6 Ways to Make Running a Habit

Habit Helper 1: Sign up for a Race

Maybe you’ve never even been to a road race, yet alone participate in one. But whether you’re a regular runner or you’ve never jogged more than a mile, committing yourself to a major goal (like finishing a 5K, or running it in a certain time) is a highly motivating way to stick to your routine.

First, there’s the financial commitment: Once you plunk down the cash to compete (note: most races offer a discounted entry fee if you register in advance), you’ll be more motivated to make it to that starting line. Plus, “Having a concrete date on the calendar in front of you also provides you with a framework to plan your training towards a specific goal,” says Reichmann.

If it’s your first time toeing the line, pick a small, local race (even better if you can practice on the course leading up to race day). Reichmann and Sapper also encourage runners to share their race plans with friends and family, for added incentive to train. “You’ll be more motivated to keep it up if you have others supporting you,” says Sapper.

Habit Helper 2: Track Your Progress

Whether you like to use an app or keep things old-school with pen and paper, logging your workouts is key to keeping up your activity. “Tracking your training gives you a visual reminder of what you’ve accomplished—and guilt if you haven’t logged a workout in a while. And it’s also a way to know if you’re doing too much—or too little,” says Reichmann, who advises that you don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week to avoid injury and burnout.

And because you can also record other factors, like time of day, weather, what you ate, and how much sleep you got the night before, “You can start to track trends and figure out what works for successful training and racing,” says Reichmann.

Habit Helper 3: Get Social

When it comes to running, there’s motivation in numbers. Joining a running group or enlisting friends or co-workers to join you for a daily or weekly jog around the park can be just what you need to make running a part of your routine. “Running with people with similar goals is often more motivating than running alone, as you know there is someone else relying on you to show up,” says Reichmann. “Just be sure you’re running with someone who matches your pace. If [the pace] is too fast or too slow, this can lead to injury.”

Branching out online can also up your enthusiasm to get out there, says Sapper. “Many of our runners use social media to post their runs. The praise and encouragement from others keeps them going on the more challenging days.”

Habit Helper 4: Start off Slow

You may be pumped to pound the pavement at a blistering pace when you’re first starting out, but to keep running part of your life for the long term, slow and steady is the way to go. “Give yourself permission to run at a comfortable pace, which is how your body develops endurance,” says Reichmann. “Running at a conversational pace is actually how your body develops endurance, and it helps avoid injury.”

For new runners, Sapper and Reichmann stress the importance of working up to a goal distance as opposed to trying to hit that mark straight away. “Thinking about running a 5K can be daunting for many new runners,” says Sapper. “Instead, take it a day at a time and just try to do a little more each day than you did the day before. These small progressions will add up, and, before you know it, you will be running farther distances.”

Habit Helper 5: Keep it Fresh

Who says you have to run the same route day in and day out? Even if you’re a creature of habit, mixing things up with your runs can keep you coming back for more. “Exploring new running routes allows for a change of scenery,” says Reichmann. “Research local routes, grab a friend, and go explore.”

Another way to fun it up? Treat yourself to new gear. It could be brand new shoes (head to your local running shop to find the perfect pair for you), funky-patterned tights or a neon-colored top. “It doesn’t hurt if it’s cute so that you look forward to putting them on for your run,” says Sapper.

Habit Helper 6: Plan it Right

Whether you’re juggling your career, your kids, or both, it’s easy to let life get in the way of exercise. But if you plan your workouts like you plan meetings or playdates, you’ll be able to find time to get them in. “Sit down at the beginning of each week and put your runs into your calendar,” suggests Reichmann. “Be realistic. If you are not a morning person, don’t schedule the runs for 6 a.m., when you know you will likely sleep through your alarm.”

Other tips for keeping running at the top of your to-do list:

  • Be flexible: “Even if you don’t have the entire hour you planned to devote to running, get out for as long as you can,” says Reichmann.
  • Be prepared: “Lay out your running clothes the night before a run if you plan to run early in the morning, or pack your running shoes and a change of clothes if you plan to run at work,” says Reichmann.
  • Be open: “Let others know about your goals, and seek their support,” says Reichmann. “Ask a spouse, parents, friends, family, co-workers or neighbors to help so that you can carve out time for your training, and honor your commitment.”

Source: MyFitnessPal

Eat Healthy While Saving Money

eating-healthy-on-a-budgetDeciding which foods to serve your family each week can be hard, especially if you are on a tight budget. There are so many choices at the store that decisions are often based on what we see in front of us, rather than on a plan for making healthier choices.

Creating a healthier food plan depends on what foods are in season, what foods your family likes and what foods you have at home already. You can also plan around sale items. Not only will you make more informed choices, but you may also be able to save money and time. Also, eating healthier foods in moderate portions and saving leftovers will help trim your budget and waistline by eating fewer calories at one time.

Plan Ahead:

  1. Make a plan and stick to it. With a little planning, you can get most of your groceries for the week in one trip, which will save a lot of time. And, the fewer trips to the store, the less likely you will be to buy unnecessary items.
  2. Review store ads and clip coupons for healthier items such as skinless chicken breasts, lean cuts of meat or ground beef, fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned in its own juice), vegetables (fresh, frozen without added fat, or canned without added sodium), whole grain breads and cereals, and low fat or fat free milk and milk products.
  3. Check your cupboards and refrigerator for items that you can use and then plan to use them.
  4. Don’t shop hungry. If you shop when you are hungry, you are more likely to buy more than you need and possibly buy less healthy items that appeal to you at that moment.
  5. Try to go grocery shopping without children. Stores put foods that many children like such as candy and sugary cereal where they can see and reach them. These foods are often advertised with characters that appeal to children. If you must bring children, grocery shopping can be a great way to teach them about food and nutrition (and colors, math and reading).

Grocery Shopping Tips:

  • Sign up for your grocer’s bonus/discount card for additional savings.
  • Try store brands. The most costly brands are typically placed at eye level. Store brands that may be cheaper and are just as good are often placed higher or lower on the shelf.
  • Comparison shop for healthier brands. Read the Nutrition Facts Label. Learn how to find serving sizes and the per serving amounts of calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugars, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

More Tips

  • Use the unit price and the Nutrition Facts Label to compare similar foods. The unit price tells you the cost per ounce, pound or pint, so you’ll know which brand and size are best to buy. Look for it on the shelf sticker below the product. Then, read the Nutrition Facts Label to be sure that you are getting the healthiest option at the lowest cost.
  • No matter what the form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried, juice – all varieties of fruits and vegetables count toward your daily recommendation. Choose fruits without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter or cream sauces. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice counts towards your daily recommendation, the majority of the total daily amount of fruit and vegetables should come from whole fruits and vegetables to help you get enough fiber.
  • Buy in-season fruits and vegetables. Use local farmer’s markets when possible – the foods are fresher and usually cost the same, if not less, because you are buying direct from the farmer.
  • Buy milk (low fat or fat free) in the largest containers you can handle before it spoils (gallon or ½ gallon). Milk sold at convenience stores usually costs more than at supermarkets. (Fat-free dry milk is an inexpensive back-up choice for using milk in recipes.)
  • Buy a whole chicken and cut it up into parts instead of buying pre-cut chicken (breast, wings, thighs, legs). Remove the skin before cooking or serving.
  • Stock up on sale items of healthier foods that you may be able to use in a timely manner. Buy canned, frozen, or packaged foods in bulk for quality and value, but serve appropriate portions within estimated calorie needs. Buy produce, lean meats and low fat or fat free milk and milk products in bulk amounts that you can eat before they spoil.
  • Use your food budget wisely. If you spend $7 on lunch 5 days a week for a year, you will spend a total of $1,820. You can save money and calories by bringing a healthier brown bag lunch.

Source: National Institutes of Health


4 Ways to Find Time for Health

It’s easy to tell what’s truly important to a person by looking at how they spend their time. Yet when readers were asked about their biggest obstacles to healthy living, “no time to cook” and “no time for exercise” rank in the top 5.

The fact is investing some time every day into taking care of your body and your health is probably the surest investment you can make in this lifetime. It pays off in the ease and joy that come with a healthy body and lower health costs, and ultimately it pays off in terms of even more time: a longer life expectancy. Diet factors into as many as 70% of all deaths in America, and Psychology Today reports even a small amount of daily physical activity can extend your life.

But wanting to do something doesn’t exactly create more space in your calendar. Which is why having a time management strategy is so important. Here’s how to find the time in your day to cook, eat well, exercise, and do whatever healthy is to you.

1. Identify your time vampires Watch the clock for a day to identify where you’re spending too much time. Do you really need to watch another cat video online or post another selfie on Facebook? Are you spending more than an hour watching TV? Once you’ve identified the less-than-healthy ways you’re spending a ton of time, see if you can…

2. Redirect your time toward healthier activities If you can’t bear to miss the next episode, try catching up on The Real Housewives while on the treadmill, for example. If it turns out your time vampires are more social, get your friends involved. Instead of spending 3 hours texting or chatting with each other on social media, use that time to meet in person for a walk and gab session around the neighborhood, or hit up a Zumba class. Consider converting social events into workouts or weekend Farmer’s Market trips. Or simply agree to share your food logs with each other and discuss your health goals on Facebook. You’ll connect, feel supported, and even achieve better results.

3.  Get clear on how much time “healthy” really takes Everyone on planet Earth, has the same number of hours in a day. The busy Mom you know who works, has three kids, runs 3 miles every day, and preps family meals on the weekends while balancing her checking account doesn’t have any more time than you do. But she might have different priorities.

If healthy eating and exercise aren’t high on your priority list, you may be overestimating what it takes to be “healthy.” It’s tough to go from daily fast-food cheeseburgers to eating a vegan-gluten-free-grown-in-your-kitchen-garden-and prepared-by-hand-daily diet over night. In fact, it’s downright impossible. That busy mom probably took baby steps to get there, and so should you.

4. Make small changes to your routine Start by ordering a side salad instead of fries, and opt for water instead of a root beer chaser. Don’t try to force yourself to cook if you hate being in the kitchen, pick up freshly prepared meals from the grocery store or a healthy restaurant instead. And don’t try to run a marathon out of the gate. Ease into fitness with quick workouts (like our Fast Fitness! series) or pick a fun activity that you enjoy doing with others—sign up for a dance class or join a hiking club.

Do what you love, eat foods that fuel your body, make small changes, and before you know you’ll be spending all of your time simply being healthy.

Source: MyFitnessPal

Yoga with Jessica

We are featuring a new series focusing on Yoga. Cameron employee, Jessica Durham, recently became a 200 Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), and she will be sharing her thoughts, tips and tricks for those who love yoga. This series will be posted on the 16th of each month, so be sure to come back and check out what Jessica has to say!

Jessica Durham pictured with her son

What is your first thought when you hear the word yoga?  Some long, lean, lithe bendy woman? Exercise? Chanting? Idol worship? Hippies?

The true meaning of yoga is “to yoke” or “union.” Union of what? Yoga unites the mind, body & spirit. Yoga helps to still or quiet the mind. Ask yourself this: In any given 24 hour period, how much of what you do are you aware of? How much of what you do is done on autopilot? Yoga helps you to bring stillness to your restless body and helps to quiet and calm your mind so that you can be present in the present moment. When we take the time, our nervous systems relax, our minds slow down, our muscles become supple, our breath deepens – our inner chemistry shifts towards balance, which one experiences as peace, calmness, serenity, relaxation, and bliss.

When you come to your mat for your yoga practice, you let go of your ego because you compete with no one. There is no comparison in yoga, nor is there any judgment. Your yoga practice develops gradually and is ever changing so it never gets boring. Yoga develops strength and flexibility while creating balance in the body. Through yoga, you develop body awareness. A wise man once told me that yoga is “strength through stillness.”

I began doing yoga 5 years ago. It started out as a low impact, relaxing hour for myself.  While it still is that, it is now so much more. Yoga can be anything you want it to be….a low impact workout, a cardio workout, an hour of total relaxation, meditation, a spiritual journey….the options are endless.

I am now a newly 200 RYT, and I am certified to teach Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the introduction to yoga poses and relaxation techniques. I would describe a typical practice or class as “strengthening and deep stretching the body while moving to a slower rhythm of movement. A smooth movement (flow) of poses that run together and become like a dance.” Coming back to what I mentioned before, I would encourage you to “let the slow flow of movement and stillness nourish your body and soul.”

There is a type of yoga for everyone. Yoga is for everybody and every body. Stay tuned for more information on the fabulous world of yoga….


When should my baby see the doctor?

A baby can’t tell you her tummy hurts or she feels dizzy, so it can be tough to decide when your baby needs a doctor’s care. In general, the following symptoms warrant a trip to your health care provider.

  • Diarrhea or a lack of stools.
  • Yellowish skin.
  • Temperature higher than 100ºF when a thermometer reading is taken under the arm.
  • Vomiting (not just spit up) more than two to three times a day.
  • Refusing to eat or nurse, or nurses poorly.
  • Fewer than four wet diapers in 24 hours.
  • Pus or redness at the base of the umbilical cord, or sensitivity when you touch the cord or the skin around it.
  • Excessive crying; cries that sound odd or last longer than normal.
  • Abnormal sleep; has difficulty waking up to eat or staying alert.

Wash the Dirt Away!

Hand washingToday is World Hand Hygiene Day! Hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, and can keep you and your family healthy! Check out these tips for the proper technique to wash your hands!

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend!
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

How do I clean my hands without soap or water?
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

The Scoop on Whole Grains

whole-grains-stock.jpgYou keep hearing that you should eat more whole grains, but what are they? How much should you eat? Eating at least three or more one-ounce equivalents of whole grains daily can reduce the risk of some diseases, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are published every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What Are Whole Grains?

Whole grains are cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked kernel, which includes the bran, the germ and the inner most part of the kernel (the endosperm).

Some examples of whole grains include whole wheat, oatmeal, whole-grain cornmeal, brown rice, whole-grain barley, whole rye, and buckwheat. Spelt, often thought of as a unique whole grain, is actually a member of the wheat family.

When trying to select products that contain whole grains, look for those that show whole grains listed first on the ingredient list. The ingredient list on a food label shows ingredients in the order of the most abundant by weight.

For products such as bread or pasta to be labeled whole grain, the grain can be ground, cracked or flaked, but it must retain the same proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm.

A Daily Dose of Whole Grains

Eating at least three one-ounce equivalents of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Examples of a one-ounce equivalent include:

  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or whole-grain barley
  • 1 regular slice of 100% whole-grain bread

1 cup of whole-grain ready-to-eat cereal (flakes or rounds) or 1¼ cup puffed

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

You’re in Labor!

dreamstime_xxl_48802990.jpgHere are some quick tips before heading to the hospital.  Be sure to pack your hospital bag ahead of time and install the car seat.

What to take to the hospital
Getting ready to head to the hospital can feel overwhelming but it does not have to.  Remember, keep it simple.  You will need to pack something for yourself as well as your new baby.

For yourself (Include items for when you’re going into labor as well as after you have the baby.)

  • A nightgown or big shirt to wear during labor, although a hospital gown will be provided
  • A few nightgowns, pajamas or T-shirts and sweat pants (breastfeeding mothers might find loose-fitting T-shirts or nursing gowns most comfortable)
  • Socks and/or Slippers
  • Washcloths and towels
  • A robe
  • Several pairs of underpants
  • Large, self-adhesive sanitary pads (the ones provided by the hospital may be small and hard to use)
  • Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Any other toiletries, cosmetics or hairstyling equipment you want
  • Phone numbers for people you want to call
  • A telephone charge card (you usually can’t use a cell phone in a hospital)
  • Clothes to wear home (be sure they are loose fitting)

For your baby

  • A receiving blanket
  • Clothes to wear home, including an undershirt, cap and socks
  • Disposable diapers (most hospitals provide these)
  • Bunting or a warm blanket if it’s cold outside
  • A car seat (if baby is to be driven home)

Focus of Fruit: Plantains

PlantainThis popular banana in Latin American, Caribbean and Asian countries, is often referred to as a cooking banana. Plantains resemble bananas but they are longer in length, thicker skinned and starchier in flavor. In most countries, plantains are used more like a vegetable than a fruit. They are not suitable for eating raw unless very ripe, when they turn completely black. Plantains are low in sodium, and high in vitamin A. This versatile fruit has three unique stages when they can be eaten.

Green plantains taste more like a potato with a starchy texture. At this stage, the interior is yellowish or slightly pink. The fruit is firm and is often used as side dishes.

Yellow plantains are the middle stage of the fruit. These plantains can have some brownish-black spots. At this stage, their role is both vegetable and fruit and is used in dishes for a slightly sweet taste and firm texture.

Black plantains are typically found in sweeter recipes. These plantains are all black or spotty black and are soft. Black plantains can be eaten raw.

Availability, Selection, Storage and Preparation

Plantains are available year round. You can buy plantains at any stage (green, yellow or black) depending on your use and when you want to enjoy them.

Plantains need to be stored at room temperature. After desired stage of ripeness is reached it is okay to refrigerate 2 to 3 days before cooking to slow down the ripening process. As with other bananas, plantains freeze well.

Plantains can be difficult to peel depending on their stage of ripeness. Black plantains are peeled like other bananas. It’s best to cut the top and bottom of the banana first. Then using the tip of the knife, run the knife along the skin from the top to the bottom of the banana. Repeat this step on all four ridges. Next, carefully peel the skin away from the pulp. The greener the plantain, the thicker the skin.  It is best to peel green plantains under water to minimize bruising.

Nutritional Analysis

  • Serving size: 1/2 cup, raw
  • Calories 90
  • Calories from Fat 0
  • Total Fat 0g
  • Sodium 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 24g
  • Dietary Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 11g
  • Protein 1g