DANCE YOUR WAY TO FIT!
Melissa loves to dance. She loves to exercise. And it makes her happy to teach and share this passion with others. She has been a Group Fitness Instructor for over four years. Her passion began at a very young age when she took Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom, Modern, Hip-hop, and even Eastern European Folk dance! She teaches classes at Gold’s Gym and other venues in Los Angeles.
- Define your goal. Have a "plan" of what you are setting out to accomplish so that you maintain perseverance and dedication. Write it down and look at it for inspiration.
- Be true to yourself. Believe in your abilities and know that you are capable of accomplishing your goals.
- Stay positive! Give yourself compliments rather than finding faults.
- Empower yourself with knowledge. Learn about your options and make choices that will help you reach your fitness goals.
- Eat right! Don't "diet". Take vitamins and drink water.
- Define your fitness personality. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy and look forward to doing. This enables you to stick to it more effectively.
- Try, try again. If you stray from you goal, get back on track and keep moving without self-punishment.
- Find support, and get feedback from an educated resource. Constructive criticism can help you gain a new perspective.
- Show up. Be there physically, and the rest will happen naturally.
- Dare to try something different - add intervals to your training, up the intensity, buy a heart-rate monitor, take a new aerobics class, dance!
- Let the music play. Download your favorite songs to keep you motivated, happy, and free from boredom.
- Breathe. Deep breathing is relaxing, empowering, and allows you to re-focus, and energize your body.
- Keep a journal of your trials and tribulations.
- Reward yourself for your hard work. Get a pedicure for those aching feet. Sorry, cheeseburgers and fries don't count! :)
Scroll down for nutrition tips
Laurel House has always had first-look access into the Healthy Living industry as an in-the-know insider of up-and-coming trends, products, and personalities. She has studied fitness, dance, nutrition, yoga, and Chinese herbal medicine. Laurel is a 3-time published lifestyle author, nationally recognized magazine writer, healthy living spokesperson, and national and local morning television show expert.
LAUREL’S NUTRITION TIPS
Skinny Jeans in the Kitchen
Hang your skinny jeans in the kitchen to deter you from boredom gorging. Don’t let short-term splurges get in the way of long-term success. In a few weeks (or months based on how far off the wagon you’ve fallen) you’ll be able to slip (instead of squeeze) into them again. And you will be thanking your Skinny Jeans for the reminder!
Post-Its in the Pantry
Find yourself opening the refrigerator door and eyeballing everything (as if you don’t already know what it’s stocked with), perusing the pantry and riffling through the freezer, even when you’re still full from dinner? You may be great at rationalizing late-night splurges, but it’s not doing your waistline any favors… Instead, place Post-It notes with little reminders that you shouldn’t eat that cookie, alternatives to eating that cookie, and, worst case- the result of eating that cookie: “Cookie=Fat”. It works.
Splurges Aren’t Worth It
Don't let short-term splurges get in the way of long-term success. Because, honestly, in 30 minutes, you won’t have that decadent taste of chocolate in your mouth anymore; and if you keep avoiding those short-lived moments of taste bud bliss, in a few weeks you will feel amazing about yourself all day long!
Set an Eating Curfew
Set an "EATING CURFEW" to stop late night splurging. You decide the time, like 8:30pm, then consider the kitchen OFF LIMITS unless you are getting water or unsweetened tea. You can even put a Post-It on the Pantry saying "EATING CURFEW IN EFFECT... OFF LIMITS." Need to go to the extreme? Use painter's tape to seal off the pantry door after a certain time.
Grapefruit Burns Fat and Cut Cravings
Feeling "famished" between meals, but know it’s just boredom? Chocolate craving about to get the best of you? Reach for a grapefruit instead. The tart citrus eats fat and helps your body naturally burn more of it. Studies have shown that regularly consuming 500mg of vitamin C helps up your fat burn by 30% while working out. More than a fat burner, grapefruit also cuts your sweet tooth. Think- brushing your teeth then drinking orange juice. Yuck.
It’s Not What You Eat, But Why
It’s less about what you eat, and more about why you ate it. A food journal isn’t just to record your daily intake, it’s also a place to track your feelings toward food: Did I eat that entire pizza because I was upset that I saw my ex with his new girlfriend, but after I ate it I felt even worse about myself? Writing down your depression/anxiety/celebration/whatever- induced food foibles and feats forces you to fess up to yourself, facing the facts of your food issues, and illuminating what drove you to inhale a dozen chocolate chip cookies last night, when the night before you felt fulfilled after just one.
Food & Mood Journal Components:
- a. So… What happened?- (ran into my ex with new fling at a bar)
- b. Your post-incident response- (balled my eyes out over a box of ready bake cookies- before even baking them!)
- c. Post-response response- (felt fat and out of control…balled my eyes out again)
- d. Rewrite a better “b” for next “a”- (went for a run to make my butt look better than that chick’s)
Carbs are water carriers. The more carbs you have in your system, the more water you will be holding onto. In fact, you hold around 2.5 grams of water for 1 gram of carbohydrate you consume. By cutting back on carbs, you are actually simultaneously releasing water bloat. Another issue that comes with carbs is an increase in Insulin. Insulin, a hormone produced when we eat carbohydrates, causes our kidneys to retain sodium, and sodium causes the body to retain water. If you cut carbs, you are cutting calories in general. Stick with carbs that are natural, highly nutritious and high in fiber like brown rice, whole grains, and green vegetables such as kale and brussel sprouts.
Eat Fat-Burning Foods
Fight off that fat with food… the right food. More than mindlessly shoveling food down the hatch, think about how food can help your cause. Some foods are naturally multi-tasking, helping to break down, burn, or flush out fat!
Foods That Break Down Fat
There’s a reason for the old-fashioned grapefruit diet. Citrus is great at fat breakdown and digestion. A natural fat-fighter, Vitamin C helps minimize fats’ effectiveness, actually liquefying the sticky stuff and making it less likely to latch on and bulk you up. Most citrus fruits will work, but two of the most potent include:
- Tangerine peel
Foods That Burn Fat
Fat-burning foods tend to literally be “burning”- mouth burning that is. The naturally “hot herbs” heat up the body while helping to increase digestion, circulation, and the metabolism. A few include:
- Fresh Ginger
- Szechuan Peppercorn
- Cayenne Pepper
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Cinnamon Bark
Foods That Flush Out Fat
Another way to avert fat from attacking? Fruit pectin and lecithin. The naturally occurring chemicals keep fat from being absorbed by your cells, flushing them out before they have a chance to bind to your body. Here are a few to know:
Foods That Encourage De-Puffing
- Celery seed
- Cranberry juice
- Green tea
- Dandelion leaf tea (also helps in detoxification and urinary tract infections)
- Juniper berries
High Water Foods that, yes, Help Eliminate Excess Water
Eating high-water–content foods is a good way to eliminate excess fluid retention. Counter-intuitive, I know.
- Cranberry juice
- Brussel Sprouts
- Tomatoes (also aid metabolism)
Fast Food is Fine, IF…
… you check the Nutrition Facts before you order. Fast food restaurants are required to have their nutrition facts on hand. Just ask... If you do drive through, ask for a nutrition pamphlet when you collect your food and keep it for next time. Keep a stack of Nutrition Facts from your fave places in your car so that when you are on the go you will immediately know what is ok and what’s not. You may be surprised to see that many of your favorites are actually not so bad. At least then you’ll know what you are eating and choose based on information as opposed to random cravings.