Working Out Improves One’s Self-Esteem

The typical picture of a college student is a person who sits around all day and does nothing but their homework and watch Netflix (or something like that). Now, I know this is not true for everyone, but I know that I fit into this picture every once in a while when I am stressed with school and everything that life throws at me.

By finding a little sliver of motivation to pause your favorite show and go to the gym, you can increase your self-esteem, which includes looking good, feeling strong, and having a positive attitude.

When I go to the gym I only think about the different things that I can do to improve my body and health. I never really thought about the gym as a way to help my mental health, until now.

I found this article from Live Strong that explained why exercise is a good thing when it comes to one’s self-esteem.

 

When you’re at the gym, cardio isn’t the only thing that you can do to help boost your mood. According to this article, you can also strength train.

I know what you’re thinking.

Lifting weights? How is that suppose to make me feel positive?

But it will! Not only will lifting weights help strengthen your body, but it also helps you shed fat and tone up.

I came across a Livestrong article that showed some positive things that can result from weight-lifting. Your confidence and self-esteem will improve each time that you lift weights. Most of us (at least I know that I was) lack in our confidence when it comes to our body image and lifting weights can help change our physical appearance (that’s a plus!).

According to this online article, “When middle-aged women participated in a strength-training program twice a week for 12 weeks they reported having a better attitude about their physical self, felt happier and healthier.”

Becoming leaner isn’t the only thing that can result from weight-lifting. I found an article that explains the emotional benefits that can occur from weightlifting, as well.

The Livestrong article talked about how endorphins are released from the brain and how this chemical can create a feeling of happiness. This chemical is usually released when a person is weightlifting because our bodies think that this type of a workout is a stressful event and that we lift weights to relieve this stress. Once the workout is done, it is said that you will feel happier because of the endorphins that were released during the workout.

I never thought that weight-lifting would be something that I might consider doing, but now that I know the benefits of lifting weights I think that I might try it out.

I always find myself working out in an attempt to lose weight or to reduce my stress (because let’s face it, college is stressful), but I’ve realized that losing weight isn’t going to help me get a positive body image. Being strong is.

By lifting weights, people can be stronger and help their body unleash it’s full potential (because a strong body is a healthy body).

Everyone can have a positive body image for themselves, it’s just up to them on how they do it. Will it be weight-training? Who knows!

 

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Recipe of the Week: Baked Chicken Parmesan

Here’s SkinnyTaste’s photo of Baked Chicken Parmesan since I forgot to take a picture.

 

After last week’s delicious recipe, I was super excited to cook up another SkinnyTaste recipe. This week I made SkinnyTaste’s Baked Chicken Parmesan and it was amazing. Now, I’ve made this recipe many times before and it’s becoming one of my favorites. I love this chicken Parmesan recipe and had never had it before I stumbled across it a few years ago. And since then, I’ve never looked for a different recipe.

This was the first recipe that I tried from SkinnyTaste and it’s brought me back to the site to try other recipes that are listed there. This recipe, like others, are easy to do (and who doesn’t love that?).

Here are the ingredients that are needed for this recipe:

 

  • 4 (about 8 oz each) chicken breast, fat trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise to make 8
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese (I used Polly-o)
  • 1 cup marinara or Filetto di Pomodoro
  • cooking spray

I love that there aren’t many ingredients needed to make this dish. For me, I only use 2 chicken breasts because I cut them in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces. The original recipe says that you only need a certain amount of breadcrumbs and Parmesan, but I guess when I mix them together. I’ve noticed that I always end up needing more breading for each piece of chicken than what the recipe calls for.

As for how to cook the dish, it’s pretty easy and quick.

First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

When the oven is heating up, use the cooking spray and spray the bottom of a baking sheet or pan.

Then, cut up the chicken breasts horizontally (here’s a video if you need an example). You can use however many breasts you want (the recipe recommends 4 but I use 2 to 3 if I’m cooking for less people).

Once you have the chicken cut up, you can rub olive oil on both sides of each of the pieces (or you can use butter, too). After all of the pieces are oiled up, you roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, which is made up of the combination of seasoned breadcrumbs (I use Italian Breadcrumbs) and grated Parmesan cheese.

After all of the chicken is breaded, place them in the pan and then spray more cooking spray over the chicken before baking it in the oven for 25 minutes.

Once the 25 minutes are up, take the pan out and put 1 tbsp of marinara sauce over each of the pieces of chicken and 1 1/2 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese(I do a pinch of it) on top of the chicken, as well. Then, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.

I like to cook some angel hair noodles and broccoli with this dish to make it a full dish. I also like to heat up the marinara sauce that is left over and put that over the noodles.

When the chicken is done, place it over the noodles (if you make them) and enjoy!

It’s a simple dish that brings the same amount of comfort as the original chicken Parmesan without all of the calories. Great, huh?

Let me know what you think! Until next time…

 

Keep Your Healthy Eating Resolution Strong!

I know that the New Years festivities have come and gone, but have your resolutions? I’m a strong believer that you can keep adding resolutions to your list even if it’s no longer January. If you want to change something in your life, do it! Don’t wait until next year. Start changing your life now! Or if you’re slacking on your new years resolution, find some motivation!

I came across this Self online article that listed some tips for people (like you and I) to help them continue to push on in their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s a list of what I think is the most important things to focus on when it comes to what you eat:

The less sugar, the better.

I know, this probably isn’t something that you want to hear. I definitely did not like hearing this piece of advice… I mean, could I really live without pop and candy? The answer? Yes.

I realized after cutting sugar out of my diet that I felt better. It wasn’t a coincidence either. Here’s an article that explains the great things that can happen to you if you cut sugar out of your diet.

Have some vegetables and fruits for breakfast.

According to this Healthy Eating article, people are suppose to eat 2.5 to 6.5 cups of vegetables and fruit daily, so I think that it’s best that they start eating them right away in the morning. Personally, I think that it would be easier to get the total daily amount of these in a day if I started it earlier. The quicker you eat them, the quicker that I can finish them. I don’t know about you, but eating a lot of veggies and fruit is a struggle for me.

Eat out less.

As a college student, I can honestly say that this is a constant struggle for me. Eating out seems to be the main way that my friends and I gather and socialize. We don’t have to cook. We can get out of the dorms. It seems like a win-win, that is except for the sinking feeling I get after I eat a bigger meal. I lack this self-control when it comes to eating out at Applebee’s, Arby’s, etc.

I think this is one of the most important things. If we change our eating habits and eat out less than I think that we’ll be able to see our workout results quicker than before.

Buy fewer sweets.

This is a constant struggle for me. Whenever I go to the grocery store I always want to go down the cookie and candy aisle, though I stop myself from doing so. If I don’t buy as many sweets, than I’m less likely to eat them. It’s tough to not buy all of the things that I want to eat, but I always remind myself that my future self will thank me.

 

These things aren’t huge or hard to do, which is why I thought that it was crucial to share. Trying to live a healthier lifestyle is tough, but by slightly changing one’s eating habits and shopping habits, they can make the transition a little easier.

 

 

Consistency is Key

Whenever I go to the gym I always think that that’s the time where I really have to push myself and make the most out of the time that I am there. I’ve recently found out that I am wrong (but not fully).

I learned that you don’t have to push yourself so much at the gym.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A little bit of a push to keep going when you are tired is a good thing, but overdoing a workout is not a good thing.

According to this Self online article, although its good to go hard at the gym and make the most out of each workout, people should try their best to try and create a routine at the gym instead of going too hard at the gym and burning themselves out in a week.

When I first read this concept, I thought that they were wrong because I had always been taught to work my hardest at my workouts and push through if my energy was still high enough to do so. Though after I read the article and thought about this concept for a little bit, I also get their point. In the long run you’re not going to improve your body and your health if you do long, high-intense workouts a few days each week and give up because you can’t find the motivation to do the same workout the next week.

I can honestly say that I have made this mistake before.

I used to go and workout on the elliptical for an hour three different times during the week. I loved the results of burning a lot of calories during the week, but I would notice that the next week that I would  have to drag myself to the gym because I dreaded the thought of being on the elliptical for a whole hour. Going to the gym turned out to be a chore instead of something positive that I was doing to improve myself in the future.

I knew I had to change my workout habits and this Self article helped me do that.

Trainers told Self that people should choose workouts that they genuinely like to do, because then they would be more likely to stick to the workouts and get to the gym weekly. It’s easier to workout when you’re doing things that you like to do. Though it might not be as intense as other workouts, the more workouts that people complete each week will lead to consistency which will lead to better results in the future.

Instead of doing a lot of things during each workout session, this site recommended to work out for shorter sessions, like 30 minutes instead of an hour. They claimed that this work out routine for each week would be easier to achieve during a busy work than a longer workout.

Consistency is key. It’s not always about how far you push yourself, it’s about if you are consistent and motivated enough to do the workouts for the weeks and months to come.

So stay consistent in your visits to the gym and keep your motivation high. You’re future self will thank you.

 

Week Three: Final Project Reflection

I know that I say this every week, but I’ve learned so much this week (just like the last two weeks). I always think that I’m not going to come across information that I haven’t heard before, but every week that I blog I am proven wrong.

The first blog that I published this week was called Better Your Workout. This blog was really interesting to write because I didn’t know how much having technology with you when you go to the gym can effect how good you workout. My blog included a negative aspect of having technology with you at the gym and a positive aspect, as well. Technology can distract people, but if used correctly (like listening to a personalized workout playlist) it can also keep people motivated and focused on their workout. I really like posting about different aspects of a workout than just listing a workout that people can do like I had originally planned to do when I was did my Final Project Proposal.

My next blog that I did this week was called Eating Habits For Before and After Workouts. I was super excited that I came across an article about things that people should eat pre-workout and post-workout. I, for one, have always been curious of if I was eating the right things before and after I worked out and I found out that I didn’t. I’m really glad that I wrote this blog because I feel like there are so many people like me out there that have no idea what they are doing when it comes to nutrition. A plus of this blog was that the article that I linked to provided eating habits from an actual nutritionist!

My next blog that I did (which is becoming my favorite blog type of the week) was called Recipe of the Week: Spinach Lasagna Rolls. I love experimenting with new food and having this blog has really pushed me to do it more often since I need content to write about, and a picture of the dish (if I remember). I was skeptic of trying a new recipe since my week two recipe that I tried wasn’t a favorite of mine. I like that this type of blog post is allowing me to try new things while also sharing the recipe and my experience while cooking it with readers because they might not have heard of SkinnyTaste before.

My last blog for the week was called Recognize Your Self-Worth. I found this blog post for this week kind of difficult to write this week. To me, it seems like all of the articles that I am running across have the same kinds of information on it. Since I struggled a little bit this week in writing this, I know that next week I have to prep more and really sift through articles to find good articles. Though I struggled a little more with this blog post, I learned some new things that I didn’t know about body image, like that people could have eating disorders if they keep hating on their body. It’s crazy how much someone’s perspective can affect themselves.

For an overall review of my blog posts, I believe that I chose the right topic to blog about for my final project. Yes, for some of the topics that I want to touch on relating to a healthy life is hard to write about sometimes, but I think that it will better me in the end because I will have to look harder for quality material. I really like writing and learning more information about workout tips, eating tips, recipes, and good mental perspectives when it comes to body image. Writing these blogs are enjoyable because it doesn’t feel like a chore, because I’m learning things that will help me better my life and I think that’s what makes it worth it.

Recognize Your Self-Worth

I know that sometimes it’s easier to wallow in your own self-pity instead of trying to change the negative mind set that you are in. I know that I get mad when people tell me to try and look at the positive side of things, but I think that’s because I get frustrated that I can’t see myself the way that they see me.

I usually think that they’re lying.

I found this Lakeland PBS online article that talked about perfect illusions and how people struggle with their body image and things that they can do to feel more confident in their own skin.

The article talked about how in order for people to first come to terms with starting to love and accept their body by appreciated and respecting our natural body shapes. Here are a few things that I thought might be helpful for other people if they are struggling with their confidence and loving their bodies.

Recognize Your Worth

We are uniquely made and we should recognize that our body is a blessing and can do many things. If we are unable to do these things than we will never be closer to loving ourselves. Our bodies are a temple and can do great and powerful things like running and rock climbing. We are more powerful than we know, but we can’t unlock our full potential if we don’t acknowledge our greatness.

Write Lists

Another thing that could help people improve their self-confidence in themselves and their bodies is to write ten positive things about themselves (not relating to their physical features). I think that this would be a cool idea because it would show people that the most important things about themselves are more than their bodies or outer appearance. I think that once people come to love their personalities and other features about themselves that they will be more likely to love how they look, too. Confidence is courageous once you start.

Work With Your Body, Not Against It

If you can’t quite gain the confidence to love your body fully quite yet, try and work with your body. By this, I mean go to the gym and try and mold your body into what you want it to look like instead of just sitting there and wishing that your body would change.

You are in charge. The only person that can change things about you is yourself.

Another thing that someone can do to work with their body type is to dress for it. By this, I mean that you should wear clothes that are comfortable and flattering on you. I know that you might think that certain clothing items would look cute on you, but just wear what you know looks good with your body type. It’s way easier to have confidence when you are out in public when you know that your outfit looks good. Trust me.

 

There’s no set things that a person can do that will make them magically gain confidence in themselves and in their body image, but each thing that you do to try and love yourself will help you get there eventually.

Patience is key.

 

Recipe of the Week: Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Since I’ve started this health journey, I’ve discovered different recipes and eating habits. Some recipes that I have experimented with have been fantastic and a regular recipe for me while others have been recipes that I will never try again. It’s all trial and error, but you’re never going to know if you like something if you never try it.

The recipe that I tried this week was SkinnyTaste’s Spinach Lasagna Rolls. When I first heard of spinach and lasagna in the same sentence I was skeptical, but I thought that I should give it a try. What harm could it do? I mean, it’s only 253 calories for one of the rolls.

I tried it and I was amazed. This was so easy and so good to make. I didn’t even miss the meat that I usually had in lasagna.

The SkinnyTaste online site has full details and instructions on how to make this dish, but I am just going to touch base on the ingredients that you will need if you want to make this dish.

  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce, plus more for serving
  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles, wheat or gluten-free
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

SkinnyTaste likes to use a lot of ingredients that are fresh, homemade, or skim products for their dishes- especially this one. I, on the other hand, made this dish with store-bought marinara sauce and regular shredded mozzarella cheese.

It might not be exactly what I was suppose to use, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules when it comes to recipes or cooking.

Personally, I thought that this recipe was really easy to make compared to a few that I have experimented with in previous weeks.

First, I had to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When I was letting the oven heat up, I boiled some water and cooked lasagna noodles (the exact amount to cook is listed on SkinnyTaste’s main site).

After the lasagna noodles are cooked the site said to dry the noodles off and lay them out flat, but I found it hard to dry off hot noodles so I just stopped trying to dry them. Then there’s this spinach ricotta spread that I had to mix with an egg and some Parmesan. After I stirred the mixture, I spread along the length of  all of the noodles before I rolled them up.

Grabbing a rectangle cake pan, I put some sauce on the bottom of the pan and placed the lasagna spinach rolls on top of it with the seal part of the noodle facing the bottom of the pan. I then spooned some sauce over it (though I didn’t measure the sauce like they directed me to) over the noodles before putting it in the oven for 40 minutes.

It was quick and delicious and a healthy alternative for lasagna. I am usually a big meat-eater, but I didn’t mind eating this and didn’t even notice that there wasn’t any meat. This is something that I will definitely make again.

If you decide to make this, please let me know how it went for you. I’d love to hear if you liked it just as much as I did!

Until next time…

Eating Habits For Before And After Workouts

Like many other people just beginning their health journey, it’s sometimes hard to know what you should put in your body before and after you work out. I am one of these people.

I found this Self online article that talked about things that people should eat before and after a workout (and it’s advice from a registered dietitian- That’s a plus!). I think that putting the right nutrients in your body will help you feel better and have a good workout. This article has a ton of information in it (some nutritional terminology) so I am just going to simplify it.

 

Eating Habits Before A Workout:

First off it should be noted that the ideal time that people should eat before they work out is between 30 minutes to 3 hours before they work out, but the timing depends on each person. Also, stay hydrated before, during, and after your work out.

Carbs Are Your Friends

I know that there are a lot of people who try to avoid carbs at all costs, but that’s not necessarily a good or healthy thing. The nutritionist in the article said that for people to be energized enough to have a good workout that they should eat carbs before they work out. To simplify it carbs create energy. Some food items that people can eat are granola bars, oatmeal, or some fruits.

Protein Is A Must

Carbs aren’t the only thing that people should eat before they go work out, they should also have protein. This protein is more beneficial if someone is trying to weight train, but anyone can eat this before they go to the gym. Some of these food items are nuts, milk, or a hard-boiled egg. Personally, I drink protein shakes so I get the nutrients I need without feeling full.

 

Eating Habits After A Workout:

Eat Carbs and Protein

The nutritionist went on to say that after a workout people should try to eat as soon as they can so they can refuel. It’s ideal to have a full meal that consists of carbs and protein, but even a light snack could get people by until they have time to make a bigger meal (Just try to keep the snack under 150 calories). Brown rice, beans, and fish are packed with these nutrients.

 

These are just some easy guidelines that people can follow to try and treat their body right and feed it the nutrients that it needs.

Before I read this article I never knew what I should eat before and after a workout. I always thought that it was a bad thing if I felt the need to eat something right when I got done with my workout, but now I know that it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually normal.

I hope that this blog will help you make smart nutritional choices before you work out and after, because I want everyone to live their best life. Our fitness journeys are all different and we all face different difficulties along the way, but by helping each other stay educated we’re one step closer to living our best and healthiest lives.

 

 

Better Your Workout

I don’t think that there is a single person who doesn’t want their workouts to do more for their body.

I stumbled across an article from Self Online that explains tips that could help your workout being more effective (and who wouldn’t want that?). This article shows nineteen different things that people can do to have better workouts, but I really want to discuss two of them.

I think that college students (or possibly any person) are becoming more and more attached to their phones. I’m even guilty of it. I think that phones have become a huge distraction in not only my life but in my time at the gym, too. I found this Time’s article that agrees with my argument.

I’ve had times where I’m at the gym and I can’t decide on a song or I take a longer break between my different workouts than I need to…yes, because of my phone. I think that it’s so much easier to cave in to technology because we’re tired or don’t want to workout at the gym. I get it. But I think that in order to work out effectively and make the most out of our time at the gym, that we need to put the phones away and focus on our mind and body.

The Self article stated that one thing that people could do to create an effective workout for themselves is to already have a great playlist made for when you work out. I, for one, wish that I would have thought about this sooner (because it’s such an easy thing to do) but I didn’t. Currently, all I do is shuffle through playlists on Spotify, but now I know that in order to save time I have to make personalized workout playlists myself. That way, I can be able to listen to the music that will keep me pumped and motivated through my workout without wasting any time.

Secondly, this article also stated that having a plan when you go to workout is the most beneficial for people to stay on track with their workouts. I can tell you that this is completely true. I can tell that when I go to the gym and know what I want to do, that I am more motivated and determined to finish all of the workouts that I have on my mental checklist. When I go to the gym and don’t have a plan, I tend to waste more time standing around or sitting on the gym mats instead of actually working on improving myself and bettering my body.

I know that these workout tips might seem easy and obvious to some, but I think they are things that can easily be forgotten in our hectic lives. We always seem to look for big workout tips that will totally change how we work out, but I think that sometimes we have to focus on all of the little things that we can change to make our workouts great.

Week Two: Final Project Reflection

I had a lot of fun reading articles and learning more about the topics of workout tips, eating tips, healthier recipes, and self-love. I never think that I can learn more about my topics, but I am always proven wrong.

When I wrote my workout tip blog, Have Energy? Go Work Out, I wasn’t quite sure which direction it would take. When I was writing I felt myself dig deeper on the workout topic than what I thought I would and I learned a lot of cool things. I learned that people should work out when they have the most energy and that made me question if there was a specific time that everyone’s energy was high. By reading a psychology article, I found out that people’s body time-clocks are at different times and that the time that they were born affected if they were a morning or night person. In the end, though I wanted to come to a general conclusion for my readers, I found out that there wasn’t a specific answer for everyone, instead they just had to work out when they had time and felt energized enough.

My next blog, Keep Track of What You Eat, was super interesting to me and even though it was a common idea that I’ve heard about I got to learn more in-depth ways to do these things and ways to curb unnecessary eating. This blog was very educational to me and I learned a lot of things that I hadn’t before.

My next blog, Skinny Chicken Taco Chili, was super fun to do. I really like that I’ve incorporated a cooking aspect into my blog, because it’s forcing me to try new things (some recipes of which I actually love). This recipe so far is my favorite and I’m excited to pick a recipe for next week.

Lastly I wrote a blog, Be Nice To Yourself, for my self-love tip section. This section is always hard for me to do, since I’m struggling with this myself and I can’t preach to others about self-love and perception if I’m not fully accepting myself. Though this part is a struggle, I do love that I’m able to learn more things that might be able to help me love myself and to have a positive mindset. This part is probably most beneficial for me because of this reason.

Overall, I’m really enjoying the concept of living a healthy life for my blog because I’m really teaching myself and others about these things at the same time. It’s educational, interesting, and beneficial to creating a healthier lifestyle for myself. I think this blog is going really well so far!