Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick This Year!

The first month of the new year makes us feel full of so many possibilities, and at this time of the year we are so gung ho to begin anew, making the best and biggest changes possible. Now find out how the way you state your resolutions can mean the difference between following through, or tossing them out the window after just a few days.

Think about some of the most common resolutions you hear: "I'm going to lose weight"; "I'm going to exercise more"; or "I'm going to eat more healthy". The problem with each of these is that they are too general. They don't give you any direction or any solid steps to follow. So after a few weeks when your excited phase starts wearing out and the gym becomes boring, you just let the good intentions drop away until, say, bathing suit season.

What can you do to turn these good ideas into good habits? Decide on what steps you can take to incorporate healthier eating and exercise habits into your life. Here are a few examples of how to re-word some new year's resolutions so you will find them easier to stick with:

1. I'm going to lose weight: Decide what steps you can take to make this happen. What can you incorporate into your daily routine to result in a decrease in calorie intake? How about, "I'm going to have fruit or sorbet after dinner instead of cookies or ice cream", or "I'm going to start keeping a food journal and set a goal of eating only when I am hungry or really want a certain treat once a week". These are behaviors you can perform, without watching the days go by with the scale not budging.

2. I'm going to exercise more. How are you going to be sure you actually follow through with this resolution? Some people work better with a schedule, or with an exercise buddy. "I'm going to find a class I like at the gym and find a buddy to join me so I'm sure to keep my appointed time on three days each week", or "I'm going to go for a 30 minute walk after dinner four nights a week" holds you accountable to a friend and to a schedule. It's a very concrete way of including exercise into your regular routine and you can keep this up literally for the rest of your life!

3. I'm going to eat more healthy. This statement is far too general. What does "healthy" mean to you? Will you stop eating processed foods? If you stop for fast food one day will you believe you've blown the whole 'healthy' resolution and pounce on a new reason to give up right away and pig out? "I'm going to make sure I eat at least three fruits and three vegetables each day", or "I'm going to avoid foods that contain more than 30% of the calories from fat" will direct you to a concrete action you can take. If you miss a vegetable one day, you can easily start over the next, knowing that you are doing better this year than you were last year.

Plan on some specifics that help you define what you really mean by "healthy" or "weight loss" or "more exercise", and give yourself the steps you can take to start those new habits. You'll be on your way to becoming a healthier you in 2009!

Friday, December 19, 2008

All About Truvia; the natural sweetener

A plant by the name of Stevia has been getting a lot of attention recently. It seems promising as a new generation of no-calorie sweetener: Great news for people watching their waistline as well as people with diabetes who limit their intake of sugar. One company, Cargill, manufactures a product made from Stevia under the brand name, Truvia. Here's the scoop:
Truvia is a combination of the compounds Rebiana and Erythritol. The first of these comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. The companies that manufacture it (Cargill and Coca-Cola) report it "only consists of the best-tasting components of the stevia leaf". The sweet leaf of the stevia plant is dried, steeped in water, and further purified to provide a calorie-free sweet taste.
The second compound, erythritol, is a sugar alcohol which acts as the carrier for truvia. It is a sugar alcohol with a digestive pathway that results in very little of it remaining in the large intestine (as happens with some other sugar alcohols), reducing the likelihood of gas or bloating.
The Truvia product has been studied and found not to contribute calories, or to affect blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes. It has also has claims of "no aftertaste", even though many products containing Stevia do have a lingering aftertaste for many people.
Coca Cola is ready to release some beverages containing Truvia, even while the compound is pending FDA approval. Cargill and The Coca-Cola company are working together to bring rebiana to consumers around the world as an ingredient in a variety of foods and beverages. Look for it on grocery store shelves real soon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Portion Control Tips From a Successful Client

I was speaking to one of my clients the other day and she has progressed so far with the changes in her eating habits since we first met in September. I wanted to pass along some of the tips that have worked for her because she is losing weight and feeling great, so I thought these ideas would work for someone else out there!

1) The first change Lucy made was to use smaller plates in her home at dinner time. Many have extremely large dinner plates that can easily measure nearly a foot in diameter. At the time I suggested she change to smaller plates, she hesitated and said to me, "but I only put food in the middle part--not all the way out to the edges". Then she realized how much plate was still being filled as she compared the size of her usual serving plates to the smaller 'salad' plates. "I'll try using these and see how it goes," Lucy agreed. And ever since then she has been dining with the smaller ones, feeling satisfied and not stuffed.

2) The other trick Lucy tried for dinner meals was to reduce the amount of food she was cooking. "It's just me and my husband for dinner, but sometimes we cook enough for four or six people--then we just keep taking more helpings because the food is in front of us." Now she and her husband start with just enough food for two, and they both get just enough and never overeat at dinner.

3) When dining out, Lucy and her husband share a main entree with an additional order of a side salad. Or sometimes they'll each get an appetizer instead of a full meal. "They really give you so much food when you eat out, if you don't stay aware of how much you're putting away, it can be gone before you remember to ask for a take-out container!"

4) At the recent buffets Lucy has been going to around the holidays, she's come up with a couple of tips of her own that she shared with me: "Since I can't get a smaller plate wherever I go, I just leave more plate showing than I have covered!" What a great idea that is: Instead of saying to herself, "I'm at someone else's house now so I'll just fill up my plate like all the other guests," Lucy remains aware of eating reasonable portion sizes to help continue her weight loss and meet her goals. She makes sure there is plenty of space on the plate because that means it's not overflowing with food--translation--calories!

5) And the last tip she shared with me was another useful one when going through buffet lines: "I just take one spoonful of each item on the line--a spoonful of turkey, a spoonful of mashed potatoes, a spoonful of sweet potatoes, and so on. I'm not missing out on anything and it's plenty of food by the time I reach the end of the line. It's just so easy to take too much. Reminding myself to stick to one spoonful of each food works out just perfectly."

Thanks to Lucy for all the great tips, and congratulations on the 15 pounds you've shed so far!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eating For Your Eye Color

Undoubtedly you’ve heard of the popular book, “The Blood Type Diet”. In fact, blood types are identified in case you need to receive blood one day to prevent you from having a serious reaction.
There is absolutely no significance as related to your diet, your food tolerances, allergies, or reactions to food! The fact that someone wrote a book called “Eating for Your Blood Type” is akin to writing a book called, “Eating for your Eye Color”. So, I will tell you now how to best eat for your eye color to help you lose weight:

There are groups of people who have blue eyes, others who have brown eyes and some who have green. If both of your parents have blue eyes, so will you--just as if both of your parents have type O blood, you will. Therefore, these characteristics can be seen among others in your family—just go ahead and ask them!
Okay, so first of all, any of you who have blue eyes, listen up! You have light colored eyes and you really like snacks; especially those high in carbohydrates. Am I right? You enjoy having a donut or coffee cake late in the morning. It acts as a real pick-me-up to keep you going until lunch time, and of course, donuts taste so good to you (because your eyes are blue!) You love having some chips or cookies in the afternoon from the vending machine. You just get a craving for something sweet or salty a couple of hours after lunch, and that little munchable treat satisfies you until dinner time. Finally, you often crave something to snack on in the evening while you are watching television. How do I know this? Your eyes are blue! Mine are too. I like to snack.
How can we lose weight? Here’s how: find a lower calorie substitute for the snacks you are presently consuming. There are fantastic 100 calorie snack bags so you can have a hostess mini-cake package late morning, some wheat thins or cheese nips in the afternoon, and a skinny cow ice cream bar in the evening. Yes, even though you have blue eyes and you like to snack, you can still lose weight --just get your snacking under control.

Now for those of you with brown eyes: you like sweets, especially chocolate. And you like peanut butter. Of course you do; I know that because your eyes are brown. I have friends with brown eyes—they like chocolate and peanut butter. So, you like to eat peanut M & M’s, snickers candy bars, chocolate ice cream with nuts in it, and other treats that have a lot of calories. This makes you gain weight. You gain weight when you eat chocolate and peanut butter because your eyes are brown! And because these are very high calorie foods. What can you do about it?

First of all, realize that liking chocolate or peanut butter is not really a physiological craving. You do not need chocolate. You just like it because it tastes good. So you need to know that if you can wait until the craving passes and not wolf down a king-sized Snickers bar or double Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, you will be okay. For every 300 calories you can pass up (check the labels on those candy bars), you’ll lose three more pounds by the end of the month. This could be nine pounds a month if you’re indulging three times a day!

If you still want the taste (of course you do!) then learn to control the portions. Again, many of the 100 calorie snack bags are foods you would enjoy; chocolate covered pretzels, nutter-butter cookie crisps, and chocolate chip cookies. There are lower calorie brands of ice cream and you need to measure out a ½ cup portion when you eat it, instead of scooping ice cream into the bowl until it’s full (yes, I know that’s what you do, because your eyes are brown).

And, finally, we get to the smaller percentage of the population—those with pretty, green eyes. Unfortunately, you are predisposed to a taste for foods that have fat in them! This is unfortunate because fats have twice the calories of carbohydrates. You like donuts, potato chips, cakes, and pie. Cookies, brownies, and ice cream are also sources of fat, as well as sour cream, butter, and salad dressing. You have green eyes, so I know you are not someone who likes a dry baked potato or an undressed salad. You usually order French fries or a milkshake when you go out for fast food.

What can you do to get that weight off? Start limiting your portions of these foods. Write down everything you eat for a week. See how many times each day, on average, you indulge in one of these high fat foods. Now make the decision to reduce this to only one time a day, at most. If you have a donut, you do not also get a milkshake later that day; if you get fried fish you do not also have French fries; if you have pie after lunch you do not also get ice cream after dinner. You have green eyes: you need to find other ways to treat yourself during the day besides eating these high-fat foods!

To everyone with colored eyes, best of luck with your weight loss efforts! I’m confident you will be able to lose weight after you choose lower calorie snacks, reduce your portion sizes, decrease the calories consumed from treats, and find other ways to de-stress besides eating high-calorie foods.
I must add here, that this is a spoof, just in case someone believes these tips are true. The good news is these tips actually will work for you no matter what your eye color!
Have I gone too far? Let me know!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Blood Type Diet

I have seen more hype recently about this diet than the year the book was published. It's still a load of absolute hogwash, and I came across this fantastic and scientific review of why it makes no sense at all to "eat for your blood type". This manuscript is a bit lengthy, and the author is clearly biased against people eating meat, but other than that it is the best evidence I've seen to explain how incorrect the basis is for the blood type diet!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fat Blasting Boot Camp at Home!

Today I want to tell you about an exercise program developed by a colleague of mine, Angie Schumacher. I'm no exercise expert, but she is! And she has developed this program for you to use at home to work your body into a fine specimen. Here's more:

The Fat Blasting Boot Camp Program was designed by Angie Schumacher, a Certified Personal Trainer, for her boot camp class in Colorado. She wanted to ensure that her members received a total body workout in just 30 minutes-3 times a week.

With the Fat Blasting Boot Camp Program, you will start out with 2 weeks of "Get Started" workouts that will get your body ready for the upcoming 12 weeks of workouts. Each workout is linked to a video demonstration that will show you how to correctly do each exercise.

The Fat Blasting Boot Camp Program consists of 3 circuits—Strength, Cardio and Core. You begin with the strength training, which includes 4 exercises that will hit every muscle in your body. This will sculpt and tone your upper and lower body and elevate your heart rate, making sure you are burning tons of calories. The cardio training consists of 3 exercises that elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism to ensure maximum fat burning. You then finish off with core training, which incorporates 3 exercises that will hit every inch of your abs, creating lean, sexy abs. After each workout, your body will continue to burn calories for the next few hours! No matter what fitness level you are at, all the workouts are easily suitable to meet your needs.

Not only do you get the most amazing and effective fat burning workouts, you will also receive Fat Blasting Meal Plan Ideas, which help you to plan your meals and help you achieve maximum results with this program. A copy of simple, Energy Producing Recipes that Angie has used over the years, will also be included. Lastly, you will get a private invitation to the FREE Fat Blasting Boot Camp forums where you can ask questions about the program, blog about your experience, chat with other women who are using the Fat Blasting Program and receive one on one attention from Angie Schumacher.

Why is this program different from the others? This is a program that can be used right in the comfort of your own home, with little to no equipment! No universal gym machines, cardio machines or gym membership is needed. What you WILL need is a medicine ball OR dumbbells OR a kettlebell , stability ball, a chair or a step. That’s it!
No need to spend tons of money on diet pills or diet programs or to be confused over all the contradicting information about fitness and weight loss, the Fat Blasting Boot Camp Program is your answer!

The Fat Blasting Boot Camp Program is backed by a 8-week money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, you will receive your money back, no "ifs," "ands," or "buts." So you really have nothing to lose.

Click here to order. Let us know how you're doing each week!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Favorite New Products

One of my very favorite snacks just came out in 100 calorie bags! Sold in a box of 5 packs, they are only slightly smaller than the vending-machine sized pouches. Same great tasting cheesy popcorn in just the right serving size! You just stop when the bag is empty and you've had a hundred calories. Cheesy, and easy--hard to beat.

Celestial Seasonings has brought out their holiday line of teas. Yum! My new favorite is gingerbread spice. I also have SugarPlum spice and plan to go back for egg nog and others. The egg nog package suggested pouring a little milk in with it. I tried that with the gingerbread spice this morning and it is really delicious.

Let me know what your low calorie favorite foods are and we can post them here to share with others :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hot Cocoa Recipe to warm you up!

I just got in from out of the snow (brrr!) and decided to try a new hot cocoa recipe a friend passed along the other day. She used a blender but I did it in my magic bullet and that worked out just great. Here it is:
Mix 1/3 cup non-fat dry milk and 1 Tbsp cocoa with 1 Tbsp sugar (or no-calorie sugar substitute if you prefer) and a dash of vanilla or almond extract. Pour in 1 cup of very hot water and blend for 15-20 seconds. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Enjoy the foamy hot treat knowing I did a nutritional breakdown for you :)
The non-fat dry milk provides 80 calories, the cocoa has 20 calories, and a tablespoon of sugar has 45 (Equal, Splenda, or Sweet-n-Low will give you less than 5 calories.) That's 100-145 calories for the final product, and it includes at least 25% of the daily value for calcium, Vitamin D, and riboflavin from the milk! Not bad for a mid-morning snack to warm you up.
Let me know how you like it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What is Fattening?

You hear people say, "I can't have that, it's fattening" all the time. What does fattening really mean? Presumably it means that the food you are eyeing is likely to add fat to your body. But how do people define 'fattening'? Is it a certain number of calories? A certain amount of fat?

Just about any food can provide you with an excess of calories if you eat too much of it. Likewise, there may be a very calorie-dense food (like chocolate cake or pecan pie) that won't really add on the pounds if you choose to consume a small portion of it.

I'd like to challenge you to re-define your use of the word. Think about foods in terms of portion sizes. Realize that apples may be fattening if you eat 10 of them at one time (total calories: 600), and a three-musketeers bar is not fattening if you have one fun sized bar (total calories: 60).

There are virtually no foods prohibited from a weight loss diet when consumed in moderation. Find out which of the foods you regularly eat are very high in calories (butter, salad dressing, ice cream) and reduce your portions of them or find lower calorie alternatives (spray butter; low-fat or low-calorie dressings; ice milk or low-fat ice cream). Fill up on the low calorie foods that you enjoy (carrots, watermelon, rice cakes, low-fat yogurt) to satisfy your hunger. Remember that foods themselves are not fattening, but rather it is how much you eat of them that makes them higher in calories.

What can you eat a smaller portion of this week to save on calories? Let us know!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Tips on Weight Loss During the Holidays

Have I told you all about the website It's a place you can go to log your food and exercise online, and you know by now what a big fan I am of food and exercise diaries! The site tracks your calories for you, provides a printable meal plan for each day based on the calorie level suitable for your weight goal, and sends you helpful tips every day. There are blogs to read--and you can write your own--and forums to browse and add your comments. You can join with others as individual friends, or join some of the groups that are already there to welcome you. Here's a very timely article that was in my mailbox today... I couldn't have said it better myself!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hydration is Important in Cold Weather, Too!

Now that cold weather is upon us in many areas of the US, it's still just as important to stay well-hydrated. We can lose water from our bodies without noticing, particularly when we aren't sweating as much. So what are some good ways to keep the fluids coming in if you aren't crazy about drinking eight glasses of water a day?

1) Soup can make a nice and filling lunch, but there are also versions that make good snacks. Remember "cup-a-soup"? You can boil a cup of water and have some hot chicken noodle soup in just about one minute as an afternoon pick-me-up. Some of these are a bit salty. So to be most effective (and not make me thirstier later on) I hold back some of the seasoning powder--which contains most of the sodium--and just use about half of it along with all of the noodles.

2) Like the warmth of coffee but not caffeine? The sweetness of the frothy cappucino from the vending machine but not the calories? Remember decaffeinated coffee provides no caffeine and no calories, but still gives you a source of fluid. It can count as one of your glasses of water and also warm you in the wintry weather.

3) Hot tea. What a variety there is available today: It's not just plain tea anymore but hundreds (literally hundreds!) of flavors. Many come in individually wrapped packages so they're easy to carry with you and you can have a cup wherever hot water is available. Still no calories; still counts as a cup of water. My favorites: Constant Comment (a spiced orange flavor), Jasmine, Rose, Cinnamon Apple, and Caramel. You can also find mint flavors, berry flavors, lemon, even licorice!

4) Flavor your water. Just because it's cooler this time of year doesn't mean you wouldn't like a cool glass of water once in a while. If you find it too boring or tasteless, just add some flavor. Squeeze in a bit of lemon or orange; add an ounce or two of fruit juice to sweeten it, adding only 20 calories added; or use one of the zero-calorie powdered drink mixes. It all still counts towards your recommended eight glasses of water.

Wherever did the "Eight Glasses" requirement come from? The medically suggested need for appropriate hydration is based on one's size and calorie intake. In scientific language, a person is estimated to need one cc (or one milliliter) of water for each calorie they consume. An average calorie intake is 2000 (that's the level on which the daily values are based on food labels). When translating the metric 2000 milliliters to ounces, you get 66 ounces, or just over eight cups of water! So if you take in 2000 calories a day you need about eight, 8-oz cups of water. If you are larger and consume more calories and are more active you will need to adjust upwards. Likewise, if you are a smaller person and consume fewer calories you might be fine drinking just six glasses of fluid each day. Any extra you take in is easily excreted by your kidneys so unless your doctor has suggested otherwise, eight glasses is fine for everyone.

Got any great ideas for tasty hydration? Let us hear them--leave your comments here!