Tricks to Motivate Myself to Exercise: Trick #2

Hi friends – this is Trick #2 of the series: Tricks to Motivate Myself to Exercise

Hugs,

Paola

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Trick #2: Change into Exercise Clothes at Work

I always have my gym bag in the car. If I plan to exercise after work, I will take my gym bag out of the car with me when I arrive at the station in the morning. This way, when I am done with work, I’ll change at the restrooms at the television station before I leave work. If I am in exercise clothes, I feel motivated and prepared to exercise (ok, sometimes it is more like forced to go exercise ;)). It is like changing from my “work uniform” (outfit) to my “exercise uniform.” Make sense? A few times, I have said, “oh, I’ll change at the gym or go to the store first, then the gym and change there”….and you know what happens, I don’t go to the gym. Somehow between leaving the station parking lot and getting on the freeway I decide to pass the freeway off ramp for the gym and keep driving straight home (and don’t exercise that day). But, when I am wearing my exercise clothes, I go straight to the gym. Maybe it is a state of mind, but putting on the exercise clothes automatically motivates me to exercise. Then, when I arrive at the gym, I start exercising (usually Zumba), get my endorphins going, and leave feeling happy and wonderful!

Do you have a gym bag? Do you change at work to head straight to exercise after work?

Tip: I have multiple of exercise outfits (pants, tops, and jackets) , a few pairs of tennis shoes, and many socks. This way, I always have exercise clothes and socks available in my drawers, making it easy to pack my gym bag daily. I use one pair of tennis shoes as my “gym bag” tennis shoes, this way I don’t need to be taking them out of the gym bag in the car when I need tennis shoes while at home or if I decide to exercise on the weekends.

If you would like to read the post regarding Tip #1, click here.

ESPAÑOL: Estrategia #2: Cambiarme a Ropa Deportiva en el Trabajo
Siempre tengo mi mochila para el gimnasio en el auto. Si planeo hacer ejercicio después de mi día de trabajo, bajo mi mochila para el gimnasio del auto al llegar a la televisora en la mañana. De esta manera, al terminar mi trabajo, me cambio de ropa en los vestidores de la televisora antes de salir del edificio. ¡Si estoy vestida con ropa deportiva, me siento motivada y preparada para hacer ejercicio! Es como cambiarme de mi “uniforme de trabajo” a mi “uniforme de ejercicio.” ¿Suena lógico? Algunas veces he dicho, “me cambiaré en el gimnasio, o iré a la tienda primero y de ahí al gimnasio donde me podré cambiar de ropa.” ¿Y saben que pasa? No voy al gimnasio. De alguna manera (muy misteriosa por cierto) entre salir del estacionamiento de la televisora y subirme al freeway, decidí pasarme la salida del gimnasio y seguí manejando directamente a mi casa. Como resultado, ese día ya no hice ejercicio. ¡Quizás es la manera como funciona mi mente, pero ponerme ropa deportiva automáticamente me motiva a hacer ejercicio! Y cuando llego al gimnasio, comienzo a escuchar la música, a hacer ejercicio, bailar en la clase de Zumba, comienzan a andar mis endorfinas, y termino sintiéndome contenta y de maravilla!

Tengo varios compañeros de trabajo que usan esta estrategia. Veo que salen de la televisora vestidos con ropa deportiva y listos para hacer ejercicio. ¡A ellos les funciona y a mi también!

Otro Consejo: Tengo varias prendas de ropa deportiva, unos cuantos pares de tenis, y muchas calcetas. De esta manera, siempre tengo ropa deportiva y calcetas en los cajones en casa, y así me es fácil preparar la mochila diario para el gimnasio. Utilizo un par de tenis como el par para “la mochila para el gimnasio” y de esta manera no tengo que estar sacando los tenis del auto cuando estoy en casa y necesito tenis, o si decido hacer ejercicio el fin de semana.

¡Hacer ejercicio no solo es bueno para nuestro cuerpo, también es bueno para nuestro bienestar emocional y nuestra alma!

¿Tienes mochila para el gimnasio? ¿Te cambias en el trabajo para irte directo a hacer ejercicio después de tu jornada laboral?

Tambien los invito a que nos conectemos por medio de Facebook/Paola-Hernandez-Jiao.

Un abrazo,
Paola

Tricks to Motivate Myself to Exercise : Trick #1

Hi friends,

Hope you had a nice weekend! The New Year has started and one of the most common new year’s resolutions people make is to exercise more and/or lose weight. If you follow my blog, you know I like to exercise, but I have to motivate myself to exercise. I don’t have a huge urge to exercise, but always feel better after I do it. I often wish I was like those people who wake up in the mornings with a huge urge and motivation to go for a jog, but I am just simply not like that. But, if I don’t exercise for  a few days, I do feel the urge and need to exercise, at least go for a long walk! I sometimes have to trick myself into exercising. By trick, I mean I use different techniques to motivate myself to exercise. I exercise mostly to be healthy, it is also a  good stress reliever for me, and of course, helps me stay in shape and fit into my jeans (always a plus)! I also love chocolate and certain snacks, exercising allows me to treat myself every one in a while and not have to deprive myself of my favorite foods.

I am going to write a series of 10 Tricks I Use to Motivate Myself to Exercise. I will list them in the order in which I enjoy them most and do them most often. Hope you enjoy reading about these and how they work for me….and if you need extra motivation to exercise, hopefully these will work for you too!

Do you have any tricks you use to motivate yourself to exercise? What are they?

Was exercising more often one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

Hugs,

Paola

Trick #1: Have an Exercise Buddy 

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My exercise buddy is my bff Lola. One of the first blog posts I wrote was about the positive things related to having an exercise buddy. As we get older and have more responsibilities (such as a full-time job, spouse to spend time with, dinner to make, errands to run, a house to clean, kids, pets, etc., etc.) we have less time to spend with friends. Spending time with friends brings happiness and a sense of belonging to our lives! On the days I exercise with Lola, I look forward to the end of the workday and to seeing her because I know I will enjoy my time with her. We usually exercise after work, we set a date ahead of time and stick to it (but if an urgent matters comes up and we need to change the date the other understands).  Or main form of exercise is going for long speed walks by the bay downtown. We meet at Lola’s home and go for a long walk. During our walks, we talk about everything, we catch up on our lives! We laugh and we confide in each other. I never get bored of walking the same route (even though we do change it up every once in a while), because I am having fun with my friend! We call it our therapy. We laugh, we talk, and we walk! Sometimes, I may be having a very stressful day at work, but once I get to Lola’s home, I immediately de-stress, I can vent with her about my day or not even bring it up because once I get there we have some many other good things to talk about that I am able to leave the stress of my day behind.

Having an exercise buddy is a good way to motivate oneself to exercise!  If you know someone is waiting for you, so you can exercise together, you are more likely to show up and exercise. Plus, if your exercise buddy is a good friend you enjoy spending time with, you know you will have a good time and it will be fun! So, you have so much fun that before you realize it, you have already walked a few miles and gotten a good workout! Exercising with a friend is not only good for your body, it is also good for your soul!

If you would like to read the blog post I wrote about having an Exercise Buddy, click here.

Do you have an exercise buddy?

 

How I Stopped Eating Chips

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Tortilla chips are one of my favorite snacks! Not potato chips, but tortilla chips. It is funny because, even though I am Mexican, I don’t eat tortillas often, nor do I crave them. I’ll take a good handmade tortilla any day, but don’t really buy them for home, nor do I cook with them. Over the years, I have eaten a lots of bags of tortilla chips. I started to compare chips and found that the lowest calorie, fat, & sodium tortilla chips, that I still find tasty, are the one’s from Trader Joe’s. I used to buy them often and because when I was single I lived alone, guess who would eat all the tortilla chips? That’s right – ME! My husband likes potato chips more than tortilla chips, so even after I got married, if I bought a bag of tortilla chips, I would eat the entire bag by myself. I wouldn’t eat it all in one sitting, I would eat a few one day, then a small bowl the next day and the next, until the bag was gone. Sometimes I would prepare a bowl of tortilla chips with lime and chamoy or chile, it was delicious! Some nights, instead of dinner, I’d have a bowl of tortilla chips. I wouldn’t do it every day or every week, but when I did buy a bag, I would eat chips almost every night. I really like pita chips too and for a while was buying these in place of tortilla chips, but these also have lots of calories, fat, & sodium – plus it was hard to only eat a few.

I noticed this was becoming a bad habit and would make me feel bloated from the sodium the next day. So, I decided to break the bad habit and stopped buying both of them. I haven’t bought a bag of tortilla or pita chips in months. I still eat these tasty snacks at parties or restaurants, but just a few.

I am not saying I will never buy a bag of tortilla or pita chips, but for now, I am trying to eat healthier and unprocessed food. So, I have replaced chips with fresh carrot chips and mushrooms. Both these veggies are very low on calories and have zero fat. I also eat plantain chips if I want the crunchiness. So, if I am craving tortilla chips or pita chips, I’ll eat mushrooms or carrot chips. Before I know it, my craving is gone and I have eaten healthy snacks that nourish me.

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Last week, we were in San Francisco and I wanted to stay on my healthy diet – it’s more of a lifestyle. So, we went to the grocery store. Instead of buying the bag of tortilla chips I would usually buy for the weekend in San Fran, I bought fresh veggies, hummus, salad, and fruit. This healthy food kept me feeling full and avoided me eating unhealthy food. It worked! Plus, I do find these veggies to be tasty.

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I love, love hummus, but don’t eat it often because it has lots of calories, fat, and sodium. Yes, yes, I know it is natural, has the healthy type of fat and oils, but still calories are calories. So, I snacked on hummus with mushrooms, carrot chips, and tomatoes. Delicious! At home, I also eat the mushrooms and carrots alone or with a small amount of low fat sour cream. Some friends eat carrots with chili and lime, I may try that.

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There are many pluses to eating healthier, more importantly, I am nourishing my body. These veggies have vitamins, protein, and fiber. The minuses are that natural veggies don’t keep fresh as long as processed foods do. So, I have to eat them within a few days of buying them. Also, they do cost a bit more than buying a simple bag of chips, but it is worth it because in the long run, it is better for me.

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So, next time you are craving chips….try these snacks, they are yummy, low-cal, and more importantly healthy for you! Maybe someday, you’ll actually crave these instead of chips. I am still working on that!

Do you snack on veggies? What is your favorite snack?

Hugs,

Paola

Simple Beauty Tip for Moisturized Lips

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There are some beauty tips that are pretty basic and simple, yet have great results! I have a few beauty items in my night stand, one of them is a small jar of petroleum jelly, I use the Vaseline brand. I have been using this product every night to moisturize my lips for years! I keep this tiny jar of Vaseline in my night stand, this way, it is the last thing I do just before I turn off the light to go to sleep. Since I keep it in my nightstand, it is convenient, at an arms reach & I don’t forget to apply it. Even when I travel, I have a small tube of it in my bag with my facial products & place it on the night stand at the hotel. Due to the weather and in my case, the make-up, lip liners, and lipsticks I use, my lips can get dry. Just a dab of Vaseline at night helps keep my lips moisturized year-round. I don’t use chap sticks throughout the day, and don’t need them because this nightly routine does the trick! Occasionally, I also apply a little on my nail cuticles and hands to moisturize them.This tiny container costs only about $1 and lasts for months. You can find it at most pharmacies, grocery stores, or Target/Wal-Mart. I like using this tiny jar because it does not take up hardy an space in my nightstand.

Petroleum jelly contains a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin, and waxes which will moisturize your skin and help protect and repair it from dryness, according to Livestrong.com. It helps your skin retain more moisture, so it will repair itself.

So, give it a try…put some petroleum jelly or lip moisturizer in your night stand and start a nightly routine to keep your lips moisturized and looking luscious!

What do you use to moisturize your lips? Do you include a lip moisturizing product in your evening routine?

Hugs,

Paola

Note: As with any new product, if you have never used petroleum jelly, test it by applying a small amount on your skin, to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction.


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Zumba Motivation!

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This was taken today, just outside the gym after completing a Zumba class – that is a huge smile on my face! Can you see the dewy glow I have on my face  (ok, the dewy look is really from sweat & the glow is from the work out)!

I am always looking for ways to stay motivated to exercise! I find Zumba to be a fun way to get a work out & it keeps me motivated! I wasn’t feeling like exercising today, but forced myself to drive to the gym after work for a Zumba class. I know every single time I do Zumba, I will feel good, smile, and have fun! Really, every single time, it never fails to make me smile, sing, and gets my endorphins going, so I feel happy! Unlike other exercise classes that can be grueling, Zumba is fun, you dance, that’s it!

Do you remember how much you like dancing? Zumba will remind you. The Latin rhythms automatically get your hips and shoulders moving! Before you know it, you are singing along and moving to the rhythm of the music. Even if you don’t know all the steps, you can go at your pace and the more often you go, the more you will learn the steps. Most routines are repetitions of the same four or five steps.  According to dietandfitnesstoday.com, you can burn between 400 – 500 calories in one hour of exercising to Zumba. That is pretty good! It is mostly a cardio, aerobic workout but there are also specialized Zumba classes for abs and toning (I’ll include more about that in another post).

For those of you that are not familiar with Zumba, it was founded in 2001, by Beto Perez, it’s is described on Zumba.com as a global lifestyle brand, which fuses fitness, entertainment, and culture into a dance fitness solution. It is a latin inspired, easy to follow, calorie burning, dance fitness party! It is used in 151 countries, by 141 million people, in 140,000 locations. Wow, I was aware it is popular, but those statistics amazed me! I admire Beto for his entrepreneurial spirit to make his invention a success!

It really is like a party, some instructors even bring dj style spinning color lights to the class. The songs aren’t all Latin either. I usually take Zumba at 24 Hour Fitness gyms and the instructors also mix in hip hop, rap, african, and even hawaiian songs and rhythms. I have been exercising to Zumba for about 6 years and still love it! I even have the DVDs (available for purchase at Zumba.com) and do the videos at home. Sometimes, if I don’t have lots of time in the morning or weekend, but want to exercise, I will do three songs on the cardio DVD and the cool down. It takes about 15 minutes, but it is amazing how energized I feel when I start my day exercising! The cool down serves as my morning stretches. I’ve even taken the DVDs to my friend Lola’s and sister’s homes, and we’ve exercised in their living rooms to the DVDs. I admit it, by now I know the songs to the exercise routines on the DVDs!

So, next time you are not feeling very motivated to exercise, go to a Zumba class or put on the DVD! Trust me, you will start to dance and exercise! You will be smiling, have fun, & feel better! Think of it as an opportunity to dance, in comfortable clothes and tennis shoes, and without having to worry about how much you sweat! You will actually be glad you are breaking a sweat, it means you are getting a workout & burning calories! Plus, you may learn some steps that you can use on the dance floor at the next wedding, Quinceanera, or party!

Have you taken a Zumba class before? Do you like Zumba as much as I do? I am even getting motivated and excited just writing this blog post!

Hugs,

Paola

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These are the Zumba DVDs I have at home! I have even taken the cardio DVD with me to San Francisco & Germany, so I could exercise while on vacation. I need to exercise and be active, even on vacation – after a few days I get the need to exercise, otherwise I start to feel lethargic and tired!

Note: As with other exercise, you should check with your physician before starting a new work out routine, to ensure it is appropriate exercise for your level of health.

Beauty Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

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Do you get enough sleep every night? If you are like most of us busy women, probably not. We are all trying to get as much done as possible every day, we seem to be hooked on being productive – on being super woman. I often say, “I wish there were more hours in the day!” And, I mean that literally, between work, getting ready for work, driving, exercising, errands, making dinner,  and spending time with my hubby and family, there isn’t much time left in the day. So, yes, I do wish there were more hours in the day….or that my body required less sleep. Sometimes, I wish I was one of those people that can function on four or five hours of sleep. But, I am not, my body seems to need eight hours of sleep. I can go three or four nights on five to six hours of sleep, but by about the fifth night of lack of sufficient sleep, I start to feel it and not even strong coffee can make up for lack of sleep. I have learned to try to relax and to get enough sleep – every night!

Some of you may be saying, “and she doesn’t even have children yet, good luck on sleeping eight hours when you have children” and you are right, I think about that too. For some of you, getting eight hours of sleep each night is a privilege due to your commitments with family, work, or school, and I understand. There are many health benefits to getting enough zzz’s…and beauty benefits too! According to Fitness Magazine, the optimal hours of sleep are between seven to nine hours. While we sleep, our body produces human growth hormones that produce collagen which helps our skin look refreshed and youthful. Night creams and serums penetrate better overnight when your body is resting. If you don’t get enough sleep, blood doesn’t flow efficiently, and skin will start to look dull and tired. According to WebMD, lack of sleep causes the blood vessels to dilate which results in dark circles under the eyes. Lack of rest can disrupt the hormonal and metabolic changes that naturally occur in your body when you sleep.

We re-charge our electronic devices to ensure they keep running properly. Well, sleep is the body’s way to re-charge. When we sleep the body goes into repair mode and skin renews itself naturally.

Best of all, sleep is FREE! Yes, this powerful beauty treatment is free, just lay down, close your eyes, fall asleep, and get the benefits!

So, try to shut down those electronic devices earlier, put your kids to sleep, and get enough zzz’s every night!

How many hours of sleep do you need? How many hours of sleep do you actually get?

Hugs…now, let’s go to sleep – goodnight everyone,

Paola

*I really wasn’t asleep when we took the picture and I was still wearing make-up from the day…to get the most beauty benefits from sleep, remove your make-up every night and put on a moisturizer and eye cream 🙂  

Exercise Buddy

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Exercise is an important….and necessary part of my life. I have battled with my weight my entire life. It is not easy to maintain my weight, I gain weight easily and have to watch what I eat, as well as exercise regularly, otherwise my weight goes up quickly! I do not consider myself overweight (nor do the medical charts). Every year it gets harder to stay at my weight because well, as we age our metabolism get slower….fantastic, right? Luckily, I do like to exercise….but am not one of those people that wakes up with the desire to go for a jog….I have to talk myself into exercising. Exercise has many health benefits, physical and emotional, it helps me de-stress, feel more energetic overall, and I sleep better when I exercise regularly.

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you strategies that I use to stay fit & not gain weight. Trust me, it is not easy for me. Wish it was….wish I was naturally thin, wish I did not have an appetite for sweets & tortilla chips, wish it was easy to lose weight, wish there was a secret pill to stay thin…..but, that is not the case, haha.  I can’t wish to be thin, I have to work at it….all my friends and colleagues tell me they have to work at it.

Meet Lola (pictured) – you will hear lots about her in my blog, she is one of my closest friends and the one I spend the most time with! I love this gal! She is not only an excellent friend, the best I could ever ask for, she is also my exercise buddy and helps me get motivated to exercise! We have been walking together for more than six years! We take long, speed walks, usually downtown by the bay. Our route doesn’t change much, but it is a wonderful, fun time, every single time! We call it “our therapy”- haha! It is our “amiguita/friend time,” we chat, we vent, we laugh…all while we exercise. The walk goes by fast, sometimes we walk around the block a few times at the end of the walk because we still have things to talk about. Before I was married, we used to walk together about two to four times per week, now we both make an effort to at least walk together once a week. It is our time to catch up and we value it. Every week we touch bases on Monday and set a day to walk that week. Once we set the day, we rarely change it and pass on other invitations which may seem more fancy (like dinner out)….because this is our time! I joke with her that if Jim and I have a baby (when we do), I’ll probably bring the baby along in the stroller on the walks with Tia Lola (aunt Lola)!

So, if you can, exercise with a friend…..it does wonders for the soul! The calories you burn are just extra….better said – part of the benefit!

Do you have an exercise buddy?

Hugs,

Paola