Monday, November 30, 2009

10 Steps to Manage Your Weight

10 Steps to Manage Your Weight
Practice these simple, everyday food and fitness smarts to keep your hard-fought new weight.
By Madeline Vann, MPH
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

You've just lost weight and you don't want to see that number go back up on your scale. With these 10 tricks from dietitians and successful dieters, you'll be able to maintain your weight with ease.

1. Build more lean muscle. Maintain, or even increase, your metabolism by continuing to build lean muscle. "Muscle has a higher metabolism than fat does," explains Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. If you don't yet train with weights, add this type of exercise to your overall program now. If you do, increase the amount of weight you're working with to keep yourself challenged.

2. Fight off hunger with more filling foods. A three-year University of Pittsburgh study of 284 women between the ages of 25 and 45 found that those who avoided weight gain the best were the ones whose meals kept them feeling full. "Keeping that feeling of fullness can be done with foods high in fiber — think fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein," says Jenna Anding, PhD, RD, of the department of nutrition and food science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

3. Avoid temptation. The University of Pittsburgh study also found that women who best controlled their weight were good at resisting the temptation to binge on forbidden treats. This doesn't mean never indulging in a gooey dessert again, but rather picking — and limiting — your moments. There are many ways to avoid daily temptations, including planning ahead when eating out and banning your worst weaknesses from the house.

4. Count calories. Another hallmark of successful weight maintenance, according to the University of Pittsburgh study, is regularly counting calories. Use your calculator to keep a running total throughout the day if that helps you keeps track of calorie consumption. Maintaining weight loss is hard; it's okay to be as careful as you were during the weight- loss phase of your diet.

5. Plan your meals in advance. A maintenance diet has a lot of the same components as a weight-loss diet. Having a meal-by-meal plan that you can stick to, although it has more calories than your diet plan did, can act as a guide to keep you on track.

6. Consider adding minutes to your exercise plan. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, but emphasize that the more you exercise, the better able you are to maintain a weight loss. You should aim for 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity every day.

7. Measure your portions. According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) study of more than 4,000 U.S. adults, the biggest factors in success were measuring portions and fats, the most caloric foods, in particular. This doesn't mean you have to carry a food scale everywhere you go, but using it as often as possible at home will teach you how to eyeball portion sizes at restaurants and immediately know how much to eat, and how much to take home in a doggie bag.

8. Weigh yourself daily. The same CDC study reported that people who weigh themselves once a day are twice as successful at keeping off lost weight as those who don't step on the scale as often. Daily weigh-ins, which can be discouraging when you're on a diet, can be a boon during maintenance; they let you see, and stop, any slow creep upward as soon as it happens.

9. Include dairy in your diet. According to a study of 338 adults, those who ate three or more servings of low-fat dairy daily were more likely to keep off the weight than those who ate one serving or less. For women in particular, this has the additional benefit of improving bone health.

10. Let your plate be your guide. When you can't count calories or measure portions accurately, Banes recommends using the "plate method" as a way to control the amount you're eating. A great tip for dieters, it works just as well for people on a maintenance plan. Simply put, when you serve yourself using this method, at least half your plate should be vegetables and the remaining space should be divided evenly between lean protein and whole grains. If you go back for seconds, limit yourself to vegetables, fruit or low-fat dairy.
Now that you know the secrets to long-term weight-loss success, get started with your weight management program today!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

~ December is almost here ~

I've been taking it easy on the cardio ~ giving my foot a rest because it's been hurting me. I want to be ready for January to start RevAbs. If this ache doesn't go away soon, I will have to go to the foot doctor. I really don't want to go ~ the visit & x-ray will run about $135.00. Yea right. But I'm letting it rest a bit to see if it's just sore because when my daughter stepped on my foot in Sept/Oct ~ I never gave myself time to heal.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brazil Butt Lift ~ A Brazilian Butt Lift Workout by Leandro Carvalho

Brazil Butt Lift - A Brazilian Butt Lift Workout by Leandro Carvalho
The Brazil Butt Lift is one of the latest and sexiest additions to Beachbody’s In-Home Fitness programs family for this Fall. Designed by the legendary Leandro Carvalho, renowned for sculpting the bodies of the most beautiful supermodels, Brazil Butt Lift is the answer to how to get a gorgeous, beautiful rear without a surgeon - and without leaving the comfort of your own living room!

Brazil Butt Lift has all of Leandros’ signature booty sculpting workouts to tone, firm and lift your butt to the highest level: the Brazilian Butt.

The routines include plies, squats, lunges, explosive moves, plyometrics, touchdowns, kickbacks and dance that will make you shed fat and tone your body. Get ready to develop dangerous curves as you take your fitness experience to a new, tropical level!

Brazil Butt Lift is a dynamic blend of fat-melting cardio, Brazilian dance, and lower body sclupting that will redefine your behind. The secret is Leandro's Triangle Training method that targets literally every muscle fiber of your booty!

No more wasting time on overly expensive gym equipment or "one-trick" fitness-gadgets. With Brazil Butt Lift, you'll finally get the bikini-ready, skinny-jean-wearing, perfect butt you've only ever dreamed about!

Who Is Leandro Carvalho?

A Brazilian who performed professional ballet before coming to the States to dance and perform in New York musicals, Leandro Carvalho soon spread his expertise into the realm of physical fitness, having noticed that the men and women around him on the stage boasted some of the tightest, firmest booties in the world. Ballerinas, samba dancers, and the women who practice the Afro-Brazilian fighting style of capoeira all sported the best buns—“not too bulky, just tight and perky,” as he told Cosmo in an interview.

With this in mind, and having earned every possible exercise instructor certificate out there, Leandro quickly began to gain a large following with his Brazilian themed classes that were designed to not only shred and tone but also give everybody a great time doing it. So whether he’s teaching the Brazilian Tummy Tuck or the Amazonian Rhythms class to the public in New York or celebrities in L.A. or international lingerie models in their own homes, Leandro emphasizes the same core moves that have made the Brazilian booty and beach body in general an international phenomenon.

Get Fit Without Leaving the House

Get Fit Without Leaving the House
Home Gyms are Practical and Affordable
-- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

Imagine a gym you can commute to in seconds. It’s open 24-hours, so you can come and go as you please—on your time. It’s comfortable, and you feel completely at ease when you work out there. Oh, and membership is free. You may be daydreaming, but the perfect gym is a dream that can come true…in your own home.

There is no reason that you can’t make a home gym part of your reality. A home gym adds convenience and privacy to your workouts. When you exercise at home, you save time, money, and the rush hour headaches (on the road and in line for the elliptical). Although you might be cautious due to budget and space limitations in your house, building a home gym isn’t as impractical as you might think. After all, gym memberships can occupy a large portion of your budget at several hundred dollars per year.

The Basics
Remember, you want to build a gym based on your own personal needs and fitness level. As you progress, you can add on equipment, so don’t feel that you need to buy everything at one time. Your gym can be as simple or complex as you want.

1. Dumbbells (Free weights): A good set of dumbbells will help you start a strength training routine. There are two basic options when it comes to dumbbells. You can buy single sets based on the weight you want to lift. These are often metal, but can also be covered with a rubber material to keep them from slipping out of your hands. Expect to pay $15-$20 for a pair of 5-pound weights. Prices will increase as the weight goes up. A second option is to buy an adjustable dumbbell set. This includes two handles (or bars) for you to grip, as well as plates of varying weights that can be attached. Depending how many plates you get, expect to pay at least $60 for a set like this. Fancier versions can run up to $350 or more.

2. Resistance Bands: Bands are great because they are compact, portable, and allow for a wide range of motion. Resistance bands come in three or four different levels of resistance and usually run around $15 for one band. These can be used pretty much any way that a dumbbell can be used, so if you are in a budget crunch, these might be the better option.

3. Stability (Swiss, Balance, Physio) Ball: An exercise ball, no matter which name it goes by, is simply an oversized inflatable ball. These are extremely versatile, and not just for core workouts anymore. You can sit, lie, and balance on them during almost any exercise, rather than investing in an exercise bench. Plus, this unstable surface targets your core muscles and improves your balance and coordination. The balls come in different sizes (based on your height and weight), and a rainbow of colors, and cost around $25 apiece.

4. Exercise Mat: Place a good exercise mat on the floor to stretch comfortably, cushion your body during floor exercises (from crunches to modified pushups), and prevent slipping while lifting weights. Consider this a must if you do a lot of Pilates or yoga. Plus, they can roll up out of the way for storage if your space is limited. For about $20 you can get a sticky mat (for Pilates and yoga), which is thin—but better than a hard floor. The price goes up for larger and thicker mats.

Once you’ve purchased some or all of the basics, you’re well on your way!

The Extras

1. Cardio Machines: Next, consider a piece of aerobic workout equipment. Whichever you choose, make sure your machine has different resistance levels to allow for workout variety and challenge as you progress. Also available, for a price of course, are computer systems with timers, calorie counters, RPMs (for bikes, ellipticals) and even heart rate monitors. Before you make a major purchase, try one for several minutes in a store. While it might be tempting to buy the cheapest available, you’ll want to make sure you are investing in a solid piece of equipment that you are comfortable on.

* If you like running and walking, a treadmill is a good option. Keep in mind, however, that running outside is free, while these machines are costly—at least $600 for the most basic model.
* Stationary bikes or elliptical machines are more affordable alternatives. Elliptical machines, which cost at least $400, are low-impact (and fun!). Bikes come in two different varieties, recumbent (like sitting in a chair with a backrest) and upright (standard seat) and also cost at least $400 for a decent model.
* Of course, a jump rope is a cheap piece of equipment that can also get your heart pumping!

2. Workout Bench: Space and budget allowing, a good workout bench is a solid investment. Look for one that adjusts at varying angles (incline, flat, and decline). Many benches start at around $90. Make sure to purchase a sturdy bench (test it out for length, width, weight limit) to support you effectively while you work out.

3. Universal Gym Machine: Finally, the king of home workout equipment is an all-in-one weight machine. You’ve probably seen them on infomercials, but are also available for purchases in many stores. They will run at least $800, but are often well over $1,000. These machines include a bench and various pulleys and weights, which combine all the machines in a commercial gym into one compact unit, allowing you to do squats, presses, curls, and pull downs.

All of these pieces of gym equipment are available in a variety of places—sporting goods stores, department stores, websites, and by catalog. For a great deal, consider purchasing gently used equipment. Look through the classified ads, auction websites, and even garage sales. If possible, test it out before you buy.

Set Up
Start small. A few basic pieces of equipment are all you need. You don’t need 5 different weight machines to have a great gym, although if your budget and house allows it, consider yourself blessed. Keeping just the basics on hand will help make healthy lifestyle goals much more attainable.

Make sure you have enough space for your gym. Choose a room with a high ceiling (so you won’t hit your hands while working out), and a sturdy, clean floor (to prevent slipping). Finally, add some good lighting, ventilation (possibly with a fan), and a stereo to crank your favorite tunes, and you’ve created a gym that you can really enjoy!

Drive-Thru Nutrition

Drive-Thru Nutrition
Food That's Fast and Healthy
-- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

Having spent a week on a road trip, I learned one thing along the way: Fast food is unavoidable, given time and budget constraints. You can’t beat a drive-thru for convenience and speed of service. But the bellyache you get afterward can quickly remind you of the excess calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium you just put into your body.

While a super-sized value meal can give you a day’s worth of calories in a single meal, you can exit the drive-thru with a healthier meal. And for the times when there is nothing better than hot French fries or a juicy burger, it’s important to learn how to make good choices.

It might only cost a few dimes more to guzzle down a large soda instead of a small one, but your waistline will be paying the real price. Soda—diet or regular—isn't a healthy choice since it provides calories, but no real nutrition at all. Soda is often filled with sugar (or artificial sweeteners), and other ingredients that fill you up without giving your body any benefits. One way to make a fast food meal healthier is to opt for a drink other than soda. Of course, water is a great choice to hydrate your body and aid digestion. Unsweetened tea is virtually calorie-free if you want something other than water. Juice (100% fruit juice, not "fruit drinks") and low-fat milk are two alternatives that add nutrition to the calories you drink, making them healthier choices than soda and other sweet beverages. If you must go with soda, opt for the smallest size available.

Fruits and Vegetables
Just as you would at any other meal, try to include at least one serving of fruits or vegetables with your order. (And no, French fries do NOT count as a healthy vegetable!) Load your burger with extra tomatoes, or enjoy a side of fresh fruit instead of fries or chips. If you are having a sandwich, load up on lettuce, peppers—even cucumbers. If they offer it, opt for a baked potato (nix the high-calorie toppings like cheese and sour cream) instead of fries.

Most fast food chains now offer delicious side and entrée salads. Including these with your meal is a great way to add lots of vitamins and filling fiber for just a few calories. Just make sure not to smother your greens with cheese, eggs, bacon, high-fat dressing, or fried toppings, such as chicken and croutons.

And don't forget about the healthy sides that are staples at fast food joints these days. Apple slices, baby carrots, and more are often available. And if you don't see them on the menu, ask!

Portion Control
One of the biggest problems people face when eating fast food is the out-of-control portions. You don’t have to order the value meal with the big burger, bigger fries and biggest drink. Instead, try a child-sized meal. You still get the burger, fries, and drink, but consume about half of the fat of the full-sized version. Ordering small is automatic portion control—you won’t be tempted to overeat.

If a kiddie-sized meal with a toy on the side isn’t for you, split your order of fries with a friend. You’ll still enjoy that salty crunch without consuming all of the calories and fat of a full order.

The “extras” can add on the calories and fat. A tablespoon of mayo will add on an extra 57 calories. Add 106 more calories for a single slice of cheese! Instead of smothering your burger with sauces, opt for mustard (about 10 calories). Forgo the sour cream and three kinds of cheese on your taco, and add flavor with low-calorie salsa. Go easy on the ranch dressing and salt shaker, too. These little substitutions can really add up! Your taste buds will be happy (and so will your waistline).

Don’t be fooled by healthier sounding meats, either. While breaded chicken or fish may seem healthier than a beefy burger, these sandwiches often contain just as many, if not more, calories than your average burger since they're fried in oil (and absorb a lot of that fat). Try grilled versions of your favorite sandwiches instead, or opt for the low-cal veggie burger, which is becoming more widely available these days.

A healthy breakfast is the best way to start your day. But while hitting the drive-thru on the way to work may be convenient, it might put you at a calorie overload early in the day. Making healthy, nutritious choices comes into play again. Instead of a breakfast sandwich (English muffin with eggs, bacon, and cheese), order a bowl of fresh fruit, a fruit and yogurt parfait, oatmeal, cereal with milk or plain eggs. That way, you’ll be starting your day off on the right foot.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

4 Secrets to a Spectacular Relationship

By dating editor Nicole Yorio for Redbook

Peek into the lives of happy couples and find out how these four love moves will bring you closer than ever.

What do couples who describe their relationship as spectacular do differently than those who describe theirs as simply so-so? The differences are quite small, actually.
"When we look at happy couples, we see that great partnerships are not the result of hours of hard work," says relationship researcher Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D., who followed 373 couples for over 22 years as part of a marriage study funded by the National Institutes of Health. "It's small changes in behavior and attitude that can transform your relationship." In her new book, "5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great," Orbuch shares the steps you can take to a spectacular relationship.

#1. Understand Each Other's Needs
"The main reason marriages break up is not conflict, communication problems, or physical incompatibility," Orbuch says. "It's frustration -- the day-to-day disappointment of the gap between what you expect and how your partner acts -- that is most damaging." To diffuse that frustration, share your expectations with each other. Maybe you desire more affection and he craves more relaxed couple time. "And be sure to check in with your partner once a year, as added pressures or life changes can create new expectations," Orbuch says.

#2. Show Him Some Love
Men whose partners give them affirmation -- those words and gestures that show they are appreciated, respected, and loved -- are twice as likely to describe themselves as happy in their relationship. And men may need affirmation more than women, Orbuch's research showed. "Women are constantly receiving flattery from friends and even strangers who say, 'Love your outfit!'" she says. "But men don't get that recognition." Can you imagine a passerby stopping your guy to compliment him on how well his tie matches his shirt? Not gonna happen -- which is why men rely on that attention from their mates. Luckily, there's another payoff to your flattery: He's more likely to return those loving deeds back to you.

#3. Take 10
A weekly date night is always recommended as a way to reconnect, but sometimes all you need is a few minutes. "I call this the 10-Minute Rule: Take 10 minutes a day to talk about anything, except for responsibilities or chores," Orbuch says. Throw out Mom's old advice about how an air of mystery keeps the flame alive: Orbuch's research showed that 98 percent of happy couples say they intimately understand their partners.
And knowing your partner intimately isn't always about engaging in heavy conversations: Anything that helps you learn something new will bring you closer, Orbuch says. You can bond over why you think your dog is the smartest one on the block or which superpower you'd want most. You'll get to know each other's inner world and strengthen your bond of happiness.

#4. Focus on the Good
The best way to make your relationship better is to work at fixing what's wrong, right? Nope. "The most effective way to boost fun and passion is to add positive elements to your marriage," Orbuch says. "That positive energy makes us feel good and motivates us to keep going in that direction."
This doesn't mean that you can't feel -- or talk about -- anything negative, but "pretend you are weighing your interactions on a scale," she says. "If you want a happier relationship, the positive side needs to far outweigh the bad." The more you honor the love and joy in your bond, the sooner you'll transform your partnership into one that is truly great.

9 Ways to Have a Great Holiday Season with Your Eating Plan Intact

9 Ways to Have a Great Holiday Season with Your Eating Plan Intact
By Ben Kallen
The Thanksgiving-to-New Year's holiday season can be a fun time of celebrating with friends and family . . . but if you're not careful, it can turn into a 5-week festival of overeating, too. Not only is this period associated with heavy winter comfort foods, but seasonal treats and big holiday meals can be a minefield for people trying to stick to a fitness plan. It's no wonder so many people end up dieting in January just to make up for their recent excesses.

But as someone committed to gaining and maintaining a fit body, you should know that it is possible to enjoy the season without feeling deprived or looking like a party pooper. Follow these tips, and you can have a fun time and maintain your weight—or end up even leaner than before.

1. Forget the preemptive diet. A new British study found that lots of women crash-diet before the holidays in the expectation that they'll overindulge during the season itself. But your goal should be to learn healthy eating habits that you can stick with over the long term, not to lose weight now just so you can gain it back later. That's likely to lead to a yo-yo dieting cycle, which could lower your metabolism and make fat loss more difficult than ever. Instead, make the decision now that you'll eat reasonable portions later (even on Thanksgiving), and you won't have anything to make up for.

2. Stick to your workout program—or start one. We recently gave you some tips on how to keep up with your fitness plan over the holidays. (See "Stay Fit This Holiday Season" in the Related Articles section below.) Here's another reason why you should: Exercise and eating right go hand in hand. When you're working out, the food you eat goes toward energy and muscle, not fat. And you'll naturally want to eat foods that fuel your body, instead of junk that detracts from your performance. And if you do indulge in occasional treats, your regular workouts will help prevent them from doing much damage.

Remember, you're building a habit of fitness that will last you a lifetime. When better to work on it than the busiest period of the year? You'll learn how to devote time to your own well-being every day, even when you have a lot of other things to do. (Use your fitness program's workout calendar, or WOWY®, our online SuperGym™, for scheduling support.) And when your friends and family see you getting leaner and fitter while they're poking new holes in their belts, you'll be an amazing inspiration.

3. Be careful with comfort foods. When it's cold outside, you may be tempted to cocoon indoors with hot, hearty meals and snacks. This isn't necessarily a problem if you make fitness-friendly choices. (Check out our guides to high-protein winter stews and healthy hot drinks.) But if lousy weather or a lack of sunshine makes you crave carb-heavy dishes, prepare them with healthier carbs such as root vegetables and whole grains, not macaroni or mashed-potato flakes. And make them part of a balanced meal, not the whole thing.

4. Moderate your treats. More than any other time of year, the holiday season is associated with lots of "special" foods—turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, candied yams, green-bean casserole, latkes, Christmas cookies, etc. Some of these would put you way off your food plan, even if you managed not to stuff yourself the way so many people do. But others are just fine when eaten in moderation, or can be made much healthier—in fact, you couldn't do much better than a meal of turkey, baked yams, and fresh green beans. (And you can make Pumpkin Pie Shakeology® a daily habit.)

5. Plan ahead for parties. Cocktail parties can be the downfall of any food plan, but they don't have to be. First, if you're expecting to be served treats or hors d'oeuvres instead of healthful food, have a protein-rich snack before you go. It'll prevent you from gobbling up appetizers or sweets out of sheer hunger, and will help keep your blood sugar steady even if you do have a few cookies or crab puffs. If there's a buffet, watch your portions carefully; it's easy to pile on the food, especially if there are a lot of choices you want to try. And if it's a potluck, bring along a dish that's both tasty and healthful—it'll guarantee there's something good for you to eat, and others will probably appreciate it, too.

6. Don't stress out. A recent study at the University of California, San Francisco, confirms what you already know: You're more likely to eat high-calorie comfort foods when you're under chronic stress. And the holidays can be a perfect storm of stressful conditions and sweet treat availability.
You probably can't avoid the annoyances that come with too little time or money, holiday crowds, or lengthy family get-togethers, but you can keep them from getting you down. If you're working out regularly, you already have a leg up on the average person, because exercise helps reduce tension and create an upbeat mood. Help yourself even more by doing something relaxing for a few minutes each day, whether it's yoga, meditation, or simply listening to calming music. And if you do start feeling stressed, stop for a few seconds and take slow, deep breaths instead of reaching for an extra snack.

7. Don't abuse the booze. Yes, a glass of wine or champagne can be a nice way to celebrate the season, and it's pretty much obligatory on New Year's Eve. But too much drinking has all kinds of negative effects: extra calories (which your body will burn while storing carbohydrates), lowered inhibitions (which can lead to overeating, or behavior that will require an apology later on), and a feeling of sluggishness or worse the next day that can derail your fitness plan. As long as you're an adult and don't have problems with alcohol, an occasional drink or two is fine—but if your cheeks regularly get as red as Santa's, eventually your belly will resemble his, too.

8. Avoid the food-gift trap. You could stay away from heavy sweets all year and still find it hard to resist grandma's special fudge, even if the box contains 2 full days' worth of calories and enough sugar to fuel an army of hummingbirds. So what should you do with food gifts? Store-bought baskets of fatty sausages and "cheese food" are fine to regift (or donate to a food bank), but homemade goodies are trickier. You'll have to be polite and enjoy a little, preferably in the giver's presence. Leave the rest out for the family to share, or bring it to work (where it'll probably be devoured quickly). If it's a treat you really love, divide it into small pieces and freeze them in individual baggies, so you won't be tempted to eat it all at once.

9. Give yourself a break. If you do overindulge at some point, don't beat yourself up about it, or decide to give up entirely and start over in January. As long as you have a consistent fitness program, you're unlikely to lose the progress you've made. Just Keep Pushing Play every day, go back to your food plan, and look forward to your healthiest holidays ever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eat Guilt-Free on Thanksgiving

Use these 5 strategies, and your meal won't ruin your waistline

Thanksgiving was created for indulging, so go ahead and do it. Here are five tricks to help you savor the feast guilt-free:

Start the day with this 20-minute, no-gear workout. You can do it at home or at your in-laws' to burn off some of the calories you'll consume later. Or go for a walk or run—any excuse to escape your crazy family is a good one, right?

Eat off of smaller plates. Less food will look like more, so you'll be more likely to stick to reasonable portion sizes. And fill up half of your plate with veggies—either naked ones, or try these slimmed-down versions of green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes.

Have a little dark meat, if you want it. An ounce of dark turkey meat contains just 8 more calories than an ounce of white meat, and the extra fat will help you feel fuller. Plus, only a third of the fat is saturated, and 86 percent of that has no impact on cholesterol, or raises HDL (good) cholesterol.

Savor dessert. Pumpkin pie (sans whipped cream) is one of the best picks since it doesn't have a top. Leave a little crust behind, and you'll skinny it up even more.

Stick to your normal (and healthy) workout and eating plan on the days leading up to and following T-Day. Sure you know it, but a reminder never hurts (and neither does thinking of your holiday LBD you want to fit into).

The Best and Worst Holiday Foods

Worst Holiday Dessert
Pecan Pie a la Mode
810 calories
65 g fat
55 g sugars

In the wide world of holiday pies, nothing is worse than a slice of pecan. True, some of the fat is healthy fat from the nuts. Most of these calories, though, come from the filling, which is a sickly-sweet sludge of corn syrup and sugar. Fondue, in comparison, is a fun and relatively healthy way to splurge after a big meal. Angel food cake makes an ideal dipper: light, low in calories, and-because it's made with egg whites-virtually fat-free. Use fruit instead and you'll save even more calories.

Eat This Instead!
Chocolate Fondue

340 calories
10 g fat
28 g sugars
Worst Holiday Entrée
Prime Rib
750 calories
45 g fat
The only thing prime about the prime rib is the price you pay for eating it. This coveted holiday cut comes from one of the fattiest parts of the cow, which explains the thick rim of greasy stuff you must saw through to get to the meat. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee that any time you see the word “prime” on a menu, you’ll be ordering an extra 50 to 100 calories over the next dish, easily. Beef tenderloin is just as tasty with just a small fraction of the calories and fat.

Eat This Instead!
Beef Tenderloin

165 calories
7 g fat (3 g saturated)
Worst Holiday Side
Baked potato w/ butter and sour cream
400 calories
14 g fat (6 g saturated)
The difference here is in the toppings—add bacon and cheese to the mix, and add an extra 150 calories. Another smart sides rule: Not all salads are paragons of virtue. Greens with croutons and Italian dressing pack in 140 more calories than a serving of peas with pearl onions.
Eat This Instead!

Roasted red potatoes (1/2 cup)

100 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated)
Worst Holiday Beer
Sam Adams Holiday Porter
211 calories
13 g carbohydrates
6% alcohol
Winter-themed beers tend to be heavier and higher in alcohol content, so it's no surprise that Sam's seasonal brew is loaded with extra calories. But there are too many quality low-calorie cervezas to ever mess with one that cracks the dubious 200-calorie threshold. Downgrade to Sam Adams Light and you'll save 87 calories a pop-no small amount when you consider how much beer some people put down during the holiday season. For more on cutting liquid calories during the winter season, check out our list of the Worst Holiday Drinks.

Drink This Instead!
Sam Adams Light

124 calories
9 g carbohydrates
4.2% alcohol
Worst Holiday Party SnackHot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
285 calories
17 g fat (11 g saturated)
Looking at your Aunt Debbie's recipe for spinach and artichoke dip, you might get confused. Aside from, well, spinach and artichokes, the ingredient list reads like a roll call of the worst offenders out there: mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese, not to mention whatever other cheeses Deb likes to throw in to make it hers. And that's without the chips or hulking hunks of bread. Limit yourself to one chip's worth and fill the rest of your snack plate with something healthier, like the classic Italian appetizer, prosciutto-wrapped melon balls.

Eat This Instead!
Melon Balls Wrapped in Prosciutto

100 calories
7 g fat (2 g saturated)
Worst Holiday Party Cocktail
Gin and Tonic
210 calories
22 g sugars
You may be shocked to see the light-tasting G&T on this list, but the sad truth is that tonic water contains more than 20 grams of sugar per 8-oz serving, making it nothing more than a glorified 7 Up. Champagne is just as bubbly but contains only one-fourth of the sugar—plus, you can't look classier than you do holding a champagne flute, right?

Drink This Instead!

100 calories
5 g sugars
Worst Holiday Appetizer
Crab Cakes
400 calories
19 g fat
This is what happens when poor, defenseless crab is bound in mayo, rolled in breadcrumbs, and dropped into a vat of bubbling fat: you end up with a single, calamitous cake that packs more calories than three dozen shrimp. (As bad as it may be, it has nothing on some of the appetizers being served at chain restaurants all year long.) Opt for the crustacean cocktail, but keep your dipping under wraps; most cocktail sauces are light in calories, but loaded with sodium.

Eat This Instead!
Shrimp Cocktail (12 shrimp)

165 calories
1 g fat
Worst Classic Holiday Drink
Egg Nog
350 calories
19 g fat
22 g sugars
With or without added liquor, it's no surprise egg nog is on the "naughty" list: the primary ingredients are milk, cream, and eggs. Hot chocolate is just as tasty with nearly one-third of the calories. But beware, cups of hot chocolate from national outlets like Starbucks and Caribou Coffee can be twice as treacherous as the homemade version. Blame excessive serving sizes and heavy dollops of full-fat milk and thick and caloric whipped cream. Stick with the homemade hot chocolate, instead.

Drink This Instead!
Hot Chocolate

120 calories

4 g fat

15 g sugars

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Headache go away.....

Have a bad headache...& my throat hurts....I hope I am not getting sick again :0(
I am going to sleep :0) Good Nite

Yummy Yams

3 cups yams, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, freshly chopped
Black pepper, freshly ground

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place yams in a covered baking dish with just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (until tender), and then add the lemon juice and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories: 134
Protein: 2 g
Fiber: 5 g
Carbs: 32 g
Fat Total: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g

Tasty Turkey Meatloaf

2 lbs. extra-lean turkey, ground
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 can tomatoes, diced
1 large jar marinara sauce
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix together all ingredients except for 1/2 jar of marinara sauce. Place in a large cast iron skillet or two loaf pans and cook at 350°F for 45 minutes then spread remaining marinara sauce on top and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories: 279
Protein: 26 g
Fiber: 4 g
Carbs: 24 g
Fat Total: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g

Gratitude – 5 ways to encourage it and 6 reasons it rocks

Thanksgiving is on its way and gratitude is on our minds. Cultivating a sense of gratitude can be challenging, so today we’re offering five tips for instilling a sense of thankfulness and six reasons why expressing gratitude really rocks. We hope you enjoy the post and would be grateful if you’d share your thoughts and tips with us.

Five Ways to Encourage Gratitude:
1. Share something happy. My daughter and I have a ritual we borrowed from a sweet picture book called Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep. Each night as we’re snuggling under the covers, we take turns sharing good things about our day and good things we’re looking forward to. It’s a great way to end the night.

2. Aren’t you lucky? This is something my daughter hears – delivered with authentic enthusiasm – all the time. It’s not a guilt thing, but just a way to gently remind her about the things that are special in her life – whether a surprise outing or having a favorite food for dinner.

3. Focus on the positive. Finding the silver lining is a great practice for helping kids make the best of difficult circumstances and keep a positive outlook.

4. Expand the context. Broadening kids’ perspective through learning about how people live with less in other parts of the world, or volunteering to help those less fortunate is an impactful way to get kids actively involved.

5. Teach by example. Whenever you have the chance, express gratitude for the good things – big and small – in your life.

Six Reasons Gratitude Rocks
1. It says “I love you.” Telling your kids how grateful you are to have them in your life is a powerful way to express your affection.

2. It makes the world seem nicer. When you stop to consider all the good things in your life, even a bad day can suddenly take on a warm and fuzzy glow.

3. It encourages kindness. By highlighting the kindnesses that inspire our thanks, gratitude helps us understand what we can do to make others grateful.

4. It focuses on what’s important. Often, the things we’re grateful for are the things that really matter – family, friends, and time to spend with them.

5. It creates optimists. Practiced routinely, gratitude changes your whole outlook – putting you in a glass-half-full kind of mood.

6. It’s a two-way street. Finally, gratitude inspires gratitude. When one person is thankful, the person who inspired the gratitude also feels good about themselves. Even uninvolved bystanders benefit from the good karma.

How do you inspire gratitude in your kids?

This entry was written by Jamie Lee

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Unsupportive Partners: Ways to Placate Your Mate When They Don't Feel Great about You Losing Weight

Unsupportive Partners: Ways to Placate Your Mate When They Don't Feel Great about You Losing Weight
To have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in weight loss and muscle building; till death do us part. It is unlikely that these were your actual vows on your wedding day, but often the most difficult struggle a couple can face is when one member is considering a change, while the other prefers the status quo. That includes having kids, changing careers or homes, and, yes, getting into shape. You'd assume that the more attractive your partner becomes, the happier you would be, but this isn't always the case. Increased attractiveness can foster insecurity, jealousy, resentment, and in extreme cases, emotional withdrawal and sabotage.

When a significant other becomes more attractive, and as a result, receives more and more attention, it can make the other person insecure. And if everyone starts turning their heads, look out! That person may start to wonder, "Why is my partner seeking so much attention? Is something already going on? If I find them attractive as they are, why isn't that enough?" The answer is, of course, that we want to change to feel better about ourselves. Not that having heads turn as you enter the Christmas party is not a bonus, but it really is about meeting your own goals. And when the love of your life suddenly forgoes snuggling on the couch with Chinese takeout for a P90X workout, resentment can enter the picture.

So how do you continue toward your fitness goals without letting it affect the relationship you have with your partner?

Begin with communication. In the same way you should consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, talk to your partner about what you are looking to accomplish. Explain that this is not motivated by a desire to attract other people, or anyone already in your life, but simply because you want to be healthier and feel better about yourself. Going into detail about your exercise plan and nutritional goals can take the unknown out of the equation, and possibly spark a desire in your mate. If you are still met with resentment, explain that you do not expect your partner to change just because you want to, and that you love him or her exactly as he or she is.
Ask for support. The road to health can be a tough battle, and we can use all of the support we can get. Asking your partner to be supportive along this road can make a huge difference. Ask your mate to use positive comments regarding your progress, and to only ask if you are making a wise choice, if you actually slip up. This will allow your partner to feel like he or she is part of the process without giving him or her the power to control it. Encouraging your partner to join you along this path will elicit the greatest amount of support of all.

Get a training partner. If your mate is unwilling to join you, find someone who is. Having a training partner creates greater motivation and retention than doing it alone. Obviously, find someone of the same sex, or at least someone who won't threaten your mate. If you're meeting resistance from your mate, working out with Lorenzo Lamas won't increase the love at home. In addition to pushing one another to work out and eat healthy, talk with the training partner about your frustrations and ask about his or her own. If you are unable to find a Workout Buddy, remember your Beachbody® Coach is always available to give you added motivation.
Don't fall into eating pitfalls. Grocery shopping, meal preparation, and snacking can be challenging in a household on the same eating path. But when you are trying to eat lean protein and vegetables, and your partner would prefer macaroni and cheese with a side of fries, the challenge can become World War III. If you are the primary shopper and food preparer, you have a lot of power over what your family consumes. Healthy food can taste great, and your mate might have no idea that you have altered his or her diet. With that said, you might need to make concessions for what your mate desires and make alterations to meal plans that can satisfy both people's needs. Something as easy as adding an extra side for your mate can keep the peace. If you are not the primary meal provider, be prepared to take control over what you consume.
Also, make sure tempting treats are out of immediate reach. If you have a countertop full of potato chips and Oreos®, eating carrot sticks might lose its appeal. Put all of your partner's junk food in a specific drawer, and avoid it.

Try to work out around family time. There are only so many hours in a day, and you should spend at least eight of those hours asleep. Finding time to exercise can be challenging as it is. And if that exercise time cuts into time that can be spent with a loved one, resentment can build. I have several friends who began workout programs that took them immediately from work to the gym daily, which got them home at 9 PM. Basically, they didn't see their mate until Saturday, which did not go over well. Here is where P90X and INSANITY® workouts are so helpful. If you can manage to crawl out of bed a bit earlier in the morning, you can begin your day with an amazing workout, and still be home in time to have dinner with your partner. If you're a night owl, try working out after your love has retired for the evening. Being considerate of your time together can make all the difference in the world.

Keep the peace, but honor thyself. Sometimes all of the communication and consideration in the world will not help a partner to understand your desire to change. If this is the case, short of seeking therapy, you must continue toward your goals and try to make it as undisruptive as possible to your partner. We realize that this is one of the most important relationships in your life, but no relationship is more important than the one you have with yourself. Walking away from health and fitness to please someone else will just lead you down the path of resentment. Keep moving forward, creating positive change, and try to still give energy to the relationship. Maybe your partner will not understand, but perhaps over time, he or she can learn to accept.
Relationships can be incredible adventures that offer great opportunities for growth, happiness, and security. Learning to navigate that adventure can be challenging, but ultimately well worth it. Always remember that your greatest tools are communication and compassion. Sometimes, trying to understand why our partner is resistant can help you figure out a way to explain your needs to them. And know that change will come in life, whether we create it or not. Figuring out how to foster support over something like lifestyle change can make the harder struggles in life easier to deal with later on. Having six-pack abs should not destroy "till death do us part." And with communication, consideration, and some effective planning, perhaps your mate might learn to love your new look

The Parent Trap: Fitting in Time for Fitness

The Parent Trap: Fitting in Time for Fitness
By Denise Michelle Nix

Yes, today. Ideally, you'll make that time for yourself, but when it falls through the cracks, fitness and health experts agree that fitting fitness into parenting just takes a little creativity. "The hard part is parents really have to build the time in," said Eric Thompson, senior director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association. "Being fit is all about habits—habits you form when you're younger that carry you through life."

However, experts agree, it's never too late to start those healthy habits. Here are ten ways busy parents can fit a little extra fitness into their lives:

You've gotta cook. You've gotta clean. There are ways to squeeze in some love for your body, while doing those things you love to hate.

1.Anybody can just push a vacuum around, but then that person's not getting the full benefits of this otherwise rueful activity. Instead, use deep knee bends while pushing the vacuum out, being sure to tighten and hold the abdominal muscles and buttocks, keeping your back straight. Be sure to switch the lunging leg every few pushes.
2.How many hours a day does a parent spend standing before a sink of dirty dishes? Make better use of that time by working out your legs with side leg lifts. Begin on two feet, then lift one leg slowly out to the side until it reaches about a 45-degree angle. Hold it there for 5 seconds, using the thigh muscle to keep it aloft. Switch to the other foot. Repeat each leg 10 times.

3.Young children means lots and lots of toys. Of course, we want them to clean up after themselves, but we know who really does most of the picking up. Carry a laundry basket or satchel around and bend both knees deep beside each toy to pick up. While squatting, keep your back straight and tighten your abs. Walking and squatting to each toy can quickly translate into dozens of toning squats.

4.Finding workout tools in the kitchen is just as easy as finding cooking gadgets. Next time you find yourself still before a boiling pot of macaroni and cheese, grab a couple of cans from the pantry and do bicep curls. Grasping the can, leave your elbows still and bent at your side. Keep tension in your upper arm as you curl the can up. Repeat 10 curls on each arm.

With the kids

What does any kid want more than their parents' attention? Here are some ways to stay involved with your kids, get some exercise, and have some fun!

5.There are some obvious things we can do with our children that are both healthy and fun; it's just we sometimes forget or, really, are just too lazy. Walking is often overlooked as an easy and convenient way to exercise, as we're all so quick to jump in our cars for every little errand. It may take more time to walk to the store, but the benefits are worth it. And what better way to burn some extra kid energy? Better yet, have your kids ride their bikes, scooters, or skateboards—and try to keep up!
6.Everyone encourages their kids to get involved in team sports like soccer or baseball . . . but who says they should be the only ones exercising? While your kids are at practice, bring your iPod® and take laps around the field (just be sure to keep an eye on them and offer encouragement!). Not all sports need to be organized. Next time your kids are vying for some parent time, take them outside for a vigorous game of tag or soccer yourself.

7.Don't use dreary weather as an excuse to keep you from moving about; there's plenty to do inside with your kid. Turn on the music and dance! Need some inspiration? Check out Shaun T's Fit Kids® Club or Get Real with Shaun T for families who like to groove. Also, Tony Horton's Tony & the Kids! DVD is a fun and wacky way for the whole family to get fit.


The long day of trudging through the grind is over, and who wouldn't be tempted to sink into a comfy couch, remote in hand, and just laze away into the night? But remember that every few minutes of exercise counts, so, sure, take a load off here and there to regroup. Just be sure to take breaks and get moving.

8.Commercial breaks generally last about two minutes. Figuring there are five commercials in any given one-hour show, that's 10 minutes of movement you can sneak in right there. Crunches, push-ups, and jumping jacks are classic exercises you can do just about anywhere at any time. And if you're watching back-to-back shows, squeeze in a 10-Minute Trainer® session during the break. But to make sure you don't miss one thrilling minute of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, warm up during the first show's commercial break and cool down during the second show.

9.Yoga can be an excellent source of exercise, but it's also a great way to relax. And it just feels good to get those kinks out. If you don't know where to start, take a look at Yoga Booty Ballet's Pure & Simple Yoga or Pajama Time yoga workouts to awaken your mind and your body to the possibilities.

10.There is no bigger time waster than waiting for a kid to brush his teeth or put on her pajamas. Use that time wisely. Instead of hanging around the bathroom sink listlessly, grasp on with your hands for some slow, deep squats. Work your abdomen at the same time by keeping those muscles tight. Remember to keep your back straight. Repeat 10 times.

~~~~ Feeling :0( ~~~~~

So my foot has been hurting for the last month & I decided to take it easy on the foot & not do Cardio. It's BORING~! I don't want to go to the doctor because it's probably just sore & needs rest. Well see...I want to feel 100% for Jan! Well see what happens.....

Holiday snacking can be good for you

Holiday snacking can be good for you

(NC)—Between long lines at the mall and preparing for the holidays, it's hard to find the time to enjoy a nutritious snack. Believe it or not, snacking is good for you. As long as you're eating the right kind of snacks. There is no easier and more convenient snack than a handful of California almonds.

“Almonds are a great snack for this time of the year. They are naturally high in magnesium, a nutrient most Canadians don't get enough of. This keeps blood sugar regulated giving you the sustained energy you need for those crazy shopping trips and festive gathering,” notes Winnipeg-based Registered Dietitian Gina Sunderland. “They are portable and versatile. You can roast them, slice them, bake them or eat them raw, what could be better?”

When it comes to snacking, and staying healthy during the holidays, consider the following tips from Gina Sunderland:

* Keep your meals regular. Don't get caught in the shopping madness. Eat a light and healthy snack before leaving the house; try a handful of roasted almonds, this will keep you satisfied for a number of hours
* The holidays are hectic and we often eat food that is bad for us. Give your immune system a boost. Research shows almonds are a potent antioxidant and immune booster
* Take time for your meals. Busy schedules often result in fast food fixes and eating on the run. The less time you set aside for eating healthy meals, the more prone you are to selecting high-fat snacks.
* At a party, avoid lingering at the buffet table or sitting by the appetizers or desserts to prevent unnecessary eating.
* Take your family out for a walk, tobogganing or skating. If the weather is too cold to be outside go “mall walking” or choose other indoor activities such as swimming, or bowling. Physical activity helps boost your metabolism
* Get plenty of rest. When well rested we have more energy and the ability to stick to our healthy lifestyle goals of being physically fit and choosing nutritious foods like almonds.

You'll find that with some preparation, even during the hectic holiday, it's not difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how almonds provide valuable nutrition visit

Avoiding the holiday food ambush.

Avoiding the holiday food ambush.
by L. Lee Coyne, Ph.D.

If you usually gain unwanted weight over the holidays here are some ways to avoid being ambushed by unwise choices and tempting goodies. The subtitle might read "Holiday eating with dignity & health".

To avoid the January panic of trying to lose those unpleasant kilograms before the winter holiday bikini season in warmer places, try to spend December eating with grace, strength and forethought for optimal health (which usually means responsible weight management).

The fallacy with "panic dieting" is it usually leads to long term failure because it sets you up for a faulty metabolic pattern know as Yo-Yo dieting. A second fallacy of "panic dieting" is that you cannot lose more than 2 pounds of fat in a single week and if you want the arithmetic and science on this, just contact me.

Responsible holiday eating should not be synonymous with boring and difficult deprivation. It merely means that you maintain an awareness of good balance while enjoying good taste.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of a 40 - 30 - 30 (40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat) style of eating which I refer to as "The Better Balanced Diet". This is not so much a "diet" but rather a Way Of Eating (WOE) and applies to celebration days, special occasions and every day eating.

The simple rules are:

1. Eat some Protein in every meal and every snack - NO EXCEPTIONS.
2. Eat some of the protein foods first.

The objective is to control your blood insulin (the fat storage hormone and the anti-fat metabolizing hormone) levels. Appreciate that protein also controls appetite so you will tend to eat fewer Calories.

Other practical tips:
1. Eat cheese before wine (approximately 1 ounce / 4 ounce glass) or sausage or chicken wings before beer (approximately 2 ounces / 12 ounce bottle)
2. Eat colorful vegetables (raw if possible) rather than starchy easy-to-mash vegetables or breads, grains and sugary items.
3. If you stray - try a "brisk" work-out as soon as possible following the insulin raising incident. Exercise reduces insulin and starts your fat burning mechanisms.
4. Smoked salmon (4 ounces) on pumpernickel bread with capers and cumbers is a great item.
5. Want desert? - avoid bread and starch in the main course.
6. Best appetizers are nuts, seeds, cheese, pâté, baked chicken wings, quality cold meats, cottage cheese and yogurt dips with raw vegetables.
7. At social functions, view all of the choices before you begin indiscriminate snacking or just filling your plate. Forward plan.
8. Anticipate - if there will be no protein offered - pack you own - cheese, beef jerky etc.
9. Water with lemon or lime is a good drink and it's insulin neutral.
10. Avoid deep fried grease, cheap oils, an all margarines, Don't be afraid of good fats - avocados, unsalted nuts, seed, cold pressed oils. You need good fat to metabolize other fats and build hormones.
11. Did you know that 8 ounces of commercial eggnog is 600 Calories but three 4 ounce glasses of wine is 250 to 270 Calories. If you eat 1 ounce of cheese (80 - 120 Calories) for each glass of wine the Calorie count is similar or less but you are less likely to eat or drink that much because the cheese will control your appetite.
Following some of these WOE tips can lead to a life in the WOW (world of wellness).

Happy Holidays.

About the Author
Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of several weight loss books, including Fat Won't Make You Fat. Dr. Coyne is also the creator of the "Lean Seekers Nutritional Coaching Program" that trains individuals on a "Better Balanced Diet" as a way of eating for better health and weight management. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail

Eating for Stress

Eating for Stress
by L. Lee Coyne, Ph.D.

Any good stress management program will tell you that all stress is perceived by conscious or sub-conscious mind. It is not an absolute but rather a relative response phenomena to our environment and is best defined by how we "choose" to react". Consequently, stress affects each of us in different ways and to different degrees. The late Dr. Hans Selye, author of "The Stress of Life", made it clear that there is no such thing as a stress free life. In fact, no stress equals death, but some stress forms are better for you than others. An example is the contrast between the stress of a well planned 45 minute work-out versus the stress of running to exhaustion in 40 degree weather while being pursued by a Sabre Toothed Tiger. (The latter is not good stress.)

The connection between nutrition and stress can be intriguing because usually wise food choices are the last thing on our mind when we perceive stress. Nutritional deficiencies are rarely the cause of the stress. We do know that our nutritional needs change when we are experiencing stress and we can help the body "cope" with stress by providing enough of the nutrients which are in greater demand or are more difficult to acquire when we perceive stress.

The two most significant issues underlying nutritional problems during stress are:

food selection

Food selection tends not to be at its best while we are stressed. We tend to choose "comfort" foods - those easily obtained, easily digested and sweet or flavorful (again - in our perception). They give us a temporary but quick lift but are rarely the most nutritious.

Poor digestion during stress is the result of the "fight or flight" reaction generated by our response to stress. Digestion is given very little priority by the hierarchy of body functions during these circumstances. This results in fewer digestive enzymes, less HCL acid and poor blood supply to the gut. (The blood finds the brain and muscles to be more important during this period.) With poor digestion, even the best food choices will not result in adequate nutrients reaching important body parts like the brain. If you don't feed the brain, all of your stress management tools will be ignored and you will tend to react at the "stimulus/response" level (a level below rational thought). So you respond with anger, fear, nervousness, sleepless. depression, anxiety, lethargy, etc.

Another major consequence of poor digestion/poor absorption of nutrients, particularly proteins and essential fats is one of self-cannibalism. Your body, in search of protein and fat will proceed to use it own muscle tissue to provide energy for the brain and other vital functions. (This can include deterioration of and muscle tissue including vital organs like liver, heart, kidneys etc.) I am sure you have witnessed, maybe even experienced, the "wasting away" look of one under severe stress. They physically deteriorate and the immune system breaks down leading to opportunistic infections (flu, colds, pneumonia, viral invasions) and inflammatory conditions (arthritis, asthma, skin disorders etc). Immune deficiencies can lead to Heart Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer.

Increased nutrient requirements during stress that are well recognized (as recently published by Texas A & M University and by Elizabeth Somer, author of Nutrition for Women, The Complete Guide) and considered minimal if you are to help your body to cope with the demands of stress are calories, protein, anti oxidants (vitamins A, C & E) B complex, Essential Fatty Acids, Calcium, Magnesium and trace minerals. It is also important to understand that when digestion is challenged, even the best conventional food choices may not do the job. An alternative is to choose reputable food supplements, which are complete and known to digest easily.

Calories: Under severe physical stress, such as burns, trauma, fever or surgery requirements increase by 50 per cent or more.
Protein: With the increase in Calories comes a corresponding increase in protein requirements. Part of this is due to the increased secretion of the adrenal hormone Cortisol (the bodies natural form of cortisone) which converts protein to carbohydrate to feed the brain.
Anti-oxidants: Vitamins A (or beta carotene), C and E plus selenium are all important in maintaining a healthy immune system. Stress related tissues such as the adrenal and pituitary glands show depletion of anti-oxidants during stress. Consequently, a cycle develops whereby stress depletes the anti-oxidants, which in turn reduces the body's resistance to infection and disease and increases the likelihood of further stress. The self-perpetuating spiral continues until dietary intervention reverses the cycle. Unless you have been living in a cave, you are also aware of the role of anti-oxidants in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
B Vitamins: There are 8 recognized B vitamins which all play a role in the extraction of energy from food and maintenance of the nervous system. Deficiency in these vitamins is considered to be response for the typical stress symptoms of irritability, lethargy and depression.
Calcium & Magnesium: These to minerals go together and are required for every nerve impulse and muscle contraction in the body. Evidence shows an elevated loss of these nutrients during stress. Low calcium accounts for weakened muscles and muscle spasms. Low Magnesium increases the secretion of stress hormones which aggravates the stress responses. Deficiencies in both result in inability to relax and increase sensitivity to noise.

Some Solutions:
Try to eat a diet with adequate digestible protein and essential fats. I am a fan to 40 per cent carbohydrate (primarily form vegetable and fruits), 30 per cent high quality protein and 30 per cent high quality fat (not trans fats and low in saturated fat). Make liberal use of high quality protein supplements as snacks, or part of your meals. (A modern solution to modern problems.)

Understand that for good health, supplementation is not an option. Use quality multiple vitamins, anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids (lecithin, GLA, Flax oil etc), Calcium and magnesium. Moderate exercise is not only essential for good health but is an excellent way to get a break from stress.

About the Author:
Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of several diet books, including Fat Won't Make You Fat. Dr. Coyne is also the creator of the "Lean Seekers Nutritional Coaching Program" that trains individuals on a "Better Balanced Diet" as a way of eating for better health and weight management. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail

Emotional Eating - What are you really hungry for?

Emotional Eating - What are you really hungry for?
by Amy Parker, RD

Emotional Eating - What are you really hungry for?
Assess the reasons you are eating, most people are feeding more than hunger. If you find yourself at the fridge when you are mad, glad, stressed or sad, you are not eating for energy.

At these times take a deep breath, have a glass of water and think about what you really need. If you are stressed, physical activity may take the edge off. If you are sad, call a friend and talk about it. So many times we turn to food when the answer is elsewhere.

Join the Breakfast Club
Breakfast will always be the most important meal of the day. After depriving your body all night of food, the morning meal kicks off the day the right way. Your body needs food to get your metabolism running. Make sure to include whole grain carbohydrates, protein and a piece of fruit.

A Clean Plate is not Necessary to Leave the Table
As a child many people are raised to clean their plate. As the size of plates at restaurants and at home increase to sometimes massive proportions this old adage becomes dangerous. By no means should you be wasteful with food but realize that you can leave the table without a clean plate.

Leftovers make a great lunch the next day or share a large portion. At home one easy way to downsize is by using smaller plates. Appropriate sized portions may get lost on a dinner plate but they will look heaping on a smaller sized plate.

No Snacking Before Bed
As you rest overnight all your bodies functions slow down. This means you do not digest as quickly as during the day and you do not need food to give you energy. It is recommended to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed time. If you tend to have a late dinner and go to bed early, this means no snacking after dinner. Of course it is not realistic to refrain from eating late at night every night. If you must eat choose something healthy, a piece of fruit or a glass of milk.

Don’t Let the Little Habits Become Big
Stop doing the things that have got you this far. For instance, having one little donut won’t make much difference, but allowing it to become two, three or back to having one everyday will set you back. Remember the 80/20 rule; what you do 80% of the time is most important. Allow yourself some flexibility 20% of the time but save that “cheating” for special occasions.

Successful lifestyle change is like climbing stairs. Success is much more likely when we take it one step at a time!

About the Author:
Amy Parker is a Registered Dietitian who regularly writes food and nutrition articles. She graduated from the University of Alberta and completed a one year internship in the Calgary Health Region. She currently specializes in prenatal nutrition and is passionate about helping her clients have the healthiest babies possible. Her other areas of interest include weight loss, childhood obesity and healthy food that tastes good too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

~ Getting Closer ~

I am getting to the home stretch....November is almost over & soon we will be in December...can't wait til January 2010...I can't wait to start RevAbs! My target area is my Abs!

Mom of Multiples get Fit and Healthy

My Page - Mom of Multiples get Fit and Healthy

Burning Calories - How to Walk for Weight Control

Burning Calories - How to Walk for Weight Control

Java at the Gym? - Fitness Center -

Java at the Gym? - Fitness Center -

Motivation to Keep Exercise Exciting - Fitness Center -

Motivation to Keep Exercise Exciting - Fitness Center -

Get in the Right Mindset to Exercise Regularly By Jessica Blaszczak

Getting in shape is not that difficult a resolution to keep. You just have to set your mind into goal-mode, and exercise will come naturally to you. Here are five simple steps in order to get into the right mindset to work out regularly. Remember, exercise not only makes you look better, but it makes you feel better, as well.

1. Set Realistic Expectations

Before you actually begin your new workout routine, set a goal for yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve—weight loss, toning, maintainance?

If you are new to exercise, do not overwhelm yourself. Try to stick to one small physical goal, and keep a list of objectives. When you set realistic expectations for yourself, you will be able to obtain them. Then, you may work on the more difficult objectives. It's that simple.

If you are considering joining a gym, many gyms have personal trainers available to help you set a goal for yourself. If you are uncertain about what you want to achieve, or even how to physically do so, personal trainers are key to improving your mindset. They will give you that extra push that you sometimes need to remain focused.

2. Find a Fitness Buddy

With eight out of 10 people possessing the same healthy resolution to get in shape, it shouldn't be too difficult to find yourself a friend to work out with. Studies show that when you work out with a fitness partner, you are more motivated to your workout routine. Whether you are simply having more fun while working out with a friend, or you feel more competitive and push yourself to the limit to be the best, depends on your personality. Either way, having a friend right by your side proves beneficial.

3. It Does Not Matter What You Do …

… just do something! It does not matter if you cannot afford an expensive gym membership. Just because you do not have access to those state-of-the-art fitness machines, does not mean you cannot exercise efficiently. Exercise does not have to be formal. Run up and down your stairs 10 times a day. Take your dog outside for a jog, or even a quick jaunt, around the neighborhood. Anything that makes your heart beat faster and your body use oxygen more rapidly is a form of cardiovascular exercise. So, do not let anything discourage you from your ultimate fitness goals.

4. Eat Healthy

In order to become physically fit, working out is half the battle. You must eat a healthy diet to maintain a good fitness program. If you can afford it, consult a dietician for nutritional advice. A good dietician can tell you what foods to eat to compliment your workout and help you attain a leaner, healthy body. Remember, even though you may work out consistently, if you do not offer your body enough nourishment, all of your hard work will be for naught. A body needs to eat healthy in order to properly receive the benefits of exercise.

5. Have Fun!

You are not alone! There are millions of others who want to exercise on a regular basis, but find it difficult to stay motivated or interested. As physical as exercise is, the first step to any kind of exercise is your mental state. It is important to remember that you exercise, not to torture yourself, but to make yourself feel good. So, do things that you enjoy. For example, yoga is a wonderful way to cleanse your mind and become fit at the same time. Or, join a basketball league, and forget that you are actually exercising while having a great time! Also, free weights can be difficult to repeatedly lift, but think of that lovely burn you receive at the end.

If you begin your new workout routine with a negative attitude toward exercise, itself, you will not be able to work out regularly. Remind yourself that exercise can be fun. It feels awesome to work out.

Regular exercise has been associated with so many health benefits, it is surprising that not more people exercise on a daily basis. Studies show that exercise increase your life span, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of various cancers, and even enhances your mood. Once you begin your exercise routine, you will notice that your body not only looks better, but you will also have more energy to do the things you love.

Psych Central is the Internet's largest and oldest mental health social network created and run by mental health professionals to guarantee reliable, trusted information and support communities to consumers, for over 12 years

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Team Beachbody Coach  Nancy Santana

Why You Need Shakeology® Now!

*Shakeology can help you:

Lose Weight
Feel Energized
Improve Digestion and Regularity
Lower Cholesterol1

Team Beachbody Coach  Nancy Santana

Sunday, November 15, 2009


If losing weight is going to change your life, it's not because of how you look, how many pounds you lose, or what others will think of you.

Your life, confidence, self-esteem, and attitude will improve when the process of losing weight itself empowers you — to seek what you want, to succeed without limiting yourself, and to believe that who you are doesn't depend on how you look and how others react to your appearance. And that process of empowerment begins with choosing to lose weight the right way, for the right reasons — and for you alone.

Find Your Perfect Weight - Part 3

Holiday Smash Challenge

Do you need help getting through the holidays? If you do, please join us for the “Holiday Smash” challenge this will be a 55 day open challenge for anyone needing incentives to overcome the dreaded holiday cravings and temptations.

The challenge is uncomplicated. It is simple accountability. Do your workout, eat clean, don't over indulge and get points.

If you are unsure of what “Eating Clean” is follow the top 3 tiers of Michi’s ladder to make your food selections.

10 points for completing your workouts and if you follow first 3 tiers of Michi's ladder you'll receive another 5 points.

Register at:

Post your daily scores and check in on the thread link above.

We are trying to keep it simple but at the same time holding ourselves accountable throughout the holidays.

Join this Challenge!

Ready, Set, Lose Weight

Ready, Set, Lose Weight

Weight loss is a journey. Make sure you're in the right frame of mind by mentally preparing yourself for the road ahead.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Losing weight — and keeping it off for good — requires both physical and mental preparation. You need to determine a weight-loss plan that you are able to stick with for the long haul. It's not easy, but there are steps you can take to stay motivated.

10 Ways to Get Psyched for Weight Loss

1. Commit. "The first step is making a commitment to yourself," says Anne Wolf, RD, a registered dietitian and researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "Make a commitment and then share that commitment with somebody else." This will make you more accountable to your diet, exercise plan, and weight-loss goals.

2. Make a plan. "Think about you as a person, as a whole being, and come up with a plan that's going to be best for you," says Wolf. It should be a program that will help you lose weight, but also be easy to stick to. This goes for both diet and exercise.

3. Don't wait for the "right time." At one time or another, everyone has determined what they think is the perfect time to start a diet — after the holidays, after vacation, after tomorrow. "I think it's important to recognize that there's never a perfect time to start," says Martin Binks, PhD, director of behavioral health research at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center and assistant professor at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

4. Get in the right mindset. Don't fall into an "all-or-nothing" way of thinking, stresses Binks. You don't have to give up all decadent foods or exercise strenuously every day of the week. It's about small changes in your lifestyle that you can stick with and that will brings results overtime.

5. Be realistic. "Think about how your life is right now, and what you can realistically achieve in terms of an exercise and eating plan," says Binks. That means considering all aspects of your life, including work and family responsibilities. "If you will be traveling for business over the next two months, you probably need to think of a plan to eat healthily in restaurants instead of a stringent plan you would always need to modify," says Binks.

6. Make time for exercise. Fitness is a key component of losing and keeping off weight. It's important to create an exercise plan that's realistic according to your schedule. "Think about how much time you're going to have for exercise. Anything that gets you moving in the right direction is a good start," says Binks. Decide to make physical activity part of every day. All those extra steps add up to pounds lost, and it's even easier when they're steps that you don't really consider exercise — like a walk during lunch hour or hiking in a state park on the weekend.

7. Figure out what motivates you. Ask yourself questions to figure out what will help you meet your weight-loss goals, advises Wolf. For example, "Do you need a workout buddy? A reward at certain goals? How can you incorporate healthy foods that you enjoy? What types of activity don't feel like work to you?" These answers will help you formulate a plan that you can stick with.

8. Don't think diet, think life change. Preparing to lose weight isn't about starting a diet, it's about "starting to make healthy adjustments that you're going to fit into your life," says Binks. Being "on a diet" implies that it will end. To maintain a healthy weight, the diet and exercise changes you make in your life should be permanent.

9. Create a network for weight loss. "There's a social network that begins to develop as you start to attend fitness classes," says Wolf. Taking a yoga, aerobics, spinning, or kickboxing class gives you support. Make friends at the gym, or visit online community groups to find individuals with similar weight-loss goals. Not only will losing weight be more fun, but it will also be more effective.

10. Use outside resources. "If you have a difficult time with meals, there are companies like Jenny Craig that prepare your meals for you, if you have the money for them," says Wolf. She also suggests considering what sort of gyms, classes, and parks you have nearby — facilities that help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

It's not about preparing for a diet, but changing your life so that you don't need to diet. Eventually making healthy food choices and getting regular exercise will become a part of your day you don't even have to think about!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nutritional Information Comparison for Snack Food

Food Charts
Find out how common meals, foods and snacks compare.

Nutritional Information Comparison for Snack Food

16 Facts About Soft Drinks and Obesity

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has recently published a report entitled Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California [PDF]. In it are some real “gems” that the beverage industry likes to ignore or downplay. The data is based on research in the state of California, but it reflects on the entire country.
1. Over 10.7 million Californians over the age of one drink at least one soda a day (or other sugar-sweetened beverage).

2. 41% of children ages 2-11 drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day.
3. That number goes up to 62% of adolescents ages 12-17.

4. Only 1 in 4 adults drinks pop though.

5. Adults who do drink one or more sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages each day are 27% more likely to be overweight or obese.

6. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, vs the recommended 5-9. That 200-400% more than recommended.

7. If you think that’s a high number, just one 20 fl oz single use bottle of soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar.

8. Almost half of the additional calories growth in our diet since the 1970’s come from soda.

9. Each American consumes an average of 50 gallons of sugar sweetened soft drinks per year.

10. Soda is the #1 source of added sugar in the American Diet.

11. Two thirds of all High Fructose Corn Syrup goes into soft drinks.

12. The average size of a soda increased from 6.5 oz in the 1950’s to 16.2 oz today (149% increase!)

13. Milk consumption, on the other hand has decreased by 33% in the last 30 years.

14. Each additional daily serving of soda increases a child’s chance risk for obesity by 60%.

15. In the last 25 years, the obesity rate in California rose from 8.9% to 24.3%. That’s one in four Californians!

16. The cost in medical and health expenses to the state is estimated at $41 billion.
Gives some perspective on what the CEO of Coca Cola wrote in the Wall Street Journal about Coke not causing Obesity, doesn’t it?

What to do at the supermarket:

OK. Soft drinks in and of themselves are not evil, and there is room for them here and there as a treat, just like ice cream and candy. They can hardly be considered a daily staple, although that is exactly what they have become thanks to the efforts of the beverage industry.

But you can easily fight back. Just skip the beverage aisle at the supermarket on your next grocery trip. And the one after that. And the one after. In one year, you’ll have saved $500 for a family of four, AND most likely lost a few pounds too.

New: Calorie Labels on Snack Vending Machines

Over the weekend Congress (barely) passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or H.R. 3962. And while much media attention went to the abortion clauses that were put in / taken out, there were also several food and nutrition related provisions added to the new legislation.


1. Any operator of 20 or more vending machines will now be required to label the calorie count for each of the items on sale:

the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article

This is great, because it will help people snack a bit more mindfully. Especially important is the labeling of soft drinks and juices. Consumers pick up a vitamin water and are sometimes surprised when they’re told it contains 8 teaspoons of sugar and 130 calories!

2. Restaurant chains with national presence of 20 or more locales will now have to post calorie information as well. The information has to appear on menus as well as on the menu board and drive in menu board where applicable.

There have been calorie labeling efforts in several cities and states across the country in the past 2 years, but now they’ll all come under a single roof.

While calories are a great start, they certainly don’t tell the whole story of a product, so the bill further states that upon request, customers shall also be informed about level of nutrients such as fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

That’s nice in theory, but you can just imagine a scene where Fred is standing in line at a busy BK, trying to decide whether to go for a cheeseburger or whopper, and asking the Jack the cashier for the saturated fat content of each. While Jack is scratching his head and calling the shift manager who vaguely remembers some brochure buried in the stock room, the line behind Fred gets longer and more restless….

The National Restaurant Association supports the new menu requirement, and with good reason. Better have one single rule, than have each state or municipality come up with its own requirements, as California did.

We would have liked to see more sweeping legislation connected to food and nutrition in this bill. After all, much of our health problems are directly related to poor eating habits. But this will have to wait for another time.