With spring in the air, many of us are planning some spring cleaning to dust off the cold damp winter and breathe life into our houses for the brighter and warmer months ahead. Cleaning and preparing for the spring and summer can be great ways to get moving, so don’t get bummed if you have a whole day of organizing and cleaning ahead of you and can’t get to the gym. I myself don’t like cleaning too much, but I love a clean house so I guess it’s a necessary evil. Although I have to admit, I do sometimes feel like all I do is clean, fold, and put away laundry as well as load and unload the dishwasher. Anyway, a 150-pound woman doing these activities for 30 minutes can burn the following amount of calories.
- Sweeping/Mopping ~120 calories. Crank up the tunes and dance around for a little more burn
- Cooking ~100 calories. Just make sure that you don’t snack while you do it or snack on fresh cut veggies instead of cheese, chips, and bread
- Shoveling Snow ~200 calories. I haven’t had to do this for a couple of years, but those of you that do are getting a pretty good workout
- Gardening ~125 calories. Just don’t forget sunscreen.
- Scrubbing the Bathtub ~130 calories. Plus everyone likes a clean bathroom.
- Washing Windows ~125 calories A great arm workout
- Ironing: ~80 calories. Ironing can be a full-body workout.
While you’re planning the spring cleaning of your house, don’t forget to spring clean your body. Shorts and tank tops are just a few short months away, or a few weeks for those of us in the south, and we don’t want to be left hiding in those sweatshirts and mom jeans for the summer. Here are a few tips to help you with your spring cleaning efforts.
1. Get Rid of the Junk: Do you have a bunch of junk food in your pantry that keeps calling your name? Just get rid of it. You don’t want to put that stuff in your body anyway so go ahead and throw it out. Really…Your body is not a trash can…Just because you bought it in a moment of weakness doesn’t mean you have to eat it. If you feel bad about throwing away food, then you can donate unopened items to a local food bank, but they don’t really need the junk food anyway. So, I’m releasing you of the guilt. Just throw it away.
Also, there are many ingredients added to processed foods, especially the ones that claim to be diet foods, that you don’t want to put in your body either. I try not to by packaged processed foods, but when I do buy food that comes in a package I am looking for products that have the least amount of ingredients. If I don’t know what’s in it, I don’t eat it. Of course, there are many people who claim that they don’t have the time or the inclination to read labels on everything they eat. They just want to eat it and that’s fine. However, if you are a regular reader of my blog you may at least have a sinking feeling that just because it’s on the shelves of your local grocery store in a pretty package doesn’t mean you actually want to eat it or give it to your kids.
If you’re trying to limit processed foods, but are having a hard time cutting back I’m going to give you a list of the top 9 ingredients to avoid, what they’re used in and why they’re bad. If you have any food items with these ingredients in your pantry you may want to consider getting rid of them too.
- Artificial colors are chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color. They are linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches.
- Artificial flavors are cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors. They are linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma and can also affect enzyme levels, RNA, and thyroid.
- Artificial sweeteners like Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Saccharin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda®, and Sorbitol are highly processed, chemically derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving. They can negatively impact your metabolism and some have been linked to dizziness, hallucinations, headaches, and even cancer.
- Benzoate Preservatives like BHT, BHA, TBHQ are compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid. They can affect estrogen balance and levels and may result in hyperactivity, angioedema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors, and hives.
- Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is a chemical that boosts flavor in many citrus-based drinks, it basically keeps the citrus from separating. It increases triglycerides and cholesterol and can damage the liver, testicles, thyroid, heart, and kidney.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup is a cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar. It sustains freshness in baked goods as well as blends easily into beverages to make them sweet. It isn’t easily metabolized by the liver and it can predispose the body to turn fructose into fat as well as increase the risk for type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressings, chips, frozen meals, soups, etc. It may stimulate the appetite as well as cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing.
- Olestra is an indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked. It inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and is linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding, and incontinence.
- Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils are industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 products in the US because they are cheap ways to stabilize substances that would normally be liquids at room temperature. They contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol contributing to risk of heart disease. It’s also important to note that unless a food has 0.5g or more of trans fat then it will not be listed in the nutrition information, but the oils themselves have to be listed in the ingredients. If you have 5 or 6 servings of something that has no trans fat on the label, but hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients then you still may be getting over the recommended maximum of 2g of trans fats per day.
When you’re going through your pantry also consider the season. There are some foods that are warming in the winter months like quinoa, wild rice, cinnamon, almonds, cumin, ginger, mustard greens, etc that you might not want to buy much more of in the coming warmer months. Instead, you may want to switch to cooling foods like amaranth, broccoli, citrus, berries, melons, apples, cucumbers, asparagus, cilantro, etc. If you have the grains, spices, or nuts that are more suited for the winter then check the expiration date and either freeze them or push them to the back of the pantry for the summer.
2. Find A Buddy or Buddies: Studies have shown that an accountability partner will make your results even better. Find a friend, a coworker, or even your spouse that will go with you on this journey to cleansing yourself of your bad habits and getting healthier. You can help keep each other on track with workouts, food logs, menu creation, and any other hang-ups that you know you’re going to run into. If you know that you’re going to meet your friend at the gym you’ll be less likely to skip out.
3. Make an Action Plan: Breaking a bad habit and beginning a good one is as much a mental process as it is physical. You have to be aware of what’s going on around you and inside your head in order to succeed. Having a plan will help you in your journey.
- Food Plan and Log: My success in my food plan has been primarily because I sit down once a week and plan out my menu. You need to put menu planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation on your calendar like appointments that can’t be broken. This will set you up for long-term success. Once you get into a good habit these things will become second nature.
- A food log helps me stay consistent. I have to submit this log to my coach every week in-season and every two weeks off-season to make sure that I’m staying on track. A food log also helps me be able to look at what habits lead to my late night cravings or other mistakes that I could make.
- My food plan also makes my food log a little easier. I decide what we’re going to have for dinner every night for a week and I make my shopping list based on that menu. I talked about a particularly successful week in a previous blog so I’m going to link to it now. http://onebuffmama.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-importance-of-meal-planning-and-preparation/
- Workouts: Exercise also needs to be on your calendar like appointments that can’t be broken. If you don’t, then something will come up. This is where having a buddy will come in handy. Knowing that you are going to meet your friend at the gym for a class or a workout then you will be more likely to not miss it. If you aren’t sure where to start for workouts then there are several things that you can do.
- Oxygen magazine has lots of great workouts in every issue that can be revamped for beginners to the more advanced, for those with a gym membership to those that work out at home. You can take turns with your friends coming up with good ideas for workout programs so you’re not always having to make one up yourself. I used to get lots of ideas from Oxygen and I would make up my own programs, but I eventually joined Savage because I liked the ease of already having the program design done for me.
- I also have an online program that will give you a new workout program every month for those that want something already done for them, as well as a system of accountability. I explain more about that in another blog. http://onebuffmama.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/the-beginning-of-one-buff-mama-online-workout-programs/
- If you need more one-on-one accountability or someone there making sure that you are using the right form then you may want to find a local personal trainer to help get you started and keep you motivated. There are also smaller group boot camp type workouts that will also help keep you accountable.
There are lots of different ways to help you break a bad habit and create a good one, these are just a few. I will be beginning the Health Coach Training Program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in the next couple of weeks. I’ve already learned so much while preparing for this course and I know I will learn a lot more in order to equip you with the information that you need to create a healthier life for yourself and your family.
Questions? Comments? Please let me know.