Friday, December 10, 2010

Eat More, Lose More. (Really?)

By Justine Holberg

You work out practically every day and you're feeling good because you've lost some weight. Until a week or so passes and you can't get the scale to budge. It's like an invisible wrench has been thrown into the works. Now what?

You start second-guessing everything you're doing:

Maybe I'm eating too much?

Should I work out harder?

Do I have to live on parsley and hot water?

So you restrategize. You slash calories and step up the intensity of your workouts. Unfortunately, after another week, you're still not losing. Now you want to give up altogether. But before you throw in the towel, ask yourself this:

Am I eating enough?

Contrary to popular belief, sometimes you have to eat more to lose weight. While that may sound counterintuitive, it often does the trick. Here's why:

Metabolism is the key to weight loss. If you don't eat enough, or often enough, your metabolism slows to a crawl and weight loss becomes more difficult, especially when you're exercising. That's why skipping meals isn't a good idea if the goal is to shed pounds.

Tip: Always eat breakfast to kick-start metabolism and try eating mini-meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up.

To keep your metabolism up, you MUST eat. Conventional wisdom dictates that when you first start dieting, the less you eat, the better. While it's true that you often should eat less, eating too little can backfire over time. As your body composition changes, your body will think it's starving, which can make it hold on to fat. (The process actually has to do with excessive release of a hormone called cortisol, but you don't need to know the details, so we'll just call it fat.) To avoid this, most experts agree that over time, you shouldn't eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day for women, 1,500 for men. If your daily diet consists of fewer calories than that, consider eating more.

Tip: Keep a food diary to track calories.

You need more calories when you work out. If you're exercising while following a low-calorie eating plan, you'll need to take into account the calories you're burning. That's because it's now easier to enter starvation mode. Let's say you're burning 400 calories and only eating 1,200 to 1,300 calories per day. This means you're really only taking in 800 to 900 calories per day before you begin to calculate how your body composition is changing. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, so as your body changes, you need to eat more to keep the weight loss coming.

Tip: Drink an after-workout recovery drink like P90X Results and Recovery Formula®. After hard workouts, its calories are utilized so quickly by your body, some people refer to them as "free calories." They really aren't, but those calories will ensure that your muscles (and metabolism) recover quickly.

And remember this:

Figuring out to what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat isn't easy. That's why people often refer to losing weight as a journey. It takes a few different paths to get there. Sometimes you have to adjust your ratio of protein, fat, and carbs to start losing again. Or adjust your calorie level, which can include eating more to lose weight.

Tip: Use the Team Beachbody® Meal Planner. It can make figuring out your calories much, much easier. You can personalize an eating plan that takes your workouts into consideration.

Finally, if you're still on the fence about needing to eat more to lose weight: You might be thinking, "How come I know some really skinny people who barely eat?"

The answer is this: You can eventually lose weight by not eating. It's called starving. Reduce calories enough and your body will start breaking down its muscle tissue, and this will result in weight loss. However, it makes your body increase its emergency hormonal responses, which also causes your body to be stressed and hang onto fat, making it.very easy to gain the weight back again.

So I hope you take this thought away with you today: The idea is to keep your metabolism revving and running. This will help you get healthy and stay strong. Eat the right amount of food to help your body continuously burn calories, and you're more likely to shed those unwanted pounds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!

We Give Thanks

Our Father in Heaven,

We give thanks for the pleasure

Of gathering together for this occasion.

We give thanks for this food

Prepared by loving hands.

We give thanks for life,

The freedom to enjoy it all

And all other blessings.

As we partake of this food,

We pray for health and strength

To carry on and try to live as You would have us.

This we ask in the name of Christ,

Our Heavenly Father.

- Harry Jewell

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 Ways to Break Bad Health Habits

By Amy Ludwig

Choosing a healthy lifestyle is not, unfortunately, one of those "set it and forget it" decisions. Don't we all wish it were? Instead, it's a result of many smaller choices we make every day—with every meal. Every snack. And every workout.

You always start the day with the best intentions. You eat a thoughtful breakfast. You pack a sensible lunch, and even remember to bring it with you to work. But then comes mid-afternoon, a dip in energy, and lowered self-control. If you're already in that weakened state and you hear that there are cupcakes in the office for someone's birthday, well, in the words of Donnie Brasco, "Fuhgeddaboudit."

Healthy habits only become habits when you do them more than once.

Instead of setting yourself up to fail, you can set yourself up to make good choices by planning ahead. That will give you a fighting chance to succeed. So where do you begin?

Identifying your weaknesses is the first step. Figure out where you're likely to slip up, and you can take action to prevent it. Here are 10 common problems that derail many of us, and suggestions for how to fight back.

Avoid eating late at night. Your metabolism slows down when you sleep, so late-night calories are harder to burn off.
Fight back: Eat small meals or snacks every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Time your meals so that you stop 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.

Don't grab fast food on impulse. You're already on your way to avoiding this one if you're eating regular small meals and snacks. You'll keep your brain fed, so it doesn't shut down.
Fight back: Pack healthy snacks and bring them with you. These can be simple—a small handful of raw almonds is a better choice than a greasy burger.

If you shouldn't eat it, don't put it in your shopping cart. Seriously. If you put it in your shopping cart, it comes home with you. And you know it's there.
Fight back: It's much harder to eat junk food in a moment of stress or weakness if it's not in your house.

If you're tempted by junk food, look in the mirror. Think it through—those calories will go somewhere. And probably somewhere you've spent hours in the gym trying to slim and shape. So a bad choice now will just mean more effort later.
Fight back: Reach for a piece of fruit instead.

Don't eat for comfort. If something gets you stressed or upset, take a breath, not a bite. Knowing that you're taking good care of yourself, even when you're down, will help you to feel better more quickly.
Fight back: Try calling a friend, taking a 10-minute walk around the block, or playing with your pet. Or working out.

Find healthy versions of your favorite guilty pleasures. Stock your kitchen with those instead.
Fight back: Craving ice cream? A creamy low-fat yogurt could hit the spot. Want the crunch of chips? Try snacking on fresh red peppers, sliced jicama, or baked kale chips (they're easy to make, and astonishingly tasty).

Pay attention to portion size. You don't need to eat heaping helpings.
Fight back: If you absolutely must have ice cream, grab a teacup instead of a bowl. You'll get the taste you crave, but in a much smaller serving.

Make exercise a priority. It's easy to let it feel optional and get lost in the shuffle.
Fight back: Plan your workout schedule for the week and stick to it. If that feels too daunting, start by committing to 1 day. Then try planning for 2 days, and build from there. When you start seeing results, you won't want to stop.

Just work out—don't ask yourself if you want to. Most people (myself included) would answer "No."
Fight back: Just commit, get in your workout clothes, and Push Play. You'll be sweating, happy, and proud of yourself before you know it.

Must have chocolate? Reach for chocolate Shakeology®. It's made with real cocoa, so it hits that chocolate nerve—as well as providing essential vitamins and minerals to nourish your body, and cleansing prebiotics to gently eliminate built-up toxins from eating processed foods.
Overall, keep your larger goal in mind: to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Let that aim inform your individual choices. They'll transform from problems into stepping stones on your path to success.

A great way to remind yourself to make good choices throughout the day is to start it off with Shakeology for breakfast. Not only is it a nutritious, healthy meal, it will help curb your cravings and increase your energy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Focus on adjusting your attitude today. Try to see the positive or humorous side of everything that happens!

Walk the Pounds Off!

Do you walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day? If not, it's a great health goal to strive for! Japanese researchers were the first to set that number of steps to take a day; it is also about equal to the U.S. government's recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Taking 10,000 steps burns approximately 300 calories and, over time, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and help with the maintenance of a healthy weight. Does 10,000 steps sound like a lot? Don't worry! You don't have to walk all 10,000 at once — and they don't even have to come from what you normally think of as exercise. If you go grocery shopping and walk through the aisles for 45 minutes, you've walked 2,000 steps or so right there! It's easy and exciting to find new ways to rack up more steps!
Tracking your steps is easy with a simple device called a pedometer. Simple attach the pager-like piece to your waistband and let it count your steps for you. While there are expensive pedometers with lots of extra features — like a heart rate monitor and radio, you really only need an accurate one, which you can buy for about $10 to $15 at a sports or discount retail store. Research has proven that people who wear pedometers walk more. The best way to start out is just to wear your pedometer for a few days as you go about your normal activities. This will give you a starting point — the number of steps you take in a typical day. If you're pretty far from 10,000 a day — say you take about 4,000 steps a day — set your first goal lower so it's more realistic to achieve. For example, aim for 5,000 steps a day for the coming week. As you hit your goals, keep setting them a bit higher until you're getting in the recommended 10,000 a day. You'll be surprised at how many steps you can accumulate just doing your daily activities. Don't be surprised to get more and more motivated to move once you see your number of steps rise! Now, who's ready to go for a walk with me?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Have you been meaning to schedule a movie night with the girls, or call up your college roommate, or take your favorite aunt out, but haven't made the time? Well, consider this: Researchers have shown that women who maintain close ties with other women enjoy such health benefits as lower blood pressure, increased immunity, and even longer life expectancy. Get in the habit of catching up with all the women friends in your life at least once a week. Even a simple phone call will do the trick — haven't you ever had a blah day, only to get a call from a girlfriend that cheered you up? Be that person to at least one of your close girlfriends or female family members today — both of you will reap the benefits!
It's important to remember that there's more to relationships than just remembering birthdays; they require you to invest in the people you care about. Even if it means taking 15 minutes out of your free time or lunch break to do so, reaching out to the women friends in your life makes a world of difference to them and you. If you really want to ramp up your girl time, try mixing the old with the new; invite the new woman in your office to have a drink with you and your friends, or make a point to learn more about your colleagues. Who knows? You could end up creating friends for life!

People who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. Shine on!

Quote of the day:

Raise the bar! Set tiny goals for yourself, and as you meet them, set more. The sky is the limit!

Best Bets for Healthy Snacking

What's your "hungry" time of day? Does your stomach rumble midmorning? Are you starving by dinnertime? Smart snacking is a great way to control your hunger and keep your diet on track. I've put together a list of easy-to-prepare, tasty treats for you to safely snack on when the urge strikes!
Snacking is not a dirty word for dieters if you're careful about what you reach for! I can think of loads of nutritious, low-calorie foods that can help you feel full and boost your energy without ruining your day. Stick to a sensible serving size and you're good to go! Here are some ideas to get you snacking healthfully:

Cut up veggies with hummus
Sliced fruit with nonfat Greek yogurt
A few almonds or walnuts
Low-fat cottage cheese
Air-popped popcorn
Hard-boiled eggs
String cheese
Baked tortilla chips with salsa
Homemade smoothies or fruit shakes

Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pay Attention to You & Beauty: Remember the Big Picture

When is the last time someone asked you how you were feeling? More important, when is the last time you asked yourself that question?

As you work on shaping up and becoming a healthier person, keep in mind that there is more to this effort than just changing your appearance. Just as you can gauge your weight loss by stepping on a scale regularly, you can, and should, measure your progress another way — by taking stock of how you feel. Is your energy level increasing? Are you getting enough sleep? These are all important signs of good health — and by paying attention to them, you'll be doing yourself a big favor!

Remember that a strong component of a healthier lifestyle is feeling good, not just looking good. Be alert to changes in your energy level, your mood, your interactions with others, how quickly you fall asleep at night, and how rested you feel in the morning. Record your observations in your Journal, and be honest with yourself about your high and low moments. It's exciting to review your Journal later and realize how far you've come — not to mention how great you feel!

All these signs are just as important as your size, if not more. Be proud of yourself for how far you've come!

Strive for five — aim to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day!

Water is important on days when you exercise and on days when you don't. Drink up — stay hydrated!

Beauty: Remember the Big Picture

There are plenty of women out there who spend loads of money to improve "flaws" that are so tiny — practically invisible — that you'd need a magnifying glass to see what they're talking about.
What I find beautiful is a person who takes care of herself by eating well and exercising regularly. It's not about crow's-feet or a few extra pounds. You can't bottle and apply the glow of good health or the look of confidencethat a woman who feels good about herself radiates. That's something you can't buy — it comes from within, and you've got to develop it yourself!

In this life, you can't afford to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to your inner and outer beauty. Are you doing all you can to take care of your health? Are you proud of your character and your relationships with your family, friends, and others? Focus more on being a good person and worry less about those superficial things, and soon your true beauty will reflect back at you in the mirror.

What's the difference between those who can and those who can't? Confidence!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goals are dreams — with deadlines!

Achieve Your Goals

If you're like me, you probably set your sights high! Shoot for the stars, I always tell my kids! However, when you have a lofty goal that will take some time to achieve, it's easy to get discouraged along the way and lose your motivation to continue. Don't let that happen! Keep yourself feeling motivated and encouraged throughout your efforts by breaking down your big goals into smaller, more manageable steps.

This means, for example, that if your goal is to lose 40 pounds, you may break it up into eight smaller goals of 5 pounds. Losing 5 pounds doesn't sound as hard as losing 40, now does it? As you hit each of your smaller goals, reward yourself — not with food but with something that you enjoy and that will continue to motivate you. How about a new workout top for each 5 pounds? The latest fitness magazine or book? Or you can put five bucks aside toward a larger, more substantial gift that you'll get yourself when you hit your long-term goal. Some people find it motivating to keep a chart and put up a check mark or a sticker for each small goal they achieve.

This works for weight-loss goals as well as any other large goals you need to accomplish. Got a big home improvement project? Divide it up into small tasks you can work on each weekend. Do your kids need you to organize a school trip or help them get packed for college? Set up detailed lists to get you ready for the big day. This method can help you manage any life goals you set for yourself, even very long-range ones like saving to buy a house or for retirement.

This month, your job is not to let yourself become overwhelmed when you have a daunting task before you. I know you can do this! Start by breaking it down into smaller goals. You will accomplish so much more — and feel so much more relaxed and proud of what you've done. And I'll be proud of you, too!

Tips:Morning Stretch with Denise Austin.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Five Painless Ways to Cut 500 Calories!

1. Downsize it! Order a small instead of a medium. Go for the smaller-sized tortilla instead of the large. Grab a smaller handful of nuts. All these little changes add up in big ways!

2. Avoid the fat. Fat calories add up quickly, so cut them when you can. Buy tuna packed only in water. Skip the oil entirely if you're sautéing onions or mushrooms. Use herbs and spices for flavor instead of butter, margarine, or spreads. You won't even notice the difference!

3. Don't clean your plate. Leave behind just a few bites from every meal. You'd be surprised how just a few bites of food can suddenly become hundreds of calories saved!

4. Go for whole! Fruit and vegetable juices can be loaded with calories, especially if they contain sugar! Choose the whole fruit or vegetable instead. Not only will you save tons of calories but you'll get a lot of valuable fiber! Now, that's smart eating!

5. Skip the extras. Dressings, croutons, cheese, mayo, sour cream: All these extras — even the low-fat varieties — can add up, even in small portions. Forget about them! You can do it!

Discover the Power of Positivity

Most of us respond better to encouragement than we do to criticism. No one likes to be reprimanded about what they're doing wrong, or told what they shouldn't do — but few people would pass up a kind word from others that reinforces a good choice they've made!

My online program is all about accentuating the positives in your life and building on them to become healthier, stronger, and happier for the rest of your life. It's about embracing the beauty of a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, the pure physical joy of activity, and the confidence that comes with taking control of the aspects of your life that you can control.

I hope you are feeling positive about yourself and your efforts so far to truly live well. Today, think about how you can share that positivity with others — how you can reinforce their good choices and inspire them to live well too!

Here are a few ideas:

* Help your children develop the good habits of healthy eating and physical activity at an early age by setting an example yourself.

* Show your kids how much you enjoy eating fruits and vegetables and how much fun preparing them can be. Explore the different colors, textures, and tastes with them and encourage them to come up with creative combinations, find their own favorites, and join you in preparing dishes.

* Invite a friend or family member to try a new exercise class with you or to go for a scenic walk someplace new.

* Instead of telling your husband that he "can't" watch sports on TV or play video games, suggest a fun, engaging physical activity that you can do together.

* If your best friend is overweight, listen to what she says about her self-image. Empathize with her, and tell her you love and accept her no matter what size she may be. And help her on her weight-loss journey.

* Cook a healthy treat to bring to work and share with colleagues — rather than the typical cookies, cake, or pie.

Tips: Morning Stretch with Denise Austin

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Have Fun in the Sun without Becoming Well Done

By Omar Shamout
While it's easy to ignore advice like that in the quote above, it's a message that actually holds quite a bit of truth. Cancer is a disease we generally do everything we can to prevent, but it's hard not to wonder exactly how much of an effect our efforts have in the face of its underlying causes. Fortunately, when it comes to skin cancer—the most common form of human cancer—the causes (particularly sun exposure) are often easier to see, and the preventive treatments (including sunscreen) are often easier to undertake. Just a few simple precautions every day can help you protect yourself from this disease and its debilitating effects. Unfortunately, the market for sun care products is cluttered and confusing, so let's look at some information that might help ensure that your aerobic adventures in the sunshine aren't hurting your skin while they're helping your heart and muscles.

Why is UV radiation so bad?
By now, virtually everyone knows about the dangers of skin cancer, but with more than 1.3 million cases reported in the United States last year alone, it seems that people just don't think they spend enough time in the sun for it to affect them. In addition to cancer, ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause cosmetic damage, including wrinkles and age spots, and can worsen conditions like lupus. Sunglasses that block at least 99.5 percent of UVA and UVB rays are also crucial to avoid the damage the sun can cause to your eyes, which in some cases can lead to blindness. People who take certain drugs, such as antibiotics, antidepressants, diuretics, and retinoids, are at risk for being particularly sensitive to sun damage.

UVA (long-wave ultraviolet) rays make up 95 percent of the radiation that penetrates the Earth's atmosphere and are primarily responsible for the darkening of the skin commonly referred to as tanning. UVB (short-wave ultraviolet) rays are less plentiful, but damaging to our skin nonetheless. UVB rays are mostly blocked out in winter months, and on colder, more overcast days, but UVA rays are prevalent year-round. The key thing to remember is that both types of rays are dangerous, and can lead to melanoma. And summer isn't the only time of year you need to protect yourself!

What is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. Here's a quote from the Skin Cancer Foundation1 to help you understand the term and its use:

"It takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red. Using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer—about 5 hours. Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 blocks approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent."

At least one ounce (two tablespoons) of lotion is needed to be applied to the entire body surface. Just remember—don't skimp, and frequent reapplication is crucial. Water, sweat, and friction can all cause sunscreen to wear off more quickly than the time stated on the package, so it's essential that you don't go longer than 2 hours without reapplying sunscreen to your skin. Knowing your own skin type is an important element in determining how long you should be in the sun, what type of sunscreen you should apply, and how often you should reapply it.

There are also salons with tanning beds and booths, but if you choose to go that route, know that you're being bombarded with UVA rays 12 times more powerful than those emitted by the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning salon patrons are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and one-and-a-half times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. The SCF also notes that exposure to tanning beds during one's youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

Don't I need the vitamin D from sunshine?
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps your immune system, muscles, and bones stay healthy and strong. However, the sun is not the only source of vitamin D, and about 10 minutes in the sun at midday is enough exposure for most Caucasians to get all the vitamin D they need. (Darker-skinned people can require two to six times as much sun to get the same amount of vitamin D.) If you have questions or concerns about how much sun is good for your skin, consult your doctor or dermatologist. Calcium-rich dairy products are typically rich in vitamin D, as are oily fish like salmon, trout, and fresh tuna. Beachbody's Core Cal-Mag™ supplements are also a good way to boost your intake of vitamin D, as well as helping to build stronger bones and a stronger immune system.

What other precautions can I take?
A 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group2 concluded, "Sunscreen can only provide partial protection against harmful effects of the sun. Limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing are even more important when it comes to protecting against skin cancer and premature skin aging." But before you start jogging in your winter parka, keep in mind that many clothing companies have sprung up in recent years in response to increased consumer demand for UV protection. Just remember to apply sunscreen to your uncovered parts.

It's easy to overlook everyday dangers like sun exposure, but it's important to remember to use sunblock and wear protective clothing whenever you're going to be in the sun for prolonged periods. Closely monitor how much time you spend in the sun and make sure you reapply sunblock often, especially after swimming or sweating it off. Following these relatively simple precautions can go a long way toward keeping you safe from the dangers of the sun.

For more information about the data and studies mentioned above, visit:
1The Skin Cancer Foundation:
2The Environmental Working Group:

For more great newsletters click on Team Beachbody

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy people attract happy people. Show the world your smile and the world will smile back!

Learn to Meditate

You've probably heard about the benefits of meditation, but did you know that a regular meditation practice may help you fall asleep or sleep more deeply? Meditation is not as complicated as you might think. In fact, there are a number of simple ways to meditate — gazing at a candle flame, sitting alone in a quiet space, or following a guided meditation DVD or podcast. If you're up for it, consider taking a seminar about meditation and its benefits. Besides learning a particular type of meditation, you can also ask questions and learn more about how meditation has affected others.

The most convenient aspect of meditation is that you can do it anytime, anyplace, and for as long or as briefly as you want — just five minutes can provide results. Plus, it costs nothing; all you need is a quiet location and time to be relaxed and alone with your thoughts!

With time, you may notice that your regular meditation practice has some additional benefits. It may help alleviate feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety, and it may even lower your blood pressure. With all those benefits, what do you have to lose?

Morning Stretch with Denise Austin

Push Past Your Weight-Loss Plateau!

Have you hit the dreaded weight-loss plateau? You were doing great for a few weeks, maybe several months, but then, suddenly, you stopped losing weight and you haven't done anything differently! Before you get frustrated and throw out that scale, take a deep breath. I have a few tricks that just might push those numbers down again!

The first step to take is to check your portions. You're probably used to "guesstimating" portion size by now, but trust me on this one — break out the measuring cups again. If you've been on a weight-loss program for a while, it's not uncommon for your portion sizes to get larger and larger with time. That little extra bit of rice here and an extra bite or two of chicken there could be what's blocking your progress.

It might be more than just a little bite or two more, which is why you should also start keeping a food log, writing down every single thing you put in your mouth for at least a week. Then sit down and evaluate your intake — do you see extra calories sneaking in at specific times of the day? Maybe you find it particularly hard to control portions of certain foods. You might even find that just the act of writing it all down makes you more accountable — so you'll think twice before you take a bite!

Finally, shake up your fitness routine by increasing the intensity. Push yourself to walk or run a little faster, bike a little longer, or swim three or four more laps. If you're not yet doing any type of strength training, add it to your routine ASAP. Building muscle is a key to boosting your metabolism so that you burn more calories, even when you're not exercising. Plus, toning up can make a huge difference in how you look and how clothing fits even if you don't lose any more weight!

Challenge yourself to put my proven steps to the test — starting right now! I know you'll be thrilled with the results!

Morning Stretch with Denise Austin

How to Overcome a Slump

Q: I find it easy to motivate myself for a while, but then I enter a period of hating exercise and I lose all motivation. How do I get over these slumps?

A: Motivational slumps are very common. But there's no need to worry — there are lots of things you can do to help you get over them! Start exercising with your honey or a friend and motivate each other, making sure you mix up your exercise routines so you don't get bored. Also, don't forget to pump up the volume on your favorite exercise tunes! Music can give you energy and get you moving! Whatever you choose to do, make sure you're patient, and stick with your workouts. Eventually, your motivation will return and the slumps will be a distant memory!

Each night, try to name three healthy choices you made that day. Go ahead, be proud!

Morning Stretch with Denise Austin

Thursday, June 24, 2010

8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

By Joe Wilkes
If you spend any time perusing the fashion mags and tabloid rags in the supermarket checkout line, you'll see a wide array of articles claiming to have discovered the latest "miracle food" that will burn off the pounds while you sit on your butt and eat. Well, sadly, the news isn't quite that good. Without regular exercise, a decent night's sleep, and a thought-out meal plan, your metabolic rate is going to be dragging. However, there are some things you can eat that will move the needle favorably into the fat-burning zone. And most of these foods are delicious and nutritious anyway, so why not? Here are eight of the best ones.

1. Fish. Most of us have read about the benefits of fish oil, which is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Found in many common oily fish like mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, tuna, and salmon, it can also be taken in capsules (at least 300 milligrams/day) by those who are averse to seafood. Fish consumption has been found to boost your calorie burn by as much as 400 calories a day. Fish is also full of great, low-fat, muscle-building protein (which requires your body to burn more calories to digest).

2. Dark green leafy vegetables. These include arugula, chard, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, and spinach. They are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and lots of fiber. While the vitamins are great antioxidants and very healthy for you, the fiber is where the rubber really meets the road as far as metabolism goes. Your body expends a lot more calories digesting fiber and protein than it does simply digesting carbohydrates. This is called the thermic effect—the amount of calories required to digest the food can sometimes be almost as much as the number of calories in the food itself. Dark leafies also contain many B vitamins, which are necessary to produce the enzymes for metabolism. Most other vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories and can boost your burn, but the cream of the crop, nutritionally speaking, are the dark green leafy vegetables. So listen to Popeye, and eat your spinach!

3. Tomatoes. Tomatoes have gotten a lot of good press lately, as they contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been proven to have several anti-carcinogenic properties. And like the dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes are also a good source of fiber. But tomatoes can also work overtime to flush fat, as they also contain citric, malic, and oxalic acids, which support your body's kidney functions, which helps your body eliminate more waste and fat from your system.

4. Blueberries and other whole fruits. Whole fruits contain lots of fiber, and many contain so much, they can be said to have "negative calories," meaning your body burns more calories digesting the food than it stores. One cup of blueberries only has about 80 calories, but 4 grams of fiber. Your body will expend much of those 80 calories digesting the 4 grams of fiber. Blueberries also contain lots of antioxidants, and are believed to lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. And they taste great! Try adding them to a high-fiber unsweetened cereal or oatmeal in the morning to get your metabolism up and running at the start of your day.

5. Whole grains. Well, if you've read this far, you've probably gotten that fiber is key to keeping the metabolic fires burning. Whole grains are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. This is where careful label reading comes in. Lots of items purporting to contain whole grains may only contain enough to make the claim truthful, and may in fact be full of insulin-spiking carbohydrates or sugars, which will take your metabolism in the wrong direction. Check the ingredient list of your breads and cereals carefully and make sure the preponderance of the ingredients is whole grain.

6. Chilies, curries, and other spices. Ever eaten a particularly spicy meal and felt your heart race a bit faster and your forehead start to perspire? The capsaicin found in many hot peppers and other spices can fire up your metabolism while it fires up your mouth. In fact, some studies have shown a 50 percent increase in metabolism for 3 hours after eating capsaicin. So it helps to keep a bottle of hot sauce on hand at mealtimes. You can use spices to add flavor to recipes instead of salty or fatty ingredients, which will also help kick your metabolism into a higher gear.

7. Green tea. Researchers have found that green tea consumption can increase calorie burning by up to four percent. It is believed to accomplish this by increasing metabolic rates as well as fat oxidation. Studies have also shown that green tea can reduce sugar cravings and can inhibit enzymes that slow digestion, thus raising metabolic rates. Its thermogenetic properties were convincing enough that Beachbody® includes it in its ActiVit® Metabolism Formula Multivitamins. Besides the metabolic properties, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, making it one of the most healthful beverage choices around.

8. Ice water. Almost every nutritionist will recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, but did you know that if you drink ice water versus room-temperature water, your body will burn an extra 9 calories per glass? Drinking room-temperature water can burn about 16 calories per glass—that's 25 calories per glass for ice water. So, eight glasses of cool water a day can be responsible for burning 200 calories! Plus, water is necessary for all of your bodily processes, including the ones that control your metabolism. If you're underhydrated, your body will underperform. Water also flushes out fat deposits and toxins, which can hamper your energy.

And remember, a good night's sleep and smaller, evenly spaced meals can be your best metabolic friends. And the best thing to really get your metabolism going is exercise. You can burn almost 700 calories in one 45-minute Turbo Jam® workout alone. Also, stress has been found to produce cortisol, a metabolism-inhibiting steroid, so try and relax—have a blueberry. Or a fish!

Read more great topics:
How I Stopped Faking It
Facts on Fiber
Make Your Eyes Look Wider with Makeup
Test Your Accidental Food IQ!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Readin', Had Me a Blast! 3 New Book Reviews

By Denis Faye

Summer is upon us. Presumably, you've got your "beachified" body all in shape, and you're ready to hit the sand, relax on your towel, and do a little summer reading. Sure, you'll be poring through the latest Janet Evanovich novel, but between potboilers, why not take the opportunity to educate yourself on nutrition a little bit? There's a huge, healthy world out there beyond Michi's Ladder. Here are three new reads that mix recipes and education to help you explore the food you eat every day.

The 10 Things You Need to Eat by Dave Lieberman and Anahad O'Connor (William Morrow, $19.99)

Spoiler alert! The ten foods are tomatoes, avocados, beets, spinach, quinoa, lentils, cabbage, "super fish," nuts, and berries.

If you're thinking I just saved you 20 bucks, you're wrong. Any dope knows those foods are good for you, but do you know why? What I like about this book is the way the authors take each food and completely explore it. You'll learn about the cultural significance of each item as well as the what, how, and why of its nutritional value. For example, we all know the value of spinach, or "the captain of leafy greens," as the Spanish call it. But did you know that a 2007 study by the National Cancer Institute on half a million people showed that spinach may prevent cancer? Or are you aware that spinach has two to three times the antioxidant value of most veggies? Take that, cauliflower!

After fully briefing you on each food, the book lists several delicious recipes interspersed with practical preparation and storage hints. And while the recipes are largely healthy, they don't skimp on taste. True, the Baked Kale and Mushroom Ragout with Parmesan Bread Crumbs includes sugar, bacon, Parmesan cheese, and a baguette among the ingredients. At first glance, that may seem a little decadent, but you're getting a whole heap o' kale for a relatively small amount of indulgence, so it's not such a bad thing.

So if you're looking for a few tasty recipes and a lot of food knowledge, this book is a great investment.

I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! by Devin Alexander (Broadway Books, $19.99)

Less informative but equally appetizing is The Biggest Loser® chef Devin Alexander's latest book. While everything here sounds delicious, I'm not as crazy about this cookbook. It's less about being healthy and more about being quick and not fattening. But admittedly, a book like this fills an important role in many people's lives. Some of us may be Food Nazis, but most of America isn't, so they need tools to help them to get to where they want to be. To me, the Kick-Butt Kahlua Sundae may be an aberration with its fat-free ice cream, chocolate syrup, and "whipped topping," but at 155 calories, 4 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs, and no fat, it's a huge step up from the mini-tub of Chunky Monkey® some people might normally polish off for dessert.

And, to her credit, Alexander does specify which recipes are "all-natural." The book also includes a chart explaining how to substitute organic or natural foods for some of her more decadent ingredient choices, but it's fairly useless. (Don't want to use chocolate chips? Substitute organic chocolate chips!)

So if you're scrambling to lose weight and figure out how to eat, this might be a good book for you, but if you're a seasoned P90Xer steeped in extreme fitness, I say pass it by.

Drink This, Not That! by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding (Rodale, $19.99)

I have a Love This, Hate This relationship with the Eat This, Not That! series. On one hand, they offer unparalleled intel about the increasing convoluted array of "foods" Americans find at their local restaurant and grocery store chains. On the other hand, although you'll find solid nutritional advice in the fine print, the bulk of the guidance falls along the lines of, "Cutting off your whole hand is a bad idea. Why don't you try cutting off your thumb instead?" Drink This, Not That! is no exception.

For example, the 11th worst drink in America is Starbucks® Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream, checking in at 660 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 95 grams of sugar. The book compares the beverage to 8-1/2 scoops of coffee ice cream, and if you read the tiny print at the top of the page, you'll see, "If you want a caffeine buzz, stick to the regular joe, an Americano or a cappuccino."

But you're probably not going to read that 8-point type. Instead, your eyes will be drawn to the bright yellow circle in the bottom right-hand corner suggesting you swap it out for a 260-calorie Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Sugar Free Syrup. (Several pages later, and in a much less sexy font, the book does discuss the evils of artificial sweeteners, but that doesn't stop it from recommending them repeatedly.)

That said, this book lists absolutely everything you've ever wanted to know about every drink ever, including coffee, beer, wine, and spirits. It also offers several great drink recipes, including The Caffeinated Banana, which sounds great to me except for the pointless tablespoon of agave syrup, which also rears its prickly head in the Margarita recipe. News flash, boys: There's no need to add any kind of syrup to a real Margarita. It's tequila, lime juice, and triple sec or Cointreau®, end of story. I don't care if you're the editor of Men's Health, Zinczenko. I'm going to have Hemingway come back from the grave and give you a good slapping.

So I do think the book is worth investing in, but I'd disregard most of the Drink This! advice. Much like I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!, this book may serve as a bridge to healthy eating, but I don't think it quite crosses the chasm. Liquid calories are a huge reason for America's weight problem, so stick to water, coffee, and tea—iced or hot—and you'll be fine.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can Zigzag Dieting Work for You?

By Steve Edwards

One of the most effective dieting techniques we've found is zigzagging. Not to be confused with yo-yo dieting, zigzag is a technique that should be used anytime you want to increase or decrease your daily caloric intake, and can be used to find out what your caloric intake should be. Instead of moving straight to a new daily caloric number, you move in smaller increments on a staggered schedule. You hear the phase "listen to your body" all the time. Can Zigzag Dieting Work for You? actually teaches your body how to have a conversation with you.

Here's an example of how it works:

Say you're eating 1,500 calories a day and have been for a period of time during which you've lost weight. Now your weight loss has stagnated. This is a common scenario because the new, fitter you has a different body composition than the former you. You have more muscle and a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). In order to continue your weight loss, you need to eat more, because 1,500 calories isn't enough—even though it once was—and now your body is reacting by slowing its metabolism and releasing cortisol in a protective response (often called starvation mode because this is how your body would respond to being starved).

It's possible this could be a lot more calories, depending on one's size. A large person who should be eating, say, 2,500 calories to maintain his or her optimal weight could lose weight by massively undereating when he or she is deconditioned. As this person's body composition changes, he or she will need more calories to continue to lose weight. So let's say this individual figures to need 2,500 calories a day.

Weight times 10, plus 10 percent to 30 percent for daily activity depending on how active you are, plus the estimated caloric burn of your exercise, or just click here to calculate your caloric needs at

You don't want to jump straight to 2,500 calories. First, it would create a shock to your system, and second, it may be wrong, as those calculators only give ballpark figures. The most effective thing to do is to zigzag your caloric intake. In this instance, I would recommend eating 2,000 calories per day for 3 to 4 days a week and 1,500 calories on the other days. Then, you note how your body responds, which I would expect to be positively on the higher caloric days and by feeling famished on the low-cal days.

You want to be energized but not hungry, so after a week or two of this, I would bump up to around 2,200 calories a day for 4 or 5 days, and 1,500 calories a day for 2 days for maybe one week. If you're still starving on the low days, try bumping them up to 2,000 calories a day and see how you respond. Use this tactic until you regulate, which means that you're energized but not hungry, and also not full. You can tell when you're eating too many calories because you'll begin to feel full, you won't digest your food between meals, and you'll feel more lethargic at the beginning of workouts.

Zigzag dieting works whether you need to reduce or increase your caloric intake, and whether you need a subtle change or a dramatic change. .There is no numbers formula except to increase/decrease in small increments between 200 and 500 calories a day, and to zigzag your caloric intake 2 to 4 times per week. Then, you just listen and let your body tell you how much you should eat

Introducing Beachbody's All-New Body Gospel® Program!

Click on I WANT BODY GOSPEL® for more information.

For more great health tips on the following topics
5 Ways to Beat the Worktime Snack Attack
New Meal Plan Tool at Team Beachbody®!
Beauty Products from Target®: Can Cheaper Products Deliver Results?
Test Your Tomato IQ!
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Friday, June 4, 2010

Tips To Help You Find Happiness.....

By Janice Taylor

If you are looking for happiness, you've come to the right place! Happiness is a state of being that only you can create. Happiness is a choice that you make. Using what I've learned as a life and wellness coach, this gallery will share with you the best tips on happiness that can help you to create happiness in your life! Get ready to smile, chant, eat dark chocolate and dream... big!

21 Simples Way To Be Happy

Be Your Own Bff

Enjoy your own company. Embrace everything about you! Without a doubt, it’s the most important step towards being a happy person.

Smile, Giggle, Snigger, or Chuckle!

Smiling releases serotonin in the brain, which instantaneously gives your mood a lift.

Warm Up Your Tootsies

Pull on your best pair of warm socks, wiggle your toes and enjoy a cozy kind of bliss.

Sing Out Loud!

Shut the doors and the windows tight, put on your favorite song, and let your voice ring!

Indulge in Dark Chocolate

Savor a small piece and watch your mood improve.

Expect a Miracle

Believe that something wonderful will happen for you today. The universe is waiting to shower happy blessings on you.

Meditate, Pray, and Chant

Research shows that people who are spiritual tend to be happier and healthier than those who are not.

Laugh at Your Shortcomings

We all make mistakes; none of us is perfect. Forgive your imperfections, accept your faults, and laugh.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Seven or eight hours each night should increase your energy and decrease moodiness.

Count Your Blessings Daily

Gratitude, the emotion of thankfulness, is one of the key ingredients for living a happy life. Make gratitude a habit and happiness will be yours.

Wake Up Early!

Start the day off on a happy foot, with a happy thought. The morning hours are full of spiritual energy and prana (life force).

Let the Sun Shine In

20 minutes of sunlight per day improves mood and wards of Seasonal Affection Disorder (SAD).

Create a Positive Affirmation

Think it, read it, say it, sing it! "My happiness brings me more happiness."

Say "Good Job!"

Give yourself permission to pat yourself on the back. Recognize your accomplishments and positive qualities.

Catch Happiness from Others

Remembering that happiness is contagious, surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values, goals, and dreams.

Grow a Garden

Watching plants grow and thrive under your care is thrilling!

Pencil in 'Quiet' Time

Each and every day sit awhile, without television, without magazines, without the Internet. Just be!

Look to the Future

Set goals and then make plans to succeed and take action. Pursuing something we value always makes us happy.

Accept What You Cannot Change

Don't waste your precious time, energy, or thoughts on something that is beyond your control. Let it go.

Take a Cat Nap

A 10-minute nap is all it takes to rejuvenate your spirit and get the happiness to flow.

Love Everything

Love who you are. Love what you are doing. Love the person you're with. Love your friends and your enemies, too. Love! Love! Love!

Janice Taylor is the author of the Our Lady of Weight Loss blog on Beliefnet, and the book, All is Forgiven, Move On.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

7 Substitutes for Picnic Diet Killers

By Joe Wilkes

It's almost summertime, which brings the incongruous collision of picnic season and swimsuit season. The weather's perfect for hiking, camping, barbecuing, and days at the beach—lots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, but just as many opportunities to pig out at pool parties, luaus, outdoor festivals, and county fairs. Here are some foods to try avoiding during the dog days of summer and some ideas for substitutions for picnic favorites.

1. Fried chicken. It's not the K or the C in KFC® that's the problem. It's the F for fried. And if you have any hope of staying slim this summer, it's time to tell the Colonel you're kicking the bucket. One extra-crispy breast will run you 460 calories and 28 grams of fat, 8 of them saturated. That's almost three times the calories of a grilled, skinless breast and almost ten times as much fat. So clearly, you're better off cooking the chicken yourself. But if you're grabbing something on the run, you might want to visit the rotisserie case at your local supermarket. Try picking a chicken that's not slathered in sugary barbecue sauce. And if you throw away the skin, you'll save yourself from eating most of the fat and calories.

2. Sandwiches. A picnic without sandwiches is like a picnic without ants. It just wouldn't be the same. But of course, the sandwich is only as good as the sum of its ingredients. If you're using white bread, you're just eating empty carbohydrates. Make sure you buy whole-grain bread, and that it has the word "whole" in the ingredient list. Wheat bread is essentially the same as white bread, only with a little molasses added for brown coloring. It's nutritionally the same, if not worse. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the fiber and the vitamins you're looking for. For lunch meat, try avoiding processed meats like bologna and salami. They're packed with extra fat and sodium. And when buying unprocessed meats like turkey or roast beef, make sure they really are unprocessed. The makers of some brands of turkey grind up the skin and dark meat and then press it into lunch meat form, so you're really getting as much fat and sodium as you'd get from bologna. Watch out for flavored turkey as well. Most of the time the secret ingredient is salt. If you want to be really healthy, buy a whole turkey breast from your poultry section and roast it yourself, so you can control how much salt is added.

3. Brats and burgers. It's always great to fire up the grill and start cooking up a mess of meat. And the good news is that grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. It adds tons of flavor and doesn't add fat. Of course, the best thing to grill would be skinless chicken, fish, or vegetables. But if you're craving a juicy burger or brat and a portobello burger just won't do, there are still some decisions you can make to keep it on the lean side. For burgers, consider a leaner option than beef, such as ground turkey or buffalo. But as always, check the label. Some grinds of turkey have as much fat as a fatty grind of beef. Ground turkey breast is usually much leaner than ground turkey. If you're going to make beef burgers, try to find a grind that is under 5 percent fat. Ground sirloin is usually pretty close. If you can't find a grind that's low enough in fat, ask your butcher to grind a lean piece of chuck roast or top sirloin for you. In addition to being leaner, this will also reduce your chances of picking up foodborne illnesses like E. coli, since only one cow is involved in producing a steak, as opposed to potentially hundreds in ground beef. In fact, if you're someone who likes to eat your burger rare, having the butcher grind a piece of meat for you is a must do. Bratwurst is another delicious summer fave, but watch the fat and sodium content in those as well. The chicken, turkey, and even veggie versions of sausage sound like they'd be lighter, but they're often just as fatty as the pork versions.

4. Potato or macaroni salad. Mayonnaise is the culprit in these dishes. At 50 calories a tablespoon with 5 grams of fat, these side dishes can turn deadly for your diet in a hurry. But you can mitigate the damage somewhat. Instead of mayonnaise, consider using nonfat yogurt, food-processed nonfat cottage cheese, or nonfat ricotta cheese instead. You'll get fewer calories, less fat, and lessen the risk of salmonella poisoning by going eggless. One way to make potato salad healthier is to leave the skins on the potatoes, as they have the fiber and most of the vitamins in the spud. For macaroni salad, use a whole-grain pasta to get extra fiber. Better yet, make a pasta salad with heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, and lots of veggies.

5. Baked beans. Beans, beans, the musical fruit . . . well, you know the rest. Full of fiber and low in fat, beans are a great side dish that will keep you full. What you want to watch out for is the sugar that is added to most baked beans—sometimes as much as 3 teaspoons in a cup. Try plain pinto beans, or my favorite, beans canned with jalapeños. Replace high-calorie sweet with low-calorie fire, and you won't even miss the sugar. Three-bean salad is another flavorful way to consume your legumes without a lot of added fat or sugar.

6. Trail mix. Summer's a great time for checking out nature, and it's always great to bring along a healthy snack. But check the trail mix ingredients. Some, especially those containing granola, can be loaded with super-unhealthy hydrogenated oils and fat. There are trail mixes on the market that have more fat than a large order of fries, so it's definitely a buyer-beware situation. Also check out how much sugar is in the trail mix or granola bars you're taking backpacking. Some bars aren't much healthier than a Snickers®. If ingredients in your trail mix include chocolate chips and marshmallows, you may not have made the healthiest choice. Try making your own trail mix with healthy unsweetened oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Or take along a couple of P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bars.

7. Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And we'll really be screaming when we try to stuff ourselves into our swimsuits after eating everyone's favorite fatty, frosty indulgence. It's hard to resist a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the tinkling of the ice cream truck bell can still send me bolting into the street. But that scoop of vanilla can have up to 400 calories and 25 grams of fat, 15 of them saturated. If you're culinarily gifted, you might consider making your own sorbet. If not, check out some of the ones available on the market. Sorbets are usually low fat or nonfat, although they can still have tons of sugar. Try to find some that are mostly fruit. Speaking of fruit, for a healthy frozen treat, how about sticking some fruit in the freezer? Most fruits, especially berries, grapes, and bananas, freeze quite well. They'll last longer and popping a few frozen grapes in your mouth can cool you off on a hot day; and you'll still get all the vitamins, fiber, and health benefits that a Creamsicle™ just can't provide.


Coming Soon....

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Please Join me at my NEW IMPROVE FACEBOOK LIKE Page

If you follow this blog & are on Facebook, please "LIKE" me at my NEW & IMPROVE HOME the name is changing but I will still be bringing all your health and fitness tips, motivation, suggestions, & newsletters on my NEW page...I don't want to miss out on any of your comments or suggestions. Thanks!

Monday, May 24, 2010


"People are always blaming circumstances for where they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get ahead are the people who get up and look for circumstances and if they can't find them, they make them." - George Bernard Shaw

Shape Your Mind!

The wonderful thing about exercise is that is has countless benefits! The ones you often hear about are related to your physical well-being — it helps prevent chronic diseases like osteoporosis and certain types of cancer, improves heart and lung function, and is a key element in controlling and maintaining a healthy weight. But you should also relish the emotional benefits of exercise!

No matter your age or sex, exercise is a mood booster! Even moderate levels of aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, can raise the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine in your brain (your body's feel-good chemicals). Working out regularly can also enhance creativity, reduce anxiety, and help combat depression. And meditative exercises like yoga are an especially powerful stress reliever!

So next time you need to blow off some steam, feel restless, or have trouble concentrating, hit the gym! It'll give you that much-needed natural high. Plus, after you see all the physical benefits of your hard work — your slimmer body and improved muscle tone — another thing that'll soar is your confidence!

Morning Stretch w/ Denise Austin

Friday, May 21, 2010

TurboFire® ~ Intense Cardio Conditioning

For more information on this fitness dvd contact me at:

TurboFire®: High Intensity Interval Training from Chalene Johnson.

Burn up to 9x more fat than with regular cardio doing TurboFire. Featuring High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), these 12 workout classes make you sweat with the hottest music and moves. And forget about rushing to the gym for the best spot in class. With TurboFire, class starts when you Push Play.

The Secret Behind TurboFire.

TurboFire workouts include interval training known as "HIIT."

These routines combine short bursts of intense exercise with quick recovery periods to ignite your metabolism. The result is a phenomenon known as the AfterBurn Effect, which enables you to burn fat at an accelerated rate for a full 24 to 48 hours after your workout.

In fact, studies show that with HIIT, you'll work out for less than half the time you normally would doing regular cardio, and burn up to 9x more fat.

Coming This Summer contact me:

Independent Team Beachbody Coach - TurboNancy

5 Keys to Treating Depression through Exercise

By Omar Shamout

About 19 million people in the United States suffer from some form of depression ranging from mild to severe. It's hard to imagine that something as seemingly intangible as the feeling of sadness is governed by science, but it's true. Emotions, like everything else found inside our bodies, can be broken down into chemical equations. The upside of this is that you can sometimes take charge of which emotions your brain generates by altering the things you do every day. Yes, there are a number of pharmaceutical treatments for depression, but studies show that our bodies produce a natural defense that can combat this debilitating mental condition.

What are these organic wonder drugs, you ask? And how do we get them? The answer is endorphins, and you get them through exercise. These chemicals interact with receptors in our brains that send a euphoric feeling throughout the body to combat pain in all its forms. Many people have dubbed this phenomenon "runner's high."

Evolution has gifted us with an anatomy filled with a vast repository of resources that can fight many of the obstacles nature will throw at us. The key is understanding how to unlock the door and utilize all the tools we have available at our disposal. So, with some hard work and dedication, we might be able to discover the secret to one of our self-healing properties.

1.Consistency. Because depression is a chronic problem that can't be cured by an hour in the gym, sufferers must realize that it takes a strong commitment to an aerobic routine to see any improvement. Even then, endorphins alone may not be enough to aid in more severe cases. Research studies conducted by Harvard Medical School found that daily aerobic exercise over a sustained period of time can have exactly the same impact on lowering rates of depression as antidepressant drugs can have. The length of the daily workout is crucial though, as workouts of less than 15 minutes produced negligible results compared to those of 30 minutes or more. Workouts don't have to be high impact, either. Low-impact routines involving walking and light stretching are equally effective.

Prescription drugs may work faster, but the benefits of aerobic exercise on our brain have been shown to last longer, while also improving other physical conditions such as heart health and blood pressure. You must make a long-term commitment, though, because we are talking about a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. A serious problem demands a serious solution.

2.Drugs are addictive; exercise is not. You might be tempted to take an "easier" route for self-medication. Drugs such as morphine and cocaine also trigger the release of endorphins in your system, but their addictive qualities are dangerous and deadly, not to mention illegal. Overeating can also trigger the release of endorphins, but all of these activities will only make you feel more depressed in the long term once the guilt sets in, and the cycle will only become harder to break. Recognizing any destructive personal triggers of your depression symptoms is vital to understanding how your psyche got to where it is now. Exercise is one of the few coping mechanisms that is not addictive, so embrace it as a welcome and positive addition to your life.

3.Exercise can be social. Willpower, you say? But, I'm depressed! I have no willpower! Here's where other people can come in. Exercise doesn't have to be a solitary activity, and the Mayo Clinic recommends social activities as a way to cope with symptoms of depression. Maybe try joining a group dance or yoga class, joining a pickup basketball game, or softball league. Tennis, anyone? For some people, this is the way to stop thinking of exercise as a chore. The more we turn our workout into a fun activity with friends, the easier it is to think of it not as "work" at all, but rather an "out"ing. Get it?

4.Little things add up. Just because you need to get in 30 minutes of cardio a day to improve your mood, doesn't mean you have to do it all at once. Simple things like walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, parking farther away, and the like really do add up, and count as exercise even if you don't have your cross-trainers on. If you do want to wear those shoes, but still don't have the time for a long workout, consider trying 10-Minute Trainer® for a game-changing blast of cardio. visit my site for the 10-Minute Trainer®

5.Be honest with yourself. Understanding your limits and setting realistic expectations are crucial to establishing a routine that you can sustain over a long period of time and enjoy simultaneously. If you're not used to exercise, don't expect to run for an hour nonstop, because you won't, and will end up getting frustrated with yourself, which is exactly what you don't need! Ease into your routine by setting manageable and attainable goals, and build up your confidence. Overdoing your exercise routine will not make you twice as happy, so there's no need to harm your body while taking care of your head.

The bottom line is that exercise should be considered one part of a strategy to overcome depression and get yourself back on track, and shouldn't be considered a one-way ticket to Happytown. Changing your lifestyle is difficult, but a regular aerobic routine can give your brain the added boost it needs to conquer your destructive habits and combat negative emotions.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Benefits of Grapefruit

Health Benefits of Grapefruit :

Grapefruit is very helpful in removing or dissolving inorganic calcium which may have formed in the cartilage of the joints, as in arthritis, as a result of an excessive consumption of devitalized white flour products. Fresh grapefruit contains organic salicylic acid, which aids in dissolving such inorganic calcium in the body.

Grapefruit can help in weight loss, since it is low in sodium, high in fat burning enzymes. Low sodium intake can help flush out excess water that is caused by high sodium food.

Grapefruit has high water content, and an increased water consumption can help increase metabolism.

Grapefruit is a rich source of Vitamin C

Grapefruit is rich in lycopene (the red color/pigment), it helps to prevent the occurance of tumor and cancer.

It is a liver tonic

Helps in cases of Gallstones

Helps in cases of Cold, Pneumonia, Fever

It is a powerful drug-poison eliminator

Helps in proper digestion of food

Can help improve complexion

Grapefruit is a natural antiseptic for wounds when used externally.

Benefits in Assorted Diseases:

Appetite Loss: Grapefruit works as an excellent appetizer as compared to any other drug. It is said that smell of the grapefruit reduces the feeling of hunger. This is the reason why people include grapefruit in their weight loss programs. High fiber contained by this fruit can satisfy hunger and thus, avoids any overeating temptation.

Fever: The pulp or the juice of grapefruit provides assistance to the patient to recover easily from the fever. It reduces burning sensation that occurs during high temperature. It also cures several cases of cold and phenomena. Grapefruit juice, if combined with water, can quench the thirst.

Fatigue: Grapefruit is beneficial in the treatment of fatigue. It helps you to dispel your fatigue and general tiredness caused due to the routine work. It can bring about a refreshing feeling in you when you drink equal amount of grapefruit juice and lemon juice.

Influenza: Grapefruit is a valuable remedy for influenza as it helps to minimize acidity from the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called 'maringin' in grapefruit tones up the system and the digestive swathe.

Malaria: The juice or the fruit itself consists of valuable and natural 'quinine' which are advantageous for the treatment of malaria. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and spraining the pulp.

Acidity: The fresh grapefruit juice has alkaline reaction after digestion. The citric acid of the fruit is tarnished in the human body and thus, increases the effect of the alkalinity reaction after digestion. The juice extracted from the grapefruit is beneficial in preventing the acid formation and many other diseases that arise due to the presence of acidity in the body.

Indigestion: Grapefruit is useful for solving the problem of indigestion. It is very light as compared to other food articles and thus, acts immediately on indigestion by easing the heat and irritation caused in the stomach. It improves the flow of digestive juices, thereby improving the digestive systems.

Insomnia: A simple glass of grapefruit juice, if drunk before going to bed, can promote healthy and sweet sleep and thus, alleviates insomnia.

Diabetes: A diabetic patient can safely eat a grapefruit. The consumption of this fruit can reduce the starches from the body. If a patient is diabetic, intake of grapefruit can facilitate you to fight with this health issue.

Constipation: A glass full of fresh squeezed grapefruit in the morning is the best remedy to control the constipation. They result best in stimulating the colon and other parts of the body.

Flatulence: 10 to 20 drops of grapefruit seeds in the juice, taken before the meals and three times a day, work as an appropriate pro-biotic and digestive enzyme.

Urinary Disorders: Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C and thus, works as the best medicine in the case of scanty urination caused due to the liver, kidney or heart problems.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quote of the day.................

Time is our most valuable asset, yet so many of us tend to waste and kill time. Stay focused!

Prioritize Your Life!

Feeling overwhelmed? I totally understand! Between juggling work and family and dealing with everyday obligations and distractions, life can get a bit chaotic. The best way to handle it all is by prioritizing. Identify what's really important.
When it comes to work-related tasks, this can be fairly simple. Deadlines usually dictate what jobs need to get done now and what tasks aren't as pressing. If you're unsure, ask your supervisor to confirm what your priorities should be. And if you're overloaded, don't be shy about requesting that some of your duties be reassigned.

Home-related priorities are trickier. You want to be as efficient at home as you at work, but you can't do it all! So go easy on the house rules. Instead of rushing to clean dirty dishes immediately after dinner, take some time to sit for a while and chat with your family. Strengthening these relationships is what matters most!

Use your Journal to make note of all the things you'll need to get done that day — or week, if you prefer — then rank each task in order of importance. Stick to accomplishing three things per day. Yes, just three. If you go over that amount, then fantastic! The point is to give yourself a break. Hey, you're only human

Morning Stretch with Denise Austin.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Are you an emotional eater?

Are you an emotional eater? Almost all of us are, at least sometimes (including me!). Emotional eating means turning to food to resolve emotional issues. It means we eat when we feel a certain way — happy, sad, anxious, excited — rather than just when we're hungry. And the foods we turn to are usually comfort foods, foods typically high in calories and fat that don't provide too many nutrients, like ice cream, cookies, and chips.
Emotional eating is nothing to be embarrassed about, but if you allow yourself to eat emotionally on a regular basis, it can be harder to follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. And I know that's not what you want. So I'm here to help!

The solution to your emotional eating troubles is also your challenge for the coming week! You can control emotional eating. You just need another outlet for your emotions so you don't continue to use food to calm down or help yourself feel better. And one of the best ways to do this is by keeping a journal! Writing down what's going on in your life and the challenges you are struggling with provides that emotional release you're seeking, so you don't need food for comfort. Take some time to think about exactly you're feeling, and choose the right words, so they truly represent your emotions. You can put them down on paper or on your computer — your choice. Members can also log onto the site and use their online journals for this.

Write at least one journal entry in the next seven days, and then every week from now on — but more is always better! You'll come to love writing in your journal and see it as a secret friend. I know I do!

Morning Stretch with Denise Austin


Instead of thinking of your body as the enemy, think of it as your best friend.


Friendship, love, health, energy, enthusiasm, and joy are the things that make life worth living and exploring

"Me" Time

Sometimes staying motivated requires a little incentive. Hey — there's nothing wrong with that! The next time you get through a really tough workout, beat your previous running time, or follow your healthy-eating plan flawlessly for a straight week, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back — do something special that's all about you!
How about a day of pampering? Get a fab new haircut, a mani-pedi, a facial, or a massage. There's no need go to an expensive spa! Ask your mother or a friend to let the kids stay with her overnight, and spend an evening soaking in a tub filled with lavender-scented essential oil. Then dive into that novel you've been meaning to finish.

If you're close to your ideal weight, shop for some new clothes to fit your incredibly shrinking body! Or reward your hard work each month by picking up a new fitness accessory (a medicine ball, say, or a pedometer) or a kitchen tool to help you prepare all those good-for-you meals. You can even while away the hours by taking a stroll around your neighborhood, checking out your town's Main Street boutiques — and making a pit stop at that low-fat frozen yogurt place that just opened up! You'll find that a little treat goes a long way!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

6 Eating Rules for Faster Weight Loss

Follow these simple eating rules to stay full and speed weight loss.
By Michele Stanten, Prevention

Your body needs fuel to exercise, and the source of that fuel is food. That's why some people report feeling hungrier when they start to work out. If you're trying to lose weight, this could be counterproductive—unless you find the right balance of healthy, filling foods.

The typical American diet is loaded with refined or simple carbohydrates such as white flours, rices, and pastas, and pastries, sodas, and other sugary foods and drinks. These carbs, which lack the fiber found in complex carbs (whole grains, fruits, and veggies), are metabolized by your body quickly. So while you may feel raring to go after eating them, that energy boost will soon be followed by a major energy slump, making it hard to give your all during your workouts.

In addition, if many of the foods you eat are metabolized quickly, you'll find yourself feeling hungry more often, which could mean more snacking and a higher calorie intake. To keep from eating back all the calories you've burned, stick to a diet based on these six science-backed components.

1. Fiber

Eat at least 20 grams of fiber per day from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer—a big benefit when you're trying to lose weight. A 2009 study from Brigham Young University College of Health and Human Performance demonstrated that women who ate more fiber significantly lowered their risk of gaining weight and fat. Each gram of fiber eaten correlated to a half pound less body weight. The researchers suspect that the higher fiber intake led to a reduction in total calories over time.

2. Calcium & Vitamin D

Strive for three servings of calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods a day. These nutrients often occur together in foods, especially dairy.

Calcium and vitamin D work together in your body, primarily to strengthen your bones. But if the latest research is any indication, both of these nutrients may flex some muscle in your weight loss success. Dairy foods are the prime source of calcium and vitamin D in the diet. In a recent study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, college students who came closest to meeting the three-a-day dairy requirement while eating an otherwise healthy diet weighed less, gained less, and actually lost belly fat, compared with students who consumed little or no dairy. Moreover, vitamin D by itself may play a role in weight control.

Extra body fat holds on to vitamin D so that the body can't use it. This perceived deficiency interferes with the action of the hormone leptin, whose job is to tell your brain that you're full. And if you can't recognize when you're satiated, you're more likely to overeat.

You may also want to consider a vitamin D supplement. The latest research suggests that this nutrient may be a factor in protecting you from everything from heart disease to memory loss and even chronic pain. Evidence is mounting that we need more than the current recommended intakes, especially as we age, because older skin produces less vitamin D (and sunscreens block the body's ability to use sunlight to produce this vitamin). That's why the leading experts in vitamin D research are now recommending a daily supplement of 1,000 IU of vitamin D—the kind most readily used by the body.

Daily Recommended Calcium Intake

Men and women ages 19-50: 1,000 milligrams
Men and women age 51+: 1,200 milligrams

Daily Recommended Vitamin D Intake

Men and women ages 19-50: 200 IU
Men and women ages 51-70: 400 IU
Men and women age 71+: 600 IU

3. Good Fats

These include monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oils, nuts, avocados, certain fish—and yes, even chocolate! Eat three to four servings daily.

A recent study published in the journal Appetite shows how these fats—besides being good for your heart—can help you feel fuller longer after meals. The study participants with a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (more than 1,300 milligrams a day, either from foods or from supplements) reported feeling less hungry right after their meals, as well as 2 hours later, compared with a lower omega-3 intake (less than 260 milligrams a day). Less hunger means less munching and an easier time keeping calories in check.

More specific research has been done on walnuts, a good source of monounsaturated fats. An Australian study had participants follow a healthy low-fat diet, either with walnuts or without. Both groups ate the same number of calories and lost approximately the same amount of weight at 6 months. But during the next 6 months of the year long study, the walnut-eaters continued to lose weight and body fat, while the other group stopped losing—even though they were still following the same diet

4. Protein

Aim for three servings of lean protein (such as fish, white meat chicken and turkey, pork loin chops, and lean beef sirloin) per day. In addition to being an essential nutrient, protein helps to keep you feeling full longer, which is a big benefit when you're trying to lose weight. In a small 2009 study, participants who ate a higher-protein breakfast were more satiated afterward (and took in fewer calories at lunch) than those who ate a low-protein breakfast.

5. Water

Studies from Stanford Prevention Research Center suggest that water helps promote weight loss in two ways. First, drinking more water—at least four cups per day—was linked to a five-pound weight loss over the course of a year. According to the researchers, this amount of water increases the amount of energy or calories your body burns. Second, substituting water for sugary drinks—sodas, sports drinks, flavored drinks, and sweetened milks, coffees, and teas—resulted in even more weight loss. The exact number of pounds lost depended on how many sugary drinks were consumed in the first place, and how many were replaced with water.

Still don't think you can give up your sodas and mochaccinos? Then consider this: It's been shown that when people consume a certain amount of calories, they're more hungry and more likely to overeat at their next meal when those calories are in liquid rather than in solid form. Translation: If you eat a 200-calorie snack, you'll be more satisfied afterward and eat less later than if you drink a 200-calorie beverage. So frequently drinking calorie-dense beverages could increase both your hunger and your calorie intake throughout the day.

6. Green tea

Sip at least three cups of green tea every day. Catechins, the antioxidants found in high amounts in green tea, have been shown to be helpful in promoting weight loss, specifically belly fat. If caffeine is a concern, decaf tea is an option. Some decaffeination processes, however, can lower the antioxidant content so you might want to have an extra cup or two.

In a study at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, participants who drank the equivalent of three cups of green tea a day lost twice as much weight as those not drinking tea. The tea-drinking group also lost significantly more belly fat than the non-tea drinkers.

If you like citrus, the news gets better. Replacing some of the tea brewing water with citrus juice, such as lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, allows your body to use more of the tea's catechins. You can drink your green tea freshly brewed for a warming hot drink, or chill it after brewing for a refreshing cold drink

Adapted from Walk Off Weight by Michele Stanten (Rodale, 2010).

Provided by Prevention