So it had been a long time since posting about my experience during the 21 Day Sugar Detox and The Problem with Sugar, but I am back with more sugar information! My goal with the sugar information is to make it clear that you can enjoy things in life, but make them healthier for yourself and even better, learn more about what you’re eating! Today I am going to chat about the scary world of sweeteners…
We know that sugar is found in far more things then we think about, not just candy bars and pops, but finding that sugar additive can be tricky business. That is because sugar can be transformed, giving it many different names to go by on food labels. Instead of just looking for the word “sugar” (which you will find a lot) there are many other things to keep an eye out for when trying to avoid sugar.
Here is a fantastic guide to sweeteners, it contains really great information about what kind of sweeteners you should avoid and consider eating.
Now go read some fod labels, check out your tomato sauce, look at everything "healthy" you
While this list seems unapproachable, it is not, many of these sugars will be found at the end of a laundry list ingredient list, so if you stick to things that have a few (say 5-7) ingredients, you will likely not see a lot of these things. What makes sugar avoiding easy, is that if you avoid processed foods, and eating a whole, nutrient dense diet, you wont be seeing these crazy things in your foods at all. Your best option is to pick foods without an ingredient list, or just simply 1 thing listed (think “ground turkey” or “whole almonds”).
Now I am NOT saying to not have any sugar, or that eliminating it for life is a good goal. I sure don't eliminate it completely, but when I do try to do it choose the best possible sugars to have in my diet, like I said, the unprocessed and more natural sugar sources.
Some of the best sugar sources that I recommended, especially if you are adding your own sugar to something like baking are: honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, molasses, dates and fruit juices. These sweeteners come from much more natural sources and are a better option that can truly satisfy a sugar craving and they have some more nutritional value.
One addition tip is to reduce the sugar or sweeteners you use everywhere! If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, try reducing it by a 1/3, try to reduce the sugar in your coffee by a little bit, stop adding sugar to naturally sweet things like fruit (sugar on strawberries anyone?). Going on a sugar detox is a great idea too, it helped me taste the real sweetness in foods, even things like unsweetened coconut turn into delicious sweet treats!
Do you think reducing your sugar intake is a good idea? Do you read food labels carefully? What is your usual go to sweetener choice?
I talked about getting started and staying motivated with being active, and one of my tips was to get some good music to motivate you. Making a good workout playlist is not as easy as it seems, you really do have some things to consider, because making the perfect playlist can truly enhance your workout and can help you get the most out of it. So here comes my top tips for making a great playlist!
Pick Songs that You Love
This is something to think about, because although there are a million great songs that you could workout to, choosing the ones you love is so important. Now, I am the kind of person who can hear a song over and over again and never get bored, unless I hate the song, and then it will never work.
When I am designing a playlist for my Zumba Fitness classes, I will listen to my CDs over and over again until I start humming a few songs later on, then I know the songs are keepers. For me, I have a few favorite artists, and they are my go-to artists when it comes to making a playlist. Bottom line, you have got to love the music you’re going to workout to!
Some artists I love to run to: Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Daddy Yankee
Warm-up, Pump-up, Rev-up, Keep-up, Slow-up
These are some key parts to a workout, and you want songs that will fit with the different phases of your workout.
Warm up: I like to pick a song that warms up itself, something that gets more and more exciting as it goes on, to ease me into the workout. My favourite running song is Don’t Wake Me Up by Chris Brown, it is the perfect song to start my runs. In my fitness classes I pick something simple, but with a good beat, Dale Dale by Francesca Maria with Jayko, Cisa and Drooid is my current warm up song in my classes.
Rev-Up: these songs have to get you going, something that is making you excited to workout, when I run, I need a good tune to make sure I don’t turn around before the 2 km part of my run, so I like to pick one of my favorites. Something that never gets old, songs that you wont get tired of. Push Push my Kat Deluna and Akon has been one of my favorites for a while, I love that it repeats a lot but it is also a really classic catchy pop tune.
Pump-up: Pump up songs happen around the middle of my runs and workouts, these are good songs that you can change up often, I like songs that are super feel good, songs with good vibes, this is the middle of your workout, so you’re at the high, that accomplished feeling needs to be felt in the song. Sometimes I hate to admit this, but Pitbull songs are a good example of songs that is so catchy you feel great, , always a good pump up beat. One of my most requested songs in Zumba is Timber, yes the most over played song of the moment!
Keep-up: we are getting to that part of the workout that we need to use our very best, our most favorite song, the one that gets you most excited! This is the time that we are not wanting to finish but a good song can push you through. Personally I love Daddy Yankee, his songs are so fantastic for a feel good keep going jam, Limbo is my all time favorite, I could hear that song over and over again, this is also where Nicki Minaj comes in, I love her.
Slow-Up: Now we pick songs that motivate us to the end, but also set us up for a cool down. This is a good opportunity to choose a song you like, any song you like, it doesn’t need to workout material, something to listen to as you cool down and do some stretching, slow walking or anything else you do to cool down.
I cannot stress this enough, always make a list, I have tried to use shuffle before or choose songs as I go along, but it is important to get a list that is perfect for your session, the extra effort is totally worth it! I plan my Zumba playlist in advance, and I make sure that it is exactly how I want it!
Keep your time in mind
When I run, I run for time (and sometimes distance) so I like to pick the right amount of songs, I love to know what song is the second or third last, so I don’t have to check my watch for time, I like to think in the number of songs left. This also helps when you are improving times. I like to try and beat my playlist as a personal challenge, if it goes onto a song after my final tune or my cool down, I know I was not doing as well as I had hoped!
So tell me, do you workout to music? How do you choose your playlist?
Making time to move can be a challenge for some of us, maybe we sit down at work, or we live busy lives. Most of us also know that moving is important for health and incorporating regular movement into your daily lives should be a part of your journey to health.
It can be tough to stay motivated and maintain a movement plan, but I have some tips that have worked for me, and they can help you too.
First, what holds us back from being active?
Lack of commitment
If I am not committed to working out, there is no chance that I will actually work out. It can be hard to make staying active a priority, but it has so many benefits that it should be a commitment we all make.
Try to find a time that works for you that you can dedicate to doing something active
We are “too busy”
Being “too busy” causes people to miss a lot of things but it is important to remember that you need time for yourself, if you make time for everything and everyone else, you can make time for being active. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to do this thing for yourself, with all the benefits, everyone you love will benefit from it too. Work on managing your time and prioritizing your life and activities.
Schedule in time to workout, make it a priority and when it is part of your “t- do” list, you are more likely to get it done.
When the going gets tough..
We all have a tendency to give up things that challenge us, but don’t let exercise be one of those things! If it doesn’t challenge you, it wont change you either, take on these challenges as personal important tasks only you can complete!
Push though and do your best, giving up is not an option, it will only make you stronger.
Working out makes me sweaty
I was not going to add this in, it seems silly, but it is actually something I really consider when working out. It can be tough not only to find time to workout, but to find time to get back to yourself after the workout.
Pick a time that works, I like to workout in the morning when I am staying home, or at night, before a bath or shower, I can’t workout when I need to be going somewhere, it is too much work to get put back together.
How do we stay motivated?
Health, in general
Exercising is not just for losing/maintaining/gaining weight. Activity helps with circulation, your lymphatic system, you skin, your energy, mental health and more! A small thing (that actually makes you feel good) is also you investing in your health, and everyone has people to be healthy for, so take the time to invest a little movement into your health care routine. The goal of good health should be a motivation for all of us, if nothing else!
Add in challenges
I feel like I wasted my time when I finish a workout and I feel the same as before my workout, so a little challenge each time is great! Jump higher, go further, faster, lift more, hold longer, try a bit harder, challenge yourself you will see the results, not just in your body, but in your mental and other physical aspects too! Making your workout work for you is important, doing the same thing every day will make you bored so quick, keep things at least a bit interesting!
Pick some great tunes
I love that I get to choose the best music for my fitness classes; I get so many compliments of my playlist when I teach that I know this makes a difference. When I go for a run, my music choices dictate my success; the right music makes all the difference!
This is great self-motivation; results are what we are all after! Remember, that movement isn’t about the outside changing, it is about changing on the inside, and eventually the outside will reflect that. Feeling more energized, sleeping better, and having a clearer mind are all great motivators for getting active.
Grab a buddy
This is an obvious one, but it doesn’t have to be a friend. Take a fitness class, I love this, going and seeing everyone else, it makes the experience awesome, and it keeps you going the whole class. Do a workout video with an instructor; they help kick your butt when you want to quit. When I run, I always take my dog, after a few days she is begging for me to go with her, so I can’t let her down!
Okay so we know that we need to be active, here are some great options!
I tend to stick to basic things! I love to watch YouTube fitness videos and do those, especially in the winter when I stay inside. I also love to run and walk when the weather is nice, I have a couple dogs that love to get outside and join me on walks and runs! Teaching fitness classes is a passion of mine as well, I used to teach lots of aquatic classes and now I teach Zumba Fitness, which I love, and it is a great way to teach and get exercise at the same time!
So tell me, what kind of fitness is your favorite? How do you stay motivated and what holds you back?
Amanda is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist out of Southwest Middlesex, and London ON. She works with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals!
Follow me on Instagram!