Welcome Back to School! 

Welcome to Week 1! Today, we're going to Get Moving, Reduce Added Sugar and Get Organized. Below is your lesson and assignments!

Here is your link to your Weekly Workout too!

Let me know if you have any questions. Have a a great day!



Get Moving!

Weekly Assignment #1: 30 Minutes Per Day of Moderate Intensity Activity

There are so many benefits of exercise that if we could bottle the effects and put them in one pill, everyone would be taking it! Exercise not only helps to improve our mood, energy, strength, bone density, cardiovascular system, brain health and memory but we also tend to sleep better! As if that's not enough, exercise helps to reduce stress, inflammation and our waistline. 

Sometimes, we forget that our heart is a muscle. Cardiovascular activity is especially great at increasing the strength of our heart muscle! 

This week, we'll work on building a habit of 30 minutes per day. You can break it into 10 minute chunks or accomplish it all at once. This will also get you one step closer to your daily step goal.

Since exercise is often the first thing to go when we get busy and stressed and it is also the very thing we need most when we get busy and stressed, this is our first assignment! Aim for 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity* activity like walking, running, biking or swimming.

*What's moderate intensity? Think of cardiovascular exercise on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is super easy. 10 is an all out effort that you could not sustain for too long. Moderate is about a 5 to 6 on that scale

Sugar Detox! Reset Your Sugar Cravings.

Weekly Assignment #2: Reduce Added Sugar Intake to Less Than 24 g of Added Sugar*

Have you ever noticed that the more sugar you have, the more you want? This week we're going to reset our sugar cravings. 

Why? We all know that if we consume too much sugar, we can gain weight. But, too much sugar has other effects on our body as well. Sugar has has been shown to cause inflammation in our bodies and tax our immune system. Studies have also linked too much added sugar to:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease 
  • Worsening of conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Memory and learning difficulties
  • Hypertension
  • Increase in triglycerides
  • Lower levels of HDL
  • Disrupted sleep

Sugar also tends to put us on a blood sugar roller coaster which causes our energy levels to go up and down. When we're in the low energy phase, we want more sugar. And, as if this isn't enough, sugar has even been shown to accelerate the aging process! Yikes! 

In fact, a recent study in JAMA views overconsumption of added sugar as an independent risk factor not only for cardiovascular disease but also for diabetes, dementia and liver cirrhosis. Added sugar does not include naturally occurring sugars that we find in foods like fruit and milk. Rather, the study looked at added sugar in items like soda, candy and other added-sugar foods like bread and pasta sauce. 

Why are we concentrating on added sugar? Naturally occurring sugar like the kind we find in an orange isn't as concerning because the orange is also packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. All the good stuff in life!

Tips to reduce added sugar this week? 

  • One of the big questions I get is, "what do I do if I have a birthday party?" If you have a special occasion like a birthday and want to have a piece of cake, go for it and enjoy it. You can also reduce your portion size. And remember, you don't have to finish the whole thing . And, you can actually skip dessert. I promise you'll still have fun at the party. 
  • Be on the lookout for sugar's code words on food labels. If it ends in an -ose, say adios. It's probably sugar. Here are a few other code names for sugar:
    • Fructose
    • Maltose
    • Glucose Solids
    • Malodextrin
    • Honey
    • Maple Syrup
    • Molasses
    • Agave Nectar
    • Invert Sugar
    • Cane Sugar
    • Cane Juice
    • Corn Syrup
  • Add some flavor to your water by tossing some fruit or cucumber in your water. If you like gadgets, there's a product called a Zinger to help you flavor your water on the go.
  • Use unsweetened cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, etc and add your own sweetener. You'll use much less than the food manufacturers will put in the item. 
  • Use spices like cinnamon, vanilla extract and cardamom to add flavor so you'll need less sweetener 
  • Craving dessert? Try some berries. If you really need a something sweet, top your berries with some 70% or more dark chocolate which has less sugar.

That's it. Those are your lesson on added sugar and here's your assignment. Since we all want to look and feel our best, our assignment is to consume less than 24 g of added sugar/day (1 tsp- 4 g.)* 

*The latest proposed sugar guidelines from the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization.

Get Organized with a Daily Plan.

Weekly Assignment #3: Create Your To-Do List for Tomorrow Today

One of the big challenges to our sanity, fitness, eating habits, sleep and ability to achieve our goals is organization. We all have great intentions for our day. But, let's face it. Sometimes, the day comes and the day goes and we're left wondering how we still didn't get x, y, or z done. It happens to everyone. And, we can find ourselves lying awake at night or stressing before we even get out of bed about how we're going to accomplish what we need to that day.

Before you wind down for the day, create your to do list for tomorrow today. This insures that before you read your email in the morning, you have a clear idea of what's most important to get done, where you're going to fit in your activity that day and what personal and professional items need to be on the list. Here are some tips that can help when creating your list:

  1. Think through your day from when you get up to when you're going to wind down for the day and block out time for everything from eating to driving. For example, 7 a.m. Leave to drop off kids, 7:30 Drop off kids. 
  2. Do not overload the list. The list is what you can reasonably accomplish. Do not put everything you need to accomplish in life on the list :) Instead, place what is reasonable for the next day. Create a second list of items to be tackled in 1 week, 1 month, etc. These can be gradually moved on to your daily list.
  3. What are the 3 most important items to be done tomorrow? Tackle these first to prevent procrastination. 
  4. Whether your list is in on paper or in your phone, put items on it as you think of them. I always keep post-it notes near my coffee maker. I find when I pour my first cup of coffee in the morning, I think of new things to be tackled that day or in the future. 
  5. Place any items that come to you before bed on the list so that they don't keep nagging you through the night and disrupting your sleep.

These are just few tips. Think through what works best for you as create your list. Don't forget to include your 30 minutes of activity.

Don't forget to check out your Weekly Workout as well as the Daily Meditation and Stretch!

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