How can I get healthier? What are good activities and treats for the fall? If you've been asking yourself that then we have the answers for you. We had the privilege of speaking with Carolyn Ridder Aspenson, author of 8 to Lose the Weight. Here is what she had to say.....
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: There are two key life changes I think most everyone should make if they want to improve their health. First of all, move more. So many of us spend our days in front of a computer and don't exercise. Even if at this point in life one can't make the commitment to a true exercise program, adding more physical movement in their day will be beneficial. Often I'm on the chair in my family room writing and I have to make a conscious effort to get up and move around, so I'll do laps around my house and even do squats or jumping jacks. Getting our heart rates up and adding more activity is a great way to improve our health. The second thing I think makes a huge difference in a path to wellness is to (and I know this is going to be hard for a lot of people to hear) reduce the sugar in our diet. I'm not a huge supporter of going all organic and natural because it's not the easiest lifestyle to maintain, but I do believe if we can eliminate a good portion of the added sugars we eat, our bodies will respond positively. In fact, over the past few months I've had some medical issues as well as a new path in my life...the path of menopause and I've had to make some serious diet adjustments. When a little sugar before didn't have much of an impact on me, it now does. Diabetes, heart problems, liver problems...so many things aside from weight gain, are associated with too much sugar in our diets and cutting back, if not cutting it completely (which I know is hard) will do nothing but improve our health.
Candie and Michelle: Great advice. :) For those of us without access to a gym what are some manageable fitness activities to do around our homes or neighborhoods?
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: Walk. Walk. Walk. I know it sounds silly and it doesn't burn a whole lot of calories, but walking is an excellent way to improve our health. It also increases our metabolism, which helps facilitate weight loss. Even a simple 20 to 30 minutes a day is beneficial. Also, if you have stairs in your home, walk them. Just yesterday I spent ten minutes 'stepping' on my first step, alternating my step between my right and left legs. It gets the heart rate up and helps improve our fitness levels, metabolism and weight loss efforts as well as improves our health. You can also do simple exercises like push ups, squats, lunges, sit ups, dips...there are tons of videos online showing how to do these simple exercises with just body weight and the more muscle we have, the better off we are physically and mentally.
Candie and Michelle: I agree, Carolyn, walking is great! Candie and I both love to walk to Zombies, Run! If you haven't tried that app I really suggest doing so. For our readers that have kiddos what are some activities they can do as a family? (in the fall)
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: I'm a big supporter of kid hikes. For us, they're more of a walk, but the kids think of them as an adventure. We used to walk with our kids when they were little and make up stories about Indians, etc. in the area and tell them. Okay, so maybe we lied a little about tree carvings being ancient Indian carvings and not "Sue Loves John" but they couldn't read so they didn't know! Spend time tossing the ball around, play games at the park, walk the dog (or the cat, which we've done, too though the cat's not thrilled about it). We have bought cheap games at WalMart and played them outside...see who can keep the beach ball in the air the longest, or see who can get the ball first, all kinds of things that don't really cost money but keep the family moving. We've even flown kites, something I loved to do as a kid. Anything with a ball and not a cell phone is key!
Candie and Michelle: All great ideas! My kiddo loves kicking a soccer ball and hitting the ball with the bat. Tell us about your weight loss books.
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: I have one and am working on another, which is a work in progress. The first is 8 To Lose The Weight (http://www.amazon.com/Lose-Weight-Carolyn-Ridder-Aspenson-ebook/dp/B00XO2X07G/ref=sr_1_7_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442847585&sr=8-7&keywords=carolyn+ridder+aspenson ) I don't spend a lot of time marketing this book, and I should. The book is a lifestyle program that honestly, doesn't tell anyone anything they haven't already heard, but it's meant to be a motivational plan to make lifestyle changes and consider them something long term, not a diet. I gained a lot of weight after losing my parents and when I realized it wasn't the way I wanted to be, I designed a program that worked to lose the 40+ pounds and so many of my friends wanted to know what I did, so I wrote the book. Yes, I've got certifications, but mostly, I'm just human and tried different things until they clicked, and that's what the book is...what worked.
Candie and Michelle: I can't wait to read it! What is your favorite healthy treat in the fall.
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: I love all things pumpkin and have learned that not giving myself what I love makes me binge on it, so instead, I have a little bit every so often and force myself to practice self control. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If I'm really craving a fall treat, and let's be honest, most of them aren't all that healthy, I'll make a cup of sugar free hot chocolate with steamed fat free milk and I add two tablespoons of real pumpkin (I use the canned pumpkin because it's easiest) and a few sprinkles of Truvia and it's my natural version of a pumpkin spiced latte.
Candie and Michelle: Sounds yummy. For optimal weight loss how many days a week should one workout?
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: That's a tough one to answer. Everyone's body is different, and everyone's body needs rest days. I wouldn't suggest working out more than 5 days a week, but I also think it's important to do weight training or body weight training every other day in those 5 days, so your muscles can rest. They need to be able to break down and rebuild, which is what creates muscle, and muscle is what burns fat most efficiently. You can do cardio until the cows come home and yes, you'll lose weight, but weight training or body weight training is what will really change the shape of your body. If you do mix both on the same days, make that cardio count. (Still do it on the other two of the five too.) Go for shorter cardio work outs with higher intensity...run/walk intervals on the treadmill or at the park for 30 minutes instead of a straight walk or a straight run. Getting the heart rate up and then down again and back and forth that way is what burns the most calories and ultimately sheds the most weight.
Candie and Michelle: Good to know. :) Are there any weight loss "no no's" that we should stay away from?
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: Definitely! Do not fall into the fad diet scam. Yes, you WILL lose weight but once you give up whatever that diet is, you'll gain that weight back and 99 percent of the time, you'll gain MORE. I kid you not. Fad diets are ultimately horrible for your body and in the short run, are just dangerous and miserable. Slow and steady is the way to go. You didn't gain the weight in a week and you sure won't lose it in a week either.
Candie and Michelle: Totally agree! How can our readers discover more about you and your work?
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson: They can find my books on Amazon and also at carolynridderaspenson.com.
Thank you so much Carolyn for stopping by our site and giving such great advice that we can all do at home. We've really enjoyed having you. :)
- Candie and Michelle