Time For Me

As finals are approaching at school it is the perfect time to make sure my head is on straight so I can study hard through the end of the semester. With the holidays in progress, and Christmas time quickly approaching, I find this is a perfect time to relax and not think about anything.

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is watch holiday movies. Now, no matter what movies appeal to you, there are a wide variety of shows and movies to watch. I always find myself less stressed after I curl up on the couch with my dog and watch a movie. It makes it even better when my family members or friends join me for a movie night. To make this experience even better, I like to turn on the fire place and drink some sort of hot drink such as hot chocolate or hot tea.

When taking time out of my busy busy schedule to relax a bit there are some limitations I put on it though to keep my life balanced. Although I wish I could sit on the couch and watch my favorite movies and spend time with family and friends all the time, there are other things I need to attend to as well. I still attend swim practice every morning at 6a.m. so it is important for me to get to bed at a reasonable hour, in addition, I still have school-work that needs to be completed. In order to take time to relax, I make sure I am always ahead on my school-work so I do not fall behind. These two things are extremely important to do so I do not stress myself out again trying to play catch up.

This holiday season I encourage you to take time for yourself doing exactly what you love to do in order to relax. What ever catches your eye, you should make time in your busy schedule to relax. What do you do to relax and take time away from your busy schedule?

Image Credit: Google Images

Fish = great dinner!!

There are many healthy options for dinner. I am an extremely picky eater so sometimes it  can be hard to have a variety of meals for dinner. As I was growing up, fish was never an appealing choice for dinner. However this changed when one day I promised a friend of mine that I would try it.

There are many different ways you can cook fish. I have tried salmon and halibut so far and absolutely love them! There are many nutritional values to eating fish. One major one is it is a very lean choice to take for dinner. Fish is very low in fat which in my opinion is always a good choice. More importantly, fish tends to be low in saturated fat as well. In addition, it is very high in protein which is good for your body. Now when I cook my fish, I do not like to cook it in a lot of seasoning and sauces because then you take the chance of adding more unhealthy things to your dinner. I really like to cook it in freshly squeezed lemon juice. It is a wonderful way to add a little something extra to the fish.

I am not someone who can eat fish by itself. I have tried eating rice pilaf on the side but do not like consuming all of the carbohydrates and fat that are in the rice. So I found, the caesar salad recipe, that was in my previous blog, is a wonderful side to go with fish. This meal is a lot of work to cook since everything, including the caesar dressing, is made from scratch. I have found however, it is definitely worth it. I can always tell by how my body reacts to a meal if it was healthy or not. After I eat fish and salad I feel light and not too stuffed with food. It is a wonderful meal.

If fish does not sound appealing to you I still encourage you to try it! I am an extremely picky eater and enjoy this meal, however I still will not eat sushi. There are many different ways to cook fish. I encourage you to try different recipes and to not be defeated if you find one you do not like. Keep going!

What are some fish recipes you enjoy? I would love to hear them!

Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is commonly known as “Black Friday”. This is a day where shoppers start gathering their holiday presents and business put good deals out to try to attract customers to their store over another store.

Now, I do love shopping, especially holiday shopping, but in my mind there is something more important to start my Black Friday. Every year, I start my black Friday off with a workout. Thanksgiving food tends to be filling and many people tend to eat more on Thanksgiving than they normally eat. It is important to stay on your workout schedule and not get off track because that could ultimately lead to many days of not going to the gym or doing some sort of workout.

I always say my workout does not need to be the most grueling and hardest workout I have ever done. I think getting out and moving around will start your day off on the right foot. Even if you are a shopper who loves going to the stores when the mall opens at 4 o’clock in the morning, walking from store to store could be the way to start your workout. After getting home from those early shopping hours, a small run or bike ride or even a power walk will finish your workout off.

No matter what your original workout schedule is, it is important to not take time to continue this schedule. Many people think the holidays are time to ignore all the progress you have made, but I see them as times to get ahead and make you a stronger person as you push through them. There are many post-Thanksgiving workouts you can find on the Internet just by using a search engine.

What do you like to do for post-Thanksgiving workouts?

Image Credit: Google Images

Stressful but Relaxing Times

With the holidays around the corner many people are starting to scramble in order to get their family or holiday dinners ready. In addition, people have started buying presents in order to “get ahead of the game”. I found myself thinking the other day, why do people stress so much when this is supposed to be an exciting relaxing time. I came to this conclusion; in my personal life, I find myself stressing because my workload at school has increased dramatically the week before Thanksgiving. It seemed like every teacher assigned something to my classes. I’m sure this was planned with the best intentions, to get the work done now so you can enjoy the holiday. I am also sure I will really appreciate this in the long run when finals come around and all my work is finished, but boy! What  a week it has been!

After finishing my last swim practice before being released to go home, I still had a project to finish and a presentation to give. In addition, I have one last class to attend. It seems like it has been non-stop this week with very little sleep. So what am I doing to make sure I will maximize my “down time” for this short holiday weekend? I am going to make sure I do four things (at the least):

  1. Focus on what the holiday is meant for. I have realized this is a time to be with friends, family, and loved ones to give thanks. I am extremely blessed and need to remember that.
  2. Plan my school work. I have decided to not do ANY school work tomorrow (Thanksgiving) and to take the day just to relax and have fun. I have set aside today and Friday for school work and any stressful things I might need to take care of. I strongly recommend setting aside days to do your “chores” that way you know you will do them and you can enjoy the holiday.
  3. Work-Out: Working out has shown to be a stress reliever. In addition, this is the time of year people tend to gain their “holiday weight”. It is really important to maintain your health through out the holidays. Plus, working out makes you feel better about yourself which corresponds to a healthy life, in my opinion.
  4. Do something for me: With my busy schedule between swimming and school I have found it hard to find time for me. This is a perfect opportunity for me to do to this. I have not decided whether I am going to take myself shopping (something I really enjoy) or go get my nails done. What ever you choose to do, make sure it is something you enjoy and take advantage of your time!!

Holidays can be extremely stressful between families coming together, getting everything done in time, and personal obligations. It is important to take sometime to relax. Relaxing means different things for each person, but make sure you take the time to do what ever you need to do to let go of some of that holiday stress! Here are some tips to having a stress free holiday season!

What are some things you do to get rid of holiday stress? Happy Thanksgiving!

Image Credit: Google Images

Eating Out

It is a common thought that in order to eat healthy, you must eat at home. Many people believe that eating out is extremely unhealthy. I do think making your food at home is always the number one choice because you can see what is going into you food but on the other hand I think sometimes we have no choice.

For me, it is difficult to eat at home always. Being a member of the swimming and diving team requires a lot of travel. Sometimes, when we are just gone for the day, I like to pack lunches and bring snacks with me to eat rather than eating out. But other times, the trip is extremely fast paced or longer than a day, which makes it difficult to bring food. In addition, I do enjoy eating out sometimes as well.

A common place we tend to eat a lot when traveling is Subway. We all are familiar with Jared from the Subway commercials. Subway is known for serving “healthier” food. However, they also promote their $5.00 foot long which is a HUGE sandwich. Many times though the toppings you add on top of the sandwiches can be killer. I am a very picky eater which causes me to only get meat and bread when I eat there. When eating, I usually tend to get the $5.00 foot long. I eat half or even a fourth of the sandwich and save the rest for dinner. In addition, I try to sub chips for apple pieces they now offer. This can save you a lot of fat and extra calories that you do not need to be consuming.

On the last travel meet we went to, our coaches had Panera delivered to the pool for dinner. This is also a wonderful choice. Their food is delicious, its easy because they deliver, and it is usually quick. However, they serve A LOT of carbohydrates. There is always a healthier choice. Today I ordered a basic salad with chicken on top. I put the dressing on the side to make sure I was not adding to many calories. In addition, they gave me a small slice of bread which was wonderful because it satisfied my carb intake.

Many times, we order our food ahead of time so the team does not need to boggle down the restaurant with all of our orders. This gives me time to look online to see exactly how healthy I am being. Many websites have the nutritional information in an easy spot to access. Panera even has a nutrition calculator so you know exactly what you are consuming (hyperlinks above). Eating out is not the healthiest choice, but if you do have to eat out, there are ways to make sure you are still keeping your healthy habits up so you can keep improving your healthy lifestyle!

What do you do when you are out to make sure you are eating healthy?

Photo Credits: Google Images

Caesar Salad Recipe

There are many healthier dinners I enjoy. One of my favorite is a homemade caesar salad. It is easy to make the dressing, does not take a long time, and extremely delicious! I hope you will consider trying it!

First the ingredients you will need are:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I use lemons I squeeze but you can use lemon juice from a bottle as well)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed (I love garlic so usually I use a bit more than this, try what works for you)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste or 4 flat anchovies
  • 1 tsp capers (I do not use these)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium head romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Croutons
    Next, now that you have your ingredients, you can start making the salad dressing

Step 1: The first step is to coddle the egg. You only want to do this for 45 seconds to one minute. Then cool the egg. NOTE: Make sure the egg is completely cool before you mix it with the other ingredients.

Step 2: Next you want to start mixing the ingredients. For this a wood bowl is preferred, this makes it easier to crush the garlic and other ingredients together. If you do not have a wood bowl that is okay. Mix together Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper, anchovy, mustard and capers into bowl. When egg is completely cooled, crack into mixture. Mix until smooth.

Step 3: Slowly add in oil, in a steady stream while constantly whisking, until smooth.

 

Step 4: Add lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and croutons.

Step 5: Serve and enjoy. To make the dish more presentable, I like to coat the plate with fresh lemon juice and ground pepper on the plate before serving the salad.

 

 

This salad is delicious! Let me know what you think! Are there any other caesar recipes you enjoy?

 

Operation Beautiful

I have discussed before how influencing the people around you is important to a healthy lifestyle. If someone is having a bad day you might be the person that turns that around with one nice gesture. In return, when you are having a bad day there might be one person who makes it better. That person might be someone you are close to or even sometimes, a complete stranger.

The other day I was Googling blogs about healthy living when I came across one website that really caught my eye. This website was called “Operation Beautiful“. After reading up on it I discovered it is a website that has the intention of trying to build people’s self esteem. Their slogan is, “transforming the way you see yourself, one post it note at a time”. The way they are trying to make a difference is by having people write on post its, encouraging notes that will make someones day better. These post its are left in public, usually in bathrooms, for others to read. There are a wide variety of notes posted, from simple ones that comment on how beautiful you are, to ones that encourage success.

Once these notes are posted, pictures are taken of these notes and uploaded to the Operation Beautiful website. On the website you can find thousands of pictures from all over the country and world of inspiring notes people have left. After reading this website, it clicked. I have seen these around the university I attend. They are always in the bathrooms and every time I see them they make me smile and want to do the same for others. It had dawned on me that people around you can really boost your self esteem and influence your life. They can make your life a healthier one with just one small note on a post it.

I have found that self esteem is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle. You cannot truly be confident in who you are unless you have high self esteem. In addition, by leaving small notes that are meant to benefit the people around you, you improve your life as well and make it healthier. You cannot write something to benefit others unless you believe it as well. This website made a huge difference in my day when I read it. The next day I found myself leaving post its for others to enjoy. It is a really neat idea. If you have some post its, leave a message. Improve your life as well as others. Start living your healthy life TODAY!

Please check this website out, it’s wonderful.

What do you think, have you ever participated in “operation beautiful”?

Photo Credits: http://www.operationbeautiful.com

Push Yourself

This week I have talked about body image in the mirror and exercising. As said before, body image is a crucial part of ones life. Although we all don’t like to see it, we tend to be concerned with how we look in public and find small flaws that no one else notices. In addition, I discusses the challenges of working out. Working out is and important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but can include many different challenges that can we can easily overcome if we approach them correctly.

Eating right and working out is an extremely important part of living a healthy lifestyle.  I cannot stress that point enough. However it is not just the physical demands that go into exercising. There are many mental demands as well. If you do not think you can push yourself through an intense workout, you probably will not end up doing it. Believing in yourself is crucial whether it is believing you can push yourself through a work out, or eating right, or making decisions that will help you live your life. If you do not believe you can do things, you will be defeated before you even start.

For this blog, I am going to use working out as an example. When I work out I find myself in lots of pain. There are so many temptations such as stopping the pain, leaving the gym, or even the fact no one will get mad, that I have to resist when working out. I have found that when I overcome these temptations I am more pleased with myself, I know I made the right choice, and my choices in the future are influenced in a positive way as well. In this experience I have been going through, trying to change my life so it is as healthy in every way possible, I have found believing in yourself is important. When you believe in yourself you will tend to make more choices that will have a positive influence on your life. You will be more pleased and happy with the life you live which will make it extremely healthy.

What do you think? Does positivity and pushing yourself help you live a healthy lifestyle?

Check out my blog next week! I will be focusing on healthy recipes I have found and love to make!

Image Credit: Google Images

Home Exercise

I have found that working out is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. Currently, swimming is my main form of exercising by swimming 20 hours a week (usually four hours a day about). However, when I retire after this current season I will need to find another form of exercising. Over the summer, I joined a running group that I really enjoyed. In addition, I love going to the gym, using the stationary bike, running on the treadmill, and lifting weights.

Although going to the gym is a wonderful way to work out, there are always the days it is hard to leave the house and to motivate yourself. These, in my opinion, are the days that are the most important to push yourself. To push myself through these days, I have found exercises I can do around my house that are just as good, if not better, than what I can do at the gym. Some of these include running around my neighborhood, going on long walks with my dog, and my favorite riding my bike around town. In addition, I have an app on my phone called Nike Training.

Nike training is an app that has many different workouts with multiple time frames. They have different goals you can choose from such as; get lean, get toned, get strong, and get focused. These include multiple varieties of exercises, some needing weights and others using cardio exercises to target certain areas. This app does a wonderful job of providing exercises for people of all athletic abilities.

Another way I like to find at home exercises is through the internet. There are many different websites you can find exercises on. It is really easy to find exercises for different circumstances you find yourself in. If you don’t have equipment to use such as weights, they have exercises for that. If you do not have work out benches, they have exercises you can do with a chair. There are no excuses not to work out. Someone once told me, a one hour exercise is 4% of your day. Many can find the time to give up 4% of their day.

Working out is extremely important. It is really easy to say “I am too busy today, I can’t”. These are the days that are most important to work through. There are many different exercises plans available through technology such as apps and the Internet. In order to live a healthy life, you need to keep your body healthy.

What do you do to stay healthy at home by working out?

Image Credit: Google Images

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear…

We all have done it. We all sit and look at ourselves in the mirror and find all of the smallest most minute flaws about our bodies. I know I have done this many times and have made myself so aware of the things I don’t like that it was hard to focus on what I did like. Whether this takes place at home or even in a gym, mirrors tend to influence people’s feelings about themselves.

In the society we live in today, it is common thought that more attractive people have more friends and get more attention. In addition, it is thought that the more compliments you get on your appearance, the more confidence you have when you are walking around in public. I have seen myself go up and down on my body image and it is not fun. It was impacting how I lived my life and what I wore. It was impacting the person I was because I was so unhappy. One day I realized I need to do what I think is best for me. I started focusing more on what I did like about myself instead of the things I did not like. I stopped weighing myself (and still to this day do not ever weigh myself). I believe a scale can have a huge impact on your confidence. I started wearing clothes I loved and joined a running group with my friends, because I wanted to. Doing all of these things made me more confident than ever in my body image which in turn made me happier and more content with who I am.

Many sources say gaining weight can be caused by more than eating unhealthy. It can be caused by lack of sleep or stress. There are many other reasons why people fluctuate in their weight.  Based off my experience, there are many different reasons why I was gaining weight. So today when people comment on my appearance and ask what I do to stay healthy. I say I live a healthy life. I eliminate scales, I eliminate stress, I eliminate focusing on negative things that happen during my days and I start living in the now. I focus on what I need to do for me to be happy and because of this it is easy for me to stay happy.

So I encourage you to get up, make changes in your life that are for the better. Changes that eliminate stress and make you happy. Do some form of exercise that you love, whether it is by yourself or with friends around you. Look for good recipes to try, on the Internet and in cookbooks. I truly believe this will balance your life more and happiness will be present on a daily basis. What do you think?

Check back with my blog for more healthy recipes to come!!

Image Credit: Google Images