Healthier Eating On the Go

According to the book, Fast Food Nation, 1 in 4 Americans eat out everyday. Studies also show that those who eat out more, weigh more. With that said, I know there are times when we all need food on-the-go or we’re just flat out busy …. so here are some quick tips on how you can learn to tweek your fast food choices to make them the healthiest possible.

Make careful menu selections: Stay away from dishes labeled Deep-fried, Pan-fried, Battered, Breaded, Creamy, Crispy, Scalloped, Alfredo, Cream Sauce, and Super-Sized. Instead choose foods labeled Grilled, Broiled, Roasted, Steamed, Baked, Whole Grain, or Braised.

Undress Your Food: Beware of calorie & fat packed salad dressings, spreads, cheeses, sour cream, etc. Don’t be afraid to special order or make special requests. Have bread without butter. Ask for sandwiches without mayo. Dressings, sauces, & gravies on the side & ask for extra lettuce, tomato, & onions instead of bacon & cheese.

Avoid Buffets: Even salad bars can be calorie loaded. By the time you add cheeses, croutons, bacon bits, & high fat dressings you are up near the calories of a burger and fries. Instead opt for fresh fruits & vegetables and skip the extra toppings. Before going back for 2nds & 3rds be sure you really are still hungry.

Beware of Soda: Soft Drinks are the single most source of calories in the American diet according to The Center of Science in the Public Interest. 1- 32 oz. Cola has 310 empty calories & 85 grams of sugar. Switch to water with lemon/lime, diet drinks, flavored water, unsweetened ice teas, or non-fat milk.

Enjoy your Meal: Pay attention to what you eat & savor each bite. Don’t eat in front of the television, don’t feel like you have to eat everything on your plate, & don’t eat right from the bag or box.

Moderation is Key: The average dinner meal at a restaurant contains over 1,000 calories & 60 grams of fat. So order a small or kids size, share an entrée, or put half your meal in a to-go box at the beginning of your meal. If bread or chips are offered as a starter, don’t ask for a refill & use smaller plates.
Also be sure to check out ‘The Stop & Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide,’ it can be downloaded free by clicking here. It’s an easy, color coded tool to aide in making healthy fast food choices. Take charge and make healthier fast food choices!


Getting Your Daily Fiber

Most Americans only get about half of the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber each day. High fiber foods help with digestion and help fight certain cancers. Fiberous foods help you stay fuller longer so they may aide in weight loss.

Use these simple tips to help reach your fiber goals.
  • Scan for Bran- Look for “bran” and “whole wheat” on product packages and ingredient labels.
  • Grab the Whole Food- Munch on a whole piece of fruit, in place of drinking a glass of juice. The skin is where the fiber is, so you’ll get the vitamins and the fiber too.
  • Savor the Skins- Eat fruit and vegetables with the skin on. Eating the skin helps to bump up the fiber, plus it provides texture and a bonus of other nutrients.
  • Screen for Beans- Replace your typical side dishes with high-fiber dried peas and beans, such as kidney, pinto, lentils, or black-eyed peas. These fiber-packed legumes make it easier to meet daily fiber goals. (1/2 cup canned red kidney beans = 8 grams fiber)
  • Go Nuts- Jazz up salads, vegetables, snacks, and desserts with almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, or soy nuts. Nuts and seeds add fiber and add a crunch to foods. (1 oz. roasted almonds = 3 grams fiber)
  • Be Berry Wild- Choose raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries to add variety to your cereals, yogurts, and ice creams. These berries have twice the fiber of many other fruit selections. (1/2 cup fresh raspberries = 4 grams fiber)
  • Bring on the Brown- Use brown rice instead of white. Switch to whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat breads and whole-grain crackers instead of regular white versions. (1 cup brown rice = 3+ grams fiber)
  • Skip the Chips- Select snacks that are a good source of fiber. Instead of potato chips, go for low-fat popcorn, whole-grain pretzels, or oven-crisped whole-wheat pita crisps. (3 cups popcorn = 4 grams fiber)
  • Drink Up- Water is a healthy beverage choice – especially as you eat more fiber. Your body needs more water to help process the added fiber you eat. Aim for eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day.


100 Push Up Challenge

I have started this challenge once before....  and made it for a quite a few weeks, but I never made it through the whole program. I hate not accomplishing something that I started on.  So I am going to re-start the

and I want to Challenge ALL of you to join in on the challenge.  It doesn't matter how many push-ups you can do now... whether 1 or 100, take the challenge and we can all become stronger together. 
Plus it doesn't take a fancy gym or fancy equipment. Just self-motivation and determination.  Plus it is a 3 day a week program for 6 weeks. How easy is that?

Click here to take the Initial test. You can then follow the week by week program to increase your number of push-ups.  So get going and let me know how things go!


How Much Sugar??

I am a visual learner... I see things visually and seem to remember them so much better that way.  So when trying to figure out how much sugar I am eating I like to use this little trick.

Think of Sugar grams in regards to Sugar cubes.
One Sugar Cube = just over 4 grams of sugar.  

Would you eat 10 sugar cubes??? Well that's what just 40 grams of sugar is (that is about how much sugar is in just a 12 oz. can of coke.)
So what I like to do is look at the label and see how many grams of sugar the food contains--- I then divide it by 4 to get the number of sugar cubes it would be. I immediately realize much sugar I am actually eating.  Please check out all theses awesome pics at www.Sugarstacks.com.  They have so so so many pics of every day foods(treats, beverages, breakfast foods, smoothies, fruits, and more) and their sugar content.
Here are a few examples.

 Coca Cola
 -12 oz (355 ml) Can
 Sugars, total: 39g
 Calories, total: 140

 -20 oz (590 ml) Bottle
 Sugars, total: 65g
 Calories, total: 240

 -1 Liter (34 oz) Bottle
 Sugars, total: 108g
 Calories, total: 400

Yoplait Yogurt, Strawberry
 6 oz Container
 Sugars, total: 27g
 Calories, total: 170

 1 bag (2.6 oz)
 Sugars, total: 47g
 Calories, total: 250

Häagen-Dazs Frozen Yogurt, Vanilla
 1 serving (1/2 cup/106g)
 Sugars, total: 22g
 Calories, total: 200

 1 pint (424g)
 Sugars, total: 88g
 Calories, total: 800

Baby Carrots 
 1 serving (8 carrots/85g)
 Sugars, total: 4g
 Calories, total: 30

 Jamba Juice Sunrise Banana Berry
 16 oz drink
 Sugars, total: 59g
 Calories, total: 280

McDonald's Oreo McFlurry
 12 oz cup
 Sugars, total: 73g
 Calories, total: 550

 hope these have helped you visualize how much sugar you are actually eating from day to day. Thanks again to www.sugarstacks.com.  I know it makes me think twice about shoving such goodies in my mouth when I really think about it.  Trust me sometimes it works for me and sometimes I go right on ahead and consume.  Remember Moderation in All Things.


Sandwich Thins

As a follow up to yesterdays post on breads I thought I would share with you another fantastic alternative to your typical slices of bread.  

The possibilities are endless on how these can be used..... they are great just out of the bag, toasted, or used as a replacement for buns on your hamburger.  

This is why I love them:
  • For two slices they have only 100 calories per roll (that's 50 calories a slice--- there aren't many slices of bread that can compete with that). 
  • They are conveniently sliced. 
  • It is 100% whole wheat - there are other flavors but I haven't tried them, so if you do be sure to check the label.
  • They have no high fructose corn syrup... BONUS
  • They have 5 grams of protein.
  • They contain 5 grams of fiber ... not too shabby. 
  • Only 1 gram of fat (no trans fat)
  • And almost more importantly they taste great. 

sorry this is a bit blurry.... but it gives you an idea.

Plus I imagine kids would love these because they have no crusts..... 
The only downfall is that they can be a bit more costly than your typical bread but I heard that they carry them at Costco in larger packages at a pretty good price. 
So go ahead and THINDULGE


Bread & Healthy??

I know how hard buying bread can be.  There are so many options that sound healthy (7-Grain, Wheat, Whole-Grain) but how do you know if it really is a healthy choice.  To make your bread shopping easier here are 4 tips to help get you the healthiest available.  (much of this info was taken from this great article by Lynn Grieger and reviewed by Susan Janoff, MS, RD).

Here are some of the highlights from the article. 
Step 1: Look for the word "100% whole" on the label. Whole grain, whole wheat and stone-ground whole wheat are winners. These products contain the entire grain and all its health benefits. For example. Nature's Own All Natural 9-Grain bread sounds wholesome, but the top ingredients are enriched wheat flour, water and honey, not whole-grain flour. 

Step 2: Read the list of ingredients. The first ingredient listed is present in the largest amount, and in bread products that first ingredient should include the word "whole." If the first ingredient listed contains the word ENRICHED, avoid it....  it doesn't provide all the benefits a whole grain would.

Step 3: Avoid products that are "made with whole grains," which does not always mean whole wheat. The first ingredient in Wonder Made with Whole Grains White Bread is enriched wheat flour. Whole wheat flour doesn't show up until the third ingredient, after water. Do you really want bread that has more water than whole grains?

Step 4: Check the serving size. If you're looking to reduce your calorie intake, choose a bread with slices that weigh less. Example: a slice of Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat weighs 43 grams and has 110 calories, but a slice of its Stoneground 100% Whole Wheat bread weighs in at only 25 grams and 70 calories per slice.  


100 Calories.

Simple Tips to Cut 100 Calories

  • Drink 2  cups of fat free milk instead of 2 cups of whole milk (you still get the same amount of Calcium and Vitamin D)
  • Swap 8 oz. regular soda with 8 oz. diet soda (or even better water)
  • Trade two tablespoons of regular butter or margarine for two tablespoons of light whipped butter or spray butter
  • When having pie or desserts with a crust, take off the bottom crust and don't eat it.
  • Instead of chocolate syrup on an ice cream, use fresh berries or other in-season fruit of your choice as a topping
  • Enjoy salsa rather than cheese dip with tortilla chips
  • Split a small bag of French fries with a friend
  • Sorbet or sherbet is a refreshing alternative to premium ice cream
  • Order thin crust pizza vs. pan or thick crust pizza
  • Order baked potatoes with only one high-calorie topping (butter, sour cream, cheese), not all three
  • Choose minestrone and other broth-based soups over cream-based soups
  • Choose red sauce rather than cream-based sauces on pasta
  • Remove the skin from chicken pieces
  • Follow the low fat directions on the box when making brownies, cakes and cookies
  • Omit or decrease by half the butter or margarine in boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Leave the cheese off of sandwiches and hamburgers
  • Leave 10 French fries uneaten on your next order
  • Eat an open-faced sandwich (eliminate 1 slice of bread)
  • Ask for the salad dressing on the side rather than on your salad
Remember cutting 500 calories a day(from either your diet, or exercise) is the equation for 1 pound weightloss a week.  Every 100 calories count so do the small things that will add up to make a big difference. Your waistline will thank you for it. 


Butternut Squash Soup

It had been awhile since I had had a butternut squash, so while at the grocery store the other day I picked up a Butternut Squash. I happened to be watching the Food Network the next day when I saw Giada make a soup that looked delicious, so I gave it a try. Click here for the recipe.  I thought it turned out pretty good- a little thicker than I thought, but overall tasty.. I did make a few changes. I didn't have sage so instead I added some Thyme . I think when I make it again I will add nutmeg and some cinnamon to give it a bit more spice flavor. I would also add just a bit more water, chicken broth, or milk to make it a little less thick.. just a little though.  Not only was it tasty but super healthy(low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals).

Here's a bit of nutrition info on Butternut Squashes:  The chart below shows the % of each nutrient that you are getting from 1 cup of Winter Squash......

WOW.... In just 1 cup of the butternut squash you are getting 150% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A(move over carrots).  Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Folate, Omega 3 fatty acids are also in the squash.
Next time you are at the grocery store, grab a butternut squash and try a new recipe.  You too will see how delicious they can be. 


The Biggest Loser.... Before & After

Did you check out the Season Finale of the Biggest Loser 2009?  I can't say that I have been a dedicated follower this entire season but I would catch an episode here and there and it continues to amaze me how hard these individuals work day after day.  They can be a motivation for each of us.  They did it.... now you can do it.... whether 5 lbs. or 100 lbs.  It really is your decision to make a change and do whatever it takes to change your life and reach your goal.

First CONGRATS to Danny for being the winner of the Biggest Loser. Doesn't he look amazing (as do all of them).... and I think what is more important is that now he has a life... a life to live with his family. He lost 55.58% of his starting weight... A total of 239#s.

Second CONGRATS to Rebecca for being the biggest loser AT-HOME winner.  Look at her rockin' body now... 139#s lost.... Awesome.

What I most love is that they all seem so so so happy.
I'm also so excited that Shay(the biggest contestant ever on the Biggest Loser) gets to continue her weight loss journey throughout next season.  Can you imagine getting $1,000 for every pound lost.  I think her current weight is 304#d.... my prediction is that she will be down to 175-180#s at the next weight in.  That would be over $120,000.  Not too shabby.  I guess we will see if she continues to add to her already impressive weight loss.

Click here for all the before and after pics of all the  contestants.
Let's all take the example of these amazing individuals and conquer our weight loss/getting healthy goals.



the winter blahs of EXERCISING.

I know when it starts to get cold outside, I tend to want to stay home, cuddle up in blankets on my couch, drinking hot chocolate, while watching a movie...... but then I think about the common pounds of winter-holiday weight gain that seem to accompany these months, and I don't want to be a part of that.   So here are a few ideas on how you can keep your exercise regimen going and your shape trim these next few months.

1. The most common answer for the winter months is to go to the gym.....  which I encourage and is great, but for many, the gym isn't a feasible option so instead
2. Make your home, your gym: Designate an area and a time every day that you will do your exercises.  There are so many great exercises that you can do at home.
-It may be as simple as jumping jacks. Make a goal to get up to 100 straight jumping jacks as a warmup.  
-Jump rope.... Check out my previous post on why I love the jump rope and how easy it can be..
-Exercise DVDs.... give them a try. What I like to do is put the Workout DVD into my laptop, having it playing next to my TV, while I am watching my favorite TV shows. That way I am doing double duty.  Watching TV and exercising all at once.  I don't feel guilty sitting on the couch being a couch potato, and the workouts seem so much easier and go by so much quicker because my mind is on the TV show... not my exercising.  click here for a few of my fave Workout videos.
-If you have stairs in your house... take advantage of them. I don't have any stairs at my apartment now but where I nanny they have two flights of stairs and I make it a point to go up and down them as much as possible.
-Use exercise equipment like hand weights (or large cans of food if you dont have your own hand weights), stretch bands, weighted balls etc.
3. If you like to swim, find an indoor pool to keep your routine going.
4. When it snows, take advantage of all the calories that you can burn from either playing in the snow.... or shoveling the sidewalks, driveways etc.  This may not be the most fun of ideas but calories burned are calories burned no matter how it is done.  So get out shoveling after the next big storm.  Trust me you will get your workout in.
5. There are lots of Video games now that encourage physical activity. Wii Fit, Dance, Dance Revolution are just a few. Try one out.
6. Enjoy outdoor winter activities; Snowboarding, snowskiing, cross country skiing, sledding...... dont be afraid to bundle up and get out there and try a new activity this winter.

SO NO HIBERNATING THIS WINTER.....   Get active and Stay active. 


Kids & Grocery Shopping.

One of my awesome former classmates at Simmons College in Boston, Jennifer Shea, MS, MPH, RD is now a Corporate Dietitian for a chain of Grocery Stores. She is so fabulous and does a great job at what she does.  I stumbled across on of her articles, Shopping With Kids and thought it had some fun and creative tips on how to get your kids excited about eating healthy.  So I am going to pass the info onto all you moms out there.... I know it can be quite the challenge and it is often easier to leave kids at home when you are out shopping. But if you can make it fun for kids by letting them take part in the decision making of foods... they may be more likely to eat and like the foods later.

I love the tips Jenny gives here to add challenge into the shopping trip. Try out these ideas in the following aisles:
•Produce – Taste the rainbow. Have the child pick out a fruit AND vegetable in a different color each week and encourage him/her to take at least a few bites of the chosen foods. Children need multiple exposures to a new food before they develop a liking for it, so don’t be discouraged if the child dislikes the food upon first taste.  TRY, TRY, and TRY again.
•Cereal aisle – Spot the golden grains. Have the child seek out a cereal that lists a whole grain as the first ingredient. Examples of words to look for on the ingredient list: whole wheat, whole corn, brown rice, oats, oatmeal, wheatberries, cracked wheat, bulgur cracked wheat. 
•Bread aisle – Go for 100%. Have the child seek out bread that includes the words 100% Whole Wheat in the product name. What if he/she will not go anywhere near breads that are brown in color? Look for the Whole Grain white breads that are white in color but are made with whole grains. 
•Beverage aisle – Go with water as a number one choice. Water comes in a variety of fun bottle shapes for kids to choose from. Or go with 100% fruit juice or 100% fruit juice with added sparkling water. Avoid juices that contain added sugars. Juices are often mistaken as healthy... when instead they are packed with sugars and empty calories. 

Happy Shopping.


Turkey: White Meat vs. Dark Meat

I have always liked the dark turkey meat much more than the white stuff.... but in recent years I have opted for more of the white stuff because the bad rap that the dark turkey meat has.  So I was curious as to why the dark meat has got the bad rap?  
First, we need to understand why their is both white and dark meat in the turkey. Well since turkeys don't fly much, their legs and thighs are the their primary mode of transportation.  So the muscles of the legs and thighs are full of myoglobin proteins , which ship oxygen to the muscle cells so the turkeys can run around all day and not get tired. These myoglobins make the flesh darker.

Now we know why it appears darker......  what are the nutritional differences??

Well overall turkey is a great source of low-fat protein and nutrients, whether it is dark or light.  
When comparing dark vs light nutritionally here is the comparison: 

Dark meat contains about twice as much riboflavin and zinc than white meat. They also usually contain more heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. It is the saturated fat content which lowers the true quality of dark meat that most people worry about.  

But I found that per one ounce....... dark meat only has about ~10 more calories and a little over 1 gram of fat more when compared to one ounce of the white meat.  So although the dark meat is slightly higher in calories and fat, the benefits that it contains don't really make that big of a difference.  So go ahead and grab for the drumstick on occasion. 

*I believe that it is more important to avoid the skin.... this is where the majority of the fat is. So eat up on the turkey while avoiding the skin. 



The holidays are here... this is the time of year that many, including myself fall out of my healthy eating habits and instead eat way more calories than I should.  So this week I want to address specific questions and thoughts on Thanksgiving healthy eating....

******Use a smaller plate******
One of the simplest ways to cut calories for Thanksgiving dinner is to use a smaller plate. Instead of the typical dinner plate size, opt for the appetizer size plate for your main meal.  This way you won't have room to stuff it with double or triple helpings although you will still have the appearance of eating a full plate.  So go ahead and give it a try.


Keeping the numbers down!

So I was reading in Fitness magazine the other day... when I came upon some very interesting and eye catching stats. Not quite sure where they got all the info but interesting all the same.... and too be honest I don't doubt what they are claiming.  I have seen what I eat on some Thanksgiving.... and I know some people eat more than me!

3,000 Number of Calories in the average Thanksgiving Dinner. (that's almost gaining one pound just for that meal - - 3,500 calories = 1 pound gained)

4.7 Number of hours you'd have to jog to burn them off. That's a long long long time to be running....

8 Pounds the average American gains in a decade just from pigging out every November and December.

So let's not be part of the statistics.... and do what it takes to get healthy! 


new Tradition.

Over the past few years my family has held an annual Turkey Trot (5K Run/Walk) on Thanksgiving morning for my immediate and extended family as well as any friends that want to join in. It's not only a fun event to get together and have a little competition with friends and family, but it burns a few calories prior to your Thanksgiving feast. (remember the average Thanksgiving dinner is around 3,000 calories-- so any calories burned are bonus)  

So if you aren't currently involved in a Thanksgiving morning activity, START A NEW TRADITION.  YOU can be the one in your family or group of friends to start it all. So get organizing..... whether a Turkey Trot or a Turkey Bowl (football game), do something to get everyone out moving!  It does not need to be anything serious... everyone can walk... so don't let your family tell you they can't take part.  Our turkey trot consists of old, young, fast and slow......  you don't have to be an experienced runner.   

So let's all GET ACTIVE this Thanksgiving! 


Know Your Numbers.

I am a firm believer of knowing and checking your weight on a regular basis.  I know when I check often (at least once a week), it keeps me on track and I stay on goal with my ideal weight.

Do you know your numbers?  

If not, find a scale and weigh yourself TODAY....
 then check out these websites to see where you fit in.  Knowing is POWER.

BMI: Click HERE to calculate. You can also calculate your RMR (resting metabolic rate aka metabolism, and calculate for weight loss.)
Waist to Hip Ratio: Click HERE to calculate.
HAMWI Method: Click HERE to calculate.


Count it as .....

Counting Calories and knowing how many calories you are consuming is quite easy when it comes to most packaged items. Read the label and you have your answer.  Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are more of a challenge to accurately know how many calories you really are consuming.  So I compiled this list of common Fruits and the amount of calories they each have.  Be careful about portion sizes.  For example....  Many apples at the grocery store are easily 2x the size of a serving of an apple.... so in that case if you eat the whole apple be sure to double the calories.  

Apple (1 medium)  = ~75 calories 
Avocado (1/2) = ~145 calories
Apricot (1 med- 35 grams) = ~20 calories
Banana (medium; 7-8 inches) = ~100 calories
Blackberries (1 cup) = ~60 calories
Blueberries (1 cup) = ~80 calories
Cantaloupe (1/4 of medium melon) = ~50 calories
Grapefruit (1/2) = ~40 calories
Grapes (1 cup) = ~100 calories 
Kiwi (1 medium) = ~45 calories
Mango (1/2) = ~75 calories
Orange (1 medium) = ~70 calories 
Peaches (1 medium) = ~45 calories 
Pears (1 medium) = ~100 calories 
Pineapple (1 cup) = ~70 calories 
Plums (1 medium) = ~35 calories 
Pomegranate seeds (2 Tablespoons) = ~20 calories
Raspberries (1 cup) = ~70 calories
Strawberries (1 cup) = ~100 calories
Watermelon (1 cup) = ~45 calories

Vegetable Calories to come. 


Late Night Eating Debate.

One topic of debate that I often find myself in when talking to friends, family, or giving presentations is....
"Will Eating Late at Night Cause me to Gain Weight?" 
Their argument is that you aren't moving around and exercising off those calories at night so they will turn into fat.    BUT I AM HERE TO SAY THAT............

Your body doesn’t know what time it is. It doesn't matter what time the food was consumed, but more importantly how much food was consumed throughout the entire day (week, month, or year).   

So whether it is  8 am or 8 pm, your food is going to have the same amount of calories and total calories is what leads to weight loss or weight gain.  For example the apple you just ate isn't suddenly going to have 250 calories instead of 100 calories just because you ate it at 9 pm instead of 9 am.  What matters is the TOTAL amount of Calories (food and beverages) that you have over time.... say a week, a month, a year etc.  Eating additional calories (whether you eat them in the early hours of the day or late at night) will turn into extra fat over time. 

But remember: 
Although the calories you are eating at night aren't adding up more than your other calories, I still highly encourage you to limit your late-night eating because if you aren't eating at night your total daily caloric intake is most likely going to be less- which means less calories added up over time, which means less weight gain- or maybe even weight los. Plus I know when I start snacking after dinner and into the night, it is usually the higher caloric- less nutritious food like ice cream, cookies, or whatever else I can find lying around the house.  


Swap your Workout DVDs

Do you get sick of you are home workout DVDs after doing them just a handful of times? I know there have been times that I have purchased a workout DVD in hopes that it would transform me into a lean, toned, hot body when in reality I do it a few times and realize that the workout is just not for me (whether too boring, too hard, too easy, too cheesy etc.).  So if you have DVDs lying around collecting a dust, check out these websites---- Swap-Tree or  Swap-A-DVD website.  
Get out of your at home work out rut and SWAP YOUR DVDs for some new ones.  

Here's just a couple of my favorite workout DVDs. 

-I love Jillian's 30 Day Shred.  It is perfect for days that I only have time for a quick workout. The DVD has 3- 20 minute workouts (easy, moderate, and hard).  Just because they are only 20 minutes don't think that you won't be sweating; it kicks my trash everytime-- even the easy gets me. I am pretty much dripping bullets by the end of them. So try it out and you'll feel like you are on the Biggest Loser. 

- On days when I have a more time and can't make it to the gym, I love Slim-in-6 workout by BeachBody.  I have used this DVD now since 2003 and I'm still not sick of it.......  mostly because I get results and results make me happy.  I also love the segment, Slim and 6 pack.  It's an 11 minute ab-workout.  It is the perfect addition on days when I go for a run or just want a quick ab workout.
What are some of your favorite Workout Dvds?


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Fats get a bad rap, but the fact is: we all need fats to some extent. Fats help with nutrient absorption, nerve transmission, and are used as protection to vital organs. However, when consumed in excess, fats have been shown to contribute to weight gain, diabetes, & heart disease. Fats are not created equal. Some fats are GOOD, some BAD, and some very UGLY. The key is to replace bad & ugly fats with the good fats!

The GOOD Fats are Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats(Omega 3s). Focus on increasing these in your diet. Food Sources include: Cold Water Fish-Salmon, Mackerel, Trout, Tuna, Fish oils, Flaxseeds, Nuts-walnuts, almonds, Olives, Avacados, Olive oil, Canola oil. Good fats help lower your total cholesterol, Lower LDL(the bad) cholesterol, Raise HDL(the good) cholesterol, & help reduce your risk of Heart Disease.

The BAD Fats are Saturated Fats. Focus on limiting these. Food Sources include: Red Meats, Butter, Milk, Yogurt, Ice Cream, Cheese, Eggs, Coconut, & Palm Oils.  Saturated fats raise your total cholesterol, raise LDL(the bad) cholesterol, and increase your risk for heart disease.
The UGLY Fats are Trans Fats. Avoid these at all costs. Food Sources include: shortening, stick margarine, commercially packaged items: sweets, cookies, crackers, cakes, Doughnuts, Fast food-most fried foods. Trans fat Increase your risk for heart disease, Lower HDL(the good) cholesterol, & Raise LDL(the bad) cholesterol.

Kitchen tips and hints for cutting out some of the BAD fat:

  • Use lower-fat version dairy such as 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk.
  • Grill or Broil over Frying!
  • Remove the skin from chicken/turkey —the skin is where the majority of the bad fat is. 
  • Rinse off melted fat from cooked ground meats before serving.
  • Cut butter or margarine in half when making boxed meals.
  • When baking, replace 1 cup shortening or butter with ½ c. applesauce & ½ c. vegetable oil.


Birds of a Feather Flock Together.

A very interesting study entitled, “What you eat depends on whom you eat”, published in the online international journal, ‘Appetite’ found that what a person chooses to eat at lunch or dinner is influenced by who they eat with and the gender make-up of the group.
By observing students in naturalistic settings in three large university cafeterias with a wide choice of food options and dining companions, Young found that women who ate with a male companion chose foods of significantly lower caloric value than did women who were observed eating with another woman.

What's more, when women ate in mixed-gender groups their food choices were at the lower end of the caloric scale; the more men in the group the fewer the calories. When women ate in all-female groups, their food was significantly higher in calories.
"Eating is a social activity," says Young. "In university cafeterias people select their food before they are seated and perhaps before they know with whom they will eat. Given the observed differences it seems likely that social groupings were anticipated at the time of food selection."

I think back to my single years and all the dinner dates and group dinners. I would agree that I made more healthful choices if men were present.  But I think it also goes to a further level. I not only chose healthier choices when with guys, but if I was eating with friends that were more health conscious I was more health conscious. So my message of the day....  Birds of a Feather really do Flock Together. When my friends are eating ice cream I am usually eating ice cream… or if my friends are stuffing their faces with other sweets and goodies I tend to be stuffing my face with sweets and goodies.  The fact is that your friends and family are a huge influence on how and what you eat.  I think back to all my years at college living with different roommates I now realize that I ate healthier when living with others that were concerned about their health. The times when I gained a few pounds were times that I lived with roommates that had cookies, candies, ice cream a bit more often.  

So moral of the story; Eat with MEN  or surround yourself with friends and family that you want to be like (health and weight) wise.  More likely you will develop some of their  healthy eating habits!   


Jump away the Calories.

I am sure many of you haven't picked up a jump rope since you were in elementary school. It wasn't til a couple years ago when I realized that jumping rope was more than  singing jump rope rhymes with my little friends at school.  I can now say that the jump rope can be a very intense, high calorie burning, cheap, and fun exercise.  I think that it gets overlooked by most people.... but I am here to say that it works!  Whenever I jump rope, I end up sweating buckets and feel so much stronger afterwards.

Why Jump Rope? 
1. Easy..... All skill levels can take part in this. There are so many ways to do it---- you can start as simple and intense as you want....  Remember to push yourself though.
2. Portable..... all you need is a rope. It is a great exercise to bring along when you are traveling and want a quick workout on the road.
3. Fun..... At first it may not seem fun, but once you get used to it you soon will find it addicting and fun.
4. Cheap.....  No need for a gym pass. All you need is a rope, which you can get a decent one for as little as $5-$15 for a good quality one.
5. It's a total body workout and burns a ton of calories.  Every part of my body is burning when I am finished.. my arms, my calves, my stomach.... pretty much everything is getting a workout in........ Plus jump roping has been found to burn up to 1,000 calories a hour.  That's a lot.

My Jump Rope workout.... I like to do it as part of my regular workout...
*I do this 3 times.
- 50 regular two leg jumps.
- 50 right leg only jumps.
- 50 left leg only jumps.
- 50 more regular two leg jumps.
I try to do these as continuously as I can.   It may take some practice to get it without mistakes, just do your best!

SO GET JUMPING.... and the pounds will literally jump off you.


1 Pound a Week.

Weight loss is one of those things that seems so difficult. The media is constantly advertising the latest and greatest miracle diets that will help you lose pounds in no time.  I am not an advocate of fad diets..... because really what it comes down to is the science behind the numbers.  And really it is a very simple equation. 

 Formula to Lose 1 Pound a week 
Calories In = Calories Out
3,500 Calories = 1 Pound

*To lose 1 pound a week, you must have a negative balance of 500 calories each day for 7 days.

Do this by either:
-Exercising off 500 additional calories
-Eating 500 less calories
-Or combining less food consumed with more exercise
100 extra calories a day = 10 pounds extra weight gain a year
Pounds add up faster than you think!
Healthy Eating + Working Out = Healthy Weight LossYour browser may not support display of this image.


Daily Calorie Recommendations for WEIGHT LOSS

I had a good friend a few weeks ago email me because she is trying to get healthy and lose weight.  She had been tracking her calories and entering them into an online calorie counter program (Spark People , Calorie Counter, The Daily Plate)
but because there are so many recommendations out there she wasn't sure how many calories she should be getting and what % of those calories should be coming from Carbs, Protein, and Fat sources.  

So here are my very general guidelines that would work as a weight loss diet plan for most individuals.  

First keep track of everything you eat and WRITE IT DOWN.... at least in the beginning until you get in the habit of eating healthy foods. Measuring foods is the best way to get the most accurate results. Read labels. 

As far as overall calories for maximum weight loss, I would stick to around 1200-1400 calories daily. You never want to to eat less than that....... cause you need that amount to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs daily. 

Here is a break down of % of Carbs, Protein, and Fat that will add up to the 1200 calories a day. 

Carbs: 50% of your calories--- which equals 600 calories; or 150 grams of Carbs.
Really focus on complex Carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables etc. Stay away from simple sugars as much as possible (white breads, pastas, rices, processed foods, candies, cookies, etc).

Protein: 20-25% of your calories--- equally 240-300 calories; or 60-75 grams of Proteins. Protein is crucial if you are working out but focus on lean proteins like chicken, fish, lean turkey, egg whites, and beans.  

Fat: 25-30% of your calories--- so 300-360 calories; or 34-40 grams of fats daily.
Focus on Good fats (Mono and Polyunsaturated fats) versus the Bad fats (saturated fats).  Your good fats come from plant sources like nuts, avocados, fishes, oils.  Sat. fats are any fats that come from an animal (like meats, eggs, butter, milk).

Also remember that you need to treat yourself once in awhile... if you want a treat than incorporate it in your daily calorie plan.  Don't deprive yourself completely from what you love or you will go so crazy and one day you will get so fed up with not eating anything that you enjoy that you will splurge and eat a whole bag of cookies, candies (or whatever it is that is your weakness).

Remember these are very basic guidelines and may not be suitable for everyone. 


too Much Halloween Candy.

I thought this idea from One Charming Blog was a great idea for getting rid of all the extra Halloween and Trick or Treat Candy.  

It's called the Great Pumpkin.
On Halloween night, after trick-or-treating, let your kids eat as much candy as they want. They then put their uneaten candy back into their trick-or-treat bag and put it on the kitchen table. They don't have to do this--it's purely voluntary. But they know that if they leave their candy out, if they can part with the mini sized candy bars and endless rolls of smarties, there will be a cool present waiting for them when they wake up. The Great Pumpkin then comes sometime during the night and takes all of the candy out to the car to be taken to work the next day. Much like Santa, he then leaves a gift for each child.

Although I am pretty sure I would have been one of the kids that didn't leave my Bag full of candy out for the Great Pumpkin (I loved loved Halloween Candy as a kid), I still think that this is a great idea to try!  

Other tips on how to get rid of extra halloween candy.
1. Many dentists will buy back the candy.
2. Donate it to a food bank.
3. Store it away in your Food Storage!  -Can it or Freeze it.  Many candies will stay good for a very long tim if properly stored. (then there will be no need to buy more come Valentines, Easter etc)
4. Keep the Candy for gingerbread houses in December.

5. Take it to the office!  
6. There are a ton of recipes that you can make with the extra candy. 
7. Toss it. It's better to feel guilty about a pound of candy in the garbage than a pound of candy on your thighs. 


the true cost of Obesity!

Americans are getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year.  Obesity is def. on the rise... and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  So here are some interesting facts on the obesity epidemic.

1. Here are the most recent %'s of obese adults (BMI >30) for each state.   Pretty alarming that pretty much every state, with the exception of Colorado has a rate of greater than >20% obese.  This isn't even just overweight percentages but obese.  Click here to see how the numbers have increased over the last 23 years or so. It is very interesting. 

2. When talking just overweight (BMI 25-29.9) nearly 32.7% of Americans are overweight. When combined with the more than 34% of Americans that are Obese, 66.7% of adult Americans are either overweight or obese.  These numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics.  That is a lot of fat people walking around. 

So what is the true cost of obesity... not only for the obese but for everyone.  I found this article; Ambulances start charging extra for the obese.  
In summary, it costs about 2&1/2 times as much as a normal weight person. It takes more time to move an obese person, requires more man power, plus more expensive equipment is required.  I know from my experience of working in a hospital.... and seeing the patients that are there most often, a huge portion of them are obese.  They seem to have multiple problems.  So really in the end, being obese ends up costing more money for the hospitals.... which in turn makes health care costs increase, which then increases the cost for us all.  

Let's battle this together and not be part of the statistic. I know I want to be part of the 33% that is in the normal weight category. 


Mexican Food Makeover.

I would have to admit that Mexican food is probably one of my favorite types of cuisine. I love a tortillas, beans, rice, cheese, salsa, meats ….. but many of the mentioned foods are packed with fat and calories…. So to continue to feed my Mexican cravings, I have had to come up with ways that I can still enjoy my favorite food, but how to cut out some of the un-needed extra calories when dining out! 

  1. Always order creams, dressings, sauces etc on the side. That way you have control of how much sour cream, quacamole, creamy dressings that you are consuming.
  2. Go heavy with the salsa and the pico instead!  It is usually packed with flavor, high in vitamins, and has lycopene. It has hardly any fat and is very low in calories…. So load up.
  3. Always go for the soft shell vs. the hard shell. The hard shell has in some way been fried. 
  4. Go for the beans. If possible skip the high calorie meats and focus on the beans(especially black, pinto, navy, kidney). They are packed with fiber and protein, are low in fat, and have been linked in helping lower cholesterol.  So eat up.
  5. What the portion.  Most restaurants will give you 2-3- or even 4x the recommended portion size.  Even before eating, ask for a to-go box and put half of your meal away. That way you won't be tempted.  If you order small.... you will be small..... small portions = a small you! 
  6. Skip the tortilla chips.... or at least don't ask for a refill when the first basket is gone.  Many eat more than their needed calories for the meal just from their chips. 


tomorrow NEVER comes

If there is one thing I hear over and over again from clients, friends, families, and even myself…. Is “I will start my diet, exercise program(or anything else) TOMORROW.  The fact is that Tomorrow will never come, it is always today.

With this same mentality those starting a diet tomorrow often have the ‘last supper’ mentality. They often say, “I am starting a diet tomorrow so I better eat all the snacks and goodies today because tomorrow I am stuck with eating celery and grapefruit.”  So one ‘last supper’ turns into two, three, four, and even five last suppers over a few months.  If you don’t start NOW, chances are you won’t start.  Instead start incorporating healthy eating and intuitive eating principles into your life TODAY… don’t put it off til TOMORROW… because tomorrow may never come.


Waffle Makeover...

I love Waffles… I would say a good ~75% of the time I go out for breakfast I end up getting a waffle…. Sometimes they are lathered with creams, butters, sauces, and other high calorie toppings. The waffle to the left is a little extreme .... But there are ways to still enjoy your waffle and keep the flavor without all the empty and sugar loaded calories.
---Instead of whip cream opt for flavored nonfat yogurt…. (even my husband is converted to using nonfat strawberry yogurt.)
---Add fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, and raspberries, or if you don’t have any fresh fruit try canned fruits like peaches, pineapple – just make sure they are canned in light syrup, not heavy.
---Applesauce, cinnamon, and a dash of powdered sugar are also great additions to any waffle.
---Peanut Butter and low fat cream cheese are both healthy options if you don’t add more than a Tablespoon. (remember they are high in calories so watch your portion.)   
---If you are going to stick with the traditional syrups be sure to choose the sugar free or at least lite versions. Sugar free maple syrup has only 35 calories versus regular maple syrup that has 210 calories per ¼ cup. 
---Whole wheat versions are packed with fiber and are just as tasty.. so don’t be afraid to try them. Remember fibrous foods help you still fuller longer... so you wont be wanting a snack a hour later. 
---Also when dining out always ask for the syrups and butter on the side.  That way you have control of how much you want added to your plate.
---I can’t forget nuts. Although nuts are very high in calories, they are loaded with your good fats… so sprinkle a few on your waffles for added crunch. Just don’t add too many or they may aide in packing on unwanted pounds. 

So get yourself  a waffle and let me know how you chose to healthy it up.