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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How to maintain our weight over the holidays....

This is the million dollar question many of us ask this time of the year. We all come to this time of year and become over stressed with massive amounts of holiday crunch time shopping, trying to schedule family visits and trying to make the best Christmas we can for those we love. In all of this, our bodies and our fitness levels get left behind. We socially except overheating of sweets, turkey dinners, homemade traditions and cheap Walmart chocolate. In doing so, the average male adult puts on just over 2lbs over the holidays and females it on an average of 1.7lbs. Sure, you have new years resolutions to save you from this holiday binge, but often times the weight we put o. Over the holidays is there to stay. Our bodies want another layer of ft to keep us warm in the cold, dark winter. That layer can mean the difference between a large shirt and an extra large t-shirt. 
   Although I do not have all of the answers and probably new ver will, this fact still concerns me. I enjoy the holidays and I love eating good food, but it is absolutely essential that we get our workouts in over the holiday season. Last year, I ran the 2nd annual Christmas eve run in Oxford NS we another person. While sporting Christmas themed shirts, we ran 5km and talked abut Christmas and what we wanted under the tree and our new year to come. The weather sucked but the memories live on. The time we shared in that run on Christmas eve is something I wish to do each and every Christmas eve. This is one example of how to practice weight maintenance over the holidays. When it's a holiday, go out and do something, not because you have to, but because you want to. Grab a family member or a friend you haven't seen in awhile and go for a walk with them on boxing day instead of sleeping off the turkey and festive treats.  If you have vacation time, you do not have to get up early, but when you do get up, role out of bed and get some sort of exercise in to ignite your metabolism for the remainder of the day. Exercising in the mornings will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day. Also, add caffeine to your day to keep your metabolism up. If you are going to consume alcoholic beverages moderate them with water. If eggnog is your thing, try a carton of fat free or reduced fat eggnog. If you really enjoy enjoy gingerbread cookies, have one without frosting and candy on it. Eat more turkey and less potatoes and dessert. The potatoes and desserts are full of carbs and little protein and protein is your main muscle ingredient. Finally, don't exercise so you can eat, eat so that you can exercise. Simply put, do not exercise and think that you can consume whatever you want as you will ultimately put weight on. Instead, think about what we are eating, why we are eating and then allow yourself to exercise around that.
   It's important to note that we can enjoy the holidays and the food that is socially attached to this time of year as long as we remain active and engaged in physical activity as much as possible. You may be criticized for doing so, But those who love you will accept your decisions to partake in exercise despite its inconvenience at Christmas time.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

An Ode to the vegetarians?

Good evening to you all. Tonight, my friend Tim and I are at the local pool. On the drive in, I started thinking a lot about vegetarianism and why someone would choose this option of eating. First of all, in no way do I have all of the answers, but with the education I have and from the experiences I have shared, I am going to break down vegarianism.
Number one reason for becoming a vegetarian....what is in our food? We have such a variety of foods and have seen our share of meat product contamination, inhumane ways of treating animals, and have heard the horrors of sodium filled meats and animal biproducts. If I were to take an educated guess, I would assume that to become a vegetarian, would omit all of these uneeded stressors we have faced as a society. Which leads me to my second point..
Purity. By not ingesting mass amounts of sodium from dried and packaged meats and by not contaminating the body with higher amounts of cholesterol, we in turn purify our bodies by choosing "greener" alternatives. By having soy products we are choosing to put less complexity of unknown sources in our bodies..but what about the rest of us...
I firmly believe in eating meats.....of a certain kind and I believe that meat and dairy products are essential for a healthy, prosperous life. The thing that needs to be addressed is eating the right kinds of meats. We cannot simple buy cheap meat products and dried, mass produced products in hopes of achieving optimal health. We must choose lean meats which are low in fat and meat products which are locally grown. Meat has been consumed since the dawn of time and should continue as such, but we have such a variety of meats that the best types should be chosen. Animal cruelty and slaughterhouses operate according to Capitalist norms for the best types of production for their animal products. We must choose for ourselves not to simply go to KFC and order a bucket of chicken and say we are meat eaters. And we must not look at a can of lean tuna, choose not to eat it and call ourselves vegetarians. We must make the right food source choices and incorporate a balance of everything in our diets to achieve optimal health. Maybe I am wrong in saying this, but I am here on this planet to be the best I can be at whatever I choose to do. I am here to make a difference in others lives and to educate the masses. In doing so, I require balanced, healthy choices which included a limited but abundant meat group in a weekly diet. Prepare good food, buy good food and you too can achieve optimal health.

Ryan Fahey
CPTN Canada
Confit pro Fitness Instructor

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking....

The other day I started reading a new book. Despite being in the midst of a time consuming teaching practicum at Trenton Middle School, I felt it was essential for me to continue on with my own professional literacy and further my ongoing education along with teaching. A good friend and mentor of my mine constantly reminds me of the importance of ongoing learning, so I started reading Norman Vincent Peale's book, "The Power of Positive Thinking".
   This book is by far one of the best books I have ever read. I am onl two chapters into the read and I am a changed man. It throws you into self questioning in the first line of the first chapter. Dare I say more? Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book, you be the judge!
Chapter one: Believe in yourself
    "Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own abilities you cannot be successful or happy."
   This statement grabbed my attention immediately. It hits the nail on the head. So many of us live each day to "just get by", or "work for the weekend". So true is it not? We wake up and we know that we are going to work, or to school but we often do not believe in ourselves. We often sell ourselves short and not raise the bar higher in fear of a greater workload, fear of being observed by coworkers and family and the list goes on. However, if you take these fears, these negative cognitations, and transform them into positive thinking, the power is in your hands. Your work proficiency will increase, your financial situation will eventually improve and your health will be sustained if not improved. The key to success and happiness is not necessarily the most money or the sleekest sportscar. Happiness is found when we approach each day, each decision will an abundance of positivity towards ourselves, our family and our friends. This shift in thinking can become a lifestyle if you can convince yourself that confidence can strengthen your life.
   I eagerly encourage each one of you to pick up this book or to put it on your Christmas wish list, it is a timeless, classic read which so far has completely changed my outlook on teaching students and training clients.

Ryan B Fahey
B.A Human Kinetics
CPTN Canada
canfitpro Fitness Instructor

Saturday, 19 November 2011

How to get rich?

Good morning folks. Today is a nice winter day outside and I have seized the opportunity to watch some TED presentations on things in our society. TED is a website which promotes alternative thinking in an educative manner. It is a website designed to innovate the slowest minds, lighten darkened hearts and to give a voice to the voiceless. Among many of the great videos on this website there are lectures about space saving innovations, loss of creativity in the classroom and about the increasing obesity rates in North America. I downloaded the app for TED on my iPad2 and I encourage you all to expose yourself to these types of alternative education offered for free for everyone. Check it out next time you have 5 minutes and even if you do not know what you want to hear just click on one of the lectures and let your mind take you....that is a freedom we all possess.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

An Ode to the teachers.......

Good evening folks. I come to you tonight with something interesting. School ranking systems. Today, in the Chronicle Herald the breakdown of the best and worst schools were unleashed to the public. Interestingly enough my former high school was ranked the "worst" school in the province and it's neighboring school ranked second worst.
This troubles me. I am troubled because as a teacher I feel for every single competent teacher within those two schools. Within these schools are some of the best teachers any student will ever have.I wonder how they feel. If I were a teacher there I would be feeling pretty bad about that general ranking which is why I do not agree with general ranking schemes. Ranking schools is great for publicity for those schools whom rank high on these particular scales, but for my former high school this is not the case. Which frustrates me. Are parents all over the province going to see that and stereotype the learning capacity within that school and not send their children there. These ranking systems should not be in place. The negative publicity it generates for those schools who apparently score low do not receive anything good from this ranking. But yet, every year we see these schools singled out and stereotyped for a whole year. If I were teaching at my former school right now I would be advocating for this ranking system to be dismissed or changed to eliminate these outliers. This ranking system only promotes confusion, stereotyping, judging, marginalizations, and it does not get at the heart of the true struggles our province faces. We have rural area school enrollment numbers dropping and overall under funding. Why is it that a ranking system is necessary when these other issues are more important to address? This systemic ranking is designed to distract us from the real issues.
In closing, avoid supporting these rankings or at least try to separate a schools highly competent teachers and an excellent Nova scotia curriculum from a subjective, superfluous ranking. Send your child to any school they wish, and let them be the judge for themselves.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The End of Overeating?

    A very close friend of mine introduced me to a book titled, "The End of Overeating", which was written by David Nessler. He has since appeared on Oprah and Dr. Phil to discuss this read. In the book he clearly lays out the problems within our diets as North Americans. Pretty much all of the food manufacturing companies and restaurant chains are literally after our hearts (literally). throughout the book it shows us that foods all over North America contain three common ingredients; Sugar, fat and salt. These three ingredients hit us in our soft spots and make us crave certain foods. For example, you go into MacDonalds and you order the same thing you had during your prior visit because it tasted so good. The sandwich may say "less fat" but when you take a look at the sodium content within the product there is added salt compared to the regaular fatty sandwich. You go into your local supermarket such as Sobeys or Superstore and you buy everyone's favorite sandwich treat, peanut butter. However, you notice that there is peanut butter which has "less fat" than the "regular" pb and so you choose that instead. If you read the ingredients on the less fat pb, you will see it is sweetened with icing sugar, the same sugar used for cake icing. That masked sugar high makes you want to continually buy that peanut butter when really you should have bought a natural peanut butter with no added salt. We must develope nutrition awareness and nutrition literacy to know what we are putting into our bodies.
     Nessler goes on to talk about how some foods are salt on sugar and sugar on fat....What does that mean? Well, it basically means that foods become addicting because at the core of the food lies sugar or salt, covering that is a yummy layer of more sugar or salt and to top it off it is increased in taste from fat. An example of this is would be sweet potatoe fries. We all love sweet potatoe fries. they are sweet, deep fried in salt and fat and usually we eat them with some type of fat-based sauce to make them more delicious. YUMMM. Nessler provides many more examples of foods which thrive on this simple recipe.
    In conclusion I encourage you to buy this book! It is not a diet book by any means, it is designed to expose us to what is in our food and why foods are so addicting to each of us. He explores the notion of why we need will power to overcome certain food cravings. It is so important that we understand what we are eating and how to better understand food relationships. Two thumbs up to Nessler's book!

New Years Resolutions..Don't make a resolution?

Good afternoon folks. I am blogging today regarding superfluous new years resolutions. That seems like quite a bold statement to make, but I will explain the reasons why I make such a statement.
    Every year, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of individuals make the conscious decision on January 1st that life will be different for them. I am one of those individuals who have tried that technique and have failed miserably. It is a huge sociological problem we face each year. Why do so many people fail at reaching their resolutions? Why do people assume that things will work out but get three or four weeks down the road and then fall back into the same routines and procedures prior to the big decision they made? I will explain why..
  1)The weather: We often make resolutions when the weather is basically the worst it could be in Canada. Roads are often snow-covered, icy and there is more dark in the day then sunlight. We often try to run more or use active transportation as our resolutions but due to our harsh Canada climate, we fail miserably.
  2)Tight funds: We are most always financially constrained following the Christmas season and we try to cut corners wherever possible for a few weeks. This often goes against resolutions because if your resolution is to get a gym membership, that can become very expensive. Also, we all know that eating better (according to Canada's food guide) is very expensive as well. These factors are often overlooked when impulsive resolutions are formed.
 3)The prior build-up: If we say we are going to make a change on New Years we often "compensate" for this by going "all out" over the Holidays. This often involves eating massive amounts of junk food and candy and desserts as well as extra turkey dinners, pies, etc. All of this over eating pushes us farther away from our weight loss goals before we have even started.
 4)Family: We often have families whose needs come ahead of your own. This is normal if you are a parent and are usually aware of this. However, if in the new year you make a resolution to make more time for yourself, sometimes the relationships with your family become strained, which is not a good balance.
 5)Busy gyms: If your resolution involves hitting the gym, goodluck. Gyms accross the country become over packed and over capicitated for the long month of January. It seems that everyone makes a resolution involving the gym and it is very intimidating to start working out at a gym with so many people. You are already aware that you are working out because you need to be in better shape, so why build those anxieties by surrounding yourself with people around you throwing judgments and intimidating stares.

  In conclusion, do not throw yourself in a box filled with empty promises. If you want to go to the gym or start going to the gym start anytime of the year. Start on your Christmas break before New Years. Start when there are less people and you will feel better in doing so. Your family is important, plan ahead to when your kids are less busy and talk to your spouse to keep each other active all year, Do not start making resolutions when it could be the height of your childs hockey season. Also, do not build up the decision ahead of time that change is coming. Doing so will cause you to overeat with ease prior to your new goal. Approach the Holiday season with a goal and already have one in mind for Jan or Feb. Funds are tighter after the Holidays so ask for a gym membership for Christmas. Ask about family pricing or even for a new pair of runners as a gift. All of these things should become priority if a good decision is going to be made. We all know how bad the weather can be so have a back-up plan in place. You will be working/in school and traveling my be complicated with winter temperatures and storms. Running will not be easy if it is outside so be flexible and try to do your runs in the morning. Start running now and get a head start on your goals!
    Proper planning is essential for life and planning should be ongoing. Goal setting should not be attempted once a year, but instead should be attempted the whole year. :)
    Become Educated!


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Greece...Itally......The World?

     Recently in the world we have been accustomed to seeing different countries falter due to "weak" economies. How can this be? How can we start with one nation falling economically and another one following suit? Well, I blog today to tell you to get comfortable with that idea. Not only will these countries continue to falter and drag others into recession with them, this has happened throughout history many times. For decades and centuries countries rose or fell economically mostly due to wars, famine's diseases, etc. Now, we face new coomplications mixed in wit an old recipe. We see new players in this game. We see technology, social media and globalization playing as stronger factors to this downfall. We see up risings such as , "Occupy Wall Street" and internet sites such as facebook bringing everyone together in a frustrated fashion.
    Greece is currently facing an economic crisis, and Itally will be next. France will follow suit and eventually even economically sustained countries will fall until one recipe is developed to solve mass chaos and unemployment. This solution will be a one world economy. It is only a matter of time until a one world economy umbrellas the eastern and western world to solve much of these downfalls. The recession in the 30's was solved by agricultural means and war, but this time we are over populated, underfed and underpaid in many countries. If we were to break down the formula, logically we can see that the only solution to these ongoing issues is the same currency dispersed over as many people and countries as possible. Now, this may seem like a communist notion I am suggesting but that is not the case. Communism has never been tested to handle the global inequalities and paradigms we face. I am suggesting that a one world currency will be the only logical solution to bail out all of these countries and give them a "fresh start".
    I encourage anyone who reads this to think critically about our changing world. Each day the news throws news like this to us and we need to think about these things critically. We mut educate ourselves and judge for ourselves what we can to rationalize our role in Society. Educate your children and discuss these worldly issues with them to help them better understand things.