new Sara for quite some time. Then, gradually, the pounds started creeping back on. Honestly, I did not really notice it at first. Not for a while actually. It was not until my favorite pants got a bit too snug for comfort that I realized that there was a possibility that I was gaining weight. But, it was also close to time for my period so I tricked myself into thinking that was the culprit as I dug my “fat pants” out of the back of the closet. A size bigger and roomier than my fave pair.

I bet you already know what happened next. Before too long, my fat pants were fitting a bit snug and I convinced myself that I’d shrunk them in the dryer. Dug out another pair of my fat pants that fit and carried on. Long story short, I now at pretty much back where I started. I need to get in control of my weight and start seeing those scary numbers on the scale go down, down, down!

Basically, I have to do all the same work all over again. The cool thing is that I already know that this is a goal that I can achieve. That not so cool thing is that I have to do it all over again and I know that this is some hard work that I have ahead of me.

Well, here’s hoping that the sequel of this journey does not involve a follow-up version in a few years down the road! Now, it’s time to start melting away some pounds so I can get back in my fave skinny jeans!