Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The final day of my challenge

I joined a challenge, 30 days ago: http://ultimateblogchallenge.com/
The challenge was to blog 31 times in 31 days in August. I joined it for many reasons:
  • To learn about blogging
  • To meet new people and expand my network
  • To find out what this is all about
And so I did: 
  • I learned this is much more complex than just writing. I tried to write a variety over the last 31 days - product research, emotional eating issues, exercises, general fitness and health - but mostly on what I founded my company on - learning to listen to your instinct, your inside voice. 
  • I met many new people, outside my normal network. I learned how to tweet, even though my son says I am cheating on Facebook. I know just enough to be dangerous now. I am not an expert, but this horse-and-buggy-girl has come a long way in 31 days to understanding the power of blogging and networking.
  • I am still trying to figure out what this is all about. I found out that the most important things to me for my blog is to educate and encourage others. One client may have a question about a product and if I can do the research for that client, yet share it with all my clients [and potential clients], then it is a good service that I can provide. One client may have an issue that they are having a hard time dealing with and I can write about it, showing her that she is not alone, and help other people at the same time. 
It's over, so now what? 

Well, I'm not going to give it up. I am going to continue blogging. I probably won't blog every day or twice a day when I was trying to catch up. I don't want to overwhelm people with information, but I want to keep educating and encouraging others. I don't want to just write about myself either. I want to do what I set out to do:
  • Help others who are struggling to lose weight
  • Educate and expose the truth about weight loss scams and advertising
  • Encourage everyone to live healthy and fit lives
So, now, please tell me. If you have ready any of my blogs for the last 31 days, I need to know:
  • Has it helped you? 
  • Was it information overload? 
  • What would you like to see in my blog? 
I'm going to celebrate that I did it! I entered the challenge and did what I said I could do and learned a lot along the way. So now, I'm going to celebrate, it's my birthday as well, so that worked out well :) Please send me your comments and have a great, healthy day!

Sandi Porter
sandi@startwiththeinside.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinner at Little Caesar's

Ok, time to pick on Little Caesar's...just kidding, kind of. When I pick a product to evaluate, esp fast food, it is usually because I get asked about it or I see it in a sales flyer with a coupon, urging one of my healthy clients to purchase it for money savings or convenience' sake. My job is not to discourage you from ever eating at fast food restaurants. My job is to educate you and inform you and maybe open your eyes a little bit. It's not to offend someone or be negative in any way or even make you feel guilty. You choose your health and you make decisions about what you eat.

So, Little Caesar's. This week's sales flyer shows 3 products:
  • Crazy Bread and Crazy Sauce
  • Caesar Wings
  • Ultimate Supreme Pizza
Let's say you purchase these products for your family and for the sake of our research, you eat:
  • 2 crazy breads [look at the sizes of these, you would probably eat more but I'm being conservative]
  • 2 Caesar wings [again, these are small, you would probably eat more]
  • 2 pieces of pizza [ditto]
For the totals, we will just count calories and sodium. 

Crazy Bread:
Serving size: 1 breadstick, 100 calories, 3g fat, 15g carb, 3g protein, 150mg sodium
TOTAL = 200 calories, 300mg sodium
Crazy Sauce:
Serving size: 1 container, 45 calories, 5g fat, 10g carb, 2g protein, 260mg sodium
TOTAL = 45 calories, 260mg sodium

Caesar Wings: 
Serving size: 1 wing, 60 calories, 4g fat, 1g carb, 4g protein, 290mg sodium
TOTAL = 120 calories, 580mg sodium

Ultimate Supreme Pizza: 
Serving size: 1 slice, 310 calories, 14g fat, 31g carb, 15g protein, 640mg sodium
TOTAL = 620 calories, 1280mg sodium

GRAND TOTAL = 985 calories, 2420mg sodium

Okay, quite a total. What's the big killer? The sodium. Normal range is 1500-1800 for a WHOLE DAY. If you ate like this once or twice a week, you are looking at physical problems caused by sodium overload - bloating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high bodyfat%, obesity. And we haven't added any drinks yet.

Do you understand how our society is getting more and more obese by the day? We cannot continue to eat like this and just think it will get better one day. It won't without serious action on our own behalf. Do you HAVE to eat at Little Caesar's? Do you want to eat at Little Caesar's? Is it just easy? Is it just convenient?

Is it just easier to sweep it under the rug and forget about it?

Knowledge is power. Education is power. Esp when it comes to weight loss. It's your choice. What will you choose?

When does "I'm committed!" mean "I should be committed?"

"I'm committed!"
  • To my weight loss program. 
  • To my healthy eating. 
  • To my exercise and workouts. 
Yippee, you're on the way to changing your body, and your life. It's all peaches and roses now. Right. Except why are people treating you differently now?
  • They say you're crazy if you want to get up early to exercise. 
  • They say you've gone overboard if you are strict in your nutrition. 
  • They say you should be committed when you want to lose the last 10 lbs., even if you've already lost 50 lbs. 
"I should be committed?"

Get ready, your seat belt on and let's go. Welcome to the life of the fit and healthy. There is a new double standard and you better get used to it. Not only do you have to be strong to set your goals for weight loss, follow-through with those goals, but you have to become emotionally tough. Tough enough to put up your "blinders" when you get comments from those around you, even well-meaning or close friends. You don't know why they say it. It doesn't matter.

Hold your hands up in front of you, thumbs facing you. Place your thumbs right under your ears and hold your hands in front of your face. "Blinders".
  • You focus on you. You let them focus on whatever.
  • You stay strong. You let them falter, if that is going to happen. 
  • You be the example. You can't force them to accept your new life. 
Having blinders on doesn't mean that you don't care. It doesn't mean that you are cold-hearted either. It just means that you are COMMITTED. You are going to be tough when it comes to saying "no" to bad food. You are going to workout when you don't feel like it. You are going to change your body even when it gets tough. This is all good. Commitment is good. Don't worry about those who say you are taking it all too seriously. They may have issues you don't know anything about. And even if you do know about those issues, keep it to yourself.

It has become commonplace for unhealthy people to comment or criticize healthy people for the "choices" they make.

Can you imagine if you, as a healthy person, decided to comment on every unhealthy choice someone else makes? Don't. Don't even be tempted. You cannot bully someone into being healthy, just like someone else cannot bully you into faltering. Sometimes, people are afraid of change and the change they see in you. That is their issue, not yours. So, don't let it be yours. Keep your blinders on and stay strong. And committed.

When your body hurts

Pain is inevitable when you start working out to lose weight. At some point, you will be uncomfortable as your body adjusts to new exercise. But what about when you are in pain - all the time? What do you do when your body hurts?

Physical ailments are hard. Not only on your body, but emotionally. 
  • You may start a new workout program and get injured your first week. Or your second. Then you can't workout. 
  • You may want to start a new workout program, but have old injuries that either inhibit what you want to do or start hurting again. 
  • You may think about starting a new workout program, but your body hurts now. 
So what do you do? 
What can you do?

If your physical ailment is constant or a recent injury, have it checked out by your doctor. If you have done that and everything is okay, but you still hurt, consider these options:
  1. The food you are eating or not eating causing nutrient imbalances
  2. Your hormones are shot and need help
  3. You may have emotional issues tied to your physical issues
#1 and #2 - okay, we can deal with these.
#1 - Eat clean. Find out how to eat clean. Eliminate those foods that cause inflammation - sugar, alcohol. Find out your trigger foods and find healthy substitutions for those foods.
#2 - Get it checked out. If your doctor takes blood tests for thyroid and they come back negative, get another opinion. Seriously ladies. Go somewhere that specializes in hormones and tests your thyroid and cortisol levels by saliva testing. This takes time and effort, but go on your instinct if your doctor says there is no problem but you FEEL like there is. Get balanced in your hormones!

But now #3...this is a little harder. Emotional issues? How can they affect your physical body?

In every way you can imagine.

Please remember that I am not a doctor, this is my personal opinion from a Fitness Professional who has helped hundreds of clients and who has been through this myself...emotional issues can greatly affect your body. From the overuse injury of not listening to your instinct and inside voice, to a mystery injury that just shows up one day.
  • Your body responds to your emotional well-being. If you are not happy or going through a hard time, your body will respond. Kind of like a wake-up call "Hey, pay attention to me" that you ignore and keep thinking it will get better. 
  • Your body listens to your emotional well-being. You may say everything is okay, but hold your emotions and feelings inside, not wanting to put them on display for everyone to see or even validate them. 
  • Your body reacts to your emotional well-being. If you are hurting emotionally, your body wants some of that action. It wants to protect you from getting hurt again. So, if you are not listening to an emotional hurt and taking the time to fix it, a physical injury will stop you. 
Take care of your body!

Do things that will help your body heal:
  • Eat clean
  • Take an epsom salt bath twice a week
  • Schedule a massage once a month [not fru-fru massage, a deep tissue massage]
  • Find a way to handle your stress
  • Be honest with yourself and get everything out on the table - whether this is through seeing a counselor [which I highly recommend] or talking with a close friend
When your body hurts, many times, it is a reaction to an emotional hurt that hasn't healed, so heal it. Do what you have to do to heal your mind. I am always here to help you...sandi@startwiththeinside.com

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why is it always something?

Insert big sigh. Why is it whenever you want to make a change or lose weight or start a new program - that something always happens? Something changes your plans, messes with your schedule, changes your life. It doesn't go as planned. It sucks. Why is it always something?

Life is hard. Trying to lose weight and do life at the same time is hard. Because life doesn't stop. Esp. when you are trying to lose weight. Guess what? It doesn't stop when you're fit and healthy either. So many times, an overweight person will get frustrated with the whole thing of trying to lose weight.
  • It's too hard
  • It's too time-consuming
  • It's too slow
  • It takes too much time
And then something happens. 
  • Someone dies
  • Someone gets sick
  • Work schedule changes
  • A relationship changes
  • Someone puts a dessert in front of you
Doesn't matter what it is. Something happens in your life that disrupts your routine and before you know it, you stop doing what you know you should. You stop working out or you stop eating clean. You take a day off, then another. Start sitting on the couch more, start blaming the metabolism, start talking about how it just doesn't work for you, you're just one of those people that can't lose weight, and on and on.

As a fitness professional and someone who has been through this myself, I can honestly tell you this:
  • If you are planning on starting a new routine or 
  • If you are planning to lose weight or
  • If you are wanting to change your life...
Then

Something will happen to get you off-track
  • Definitely
  • Untimely
  • Unfortunately
Every single time

I haven't taken one person through a weight loss program without something happening that distracts them. Guess what? This is life. Listen closely. There's never going to be a perfect time to change your life and your body. Never. Life is going to happen. Every single time.

You have to get emotionally tough. You have to expect the changes and STILL workout. You have to go through hard times and STILL eat right. You have to be heartbroken and financially broke and STILL stick to your goals.

Can you do it?

Absolutely.

Now, will you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How special is Special K?

If you participated in one of my "Healthy Shopping 101" classes this summer, you'd know that the one aisle in the grocery store that just makes me crazy is the cereal aisle. Ugh. Or when I ask a client what they had for breakfast and they say "cereal" and then say "But it's okay, it was Special K". Oh. Special K. That makes it okay then...not.

Kellogg's is great at marketing the Special K brand. Their commercials are high-quality, their ads are classy. They have one for their new crackers that actually shows the serving size - 17 crackers for 90 calories - spread out on a page. Well, it's actually 24 crackers for a serving size, but hey, they were close.
Great marketing and advertising doesn't mean it's healthy for you. 

And it's not all about the calories. And that's usually the first thing that people look for when and if they look at the food label. You can do this on-line, for any product. Just plug it into google.com, find the manufacturer's website, find product and hit "Nutritional Information".

My biggest problem with cereal and crackers is the ingredients. They are not natural. You know, fruits and veggies, they've been around for a while, you can even find them in the Bible. I don't think there's anything in the Bible about cereal. I could be wrong. But seriously, too many people rely on it from childhood habits [cereal was big in the 70's and 80's as breakfast food] or the sweetness of it. Try to find one under 10g sugar - it's hard.
  • The best alternative to cereal is oatmeal. Real oatmeal, not the boxed, processed kind. 
  • The best alternative to crackers is fruits and veggies. Real food, not processed. 
Does this mean you have to give up your favorite cereal and crackers. No, not necessarily. 

However -- if you are trying to lose weight and you get stuck on a plateau - or you want to lose weight and can't seem to - then you may have to moderate or eliminate cereal and crackers for a temporary time. Would that be bad? Most of the daily foods we eat are habit-based. If you gave up cereal and crackers for a short period of time and ate oatmeal and fruits and veggies instead, would it hurt you? The worst part of it would be dealing with the cravings and just the habit of eating something crunchy like that.

Those can be overcome.
  • Read food labels. 
  • Educate yourself on what you are putting into your body.
  • Don't be swayed by good marketing and advertising. 
Then you will see yourself coming off the plateau's, you will see yourself starting to lose weight. And that is more special than any product.

What to do about sagging skin aka Saggy Boobs, Part Deux

Ladies, I know this is a huge issue when you are losing weight, trying to lose weight or thinking about losing weight. I know this because I get questions on it constantly and out of all the blogs I've written over the last year, the most google-searched blog was the one entitled "Saggy Boobs". Now, I'd like to think this is from other ladies searching for an answer to weightloss obstacles and not a dirty old man googling something else...which brings me to my first point.

If you are a man, please consider being a gentleman right now and leaving this blog. I know, you're "interested" in losing weight, blah, blah, blah. I need to speak to the ladies right now, talk about personal stuff, and I don't need the pressure of thinking you guys will be reading this. Thanks so much.

Ladies, again, I will say this...if you are going to lose weight, esp. fat weight, you are going to lose weight in your breasts. See the previous blog for more detailed information. In this blog, I want to talk more about the emotional chaos that might happen to you when you lose a lot of weight.

Marketing and advertising in the weight-loss arena has done us wrong. Really and truly. We have come to see, and sometimes believe, things that just aren't real:
  • Unrealistic pills and potions designed to draw us in
  • Unrealistic photoshopping of models in magazines
  • Unrealistic expectations of what a body is supposed to look like
Seriously, what's real anymore? 

The pills are fake.
The pictures are fake.

We have become a society that doesn't like their own bodies, esp. women.

Ladies, we have to change this. We need to be proud of our bodies. And when I say proud I don't mean wearing skimpy clothing or flaunting them, I mean understanding that our words mean something when we talk about our bodies, understanding that our bodies are beautiful, understanding that they take us through our lives.

So, back to the boobs. Guys, I swear if you are still here, did I mention I am a brown belt in tae kwon do - GO! Now! Girls, when you lose weight, you will lose in your breasts. When you lose a lot of weight, you will lose in your breasts. But you have to keep going on, keep going towards your ultimate goal - whether that is a clothing size, weight, measurement, or bodyfat percentage. Then when you meet that goal, you need to maintain your new body and just wait it out.

Yes, wait it out. And this is the hard part. I told you in Part one how devastated I was when I reached my ideal weight how badly I looked in that area. It's terrible! Just wait it out. Keep eating healthy. Keep working out. Keep enjoying your new clothing size. Keep positive. Your body is a wonderment. Your body is amazing. So treat it as such. Now, I did pay a little bit more attention to that area - applying lotion every day. But I didn't do extra chest exercises to help that area. I just waited. And slowly, it got better and better, but it took a good year for that skin to adjust. And I was in my mid-30's. It will get better. You just have to wait it out. You have to maintain your weight and wait it out. Trust me, if you do this, you will realize that the body can adjust, the body can heal, the body is beautiful.

Now there are always going to be cases where [I hate to even say this] surgery may be an option. But I really don't see this unless we are talking about extreme obesity, more than 200 lbs. You see this on folks on The Biggest Loser where they lose extreme amounts of fat and are left with a lot of sagging skin. But remember, they do this in a short period of time. They don't have time to maintain their weight because it's all about the final show. For the average woman who is 20-100 lbs. overweight, surgery should not even be considered.


Part of losing weight is being patient with your body. Learn how to do this. Learn how to respect your body. Don't talk negatively about it - or to it. I encourage you to continue losing weight to meet your goals, even if your skin starts sagging. You can do it and yes, it will be alright.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are desserts killing us?

I know what you're thinking. Oh no, she's going after our desserts now. Is nothing sacred? You know I've got to. I made a promise to educate and inform and help people live a healthy lifestyle. Plus - I'm going to tell you a little bit what the others won't tell you.

So, are desserts killing us? 

Uh. 
Yes. 
There I said it. What did you expect? If you come here, expect honesty and no sugar-coating [I know, I had to use it].


So, what's the big problem with desserts? Where to start...
  • Excess sugar - a typical piece of chocolate cake has 15g of sugar, cupcake has 16g, ice cream has 23g. Sugar overload. What does sugar do to your body? It slows it down. Slows down your ability to burn fat, slows down your hormones [ladies], slows down your metabolism. It's the worst thing in the world for you if you want to lose weight. 
  • High in calories - a typical piece of cake would be 400-600 calories. Same with cupcake and ice cream. Seriously, my ice cream can't be that much, you say. Really? Read the food label. What's the serving size? Measure that out. Now measure out how much you normally put in that big ol bowl. Come on, do it. If you have three 1/2 cup servings, then you have to multiply the calories X 3. 
  • No nutritional value - typical ingredients include: sugar, sugar and more sugar. White flour. Nothing natural, nothing that you can pronounce. But what about chocolate - that's good for you, right? Oh, don't even get me started with the marketing-and-advertising-bs-detrimental-to-your-health-dark-chocolate-skam that we have going on. 
Okay, so it's not a healthy food group for you. Let's put those issues aside for now and address what I think is even bigger than those reasons above:

It's addicting and it's an emotional battle to fight your body. 
  • Cravings
  • Addictions

How long have we been told - ladies - that chocolate will solve your PMS? At least help it? Does it really? Could it possibly be that our hormones and metabolism are so damaged by sugar and we are so addicted to it that we will just throw up our hands and eat it. It can't hurt, right?

Wrong. 


It can hurt. And it does. 

People tell me all the time "I need to cut back on desserts" or "I know this is so bad for me" or "I know I should not eat this". This is followed by a trip to the dessert buffet where they load up on the sugar special of the day and bring it back to eat.

We need to start listening to our inside voices. Especially regarding sugar. If you KNOW that it's bad for you, then STOP eating it. If you KNOW it's a problem and you can't lose weight, then STOP eating it. Buck up, put your blinders on, and move on. Not eating one little dessert is NOT going to kill you.

But eating them all the time will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Too much junk in the trunk?

Is it just me or have our standards for booty size shrunk in the past few years? Seriously. They say the average clothing size for women is 14 and for men is 44. Two points of contention with me:

• Are you seeing size 14 in marketing and advertising ads?
• Are you seeing size 14 in the general public?
First question, no, unless you order a plus-size catalog. The majority of models are way less than size 14, way less. What does this do to a woman who doesn't fit that category or size? Does it give her unrealistic expectations?

Second question, no, mostly bigger. Seriously. I see a lot of women trying to fit into size 14 clothes that have no business doing so. There's so much more junk in the trunk now!


Why?

And before you write me off as a mean trainer, know that hey, I've been there. I used to be very overweight and have plenty of junk in my trunk. When I made a decision back in 2001 to make a change, I had my husband take photos of me, from - front, back and side. When I saw the photo from back, I flipped out. I was furious with him. I know, he had no chance...but I was furious. I was furious at how big I looked and I was furious with him for letting me walk around like that. It was bad. I still have those photos somewhere, but you'd have to pay me $$ before I would post them.

I had a huge problem with my butt. My standard outfit was jeans [with elastic waist], long shirt and then tied jacket or sweater around waist. Sound familiar anyone?
  • Too much junk in the trunk means you are overweight, dangerously so. 
  • Too much junk in the trunk means you're bodyfat percentage is too high. 
Does this mean you are a bad person?

No, absolutely not.

It's about your health.
It's about taking charge of your body and taking care of it.
It's about being healthy, saying no when you have to [nutrition] and yes when you need to [workouts].

It's about being free and healthy and fit, not skinny, fit. It's about loving your body and being proud of your body. No more junk in the trunk!

Are Lean Cuisine Products really lean?

I love when new products come out. Whenever I see a new product advertised, I look it up on google.com, which was invented for people like me. Brings it right up - anything I want to know about it. So let's look at one of Lean Cuisine's new products "Market Creations".

Love the name. Sounds like it is fresh, right? From the market anyway. I like the packaging better. It doesn't come in a box to heat up. Has "steams fresh" on front of package. But as you know if you follow my blogs or Facebook fanpage, marketing and advertising can be deceiving, so let's look a little further. Let's visit leancuisine.com and find out more:

280 calories
7g fat
20g protein
33g carb
680mg sodium

Not too bad, calories are okay, protein looks good, sodium is really high. Just for grins, I looked at some of their older products to see the difference, because you'd think that anything labeled "Market Creations" would be a healthier version, right? So I looked up Chicken Fettucini, a similar product:

330 calories
6g fat
26g protein
42g carb
770mg sodium

A little bit of difference. The "Market Creations" is lower in calories and just a tad in sodium. So in reality, it is healthier than the older stuff. But what gets me is the list of ingredients. Remember - you cannot just look at the numbers. You need to look at the whole picture and that includes ingredients. When I hear "chicken alfredo", I expect to see these items in the list of ingredients - pasta, chicken, maybe some veggies, maybe cream? So here's the list of ingredients as listed on the package for Chicken Alfredo:

Ingredients:

Skim Milk, Blanched Enriched Pasta (Water, Enriched Semolina (Semolina, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)), Herb Glazed Chicken White Meat (Cooked Chicken White Meat, Water, Seasoning (Salt, Maltodextrin, Garlic, Sugar, Spices, Dextrose, Yeast Extract, Carrageenan, Orange Peel, Onion, Soybean Oil, Chicken Fat, Paprika, Chicken Broth, Dehydrated Celery, Natural Flavor), Isolated Soy Protein, Modified Corn Starch, Caramel Coloring, Maltodextrin, Sodium Phosphate, Canola Oil), Broccoli, Carrots, Yellow Carrots, Water, 2% Or Less Of Modified Cornstarch, Cheese Flavor (Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Salt, Disodium Phosphate, Natural Flavors), Romano Cheese ((Made From Cow's Milk), Cultured Milk, Enzymes, Salt), Soybean Oil, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Butterfat, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Asiago Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Yeast Extract, Spices, Enzyme Modified Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Milk, Water, Salt, Enzymes), Flavor (Maltodextrin, Flavoring And Modified Food Starch), Enzyme Modified Cheese (Cultured Milk, Water, Salt, Enzymes), Whey Protein Concentrate, Mono-&Diglycerides, Whey, Carrageenan, Seasoning (Wheat Starch, Extracts Of Annatto And Turmeric Color, Natural Flavor), Lactic Acid, Calcium Lactate, Seasoning (Maltodextrin, Flavor, Enzyme Modified Butterfat).
Contains: MILK, SOY, WHEAT INGREDIENTS. 


Well crap, doesn't that seem like a lot of ingredients for Chicken Alfredo? See enriched several times, dextrose [anything that ends in -ose is sugar], sodium several times, maltodextrin several times, natural color [if it's natural, why is it colored? duh].

So would I recommend this product? No, probably not.
Here's an easy alternative for you to make at home:

Peso Pasta with Spinach

Whole wheat pasta
Pesto
Baby Spinach
Grilled chicken breasts

Boil pasta, drain and return to pan. Scoop in several tablespoons pesto with olive oil, then stir in handfuls of baby spinach. Stir until well blended, adding more pesto if needed. The spinach will wilt as you stir. Serve warm and top with grilled chicken.

The key to good lunches if you have to take your lunch - leftovers! Cook a pot and then put it in containers that you can take to work. There are options to taking a frozen meal to work for your lunch, you just have to plan ahead a little bit. But the health benefits will be well worth it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's so wrong with weight loss products?

Lose 10 lbs. in 2 weeks!
Drop 4 dress sizes instantly!

Wow! Just by taking a little product. A pill. A shake. A pill and a shake!

Fasting!
Starving!
Eliminating entire food groups!

Does any of this sound reasonable to you? Seriously? Read it back slowly and really think about it - does any of this sound reasonable to you? Does it sound like common sense? Do you think it will really work? Well, millions do, because they're buying the products. They're buying into the pills and shakes and fasting programs. Spending thousands and thousands of dollars chasing the elusive - what? What exactly are they chasing?

Perfect health? 
Perfect body? 
Perfect life? 

Life is not perfect. So, what's so wrong with taking a weight loss product? As a fitness professional, here's my take. And let me just say - I know I am in the MINORITY when I say this - because I have seen all the sellout trainers, esp. the celebrity ones who endorse such products.

When you take a weight loss product, no matter what it is, you are telling your body "You can't do it, you need help"

There, I said it.

"You can't do it, body, you need help. Here, take this pill and let it help"

A little extreme? Really? What exactly are you telling your body? You know I am big on what you say to your body because I believe your body will respond. So, here's my BIG problem with taking a weight loss product:

What does your body do when you stop taking it? 

99% of the time, you regain the weight. Because, seriously, if these products "worked" - then wouldn't we all be fit and healthy? If they WORKED?

Here's my other BIG problem with taking a weight loss product:

Your body remembers that it worked, even if it is for a short, temporary time. 

I've seen this a lot with people and diets such as the Atkins Diet. They do it for a short period of time, then go back to normal because it is unsustainable for their lifestyle. But they "remember" when they lost the weight. They "remember" that for a short time, it was successful. So in their mind, whenever they want to lose weight, they "remember" parts of the diet - cutting out carbs mainly - and resort to doing it again, until they remember why they quit that crazy diet in the first place.

They are telling themselves that their body cannot lose weight without that diet.

I believe the opposite.
  • I believe you CAN lose the weight. 
  • I believe you CAN do it without pills, or shakes, or instant programs. 
  • I believe you CAN change your body and your life. 
I believe it because I've done it. I've taken the pills, I've taken the shakes, I've tried all the programs. They don't work. 

I work.
I listen to my body.
I listen to my inside voice.
I do what's right for my body.
I put up my blinders to today's marketing and advertising and I do what's right.
I don't look for the quick fix, I look for permanent change.
I feed my body good foods because I want to.
I workout because I want to.
And I've never been healthier.

And you can too. So, will you? 

Could the answer to weight loss be in our feet?

Our feet are so important. They take us where we want to go. Our feet take us walking, even running. We stand on them for hours or walking to and fro. So, how can our feet help us in weight loss?

Unfortunately, we don't really think about our feet until we have a problem with them. And at some point, we all have some kind of problem with them. From stubbing toes to toenail problems to heel issues to plantar facsciitis, which is a common injury when you start working out. We notice the hurts from new shoes, from heels that are too high, or from shoes that are worn out. It's not fun when you're feet hurt.

Reflexology can be a way to help with not only your feet, but with all areas of your body. Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hand with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands with a premise that such work affects a physical change to the body.
 
You may have even see a Reflexology chart like the one here. Each part of the foot corresponds to a part of the body. For example, the head area is at the top of the foot and toe area. The pelvis and sciatic nerve are at the bottom of the foot. If you ever have a chance to visit a Reflexologist, I would highly recommend it. Even if you don't think it would work, just try it. Or you can ask your massage therapist about it.

How can it help in weight loss? 

The main benefits of reflexology are relaxation, pain reduction and rejuvenation. 
  • Relaxation - Helping the entire body relax by spending time rubbing your feet. 
  • Pain reduction - If you have a problem area in your body, focus on that area while rubbing your feet. 
  • Rejuvenation - Spending time on your body. 
Most of us do not spend enough time on our body. Yes, we workout. Yes, we try to eat right. Yes, we feed our bodies and yes, we may even put our feet up on the coffee table as we sit on the couch at night. But what about really focusing on our feet? Rubbing them nightly? Paying attention to their needs? Releasing stress?

Now, I may have lost some of you by now, but I encourage you to stay with me. This is one of my Health Tips for my book coming out soon. I consider it very important to my physical health, as well as emotional health, to rub my feet nightly. It doesn't take long. About 5 minutes. I keep a good aromatherapy lotion at my bedside table, I love Bath & Body Works, and each night before I go to sleep, I rub my feet. Rub your toes, your heels and your feet all over. Reflexology is a science of touch and rubbing your feet is a very good way to relieve stress. Do this nightly and you will see results. You will sleep better, you learn how to let go of stress and your feet will feel great!


 

Friday, August 20, 2010

My friends at the park

I love running at my park! It's such a peaceful, soothing place for me as a get my training hours in on the track. It's hard, don't get me wrong, and it's so hot! But you know what, we live in Atlanta and it's hot. Can't wait for the weather to start training right. So, I make my way to the park.

First thing I love, lights around the track, for those sleepless early mornings when I can run in the dark and feel safe. I am always the first one there. And it's quiet. My first friends are already there.

Two tiny, energetic birds who sit on top of the fence around the track. They tweet me hello and it is hilarious to watch them. They take turns following me, weaving in and out of the fence, but they ONLY do it on one side of the track. They get so far and then they go back and wait for me to come round again. I don't know why they do this, but I love it. They cheep the whole time, encouraging me, and it's so great because I know when I get to that side, my friends are waiting to cheer me on. They are so little. I call them Fric and Frac.

Then there's Bambi. Yes, that's a deer. I know, I have no other original name than Bambi. But I love her! She stays at the edge of the trees, chewing on leaves and grass, but she lifts her head up each time I run by. We watch each other and I always tip my hat to her. I know, it's silly. I love Bambi! It's so peaceful to watch animals in nature.

One by one, people start coming to the park. There are the regulars and the newbies. One by one, they start walking or running on the track. There's the overweight guy who can hardly walk, but he does. There's the athletic women with the great quads, a true runner, who does sprints down the lengths. There's the couple who talk to each other. There's the girl who talks on her cell the entire time. There's the firefighter who comes in a sweatsuit - long sleeves and long pants - and a mask over his face. There's the overweight lady walking fast.

These are my morning friends. We smile and wave at each other as we pass. I am always passing them because while everyone goes counter-clockwise around the track, I run clockwise. I know, it's wierd. It has to do with my hip and when I run counter-clockwise, it hurts my right hip. So I run the wrong way on the track. Wow, that pretty much sums up my life right there, running the wrong way on the track. Anyway, my favorite friend is a lady who carries a cane. She comes with her little dog, who diligently stays by her side as she stumbles through her laps. When she is done, she opens the back door of her car, sits down while keeping the door open, and she holds her dog in her lap and just rubs his belly. For about 30 minutes. It's so funny. He is all relaxed and limp in her arms, just enjoying life. No wonder he stays at her side so enthusiastically while she walks!

I put in my time and wait for the best part, the sunrise coming over the trees. It's beautiful. And I'm done. I stretch out and wave goodbye to whoever is still around. And I go about my day. Knowing I'll be back to see my friends at the park...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

But it's low in calories...

Oftentimes, I am asked about different products and if they are healthy or not. Would I feed them to my kids? And sometimes, someone will bring a product to me and say "But look, it's low in calories".

It's NOT all about the calories, friends.

Case in point, Kellogg's Rice Krispie treats, packaged in snack-size packages.

Serving size is 1 bar

[a small bar at that, I can see my teen eating several]


90 calories
2.5g fat
17g carbohydrate
less than 1g protein
105mg sodium

Okay, looks fairly good so far, not the best, but not overboard in any area, including calories or sodium. But let's take it a step farther and look at the ingredients. Yes, the actual ingredients:

TOASTED RICE CEREAL (RICE, SUGAR, SALT, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MALT FLAVORING, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), MARSHMALLOW (CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, GELATIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), FRUCTOSE, MARGARINE (VEGETABLE OIL [SOYBEAN, PALM, AND PALM KERNEL OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS], WATER, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL BUTTER FLAVOR [CONTAINS MILK], DATEM, ACETYLATED MONOGLYCERIDES, BHT [PRESERVATIVE], VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D), CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF DEXTROSE, GLYCERIN, SALT, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), SOY LECITHIN.

Okay, I've highlighted some red flags for you. Just the most blatant ones. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar. Anything that ends in -ose [rhymes with "gross"] is a sugar substitute. It is processed. It is not natural. These are not healthy ingredients.

While at first glance, this may appear to be an all-right snack for your child, you cannot just look at calories anymore. You must look at the entire label, including the ingredients of foods. It's up to you as a parent to do so. Marketing and advertising will tell you differently. They tell you it is fun and good and satisfying. And it may well be. But you know better.

How do you "refuel after school"?

Kids get hungry. Kids get home from school. Kids get real hungry.

They don't want to wait until dinner to eat and you haven't even started dinner yet. In comes Tyson's new Any'tizers Chicken Fries.
  • It's made by Tyson, a reputable company
  • It's chicken, must be good, right
  • It's quick - you can heat it up in minutes in the microwave
    It has a great slogan "Refuel after School"
Okay, so let's check it out...

Even the name sounds appealing to kids - chicken fries! Are they chicken nuggets? Or fries? Who knows...

Serving size 3 pieces, yes, that is 3 pieces, just how many do you think your child would eat? Probably more than 3...

230 calories
13g fat
14g carbohydrate
14g protein
560mg sodium

Okay, so let's say your child has 6 "fries":
460 calories
1120mg sodium

Let's go off the deep end and say your child has 9 "fries":
690 calories
1680mg sodium

Breathe [that's for me]. How easy do you think it would be for a child to eat 9 "fries"? Pretty easy, huh? Mine would, esp. a growing 13 year old boy. This is NOT a healthy product for an after-school snack.
  • Yes, it is easy. 
  • Yes, it appears to be healthy. 
  • No, it is not.
A better snack would be pita and hummus, veggies and dip, a granola bar or an apple. Less fun? Yes probably. But think about your child's health. It may not affect them right now, you might even say they don't have a weight problem, but if they continue to eat foods like this, they eventually will. But it's not all about the weight. Look at the high sodium content. Average for a child daily is 1500mg. For a day. Eating high sodium products on a consistent basis will eventually cause physical problems for your child. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and weight issues.

You can refuel your child after school. Just be smart and do it the right way - with healthy and natural foods!

Using your mind to lose weight

Your mind is a powerful thing. It can control whether you are having a good day or not. It can keep you busy or keep you bored. It can control your body to some degree. But, can it help you lose weight?

Ever heard the phrase "get your head into it"? What's that mean? Get your mind into it. Get your mind in the game and the rest will follow. So, why is that so hard when it comes to weight loss?

When you are trying to lose weight, you are most likely going to have to change something in your life. You may have to start working out when you are not used to it. You may have to start eating right when you haven't been. You may have to start changing your habits and changing your routine in order to make changes in your physical body. But the change has to start in your mind first.
"Mindfulness is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to weight. In studies on what causes obesity, researchers have found that overweight people tend to underestimate how much they eat while overestimating their activity...Once you learn mindfulness, you'll be better able to figure out what makes your body and mind healthy" - Tara Stiles, Women's Health Magazine
You think you are doing good. But are you really? If you think you are doing good, but you are not losing weight, then your mind may be playing tricks on you.

True health comes when you stop playing games with yourself and learn how to be honest with yourself. 

I love how one of my favorite writer Lisa McLeod puts it:
"The human mind is pretty impressive. However, one of the major design flaws is that we can't tell the difference between what's actually happening and our perception of it."

She also says:
"Your thoughts are like the tires on a bicycle, they keep drifting back to that well-worn groove in the road. Once they find the familiar track, they want to stay there, because the pedaling is easy and it doesn't require much work"
This is so true.
We all get into habits.
We all want to take the easy way out.

And when, it comes to weight loss, we can't. 


We can't continue to let our bodies down just because it's easier. 

I encourage my clients to keep a journal, not to record workouts or nutrition, but to record their everyday thoughts and feelings about their weight loss. What do you see and hear everyday? How can you combat it? What are your excuses for not losing weight? All of these questions can be answered by your mind - if you take the time and you truly be honest with yourself.

Your mind CAN help you lose weight, so are you ready?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A muffin top is not from overeating muffins!

Okay, you know by now I am an old-fashioned girl. There is one fashion statement that I detest - and it's the tight tops that creep up - exposing the belly area. And not only exposing the belly - but the excess belly fat - which no one seems to mind showing off these days.

What's up with that? 

First of all, when I had a tire around my middle, I did everything I could to hide it! Really! This included:
  • Wearing maternity pants with the little pouch in front
  • Wearing long shirts to cover my opened-button jeans
  • Tying a jacket around my waist to cover waist and butt area
Ever do any of those? Are you doing any of them now? Please, don't tell me you've succumbed to the dreaded "muffin top" styles of today...

The first thing I wanted to wear when I lost the weight was a belt. I told myself that I would NEVER again wear a long shirt to cover my belly. I would wear a belt and actually be able to use it. But even now, after 9 years of being fit and healthy, I haven't succumbed to the newer fashions of showing my belly. Some things never change.

So, how did the "muffin top" happen? 


From eating too many muffins???

Well, that could be one problem. I love muffins too! Belly fat - in women or men - is dangerous. It's dangerous to your physical health - your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, your overall health. However, it's also dangerous to your emotional health. Seriously? Uh, yes. A muffin top, or a tire around the middle, is not normal. It is a sign to you, or it should be, that something is wrong. Our bodies are not meant to have a tire of fat around our middle. It is meant to be flat and lean.

A "muffin top" is excess body fat. It is considered dangerous for women to measure more than 35 inches in waist, men to measure more than 40 inches. A "muffin top" affects more than just your measurements. It affects your weight, your clothing size and most importantly, your body fat%. This all must be taken into consideration when looking at the big picture.

So, how do you lower your body fat%? 

Three simple ways:
  • A good strength training program
  • An effective cardio program
  • A healthy nutrition program
All of these done at the same time. I highly recommend working with a trainer/coach to do this. Lowering your body fat% will bring your body into a healthy range. It will bring your weight down. It will help you fit into your clothes. And it will get rid of the "muffin top". So, what are you waiting for?

What about the sugar in fruit?

A common misconception about food when you are trying to lose weight is the sugar in fruit. When I do a nutritional analysis for a client and see no to little fruit, I always ask why. The response: "I thought fruit was bad for you - too much sugar".

So, is fruit bad for you? Is there too much sugar in it?

I love fruit. I don't think fruit is bad for you. But, I hold it to the same standard as all the food I consume - moderation! You can eat too much of a healthy food. Really, you can. Fruit included. I love fruit because it is natural. It is good. It is fresh. And as the seasons change, the fruits change. I think all of this is good.

Now there are some other options. Let's look at some of them.

An advertisement caught my eye - Del Monte's Fruit Naturals - with the tagline "It's healthy snacking made simple". Okay, healthy snacking is good. Simple is good.

1/2 cup serving size
70 calories
Okay, not too bad so far...
16g sugar

Would this product be better or the same as real fruit? This is an interesting website - Sugar Stacks - that gives you a visual of the amount of sugar in natural fruits.
Okay, for our little peach here, it is 12g sugar for 1 cup serving. So, if there is that much sugar in it, would the "Fruit Naturals" be a better choice?

Not necessarily.

The "Fruit Naturals" is a packaged product. Imagine sitting down and eating a serving of Fruit Naturals peach and then eating a natural peach. Look at the colors. Smell it. Taste it. Yes, the packaged product is going to taste sweeter, because of what they have added to make it so. But what you will taste from the real peach is real flavor. It's not processed. It's grown. It's natural.
  • Yes, there is sugar in real fruit. 
  • Yes, there is sugar in processed fruit. 
But, if I had to choose - I would choose real fruit - every day!
  • You can eat more of it. 1/2 cup serving of packaged fruit vs. 1 cup real fruit. 
  • It's healthier, fresher. 
  • It's good for you, natural. 
So, going back to my previous comment - moderation! How much is too much? The USDA recommends 1-1/2 to 2 cups daily of fruit. That's not a whole lot, considering our little peach is 1 cup. So, moderation is key, as with any food you eat.

Don't be afraid of fruits. Take the time to eat a variety of fruits. Eat as natural as you can. Healthy snacking can be made simple - by eating natural fruit.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to learn how to shop healthy at a grocery store

When you are trying to lose weight, grocery shopping can be dangerous! So many new products, so many things to look for...
  • What should you look for in a product? 
  • How do you read a food label? 
  • How can you tell if a food is healthy for you or not? 
I will be answering these questions, and many more, at my next Healthy Shopping 101 class. This class is designed to educate you on your options. Don't be fooled by marketing and advertising, know what to look for, know what to stay away from. We will walk down every aisle in the store, so get ready!

You will learn...
• How to read food labels
• Which ingredients to look for in a food and which to avoid
• The difference between low-fat and fat-free products and which to choose
• Healthy replacement items for packaged foods
• How to feed yourself and your family and be cost-effective at the same time
• New products - should you choose them or not?

Are you ready to make a change?



For more details, visit my Facebook fanpage. Healthy shopping, friends!

Epsom salt bath - a natural healer

An old-fashioned remedy that still applies today - epsom salt bath! 

I absolutely love epsom salts! I call it my natural healer! It truly is. I started using it on the advice of my massage therapist when I was injured. Helps with sore muscles, but I found out that it helps out in many other ways.

Epsom salt is basically magnesium sulfate. You fill a tub with warm water and add 1-2 cups of epsom salt. You can buy it at grocery store or any drug store. Very inexpensive. You will see other items out there that have epsom salt in it, along with perfumed oils and such and if you like that, try it. But I like good, old-fashioned epsom salts, in the plain, inexpensive bag, and it works just as well.

When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, such as in a bath, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, is a natural emollient, exfoliator, and much more. It is not only helping your sore muscles, but it is helping your skin AND your emotional health. People, we need to relax! We need to relax our bodies, but we need to relax our minds as well.

Over the years, I have come to consider epsom salt baths as part of my training program. Seriously. 2X a week. Sometimes it is hard to make that time - it takes about 15-20 minutes, but my kids are old enough now to not be at the bathroom door saying "Mom, are you almost done?". It was a struggle at first to make the time to do it, but now I couldn't live without it. Try it today and let me know how it works for you!

Perfect Asparagus Recipe

I finally figured out how to make a perfect asparagus dish! Took me a while...

Whenever I cooked it, it would come out overcooked, too tender, too slimy. Ick. And I tried many, many ways.

Asparagus is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It is a natural detox for your body. Knowing this, I tried to incorporate it into my nutrition plan, at least once a week. So, here is a very simple recipe:

1/2 - 1 lb. fresh asparagus
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

Rinse asparagus and tear off rough ends of stalks, drain. Spray cooking pan with non-stick PAM, place over medium to high heat, add coconut oil and let it dissolve. Add asparagus and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to pan, lower heat and cover. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Put on plate and serve.

You can find coconut oil at your grocery store, most likely in the health foods section. It is expensive, but I use it sparingly and so far, it has lasted quite well. Normally, I would use olive oil to saute, but coconut oil is so light and really adds a nice flavor to the asparagus. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Okay, so is there anything I can eat?

I hear this phrase from clients as we are going over nutritional information. We start talking about food - what needs to be eliminated, what needs to be added - and the process can be overwhelming. Or when I spotlight a product on my Facebook fanpage and give you the "real" dish on a particular food. Or when I take a class through Publix in my Healthy Shopping 101 class and teach them how to read food labels. People get discouraged. What they thought was healthy is not. And so they ask me the inevitable question:

"Okay, so is there anything I can eat?"

And they ask this with despair, by the way. Nothing fun about being deprived of your favorite foods. But, is deprivation the only way? Do you have to give up everything you enjoy eating to lose weight?

Tough question. It's really a matter of focus and goals, education and inspiration, and just plain "how bad do you want it?".
  • If you educate yourself on the nutrition of foods, you start to realize what is in the packaged and fast foods. 
  • If you focus on your goals, including nutrition, you start to prioritize what is really important in your food life. 
  • If you really want to lose weight and have tried for years and haven't been able to, and if you have cried about your weight, then you might want it bad enough to make the hard changes. 
Because there will be hard changes. If you want to lose the weight.

You may have to give up ice cream. You may have to give up chocolate. I did. I had to give up "trigger" foods that just negatively affected my body. Was it worth it? Yes, absolutely. Was it hard? Yes, absolutely. But it's possible. And now, I can go back and have those foods - once in a while, not daily - and it's not a problem now.

The hard part is finding your food addictions, facing your food addictions which involves asking what is this food replacing that I am not getting in my life, and then dealing with it.

Yes, there is food you can eat. Healthy, nutritious, beautiful food. You don't have to deprive yourself. You need to educate yourself. And I'm here to help you...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celsius - a healthy sports drink?

Celsius joins the ranks of sports drinks designed to - wait for it - HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Wow! It will magically take away those nasty food cravings. It will shoot you up with caffeine and it will just burn the fat off your body. No more worries, when it comes to weight loss. Okay, so I'm being a little sarcastic. But really? Is this a good drink for you?

Well, it has a great advertising program.
And, it is endorsed by Mario Lopez, dimples and all [who doesn't love a guy with dimples? That's all I'm sayin'].

So, let's look at the food label - oh yeah - that thing that tells you what's in a product:
  • 10 calories, that's good
  • 0g sugar, that's good
  • It has vitamins, that's good
  • Low sodium, good
  • It even has green tea extract and ginger, gotta be good!
Now read the last line. Contains 200mg total caffeine per serving. Okay, is that a lot?

Well, if you compare it to:
  • Chocolate bar - 30mg
  • Tea - 30-70mg
  • Cold relief tablet - 30mg
  • Cup of coffee - 90-150mg 
  • Vivarin or other speed pill - 200mg
That's a lot of caffeine. Note the warning "Not recommended for..." at the bottom. I don't know about you, but I don't like warnings on the bottom of my food product. Kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. This is a caffeine-loaded product. If that's what you're looking for, fine. Caffeine is addicting and even though it may make you feel good for a short time, there's a crash coming. Not to mention what it does to your hormones [ladies AND guys].
  • Do you need it to lose weight? No.
  • Would it help you to lose weight? Maybe in extreme cases where you are NOT sensitive to caffeine and can handle the side affects. 
  • Is it worth it? No. 
You have everything you need inside of you to lose weight. It's not going to come from a beautifully-designed can of caffeine, no matter how cute the spokesperson is.

Wendy's new salads - are they healthy?

Have seen some pretty advertisements lately for the new salads at Wendy's - have you tried them yet?
  • Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
  • Baja Chicken Salad
  • Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad
  • BLT Cobb Salad
Yum, they sound healthy. So, are they? Let's find out...

First of all, before you partake a new item, esp. at a "fast food" restaurant, always check the company's website under "nutritional information". It only takes a minute and this will give you the information you need to make an informed choice.

Here's a brief summary:
  • Apple Pecan Chicken Salad - 580 calories, 27g fat, 50g carb, 38g protein, 1590mg sodium
  • Baja Chicken Salad - 740 calories, 47g fat, 49g carb, 35g protein, 1990 sodium
  • Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad - 740 calories, 49g fat, 41g carb, 37g protein, 1860 sodium
  • BLT Cobb Salad - 670 calories, 47g fat, 50g carb, 47g protein, 1920 sodium
Okay, red flags...
  1. High calorie item. If you are consuming 1500-2000 calories a day, this is 1/2 of your day. Too high in calories, esp. for a salad. 
  2. Check sodium. Normal intake for the day is 1500-2000mg. For the day. All four of these salads exceed 1500. That is not good. Too much sodium in your system causes bloating, water retention, and negatively affects your hormones and metabolism [your ability to burn fat], as well as other physical problems. 
  3. Don't be overwhelmed by the details. It's important to know the other breakdowns, carbs, proteins, fats, but if you don't know what to look for - just look for the obvious - calories and sodium. 

So, what's your option? If you HAVE to go to a Wendy's, what can you eat? Well, there are many other options. The key is to look at the nutritional information yourself and find something that you like. For example, the garden salad has 220 calories, 14g fat, 19g carb, 4g protein, 440mg sodium. The Grilled Chicken Wrap has 260 calories, 10g fat, 25g carb, 20g protein, 750mg sodium. Not the best on the sodium, but a better choice than the salads listed above.

Don't be intimidated by eating at a fast food restaurant! It is possible to eat healthy - but YOU have to control what you eat. Don't be fooled by pretty pictures and hefty marketing and advertising. You do the research and know what is going into your body. It's worth the time and effort, so will you?

Monday, August 9, 2010

What if the bad food is not the problem?

Okay, we all know about bad food. We are told about it all the time, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Okay, so you know what to stay away from:
  • Fried foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Creams and butters
  • Ice cream
  • Sugar foods
  • Salty foods
And if you're trying to lose weight, you sometimes wonder "What food can I eat at all?" and are left to ponder this while you shop for more fruits and veggies and other boring foods.

But, what if, in our quest for getting to the "perfect size", what if we find out that the bad food is not the problem?
  • What if we eliminate the bad food, but still can't lose weight? 
  • What if we workout like crazy, but the scale still doesn't budge?
Could it be possible that the bad food is not the problem? 

When you are used to eating "bad" foods, such as those listed above, it is hard when you start eliminating them from your daily life. You have to deal with cravings, you have to deal with a growling tummy and you have to deal with your emotional ties to food. Cravings, you can deal with. Growling tummy, you can control to some extent. But, the emotional ties, oh, that's when we get into trouble.

We find out that there is a REASON we are drawn to these foods, whether it is:
  • Habit
  • Lonliness
  • Lack of love
  • Comfort 
  • Unhappiness with life
And that's the hard part.

That's the reason most diets don't work. It's not all about cutting out the "bad" foods. It's about finding out WHY those foods are important to us and then dealing with those emotions. It truly does start with the inside, so will you?

Friday, August 6, 2010

When you're too tired to workout

You're too tired to workout. No energy.

So, now what? 

Do you just take a day off exercise? And what if a day becomes two days? And on and on? How do you know when to take a day off?

There are many reasons why you are too tired to workout and have no energy:
  • Exhaustion
  • Overtraining
  • Illness
  • Boredom
Now, for the first three, these are legitimate excuses for wanting to miss a day. When you are exhausted, your body is weak and asking for a break. Give it one. When you are overtraining, your body is stressing and asking for a break. Give it one. When you are sick with an illness, your body is recuperating and asking for a break. Give it one and let it recover.

However, if you are just bored and feeling lazy in your muscles, that is the time to get off the couch. I know, you're too tired to workout. I know, you have no energy. Do it anyway.
  • If you can't do your normal workout, do something. 
  • If you can't run, walk. 
  • If you can't lift weights, do light exercises. 
  • If you can't do cardio, stretch.
Do something to get your body moving. Talk to that inside voice in your head. If you know exercise is good for you, then say it. If you know you NEED to get up and exercise, then do it. Remember - whatever you tell your body - your mind is listening! Always remember that! 

    Tell your mind - you can succeed, tomorrow will be a better day, you are strong!
    And you will...

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Emotional eating

    Emotional eating can derail even the best workout plan.

    Why? 

    Because when you look at weight loss as a whole, 20% is the workouts, 80% is nutrition. Good nutrition. Emotional eating is very common due to stress, boredom, a way of stuffing feelings as you stuff your mouth. Sound familiar?

    This is a great article by my mentor Tosca Reno...

    http://www.eatcleandiet.com/newsletter/augrise10/

    Here's an important quote from it:
    "The sudden onset of hunger is triggered by an emotional event. All of us have been conditioned to eat food when we’re sad, bored, frustrated, anxious and even when we’re happy (think of all the times we choose to celebrate an event with cake and desserts). Emotional eating also tends to become a vicious cycle of self-sabotage. Once we allow ourselves to eat emotionally, we feel guilty, and that guilt feeds another bout of emotional eating that moves us even further away from our goals."
    Tosca also talks about recognizing your trigger foods and using a journal. I highly recommend using a health journal. In fact, every client of mine gets a health journal on their first visit. It's crucial, not to record food, but to record the emotions that go along with the food.

    You can conquer emotional eating. If I can do it, you can too...

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Healthy oatmeal bar recipe

    This is a recipe I modified a little bit. I make this on Sunday, cut it into bars and keep them in ziplocs or container in the refrigerator. Then, throughout the week, I eat one bar with a fruit for a snack. This is particularly good for those PMS weeks when chocolate cravings are strong. It replaces chocolate or a protein bar. The ingredients are healthy. Enjoy!

    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    1 tspn cinnamon
    1/2 tspn baking soda
    1/8 tspn sea salt
    1 scoop protein powder [I like to use chocolate]
    1 tbsn cocoa [optional - if you want a chocolate flavor]
    1/2 cup peanut butter [I use natural crunchy]
    1/2 cup organic sugar [you can leave this out if you want or use agave nectar]
    1/3 cup honey
    1 large egg
    2 large egg whites
    2 tbsn olive oil [I use extra-virgin]
    1 tspn vanilla extract
    2 cups oats [old-fashioned, like me]
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 baking pan with nonstick spray.

    Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, protein powder and cocoa in a medium bowl. In separate bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar and honey with electric mixer until blended. Blend egg and egg whites with a fork in a small bowl. Add to the peanut butter mixture, along with oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula. Mix in oats, dried cranberries and walnuts. Scrape batter into baking dish.

    Bake the bars until lightly browned and firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into bars. Serving size is 2 x 2 bar.

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Carnation Breakfast Essentials - Is this a good breakfast for you?

    Carnation Breakfast Essentials

    "Good Nutrition from the start"
    -2x protein of an egg to help build muscle
    -2x calcium of yogurt to help build strong bones
    -21 vitamins and minerals

    So, it's good, right? 

    If you are trying to lose weight, it is easy to be deceived - by clever advertising wording, by beautiful packaging, by the idea that instead of eating real food, you could drink a shake. Drinking a shake, in a "dieter's" mind is always better for weight loss than eating.

    But is it? 

    Let's look closer at the food label: http://carnationinstantbreakfastessentials.com/Products/Bottle/Rich-Milk-Chocolate/Nutrition.aspx

    260 calories
    5g fat
    4g carb
    14g protein
    230mg sodium
    39g sugar

    Calories are not too bad, for a breakfast anyway. Fat, carb and protein percentages are ok, not great, but ok. But it is definitely a carb-loaded drink, not a protein drink. 230mg of sodium, a little high if you want to stay in daily intake of 1,500-1,800mg. But the sugar! Daily recommended sugar is 32g a day. This has 39g!

    If you look at the ingredient list, sugar is second ingredient, followed by many other forms of sugar.

    This is a SUGAR drink. Plain and simple. 
    • Yes, it's popular. 
    • Yes, it's pretty. 
    • Yes, it's packaged to help you eat [or drink] healthy and advertising even shows giving it to your children in order to help them eat healthy in the morning. 
    It's a SUGAR drink.

    It is NOT a good option for breakfast. When you are trying to lose weight especially. Sugar affects your hormones [ladies] and your metabolism, your ability to burn fat. Better options would be oatmeal, fresh fruit, real food.

    Another dead giveaway that this is NOT a healthy option is that it comes in a box. Read the labels. Know what you are putting into your body - and your child's. Don't be fooled by marketing and advertising. You know better, right?


    **Join my Facebook fanpage for daily tips, recipes and healthy inspiration**

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    A product or pill will not change your life, you will.

    This is me. Well, it's not actually me. It kind of looks like me. But this is what I look like today, mouth open, hands by my face, totally frustrated.

    I'm a fitness professional. I love my job. My job is to change lives. This is all good. But sometimes, it's so frustrating. Sometimes I want to stand on a mountain and scream, mouth open, hands by my face and SCREAM:

    "A product or pill will not change your life, you will"

    If you are a member of my Facebook fanpage, you have heard this for the past two days. It's been my status update for two days now. Hoping that it will sink in.

    So, as a fitness professional, here's my dilemma and my frustrations:
    • The unending "marketing and advertising" of beautiful, fake, unhealthy food
    • The distortive and truth-bending "marketing and advertising" of super products - pills, shakes, exercise equipment - that is going to make you drop 7-10 lbs immediately - complete with a barrage of before and after photos that really make you want it
    • The sell-out trainers that promote these products - Jillian Michaels - oh yes, when it comes to the "show", it's all about emotional healing, get inside, do the hard work, but in reality, it's "here, take this speed pill [fat burner] because it's the only way you can do it" - sell-out
    That's it in a nutshell. And that's why I feel like screaming. Because...
    • You have to do your research when a new product comes out and read labels
    • You have to do your research when something looks too good to be true and find the true sponsor of a product
    • You have to use common sense and look for the true motives of a person, even a popular fitness trainer
    But, this is too hard. It's too much work. It's too time consuming. It's easier to just sit on the couch, watch these unbelievable ads and promotions, listen to the complete bullshit, and take that frickin' pill. Deprive yourself of real food. Don't worry about real exercise. Stop listening to that inside voice that gives you guidelines.

    Friends, it's not going to happen that way.
    I've been there.
    But maybe I'm the stupid one here.

    Because...
    • They are making money
    • They are selling product
    • They are convincing people
    And what am I doing?
    • I'm not making money
    • I'm not selling a product
    • I'm trying hard to convince people
    So, see the screaming part now? I want to make money. I want to support my family. I want to change the world. To do this, do I have to give up one or the other? I could have just given up years ago and just SOLD THE FRICKIN' PRODUCT, but I didn't and I haven't. I keep training, I keep educating, I keep talking to anyone who will listen that there's a good way to lose weight, to live a healthy life. And it doesn't involve taking a pill. It doesn't involve taking shakes. It doesn't involve exercising for hours a day. It does involve common sense. It does involve listening to your instinct, your inside voice. And it does involve change, doing the hard things that you know you ought to do.

    So, I will say one more time for emphasis and then I will go on and do what I do:

    "A product or pill will not change your life, you will"

    So, now do it.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Is this cereal good for you?

    Gotta love that "marketing and advertising". Not.

    Kellogg's Low-Fat Granola Cereal

    Has all the key "diet" phrases: "low-fat" and "granola"

    Look carefully - serving size is 1/2 cup. Does this beautiful bowl of granola cereal look like 1/2 cup? 1/2 cup is 190 calories. How many 1/2 cups do you think are in this bowl?

    Then, check ingredients. Second ingredient is sugar, third ingredient is corn syrup. Further on down the thick list is high fructose corn syrup.

    It's a beautiful package. It appears to be healthy. It's low-fat. It's granola. But you have to do your job and read the label. This is not a healthy food for you. Better alternative? Oatmeal, a true low-fat granola, oats. Real ingredients. Real food.

    Take the time to find the truth about what you are eating. It's worth it to your health.