Food Cravings

Happy Lists has moved. To see (an updated version of) this post, please go to http://myhappylists.com/2010/01/6-cravings-and-what-they-mean/

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9 Creative Ways to Work Abs without crunches

Getting down on the floor and completing a bunch of crunches, for me, is not fun. If it’s fun for you – keep up the hard work! If you dislike it as much as I do, but you want to strengthen those ab muscles, try some of these creative ideas. For additional creative ideas about exercise, checkout 20 Creative Ways to Get Exercise.

1. Flex it. This one isn’t that creative, but it’s important to remind yourself that you have control over your muscles, and you can work them any time you want! Whether your driving, watching television, or at the computer. You can tighten those abs as hard as you want, for as long as you want, as often as you want. That’s a pretty obvious and easy way to work your abs!

2. Dance. Whether you’re home alone, with a partner, or out at the dance clubs. Move those hips side to side while thinking about your abs, move your but front and back while thinking about your abs. See how many dance moves you can do while using your abs. Dancing is fun and you can do it any time that you’re home.

3. Sit and Stand up Straight. Forcing yourself to have good posture will include pulling those abs in. Plus it makes you look good. Two benefits out of one easy thing. So go ahead, sit up straight – just like your mom has been telling you to do your whole life!

4. Replace your recliner with an Exercise Ball. You know what I’m talking about – one of those giant balls. You know you secretly think they’re a lot of fun. So push your recliner to the side (or out to the garage) and use your ball! You can find plenty of ways to work those abs while your enjoying television or a good movie.

5. Push Ups. Yes, push ups work your chest and shoulders, but they also work your “core” aka your abs! Don’t believe me, get in the push up position, and go down. Now hold it for as long as you can. Feel something in your abs? I thought so. Why are push ups a creative alternative to crunches when you still have to get down on the floor? (because you’re working a BUNCH of muscles out at once, not just your abs)

6. Twist and Punch. I get this one from that intense Tae Bo guy, Billy Blanks. Go into a squat and start punching to the opposite side of your body, but still forward. Use your abs to turn your body. You should be making an “X” with your arms, as your right fist punches left, and your left punches right. Why is this one good? Again, because you’re working multiple muscles: abs, arms, legs. More bang for your buck!

7. Squat and Lean. I got this one from a Pilates/Yoga instructor in college. Get into the squat position, and put your hands on your head. Now lean your upper body to the side, bringing your elbow towards the ground. The lower you go, the harder the workout for your abs. Now do the other side.

8. Colon cleanse. This doesn’t exactly work your abs, but it’s a good way to flatten your abs. The average person carries about 5 pounds of excess weight in their colon. Pretty disgusting, I know. For the visual, I like to pick up my 5 pound hand weight and imagine that stuck in my colon. Gross. If you clean that junk out (which is sitting right under your abs) your abs will look flatter. Plus, you’ll be healthier!

9. Skip the gadgets. Save your money and don’t buy those silly ab gadgets that promise to get you flat abs. The reason they work is because they get you to actually exercise. If you can get yourself to exercise and work your muscles, you will get the same results. Put that money towards something more useful, like #8.

Here’s some good resources:

Get Fab Abs (without crunches) Shows some standing exercises to work your abs, with pictures!

Better Abs without crunches includes some more hard core workout moves, but it’ll work!

Yoga and Pilates for Abs with no crunches

Good luck, and I hope you start working those abs (without getting on the floor!).

7 Simple ways to lose a little weight

I’m not in shape. I’m overweight. So if you are, too, I know how you feel! What are some simple ways we can start losing a little weight?

1. No quick-fixes. Although tempting, forget about purchasing diet pills and drinks. There are so many reasons NOT to purchase those. I admit that I’ve been a sucker about a few products in my past, but in the end it didn’t really help. You know the reasons those quick-fix pills and potions are bad for you – I don’t need to tell you. So just let that go and stop searching.

2. The usual extras. We’ve all heard the common ways to increase activity in our day: take the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot, etc. So, yes, you’ve heard them, read them, and maybe even talked about them. Now start doing them! The next time I see a soccer mom who goes to the gym for 3 hours a day be a bitch about getting that front parking spot at Target, I’m going to scream!! How about you go to the gym for 2 hours and 50 minutes and you take a chill pill and take a parking spot that’s not right in the front.

3. Get creative. A lot of my lists probably include this one. Get creative? How? Ummm…if I told you, that would prevent you from getting creative! But to get you started, here’s some creative ways I try to squeeze in a little exercise: 20 Creative Ways to Exercise. If you’re a list person, I would come up with as many of those ideas as you possibly can, and then challenge yourself to do a few of those each day. Every little bit helps!

4. Eat with chopsticks. Are you a fast eater? Chopsticks will automatically slow you down, even if you’re good with them, which I am. Eating slower make you take the time to be mindful of your eating and get full faster. Check out this site for a lesson on how to use chopsticks: CHOPSTICKS

5. Water, water, water. Hungry? Drink a glass water. Still hungry? Drink another glass of water. Still hungry? Eat something with chopsticks.

6. Recliner weights. So you’re not sold on replacing your recliner with a stationary bike? Put some hand weights next to the recliner. During the commercials, see how many repetitions you can do using those hand weights (work as many muscles as you possibly can while sitting on your butt – again, get creative).

6. Get support. If you’re too embarrassed to ask your spouse, partner, or friends to support you in this adventure to lose a little weight – join an online support group. I use weightlosswars.com because it’s free (unless I want to do a weight challenge) and there’s some pretty decent people on there. There’s lot of places to get support online, though – LOTS. Commit to checking in with your support group every other day for 2 minutes. That’s just enough of a commitment to prevent you from making an excuse, but it’s also enough to get you to be consistent and actually do it.

7. 5 Minutes. Would you like to take a walk with your partner or spouse but they just don’t want to? They’ve had a long day at work, and they just want to relax for goodness sake! Well, if they’re decent and they love you, I’m sure you can get them to commit to 5 minutes. Ask them to just walk around the block with you – 5 minutes – that’s it. If they want to stop after that, they can. Chances are, they’ll feel good after 5 minutes and will be more inclined to do another 5 minutes…build on this!! Small commitment are manageable and easy to build on. Start small!

This is a simple list. I love lists. Here are some other great lists you can check out:

Lose More Weight with Green Tea

Easy and Creative Ways to Lose Weight

Losing Weight the Easy Way

Easy Ways to Lose Weight

Fun Ways to Lose Weight

Good luck, and if you have some more creative ways to lose weight, feel free to comment!! 🙂