Monthly Archives: October 2018

Staying Healthy and Fit After 40 with Bianca


Staying Healthy and Fit After 40

Bianca Talley is a professional business consultant, an engineer by education, and a mother of two teenagers. She has been able to maintain her health and fitness with a variety of activities. In spite of her hectic schedule, Bianca’s health and fitness have always been a priority and it shows. She has remained lean, strong and continues to strive for continuous health.

I had the pleasure of interviewing her, let’s see how she does it!

What happened to make you want to take the steps to improve your health?

Answer:   I was always tired.  After getting home from work, making dinner and cleaning up, I was spent.  I didn’t have enough energy to support my kids in their school work or after school activities.  We had also just returned from Utah and I wanted to have more physical strength to go through the slot canyons.  I wasn’t able to get through them due to lack of upper body strength and endurance.

What was the main goal that you wanted to achieve?

Answer: Physical strength to keep up with my kids and enjoy the outdoors.

How did you determine what the best eating plan was to meet your goal?

Answer:  That is an ever green and evolving process.  It took a long time to educate myself about food.  I wish I knew from the beginning about macro-nutrients.  Understanding the value of food; calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein.  Reading articles and cookbooks.  Trying new food and determining what works for me and my family.  I always try and have food that I can easily put together for meal in a short amount of time. This does require some planning and prepping on the weekend to be successful during the week with eating healthy.

How did you determine what your best movement plan was to meet your goal?

Answer: Start out with just moving! My initial goal was to work out 2 times a week for 15 minutes.  Initially, those were some of the longest 15 minutes. Later I joined a gym that has a variety of small group classes which works well for me.  Small group is great because you have a trainer at a fraction of the cost, who can insure you have good form and there’s an accountability element that naturally occurs when you meet people.  I look forward to seeing my gym friends.  My routine, after 4 years, is now working out 5X – 6X a week.  I take a variety of classes to insure that I continually challenge my body.

Did you seek any outside assistance for either the eating plan or movement plan?

Answer: Yes.  Most of the trainers are also knowledgeable on nutrition.  Just talking to them and subscribing to different fitness blogs has increased my knowledge regarding functional mobility and nutrition.  Periodically, I have also invested in personal training.  It’s important to learn how to “move” correctly to avoid injury and also maximize the benefit of the movement.  I equate investing in my personal health to investing in my professional career.  The end goal is to improve your quality of life.

How did you fit your movement plan into your busy life?

Answer:   When I started, I realized I was setting too many barriers with my schedule.  I can’t do this and I can’t do that because of the time.  A lot of the barriers were just perceived ones.  Not real.  I work my kids after school activities and my together.  For example, instead of sitting in the waiting room for my kids to finish their activities, I go and work out.  Sometimes I just work out for 30 minutes if that’s all I got.  Set up a schedule in advance and be flexible.  Make it a priority.  Don’t let it be the last thing you put on the calendar.  If I plan to go to the gym after work I usually have my gym bag with me in the car in case I get into a time crunch.  If the work out is in the morning,  I set out my gym clothes the night before.

What is the most important change that you have experienced because of the changes that you made?

Answer:  I have more physical strength and endurance than ever, but I also gained more control and don’t get as stressed out over issues.  I can manage everyday challenges with minimum anxiety and stress.  My overall disposition is a lot more positive because I feel great.

Can you describe one of your typical days, including your work outs and the type of foods you are eating?

Answer:  During the weekend I start meal planning.  I try to make things that I can easily make into a full meal throughout the week.  Sunday I’m cooking the protein portion of meals and then during the week I’ll steam a bag of vegetable or make a salad.  I’ll usually get workouts in on Saturday and Sunday.

During the week, lunches are prepped at night so I can spin at 5:00 a.m.  on MWF.  I’m adapting to a new schedule so I can only stay for about 45 minutes to get home before my first one goes off to school.  After work, I drop them off at their activities and hit the gym, if it’s T or Th.  Pick them up and go home and put together some dinner which is usually something I started on Sunday. We have late nights, where we pick up food.  Chick-Fil-a is a good option.  Great salad, just watch the dressing.

How would you recommend other middle-aged people to address waning health in mid life?

Answer: Clean up the diet and start moving.  I wasn’t aware of how much junk was in my diet until I started keeping a diary.  A cleaner diet along with strength and flexibility training will make a large difference in the way you feel.

How do you plan to ensure that these plans are sustainable?

Answer: Influence those around you and have friends with common health and fitness interests.  My children are more cognizant of exercise and diet.  At times they now lead with making smart choices when we go out to eat or doing activities.  My circle of friends are predominately people I have met at my gym and meeting up typically involves gym time.

Takeaway #1:

Sustainable change takes time!  Don’t expect to change behavior, habits or your physical condition in a short time.

Takeaway #2:

You have to want it, no one but you can do it!

Takeaway #3:

Be a role model for those that you love.  Embracing a healthy lifestyle will influence others to make change.

Do you want some fresh ideas for your work outs and eating plans? Check out my book at Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

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Home Cooked Meals and Improved Fitness After 40

home cooking

Home Cooking or Eating Out

It has been reported that almost 61 percent of people eat at restaurants at least once per week. The same poll found that there were frequent diners who ate out three to more times per week! What about you? How often do you eat out?

Obesity in the American population has not plateaued yet, in fact, it continues to increase. Eating away from home has been identified as one of the culprits. Portion size and preparation techniques of restaurant food has been found to be contributory. Paradoxically, studies show that those who cook  at home have a decreased risk for obesity and the related illnesses,  like diabetes type 2. Home cooking often results in healthier fare with fewer calories. In my book Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I offer guidance on programs that are perfect for home cooking!

The Western lifestyle would seem to necessitate this eating pattern. Long hours at work, after school activities and fatigue all play a role in succumbing to the ease of driving through the fast food lane, or stopping to pick something up.  Does this sound like you? If this sounds like you, keep reading, I am going to offer you some simple ideas about how and why to begin cooking and eating at home.

As a health professional and a blogger making these suggestions falls right in line with my patient care paradigm.  I outline the easiest way to transition to cooking and eating at home.

Cooking and Eating at Home is Healthier

Cooking at home is less expensive and healthier.  It is less expensive because you can use sales and coupons to maximize your budget. It is healthier because you are in charge of the additional sugar, salt and fat content. We also tend to eat smaller portions when we eat at home. Cooking at home can easily be done on a budget as well.

Why Do We Eat Out So Often?

As I talk about in my book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating,  taking the time to identify your own barriers to change is paramount. Without understanding the ‘Why” makes in harder to move onto the “How”. What are your barriers? Do you feel like you have limited time to shop and prepare? Or do you lack of skills and confidence? Do you not like to cook? All of these and more have been reported and barriers to home cooking.

Begin simply! Take These Steps to Begin Cooking at Home

First, make a commitment and plan to cook and eat at home 2 additional days a week if you eat out more than 3 times per week. The final goal should be to cook and eat at home 5 times per week. Set a date and circle it on your calendar.

Second, stock up on common home cooking staples for the pantry and the fridge. By having the staples available it can be less tempting to throw in the towel and head out to the fast food restaurant. Here is a list of staples that I found useful. Click on the link and print it and use it to restock your kitchen. Well Stocked Pantry

Third, design your menu. For the first month, I suggest making the foods that you ate growing up! These recipes and cooking techniques should be  familiar to you! Don’t spend too much time worrying about nutrition content during the first few weeks! Just enjoy the food memories!

Forth, generate your grocery list using your menu. If you cited that you have limited time to shop, the use one of the shopping apps that most grocery stores are offering now! If you cites limited time for preparation, utilize the already prepped food such as pre-cut vegetables, pre-cut meats, or even the pre-packaged fresh meals!

Face Your Fears

If you lack the skills and confidence to cook, you have options here to. My first suggestion is to stop being so hard on yourself. Practice makes perfect, and unless you are planning to try out for Chopped, most home cooks can dice and saute more than adequately. Your confidence will increase as you continue.  My second suggestion is to follow a recipe. Exactly. Don’t attempt to substitute an ingredient or spice. I speak from experience.  And if the meal you have prepared is inedible, you can resort to a PB&J (again I speak from experience).

Use Home Delivery Meals

If you simply do not like to cook, which is ME! I use a meal delivery program called Blue Apron. I can follow the recipe and have an amazing meal to the table within 30-40 minutes. These meals rival many meals I have eaten at restaurants.

On a Budget? No Problem!

Cooking at home on a budget can also be accomplished. When money is tight, I suggest generating your weekly menu based on the grocery store sales. If chicken is on sale this week, chicken it is. If the beef or pork shoulder is on sale, then find your recipes that include those ingredients.

Use Technology

Use technology to your advantage, you can find recipes that have been tried on Pinterest. There are also meal planning apps. Try this one. Eat at Home. Or this site has already done the work of finding the top 5 apps! Five Best Meal Planning Apps.

One More Important Benefit

Another benefit of home cooking is improved relationships! Cooking along side your spouse or children can result in conversations that may not have occurred in a noisy restaurant! You can improve your family’s physical health and emotional connection! Now is the time to take care of your health and your families health.  Buying food from the grocery store is less expensive than eating at a restaurant. Use my tips to begin cooking at home!

Here is one of my average week dinner plan:

Monday: Blue Apron Meal

Tuesday: Blue Apron Meal

Wednesday: Blue Apron Meal

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner: usually eggs and pancakes 🙂

Friday: Oven baked crispy chicken wings and celery

The weekend meals are usually breakfast and late lunch so we don’t eat dinner. If we are on the sail boat, our go to is simple Pb&J sandwiches, or hummus and vegetables.

Keep it simple, and don’t over think it. Try to simplify your life. Give yourself time to slow down and enjoy the time at home around the kitchen table. Fitness after 40 is not only about exercise, it is about balance.

Order your copy of  my book now.

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