Learn 5 Steps To Take When You Want To Start A Running Habit

running man

Making the decision to start a running habit is something that a lot of people do. Their reasons can be quite varied, be it spending more time outdoors, getting healthier, or just having more energy. Regardless of the motivations, with the approaching New Year’s resolutions and desire to burn off holiday pounds, many folks will make the decision. Unfortunately, most will not follow through or just go out running and then either form bad habits or injure themselves. But before you buy yourself those new running shoes and a good running hydration pack, first take the necessary precautions listed below.

Keep reading to learn 5 steps you need to take BEFORE you start a running habit.

1) Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. You might be sick of hearing how you should consult a doctor prior to starting any exercise routine, such as starting a running habit. However, just because you are physically capable of standing up and walking does not mean that you can run safely over time without injuring yourself or exacerbating prior conditions. Get the okay before you start, as well as any advice he or she has to make your running habit a success. That one meeting can keep you running once you start.

2) Find the right shoes. Slapping on any old pair of tennis shoes is not going to cut it for serious running. Visit an athletics or sporting goods store you trust to consult with the staff about the appropriate kind of footwear for your body and stride. And don’t forget that hydration pack if you’re going to be a serious runner.

3) Choose a route. It might seem like fun to just freestyle your runs, but if you happen to go down unfamiliar streets or paths, you might get lost. Worse yet, you could run out of energy to get back to your home or car. Planned routes do let you determine in advance how far you want to run.

4) Practice the two-minute rule. You might not feel like running every day. Rather than motivate yourself to go the whole distance, just run for two minutes. If today is not a good running day for whatever reason, you’ll know by then. In most cases, the anxiety and resistance in your mind will dissipate by then and you’ll go on to run more.

5) Run with a friend. Setting a joint goal of a 5k within a set amount of months is a fun thing for two people to do, even if it is a run/walk race.

Have fun with your new running habit!

Why use price books when doing frugal shopping?

I had a message from a reader about price books where the reader wants to know:

“What’s the purpose behind a price book? To compare prices of the same items at different stores? I get that I guess, but I just can’t see creating a grocery list for 1/3 of my groceries at Safeway, 1/3 of them at Save-on-Foods, 1/4 of them at Costco and little bits and pieces here and there at random places around town. My time is worth more than having to drive all around town to save a few cents on a box of Kleenex, for example… so what purpose does it serve in a really practical way?”

I am new to creating a price book, so some you may have better answers than me! I posted my response to that post before realizing that this might be best as a separate post so that it does not get buried in the comments section of that old post.

My response to the above question is:

I’m not an expert, but here is what I plan to use it for..
1. To see what store really has the best prices on the things that I buy
2. So that when I see a sale ad I will know if it is really a good deal or not
3. If I see something on sale in the store I can check if it is really a good deal.
4. To help set a realistic grocery budget.

I don’t plan on driving all around town to save a few cents cause gas is too expensive for that! 🙂 But say if I happen to be by a Target and I am low on mustard and they have the cheapest mustard then I know that and can run in for it.

So,  now I am calling out to those of you that use price books or have thoughts on them that you would like to share. You can leave your comments on this post instead of the one from last week on price books.

Not sure what a price book is, exactly? Well, if you’re a frugalista like me, then you might be interested in using one of these to get your finances straight. Here’s a good defintion from Penny Pinchin’ Mom:

A Price Book is a list of the products you purchase and the prices you pay in order to watch for sales trends and cycles.

When you know your target prices, you know when the price is a good deal and that you might want to go ahead and stock up. For example, if you know you can usually get your favorite soup for just $0.50 a can, you can watch for the sales cycle and learn that every 8 weeks it goes on sale, which allows you to stock up at the absolute lowest price!

Learn more on her blog post about it.

Self-confidence and self-esteem: are they the same thing?

Self-confidence and self-esteem are pretty popular terms when it comes to self-help or personal development. The question is, are they different things are the same thing?

I think the answer is yes to both of those questions.

I think that self-esteem clearly deals with how you see yourself. Do you think you are smart or stupid? Do you think you are pretty or ugly? Do you think you are successful or not? And so on.

And I think that self-confidence is basically having a strong belief that you can do anything or conquer anything that you want.

That is how I think that the two of them are different.

However, I think that they are the same in that you need one to have the other. If you have bad self-esteem you are probably going to have low self-confidence. And the same applies in reverse. So, while they are different at their core, they are so closely connected that they are not really all that different.

And they might even be part of something else – self-worth. You could say that self-esteem and self-confidence are the peas in the self-worth pod.

If anyone has any thoughts on this that they would like to share, please feel free to add them.

11 Ways to Reduce Stress and Relax

Looking for ways to relax and reduce stress? Try out some of these 11 tips:

  1. Stop and practice some calming breathing exercises
  2. Press your palm in the center with your thumb of your other hand to release tension
  3. Get some Chinese meditation orbs and roll them around in your hand to bring about calmness
  4. Drip some cold water on your wrists or behind your earlobes. Cold water has a refreshing effect on the body
  5. Take responsibility for your emotions – you are the only person responsible for how you feel
  6.  Collect 100 or so positive affirmations  and use them when you need to
  7. Surround yourself with positive images by doing things like taking a walk in a park or having fresh flowers in your office
  8. Do something that you are good at to make you feel better about yourself and things in general
  9. Be inspired by clouds
  10. Meditate
  11.  Take baby steps to get where you want to be

A guide to herbal teas

I drink a lot of hot tea. At first, I started drinking hot tea because I was not a coffee fan but I wanted to have something with a little bit of caffeine in the mornings. However, now I am a bit of a coffee addict and gotta have that caffeine. So that means tea is usually a before bed beverage for me. And if I get cold during the day I have some or if I am not feeling well.

Here are some ingredients you can find in various types of herbal teas and what they can do for you health-wise that you might not have been aware of.

Peppermint

Having some tummy problems? Tea with peppermint in it can take care of any indigestion problems that you might be having. According to my research, fresh or dried mint tea is a great way to ease stubborn indigestion and gas and to quell nausea and vomiting. You should be careful not to grab a tea that has another mint, like spearmint, because only true peppermint contains the digestive aid menthol.

Ginger

A lot of times you will see a tea that has both ginger and peppermint in it. Guess why? They both cure the same tummy problems. Ever heard someone tell you to drink ginger ale if you have an upset tummy? Ginger tea has the same purpose.

Thyme

If you are having some chest cough type of problems look for some tea with thyme in it. Thyme reduces cough, bronchitis, sinus pressure. Sip on some thyme tea to help relax the bronchial spasms that trigger coughing due to colds or bronchitis.

Passion flower

Having trouble sleeping? Look for some tea that has passionflower in it. Passionflower has have proven, gentle sedating qualities. In fact, passionflower is recommended by herbalists as a top treatment for insomnia, and it is especially helpful when sleep is disturbed by anxiety.

Lemon balm

Feeling restless? Have some anxiety issues? Try some tea with lemon balm. Drink some of this before bed as it helps tame tension, nervousness, and a mild case of the blues.

Chamomile

I am sure that we all know that chamomile tea is supposed to be relaxing, but there is more to it than that! It is a mild, relaxing tea that contains oils that relax the smooth muscles in the stomach. If you have about three cups daily it will ease indigestion, irritable bowel problems, and colitis. And not to mention it is a great way to relax before bedtime.

 

Ways to stay full without gaining a new pant size

Looking for ways to stay full through out the day without over eating? Sometimes I have found that I think I am hungry and before I know it I have over eaten. Not only does that leave me feeling pretty horrible, but it can lead to me need some larger pants! And I certainly do not want that 🙂

Here are some of the things that I have learned along the way that help me to stay full without getting to full or to big for my pants!

1. Eat a filling breakfast. Skip the donuts or other pastry items. Get yourself a breakfast that will stick with you like a hearty bowl of oatmeal.

2. Focus on food when eating.Numerous studies have shown that people that are preoccupied with things like watching TV while eating end up eating more than when they are not preoccupied. Focus on your food and you will enjoy it more and stay full longer.

3. Go for fruit instead of juice. Have a choice between a bottle of apple juice and an apple? Go for the apple and you will stay full longer.

4. Eat fiber rich foods. It is no secret that fiber packing food like broccoli keeps you fuller longer.

5. Take a multivitamin daily. Sometimes we eat things because our body craves them due to us not having enough of something in our system. If you take a multivitamin you can reduce that from happening to you.

6. Eat 5 meals instead of 3. Instead of eating 3 large meals a day try to break it up into 5 or 6 low calorie meals. Not only will it keep you full all day long but it will make sure your metabolism does not slow down!

7. Drink water. Don’t drink your calories in soda. Instead drink water all day long. Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are really just dehydrated. At the first sign of hunger, drink a glass of water and see if that takes care of it.

8. Try some chewing gum. Sometimes if we think we are hungry chewing some gum can take care of that hunger. Studies have shown that something about mimicking the chewing of food like that makes the body think that it is getting food. As a bonus it keeps the metabolism reving too.

9. Eat a salad or broth-based soup before your meal. Studies have shown that people that eat a salad or cup of soup before eating not only don’t eat as much but they stay full longer.

10. Give your food time to digest. Did you just eat but still feel hungry? It takes your body about 20 minutes to digest that food, so give it some time and see if you are still hungry. Chances are you won’t be!

 

Weight watchers – do you flex? or do you focus on healthy eating habits?

I grew up with my mother on a perpetual Weight Watchers diet program. In fact, the last time I visited her she was writing down her points before she ate meals. Over the last few months I have had three other people in my life join the Weight Watchers band wagon. With the new additions I began hearing about a new aspect of the program I was not familiar with – flex points.

Since I did grow up in a Weight Watchers household I was a bit confused as I saw the latest two additions to the Weight Watchers bandwagon shoveling in three servings of cake each after eating a plate of junk this past weekend. Then they told me that they were using their ‘flex points’ for the day. As you might imagine I found it a bit odd that Weight Watchers would now allow free gorging one day a week. So, I looked up the whole flex points thing.

Apparently the new Weight Watchers plan offers up flex points in addition to your daily target points. Each week you are allowed 35 flex points, regardless of what your daily point target is. The flex points are intended to be used on days that you need to splurge a little. Say you have a birthday party you want to go to and you want to have some cake, so just use some flex points. They key with the flex points is that they are to be used in moderation throughout the week. The people that I know were saving them up for one day a week and the going crazy. So, one of them had a target of 22 points a day but eats 57 points every Saturday.

I fail to see how this is a good idea. Clearly the intention of the people at Weight Watchers was not to have people having 60 point days once a week. Maybe it was, but I seriously doubt it. I wonder though if my friends will be able to actually lose weight by sabotaging their diet one day a week? I say they might not do so well. We know that 3500 calories = 1 pound. So, I suspect that they both easily consumed 3500 calories on Saturday based on what I saw them eat and the fact that they told me they had McDonald’s for lunch. That means that the other 6 days would have to have been a decrease in their normal calories over 3500.

I’m not sure why people who clearly want to stuff themselves with things that are horrible for them go on diets in the first place. I think maybe the whole problem is diets versus new eating habits. For instance, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am trying to decrease my sodium intake to lower my blood pressure. As a result I am noticing that I am extremely sensitive to salt now. For example hot dogs have an insane amount of sodium in them. I eat the Ball Park Fat Free Franks (made with beef, pork and turkey) as they are some of the lowest in sodium. When I found out that I needed to lower my sodium I had 2 packs of these in the freezer that I am now going to eat in moderation since one has 440 mg of sodium. Anyways, I have been eating around 1500 mg of sodium per day and today I had no sodium for breakfast and will only have 150 mg in my dinner so I decided to have one hot dog for lunch. It tasted so salty! There is no way I can eat as many of those as I used to. See, that is a healthier eating habit. My friends are keeping so much crap in their diets that they aren’t going to be able to develop healthy eating habits!

Here are some of my new healthy eating habits that I have established over the past few months:

1. Portion control – I don’t have to eat everything on my plate. I stop when I am full. And I only put a small amount on my plate to begin with and most times that is enough. As a bonus I end up with more leftovers!

2. More whole grains. Not only are whole grains like oatmeal full of heart-healthy fiber, but they are low in sodium too! I have oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning, make scones with oats for snacks and eat a lot of brown rice.

3 . More fresh fruits and veggies. The key here is FRESH! Canned veggies are loaded with sodium. (rinsing the veggies gets rid of some of that) If I cannot get fresh fruit and veggies I go for frozen ones. If you have not had frozen cherries as a snack you do not know what you are missing! Seriously! Go get some now! I eat them when I am craving something sweet.

4. Water. Not only is it good for your skin but drinking water helps your belly think its full. A great way to eat less when you don’t need it.

5. Avoid restaurants. I used to dine out at least four nights a week. Now I barely go out three times a month. Restaurant food is loaded with sodium and calories. And if you don’t cook it you can’t control what is in it! Nevermind the fact that I can usually make better food at home.

Developing new healthy eating habits is an ongoing process for me. Unfortunately it is not something that can be accomplished overnight. It takes some hard work and definite dedication. But I know it is worth it because it’s for my body and it’s the only one I’ve got!

8 silly things we do that we know are bad for our health

It seems that for everything that we say we are doing for “our health,” we are doing at least two things that are bad for our health. Now, I do not have any scientific information to back up those numbers. That I know of, no studies were done  on it. It just seems that way in my experience.

See, I do not wear a lot of makeup. In fact, I do not wear any. I think it is bad for your skin and I think I look okay without it. I do not dye my hair because I am afraid that it will end up feeling like straw.

I don’t wear moisturizers like I should. I don’t wear sunscreen like I should. I blow dry my hair regularly. Every few years I get a body wave perm to give my hair some volume – and damage it like hair dye!

So, in my experience even though I try to do good, I’m still doing some things that are not so good for my body. But you know what? I think most of us are like that. In fact, I think most of us make a lot of silly health mistakes. Here are 8 of what I think are the most common ones:

  1. We over-indulge. Yes that gooey fudge brownie is delicious. And bad for the hips. And thighs. And, well, you get the picture. Of course, sometimes we do not let that stop us. It is so easy to over-indulge and so hard to not!  And if you go out to eat it is even more difficult since the serving sizes are so large! So, what do you do? Eat off of smaller plates. It’s a sort of reverse psychology on your self, but it tends to do the trick for me.
  2. We tan. If we are not going to a tanning salon we are out by the pool or the beach soaking up those cancer rays. And we know that it’s bad for our skin, but we do it anyway in the quest to be dark and beautiful. Fortunately for me all it took was a few close family members getting skin cancer and an aunt getting what I call “leather face” to stop me from tanning. Now, if I can just remember the sunscreen when I’m out.
  3. We don’t drink enough water. The health benefits of water have long been touted, but we’d rather sip on a Diet Coke. For me the problem is that I like flavor and I suspect that is a lot of people. Well, I have found two ways to make drinking water more enjoyable.  A slice of lime in some cold water offers up a burst of flavor. And if I don’t want to do that I grab a Smart Water.
  4. We smoke or drink. I don’t care what you say, your face will give away if you smoke or drink. Not to mention your hair, smokers. My friends that are smokers have the driest and most brittle hair ever. It’s kinda gross. And when one of them stopped smoking her hair got so much healthier – until she started again! Let me just say this – smoking and drinking ages your face. It’s not a joke and I can’t point to a study on it (but there may be one). The people that I know that regularly drink and smoke look way older than their age. It can’t be a coincidence.
  5. We don’t get enough exercise. Again we know how good for us it is, but we don’t do it. I know, it seems like such a chore. I have a lot of difficulty myself getting motivated to go to the gym. The solution I have found is showering once a day at night after workouts. See, at first I was showering in the morning, working out after work and then showering again. That is why it seemed like such a chore. Now I know I’ll have to shower at night regardless, so I may as well work out. Of course, sometimes it’s still hard to get motivated.
  6. We don’t get enough sleep. Guilty! It just seems like there are not enough hours in the day sometimes and as a result time gets taken away from sleeping. But don’t we regret it the following day! Nothing but walking around all groggy. The key here is time management.
  7. We don’t go to the doctor regularly. Guilty again! I hate going to the doctor. The dentist too. But you know what, discovering something sooner rather than later is a lot cheaper in the long run. The key here is preventative maintenance. While it makes us sound like automobiles, it is true. A few years ago I had a cavity that I kept putting off getting filled. Well, I waited so long that the tooth got so decayed I ended up needing a crown. That’s WAY more expensive!
  8. We don’t take time to de-stress. Rush hour traffic, hectic meetings at work, rush hour traffic again, making dinner for the family – where is the de-stress time in all of this? We run our body down by not giving it a chance to recharge and de-stress. And that’s insane because stress causes all sorts of health issues! If you need some ideas on how to de-stress check out my post on 41 ways to de-stress.

41 ways to de-stress

Too much stress about school exams...
At the end of a particular horrible day, or even just a long week I am in dire need to de-stress. An afternoon of rush hour traffic tends to have a way of really stressing me out, ya know?

I don’t like to be stressed. I don’t like the way it makes me feel and we all know that it’s not good for you. So, that means that once you are able to navigate your way through whatever is stressful there is another task to tackle – the de-stressing of you.

Here are some ways to de-stress:

  1. Take a walk
  2. Listen to a nature sounds machine/cd
  3. Listen to calming music
  4. Use some essential oils to relax
  5. Take a hot bath
  6. Meditate
  7. Exercise (yoga is proven good for stress)
  8. Punch a pillow if you need to
  9. Scream into a pillow if you need to
  10. Lay down and relax
  11. Watch some cartoons (I’m a big fan of Adventure Time)
  12. Watch comedy central or something else funny (I’m partial to baby goat videos )
  13. Light some aromatherapy candles
  14. Have some hot tea (chai is my fave)
  15. Focus on your breathing
  16. Think about the most beautiful place you’ve ever been too
  17. Look at a sunset cam online
  18. Play a game online
  19. Pick up a good book
  20. Paint something
  21. Create something (art therapy is proven de-stress technique)
  22. Write in a journal
  23. Stay away from caffeine
  24. Walk by the beach (proven that water is calming) or get in it and float or something!
  25. If you have stairs, run up and down them or just run in place (free cardio!)
  26. Have your own air guitar championship in front of a mirror
  27. Work in your garden if you have one (it’s good for your health!)
  28. Play with Legos
  29. Call a friend
  30. Write a friend
  31. Hug someone (preferably someone you know or you may end up with more stress!)
  32. Dip cookies in milk
  33. Dig out some crayons and color (everyone has crayons, right?)
  34. Smile, even if you have to push up the corners of your mouth
  35. Stand on your head – as soon as all the blood rushes to it you’ll forget were even stressed out
  36. Take a trip or vacation
  37. Go swimming
  38. Laugh with someone, and if you can’t laugh find a garden gnome as it’s certain to make you laugh (there’s just something ridiculous about garden gnomes)
  39. Make something with modeling clay, or play-dough
  40. Put on some music and dance around your room like a crazy person
  41. Sing at the top of your lungs along with your favorite song

Have any tips to add to the list?

Getting fit and staying healthy

I am a fairly intelligent person. I know that excercising and eating healthy is great for my body. Yet, eating right and working out is something that is so hard for me to do regularly. Now, I’m not grossly overweight or obese my any means. But I’m carrying around about 20 extra pounds. I don’t want to get super skinny by any means, cause women should have curves, otherwise they look like men. So, I know I need to work on this.

Exercise

Yesterday I was reading about some of the benefits of exercise. Here are 7 reasons I should be exercising.

  1. It’s good for your heart. Getting all the blood pumping not only helps you sweat out toxins, but it also reduces your chance of getting heart disease. And if you happen to already have heart disease, it can reduce your chances of dying from it! wow
  2. It lowers your risk of developing hypertension AND diabetes. This is a major point for me. I should really print this out and tape it to my bathroom mirror. I have a family history of adult-onset diabetes. And that is definitely something I want  no part of. I hate getting pricked with a needle at the doctor for them to take my blood, so I certainly don’t want to have to stick a needle full of insulin into my body myself.
  3. It reduces your risk of colon cancer and some other cancers. Do women get colon cancer? I’m not sure. I don’t have a history of cancer in my family, well, except for lung cancer but I don’t smoke so I do not really see that as much of a threat to my health.
  4. It improves mood and mental functions. This should also go on a post-it on my bathroom mirror. Exercise can be a natural anti-depressant, which is great cause you don’ t have to worry about any nasty side effects or becoming dependant on chemical happiness. And who wouldn’t benefit from being sharper mentally. I bet this is really great for people that exercise when they get up in the morning. I’m not a morning person though, so I could never exercise first thing. I’d just end up hurting myself.
  5. It keeps your bones and joints healthy. This should really be shouted from the rooftops to women everywhere. Osteoporosis is a very real threat for women. I know I drink a lot of milk for this very reason. So, it’s great to see that there are other things that I can do to avoid getting this later in life.
  6. It helps you maintain a healthy weight. As I said, this is definitely something I need to work on. Realistically, I’d like to drop around 40 pounds or 2-3 pant sizes. That still leaves me in a healthy weight range for my height. I know that the best way to do this is a combo of working out and eating right. It’s hard for me to give up some bad-for-you food though, so this may take some time. I know that for you to lose weight in a healthy manner, you should try to lose 1-2 pounds a week. If that is the case, then at 1 pound a week, that puts me at my goal in about a year. That seems like long time! But I want to get healthy and stay that way, not drop it all off quickly just to gain it all back.
  7. It helps you to maintain your independence in your later years. I think this is something that we all want. I mean, who wants to be in a nursing home with someone else wiping your butt? Not me! Besides, when I retire I want to travel the world. And I can’t do that if i’m old and fragile.

Exercise also seems to help me sleep, except when I do it too late – then I cannot fall asleep for the life of me. Working out will also help to build muscle, and we all know that muscle burns more calories than fat, which means you can lose weight easier. Hopefully these tips will help you get on the right track to becoming fit and healthy.