Friday, July 31, 2009

Slackin' but not for long!

Wow, July 31st and the first time I'm touching this blog for a month; heh, alas -- been a bit busy with my other half's events lately. But I'm still holding steadfast to regularly exercising (though at a somewhat reduced frequency of 4-5 days/week instead of usual 6-7) and eating healthfully whenever possible (i.e. not going out with a bunch of foodbloggers!)

Anyways, hope to get back into fitblogging groove soon but in the meantime, here's some great reads as motivation to keep on moving!

- Mayo Clinic's 7 benefits of regular exercise - from better sleep to mood enhancement and even putting in that extra spark under the sheets.

- LA Times goes even more specific, citing studies and experts on exercise and its effect in preventing (or reducing severity) of various chronic conditions, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes and even mental sharpness.

See? It's not just about looking good (though that's a great perk too), you'll feel and live better too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Equipment Highlight: Resistance Bands

Image courtesy of Stuart.Robbins via flickr

The resistance band is one of my favorite exercise equipment for when I'm traveling and on-the-go. Cheap, lightweight and portable, they definitely easier to shlep around than dumbbells and can provide a decent strength-toning workout. And it's definitely reassuring to know that there's one in my baggage, so I won't feel stressed looking for a gym out-of-town (that charges a fair price) and I feel less compelled to "slack off" during vacations.

They're great for home workouts too, since I can exert as much (or little) force as I want -- some days I might want to test my other strength to the max while other times I just want to do some easier moves for toning and adjustments, or to give my cardio workouts a little extra oompf.

So something to keep in mind when you're traveling next time or just looking for a light-to-moderate toning workout. For some nice basic moves you can do with the bands, check this out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A little slowdown . . .

Heh, not even two months in and I'm already slacking on my blogposts already. But likewise, my exercise habits have waned considerably too. I haven't completely fallen off the workout wagon, but I've been reducing the frequency and intensity of my exercises as of late - partly due to busy schedules, partly due to general tiredness from aforementioned schedule, and partly just because I felt lazy.

Nonetheless, I'm still managing 3-4 days a week with 30-60 minutes a session, and I don't feel too bad about it since I'm still getting some activity in while acknowledging some mental/physical limits at the moment, but I eagerly anticipate getting back into my regular groove and regimen soon when things calm down a little.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Keep a Tally!

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

Oddly enough, when I got the foodblogging bug, I actually lost weight and kept it off! In hindsight, it shouldn't be a huge shocker, since I've been doing a better job taking notes and keeping track of what I eat. And of course, even less of a surprise that most sensible diet plans do strongly encourage (if not outright mandate) participants to keep a food diary of sorts.

Of course, there are those who insist they keep a good tally of what they ate "in their heads." But, time and again, studies show the human memory to be fickle, unreliable and malleable -- and these are studies on life-and-death situations of violent crimes and murder trials, let alone the everyday mundane going-ons of "what did you have for lunch two days ago?" (Come on, can you really tell me off the top of your head?)

I'll even take it one step further and say that, in terms of food, people tend to be selectively forgetful -- subconsciously burying recent splurgy meals, indulgent snacks and satisfying a craving while "remembering" how good they've been this past week.

I'm not saying you need to scrutinize and catalog every single calorie that passes through your lips (I sure don't,) but at least keep a fairly accurate record of what you are eating -- the more info you can include (portion sizes, calorie counts, other relevant nutrition data) the better.

And with so many free services out there, it's never been easier to spend a minute to jot down what you ate. You can set up a twitter/tumblr/blog account to text into (even make it private if you don't want it to be publicly known), do it the old-fashioned way like I do with a pen and notebook, or even just save your receipts when you're eating out, which is when one's most likely to splurge anyways (it's great way to keep your budget in check too.)

Finally, do a review every now and then and see if you've made progress or if there's room for improvement in your dietary habits. Then make those gradual changes and you'll feel and look better before you know it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half-Marathon

Even though I was training for the L.A. marathon, various factors threw me off my schedule, combined with the expected late May heat I decided it's probably not the best first marathon for me to run (despite my intention of wanting to run my first 26+ miles while I'm still 26.) Oh well, here's to this year's Long Beach Marathon or early next year's Pasadena Marathon, I suppose. Hope LA 2010 will be scheduled earlier.

But I didn't let this beautiful day go to waste, and I signed myself up for the Laguna Hills 1/2 marathon (second time I've done this one.) Since it's so close to the coast and I don't have to worry about mid-morning heat since I'll be done by then, I wasn't as concerned with being dehydrated or overheated.

I didn't set a new PR (came just a minute or two over two hours, compared to my 1:51 last year) but I'm satisfied with the results, especially considering my training setbacks. Even happier that this year around I didn't get any cramps and soreness following the race.

And I think this particular event will be an annual one for me, I absolutely love the trail (great scenery of Laguna Woods and the parks of Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills and Aliso Viejo), the aid stations are appropriately spaced at about 1.5 miles each, the finish-line festival is one of the better ones out there (good vendors, nice freebies, NOT overpacked with peeps) and I love the technical shirt since it's something I'd actually wear working out, or even casually (it only has a small chest logo of the marathon, so I don't feel like a walking advertisement.)

Next time I may even partake in the beer garden celebration at BJs ($10 for two beers and passed appetizers... not a bad deal.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Balancing Your Plate

Bao Plate Angle 2
Even if waffly on taste, Take a Bao definitely got the balanced plate down with half a plate stacked high with a lightly-dressed veggie salad (not to mention more inside the baos themselves!)

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

For me, Memorial Day weekend is definitely the kick-off for summer, which brings with it plenty of barbecues, parties and potlucks that'll inevitably turn into eating too much. Again, once in a while isn't bad, but if you're heading to family-style, help-yourself, all-you-can-eat events with some frequency, it's definitely a good idea to keep the calorie intake in check. Hey, we all work hard for to shed those holiday pounds and get that swimsuit-ready bod, let's keep it that way!

One useful tip that I read from Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating (amazingly interesting book, by the way, on the psychological aspects and influences on what and how much we consume) is the "half-plate rule" where, when helping yourself, you fill half the plate with low-calorie, healthful fruits and veggies and use the other half for the more calorie-dense proteins, grains and starchy veggies (e.g. corn, potatoes.) Personally, I'd even take it one level further and fill up two-thirds of your plate with the healthy stuff and splurge on the remaining third, but 50-50 is still great progress for someone used to zero healthy stuff on the plate.

The benefits of the balanced plate rule are threefold: 1) it helps reacquaint/familiarize/remind one with the idea of the balanced meal, which should ideally be at least 50% non-starchy plant-based foods anyways 2) it fills up without weighing down as much because less calories are consumed overall and most importantly, 3) it's NOT depriving since it still allows one the freedom to pick whatever he or she wants, it's simply balancing it out so one don't overdip into one or two food categories at the negligence of all the others. You still get to celebrate with your favorite festive foods, but you're just doing it more sensibly.

So, at that next bash, keep the balanced plate rule in mind (again: one-half to two-thirds of the plate with healthy veggies and fruits) and you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty the next day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Slow Down and Savor

Soft Shell Crab
Jitlada's super-spicy (but tasty) fried soft-shelled crab will surely slow any diner's eating pace!

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

In a world of never-long-enough lunch breaks, quick-to-eat fast foods and eateries that can't wait to turn the table, it's all too easy for us to overeat, since it typically takes the stomach 20 minutes to send satiety/fullness signals to your brain to say, "enough food already!" But in a world where a meal can be finished a mere few minutes, by the time we get those signals we'd already have too much food from the sides, the appetizers, desserts and/or bread basket. And then comes that unpleasant bloated/food coma feeling, followed by the even worse thought of those extra pounds gained.

Of course, the obvious solution is to "slow down your eating!" but if you're anything like me, you've spent years honing down habit of wolfing things down in haste (and even nowadays, I tend to be one of the faster eaters in my group of friends.) But here's a few tricks I have to help me slow down the rate and give my stomach time to catch-up and send the appropriate satiety signals.

- Have a soup or salad beforehand (of course, opt for the lighter varieties like broth-based soups and vinegary dressings); because of their water content, they fill up your stomach space w/o piling on the calories.

- Have it hot (temperature and/or spicywise) both are great limiting factors to how quickly you can consume the food!

- Learn savor/enjoy/analyze your food (a la French Women Don't Get Fat); likely one reason why I started getting thinner AFTER I took on my foodblogging habit, between me evaluating what makes a particular dish so good/bad, jotting notes and taking photos, that's a lot of lag time for the food to settle in and the stomach to tell my brain it's full!

- Drink water (or any low-calorie beverage) between bites.

- For similar reasons, distract yourself while eating; engross in conversation with friends during meals, or if dining solo, bring a book / magazine to read or even sit at the bar and mingle with the bartender.

- and with buffets, take the smaller plate and sit at a table as far away from buffet as possible -- again maximizing the lagtime as you walk to and from helping yourself (not to mention squeezing in just a little more activity.)

- if possible, use smaller utensils; teaspoon instead of the soup spoon or salad fork instead of dinner fork, so it takes more time to finish a dish.

Got any tricks that work for you in terms of slowing down your eating pace? Would love to hear about it.
And of course, stop when you feel full; doggy-bag or leave the rest. To those who think it's wasteful to just "throw away" food, let me re-frame it: a few dollars in wasted food/drinks, or a few wasted thousands (even millions) of dollars in medications, surgeries, devices and care for all the obesity-linked ailments?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Overwhelmed By Workout Length? Then Break It Up!

If your face is bawling at the recommendations of 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise to lose weight, stay healthy and maintain fitness, you're not alone -- I was right there too, especially a few years ago when I began exercising. And one of the best things I did to make it more manageable was breaking it up into shorter segments. Sometimes it'll be 20 minutes in morning, 30 minutes after work -- or maybe three 15 segments throughout the day, and if I'm feeling particularly energetic I'll do the whole 60-90 minutes in one go.

And I always try to squeeze in at least a little in the morning soon after waking up, since I would've already felt like I made progress and will more likely continue to make healthful choices throughout the day.

Some people may feel better with a single continuous long routine and just get it over with in one fell swoop, I'd rather do it in two or three segments that's more manageable and not so overwhelming ("OMG, I got an HOUR of running PLUS strength training?") And breaking it up makes it easier to work around my schedule. And before I knew it, those daunting exercises became habit and I could do longer routines with less effort because I am becoming more fit. But when pressed for time, I still fall back on those multiple short segments. It's definitely better than not being able to exercise because I can't carve an hour out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Liquid Calories

Wine Matching
The multiple whammies of alcoholic drinks

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

When trying to attain or maintain a healthy weight, be sure to keep an eye on what you drink as well as what you eat. Obviously, this include the likes of sugar- and calorie-laden sodas and fat-loaded milkshakes, but even healthy-sounding beverages such as fruit juices and sweetened teas can pack quite a wallop too. But for me, the biggest whammy would be alcoholic beverages, not only for the calories they contain, but because they also lower inhibitions and raise hunger, so I'm more likely to make unhealthy food choices and get more drinks.

Obviously, the healthy beverage of choice would be water, but hey, we all want flavor when quenching our thirsts from time-to-time, so here's some low- and no-calorie drinks that I enjoy.

- Black coffee: I didn't make the jump from sweetened lattes to these right away, but I did gradually reduced the dairy and sugars until it's OK to enjoy them plain. If you have trouble with the astringency, acidity or bitterness, try brewing with less beans or pick smoother varietals/blends.

- "Naked" teas: for same reason with coffee; again, if the teas are too harsh, use less leaves or opt for mellower kinds (e.g. green/white teas)

- Juice spritzers: mix one part juice with one part still/sparkling water for a beverage with half the calories! Not to mention more refreshing and not so saccharinely sweet.

- and, if you must, artifically-sweetened soft drinks: even neglecting all the health controversies associated with them, generally they taste "off" compared to the real deal made with sugar, and I'd much rather drink a sugar-sweetened beverage occasionally than regularly quenching my thirst with a "diet" drink. But, if you find it hard to shake the can or bottle-a-day ritual and don't mind the diet taste, it's a good transition to other healthier choices.

In regards to the alchy, one tip that's particularly useful is to order your drink with or after the meal, which reduces the opportunities you have to get unhealthy foods. And of course, like soft drinks, beverages that are sweeter and creamier will have more calories. And of course, be sure to drink plenty of water as well to offset alcohol's dehydrating effects.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wise-Up To Fitness (WTF): Overheated and Underhydrated

Even though I do a good deal of homework and reading on eating and exercising right, I ain't a registered dietician or a certified personal trainer, so sometimes I wound up learning things the hard way, my Wise-Up To Fitness (WTF) posts are exactly that - and I'm sharing them with you so you can avoid the agony I've been through. Got any of your own to share? Feel free to let me know.

Wednesdays are my usual run days, and yesterday I felt energetic and hyped up throughout the day, so I thought I could do an eight-mile outdoor run right after work.

What an effing idiotic idea as hit the bleepin' wall at 3.5 miles (and that's if you count the half mile that I begrudgingly walked to the store to get me some much needed beverage) -- between the fairly full blast of sun at 5-something p.m., the ninety-plus degree temperature, and my lack of water (asides from my usual ~32 oz. before the run), I was exhausted, dehydrated and overheated!

Which goes to show, do hydrate and adjust your routine as appropriate for the occasion, which in my case would've meant carrying a water bottle and running closer to dusk -- which is exactly what I did on my much more leisurely five-mile "make up jog" tonight.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bike Two Ways for Great Abs

Believe it or not, having a nice tapered waistline and a little sexy ab muscle definition doesn't take a whole lot of work. All it takes is a combination of fat-burning cardio and muscle-building core workouts -- or as I call it "bike two ways".

The first "bike" is basically any cardio workout that helps burn the fat, letting the muscles underneath in the torso (and everywhere else) show through. Whether you choose to actually bicycle, run, kickbox or dance your way into a cardio-burn, incorporate this for at least 20 minutes a day/3 days a week to give your fat cells a run for its calories!

The second "bike" is the bicycle crunch, demonstrated below:

I absolutely
love this move since it engages all the major core muscles: front, sides, upper and lower. No surprise that it's considered one of the best ab moves to do!

While this and other targeted-muscle exercises will not "spot reduce" and shrink the fat specific to that area, it will show some really nice lean and mean cut and definition once the fat does go away (which is what the cardio is for.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Activia Experience While Running

Ugh, had a planned 10/11 mile hilly run cut short to a 7-mile due to getting an Activia experience 5 miles in. For your reference, courtesy of NBC's SNL:

First off, I didn't pull the full "Jamie Lee!" (possibly the look.) Fortunately, I made it home without incident and thankful I don't run far away enough to worry about where I have to take care of business. But now I'm just wondering what could've set me off, so to speak.

The top (or should I say bottom?) suspects are:

1) drinking coffee about half-hour before my run, which might have woken up my GI tract as well
2) having warmed milk in middle of night after unexpectedly waking up (and I'm just a tad lactose sensitive)
3) a meat and alcohol laden dinner from two days ago, VERY out of the norm for my body and probably tough to process

More likely, it's probably the combo of the three strikes that got me out. I guess lesson learned to keep a closer eye on what I eat.

And apologies for all the bad puns and possible TMI - believe me, it's way crappier experiencing it first-person.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Watch Those Portions

Bento Box
The bento box at Shojin is sensibly portioned and have great variety between the different food groups

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

Foodwise, we are definitely living in the land of plenty. Between meals with lots extras to add on, ever-larger meal plates and growing portion sizes, it's easy to lose track of what a 'serving' is. So here's a friendly reminder from me and the American Dietetic Association on what a serving looks like. (Sidenote: to clarify, servings are standardized whereas portions are variable.)

- A serving of meat is three ounces, or size of a deck of cards
- A serving of cooked veggies is half a cup, or a light bulb (raw veggies, by the way, is one cup)
- Each dairy serving is eight ounces of milk, one ounce or one slice of cheese; an ounce of cheese is about a pair of dice (and not those huge plushy ones you dangle about.)
- A serving of nuts is an ounce, or a modest handful
- One serving of cooked pasta/rice is a cup, or a tennis ball
- For breads, each serving is one slice (even less for denser, larger ones like oversized loaves or bagels)
- One drink in alcohol equals to 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz (a shot) of spirit (i.e. a full pint glass is actually 133% serving of beer, and a bottle of wine contains five servings)

I am not saying you should use a measuring spoon and cup to scrutinize everything you put in your mouth, but hopefully these visual cues will help you gauge how many servings of the various food groups you're consuming and make adjustments as needed.

Likewise, feel free to indulge occasionally in that large piece of steak, the must-have cheesy baked pasta dish or that decadent dessert, but try to compensate by cutting back on those food groups on days leading up to and following that splurgy meal. As noted recently, moderation is key.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What is moderation?

Given all my talk of moderation when it comes to eating, I guess I should disclose what my idea of the word means -- which to some may feel like a near-anorexic diet and to others a gluttonous feast.

But ultimately, if the goal is to maintain or lose weight, you have to gauge the calories you take in versus calories being burned, with caloric intake equaling burn for maintenance and intake less than burn for weightloss (approximately 3,500 calories per pound.) I'm not a obsessed, precise calorie-counter, but I do a fair job of guesstimating how many I'm eating -- as for estimating calories burned, there are calculators out there like this easy-to-use one at, which takes into consideration your sex, current height, weight, age and activity level.

That being said, I try to stay within 1,600-1,800 calorie range on a normal day, enough to for me to have three satisfying meals plus wiggle room for snacks/treats/alchy while still creating a signficant calorie deficit (if the calculator's guesstimated 2,400 calories burned/day is to be trusted.)

So on a given week with 4-5 days of normal eating, I'll have a weekly caloric deficit of 2,400 to 4,000 calories -- which I have to "splurge" on more indulgent and decadent meals at home or out and about. And given my love of all things sweet and fatty, two to three splurge meals will easily fill that deficit up, so that's how I moderate my indulgences: no more than three blowout meals on a given week. I think of it as my own "three strikes" rule. And it works for me in the past two and a half years at this weight, since I've never deviated more than five pounds.

Of course, this is what works for me -- unless you're identical to me in body size, activity level, eating habits and food cravings, you're probably going to have different calorie needs and probably a different regimen. If you don't eat out a whole lot, you may do better with a consistent but overall higher-calorie intake everyday. Or if you go out-of-town regularly, perhaps a "three weeks clean, one week mean" schedule is more suitable. There's definitely some room to play around as to finding what lifestyle's best for you, but just remember and use the simple calories in-calories out formula to guide your eating habits to meet your goals (word of caution: don't try to restrict yourself too much trying to get fast results; as a rule, healthy weight loss is considered 2 pounds/week maximum a.k.a. 7,000 calorie deficit.)

P.S. if 1,800 calories a day sounds like a deprivation diet to you, keep an eye out for this blog where I'll share some of my favorite recipes and products that's filling, tasty and won't blow your calorie budget.

Monday, April 20, 2009

LA Times' DIY Weight-Loss Issue Today: Check It Out

Whether you'll still trying to make good on that New Year's resolution or getting into that trim summer shape or just attempting to blast those last few unwanted pounds, today's LA Times Health section is well worthwhile read, focusing on do-it-yourself weightloss: with a well-rounded look at developing a workout routine, modifying eating habits and building a support system to stay on-track. And kudos for mentioning the doctors' visit before the lifestyle overhaul to make sure the body's a-OK to go.

And of course, one doesn't have to follow these guidelines down to the very last details -- take the tips and advice that you can use and incorporate into your lifestyle.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Good, Bad, Pretty and Ugly of my Nine-Mile Run

Good: Surprised to discover I didn't need any mid-run hydration for nine-miles (when I started running, I had to drink water at every mile!) Glad to know my body's water-regulation mechanism is improving even though I still sweat like crazy.

Bad: My right-leg IT band started acting up towards the end of my run, which I attribute to too many uneven driveway pavements from sidewalk running. Hope the mid-run and cool-down stretches (and ibuprofen) will keep that at bay. And I seriously hope this doesn't repeat itself on my next semi-long run or I may have to reconsider the LA Marathon in favor of a mere half in Laguna (and a slower paced training for the Pasadena Marathon in November).

Pretty: When changing out of workout clothes, loved how ripped I looked in the mirror...

Not-So-Pretty: Figure reverted to normal after I drank water to quench my dehydrated body.

Good #2: Actually felt myself in that zen-like zone halfway through my run; not a common occurrence for me, but always appreciated whenever I get it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Too full!

I am no saint and sometimes I don't follow my healthy eating habits to a 'T'. But boy does my body send me nasty reminder signals to keep me on track.

Totally ate too much Thai take-out today for lunch after a stressful morning of work, and now I feel totally grossed-out-bloated with a little cramping to boot. Ugh...

So there's my lesson today in not only getting proper portions of food but also eat slowly so my stomach has enough time to send satiety signals to my brain, allowing me to stop before it's too miserably late.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Trim That Fat

My coffee nut brownies are one of the few exemptions from my "trim that fat" rule

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days.

Try cutting down on the fat / oil / butter the next time you cook from a recipe, whether new or tried-and-true. With the major exception of baked goods (where exact measurements are crucial), most recipes are forgiving and you can get away trimming the butter and oil without compromising on flavor. When I cook at home, I'm usually able to reduce the fats by 33-50%. Of course, depending on the dish, you may have to make some other adjustments, such as reducing cooking time to avoid drying out a dish or substituting other liquids. And if you're wary, try cutting a little bit at a time (maybe 20%, then 25%, and so on . . .) Even a little calorie saving now can go a long way down the road.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mixing Things Up

Some exercise equipment at home

I've never been one for a regular (read: repetitive) workout schedule; as much as I would like to quickly improve how much weights I can lift, or how far/fast I can run, I'd be bored out of my gourd if I am doing the same set of exercises day after day (and I suspect that's a big reason for many folks that fell off the workout wagon.)

And so, I like mixing up my routine -- not only does it work out my entire body in all sorts of ways, it keeps it fun and challenging so I really don't mind doing it 6-7 days/week.

Some of the things I integrate into my mix:

- Running: yes, a rather mundane exercise but it's also one of the best calorie burners so I aim for two days a week. But I change up the routes and I occasionally load up a playlist of energetic, upbeat music if I am not as worried about my pacing.

- Cardio-dance: admittedly a bit dated since it's very 80s retro-aerobics, but it's a decent cardio workout and the dance moves really help keep shoulders, waist, hips and legs in shape. And who knows, maybe you can take a move or two to the club when going out.

- Athletic Intervals: whether in the form of football runs, basketball shuffles, volleyball spikes or cardio-kickbox, I like these a lot since they usually employ some plyometrics, short bursts that really builds power and endurance.

- Lifting the weights: I try to incorporate at least a little bit of strength training five days a week, muscles burn calories around the clock and helps keep me looking athletically-fit instead of overactive thyroid-emaciated. Again, like running, I give myself great versatility here so I don't get bored. In addition to classic lifts with my dumbbells, sometimes I'll do core-based moves with stability ball, or use a resistance band with my cardio workouts to give it that extra oompf!

- Pilates: better for days when I want to exercise at a more relaxed pace but still feel a burn, this is excellent for core-strengthening and developing ab/back muscles.

- Yoga: decent for developing strength, nice for relaxation, and wonderful for gaining flexibility, which is often neglected as part of fitness but very important in helping to prevent injuries.

And so that's my "routine" that's anything but (I can pretty much do a different 40-80 min. workout for three weeks with no repeats!) and works well for keeping me engaged and persistent. But whatever you want to incorporate into your regimen, be sure to keep it fresh and varied so you'll stay challenged, have fun and keep at that goal of building and maintaining fitness.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome to Foodie Fitness!

Wholesome, healthful and delicious madras temeph wrap at M Cafe de Chaya

Whether you came here from my other blog, or stumbled here all your own - as my blog title implies, I'm a foodie (and quite a drinkie too, now I think about it) who's avid about fitness. In some ways I think my food/drink obsession makes me even more committed to staying in shape - since my appreciation of all things edible and potable makes me just that much more vulnerable to gaining pesky pounds and blubbery bulges, not to mention the myriad of health issues being overweight/obese brings along.

And I definitely do want to demonstrate that one doesn't have to bend over backwards to get and stay fit; I'm my own living testament, having dropped 35-40 pounds / 8-10% body fat / 6 waist inches / 2-3 clothing sizes and maintaining that loss over the last two years. (To my surprise, I even shrank a shoe size!)

And there's no crazy diet, special pills or extreme exercise here. For most part, it's about moderation and balance. So whether you're trying to lose a little or a good deal more, I hope you get encouraged and inspired by my experiences, thoughts and views. (Of course, talk to your doc before engaging in any significant lifestyle changes to make sure your body isn't medically out-of-whack first.)

I am still trying to figure out what direction I want to take this blog, but expect insights and opinions on eating and exercise habits, how to balance my indulgences and having the mindset to get and stay healthy, along with a healthy dose of links with useful and practical information. Maybe I'll even sneak in a favorite effective workout move or a tasty and healthy recipe too.

Hope you'll enjoy reading my "fitventures" and join my lifelong journey to health and wellness!