If a Horse Throws You, Jump Back on and Ride!I can't keep crackers and cookies in the pantry. Period. I say I'm buying them for my grandchildren, but when the Stress Monster arrives, watch out! I might trample my own mother getting to those cookies. And I have learned that even those sugar-free cookies I thought were OK still have an impact on my blood glucose levels.
I've also learned I have to walk early in the day. I just can't make myself do it in the evening because I end up missing one day, then another, and then I've blown the whole week. Checking my blood glucose levels a few times before and after my walk has been helpful, too. I usually see my blood glucose drop 30 to 40 points each time I check. This thought helps me take that first step out the door on those hard days.
Thank goodness for Mariana! She won't let me keep her kids while she walks unless I let her keep my grandchildren. I'd feel like a real bum if I didn't help her.
Mariana and I found a walking magazine someone left at the park. An article described a counter you wear on your waist that adds up your daily steps. The article said you can generate health benefits by increasing the average number of steps you take every day until you reach the optimal goal of 10,000 steps a day.
Walking for five minutes at a brisk pace equals about 450–500 steps. We thought comparing our steps every day would be fun. Meanwhile, we're trying to increase our number of steps by 300 each day.
Avoiding Traps and Trip-Ups
Everyone has traps and trip-ups. Once you've discovered yours, plan how you'll avoid them. Fran clearly has a cookie-eating weakness when she becomes stressed. Obviously, she can't keep cookies — even sugar-free ones — in the house if she wants to avoid eating them. Also, her agreement with Mariana helped her stay accountable for her activity. That's the beauty of a support system. When you don't have the energy to get moving, your friends will drag you out anyway. You can return the favor for them.
Have you discovered your traps and trip-ups? Record them below and how you plan to avoid them. Pitfalls might include putting off regular physical activity, choosing to eat a food you would rather avoid, planning too much for one day or getting into a negative thinking mode.
Don't let an occasional little trip-up bring you down. Everyone has them. As Fran says, "If a horse throws you, jump back on — and ride!"
Avoiding traps and trip-ups
Check Your Choices
We talked earlier about trans fats and the negative impact they have on our heart health. The key words on the food label are hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil. Almost all packaged foods, including crackers and cereals, are made with trans fats. Most fast foods also contain trans fats. The ways to avoid or limit them aren't too complicated.
Cut Trans Fats: Make it From Scratch
If you bake something from scratch, most likely it won't contain trans fats. Avoid baking mixes and biscuit mixes. Since most of us don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, plan a day to bake or cook and involve your family. Your children or grandchildren will thank you for caring enough about their health to take the time.
Choose to eat only homemade treats. You'll not only eat less — you'll significantly reduce the amount of trans fats you consume.
Go for Colorful Foods
Try eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. You'll consume more nutrients and fewer calories.
What's This? Good Fats and Good Snacks!
The following foods contain good fats (monounsaturated) or are low in saturated fats: natural or roasted almonds; whole grains such as brown rice, oats, rye and wheat bread; and olives. They make great snacks. They're filling and are examples of good-fat choices as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Like any snack food, you must eat in moderation. Remember, a snack is not a meal! Plan ahead how much you should eat and allow for snacks in your daily caloric intake. A smart, well-planned snack can help you meet your nutrition needs and avoid moments of weakness. For instance, a handful of unsalted almonds contains less than one-half the calories of a chocolate candy bar and is packed with good nutrition.
For example:One serving (a one-ounce handful) of whole natural almonds contains:
6 g Protein
6 g Total carbohydrates
3 g Dietary fiber
14 g Total fat (of that, 9 grams are monunosaturated fat that actually helps reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol) 0 mg Cholesterol and 1 g saturated fat
Exercises to strengthen
Don't forget to keep up your strengthening exercises along with your regular cardiovascular activity. Try 8–12 repetitions of each one of these new strength exercises.
strengthens and shapes the backs of thighs
Stand while resting your hands on a table for balance. Slowly bend one knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks. Stop when you get to a 90-degree angle.
Hold for a count of two, then slowly lower your leg. Do one set of 8–12 repetitions with one leg and repeat with the other leg.
For added resistance, add ankle weight or resistance bands. Begin with 1 pound.
strengthens stomach muscles
Lie on your back, knees bent, back flat, arms crossed in front of chest and hands placed on opposite shoulders. Hold in your stomach muscles and lift your shoulders up toward your thighs, keeping your chin level, eyes focused on the ceiling and elbows close to the body.
Slowly lower your upper body until the shoulder blades just touch the floor. Without resting, begin the sequence again and repeat 8–10 times. Don't forget to breathe!
Dumbbell Bench Press
strengthens chest muscles and back of arms
Lie flat on a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the bench (or you can do this on the floor). Hold a 2–5 lb. dumbbell (use lighter weight if needed) in each hand, palms forward, with your arms held at a 90-degree angle from your chest – arms straight up.
Lower the dumbbells to your chest. Try not to let them wobble as you lower them as far as you can. Then return to the starting position and repeat for 8–12 repetitions.
strengthens shoulders and neck
Sit on a chair with your back straight. Hold dumbbells in both hands. Bend your elbows to hold the dumbbells even at shoulder level, to the sides of the shoulders, your palms facing forward.
Press the dumbbells overhead, keeping the weights above your shoulders, elbows slightly bent. Return to the starting position and repeat for 8–12 repetitions.
Avoiding Traps and Trip-ups
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This content was last reviewed on 7/5/2012.