Using the Outdoors as Way to Enjoy Life

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naturetrail

We can all use a little more time to relax. People are so stressed these days that it seems that no amount of time would be enough. Sometimes people feel they must spend hundreds of dollars on various exercise equipment to feel find the time to relax. The truth is you don’t need all that. All you need is a little time outside to really re-connect with yourself and feel better. Nature can be the universal healer if you just allow yourself to encompass you.

Now I know I am sounding a little like a hippie at this point, but I really believe in this. Studies suggest that spending time outdoors everyday increases our levels of vitamin D. This then helps with alleviating depression or any negativity that you may be feeling. I like to go out running every morning while the morning sun is just breaking through. It really is the perfect way to start the day. There is just something about being outside with nature and doing various exercises. It really quiets the mind and helps put you in the right state of mind for the rest of your day.

If you are not a big fan of running, then it can also be beneficial to just sit outside in the sunshine for a while. Just spending a few minutes meditating with nature can be enough. I have seen people lay out in the sunshine with a blanket at the beginning of their morning. Sometimes just being able to absorb the sun’s rays can be enough. This can be especially important when you are feeling below the weather. I know when I feel anxious that sometimes its just best for me to take myself out on my porch and just lay still. There are so much lovely sounds that occur in nature. It is better than any soundtrack.

Playing outdoors can be so relaxing as well. Some people like to walk on nature trails but others like more active activities such as soccer or football. Like more adventurous ventures? Try rock climbing. It may sound a little much but many consider it very relaxing to just be out there with nothing but rocks and ropes. It takes a lot of concentration and stamina to be good at it but it can be so rewarding in the end of the day. Having the discipline to spend that time outside is what is really important. It doesn’t matter what you do in the end. The thing that counts is being out there and being outside.

The benefits of relaxing outside and being in nature are numerous. Finding an activity that works for you is important. This will give you the motivation to make it a habit to keep doing it. I really can’t say enough about getting your butt outside and being active. It’s some of the cheapest therapy you can have for sure. No matter what you do, get out there and have fun!

Photo by Cauldrons and Cupcakes

 

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Running Sucks! And Why I’m Doing It Anyway

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i hate this

“I can’t run.” If I had a cupcake for every time I have said this since the age of 7, I would be very, very plump. I have known my whole life that I cannot run. I can’t do it. It is physically impossible for me to run. I will absolutely DIE if I have to run.

Okay, so maybe that’s exaggerating a bit. What can I say? I’m a bit of a drama queen.

No More Limitations

So why did I set a goal to run a 5K in my 24th year of life? Because I don’t want to there to be something out  there that I can’t do. My rebellious inner teenager has decided that I will do what I can’t do. Begrudgingly, yes. But I’ll still do it.

You see, I’ve decided not to limit myself anymore. I also couldn’t leave Ohio, I couldn’t leave a stable career, and I couldn’t get paid for my writing skills. Guess what, y’all? Turns out I could. So who says I can’t run? I can run. Perhaps I can run a 5K. Maybe I can even run a marathon someday. As Michael Scott once DECLARED bankruptcy (If you aren’t a fan of The Office, look this up!), I declare that I CAN RUN!

Why Running?

Besides the fact that I’ve only conquered a mile once in my entire life (5th grade, second to last finish, 10 minutes 9 seconds), there are several reasons why RUNNING is the thing I want to do.

- It’s gymless. After several gym memberships that went unused, I don’t pay monthly fees to gyms anymore. I want an exercise that I can do absolutely anywhere.

- I want to be strong. I’ve never been overweight. I’ve also never been ultra-fit. I want to feel strong. I want to know that I can hold my own if I am attacked by a rabid raccoon (I have a weird fear of raccoons!).

- It’s badass. I think running is the ultimate act of badassery. Perhaps that’s because I always thought I couldn’t do it. Apparently, the opposite of Erin is badass.

I started. I am through my first awful week of Couch to 5k. It was painful, but not as painful as the “I can’t”s in my life. Maybe, just maybe there’s a runner in here after all.

Any new runners? It SUCKS, right? Experienced runners — what’s the best piece of advice you have for new runners?

Peace, Love, & Running Shoes,

Erin

Image by plummy-and-sam


Don’t diet, just be healthy.

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Good Morning Loves,

This week we had a healthy living conference at my office and I learned some interesting facts about eating healthy, being active and living well. Of course whenever I hear some great information I have to share with you.

Use these tips to help get your body bikini ready this summer…

Interesting facts about eating healthy    

- Frozen veggies are just as good as fresh fruits and veggies, canned should be a last resort

- Eggs don’t have as much omega 3 as they advertise

- We need: fruits, veggies, dairy, grains and protein

- We don’t need: fat, sugar and salt

- 1 kiwi has your total daily vitamin C requirement

- Eat fruits with a fiber source to avoid a sugar high – and then crash

Learning to be active

- We need 30 minutes of exercise every day to maintain our weight

- Sitting at a desk is as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

- It’s ok to drink 2-3 cups of coffee per day – we should drink caffeine before working out

- 60% of people in Canada are overweight

- 25% of Canadians are obese

Start living well

- Exercising helps bones retains calcium and prevents osteoporosis

- Fiber makes you feel full – it helps your digestion and lowers cholesterol

- Only 30% of our daily calorie intake should come from fat

- It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full – that’s why we should eat slowly

What is your personal healthy living motto?

Love always,

Photo by stephanie watson

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I (almost) met Bethenny Frankel

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Good morning Loves,

Well, I am back from my trip to New York City and as always I am a little bit sad. NYC is such a great city and I am always sad to leave. I try to visit NYC as often as my schedule – and my budget – permits because there is just so much to do and no two trips are ever the same.

What is the one city that you just can’t live without?

This time I went to NYC for SELF Workout in the Park.  It was a full day fitness event with classes by Crunch gym and lots and lots of healthy living swag.  In between yoga, dance and sexy stretching classes I snacked on salads and enjoyed a facial and massage from Garnier.  I came home with Victoria’s Secret workout gear, snacks from and of course the new issue of SELF magazine.

My favourite workout was the 90’s dance cardio routine with 2 Fly. These two white girls can really work it out – and to Bell Biv Devoe.  It was the perfect end to an awesome day at SELF Workout in the Park.

What was the best part of SELF Workout in the Park?

Bethenny Frankel made a guest appearance and for the entire 45 seconds of her speech I was in total awe.  Technically I have never met Bethenny, but for some reason I feel like I know her. I have watched Bethenny grow her business from being on The Apprentice with Martha Stewart to having it all with Bethenny Ever After. Personal Confession: I never liked this Jason either!

Bethenny’s signature brand Skinnygirl Daily had a booth at the event and the lovely ladies in red were handing out energizing snacks. It was great to actually see her in person and hear her speak.  Just in case you are wondering – Yes! She is really THAT skinny in real life.

PS – Bethenny if you are reading this (LOL) I am not a crazy stalker, I am just a huge fan!

Check out some pics from my day at SELF Workout in the Park:

 

 

Love Always,

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Sweat it out: $50 iTrain gift card giveaway

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Good morning Loves and happy Friday.  We have a great giveaway for you today so let’s get into it.

If you read My Diary on a regular basis (and I’m sure you all do LOL) you know that I have adapted a healthy living attitude by cooking at home and working out on a regular basis.  I have thrown myself into several fitness communities and I even pick up a running magazine whenever I am in my local bookstore.

I am currently training for my first 5k run and next month I am attending SELF Workout in the Park in New York City – if you are going let me know and maybe we can take a class together.  I have to tell you that working out has done great things for my mental state, and it’s a huge stress relief.

Have you ever tried an audio workout?

In my recent Beauty Box 5 I received a gift card to iTrain.com and I am going to give it away to one lucky reader.  iTrain is a website that lets you download workouts onto your computer and into your iPod.  I downloaded an iTread workout that guides me along a moderate run on the treadmill and also an iSculpt ballet workout.

I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure that I would like exercising with an audio workout, but it was surprisingly effective.  I still prefer to workout with DVDs, but if you need motivation to keep running or if you are in a situation – like a hotel room – where you don’t have access to your normal workout routine then iTrain is a great alternative.

Enter below for your chance to win a $50 iTrain gift card, that’s good for 5-10 workout downloads into your iPod. Good luck to everyone who enters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Look Like a Lady. Sweat Like a Boss.

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Ellie Gym
Good Morning Loves.  It’s Monday morning and it’s time for a personal confession, I know it’s early but bear with me for a moment because we have a little something-something for you too.

I want to workout, I actually want to spend my day’s only working out, losing weight and getting fit but sometimes (actually most of the time) I lack the motivation to get off my butt and get moving.  I definitely feel better after I workout but getting started can be difficult.

Ellie RunSo how do I keep motivated?

I honestly believe that cute workout outfits are the foundation of every good workout because when you look good you feel good and when you feel good you will be happy and when you are happy you will have the motivation to get moving.  Right?

We usually think that we have to be in old sweats when we workout and we always assume that we are going to look sweaty and gross while doing it, but that is just not true.  No one says that we have to be ugly while working out, after all a little sweat never hurt nobody.  My secret to keeping motivated is to always look good and have fun when I workout.

Where can you find cute workout outfits for cheap?

I know that workout outfits can be very expensive and I for one can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on workout clothes.  I am always looking for creative – aka cost efficient ways to workout.  I recently discovered the world of Ellie and my workout wardrobe has never been the same.

The ladies at Ellie are all about looking good. They want to help keep you motivated to keep working out. How do they do this? With cute workout outfits of course! Ellie offers complete quality workout outfits for discount prices.  You can get a complete workout outfit – that’s a top and a bottom – for only $49.95 and shipping is included.

- Ellie is offering all My Diary Entry readers 20% off their first workout outfit -

Ellie YogaI have 2 complete workout outfits from Ellie which include grey leggings, black capri’s and two tank tops and I totally love them. They absorb my sweat to keep me looking cute, they are flexible so I can stretch comfortably during yoga and they are trendy so that I look good when I workout in the park.  Visit their website, chose your outfit and get 20% off…it’s that easy.

So now that your new workout outfit is in the mail and on its way to you (because I assume you went to the Ellie website and ordered a cute workout outfit) let me tell you why I love working out.

3 reasons why I love working out:

1. It keeps you warm. We all know that working out regularly can help our health but there are other benefits too. This winter was especially cold and my motivation for working out this winter was to keep warm.

2. It helps you sleep. I like to workout after dinner because then I can take a warm shower and go to bed.  Burning off all my extra energy has really helped me sleep deeper and longer every night.

3. It’s really good for your skin.  I don’t think sweat is gross, I love sweating because it clears out my pores and gives my skin a J.Lo-esque glow. It takes a bit to get me going but once I start working out I’m like bring on the sweat!

Why do you love working out?

Love Always,

Photos by Ellie.com

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Friday Faves: My favourite healthy snacks

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I am not going to lie – I love snacking.  I like to snack in the morning, I like to snack in the afternoon and sometimes I even like to snack before bed.  I know it’s not good for my health but sometimes I just really like going to bed with a full belly.

As you know I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising on a regular basis and making healthy food choices, well let me tell you that snacking definitely gets in the way of my newfound healthy habits.

I don’t know what it is about snacking but it’s comforting. I have already given up eating pizza and I have cut down on my sugar and sweets to accommodate my healthy lifestyle, I didn’t want to give up snacking too.

The key to not making too many snacking sacrifices and still watching my daily calorie intake is to find healthy, yet satisfying, snacks to eat.  If a new habit is too much of a change or too much of an effort I definitely won’t stick to it.  So I had to find a middle ground and still snack.

Can you guess what snacks I love to eat?

Bananas.  I love to start my day with a banana.  Bananas are both filling and sweet; they provide the perfect kick start to a day. If bananas aren’t your fruit of preference then any fruit will do because it will fill your belly and satisfy your sugar cravings or sugar void.

 

 

English Muffins. I love bread, there I said it.  I am just not that girl who can live on protein shakes and salad. English muffins have less carbs and fewer calories than bagels, but they are just as filling.  For an extra little snack kick try flavoured English muffins or slather your plain English muffin with jam or peanut butter…slather it with anything but Cheese Whiz.

 

Snack Bars. I don’t always have time to sit down in the morning and have a bowl of cereal; actually I never have time to do that.  I am the girl who prefers to sleep for an extra 15 minutes and grab breakfast on the go.  Sleeping is the best part of my day and I don’t want to give that up but I don’t want to be hungry either, so I eat a snack bar.

My favourite snack bars right now are Probars because they come in a variety of flavours. Visit their website and enter the code BLOGGER at checkout to get 40% off your entire order.

What is your favourite healthy snack?

 Michelle loves snacking on grapes.

 Marysa loves cheese and crackers

 Elizabeth’s favourite snack is sugar snap peas.

 Jenn loves snacking on pirate’s booty….UM what is this???

Check out more of our readers favourite snacks here.

Photo by Brett Jordan

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Friday Faves: 3 Killer Thigh Workouts

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It’s Friday people!  Today I am writing to you with a lot of good news and I can’t wait to share so let’s get right into it.

1. I am happy to say that today marks the end of another great week at my new job, so that’s always good news.

2. I received my first book review from a fellow blogger and here is what As Green from Always the Planner has to say:

“I found A Better You to be a quick and very motivational read.  Tahnya Kristina gives you a ton of tips on how to get started and how to stay motivated.”

3. If you follow me on Twitter then you know that I have been looking for a killer thigh workout and after some love from my Tweeps I found 3 great thigh workouts.  Can you say HELLO Short Shorts!  Check them out and let me know which one is your fave.

- Hot Legs Sexy Butt Workout from BodyRock.tv – this is a killer workout.  It’s not fun because it’s hard work but you will feel great when you finish.  Actually that’s not true you will be sore but your thighs will thank you later.  Set 10 minutes aside, workout your thighs and then take a long warm bubble bath. PS – the motivation to get through this tough workout is to have a killer body like the girl in the video. Do this workout and you will look like that ——————————->>>>

- My Thighs are Dying! from Blogilates – this was the first workout that I tried and I liked it.  Cassy from Blogilates is fun and full of energy; she incorporates music with her at home workouts so that you have fun while working out.  This is not my all time favourite thigh workout but it’s not a bad way to spend 15 minutes.

- Gangnam Style Squat Challenge from Blogilates – I originally tried this workout because the music is fun and anything with a little bit of dancing can’t be so bad. I love this intense quick workout because I can always find 5 minutes in my day to blast away my thighs – especially while I dance to Gangnam Style.

4. Last but definitely not least, here are some of my favourite posts this week from my blogging friends:

- Daisy @ Add Vodka – Job Hopping & Generational Differences in Opinions About Careers (this is a fitting post considering the fact that I just left my decade long career and found my dream job)

- Rachel @ Running Rachel – Do You Give Your All? (really sit down and think about that for a moment. What did you set out to accomplish today? Did you put forth your best effort?)

- Carrie @ Careful Cents - Monthly Progress Report: Time to Make a Change (it is never too late to make changes in our lives and I honestly believe that. At 32 years old I finally decided that I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore and I started making changes.  You can read all about it in my new book)

Love Always.

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3 Things People Never Tell You About Losing Weight

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With the New Year among us it’s time to set our resolutions and it’s time to start working on improving our lives, or at least improving some aspects of our lives. I love the New Year because it’s a fresh start and it’s a chance for a new me.  I usually start working on improving myself in October when my birthday comes around and in January I go into full force with my New Year’s resolutions.

Since October I have been trying to change my lazy lifestyle for a healthier lifestyle.  I purchased new yoga and workout DVDs, I purchased cute new workout clothes and I am trying to make an effort to track my calorie intake and workout at least 3 times a week.  I am loving my new healthy lifestyle because I have more energy and I am also noticing a change in my body shape.  But let me tell you it hasn’t all been as pleasant as a walk in the park.

The end result of being cute, skinny and healthy is worth the effort but the actual process of eating an apple when you really want to eat French fries is not always a happy time. I definitely encourage everyone who wants to get healthy to change their eating and workout regularly, but at the same time I don’t want you to have any misconceptions about trying to live a healthier life.

The ugly truth about trying to lose weight

There will be tears.  Whenever you see a weight loss commercial on television for a new diet regime or a new piece of exercise equipment you always see the person after they have lost the weight and they always have a smile on their face.  Sure, it’s easy to do a happy dance when you lost 25 pounds; but what you don’t see is the process of trying to lose weight.  Those weight loss commercials never show you the tears, they never talk about the times that you went to bed hungry and the times that you wanted to eat a hamburger but instead you ate a salad.  Those are the tough times of the weight loss process.

It can be expensive.  The key to losing weight is to change your daily habits from healthy grocery shopping to counting your calories. You should not want to maintain your current lifestyle and try to lose weight at the same time, if you really want to lose weight you will have to make some changes.  In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories in a day than you take in, there are two ways to do this – eat less or workout more.

You will be hungry.  During the first few weeks of weight loss you will be hungry.  Snacking on fruits, veggies and nuts will help eliminate some of the hunger but until your body adjusts to your new healthy eating you will be hungry.  But don’t worry your body will adjust, after a couple of weeks your stomach will shrink and you will start feeling full with less food.  Substituting sugary foods and foods with a high amount of carbohydrates will help you lose weight faster.

Love Always.

Photo by NikkiL

 

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Body Media Fit Review and Discount Code

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One of my personal goals this year is to lose 25 pounds in 6 months.  Actually the weight isn’t as important as feeling good.  If I lost enough weight to be a little bit leaner, a tiny bit smaller and feel a little bit better about myself I would be happy.

Why you should be counting your calories

So how can a person lose weight? Well that’s easy by burning off more calories than we take in whether that is by eating less or exercising on a more regular basis. Now the question is how do you know how many calories you are taking in and burning off each and every day? Once again the answer is easy, with Body Media Fit.

Body Media is an interactive armband that tracks your calories burned on a daily basis, counts your steps taken every day and monitors your personal weight loss goals based on your own abilities, fitness levels, commitments and preferences.

The Activity Manager gives you personal notifications and tracks your personal daily bests such as how long you did vigorous activity in any given day and the amount of time you slept in a day. Oh yes Body Media acknowledges that getting enough sleep is an important part of getting healthy. Body Media Fit has been featured on television shows such as The Biggest Loser and Live with Kelly and Michael.

The kind people at Body Media were generous enough to send over a free membership and armband to help me get started living a healthier lifestyle.  I loved using Body Media Fit to track my calories because I like to see that I am burning more calories every day than I am taking in.

I entered the foods I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner online and Body Media Fit did the rest. Weight loss is easy when we know what we are doing and Body Media helped me get a healthy education.

3 Healthy Tips that I learned from tracking my calories:

If you want to lose weight you should burn 500 more calories a day than they take in

We should take at least 10,000 steps per day

A healthy person needs a solid 8 hours of sleep every night

Get Your Own Body Media Fit Today

Visit Body Media today and enter the code MYDIARY15 to get 15% off your entire order.

This offer is valid until January 31, 2013.

Love Always.

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