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:

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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