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Jen

Falling For Real Change – How to Get Things Done

By How To, Motivation, Students, Teachers No Comments

I know I’m not alone here, but my favorite part of living in New England has always been the change of seasons.  I love that just when we get used to (or sick of) one way of life, that’s exactly when Mother Nature switches things up on us.

Changes that are beyond our control cause us to be reactive, to adapt, and we usually manage quite well.  So why is it that changes that we have the luxury of initiating ourselves are so hard for us to embrace?  If we know, or have heard, that a certain exercise might benefit us tremendously, why is it so hard to make time to try it?  If we want something, like more energy, or weight loss, why is it so hard to do what it takes to get it?  If we need to save money, why is it so difficult to resist buying things we don’t really need?  When we understand logically that a behavior is harmful and we want to quit, why is it so difficult to stop?

There are many answers to these questions, and theories as to why we have a hard time breaking old habits and forming new ones, but I think much of accomplishing real change boils down to how we think, and talk, about what we really want, and how we plan to get it.   Real, sustainable change comes from setting clear goals that are actionable, measurable and realistic.self-deceit

Day in and day out I hear people tell me that they “want to be in better shape.”  When I ask what that means, 99% of the time I get a blank stare.  When asked to define “better shape” most people have given it little or no actual thought.  I ask them to redefine their goals by talking only about real tangible things like “well, I’d like to walk up the stairs from the T and not be out of breath,” or “I’d like to be able to run a mile” or “I think I should be able to touch my toes.”

If you would like to “get in shape” that’s great, but it’s not an action, and it’s not an actionable goal.  You do not walk outside and “do shape.”  That’s unfortunately not how life works.  You walk, run, bike, stretch or otherwise move to “get in shape” but you have to know what that means for you, you have to think about it.

Consider this: If “being in shape” means being able to touch your toes, then how will you make that happen?  Will you wake up one day and it just do it? Not likely, will you seek out exercises that are known to increase flexibility and try them, now that’s a good idea, but how often will you go, and how will you know if you’ve made progress? Do you wish to touch your toes by tomorrow, or by winter?

Think about something you have been trying to accomplish and apply the steps below:

  1. Figure out what you really want to do in simple actionable words.
  2. Set a time frame, when do you wish to be able to do this by?
  3. Break your goal down into individual actions that you can measure.
  4. Work hard and track your progress, consider sharing your goal and progress with others.  Studies have shown that people with strong support networks have more success meeting goals and sustaining change.
  5. Celebrate – reward yourself for progress at each step along the way, but with something unrelated to your goal.  If you are trying to give up soda now is not the time to have one because you have gone a week without.  Reward yourself with something healthy and unrelated, like new music, a Broga class, a new item of clothing, or a beer with a friend (unless of course beer is what you are trying to change!)
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://brogayoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JenJasmin.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jennifer Jasmin, R.D. is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College. In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals. Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well. She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com. In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings. To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious. [/author_info] [/author]

Feel good, not guilty: Tips for happy balanced eating

By How To No Comments

It seems like every day someone asks me, “Is (insert a food here) bad for you?” It’s also common for people to insist on me hearing their “food confessions,” and accompanying excuses. These often sound something like: “I’m trying to quit red meat because I know it’s bad, but once a week the guys and I go to Capital Grill and I get the rib-eye, I can’t stop doing that.” Read More

Claims About Supplements Starting to Sound Fishy

By Featured, News, Uncategorized No Comments

If you’re currently taking Broga classes, or even contemplating signing up for your first one, you are already making progress toward improving your overall health.  The next step may be to give some thought to your diet if total body wellness is a goal of yours.  As you begin to contemplate your personal nutrition goals, you may at some point also begin to contemplate taking supplements.  Buyer beware, be sure to stay current on your research.  Shelling out big bucks on pills may be a waste of resources better spent on real food.Fish Pills

In spite of previous studies linking the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil pills to heart health, new research featured in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that taking fish oil supplements may in fact provide no significant cardio vascular benefits. 

So are fish oil supplements still worth buying? Doesn’t it always seem like the news about nutrition is changing?  One day something is good for you, and the next, not so much right? 

Nutritional research is still fairly young, as medical research goes.  We are still learning so much about how the body processes nutrients and which ones (and how much of them) it needs most. 

Any medical research is complicated to decipher, but I think I got this one. It’s generally accepted in medical communities that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in heart health.  We know that certain fish are known sources of omega-3s.  If you connect the dots then, fish=heart health.  Pretty simple stuff so far. 

Fish oil supplementation has risen in popularity in the past few years because it was thought that we could isolate the good omega-3s from real fish, and put them in a pill.  If people took these pills, it seemed logical that the increase in their diet in omega-3s would lead to healthier hearts.  This logic wasn’t exactly wrong, but there is likely more to the story than we thought. 

What this new information really means is that there may be more to fish that is good for your heart than just its omega-3s.  The same fish that are rich in omega-3s are also rich in selenium and Vitamin D (among other things.)  It is possible that omega-3s are most helpful to our cardiovascular health when consumed with other nutrients.  Just like we know that calcium needs Vitamin D to be fully functional in our bodies, omega-3 fatty acids may be most beneficial when accompanied by other nutrients.  Further research will need to be done to see if this is in fact the case.

SalmonSo what’s your action item?  If your doctor has suggested taking a fish oil supplement, I wouldn’t toss them in the trash because of one study’s findings.  If you are concerned about heart health (and aren’t we all) try to increase your intake of omega-3 rich fish to at least 2-3 meals per week.  Approachable fish rich in omega-3s are salmon, anchovies, and bluefish. 

Your fish oil pills are not likely doing you any harm, and may still be doing some good, but it’s almost always best to get your nutrients from real foods when you can instead of supplements.  

Consider your likes and dislikes and your current dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and try to add more.  Don’t write off supplements in general, some do great things, but my advice is to look at them with healthy skepticism and always ask yourself if you can get what you are looking for from real food first.

 

 

What do you think? Do you have a post-workout favorite food? Maybe a smoothie recipe you’d be willing to share? Share your input in the comment section below!

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Jen JasminJennifer Jasmin is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts.  She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College.  In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals.   Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well.  She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com.  In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings.  To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious.

 

Feelin’ the Burn? How to Relieve Muscle Soreness After Broga

By Classes, How To, Students One Comment

Feelin’ the Burn?

It’s totally common to feel a bit worse for the wear the morning after your first Broga class. Introducing any new exercise to your fitness routine, or lack there of, stresses and strains your muscles in new ways, causing actual cell damage that takes time to heal.  It’s this damage, and the inflammatory-repair response that it triggers, that cause stiffness and soreness for typically 24 to 72 hours after a workout. It’s so common it even has a name: Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness – or DOMS. So you’re sore, and now you know why…what do you do about it?

Broga

Back-to-Back Broga:

Don’t be discouraged! In fact, get off the couch, stretch out, and go for a walk, or better yet, take another Broga class ASAP! I know this seems counter-intuitive, but it really works! One of the fastest ways to silence achy muscles is to stretch them out, and get them moving again. You may feel like you lack some range of motion due to muscle tightness, so don’t over do it. Let your instructor know that you are feeling a bit sore so he can let you in on any modifications that may be a bit lower-impact.

Refuel:

After Broga SmoothieYour muscles need fuel for repairs. A post-workout snack may help provide your muscles with the necessary tools to begin repairs quickly, resulting in less soreness the next day. It’s pretty common knowledge that protein is essential to muscle building, but you won’t return to pain free movement if you neglect other key macronutrients. Carbohydrate rich foods help the body restore muscle glycogen (stored energy your muscles need to function) quickly and fat is essential for cell repair. An ideal post-workout snack should be mostly carbs, some protein, and a little fat. Oh, and don’t forget to drink lots of water!

Chocolate milk has been touted as the ultimate post workout snack because it loosely meets the guidelines above. But before you grab the Hershey’s syrup, ask yourself, do you really think there is a nutritional benefit to chocolate syrup?   Make each part of your snack count by smartly selecting carbohydrate, protein and fat sources that are all beneficial to your body. Many super foods have anti-inflammatory properties, and work essentially the same way that NSAID pain relievers (like ibuprofen and aspirin) do. Try to work them into your snack routine.

So, what’s the ideal snack for post-Broga muscle repair? Try low-fat yogurt with fresh (or dried) blueberries, or cherries, with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. If you like the idea of a beverage better, add some ice, or better yet use frozen fruit, and turn this combo into a smoothie. Feelin’ better already?

Interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of muscle response to exercise? Check out this article from Scientific American.

What do you think? Do you have a post-workout favorite food? Maybe a smoothie recipe you’d be willing to share? Share your input in the comment section below!

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Jen JasminJennifer Jasmin is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts.  She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College.  In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals.   Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well.  She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com.  In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings.  To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious.

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