Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Integrating Healthy Inspiration into your Online Life

For many of us, social media is a way to get away from things we should be doing. In the context of exercise, it's much easier to spend your free time at the computer instead of going for a run. But, social media can be used as a tool to get you inspired and informed. Here's a few tips to using social media to your advantage:

"Like" some health & fitness companies and organizations on Facebook. As you sit and idly scroll through your news feed to see what nonsense your friends are posting, you could find yourself coming across healthy recipes or inspirational exercise photos that are frequently posted by many health & fitness pages. It might just be enough to get you out of your computer chair. Some good pages to "Like" are Greatist, Everyday Health, and MindBodyGreen.

Start a health blog! There's nothing more motivating than being able to share your positive experiences. Keeping a blog about your health and fitness goals and progress can help keep you on track and give you something to be proud of. Tumblr is a good blogging site that has a whole community of health bloggers known as "fitblrs." With the ability to follow other blogs, you'll have an endless supply of ideas and inspiration at your fingertips.

Do as much research as you can. An enjoyable and rewarding way to pass the time while sitting at the computer is to try and discover new health & fitness resources. You'd be surprised how many sites are out there that are dedicated to catering to a healthy audience. There are even social media platforms designed as communities for fitness enthusiasts (Try Fitocracy, for example). Finding new things is a great way to stay motivated and inspired.

Go ahead and try out these tips. Let me know what you find! Also, if you're not at all inspired by what you find, let me know why!

Monday, October 22, 2012

"You don't need to be on a diet..."

Things ignorant people do not understand about my decision to be healthy:

I do not think I am overweight. More importantly, not all diets are designed for weight loss. Yes, I initially wanted to lose weight, but what I was more concerned with was my percent of body fat. Cutting out unhealthy foods meant that I wouldn’t be consuming the unhealthy sugars and carbs that contribute to belly fat, so the weight loss is an indication that I am sticking to my healthy eating habits.
Eating healthy boosts my immune system. Before making the commitment to be healthier, I had an awful immune system. I had initially blamed it on other factors (lack of sleep, genetics, etc.). However, what was really to blame was my poor nutrition and exercise habits. While I used to get very ill at least three times a year, I have not had a fever or bad cold in almost a year.
My digestive system greatly benefits. I am not ashamed to say that I have struggled with poor digestion since I was very young. Again, it was something I blamed on genetics, and I thought that since it was a lifetime issue, there was nothing I’d be able to do about it. It really got in the way of my daily life, and it was something that was constantly on my mind. Only about a month into eating healthy, my digestion was almost normal, and I couldn’t believe it. I resolved an issue I’ve been having for 20 years just by changing my eating habits.
My work habits have increased. I’ve always been the worst procrastinator when it comes to school work. I’d push everything to the last minute, get really stressed out, and then when I sat down to actually do the work I could not focus on it at all. Since becoming healthier, that has changed. I’m more motivated, have the necessary energy to get stuff done, and I can focus much better. Best of all, I am a lot less likely to stress out. 
I am 10x happier. If this isn’t a good enough reason to be healthy, I don’t know what else to tell you. Not only do the positive changes in my body and daily routine make me happy, but eating healthy foods directly effects the chemicals in the brain that influence mood. When you eat unhealthy foods consistently and dont get proper nutrients, you create an imbalance that contributes to mood swings and depression. Not only that, but feeling healthy increases confidence and motivation. You need to feel good about yourself in mind, body, and spirit before you can truly be happy. For me, being healthy and active does that. 

One thing is for certain: You won’t understand the innumerable benefits to eating healthy until you actually try it. So try it. Even after a week, you’ll start to notice the differences. And don’t let anyone tell you that it’s pointless.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 Health & Fitness Resources I Love

By now we all know I spend a bulk of my time being nerdy when it comes to health & fitness, that is to say while other people are reading tabloids, I'm scrolling eagerly through the Health section of Mashable. Needless to say, the collection of sites I've bookmarked is staggering. Here are a few of my favorites:


1. Greatist

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  This website is perfect for everyone. Split into three main sections--fitness, nutrition, and happiness--these articles are written in a way that is informative, easy to read, and funny. Their ability to cater to a large audience really drives home the importance of remaining healthy in all aspects of life. Whether you're trying to make a few healthy choices here and there, or you're going all-out Health Guru, Greatist is absolutely worth checking out. Oh and before I forget... #imagreatist. Don't worry, you'll get it.


2. PaleOMG

Run by the hilarious and amazingly athletic Juli Bauer, this blog is your go-to spot for Paleo recipes. Not on a paleolithic diet? Don't worry, me either. I am, however, gluten-free, and that's a major component of the Paleo diet. Gluten-free or not, these recipes are amazing. I promise, you won't even know that you're eating healthy. Not to mention, Juli is hilarious. I can't even get through a recipe without cracking a smile at her random anecdotes and sarcastic remarks. As a matter of fact, I'm reading a post about Pumpkin Pie Bars right now, laughing and drooling all at the same time. Check it out!


3. Fitsugar

This site has a category for everything. From beginner fitness tips to vegan recipes to even celebrity weight loss, you'll always find yourself learning something new. Best of all, they have many articles geared towards those leading a busy lifestyle, who maybe doesn't have a lot of time to change their habits or incorporate a new diet. For example, an article published today:  3 Mantras to Make your Commute a Meditation. Take a little tour and explore all the different categories. It'll keep you busy for hours. Makes for a great Friday night! Well... maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thryve - A new way to track meals

A new app, Thrive, for iPhone was released this week under the Health & Fitness category. While it may seem Thryve is much like some apps that were released before, this app has a different feel and a different purpose than others. Focusing primarily on food logging, Thryve allows the user to track the foods they eat, however, what makes this app different is that the purpose is to not count calories but rather to track your meals and how they make you feel. Having a digestive system as frustrating as mine, I was thrilled about this app and downloaded it right away. 

Right off the bat, I loved the look and feel of the app. After taking a picture of the salad I had for lunch, the app asked me to input the ingredients of my salad. What is usually a tedious process in other apps took me only about 30 seconds. Then, it asked me how big of a portion my meal was. Finally, it showed me a breakdown of the different types of food I was eating and gave me a score based on my balance of foods. Later, it will ask me to record how I feel. I then pulled up my graph for today to see the breakdown of my food for today, which will adjust with each meal. Even more impressive is suggestions of what to eat more of today, which in my case is fruit and protein. Below are a couple screen shots that I took.





Monday, October 1, 2012

Gluten.0

About a year ago I went gluten-free because of some stomach problems I've been having since I was young. To my surprise, this actually solved the problem. I had initially started reading about the benefits of going gluten free and the symptoms of a gluten intolerance via one of the health websites that I follow. Ever since, the internet has been my main resource for maintaining this diet, which can be insanely difficult while at school. Because of my gluten intolerance, I can't eat almost 80% of what is served here. Luckily, I follow many websites that not only keep me informed on better ways to eat healthy and gluten free, but also keep me motivated. Some of the websites I follow are PaleOMG, Nom Nom Paleo, and PaleoAtCollege.