Category: calories

How Not to Quit

How Not to Quit

I started thinking about the many classes and events that we have enrolled the kids in over the years. Swimming lessons, tennis lessons, karate, gymnastics, soccer, t-ball, animal camp, kids’ dash, Spanish camp, and choir.

Some of the classes were great from the start and continued to be fun for the duration of the class schedule. Some of the classes started out horrible. During my daughter’s first swim class she cried the ENTIRE 30 minutes. The next class she only cried for about the first 10 minutes, and by the third class she couldn’t wait to get in the pool. Some classes started out great but went downhill after that. And finally, some classes they complained about the entire drive there, but when they got into the class they had a blast each and every time.

One common thread among these classes is that the kids were never allowed to quit going – no matter how much they complained. A life lesson to instill responsibility and commitment. This is one of those non-negotiables that my husband and I have created for our kids – no quitting.

Every parent has their own non-negotiables for their kids and family. You know, those “rules” or ideas about behavior that you will not budge on…ever.

So, now to my point. As we hold our kids to certain standards like not quitting, we should also hold ourselves to the same kinds of standards, especially when it comes to health and wellness.

When you start a new health and fitness regimen, you are sure to experience what my kids experienced in their different classes.

Some parts of your new routine will start out great and stay great. Those parts are easy to stick with.

Some things will start out great and then go downhill after the newness and motivation wears off. These things may or may not continue to be a part of your routine. If an activity becomes so dreadful that it causes you to skip your workout all together, then get rid of it. If it is just something that is not as “fun” or easy as something else, stick with it.

Other activities will be horrible at the start. These are the activities that you want to be sure and stick with for at least a month, as they may turn into your favorite. After my first spinning class, I thought I was going to vomit, but I kept going back to give it a fair chance. Now I go three times a week, and I would love to be a spinning instructor.

Lastly, you may complain (or make excuses) before you exercise, or feel like complaining because you feel a little deprived in your menu selections; however, if you hold yourself to a non-negotiable standard and go exercise and eat healthy, you will feel fantastic each and every time!

PSYCHOLOGY of a SMART DIET – 9 Tips for Smart Eating

PSYCHOLOGY of a SMART DIET – 9 Tips for Smart Eating

As you know, I am always trying to find the newest info on all things having to do with fitness and nutrition. It is harder than you think. I end up reading many articles that say the same thing and discuss the same concepts that have been written about for over a decade. Blah, blah, blah.

However, I recently read an article on FitClick. This is one of my “go to” sites. It is also a great site if you want to participate in an interactive type online fitness system.

Here is the gist of the article:

The article talks about eating habits. We all have them. Some are good. Some are bad. One of the most important things you can do to ensure success when it come to weight loss is maintain good eating habits.

Are you the type of person to shovel snacks into your mouth while at the computer or t.v., barely noticing the taste or amount of the food you’re eating? Do you still believe it’s a crime not to finish everything on your plate? I call this the starving kids in China syndrome. My dad used to say this quite often. Then as we got older, he changed it to “waste not want not”. I heard this all my life… actually as recently as last Sunday. Some eating habits make it impossible to take off those extra pounds because they are so ingrained you aren’t even conscious of them.

The good news: You can absolutely learn to break these old patterns and substitute better ones, which is a key ingredient to a successful diet. Even better news: In time, these healthy routines will become such a part of your life, they will be second nature. That means not only can you lose the weight but you can keep it off, too.

Here are nine tips: some are so crazy they just might work!

1) Less is more.”If you eat less often, it will become a smaller issue in your life,” says James Rosen, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of University of Vermont’s Weight Control Program. “Contrary to popular belief, ‘grazing,’ or eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day, isn’t a good way to lose weight for people with self-control issues. The more often you eat, the more you expect food is going to be available, and the more you think that it’s okay to eat whenever and wherever you feel like it.”

I have gotten caught up in this trap, and it is very easy to end up eating way more calories than you realize. So, if you know you are one of those people with self-control issues, decide on your eating times—not more than three or four times a day—and don’t eat in between, no matter the size of the snack.

2) Declare a No-Food Zone. Decide on the eating places in your house—just your dining room table, for example—and declare other places No Food Zones. If you have a habit of eating in your car, in front of the television, or while you’re at the computer, make those No Food Zones—even for healthy snacks. If you train yourself to eat only in very specific situations, you will learn to control food cravings outside of normal meal times.

3) Remember: Location, Location, Location.”Make sure that you eat your meals in one certain place,” recommends Robert Jamison, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and an associate professor at Harvard Medical school. “When you have a craving, tell yourself you can have whatever you want, but you have to eat it in an unusual place—like the bathroom or garage—that doesn’t have familiar environmental cues like the couch in the TV room.” So, if you really want that hot fudge sundae go ahead and eat it, but eat it in the garage,” says Jamison. It won’t be as much fun, so you might stop and think about whether you’re eating it because you’re hungry, because of a craving, because you had a long day and you think you deserve it, or because you’re watching your favorite show. The more conscious you are of what you are doing, the more chance that you’ll make changes.”

This tip sounds a little crazy, but so crazy that it just might be the thing to change a bad eating habit. Definitely worth a try.

4) Make rules and stick to them.”To avoid calories, you can simply establish a rule for yourself: Never eat anything unless you bought it or asked for it,” explains Jamison. “That way, you won’t have to torture yourself every time someone brings cupcakes to work.” Not to mention birthday parties, goodbye parties, Valentine’s Day, Girl Scout cookie season, Halloween…

I love this one. In our house we are rule makers and rule followers, and very rarely do we deviate from the rules. This is probably because we have a 5 and 6 year old in the house. But really, I am a “slippery slope” type person. If I deviate today, what’s to say I won’t deviate next time, and the time after that… slippery slope. So I just stick to the rules, and make everyone else in the house stick to them as well.

5) Eat dessert first.This is for the dessert lovers.. You know who you are. Do you always vow to skip dessert but end up ordering it anyway once the waiter brings the dessert menu? Judith S. Stern, Sc.D., professor of nutrition and internal medicine at University of California says, “If you are going to eat dessert, eat it first.” Why? “Because of what is called the Thanksgiving Dinner Effect. You’re stuffed and can’t eat another bite—but then dessert comes, and you seem to all of a sudden be able to find room for a piece of pumpkin pie. So don’t try to avoid the inevitable. Eat dessert, but know that you must order less for the rest of your meal. You might get some stares, but so what?”

I love dessert, but I am not a dessert person because of calories and nutrition. Desserts are a once and a while special treat. If you are not generally a dessert person, this tip is not a free pass to start eating desserts.

6) Exercise before dinner.”Exercising temporarily decreases your appetite, so if you want to avoid overeating, work out before a meal,” says James O. Prochaska Ph.D., a clinical and health psychologist. “One of the reasons weight loss is so tough is that it’s not dependent on a single behavior, it’s about how much we eat and how many calories we burn up. The most common mistake people make is trying to simply reduce calories without exercising.”

This tip is also very compelling. It is not always practical to exercise before dinner, but what if you went for a short walk, jumped rope 100 times, did 100 sit-ups or 100 jumping jacks… just some short burst of exercise. Worth a try!

7) You’ve got your whole meal in your hand.”If you want to lose weight, the most important element is not what you eat—it’s how much you eat,” says George L. Blackburn, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School. “People don’t realize the volume of food they’re eating and the speed at which they’re eating it. To figure out how much you should be eating, put your hand over your plate and see how many palm- or fistfuls of food you have on it. A serving size of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of the palm of your hand; your closed fist is the volume of one cup of pasta or rice. Don’t forget that you have your measuring device with you everywhere you go. Also make sure at least twenty minutes passes between the start and end of a meal—even if you have to get up and leave the table somewhere in between first and last bite.”

This is the “no excuses” tip. There is no excuse to not be aware of the serving size of every single thing you eat.

8) Eat mindfully.”Another source of people overeating is the hectic pace of life that afflicts virtually everyone,” says Michael Lowe, Ph.D., professor of clinical and health psychology at University in Philadelphia. “We get geared up, and eating becomes an afterthought; we simply grab things to eat along the way. So set aside half an hour of calm, relaxed, focused eating for each meal. Mindful eating—when you’re aware of what you’re choosing to eat and how much you are eating and when you are starting to feel full—is difficult when you’re grabbing what you can find and gobbling it in front of the television before running out the door to a meeting.”

If you are thinking that a calm, free, focused 1/2 hour is hard to come by several times a day, I call bull sh** (as my husband would say). You are not making a healthy diet your priority. If you really want to, you can set aside a 1/2 hour or even 20 minutes for each meal to ensure you are eating mindfully all day long.

9) Stay positive.”Analyze how you’re eating and exercising, but take a benevolent and accepting attitude,” says Dan Kirschenbaum, Ph.D., director of the Center for Behavioral Medicine in Chicago. “Don’t be moralistic. When you eat a piece of chocolate cake, don’t think of it as ‘cheating or failure’.’ Instead, focus on staying positive, and see your overeating as a problem to be solved, not as a moral transgression. Eating is your normal response to stimuli; it is tough to break established patterns and keep resisting it all the time. Keep fighting the good fight, don’t give up, be proud of any progress you’ve made.”

Consider these tips and start to incorporate them into your routine. Before you know it your good eating habits will far outweigh the bad.

Back to the starving kids for a minute… Have you ever heard of left overs? Instead of cleaning your plate until you are completely and painfully stuffed, save a little from each meal. At the end of the week you can have left over day. We do this every week. By Friday, we have a nice variety of food. A pork chop here, a hamburger patty there, some left over chicken, extra noodles. It is kind of fun because each person gets their favorite, or we all have a few bites of everything – a true smorgasbord. Think of the money you will save because you don’t have to buy food for an extra dinner…. you can send that money to your favorite country with starving kids.

Age Related Weight Gain – UGH!

Age Related Weight Gain – UGH!

Why do we start gaining weight as we age?

I know we like to think that 40 is the new 20, but weight increase is common, almost universal, as we reach middle age. However, while it may be almost inevitable, it is not healthy. Many people continue to eat the same amount of calories as they did a decade ago, and without a few tweaks in calorie consumption, most of us will gain weight.

As we get older, we lose muscle tissue. The most common reason why we need to eat fewer calories as we get older, is because our muscle mass tends to decrease. Between the ages of 30 and 70 years, muscle tissue shrinks on average by about 30 per cent in most people. The reason for this is simple lack of exercise. The problem is, muscle requires more energy to sustain than fat does. So the less muscle we have, the fewer calories we need, and any extra calories (energy) we take in will be stored as fat. Hormonal changes may also slow down our metabolic rate and cause a drop in calorie needs.

How much weight do we gain with age?
The age-related reduction in muscle tissue leads to an average weight increase of about 5 pounds per decade for men or 3.5 pounds per decade for women. When you look at those numbers, they do not seem too threatening, but if you do the math it adds up. I would also bet that those numbers are on the low side. Think about all the people you went to high school or college with. How many are overweight, obese?

I think that most people would be surprised that the average weight gain is 5 pounds per decade. I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone lament about gaining weight with age. I think that most people have heard that everyone gains weight as they get older, so it is used as an excuse. Since “everyone is doing it”, people are not concerned when they put on 20 or 30 extra pounds instead of just 5.

If you are close to your desired weight, it’s easy to reduce mid-life weight gain. To minimize the risk of age related weight increase, all we need to do is eat about 50-100 fewer calories per day, or increase our calorie burning by about 50-100 calories a day. In the whole scheme of things, 50-100 calories is nothing. That is an easy change to make by cutting out one sugary drink per day, skip the butter every day, cut you portion to 2/3 cup instead of a whole cup. You will hardly miss those few extra calories. Check out these 50 ways to cut 100 calories per day.

 

Seven Tips That Make Dieting Strategies Work

Seven Tips That Make Dieting Strategies Work

1. Drink Your Water

It’s important to stay well hydrated on a diet. I often hear that people can mistake thirst for hunger. Is this true? The jury is still out, but the next time you get a hunger pang, drink a glass of water first. If you really are just thirsty…problem solved. If you are really hungry, the water will help to fill up some of your stomach space so you won’t scarf down a bag of chips. Tip: Water may be the most boring beverage on the planet, so add a bit of flavored carbonated water to jazz it up. I like La Croix.

2. Remove Sugar

If you want to lose weight, you have to remove the SUGAR. Sugar makes it easy for our bodies to store fat. Removing sugar out of your life is a tried and true way to shed and keep off the pounds. Tip: Sugar is found in many forms, so if you’re trying to reduce sugar intake you also have to stop eating the foods that act like sugar in our bodies. Whether you put a spoon full of table sugar in your mouth or chomp on a bagel, the effect is the same. For a complete list of these foods, http://www.olsonnd.com/what-foods-that-act-like-sugar/

3. Eat Smaller Portions

We love “super-size”! It makes sense, right? More food for your buck. When it comes to a good value maybe, but when it comes to good health, “super-size” is the enemy. Be mindful of the amount of food you consume at every sitting. Tip: use smaller bowls and plates for your portions. It will look like a lot of food, and it will be just the right amount. When possible, use a scale, and when eating out avoid anything with the words “all-you-can-eat” and never “super-size” anything unless you are going to share it with at least four or more people.

4. Eat Your Vegetables
Vegetables are superstar foods. Not only are they low in calories, they are high in fiber. Vegetables are a great replacement for rice, pasta and other starchy foods during weight loss. Non-starchy vegetables are the best selection for weight loss; they include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, field greens, spinach and more. Tip: Eat your veggies first to fill up most of the space in your stomach.

5. Get Enough Protein
Protein is the best fill-me-up food. It’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats because it keeps you feeling full for longer. Protein also helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. Tip: Include healthy proteins like lean meat, sugar free yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans into every meal and snack.  If your choice is a carb or a protein, go with the protein.

6. Limit Late Night Snacking
Dangerous snacking occurs most often after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax. Snacking while reading or watching TV is one of the easiest ways to throw your diet off course. If you are going to snack, make sure it is a low-calorie snack like fruit, low-fat cheese or a sugar free yogurt with a serving size of no more than 100 calories. Tip: Brush your teeth right after dinner. This is your signal that eating is done for the day.

7. Get Moving
Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss. It helps to control your weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat.  Enjoy your exercise routine whatever it may be; sports, a trip to the gym, bike riding, walking, household activities, yard work, or work-related tasks — all are beneficial. Tip: Do some kind of movement EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if it’s just for 5 minutes while you are watching your favorite show. Make a game out of it. Every time your favorite character says his catch phrase do 10 jumping jacks, or 20 sit-ups, or 5 squats, or whatever.

All You Need Is The Right Tool – 9 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Food Prep

All You Need Is The Right Tool – 9 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Food Prep

imagesCAI5SIDKOne of the most effective ways to stay on track with a diet is to COOK AT HOME. But there’s more to a healthy kitchen than a well-stocked fridge and a pantry full of pre-portioned snacks.

My husband can fix almost anything. His favorite saying is “all you need is the right tool”. This is true when it comes to cooking healthy too. How you prepare and enjoy your meals matters almost as much as what you’re eating. The following are must-have items that will help turn your kitchen into a weight loss machine:

 

1. Food processor

You can purchase a mini or full-size processor for chopping or shredding vegetables, fresh herbs, and nuts with ease. It will also puree and let you sneak vitamin-rich cauliflower, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes into sauces and spreads or even soups. Whip up healthy hummus, pesto, and marinades, too. You can also try a handheld blender; they work well for smoothies.

 

2. Knives

Any smart weight loss program will call for plenty of vegetables, and a sharp knife will make all that cutting, chopping, and slicing much easier. Make sure you have a chef’s knife, a slicer, and a paring/utility knife, plus a sharpener (dull knives make prep work far less enjoyable). Armed with these, you can start your week off with containers full of red pepper strips, celery stalks, carrot sticks, and insert your favorite veggies here ____ for easy snacking. Embrace your inner Top Chef!

 

3. Downsize plates and glasses

Average plate sizes seem to be getting bigger and bigger. The bigger your plate, the more likely you are to load it up with food. Replace your 12-inch dinner plates with 9-inch salad plates, and then fill them up with high-fiber, low-calorie greens and beans plus smaller portions of healthy carbs and meat.

When it comes to glasses, Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab researchers found that individuals pour more of a beverage into short wide glasses versus tall narrow ones http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/.  I always tell people not to drink their calories, but if you want to have a morning OJ or a Friday night cocktail, choose a taller, narrower glass (think Tom Collins instead of rocks). But for water, choose the biggest goblet you can find: Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you avoid needless snacking.

 

4. Salad spinner

This kitschy tool lets you simultaneously wash and dry your greens. Spinach and lettuce will last longer if stored dry.

 

5. Mini zip-close bags or small tupperware type containers

Use them to hold individual servings of nuts, dried fruit, granola, cheese, and other easy-to-gobble items. There is nothing worse than mindlessly eating handful after handful right out of the bag, and before you know it consuming 100’s of calories in an otherwise healthy snack.

 

6. Oil mister

These gadgets allow you to add just a spritz of heart-healthy oil without overdosing on fat. Think avocado oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil. Mist veggies prior to roasting them, or add some flavor to salads. You should also keep your pantry stocked with nonstick cooking spray, which allows you to whip up everything from scrambled eggs to chicken breasts without butter or oil.

 

7. Micro plane grater/zester

Use this tool to grate small amounts of flavorful cheese into soups, salads, and more. It will also zest oranges, lemons, and limes which can pack in a lot of flavor without adding any calories.

 

8. Slow cooker

If you don’t like cooking but love coming home to a house that smells delicious, this is the tool for you. I am not a great cook… ask any of my friends, but I can rock a slow cooker. It’s hard to screw up any meal when a crockpot is your tool of choice.  Slow cookers can turn basic ingredients such as chopped vegetables, chicken, broth, and spices into low-fat, down-home comfort food. And if you have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you, you’ll be less likely to open the fridge and mindlessly snack while you wonder, “What should I make for dinner?”

 

9. Spices

A fully stocked spice cabinet lets you add flavorful, calorie-free punches to food. You’ll save on fat and sodium, too. Staples include:

Basil for pasta and veggies

Bay leaves for flavoring stocks, sauces, and stews

Cayenne pepper (red pepper) for a spicy kick

Cinnamon for hot cereals such as oatmeal or in baking

Crushed red pepper flakes to add heat to spaghetti, soups, sauces, marinades, and meats

Cumin for chili or Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern foods

Dill for fish or potatoes; mix with low-fat yogurt or sour cream for a vegetable dip

Garlic powder for any recipe that calls for garlic flavor

Oregano for tomato-based sauces as well as stews and vegetables

Rosemary for lamb, chicken, potatoes, stews, sauces, vegetables, and fresh breads

Rubbed Sage for chicken, turkey, stuffing, and pork chops

Thyme for hearty roasted or baked dishes as well as vegetables

7 Wonders of the Nutrition World

7 Wonders of the Nutrition World

imagesCAQP8F7RWe all know which foods we should try to avoid, and despite the appeal of Thin Mints, Doritos, Mountain Dew or McAnything, processed foods provide little good and a whole lot of bad. But when it comes to the nutritious stuffwhat are the best foods to put into our bodies? While we need a variety of foods for a healthy diet, do you know which are the healthiest of the bunch? These are the top seven most nutrient dense foods around. I bet you will be able to incorporate at least one of these into your daily diet.

 

1. Spirulina: While the thought of eating river algae might gross you out a bit, spirulina is actually fairly tasty, especially blended into a smoothie or hidden in a chocolate bar. It has more antioxidants than any other food on earth and is loaded with protein and minerals making it the most nutrient dense food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23544470

 

2. Kale: Kale packs a serious nutritious punch, loaded with minerals, vitamins, fiber and amino acids, as well as important antioxidants that reduce inflammation and can prevent cancer. It’s also delicious and an easy to prepare, versatile food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23631258

 

3. Hemp Seeds: What do you get when you combine protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals? Hemp, of course. This easily digestible seed is versatile, easy to use and extremely tasty, too.

 

4. Broccoli: Your mom was right … Eat your vegetables. Broccoli especially if you want a healthy digestive system and you want to kick it up a notch… your health that is. Broccoli has a wide range of usefulness too, from soups to stir fry, or simply steamed or raw.

 

5.Spinach: Popeye was onto something with that spinach fixation. But skip the canned stuff and stick with fresh or frozen for an antioxidant, protein and fiber-rich burst of healthy goodness. Fresh or cooked, spinach’s sweet and hardy flavor brightens any meal.

 

6. Chia: The Aztecs may have died out, but their legacy is alive and strong in the chia seed. This ancient favorite is loaded with omega fats, protein and fiber. It can be a better choice than flax because chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.http://fitchicktricks.com/nutrition/dangerfood-or-superfood/chia-the-food-not-the-pet/

 

7. Berries: Unlike other fruit, berries tend to be less sugary and full of vital vitamins, minerals and those free-radical avenging antioxidants. Wild berries are always a great choice, especially black rassberries

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