Gettin’ Sweaty at the Dog Park

27 Jul
Doggie wonderland.

Doggie wonderland.

I’m back! I know it’s been awhile, but I’m still here ─ and still living the California dream! In fact, my husband and I adopted the sweetest, most adorable little dog. LA is probably the best city on the planet to live with an 8lb dog, as these precious little creatures are actually treated better than children. Chloe, our little chi-spaniel, goes everywhere with us ─ brunch by the beach, shopping in Target, wine tasting, grocery shopping, movies in the park, dinners out ─ while you get my drift.

Anyways, besides all the everyday (human) places we take her, we’ve discovered another magical little place we now have access to ─ the dog park. Ironically, we have one a few blocks from our house, so it’s very easy for us to take her down the street to play. However, we recently discovered trips to the dog park can also be a fun way for us to get some cardio in.

This past Saturday morning, we took her jogging and ended up at the dog park. Then we jogged some more around the dog park. Back and forth ─ sprint interval style. And when we were done, we jogged back home. In total, we were gone about an hour and were all feeling tired and sweaty when we got home.

Chloe is fascinated by everything at the dog park.

Chloe is fascinated by everything at the dog park.

So there you have it ─ exercising at the dog park isn’t just for pooches. Not only do you burn calories, it’s also a great excuse to spend quality time with a bunch of cute little doggies!

Tips to Have a Healthy Holiday Season

3 Dec

Image courtesy of Flickr user Bart Fields.

So, Thanksgiving is over and you’re left feeling like an overstuffed turkey. Don’t feel bad, it happens to everyone. While strutting down the street like a plump turkey doesn’t feel good, you may think you have no choice now that the holiday season is in full swing. However, that’s so not the case.

For most of us it’s true that the holiday season is not only the happiest time of the year ─ it’s also the fattest. While I don’t recommend trying to lose weight until 2014, you certainly don’t have to gain it. There’s many ways to enjoy the festive food the season has to offer without having to wear a belted Snuggie to your New Year’s Eve party, because you cant button any of your pants.

Three Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Trying not to gain weight this holiday season? Follow these tips to avoid being mistaken for Santa Claus on Christmas Day:

  1. Deepen Your Bond with the Gym: No matter how often you currently exercise, ’tis the season to spend a bit more time on the treadmill. Whether you add an additional day or two onto your workout routine or spend a little extra time doing cardio while you’re already at the gym ─ if you’re going to eat more, you’re going to need to burn more calories.
  2. Eat Healthy Between Parties: There’s no need to deprive yourself of your holiday favorites when you’re out celebrating the season. Remember, everything is okay in moderation. However, to balance out the high calorie party food, you need to dedicate yourself to following a healthy diet during your normal daily routine.
  3. Bring Healthy Dishes: There’s a good chance you’re going to be invited to a holiday potluck this season. While many people use this as an excuse to create a concoction containing three days of your allotted fat intake, it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s countless delicious, healthy recipes you can make ─ and lightened up versions of classic favorites ─ that still taste delicious, but won’t leave you with a big, fat food hangover the next day.

So there you’ll have it, the holidays don’t have to be the fattest time of the year ─ unless you choose to play it that way.

Yoga — LA Style

10 Oct
Image courtesy of Flicker user  istolethetv

Image courtesy of Flicker user istolethetv.

Until I moved to LA, my only experience with yoga took place at free classes that came with my LA Fitness membership in Pittsburgh. Why won’t lie — after a few classes I found myself to be pretty good. It’s probably worth mentioning that many of my classmates were overweight, middle-aged women, who probably used their gym membership for nothing beyond slow strolls on the treadmill. Whatever. Even with my (truthfully) sub-par yoga skills I was able to rock it out in free Pittsburgh yoga.

Fast forward to LA. I spent the first month we lived here whining that I wished the many trendy little studios in our neighborhood weren’t so pricey, while secretly scared to go anyway. Then my birthday rolls around and my husband presents me with a certificate for a month of free yoga at one of said trendy studios. Game on.

Yoga in LA

I won’t lie, I was pretty nervous for my first LA yoga class. I got dressed up in my finest yoga sweats, put some makeup on and headed out to meet the yogis of LaLa land.

The studio I go to is very LA. There’s a crazy expensive, yet totally cute, boutique in the reception room, then a couple of yoga studios off to the side. So far so good.

I walked into my “beginners yoga” class and it was H-O-T. I’m now three classes in and this is always the case, so I’m not sure if a hot yoga class goes on before mine, or if it’s just a way to weed out the weak. My second observation was the large amount of men in the class. In Pittsburgh, there were sometimes one or two super buff guys in class who were clearly shopping for women. Not the case in LA. These dudes were here for some serious planking — yoga style.

My first class started out with a loud “Oooommm.” I’m not going to lie, I found this odd. Even stranger when the class ended with one as well.

Thankfully, the rest of the class was pretty standard. No weird LA stuff. Actually I was pretty pleased that most of the poses were relatively simple. I went home and told my husband it was too easy and he suggested I go to the next level class. I considered it, then laughed. I’d rather excel in a beginners class, than risk being a dunce in a more advanced class any day. So judge me. Ooooommmm.


Working From Home Without Getting Fat

9 Sep
I worked from Vegas one day last week, simply because I wanted to...

I worked from Vegas one day last week, simply because I wanted to…

When my husband and I moved to Los Angeles two months ago, I “retired” from corporate life to become a freelance writer. Working from home involves pretty much every stereotype you’re inevitably plaguing me with right now, so let’s just discuss them and move on with it already. I get up at a reasonable hour of my choosing each day, my dress code is sweatpants, and my office is usually the left side of my couch. I am the California dream baby!

One misconception I would like to clear up is the issue of eating healthy. I’ve heard that people tend to gain weight when working from home and this is one job hazard I just don’t get. Unless you live inside an all-you-can-eat buffet of lard, I don’t see how this is an unavoidable side effect.

Eating Healthy When Working From Home

  1. Shop Healthy: Unless you’ve got an unruly housekeeper on the payroll who stocks your pantry with Twinkies and Oreos, despite your desperate pleas for apples, you’re in control of the food going into your house (and your mouth). Stock your pantry with healthy food and it won’t matter if you go hog wild in the kitchen every afternoon.
  2. Exercise: When working from home, you don’t have to waste valuable parts of your day commuting to work, freeing up a good chunk of your day. Voila! Now you have no excuse not to exercise. Join a gym, become a jogger, take up yoga, or whatever floats your boat.
  3. Get Cooking: When you got tied up working late at the office or stuck in a monster traffic jam during your days as part of the standard workforce, it was understandable that you’d want to order take out instead of getting started in the kitchen at 8pm. Now your working from home, so make your commute into the kitchen and start cooking healthy dinners. You’ll save money and calories!

Six Quick & Easy Healthy Snack Ideas

13 Aug
While delicious, food trucks typically aren't to best place to find a healthy snack.

While delicious, food trucks typically aren’t to best place to find a healthy snack.

Healthy eating isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Many low-calorie snacks require lots of prep work before they’re ready to eat, which you don’t always have the time for when you’re in a hurry or just plain hungry!

While it’s a whole lot easier to grab a bag of Doritos or some cookies when you’re starving and in desperate need of food, that’s certainly not the way to go. Midday and late night binges can cause you to gain some serious weight. And fast. Instead it’s important to come up with healthy snack ideas that taste good and will fill you up.

Six Quick & Easy Healthy Snack Ideas

Practice your healthy eating habits by stocking your kitchen with these low-calorie snacks:

  • Fresh Cut Fruit: Don’t wait to wash and cut your fruit until you’re ready to eat it. Do it in advance so they’ll be no excuse not to eat it when you’re on the prowl for low-calorie snacks.
  • Greek Yogurt: Easy, healthy, and delicious, this is quite possibly the best snack ever.
  • Kale: Keep some of these leafy greens on hand to turn into delicious crispy kale chips, requiring very little effort.
  • Almonds: Healthy eating at its easiest. Opt for a handful or two, not a bowl of these satisfyingly delicious little gems.
  • Light String Cheese: An awesome snack staple that should always be kept in your refrigerator. My favorite is Frigo Light String Cheese Swirls. Apparently most of the rest of the world is also a fan, as the grocery store is always sold out.
  • Popchips: Feeling salty? Satisfy your cravings with any of the delicious Popchips flavors instead of one of their fatty rivals.

Five Reasons Not to Break Your Workout Plans

6 Aug
Let Donnie Wahlberg's abs serve as your workout motivation.

Let Donnie Wahlberg’s abs serve as your workout motivation.

Maintaining a regular workout schedule can be a challenge. You probably have at least a million things to do each day, so it’s not always easy to keep your workout plans. In fact, you may be wondering how you’re going to accomplish everything on your to-do list today and still make time for exercise.

If you’re thinking of skipping the gym, stop right there, and JUST DON”T DO IT! Here’s five reasons why you should do whatever it takes to keep your workout plans today:

  • Health Benefits: There really isn’t any part of your body that doesn’t benefit from regular exercise. Keep up with that workout schedule and your entire body will thank you.
  • Bragging Rights: Everyone hates listening to “that friend” boast about their rigorous exercise routine, but that’s only because they’re jealous. Be “that friend” and wear your unbreakable workout schedule as a badge of honor. As you should!
  • Justifying “Cheat Days”: Everyone has a meal, or perhaps an entire day, now and then where they just unfasten the top button on their jeans and stuff their faces silly. When you exercise regularly, you won’t need to feel nearly as guilty about eating that cupcake, and taco, and wellll maybe a churro too…
  • De-Stressing: When you have PMS, whether or not your period is actually looming, or really even if you’re a man or woman, nothing will improve your mood and make you feel better about yourself than a good workout. Trust me, it works.
  • Skill Maintenance: It’s a lot easier to keep your workout plans when you’re already in good shape, than if you let yourself slide a bit, and your normal routines become a difficult torturefest. While it’s always good to challenge yourself with your workouts, it’s much harder to get back on the pony than just staying on for the ride.



How to Combat Fatty Movie Theater Snacks

29 Jul
Take these low-calorie snacks

Don’t you wish you could actually buy these low-calorie snacks at a movie theater?

If you’ve sampled the fine cuisine of one movie theater snack bar, you’ve pretty dined at them all. Popcorn, soft pretzels, candy, and the inevitable $7.50 Pepsi. Total health food.

When we moved to LA, I thought movie theaters here would be stocked with low-calorie snacks. I expected tofu dogs, side salads, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or at least Popchips, but no. So far we’ve been to two different movie theaters and each one had the standard fatty fare.

Now, I know you’re not supposed to bring your own snacks into a movie theater, but they really leave you no choice. When the “healthy” option is a 500 calorie soft pretzel, you have to take matters into your own hands…

Low-Calorie Snacks to Smuggle Into Movie Theaters

Okay, we’ve already covered that it’s wrong to bring your own food into movie theaters. It’s bad. Yeah yeah. We’re past that.

So, the next time you head out to a movie theater, stow some of these low-calorie snacks in your bag (or your pants, whatever works best for you):

  • Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Almonds
  • String Cheese
  • Snack-sized Popchips
  • Fresh cut fruit
  • Homemade Trail Mix
  • Pre-popped Popcorn
  • Granola Bars

Don’t forget to bring a mini bottle of water too, in case you get thirsty!