Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Exercise at Work

I hope everyone’s having a great summer! This is the time of the year for bikinis, shorts and little summer dresses. Getting that summer ready body can be pretty difficult for busy people. I have compiled a few quick tips for finding time to fit exercise in your schedule.

We spend an increasing amount of at work. If you have a few minutes you may want to try a few easy exercises that you can do at your desk, in your cubicle and office.

  1. Arm Circles – stick your arms straight out at the shoulder. Rotate clockwise slowly for 20-40 circles. (I stop at 30, because my arms really start to feel it about then) You can also simply hold your arms like this for 3 minutes at a time. Do three reps of this.
  2. Arm Dips – Here’s another arm exercise. Scoot off your seat and grab the front edge of the seat. You should look like you’re sitting on the air with your knees bent in front of you.

If you do get some flack for doing these exercises at your desk, simply tell the annoying commenter that you’re trying to prevent carpal tunnel by doing something different with your arms. This should shut them up. Most of the time these exercises are so unnoticeable you should be fine.

  1. Another exercise is butt clenches. Simply clench your cheeks and then release. Do this for as long or as many times as you feel like you can.
  2. You can also get better abs at work, squeeze and release. Really focus on individual muscles. It really works!

Studies show that people who move around more burn more calories. So go ahead and fidget in your seat. Tap the air with your feet. Wiggle a little. Just try not to tap the side of your cubicle. You don’t want to burn calories while being chased by a mob of annoyed co workers carrying staplers and flaming keyboards.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Organizing for a Diet

This entry is all about organizing for a diet. I recently started the South Beach Diet, Phase One, so this entry will be mostly about the South Beach Diet, but a number of tips can be used for preparing for diets in general.

First, I believe that the preparation/organization phase of the diet is a key psychological step in preparing for weight loss. This process allows you to purge the negative influences in your life and allows you to set the foundation for new healthy habits.

1. Research: I chose the South Beach Diet after a few days of researching online about the diet and then going to the book store and looking at the book. (No, I didn’t end up purchasing it.) After being pretty honest with myself, I chose the diet that I thought would be right for me. I then looked up some recipes online and created a shopping list. I didn’t go so far as to create a meal plan, I wanted some flexibility to be able to eat what I’m craving from time to time. In this stage also a great idea is to talk to a medical professional about any health risks associated with dieting. Here too you can research gyms and exercise programs.

2. Purge: No I am not advocating bulimia. I am talking about preparing your home for a diet. That means getting rid of the temptations. This also doesn’t mean shoveling in 8 ice cream bars because you have to get rid of them before you start your diet. Dump out your juice and regular sodas, toss the snack food.

For me, I needed to get rid to the massive quantities of complex carbohydrates in my refrigerator and pantry. I kept anything that is complex to prepare. I can certainly use it at a later date, and these delayed gratification products are safe with me. The longer it takes to cook, the more time my self control has to kick in.

If you really guilty about wasting food like I do, here are a few options to avoid waste.

- Donate your can jars and boxes to a local food pantry
- Take the already opened baked goods on a walk to the park. Break up the bread, crunch up those chips, and feed them to ducks in the pond, squirrels or just scatter them on the side of the path, believe me the animals will find them no matter where you put them. Now you getting some exercise and feeding some hungry wildlife.

3. Restock: Now go shopping. Buy nothing that does not jive with the diet you have chosen, but be generous. (Eat before you go. Studies have shown people how shop on a full stomach make better purchasing decisions at the grocery store.) Take your big list, and make sure you have given yourself plenty of variety. Refill that empty refrigerator with the good stuff. Also, take the time right away to prepare some food so you have something to eat immediately.

Some easy ideas:
- Cut up celery sticks to dip in humus
- Hard boils eggs for a quick high protein breakfast
- Bean dip - layer vegetarian refried beans, salsa, low fat shredded cheese
- String cheese
- Turkey Jerky – I love the Trader Joe’s Terriaki Turkey Jerky
- Buy or cook I head of time some grilled chicken to throw on salads or dip in mustard
- Lite Egg Salad, lite Miracle Whip, mustard, egg white, green pepper

4. Arm Yourself: Take the cash out of your wallet. (If you can't, leave in only a large bill.) When I don’t have cash, I am less likely to stop by Starbucks and get an 800 calorie coffee drink, or pick up a candy bar from the gas station. Having disposable cash around is a huge temptation. Bring to work only what you are allowed to eat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

iGoogle vrs. MyYahoo

Today’s Blog is about Managing your home page. Increasingly, large the big Internet search engines are allowing users to create specially tailored home pages. I will review the most popular two (MyYahoo and iGoogle) and show you how to maximize your usability.

The winner between the two interfaces, is hands down iGoogle. (Big surprise there Google has been a usability giant for years.)

1. The look of the pages:
iGoogle: iGoogle has fewer themes, but the ones they are simple, easy to read, and time dynamic to your location on Earth. I personally prefer the Tea House theme. It’s really cute and I feel like the little fox is sharing my daily activities with me.

MyYahoo: MyYahoo has more choices in the themes selections, however most of the schemes are totally unreadable and probably dangerous to the Epileptic.

2. Extras:
iGoogle: Wow! iGoogle has a huge number of extra resources to add to your webpage. My personal favorite is the color coded, prioritized, To-Do List. Also is a cool calorie counter and a Fitness calorie counter from Bally. Now you can manage your diet while checking your email.

MyYahoo: Has fewer extras, but some very helpful ones like the resumes you have up on HotJobs, best jobs in the area, or TV listings.

3. Calendars:
iGoogle: The Google calendar allows you to create events and the days are highlighted. Cool, now if only the calendar would email to remind me when I forget something. A good policy would be though to make sure to check the calendar when you see a BOLDED day.

MyYahoo: I like the calendar better because there is a small space under the calendar for the day’s events.

My recommendation is to use the iGoogle page. The design is better, the extras on the whole more useful and fun, and the location specific pages is a really neat touch.

My tip, use these pages to tailor your homepage experience. Take some time and go over the extras and choose what you’ll use often. Remember if you add too much, you’ll decrease the usefulness of having everything right there. Just be careful not to be changing your webpage every five minutes, this process can turn into a time suck very quickly.