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When In Doubt, Don’t…

Heels To Laces is on a mission to break through the clutter of health and fitness and make it easier to live healthier – and have a ton of fun doing it.

As always, we love interaction so email us, comment, share and send your thoughts.

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life. ” ~Kerry Washington

TRUTH OR DARE
Each week we will present you with a truth or dare. It’s your job to tackle it with gusto and make it happen. Often, by just focusing on one change…just one, it’s much more palpable and achievable and becomes the jump start you need.

Dare (you knew it was coming): Get it in.
Get moving. This week challenge yourself every day (that’s 7 straight days, folks) to:

  • 10 push-ups (tight, straight plank – lower to the ground, squeeze up; do not arch your back or cheat on your knees)
  • 20 alternating lunges (one alternating right leg, left leg, count as one) – maintain a 90 degree angle on your front lunging foot, push off from your toe
  • 30 squats – shoulder width apart; knees and toes straight – sit down as if you are sitting in a chair, butt low, squeeze the glutes tight on the lift
  • 10 dips – start sitting on the ground – lift up into a “table” (pelvis up), dip your elbows up and down

It will take you all of 5 minutes. Note where you start at the beginning of the week – and where you end at the conclusion of the week. Having this type of repetition will challenge your muscles in a concentrated segment of time. Who knows – after you complete one week, you may want to continue (but up the anty – increase your numbers by 5-10 reps.

ASK THE EXPERTS
We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts.

There is no doubt that most of us doubt ourselves on a daily basis (see how we did that?). Self-doubt is defined as “lacking in confidence in oneself and one’s abilities”. And sometimes, we just get in our own way of success or achievement. Imagine if you had no doubt or no fear? Even if we have done something many times in the past…it tends to creep in. But, why? And are there any benefits to self-doubt? We asked psychotherapist, Lauren Pardo, LCSW to help us dig a little deeper.  Here is her insight:

Self-doubt is a core, maladaptive belief which causes us to not trust ourselves or our innate abilities. It often causes feelings of inadequacy and causes us to seek advice/opinions from others for decisions. Self-doubters are trying to self-protect and ultimately rationalize their irrational thoughts.  Although, some amount of self-doubt can be beneficial as it can challenge us in a situation of discomfort, it can prevent a hubristic (excessively proud or self-confident) way of thinking

There are several implications for chronic self-doubt including a rise in cortisol levels, under and overachieving, interference with perseverance, personal will and determination, procrastination, avoidant behavior, depriving you of the opportunity to succeed, hyper-focus on perfectionism (will not settle for “good enough”) and not “showing up”.  Chronic self-doubters are more likely to have addiction and mental health concerns (anxiety, depression).
So how do you cope with self-doubt?
You need to learn to reprogram the self-doubt thoughts to self-acceptance thoughts.  Challenge the inner rumination by asking yourself “is that a thought I am having or a true fact?” Envision yourself talking to a friend who is in need of compassion – it is a helpful way to learn self-compassion (learning how to treat yourself with kindness). Focusing on the process, rather than the end result, will improve the outcome.
  • There are two great TED Talks by Brene Brown that can offer insight and guidance on self-doubt: “Vulnerability” and  “Listening to Shame”
  • Ground yourself – what connects you to you?  Being in nature?  Walk with a good, trusted friend?  Meditation? (love the Breethe app)
  • List 5 to 10 things you love about yourself (I know it may be hard when in true self-doubt mode, but if done earlier, it’s great to refer to)
  • Understand your strengths, we all have them
Just as a successful eating or fitness program can challenge you and create a body you are proud of, mentally challenging yourself to combat your thoughts of self-doubt is something everyone needs/deserves.
Lauren Pardo works out of Summit, NJ: lpardolcsw@gmail.com
WHAT’S TRENDING
Sickness. Everyone around us is sick. It’s unavoidable. Other than walking around with masks on (it’s become the new fashion trend) or in bubble wrap, we believe there are some incredible homeopathic preventative and healing options. And they work. We’ve tested them tried and true.

  • Elderberry – this is a well kept secret that is not so secret anymore.  It is an immunity booster that works quickly. Aside from making your own (which you can do), Elderberry is readily available – you just need a great source. We found 2 options that are said to be the strongest in the industry, that come highly recommended from nutritionists and health food specialist aficionados. Same brand, one is a syrup (9 carbs, 1 gram sugar) and one is an extract (0 carb, 0 sugar). Same potency. Local and an instant gratification kinda person? It’s available at The Health Shoppe on Springfield Ave in Summit.
  • Garlic – Garlic contains allicin – a powerful antibacterial only present shortly after garlic is crushed so you need to eat it raw, and quickly. It’s more satisfying than you think – mix it with ghee butter and put it on a cracker or small piece of bread. Tastes just like garlic bread. (caveat – your breathe might be kickin’ but it’s worth it).
  • Vitamin C – High doses of vitamin C are said to help kill the bugs causing sickness. It is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, and also helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Our favorite option? Mega Foods (this is the “Farm to Table” brand we talked about in our last post). It is one of the purest forms available and is made from whole foods. Sometimes too much is too much, so try to stick to under 1,000mg/day.
  • Oregano Oil – Not gonna lie, this one has a very strong taste – but packs a punch. It is said to get rid of any respiratory ailments that you may have and it’s health benefits are attributed to it’s properties as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emmenagogue, and an anti-allergenic substance. Whew. We told you.
  • Tumeric – Tumeric has been widely recognized as an anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed with lemon, mint or green tea, honey and raw ginger – it’s a potion in which illness has no chance.
  • Gargling – This is a mom favorite from the 80’s and beyond…and it works. Salt and hot water, gargled in your throat. The salt is said to clean and kill bacteria in your throat and loosen up mucus.
  • Pineapple Juice – Fresh squeezed, organic pineapple juice contains bromelain, an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples, that can help suppress coughs as well as loosen mucus. Side note: Bromelain may interact with antibiotics, so check with your doctor if you are taking any medications.
  • Pre and probiotics – we have preached before in multiple posts. Get your fill and continue to build up your microbiome.

Can you do all remedies together? YES. Alternate a remedy every two hours until you start to feel better.

WHAT WE’RE OBSESSED WITH
Sometimes, you just gotta have it.

Whee!…It’s Ghee
We have been taught to avoid butter – due to saturated fat, dairy and excess calories. Not the case. We use Ghee butter when we want an alternative to dairy butter.  Why is ghee a healthier option? Ghee is a clarified butter that has a high smoke point (can be heated at high temps before it will start to smoke), it’s abundant in fat-soluble vitamins, it has no lactose or casein, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid with incredible health benefits), it’s loaded with butyrate (plays a central role in gut health), it has an intense buttery flavor, it strengthens your bones, it reduces inflammation, and contains vitamins A, D and E. This is our favorite.

Magic Fairy Dust
L-Glutamine, a free-form amino acid, and when converted to glutamic acid, it is a usable energy source for the brain and a precursor to the important inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). It improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair, helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by protecting from further damage, is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration, improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production (healthy bowel movements), promotes muscle growth, improves athletic performance and recovery, improves metabolism and cellular detoxification, curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol, fights cancer and improves diabetes and blood sugar. We use it for all of those reasons – and found this one to be the best source. It doesn’t have much of a taste. You can sprinkle it in yogurt or blend into a smoothie. Contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, soy, wheat, sugar, starch, salt, preservatives, or artificial color, flavor or fragrance. Source: Dr. Axe

THE DISH ON DELISH
All of our recipes will always be quick, healthy, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, SCD legal and Paleo friendly. And yes, all sorts of deliciousness.

This is a healthy, gluten free, filling power meal:

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese (slightly modified for ease)
(thank you, Lauren Miyashiro)

Ingredients:

  • Organic cauliflower rice (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded white Cheddar
Instructions:
  1. Defrost cauliflower if frozen
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and oregano. Mix until evenly combined then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with olive or coconut oil. Scoop the cauliflower mixture on one side of the pan and shape into a bread shape.  Repeat to form a second patty on the other side. (These are your “bread” slices.) Press down on both pieces with a spatula and cook until golden underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden, about 3 minutes more.
  4. Top one cauliflower slice with cheese then place the other cauliflower slice on top. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes more per side. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

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Disclosure: some product recommendations are affiliate sites, which simply means we get a small compensation from the companies that sell the products we endorse. We will never endorse a product we do not personally use or love. Opinions expressed are solely those of Heels To Laces.

 

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Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom

The response to the last blog entry was overwhelmingly positive. So, why not continue the fun? Let’s consider this Part II…with a little twist. Following is a list of great finds that will help you cope with the stressful-excess-eating-pressure-filled-gift-giving-primping-indulging holidays.

The Holiday Hangover. You know the hangover is inevitable…but is it? This one is gold: Drink Before Elixir is a pre-cocktail beverage that claims “No hangovers & reduces redness”. The product’s goal is to “make it healthier and more comfortable for you to enjoy alcohol.” Giddy-up. Loaded with vitamins, potassium and amino acids, I was sold. So does it work? I say “Hell, yes.” Worked for me during a crazy weekend outing when drinks started pouring at 2 pm and the night ended at 3 am. Yep, I still got it. No hangover, no nausea, no problem. Find it on Amazon.

Loyalty Program. Who doesn’t love the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, especially for holiday shopping? I can’t keep them in the house. If I wasn’t enough of a loyal customer before, now they really got me. They started a new loyalty program where you pay $29/year for an on-going 20% off your entire purchase. If you receive this exclusive invite…jump on it. Pure brilliance. Here’s more info.

Learn How To Read Your Body. This one is key. Especially during the holidays. Note what causes reactions to your body. Are you unusually bloated after you drink dairy? Do you crash hard after eating carbs? Are you unbearable after eating sugar? Are you especially thirsty in the evenings or AM from not drinking enough water or eating too much salt? Are you super lethargic in the morning from over-eating at night? Listen to these triggers and avoid them. Keep a journal of these reactions and when they occur and you will have incredible insights on how to feel and look better.

Luscious Lashes. We think holidays and we think lash extensions and falsies. There’s a new solution. No more expensive applications or over-promising mascaras. Rodan & Fields just launched this product called Lash Boost with clinical trials resulting in 85% longer, 90% fuller, 63% darker lashes with results in 4 weeks. And they’re killin’ it. Forget the iris-changing, crazy side effects of Latisse. Started mine 2 weeks ago and the difference is remarkably noticeable. They are offering a holiday gift with purchase – free cosmetic bag and eye cream. And now that I have access, so do you (or your favorite gift recipient). Buy here.

Get Matcha’d: I have searched for a good, authentic Matcha Tea for a long time  – however, most of them (including Starbucks) are not the real deal. I recently stumbled upon Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea: made to “make you feel and think better”. For centuries, Matcha has prepared Buddhist monks for meditation and readied samurai warriors for battle. Ok, so I’m neither – but I do frequently adorn my Wonder Woman cape. This Matcha tea is supposed to be a powerful agent of health, wellness and natural energy. Sugars are higher than I would normally grab (13 per bottle) but no more than the natural sugars in my afternoon latte. Small handcrafted batches made up of sparkling water, Matcha green tea, honey, organic agave, fresh lemon juice, organic apple cidar videgar and natural plant extract. (found it at Kings)

Read The Label: The most important thing in weight maintenance is reading the nutrition label. All too often, especially during the holidays, we have this “all or nothing” mentality. “I’ll get back into shape after the holidays.” Which I never truly understood why you would sacrifice 2 months of your life to binge eating. It only results in a guilt-filled, reluctant New Year with unreasonable “now I have to make up for lost time” pound abolishing goals. Learn to read nutrition contents and ingredients and always practice portion control. You can start using 4th grade math: If a serving contains 120 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of saturated fat and there are 5 servings in the bag – and you eat the entire bag (and many of these bags are small and manageable enough to do just that), you have just indulged in 600 calories, 45 grams of sugar, 90 grams of carbs and 10 grams of saturated fat. Can you say sabotage?

Kill The Temptation. Want desperately to eat something on your plate you know is not the best choice? Spill water on it. Ever take a look at left-over food in the kitchen sink? Not very appetizing. Bet ya won’t want it anymore after it’s doused with water.

Talk In Code. We have all that partner in crime that we confide in at a holiday dinner. I mentioned The Skimm in my last write-up but what I forgot to mention was the kick-ass acronym cheat sheet they offer with the latest and greatest social uses. This one’s a must – read here (how fun to practice them over turkey dinner). And if you still haven’t joined The Skimm – do it now.

Burn Fat. There is a pretty good chance you will be indulging during the holidays (avoid making it a month-long habit). The key is to get your heart rate high enough to use up your stored glucose and get into the fat burning zone. How do you do that? Intervals. Workout example for a runner: Warm up 5 minutes at moderate rate (4.5 mph). Jog at a steady pace for 5 minutes (6.0 mph), then exert yourself running at a much faster pace (6.8-7.0) for 2 minutes. You should be breathing heavily and trying to catch your breath for those 2 minutes. Repeat that 5 min/2 min cycle for 30+ minutes, 2-3 times a week. This is the same concept of Tabata. High intervals with moderate rests in between. Adjust the times/pace to your level. Walkers walk for the 5 min and light jog/speed walk for the 2.

And that’s all folks. If you are looking for more tidbits or are interesting in a private nutrition counseling session, email me at dakarrat@yahoo.com. Happy, healthy holidays.

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14 Reasons Why You Are Still Not Losing Weight

Sometimes we feel like we are doing everything right, but the weight still doesn’t come off.  Following are some possible reasons why the scale isn’t moving in the right direction.weightlossblog

1.  Eating In Front Of The Television Or A Computer

It is easy to overeat when you aren’t paying attention.  Instead of bringing food to the couch or desk, step away from the screens and focus on enjoying your food.  You will feel satisfied and have less of a tendency to overeat.

2.  Overindulging In Low-Fat Foods

Low-fat foods may appear healthier, but they are often full of additives, artificial sugars and extra sodium. Even though it feels like you are eating lighter,  you may end up eating more than you anticipated.

3.  Overdoing It With Artificial Sugar

Study after study, including a recent one out of Yale University, has shown that when you eat artificial sugar, your bodies crave more sweets. Your taste buds may be ok with the fake stuff, but your brain isn’t fooled.

4.  Thinking Cardio Is The Only Exercise Needed

Everyone needs cardiovascular exercise for heart health, but incorporating weight training also has major benefits. Weight training builds muscle mass, increases metabolic rate and makes your body stronger and leaner.  This higher metabolism keeps you burning calories long after you have left the gym.  (See our earlier blog Heels To Barbells).

5.  Skipping Breakfast

It’s true – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight. Eating breakfast each morning jump starts your metabolism and keeps your cravings in check. It’s important to keep it healthy and balanced: include protein to give yourself sustainable energy and fiber to fill you up for hours.

6.  Working Out On An Empty Stomach

Research has shown that when exercising on an empty stomach, the calories burned will come from muscle, not fat. You want to keep those muscles since they burn more calories than fat. The more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Not only will fueling your body help you avoid losing muscle, you will have more energy to push yourself through your workout.

7.  Overeating Healthy Foods

Yes – nuts, avocados, whole wheat pasta and olive oil are all good for you, but those calories still count.  Keep track of your portions as you enjoy these foods.

8.  Eating Straight From The Fridge Or The Kids’ Plates

Everything you eat counts – whether it is a handful of the chips from your son’s lunch or a few bites of leftovers from the fridge.  Even if you toss down these few bites without thinking, they still count.  My little trick – try chewing gum when making food for others.

9.  Turning A Healthy Salad Into A Landmine

Be conscious of what you put on your salad.  Creamy salad dressings, croutons, bacon bits, dried fruits and cheese can literally add hundreds of calories.  Try other lower calorie choices such as chickpeas, shredded carrots,  lemon juice or balsamic glaze.

10. Lacking Portion Control

This is a crucial key that can derail any attempts at weight loss.  You may need to initially weigh your food to learn the appropriate portion sizes.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be better able to judge what is a portion.  And just as importantly, you need to learn to recognize when you are full. At that first feeling of fullness, either remove your plate or cover your food with a napkin.

11.  Not Drinking Enough Water

Water not only keeps you hydrated, but drinking water on a regular basis helps with weight loss. Additionally, filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control. A recent study even found that drinking cold water can speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice.

12.  Never Indulging

In an otherwise healthy diet, enjoying a treat now and then isn’t going to ruin your weight-loss goals, and it may help you stay on track  by keeping you from binging.  A study found that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories  (that means some days less and some days more – not always an extra 600 calories) won’t reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run.  Try not to waste these calories eating cold leftovers straight from the fridge; if you are going to indulge once in a while, choose something you really love and sit down and savor it.

13.  Eating The Wrong Post Workout Snack

A post-workout snack is just that — a snack. And unless it’s mealtime, what you eat after an average workout should be around 150 calories. Since healthy foods like trail mix can be high in calories, measure out a serving instead of mindlessly chomping straight out of the bag.

14.  Forgetting To Journal

Writing down what you eat is an essential way to monitor daily caloric intake. A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight used a food journal to keep track of their food intake.  And with today’s apps, there is really no excuse. (I use MyFitnessPal.)

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