Another year means another resolution

Improve your health... not only physically, but mentally

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Now that the holidays are behind us, it's time to kick into your New Year's resolution! …so does 1) "eat healthier" and 2) "exercise more" look familiar? I'm sure it has been on your New Year's resolution list for the last couple years. Especially the older we get. In fact, almost a third of all Americans who make New Year's Resolutions circle around eating habits, losing weight, and exercise! And according to a recent study as few as 8% actually will accomplish their New Year's Resolution. The study says to be successful, motivation for a change has to come from personal desire. So, when you sit down to review your resolutions of ultimately being a healthier person overall and how you are going to get there, keep in mind your mental health is just as important (if not more) as your physical. So important, you should want to make sure you get your mind right before getting your body on point!

Mental and physical health have recently been the center of health insurance marketing campaigns. Most recently, a health insurance company has pumped out a ton of commercials with TV celebrities, encouraging people to take care of their health. Their website not only talks about dietary dangers, but mental health and self-improvement. National Alliance of Mental Illness, over 40 million US adults will experience a mental illness in a year. There are so many mental stressors that can affect your mental health, that's why it is so important to take note of these few simple ideas.

1) Meditate- Whether it's 1 minute or 1 hour, give yourself some "me" time to close your eyes and relax. Research shows how meditation can reduce your stress levels.

2) Sleep- Make sure to get 7-8 hours of good sleep a night. "The top way to improve sleep is to have a consistent bed time and awake time," says Patricia Thornton, a psychologist in New York City. "Don't sleep in on weekends. Don't try to catch up on sleep with naps." You should strive for a consistent seven to eight hours a night. "That will go a long way to helping people feel better," she explains.

3) Stretch- Keep young! Regular stretching improves your health, while protecting you from aches, pains, and strains you would potentially if you didn't stretch!

4) Relax and get off your phone- Become more aware of your surroundings and be present!

  • Don't go down a rabbit hole getting caught up in social media
  • Work emails can just add stress also
  • So if you are going to be on your phone, do get "brain" apps. There are all kind of brain training games you can download, that will help your brain stay alert and be active.

5) Physical health – Tons of research prove that exercise is good for mental health. 30 minutes of exercise a day can also help lower the risk of depression. Remember to start at your own pace, whether it is walking, or speed walking, whatever it is. And make sure that it is a goal that is attainable and desired to achieve.

Last, don't forget to love yourself, and put YOU first. :)

Add these to your grocery list

Best foods for runners to eat before and after a run

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

I'm looking in my email inbox. One thing is clear (other than I really need to delete some emails), race season is beginning. There is the Hot Chocolate Run, the Bayou City Classic, and Run Like a Diva Marathon. I'm getting totally excited thinking about all the medals I can get. Then, I think about last running season. My habits were pretty sloppy last race season. There is a reason why you haven't seen my finish line picture. My nutrition was shotty. So I went to my friend, Google, and did some research on the best foods for runners. Here is what I found:

As an experienced runner, what you eat before you run is of the utmost importance. It is no fun to run out of steam due to not eating. It is also no fun to eat the wrong thing and get gassy. It is no fun to eat something that makes it hard to move and slows your time down. Once before a long run of 16 miles, I grabbed a plum from my fridge in haste. I forgot that a plum is really a prune. I got what they call runner trots (that's diarrhea) around mile 11. And that's really no fun. So what are the best foods to eat before a run or a race.

Banana

Bananas are full of potassium which help regulate the body's muscle contractions and prevents cramping. It also has enough starch to provide the glucose (where energy comes from) for your run and is easy to digest earning the name Old Fait.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

If you are in the mid point of training for a half, full marathon, or a spartan race, you will have long strenuous workouts and runs. Oatmeal makes a perfect choice to get you through. Like the banana, it is easy on the stomach and is full of carbohydrates to get you through your workout. It's a wonderful source of protein and because it has a low glycemic index, it provides sustained release of energy thus making sure you finish strong.

Nut Butter

Nut butters, like peanut, almonds, and cashews are great to eat before and after your run. Nut butters are full of fat and protein making you feel fuller longer. What's cool about that is you can eat less and you won't run the risk of cramping and sluggishness that comes with eating too much. Pair it with Ezekiel Toast (bread made with all the ingredients found at Ezekiel 4:9) to have a light meal made from complete plant protein. And its quick and easy to make. Just add honey to taste.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are great to consume before your workout, whether it is running, cross fit, or lifting weights. They are full of protein like the name suggests. If you are on a specific diet, they work well into your daily calories and nutrients. They come in amazing flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough and salted caramel. Chose a plant based protein powder over whey for running. It sustains you without weighing you down and is easy on the stomach. I recommend AdvoGreens Salted Caramel by Advocare.

Eggs

One of the best things ever created was the egg. Eggs are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners especially. Forget about them being a complete protein, but a little goes a long way. One egg over Ezekiel toast before a run will last until the end. After a run, you can enjoy an omelette to not only fight hunger, but inflammation. Also, eggs are full of Vitamin K which promotes bone health. Let's just say, the egg is awesome!

Some foods are great for runners to add to their overall diet.


Sweet potato

Runners need their carbs. You can't just eat Doritos and think that's going to cut it. Instead try adding sweet potato to your diet. Sweet potatoes are good carbs meaning they don't cause your sugar to spike which is great for runners because you can last a lot longer on the track. They are also full of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. You can eat them stuffed, in a hash, or baked them as fries with salt and vinegar drizzled on top.

Yogurt

Yogurt is also great for runners as it helps boost your immune system by its many strains of probiotics. Nothing can ruin a training schedule than getting sick over and over again. Yogurt is another great source of protein as well as calcium. It is a very diverse food. You can enjoy it off the spoon, as kefir, or as a smoothie with your favorite fruit. I'm thinking a berry, banana blast with pineapple (pineapple is great for preventing injuries).

Avocado

I can't have enough reasons to eat avocado. Avocados are a runner's best friend. Avocados have as much as 60% more potassium than bananas. Because of their high fat and fiber content, they keep you feeling full for longer. They possess Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces muscle and joint soreness and assists in recovery between workouts. Although amazing by themselves, avocados are great on sandwiches, with eggs, and just about anything.

Legumes

Like eggs, legumes are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners. They are a complete protein-carbohydrate combination that will give you sustained energy and helps repair your muscles. They are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will fit into a vegan, vegetarian, and a meat eaters diet. Think lentil stew or a bowl of chili to satiate your hunger after a long run. I would wait to enjoy after the run. They could cause gas.

So next time you go to the grocery store, be sure to include these items on your list. Better yet, pick out a couple of recipes to try out.

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